Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Questions and a Head Cold

 

I don’t know about you, but I was ready for this week to wind down.  I’ve never completely understood how a head can be completely clogged up at the same time a nose is drippy, but I know it slows me down.  I’ve got too much homework to do this weekend to slow down entirely, but I’m pretty sure I will have to make time for napping.

In the meantime, let’s check in with Mama M and see what sorts of questions we’ve got for this fine Friday.

five question friday

 

1. What do you give teachers for gifts?

Well, I don’t do that anymore, but when Billy was a kid we usually opted for something not particularly practical like a holiday d├ęcor item of some sort.  I always figured they were festive, not entirely impersonal, and at the end of the season, they could stuff it away in a closet without even a smidgen of guilt.

2. Do you text? One finger texter or total pro?

I do text, but I’m somewhere in the middle of the skill set.  It’s two thumbs for me, but I’m not fast.  And, somehow, though I’ve had my current phone for about nine months now, I still hit the I about half the time that I intended the O.  I like voice to text, though it’s not always precise and doesn’t punctuate.  But when you realize you need to send a quick message while you’re driving down the road, it can be pretty darn handy.  I’ll tell you what I never could master, though, and that’s the whole swipe texting.  Nope, I just don’t get that at all.

3. Do you give back during the holidays? If so, in what way/which is your favorite charity?

Not as much as I should, I’m sure, but I do try to take an angel or two off the tree at the department store and buy a gift for a child.  When Billy was younger, we always tried to get a boy that was his same age; now I usually get a boy and a girl.

4. If you would've been the sole winner of the 575+ million dollar Powerball jackpot, what would you have done with all that money?

Funny you should ask.  I just talked about that yesterday.

5. Will you please take just a moment to spread the word and pray about my friend's missing family members? There still is no news, and I can't imagine their pain and worry. Facebook prayer page: Prayers for Trista, Shy and Matt

I hadn’t heard about this, but it’s a sad story.  Not that there’s ever a good time for tragedy, of course, but it always seems worse during the holidays.  But, this seems the perfect time of year for miracles, so I hope for a happy ending.

 

And that’s it for this week.  You know, tonight’s Hallmark holiday movie seems a little cheesier than most, so I may just turn in early.  Good night, all.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ticket to Ride

 

So, tonight there are two people a few hundred million dollars richer than they were 24 hours ago.  Me? I’m out twenty bucks. 

Lottery tickets 11-29-12Image courtesy of James Barker at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Still, I don’t really consider the money wasted, because before the big lottery drawing, while those tickets were in my hand, anything was possible.  Before someone else is announced as the big winner, I can think about all the things I’d do if I was the one in the picture with the giant fake check, getting the equally giant sum of real money to go along with it.  Brian always says we’d be broke again before we died, though I am quite certain that even I could not spend $580 million dollars in my lifetime—or even half of it.  But I sure would have a fantastic time trying.

Of course, my to-do list would start with the most practical things: 

  • Setting aside some sort of trust fund for Billy to ensure that his kids’ kids would still be taken care of.
  • Hiring full time, live-in help for my granny.  She doesn’t want to live anywhere else but her home, and if I had that kind of money, she could stay where she wants and I could stop worrying.
  • Paying off my sister’s house so they could quit worrying about money so much, too.
  • Setting up a college fund for my nephew.
  • Buying a car for my friend, Gary.
  • Paying off my other sister’s house, too, and probably a college fund for her, since she’s still pursuing her education.
  • Setting up our own trust fund that would ensure our basic living expenses were covered for the next 50 years, regardless of what we did with the rest of the money.

After that, I’d think a little harder.  I would still want to share my good fortune with my family, and Gary, and my friend, Kim, even beyond their basic needs, so I’d have to do some calculating to know what seemed reasonable. 

