Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The last day

I have appreciated the opportunity this past month to reflect on the things that I am grateful for. Today, I must admit that November is nearly done.

I have learned quite a bit about myself this month. There is a lot to be grateful for. I plan on coming back to this month's postings when life starts to drag me down. I may need these reminders from time to time that life doesn't totally suck.

Every day is full of little joys and little annoyances. Some days bring big joys or big annoyances. If it was all of one, you wouldn't appreciate or recognize the other.

I contributed to an insightful bit of banter today that has little to do with 'gratitude' other than I was grateful to have participated:

"Common sense is over rated and over stated."

Count your blessings that you are beyond common!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A good morning

It's Monday. My teen is not a morning person. He couldn't figure out how to use the new shower knob (probably because it actually worked correctly, unlike the one that it replaced).

However, he did everything he was supposed to do this morning AND put up the new holiday tree too.

It's the little things that make a day bearable.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tools and skills

The faucet on our shower broke yesterday. It was nearly impossible to turn the water on, or to a proper temperature. Part of me wanted to panic. Plumbing?!?!?! Of course it would happen on a Saturday. Oh dear. What were we going to do without a shower/bath until sometime Monday or Tuesday. Panic. Panic.


I decided to see if I could figure out what was wrong. I got a screwdriver and removed the handle from the faucet. The circular portion inside that surrounded the mechanism to manage the water flow had broken, so that it couldn't grip the mechanism fully any longer. I wondered if I could get a replacement handle, or if I would have to get a whole new assembly. If I could get a new handle that would work, I could avoid a plumber encounter.

I went to Home Depot with the broken part in my pocket. I saw a few shower faucet assemblies before I found the aisle with the replacement bits. There were boatloads to choose from. Fortunately, the packaging is such that you can open it up and see if you're getting the right part before you buy it. I looked at a few before deciding on the one that seemed the most likely replacement part for my broken handle.

I didn't go straight home. I ran some other errands while I was out. Then, I forgot about it when I first got home. A few hours later I remembered. I was pretty nervous when I entered the bathroom with the part in my hand. If this didn't work, we were pretty screwed for a few days.

I was impressed when the part seemed to fit perfectly. I put the handle back together, and then I tested the assembly out. Victory! Not only did it work, it seemed to fit more snugly than the last handle had.

With my new found confidence, I decided to mount a hook in my closet today with my (relatively) new drill. I hadn't used it myself yet. I had gotten K to use it yesterday to install a hook and eye assembly for me. Using the drill myself turned out to be wicked easy too!

I can hardly wait to buy the Dremel tool I've been eying for the last few days. This whole "Tool Time" theme could get addictive!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Got stood up!

Yes, and that is what I am grateful for.

I was going to meet a friend at a free concert in Nashua this evening. Nashua had closed the streets of downtown to vehicular traffic. They do this every year. It's called "The Holiday Stroll". Merchants stay open on Saturday night. There are concerts and street food. The streets are pretty crowded with pedestrians. I've never gone before. Since this is the year of exploration, I decided that I would give this event a try, especially since I live just a mile or two from downtown Nashua.

A new friend of mine suggested that we meet at one of the concert venues at 5:30. I have been fighting a headache all day. But, I decided to push through it to meet her. Parking was insane, but I figured it out. The venue was incredibly difficult to find (if you have seen "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist", it was like trying to find Where's Fuzzy). I got there a few minutes late, but my friend wasn't there. I sat down and enjoyed the concert all the same. I kept looking over my shoulder to see if she had showed up. At 6:15 the concert ended. I looked around one more time and then started wandering downtown Nashua with the rest of the throng. It was fun.

Had my friend showed up, I would have not necessarily gone into all the places that I went into. Or, I may not have skipped some of the places that I had. However, the biggest point is, had we not had the date to meet up at 5:30 I may not have gone at all because of the headache.

So, all things happen the way they should.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The un-black Friday

Since I didn't have a car at my disposal until early afternoon, and I really think that I have internalized that I am pretty broke, I resisted the urge to run out to a large shopping establishment and wait in line for hourse to save $20 on something.

I did end up buyng a 32" TV for the exercise room, and I bought some jeans and undies. All accomplished from the comfort of my desk chair.

The best part of today was going over to one of my gaming friend's house to play games for hours on end. I am so glad that I found a group of gamers that I get along with, who have relatively good guest manners, while be totally approachable. Thank goodness I haven't encounter anyone 'out there' thus far.

Now I just need to figure out how to do more of the activities that the user arrange.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Not from a big crazy family

It's Thanksgiving, and I'm spending it completely by myself. Do not feel sorry for me in the least. K went to his girlfriend's house in Maine. While I do miss him, I could have gone with him. I just wasn't up for putting on my 'social' face for an entire day.

I think one of the most stressful Thanksgivings I ever spent was when I was in grad school and I went home with my (then) boyfriend. His mother was not a happy person and she didn't like the looks of me from the get go. I had to make conversation or feign interest in various things all day and night long.

I grew up an only child to a relatively asocial single parent. I think my mom's preference for 'alone time' rubbed off on me.

Don't get me wrong. I have a lot of good friends that I care loads about. I also have a half brother and a step brother who I adore. And I love seeing everyone under casual circumstances. But 'holidays' are not casual circumstances. When you don't see folks very often, you're supposed to be on your best behavior for a 'holiday'.

I am really enjoying lounging around my house watching movies, eating what I feel like eating, and drinking my bottle of wine (slowly over the course of the evening).

I hope that all of my loved ones are having fun and relaxing days. I look forward to seeing all of them on some 'non holiday' occasion.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stop the "go"

My son left for Maine around 3 this afternoon. He won't be back until around 3 on Friday afternoon. Since he took my car, I'm kind of stuck in my house since there's not much to do within walking distance. Plus, with tomorrow being a holiday, there's nothing even open if I could get anywhere.

This is not a bad thing. I'm just so used to having the freedom to "go". Not only that, I often feel compelled to "go" somewhere all the time, even when I have no real need to "go" anywhere in particular.

