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.