And, of course, I would want to travel.  And travel, and then travel some more.  Brian’s not as infatuated as I am with the whole vacationing thing, but he’d probably want to come along most places.  If not, I’m sure someone would be glad to accompany me!  I’d probably start with Australia, because I’ve wanted to go there my whole life, and then maybe a photo safari in Africa.  And Europe, of course, plus all the places here in the States that I want to see.  I’m not sure after that, but I’d find someplace.  I figure I could alternate months, away for 30 days then home for 30.  Honestly, I could travel non-stop for a year, but I would start to miss the folks at home, so I’d try to be reasonable about it. 

I’d probably also build a new house on a giant spread of land.  There’s nothing particularly wrong with our house, but it’s not the one I’d have if I was a gazillionaire. 

And in the midst of all of this would come the part Brian worries about most: the donations.  He always says we’d have to run away somewhere if we struck it rich, because I’d want to give away all our money.  Well, I wouldn’t give it all away, but as I always say to him, what’s the point of having something if you can’t share? 

I’d definitely start finding some cancer research to help out, along with organizations to help families currently battling.  If I could help it, nobody else would ever lose their mother to that horrible disease.  And there are animal protection groups, and elder-care groups, education groups, and environmental groups . . . there are a lot of causes that could be helped with that kind of money.  Naturally, what I’d have to remember is that even with that kind of money, I couldn’t save the world, but I could make it a least a little better.

I suppose if I sat down and did the math, $580 million might go quicker than I think it would, but it would be one heck of a ride.  And all it takes is one ticket.

What’s on your lottery dream list?

 

T is for Two of My Favorite People

 

I know the people I talk about most are the B-boys in my life, Brian and Billy.  And, of course, they are my world.  But there are other important people in my life too, including my terrific T-twosome, Tanya and Taylor. 

Mothersday   This is one of my very favorite pictures of them ever, even though it’s now about . . . oh, I don’t know, maybe ten years old.  (I need to tell Tanya not to make my same mistakes of leaving the picture taking behind as the child grows older, and especially not to give in to the temptation to avoid getting in front of the camera herself.)

   At any rate, to set the record straight, Tanya is my sister, four years younger, though I’ve sure learned a lot from her over the years.  And Taylor is my smart, funny, and caring nephew. 

He’s a willing photo ham in this picture, just having a good time with his mom and not caring who saw.  He’s 13 now, and getting a decent photo of him is a challenge, but that’s not entirely unexpected.  I hope he outgrows that, though Billy hasn’t really.  Though at least Billy will generally look at the camera these days, even if you can’t really get a smile out of him; Taylor is still in the hiding his face stage, the little troublemaker. 

Tanya got all the domestic skills from our mom, with the cooking and the decorating and the making of Halloween costumes and such.  That entire skill set mostly passed me by.  But I like to think we were both blessed with my mom’s sense of fairness and compassion.  And I am blessed to know that I can call her up any time for any reason and she’ll lend an ear.

As for Taylor, I think he’s got an amazing future in store.  He’s bright and inquisitive and is one of those kids that could do anything he puts his mind to.  Of course, getting his mind set to it can sometimes be a challenge; I’m pretty sure his middle name is really “stubborn” and they’re just trying to keep it a secret.  But that usually goes hand in hand with smart, doesn’t it?  About my own son I often think that the downside of teaching kids to think for themselves is that then you have to live with it when they do.  I’m pretty sure Tanya is beginning to recognize the truth of that, too.

So that’s a tiny look at Tanya and Taylor, two of my very favorite people.  I’m glad that they’re my family, and even more glad that spending time with them feels like visiting with friends.  Everyone should be so lucky.

Linking up with the fine folks over at ABC Wednesday.  Do traipse on over and meet those who have teamed up to bring you a tantalizing array of themes, tropes, and treasures.

ABCW11

 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Getting Through

 

Fair warning, that as far as television-related posts go, this one is going to be a bit tangential.  But I suppose the thing about Tube Day Tuesday is that it can be anything that springs from TV, even if it does stray a bit from its origination.  Besides, it’s my theme, and my blog, so I can use whatever rules I want, right?  Absolutely.