I have plenty to do here in my home. I have lots of projects that I could work on. I also have lots of movies I could watch, thereby being unproductive.

I actually like my house. I just need to get over this absurd need to "go". I am thankful for the opportunity to overcome that compulsion, if only for a couple of days.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Flowers in winter

OK. I know it's not winter yet. However, it is no longer 'flower season'.

I stopped by the grocery store on the way home to pick up a few last minute things for my Thanksgiving. One of the things that I snagged was a bouquet of flowers for my table.

For years I didn't bring flowers into the house, and I discouraged my X from bringing me any. Any time we had flowers in the house, the cats would knock over the vase and attempt to eat the things.

Fortunately, the cats do not seem to be that interested in flowers any more.

I am grateful that I can have flowers, off season, on my table to cheer me.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Where would I be without the Internet?

I moved hundreds of miles away from my dearest friends. I have only a few friends where I ended up. Without the amazing Internet, I would be like a ship adrift at sea.

I am grateful to all of those people and organizations that have supported the Internet since the 70's. Without the Internet, I would feel pretty alone up here in the great white New England north. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mixed day

Took K to church with me and then on to the church's Thanksgiving potluck. K was a surly teen (I "forced him" to go). We eventually made a peace of sorts walking amongst the horses at the farm where the feast was held.

I am still grateful for the wonderful church community that I belong too.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A great day and a bit more distance from the past

I had an absolutely fabulous day!

I did my normal Saturday morning laze about, followed by exercise and such (laundry, kitchen stuff). Then, I spent most of the day at my Church's holiday faire, including luxuriating with an hour massage.

Afterwards, I went shopping for a new holiday tree. We currently have a 6-7' monster of a tree that is hard for me to carry by myself. Since it's just K and I now, I am thinking that a 4-5' tree is more practical. I haven't decided on one, but I'm close.

On the way home, I swung by a jewelry store and did something I've been wanting to do for months. I had them cut my wedding and engagement rings off my left ring finger. I have put on a lot of weight since I got married. I had hoped to be well on the road to losing the weight by now so that I could take the rings off by myself. But that hasn't happened. I need to get rid of a bunch more karmic baggage before I can attack my weight issue. And, one thing that I knew would make me feel better was getting those rings off my hand.

Wow! I felt years younger and instantly happier when the jeweler pull the cut rings away from my finger. I sold the gold to him for next to nothing, and kept the stone from the engagement ring. It's small and pear shaped, so the market for it is kind of limited. Maybe I'll do something with it someday. For now, I'm just happy to have those reminders of my marriage off my hand. My hand feels strange right now, but in a good way.

I'm grateful for the wonderful day that I had, especially checking off a huge item on my "to do" list!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tried not to be the Material Girl, but...

When it comes to getting in touch with my 'gratitude', I was hoping to steer clear of anything materially oriented. You know: no 'stuff'. However, there are a few modern conveniences that I am overwhelmingly grateful for.

Let me first express my deep felt thanks to Apple for developing the iPod. I had two different MP3 players before I had an iPod. They were fine things, as were the various and sundry other portable entertainment devices (CD Player, tape player, radio, etc.) However, the integration of the iPod with all the content available via iTunes got me hooked.

I love podcasts. I love audiobooks (which I was addicted to before I had an iPod). I love the ease of making playlists and downloading and ripping music.

That is not to say that I haven't experienced a few frustrations here and there with both my iPod and iTunes.

Overall, I really cannot imagine my life without my iPod. If the end of civilization comes, I hope I have a solar charger for my iPod.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My health is not that bad

I suffer from chronic pain issues. I have trouble sleeping. I'm wicked overweight. And, I suffer from terrible hot flashes due to menopause. Still, I am grateful for my health.

Today, as I walked through the cafeteria I noticed a young man who I have encountered in the elevators a number of times. He gets around in a pretty serious looking wheelchair. Someone was sitting next to him. My curiosity got me to look in that direction for a few more seconds. The woman sitting next to him had a spoonful of food hovering mid-air.

I admire how forward this young man lives his life. He needs assistance with eating and has no problem doing so in a large busy cafeteria. I cannot imagine how many difficulties he has to live with.

I am grateful for the health that I have.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Parental patience

For the last week, K has been whining that his hair needs cut. Normally it's me whining at him to get it cut. It really wasn't bothering me.

Tonight, when I got home, I offered to take him to get it cut. He barely hesitated before going to get his shoes on. When I asked him a few minutes later how much he planned to get cut off, he said about an inch, which was exactly what I would have gone for.

So, I am grateful that I am now able to not be bothered by the length of his hair AND that he and I agree as to what length is manageable. Only another 6742 issues left to resolve! :D

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


It typically takes me an hour to get to work each day, and then an hour to get home. I don't let this bother me. I've accepted it as part of my existence. However, I hate to give over ten hours of my week to simple 'driving'. So, over the years I have become an audiobook addict. A good book makes the time go by wonderfully. When I'm listening to a great book, I actually hate for the ride to be over!

Currently I am listening to Anthony Bourdain's "Medium Raw".

I am grateful for audiobooks!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Didn't sleep hardly at all last night. Just started to nod off in front of the television. I love it when that happens, since it usually guarantees a good night of sleep.

Grateful for sleepiness

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I'm working on a little painting project. I'm converting my X's old office into a television and exercise room. I decided to paint two of the walls with sunset colors. The first coat of paint was a very bright yellow. This afternoon I added some bright orange sponging and spatters. Lastly, I'll be adding some red sponging.

Not only do I really like the colors, but there's a bit of a 'revenge factor' going. Yes, it's small of me. But, let me harvest what little pleasures I can. The X did not appreciate color on walls until just a few years ago, and that was after much prodding on my part. He definitely would not have agreed to bright colors, especially multiple abstract bright colors. So, doing this little experiment in his former office is kind of a blast for me.

If I decide that I don't like it, I can always repaint it at some point. I love color and I love experimenting with it.

Fair well boring white and earth tones. Let the colors shine through!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


This afternoon I was planning on going to a movie. Before I left, I decided to check on the sermon topic of the local church. (I belong to a church far away of the same denomination.) I noted that they had something going on at the church this very evening. My goodness, a concert by a folk singer that I actually know. Only $20. Sold.

I went to the concert and ran into 10 people from MY CHURCH! Two of them had actually switched and started going to the church closer to me. Guess I'll see them tomorrow.

I'm really glad that I decided to go to the concert (after the movie). It's rare that I give into spur of the moment ideas. It turned out great!

Friday, November 12, 2010

College interview

K and I went out to Worcester today so that he could interview at WPI (his #1 college choice). We were a bit worried about his erratic grades over the last year. He is co-captain of his FIRST robotics team and he's done moderately well on his SATs.

The interviewer was pretty impressed with him. She said that having the interview helps, but that he has a lot going for him. Plus, having him explain that his grade fluctuations are partially due to our stressful home life this last year also will give the admissions folks a clearer picture of K.

K walked away feeling like it was time well spent and that he has a good shot at getting in. Yippee! (Now, ... about that $52k/yr cost of going there ...)

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I personally know several serving military. I also know a couple of former military. I am constantly impressed with their service oriented attitude. They all carry their own opinions about how our government is run, but none of them question the value of their service to their fellow citizens.

I am grateful that there are folks willing to serve our country.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I took a 2 hour nap this afternoon. I feared that it might be too much of a good thing when I wanted to go to sleep tonight. However, I am thoroughly exhausted so I shouldn't have too much trouble falling over in a bit. Had I given into the urge to sleep even longer this afternoon, I may have been in trouble now.

I don't feel the need for a nap every day. However, I feel the pull more often than I can actually give into it. So, I am truly grateful when I can give in.

Hooray for naps!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Alone time

Actually, I'm NOT feeling very grateful this evening. My son and I had a HUGE blow up this evening. I actually do not regret a single thing word that came out of my mouth. He lied to me repeatedly. Though it was over something minor, I gave him ample opportunity to correct his mistake and he knows how much I hate being lied to. Then, when I called him on it he merely glared at me and asked "Why are we still talking about this?" That, on top of a little stunt he pulled last night (and gave me attitude about it this morning) really set me off.

I really do bend over backwards to accommodate my son. Whenever he asks for something I usually agree. I also try to anticipate when he might need something or some-doing, and I try to take care of it before he asks. So, the attitude made me feel very disrespected.

My response was to take back my agreement that his girlfriend could come down from Maine Wednesday night and stay until Thursday evening. I really do like L. She's a good influence on K. However, I have to draw the line somewhere.

He was angry with my pronouncement. He accused me of hurting somebody else because I was angry at him. I don't see it that way. Having his girlfriend spend the night when he's being disrespectful to me means that he gets to have a privilege while he's treating me horribly. WRONG!

He came to me a while later and asked if he could spend the night at a friend's house tonight because he "needs some space." I thought about it for a minute and then agreed. I need some space too.

So, I'm grateful for some alone time!

Monday, November 08, 2010

In honor of my mother

My mother passed away in 1997. She and I had a rocky relationship, to say the least. I think we would get along better now if she were still alive. Now that I have a teenager to deal with and a failed marriage, I think I understand a lot of what formed who she was.

I wish I could talk to her about all that has happened in the last couple of years. I'm sure she'd have something insightful to say. She was really good at giving advice, in my opinion.

I'm grateful that I had my mom for as long as I did. She showed me how to be unapologetically myself. She showed me how to be strong and independent and to actually relish the idea of living alone (or at least not with a sexual partner, since we both had/have teenagers to deal with).

I don't know how I would have handled this last couple of years had I not been raised by the mother I was raised by. Thank you, Mom, for giving me the proper tools to master an intolerable season as best as I could.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

A very pleasantly long Sunday

I purposefully stayed up past midnight last night in an attempt to help adjust to the extra hour we got last night when the clocks changed. I still got up around 07:30 (adjusted new time). The day drifted along slowly. I didn't get as much done as I would have liked. However, I did get some laundry in and the grocery shopping. K came along so I picked up some of the heavier items that I hate to get when I'm on my own.

After we got everything home, I tried to take a nap. I really was quite tired, but mostly I just laid there with my eyes closed for an hour.

I spent about an hour trying to catch up on some stuff for work. Again, I didn't get as much done as I'd wanted to.

Then I made dinner and watched a movie. I got K to give the kitchen trash can a shower (this was a huge accomplishment).

It's nearly 9pm, but it feels to early to go to bed. Though, by yesterday's yard stick it's actually nearly 10pm.

Normally, I end up hating Sundays. But, with the confusion of the extra hour, I really did like this one. I think I need to figure out how to like Sundays more in general. After all, it is still a weekend day, right?

Happy Sunday. Thanks for the extra hour!

Saturday, November 06, 2010


While I know that it would be harder to function in this world without my sight than without my hearing, I sometimes think that if I had to lose one of the two senses I'd choose to go without my sight.

I love music. I cannot imagine a life without music. Music can boost my mood (as in improve it). Or music can enhance and deepen a mood that I'm already in (even if I'm a little angry or a little depressed, the right music can carry me into 'very' angry or 'very' depressed).

Music helps engage my mind or distract me from situations that I would rather not contemplate (traffic, standing in a queue, exercising).

I enjoy all kinds of musical genres depending on my mood.

So, color me grateful for music!

Friday, November 05, 2010

It's not just a job

I have been pretty lucky in my career choices. For the last four years I have been doing something that is never boring with people who I enjoy for pretty fabulous money in a relatively laid back environment. It's not a perfect situation. After all it is still "work". However, this is probably the best job I've ever had. Also, for the last two and a half years I have worked for the best boss that I've ever had. The only downside is the 31 mile commute. Fortunately, I can work from home on occasion!

So, I am grateful that I have a fulfilling career in a situation that is pretty darn good.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

New friends

I have made some new friends this last year, in spite of my over-sharing about the ins and outs of my divorce. These intrepid souls listened even when they barely knew me and didn't run screaming in the other direction. Now that I'm just about through to the other side of this dark period of my life, they are still there.