At any rate, I was watching tonight’s episode of NCIS while doing more research for my final paper while also riding on my fitdesk bike (I can be quite the multitasker when I put my mind to it), when I happened to totally focus on a line from Ziva.  The storyline concerned a teenage girl who had seen her father murdered as he was trying (unsuccessfully) to stop her best friend from being kidnapped.  At any rate, the girl was talking to Ziva about dealing with the loss of her dad, and Ziva told her that while you get over the loss of things, when it comes to losing loved ones, “you don’t get over; you get through”. 

Boy, that really hit home.  While I’ve lost several people important to me throughout my lifetime, none were more important than my mom, and I realized long ago that it was a loss I would never get over.  I think until you lose someone that integral to your life, you really don’t recognize the truth of those words—that they aren’t just hyperbole, but excruciatingly literal. 

In the months since his dad died, Brian has remarked several times, including just last week, that it seemed strange not to call him for their regular Sunday afternoon conversation, and he said it in a way that implied he thought he should be more adjusted by now.  I told him that I still have moments where I think, “Oh, I’ll have to tell Mama about that”, and then quickly realize that I won’t be able to pick up the phone and share whatever the piece of news.  She’s been gone twenty years, and I still have those thoughts.  He seemed surprised by that.  Honestly, I remember the time when I was surprised by it, too.  When I was like Brian, and thought I should have adjusted to the loss, and wondered if maybe I was just a little bit crazy.  But Ziva is right; that’s not the kind of loss you can get over; you just have to get through.

A few years ago, a friend exposed me to a quote by JM Barrie that has become one of my favorites, and I think of it often, especially when I’m particularly missing my mom, like during the holidays.  Mr. Barrie said, “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”  I like that idea, and I like being able to conjure up roses even on the bitterest of days, because it helps to get through.  And, I like a television show that sometimes touches your heart even more deeply than it probably intended.

yello rose 11-28-12

 

 

 

 

 

 


Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

TV Tuesday 9-19-12

 

 

 

 


Image credit:  digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, November 26, 2012

What’s (Still) Playing

 

woman sleeping 11-26-12

So, you know how yesterday I mentioned I was already starting to get a touch of the holiday blues?  Well, today I’ve decided it’s more like a touch of the holiday flu.  Or something.  I’ve got an achy head, chills, sore throat, the works.  Yuck.  While I did manage to get in some cyber-shopping, I spent most of the day intermittently napping.  In fact, Brian came home and found me asleep at my laptop, because sometimes the naps just crept up on me. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I tell you this not because it’s particularly important in the grand scheme of things; it’s just a little bug and it will pass.  But, having now woken up from my most recent snooze, taken a little spin on my new fitdesk bike and had a small snack to try and rouse myself more, I’ve realized it’s hopeless so I’ve decided I’m going to bed proper-like.  I’ve got to head to school early tomorrow afternoon for a research session at the library, so it’s going to be a long day, so I’m actually turning in before the clock rolls over to the new day.  At any rate, I tell you all this to say that the post I’m giving you today is an oldie—I’ll let you decide if it’s a goodie. 

This was posted here on Blogger in June of 2009, though it was transferred here from another site; it was originally written back in April of 2006, and I really like this song now just as much as I did then.

What’s Playing . . .

I think I've probably mentioned before how much I enjoy music. I like to have the radio on all the time, and while I definitely have my preferences for musical genres, there are all sorts of songs that jump up and strike my fancy.

Usually, I’m drawn first to the lyrics; I like a song that has a story to tell or a point to make. But every once in a while, the words aren’t the first thing to jump out at me. Sometimes, a song is just a pleasing little ditty to hear on the morning drive, even if it takes me a while to figure out what the heck they’re saying. There’s a song out now that fits into that category.

“Bad Day”, by Daniel Powter, has made its way onto my list of favorites. I get a warm fuzzy feeling whenever I hear it on the radio, and it puts a little smile on my face, which I think is maybe what music should be all about.

If you'd like to watch the video (which is cute, by the way; matches the rhythm perfectly), just click here: http://tinyurl.com/7twgvt  [UPDATE:  Apparently, tiny urls don’t stand the test of time, as this one doesn’t take you anywhere close to where it used to, so I’ll just put the vid here.]