So thank you to my various and sundry meetup.com buddies. Now we can just be silly without the threat of invasion by random melodrama.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A quiet day

Today I am grateful for the quiet and darkness in our office. Over half of our team were out for various reasons. Those of us who were left to hold down the fort prefer the lights out. So, we worked under pleasantly dim conditions today. We also took the opportunity to listen to music together, instead of all diving into our own little headphoned worlds. We decided to listen to the complete catalog of Trans Siberian Orchestra. It was wonderful.

I had no meetings. Several things I was working on went right for a change. My gym time was a pleasant break.

Ah ... the quiet. It is a rare and wonderful thing.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Old friends

I am grateful that my old college friends are still in my life, albeit remotely. Facebook reinvigorated our relationship. And, none too soon, I might add.

I do not know how I would have handled the disintegration of my marriage without the patient ears and words of comfort from my long time college friends. Facebook even inspired me to get on a plane and spend some quality face-to-face time with my support system.

Thanks folks for being there!

Monday, November 01, 2010

A month of gratitude

In honor of National Blog Posting Month, I've decided to blog each day about something that I'm grateful for. The postings may not be long, but I am committed to doing them to remind myself that there is a lot to be grateful for in my life.

Today, I am grateful for so many things. Let me start with my son. K is a bright seventeen year old. He has been a real trooper this last year as we've weathered a very stressful home situation. He and I have become closer because of the divorce. While we don't see eye to eye on everything, I think we have a pretty good relationship.

I am blessed to have a son like K.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Reason #3 why I love my new room

I have an excellent computer setup. My iMac has a 1Tb drive, plus I have several external drives connected to it. Over the last year or so I have collected about a hundred movies and another hundred television episodes. In addition, I have been copying some of my favorite movies do my computer. The whole point here is so I can watch fun stuff without leaving my room.

My housemate is slowly getting the message that I have no desire to spend ANY time with him. He wanted to watch a movie tonight and asked me if the movie appealed to me. I encouraged him to go ahead and watch it if he wanted to. I then returned to my attic room. Tonight's entertainment was the first two episodes of season two of "Warehouse 13". He likes the series too. Since we have canceled the SFYC the only way to watch the show is online. Maybe he'll look into viewing the episodes via hulu. Maybe not. Good luck!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Failing again

OK. Apparently, I am incapable of posting to my blog every day. I was hoping that committing to doing so would help distract me from the turmoil of my home life. Turns out that almost nothing is distracting enough for that at this point.

What does distract me, at least briefly? Organizing my new room. I've moved into the attic bedroom that my son used to occupy. He moved into the newly finished basement.

I try to do a little something every evening after work. In addition to generally organizing the room, I'm creating and organizing a significant collection of media files so that I can be easily entertained up her in my dark tower. Between things I've grabbed via TiVo and DVD's that I've ripped to my iMac I have around a hundred movies and a hundred episodes of television programs that I like. On top of that I have access to streaming via Netflix and Hulu. I'm also amassing a bit of a video library via Amazon.

While this may seem like a small thing, I really like zoning out to video entertainment. And, right now, I could use all the relaxing I can grab.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Bad to good

Today's prompt from NaBloPoMo: What's a bad thing that happened to you that ended up turning into something good?

I used to think that the end of one relationship, which led to the beginning of another, was a good thing. These days, I'm not so sure.

Overall, I try to look on the bright side of minor inconveniences these days. You might as well. Wallowing in the negative aspects of a situation doesn't do anyone any good. Sometimes it is unavoidable to get caught up in the negative aspects of a situation. Crap just happens. It's not the universe out to get you. Figure out if there was anything you could have done differently. Make a mental note to adjust your behavior in the future. And then, MOVE ON!

I'm living in the middle of a really bad situation right now. It would be so easy to just curl up in a ball and moan about how miserable the situation is. However, that won't change a darn thing. It's better to try to make the best out of the situation and to focus on the future. Some day, this too shall pass.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Would you change your appearance?

Today's prompt from NaBloPoMo: "If you could change one thing about your appearance, what would it be? Or would you change anything at all?"

Sadly, I am one of the many that would gladly change things about my appearance if I could. I don't know how this fantasy request would theoretically work. I mean, could I say that I wish that I was magically 35% lighter than I am now? That would be my first request.

If we had to go with something that wasn't just a general weight loss, I would probably want my thighs liposuctioned. I mean, even if I lost all the weight on my own (I have dropped it before), I would be unhappy with the cellulite in my thighs.

On the other hand, I do have these bags on my eyelids. My mom had them too. Maybe I would be thrilled to get an eyelid tuck.

Nah, the thighs must go!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Skill envy

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt: "What's one skill you wish you had? What's keeping you from learning it?"

I wish I was fluent in at least one foreign language. While it sounds lame, I think the biggest impediment has been time. Learning a foreign language is not easy. It takes dedication and practice. Then you have to use the skill periodically or it fades somewhat.

I also wouldn't mind knowing basic auto mechanics. It would be really satisfying to understand how my car works and to be able to figure out what's wrong with it when it ails. Again, I'm going to pull out the "time" reason.

There are lots of things that I'd love to learn to do or just to have knowledge of. The need to earn a living does get in the way. So, as soon as I hit that lottery jack pot I'm going on a learning bender!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A famous movie you've never seen

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is: Name one famous movie you've never seen. Why not?

There are actually a couple that I am embarrassed that I've not made the time to see:

  • Citizen Kane

  • Easy Rider

  • The Wild Bunch

  • Midnight Cowboy

  • Rebel Without a Cause

  • Giant

  • The Women

  • China Town

The reason is the same for all of them: Because I simply have not gotten around to it. I actually love movies. I love watching them. I love discussing them. Sometimes I love watching them multiple times. There just aren't enough hours in the day really.

Maybe now that I've listed those films, I'll remember them when I'm looking for something to rent and watch.

Monday, July 05, 2010

What is the one thing you spend money on?

From today's NaBloPoMo prompt: "What's one thing you think it's worth spending money on? What's one thing you always cheap out on?"

While it may sound trivial, the one thing that we don't compromise in our house on is toilet paper. We insist on really soft stuff here.

In a similar vein, I will definitely 'cheap out' on other paper products like napkins, paper towels, ziploc baggies, aluminum foil, and the like. Most times it just doesn't matter what 'quality' those products are.

However, we must be good to our bottoms in our house!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

What's your favorite color?

Last year, a good friend sold me a beautiful quilt she had made for less than half the price she had offered it on her store: Shadow Manor. The wonderful quilt inspired me to decorate my new attic refuge around it. The quilt is black, gray, lavender, and white. The primary colors of my room are lavender and gray walls, with (primarily) black wooden furniture. I tossed in a little orange here and there for a little extra Halloween theme.

When I was a kid, I thought my favorite color was red. In high school I had a yellow room, but then switched to pink and purple. If asked from that point onward, I would say that my favorite color was blue. Now, I'm torn.

I love purples and pinks. However, I love black and orange as well. And, most of my dress up clothes end up being brown, for some reason. I'm also planning on decorating another room in red and orange to mimic the colors of sunset.

So, if you ask me what my favorite color is, the answer you get will probably depend on the time of the day, day of the week, and in what context I'm considering the choice to apply to.

I can say this, however. My days of preferring muted colors for clothing and interior design are pretty much done. I'm almost fifty years old, and I like color, color that has something to say. Color shouldn't be a background or an afterthought. Use color with a purpose. You can wear earth tones that speak (they don't have to be demur and boring). You can design a room in pastels, but still have a message for the eye.

Don't be afraid of color. Don't be driven by what other people might think or like. Use color to please yourself, from the color of your hair, to the color of your socks, to the color of your car (I truly covet a obnoxiously lime green car I see in the work parking lot sometimes.) Life is too short not to enjoy yourself in a relatively harmless but creatively fun way.

Live the rainbow!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Sparkling vampires aside

Does that make up for missing yesterday?

Went to see "Twilight: Eclipse" tonight. No surprises for me since I have read the books. However, I have to say that it'd be pretty easy to be on Team Jacob. My favorite Taylor Lautner line happens 85% of the way through the movie. Bella, Jacob, and Edward are camped out on top of a mountain trying to hide Bella from a vampire army. Bella is about to freeze to death when Edward decides to let Jacob climb in the sleeping bag with Bella to keep her from dying. After Jake climbs in with her, he lays there with his very sculpted chest partially exposed and grinning. He looks at Edward and says something like, "What can I say? I'm hot." Nice double entendre there. While the shape shifters do run pretty hot, Taylor Lautner is VERY HOT looking.

The Twilight series is so totally geared towards young women. The vampires annoy traditional vampire fans because they break a lot of the standards. However, I enjoy the series despite the "vampire" aspect of it. It's a bit shallow and hormonal, but still fun.

Definitely looking forward to Bella's transformation in Breaking Dawn.

Feeling virtuous, but not green

I am in the process of tossing a lot of stuff from my house. Some of the stuff is still quite usable (bookcases, lumber). The 'green' thing to do would be to put ads on Freecycle or Craigslist. Instead, I am having a junk removal service come and take it to the dump.

I do feel guilty about this. However, I did already Freecycle a lot of stuff in the last six months. I just can't mentally manage the process any longer right now. I need to declutter my house, particularly the attic room I'm moving into.

I hope Mother Earth can forgive me. I plan on lessening my impact on the Earth significantly in this next year or so. I am on a very tight budget, so I won't be buying frivolous things or wasting the utilities absently. I know that I'll be the happier for both as well.

There is much I can do to amuse myself that costs very little once my new room situation is completely settled.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Trying again for July

I'm going to try again for posting every day this month per NaBloPoMo. Today's prompt: "What is your favorite movie?"

Just one? That is so UNFAIR. There are about a dozen movies that I will watch virtually any time that they are on, particularly late at night when I'm flipping channels because I can't sleep. Most of those are in my profile. I think I can narrow it down to the ones that I know the most lines from:

  • Clerks
  • Aliens
  • Office Space
  • Willow
  • Princess Pride
  • Snatch
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Better Off Dead

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation

Arts Week on Star Island was a wonderful experience. While I didn't relax as much as I should have, I certainly relaxed a lot for me. However, me being me and all, I couldn't relax without actually accomplishing something. Here are things that I accomplished (or am otherwise grateful for):

  1. Got up every morning, learned a new silly song, and tromped around the Island waking people up as part of the Wake Up Singers.
  2. Finally learned how to take pictures beyond complete automatic with my digital SLR camera, thanks to the photography workshop run by Parrish Dobson.
  3. Chatted with a lot of interesting people.
  4. Actually studied a sunset from a wonderful vantage point.
  5. Learned that photographs aren't always about capturing what's in front of you. Sometimes you can use the instrument to see what's in front of you in a new and intriguing way.
  6. Visited Appledore Island.
  7. Saw a seal bobbing in the waves.
  8. Saw lots of baby seagulls.
  9. Saw a basking shark on the way back from Star to Portsmouth. It was flipping HUGE.
  10. Went on 2 guided nature walks.
  11. Attended a production of the 15 minute "Hamlet" (way way too funny)
  12. Read some of Dorothy Rowe's "Guide to Life"
  13. Had a lime rickey every day!

Goals for next time:

  • Get to ring the lunch bell.
  • Jump in the freezing ocean with the Polar Bears.
  • Try something new (maybe Dance or Theater)
  • Prepare for morning singers with some great words of the day and some prizes for people who join us all 6 mornings.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


NaBloPoMo doesn't give prompts on weekends.

I am probably not going to succeed in posting every day this month since I'm about to toddle off to Star Island for a week. I probably will not have Internet connectivity out there, which is one of the things that I really loved about the place last year.