But, I was having a hard time with the words, so, if you’re like me, and you like to actually know what’s being said when you’re listening along, here are the lyrics:

Where is the moment we needed the most
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost
They tell me your blue skies fade to grey
They tell me your passion's gone away
And I don't need no carryin' on

You stand in the line just to hit a new low
You're faking a smile with the coffee to go
You tell me your life's been way off line
You're falling to pieces everytime
And I don't need no carryin' on

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

Well you need a blue sky holiday
The point is they laugh at what you say
And I don't need no carryin' on

You had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day

(Oh.. Holiday..)

Sometimes the system goes on the blink
And the whole thing turns out wrong
You might not make it back and you know
That you could be well oh that strong
And I'm not wrong

So where is the passion when you need it the most
Oh you and I
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
You've seen what you like
And how does it feel for one more time
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

Had a bad day
Had a bad day
Had a bad day
Had a bad day
Had a bad day

Catchy little thing, isn’t it?

 

 

Snapshot Sunday #16

 

I think it’s too early in the holiday season to already be having the doldrums, but I think that it might be happening anyway.  I’m going to try to focus on the happy and good things, which is how it should be.

For today, though, let’s see the daily photo prompts from Chantelle.  You can find the entire list of her photo a day here.

18.  Happened This Weekend

  Prompt:  Happened this weekend.  Getting the kitchen island ready for the arrival of our new cooktop.  The cutting was messy, but the unit fit perfectly when it arrived.

 



19.  Something Awesome

 

  Prompt:  Something awesome.  I use my crockpot at least once a week, and I am so glad my sister told me about these awesome liners to make cleanup so much easier.  And now, I get SIX bags in every box instead of only three!

 

 

20. Work Play

 

  Prompt:  Work/play.  My world pretty much revolves around my computer—keeping up with what’s happening in the world and with friends/family, paying bills, finding recipes, you name it.  And, of course, the work of my online class content, and the play of goofing around on Facebook.


21.  What You Wore

 

  Prompt:  What you wore.  My beat up fuzzy Isotoners, the only kind of slippers I’ll wear.  I love these things, but it’s just about time to replace them.



22.  Grateful

 

  Prompt:  Grateful.  Whenever I make a list of things to be grateful for, these two are always at the top of the list.  And, I’m grateful we could be together for Thanksgiving and have just a little bit of quiet family time.

 

 

 

 

 


23.  Black

 

  Prompt:  Black.  My trusty roaster oven, being put to work for the second time in as many days, cooking up a nice, juicy turkey.

 

 

 

 

 

 


24.  A Sound You Heard

 

  Prompt:  A sound you heard.  Well, this is a quiet moment, and I never thought to grab the camera when he was jumping around and gesticulating at the screen, but with Brian, football is a very loud experience.

And, that’s it for tonight.  Chantelle has just posted her December prompt list, so I’ll be checking that out soon.  One more month of playing along and seeing what there is to see.  Have a happy week, everyone.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Six Word Competition

 

 

 

Bedlam today; fingers crossed for Sooners!

Linking up with Cate at Show My Face; join in and tell your story in six words.

It’s Friday, but No Questions

So, I just dropped in over at My Little Life to get the Five Question Friday hook up, only to discover . . . NOTHING.  Well, not nothing, really.  She has a post today, and it seems light and chatty and entertaining as always, but no questions.  Hmm.  Must be a holiday hiatus.

But, since I was planning on answering questions for my post today, I had absolutely nothing planned to chat about.  And, since my brain is fried from a day of cooking and cleaning and family visiting, I certainly am in no position to actually come up with anything close to profound at the moment.  So, instead of 5QF, today will just be 5 Random Things Friday. 