Unplugging is a wonderful thing. Everyone who spends a significant portion of their lives staring at a screen of some sort should take a week off from it and go through the clutter in their own heads.

I will still be staring at a screen a bit. I'm going to Star to attend a writing workshop. I'm taking my netbook primarily to have a writing tool. Hopefully, my muse will gladly accompany me since she'll have a lot of my undistracted attention (not having to compete with Internet and television).

Wish the two of us luck on our little adventure together.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Kiss, kiss, kiss

Tell us about your first kiss

I was six years old. Greg Meadows was a neighbor. I thought that he was so cute with his dark Indian skin, brown eyes, and jet black hair. We were standing behind a huge cherry tree in my backyard where no one could see us. The kiss was short, sweet, and gentle.

Greg was officially my 'boyfriend' for a couple of weeks. I don't remember anything else about our time together but that kiss.

Thanks, Greg!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A message to my 16 year old self

From NaBloPoMo:
If you could go back in time and meet your 16-year-old self, what three things would you tell yourself?

  1. Study harder and go for the best school you can get into

  2. Wait for sex. But go for the one who really seems to care about you, but use a condom. Try not to break his heart, but feel free to say yes to anyone you think would be fun. Don't get attached, but always be safe.

  3. Give your mom a break, she just wants the best for you

Contradictory? I don't think so. Basically, get the most out of life that you can and cut your mom a break.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A thousand paper cranes

From NaBloPoMo:
Japanese lore suggests that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, your wish will come true. What would your wish be, and what would you be willing to do 1,000 times to get it?

My wish: To get out of my current predicament in better financial, emotional, and physical shape than I have ever been in my entire life, in less than six months.

What would I be willing to do 1,000 times? Anything I'd be willing to do once that didn't cause me or anyone else any real physical harm and that is not illegal. Cranes? Bring it on!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

If I had a million dollars

NaBloPoMo graciously selected a prompt that I suggested for today:

You've just been given a million dollars. You are not allowed to keep it or give it to anyone you know personally. What do you do with it and why?

I figured this would be a good way to explore one's charitable impulses.

I think that I would figure out how to spread the money around. While giving that kind of cash to a small charity might have a big impact, I think it would be cool to improve a lot of lives a bit.

I would definitely put some money in Kiva, an organization which helps entrepreneurs around the globe by connecting them with microlenders. Sometimes it takes just a little money to really change someone's circumstances.

I would probably research small charities in my own community to see where I could help the most. One local place I would definitely help out would be the Nashua Soup Kitchen, as well as Nashua's chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and the Nashua Humane Society. Another local charity that I would want to help would be the Neighbor Helping Neighbor Fund; they help people pay their utility bills (people who are generally not qualified for government fuel assistance for some reason).

I might also send some money to the Central Asia Institute. They build schools and help communities in central Asia. You can read about the beginnings of this organization in Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea.

One somewhat frivolous charity that I would definitely give a huge chunk of change to would be The Enchanted Forest Preservation Society. The Enchanted Forest was a fairytale inspired theme park that I visited a few times as a child. I loved that place. I was so sad to hear that it had closed. The Preservation Society is trying to save a lot of the fairytale buildings and artifacts.

I think it would also be cool and maybe fun to help out random strangers, anonymously. Think about it. I have a really good relationship with my auto mechanic. What if I asked him to be on the look out for someone who was really struggling financially who's car was having a lot of problems. Maybe I could convince him to charge the person a lot less, and let me pay the difference. Or maybe I could figure out a way to buy the person a reliable used car. The anonymous part might be harder there.

How about hanging out at the unemployment office and surreptitiously sliding $200 grocery store gift cards under windshield wipers of people who went in? That would really be fun.

... It was really nice to think of ways that I could help other people if I had the funds to spare. I do donate to others whenever I can. However, this last year and a half have been tight at my house. Things are about to get a lot tighter. So, I'll just have to dream about what it would be like to help others financially for now.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Do you owe an apology to anyone?

NaBloPoMo asks if I owe an apology to anyone, and why.


There is quite a list of people that I feel like I owe an apology to. But, let's go for the big one.

I'm sorry Mom. You and I never really got along when you were alive. I always admired you for your independence and how well you did in life in spite of not having graduated high school and ending up divorced as a single parent in your 30's. You were one tough woman with a lot of common sense.

I'm sorry that I didn't try harder to get along. I'm sorry for not appreciating you when you were alive. And now I'm sorry that you are not here to lend some emotional support while I go through this particularly trying time in my life. I really could use your insight and your voice of experience.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Prompt? We don't need no stinking prompt!

In lieu of an actual prompt from NaBloPoMo, I decided to post on something near and dear to my heart: Apple rumors

On Monday, Steve Jobs will give the keynote speech at the Worldwide Developers Conference. He'll supposedly give light to what to expect from Apple for the rest of this year.

Most of the rumor mill are abound with tweaks to the wildly popular iPhone platform. Yes, yes. iPhone is fantastic. I get it.

I don't have one. I dont' want one. For me, a phone should be a phone. At least at this point in my existence.

On the other hand, I love my iPod. I have a 16Gb Nano (pre-camera). The only thing that could make me give up my current Nano would be if Apple would realize that some of us audio junkies really do want more portable storage.

Not one of the rumors surrounding tomorrow's keynote speech has anything to do with the Nano platform. For crying out loud, Apple! Wake up and smell the music junkies. I did not need a camera on my Nano. That was a retarded enhancement. I need a Nano with 32Gb or, better still, 64Gb of reliable solid state storage.

Currently, I cart around a tenth of my music collection, about a dozen podcasts, and one audio book. I need more damnit! My music tastes are extremely eclectic. I need more variety in my pocket. I also need more choice in my podcasts and audio books.

When, oh when, will Apple wake-up and realize that it still has a huge audience that are not all that interested in combining their portable media needs with Internet connectivity (the Touch) or with Internet and phone capabilities (the iPhone) or with Internet connectivity and an e-reader cum watered-down laptop (the iPad).

I don't want my MTV. I want my souped up Nano!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

On my own then

I waited until late at night to get a prompt from NaBloPoMo, but one never materialized.

I'm still getting over a nasty respiratory infection. But, that did not stop me from running errands like mad, enjoying an impromptu couple of hours at the pottery studio, not enjoying some drama at my house, seeing my son walk out the door with my car keys for 24 hours, and then spending some more quality time working on finishing our basement.

I finally got around to watching the first episode of the latest season of Dr Who. Not bad. The irony is that I just down graded our cable subscription so that we won't have BBCA any longer. Fortunately, Dr Who is one of the few shows I can pick up through Amazon's download service. I do not mind paying for the stuff I watch. There was just so much that we were paying for and not consciously watching. We were certainly watching a lot of dreck unconsciously.

Hopefully, the prompts will be back for Sunday!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Thinking of my father

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is "What's the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of your father?"


It's a long story that I'm not really up for getting into right now. I didn't grow up in the same household as my father. He wasn't around much. We never developed a close relationship. We still don't really understand each other.

On the other hand, he raised my half brother, who is one of my favorite people on the planet. So, I guess my Dad can't be all bad ... or at least he had astute taste in mothers for his progeny.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

What is freedom?

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is "What is freedom?"

I appreciate the society I live in and the civic freedoms that it affords. I cannot imagine living without the freedom to say what is on my mind (for fear of losing my liberty or life) or to make any of the myriad of choices I am afforded by being part of such a society.

That said, there are choices that we make as individuals that impact certain granularities of our freedom. We all make compromises, sometimes without realizing what the ultimate impact will be.

In a year or so, I hope to be able to reclaim a bit of freedom and peace that I have long been without. It will probably cost me dearly on my levels (in addition to costs I have already paid), but it will be worth it.

The attainment of freedom is worth a high price tag, whether it is a civic freedom or a very personal one.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

My favorite poem

Today's prompt from NaBloPoMo is: What is your favorite poem?

That is a very difficult question to answer. I have several poems that I hold dear. Two are by Edgar Allan Poe:

The Bells
The Raven

Also, Rainer Maria Rilke's Corpse Washing

But I stumbled on one a few years ago I stumbled on a poem by C. David Hay, called "The Cemetery" It's not available online. Since I don't want to violate copyright, I'll just give you a few lines of this sixteen line poem:

Cold are the whispering winds that blow
Past chiseled marble--row on row.
Silent specters aglow in the night
Like sentries frozen in after light
Guarding the bones of those beneath--
Dust and ash be their bequeath.

Yes, I admit it. I do like a bit of the macabre in my poetry.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

What did I want to be when I grew up?

That's the prompt for today's NaBloPoMo.

At first I couldn't remember. But then I recalled all those floor plans I drew on graph paper. From about fifth grade through high school. I think I wanted to be an architect or an interior designer. Somehow in high school I forgot all about that. I got interested in science and technology and decided that I wanted to be an engineer. All the while, I was reading history books for fun.

So, what did I graduate with a degree in? History! Highly employable. That's why I went to graduate school. I majored in Information Studies (which was a cross between Librarianship and Computers). I worked in libraries for a while doing computers. I soon figured out that doing computers paid more than being a librarian. Sometimes, I miss the librarian stuff. Much less stress.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Give me another chance?

I haven't posted to my blog since May 1st! There's a lot I could say in my defense. Work and personal life have been extremely stressful. And, considering the nature of my work and the nature of the personal life stress, I couldn't just openly blog about those situations.

However, NaBloPoMo has inspired me. I get an email from them at the end of each month, challenging me to get back into blogging in the upcoming month. They even give you daily prompts to help get you going.

In June, I'm spending a week on Star Island again. This time I'm going to Star Arts Week, and I plan on participating in the writing workshop. I'm also going to take my camera, but I decided that I'd benefit more by focusing on my writing.

So, I'm really going to try to write in my blog in June. Probably not every day like NaBloPoMo wants me to, but definitely a few times every week. Crossing my fingers that I can do this.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Apple shutting down Lala

I really like Lala. Not only has it allowed me to post links to songs on my blog, but it's been the best service to listen to particular songs online for free.

If Apple is looking at a way to replace Lala's functionality on the Internet, I wish they would have figured that out before announcing that it will be shutting down Lala as of May 31st

To bid Lala a proper goodbye, maybe I'll post a song of the day until they close. It looks like Apple has done away with the embed feature (more bummer). But here's...

Lady Gaga's Poker Face

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Refreshing the mind

While it's been quite exhausting, I have been really enjoying myself this week trudging into Boston and Cambridge for some professional conferences this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday I attended Secure World. Today and tomorrow I'm at a conference on spam on MIT's Cambridge campus.

Not much at either conference has been earth shattering. I've picked up a few tidbits hear and there. Some of the presentations sparked some ideas on how I could do things different back at the office. And today, I got to walk in the sunshine during a lunch break.

I've been heavily involved in email conversations on my Blackberry the entire time that I've been out of the office. And, I've felt bad about missing some major events that went on acceptably without me.

On the whole though, I think it's been really good for me to get out of the office to explore how others are doing my job at other organizations. I have also learned that we're doing more of the right things than almost anyone else out there. Though, there's still a lot more I think we could be doing.

I highly recommend that all professionals get out of their offices and meet up with others in their field a few times a year. Both you and your organizations will be the better for it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

We all need friends

Nearly ten years ago, our family moved from Maryland to New Hampshire. The greater Baltimore-Washington corridor was crowed and expense, particularly when it came to real estate. Crime was also a consideration. Then, there were the summers. While neither of us is a huge fan of cold snowy winters, my husband and I both despised hot humid summers. While the job market was pretty good (at the time), the most affordable places to live were at least a highly stressful hour's commute from most of the jobs.

So, off we moved to New Hampshire. Within a month we both had good jobs within 30 minutes of our rented townhouse. And the commutes were relatively low stress. In less than a year we'd found a great house with a huge yard that we could afford, without taking on significantly worse commutes. (We actually shifted. Goblin lessened his commute by 20 minutes, and I increased mine by 20 minutes. Though I was still within 30 minutes of work.)

A few years later we sold that house and moved to a somewhat smaller one for financial reasons. I then changed jobs and sucked up a longer commute. While more stressful, the current commute is still better than the average commute I had while living outside of Washington.

I regret very little about that migration. However, I do miss my friends from the mid Atlantic. We have made a few friends in New England, but we really don't socialize very often. Our friends from church are closer to the first house we had, twenty minutes to the north of our current house. Plus, Goblin's schedule has gotten pretty erratic with school and per diem work this year.

Since I'm really the gregarious one in our family, I decided to do something to improve my social life. I recently started browsing the various local Meetup groups in my area that might be of interest to me. I have already attended a meetup with some women who are interested in meditation and another with some folks interested in pottery. The later one inspired me to sign up for a one-day pottery class (that may lead to more classes). I'm considering attending a few other meetups as well.

I don't know if I'll make any 'good' friends as a result of my meetup activities, but it will be fun and help get me out of the house. I've been sitting around sulking about a few unfortunate events in our lives, of late. And, it's just not productive to dwell on things that you can't do anything about.

I may also just have to plan a trip down to Baltimore in the next few months. I really do miss a few people. We connect on Facebook, but it would be much better if I could spend the weekend with some of them, drinking, eating and laughing.

Finances are pretty tight, and I already have some other trips planned, so time is also a bit tight. But, maybe I can figure out a way. I do miss my friends.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

My blog has been busy without me

Over the last month I have received more comments on my blog than over any other THREE month period. That would be fabulous except that I've barely posted to my blog since the first of the year. Virtually every 'comment' has been that dreaded blog spam!

Sadly, to help cut down on the amount of such detritus I will no longer be accepting anonymous comments. So, those of you who do not have blogger accounts are welcome to read but you won't be able to comment. Feel free to email me or carry out your public poke of me over on Facebook. Both options mean that you have to know who I am.

A certain amount of anonymity is a wondrous thing for creativity and discourse. And, I really don't need to know exactly who you are for you to comment here. Only blogger has to know who you are, more or less. Similarly, blogger knows who I am in a more-or-less fashion.

This doesn't mean that I'll approve your comments. If your comment has nothing to do with the topic of my blog entry (and I don't personally know who you are), your comment will be rejected. If I do not know you personally, I will not accept a comment with any web links in it. Neither will I check out any such links myself even if your comment promises that I will:

  • Lose 30 pounds in 30 days

  • Earn $10,000/week (or more) doing ...

  • Endlessly please my woman in bed (I cannot perfect an anatomical part that I do not have)

  • Learn the secrets of the universe by listening to some profound new audio course

  • Live a longer and healthier life by taking a supplement derived from Yak manure

  • Be able to purchase foreclosed property for pennies on the dollar

I must however thank all you reprehensible spammers for getting me off my butt to post this entry. So, THANK YOU!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Maybe today will be a good day?

Normally, I would go to playlist.com and give you all a repeat of the soundtrack that put me in this frame of mind, but I'm kind of rushed this morning. (Not too rushed NOT to say something about this, mind you.)

I think the music gods were smiling upon my tired achy body this morning when I started my exerbike ride. The first few tunes just happened magically without me skipping through the random offerings. By the end I had to skip more frequently to find the perfect grove. However, this combination was mostly perfect and uplifting, especially for a dreaded Monday morning:

  1. I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor - Arctic Monkeys
  2. Nugget - Cake
  3. Lies - Thompson Twins
  4. Car Wash - Rose Royce
  5. Slice* - Five for Fighting
  6. Goody Two Shoes - Adam Ant
  7. It's Not OK - My Chemical Romance
  8. Paper and Fire - John Mellencamp
  9. Love Shack** - B52s
  10. Red Skies at Night - Fixx

Happy Monday!

*"Have you read my blog today?"
**"I got my car and it's as big as a whale."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lemonade out of lemons

I'm trying not to let little annoyances totally piss me off any more. It's difficult for me. I have a tendency towards negativity and I am also easily riled up. However, I've decided that I really don't want to be that person any more.

Friday morning, my husband informed me that our all-in-one printer was jammed. I was on the exercise bike. I really hate being interrupted while I'm exercising. But, I calmly asked if he needed me to fix it at that very moment. He said 'no', so I asked him to please leave me a note so I would remember to look at it after I was done on the bike. Score "1" for me for not snapping at him like I normally would have for the interruption. (Yes, I really am normally THAT grouchy.)

After I finished my exercise session, I went to take a look at the printer. I had assumed that it was a simple thing. It was not. I could feel the irritation rise in me when I came to that realization. In order to clear the jam, I had to open the rear of the printer which still had the original packing tape on it for over a year ago. But, I took a deep breath and decided to look at the event as a challenge to solve. I was able to take the back off the printer, clear the jam, and get the printer back together without getting annoyed. In the end, I decided that the event was a learning opportunity. I now understand more about how my printer works.

On Saturday, I discovered a great web site to order printer ink from. Laser Monks sell new and refilled cartridges for less than almost anyone else. Plus, the profits go to support the monastery and a few select other charities. So, I ordered four cartridges.

Later in the afternoon I discovered that my printer really wasn't fixed. Every time I tried to print, it would jam again. We purchased the all-in-one printer about eighteen months ago. It was well out of warranty. Plus, I have about four color ink cartridges for it and the four I just ordered. I didn't want the investment in cartridges to go to waste. So, I either wanted the same model printer or another one that used the same cartridges.

I shopped around off-and-on for the rest of the afternoon. Eventually, I stumbled on an all-in-one printer that not only uses the same printer cartridges but has the ability to etch labels directly on to some CDs and DVDs. I had bemoaned the lack of that feature when I made some mix CDs for some friends before the holidays. Plus, I managed to find the printer at a pretty good price from a vendor who I had a $10 coupon for.

Not every potential frustration can be turned around this way. However, I am hopeful that I can truly reduce the negativity in my life a bit at a time.