NO five question friday

  1. As I sit here writing this, I’m watching Camelot on TV.  As I’ve probably mentioned in the past, I’m something of a fan of musical theatre, and Camelot is my very favorite show.  Love, honor, friendship, betrayal—it’s got it all.  Plus some really great songs.
  2. My Christmas present to myself arrived today:  a FitDesk.  I’ve already got a nice enough recumbent bike, and I tried attaching a book holder/desk type thing to it so that I could do some multi-tasking, but it has some problems.  First, because the “desk” isn’t really made for that sort of equipment, it’s very difficult to use comfortably.  And second, my bike is where it belongs, in the exercise room.  Since I do most of my homework in the living room, I wanted something that would let me stay a little bit active while I’m reading (or watching TV) without isolating myself in another room.
  3. I’m not much of a “foodie”; I prefer just the basics, thank you very much.  Consequently, Thanksgiving meal for me is mostly turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and rolls.  Oh, I usually have a tiny bit of corn, and maybe a green bean or two, but no yams, or stuffing, or cranberries, or any random casserole that might be brought over.  But I do try to make some things that I think others might like; today it was bacon-wrapped green beans and a sort of turtle cheesecake, though mini sized, in cupcake tins.  Both went over pretty well with the family, though Brian preferred the cheesecake without the extra caramel and chocolate toppings.  Knowing that would be the case, I’d saved him a few without the topping, because I’m nice like that.
  4. Tomorrow is the annual in-state football rivalry that around these parts is simply called Bedlam.  It’s a home game for us this year, so I have hopes that we may emerge victorious, but they are not high hopes.
  5. I hope to get our Christmas tree this weekend; we may finally end up with an artificial one.  Brian’s been wanting to do that for years but I have never liked them.  And, really, I still may not be able to make myself do it, because the only ones that I think look really good cost an awful lot of money.  I can buy real trees for a good 8-10 years (or more) for the cost of some of the best artificials.  We’ll see.

So there you have it.  Five random things that are rattling around my brain tonight.  And I’m wrapping up this post just as Arthur is knighting young Tom of Warwick, letting a very sad story have at least a hopeful ending, which seems fitting somehow.  So, remember:

“Ask every person if he’s heard the story, and tell it strong and clear if he has not,

that once there was a fleeting wisp of glory called Camelot. . .

Where once it never rained till after sundown; by 8am the morning fog had flown.

Don’t let it be forgot that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.”

 

Good night all, and happy weekend to you.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude

 

thanksgiving 11-2-12Image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.  I hope you’ve had a wonderful day, spent with those dear to you.  As is my tradition, I’m making a list today of things for which I am thankful.  I have not always committed this list to writing, but I’ve posted several of them here on this blog, and I like doing it that way, so here we are.  What follows are just a few of the things—big and small—that make me grateful for the life I lead.


  • My family and friends.  They’re first on the list every year because I can’t imagine what I’d do or what I’d be without them.  And I feel doubly blessed because I’ve got family that’s also friends, and friends who are more like family.
  • Blogging.  I’ve toyed around with a blog on and off for years, but it was only earlier this year that I got more serious and became more diligent about regular posting.  It’s been a nice outlet and it’s let me meet some great people; what’s not to like?
  • The time I had at Sprint.  It didn’t end well, and I spent a lot of time being angry and hurt about that (and I’d be lying if I said all of that time was in the distant past), but I had a lot of good years there, met a lot of great people, and learned a lot.  I won’t ever regret having been there.
  • My home.  Sometimes owning a home is a real pain, like when both the heat pump and the water well need repair within days of having splurged on a new cooktop, but lots of people don’t have the luxury of having that sort of hassle, so I’ll take it.
  • Brian’s job.  It’s easy to take his job for granted sometimes, being a government employee and all, but now that I’m out of work, I’m eternally grateful for the stability of his workplace.
  • The opportunity to go to school.  That opportunity arose from a bad situation, but I guess that’s why they say every cloud has a silver lining. 
  • Truvia.  Though I’ve been on a huge backslide with my weight loss endeavors, there are a few decent habits I’ve kept up, including mostly giving up soda.  But I can’t drink unsweet tea, and sometimes I need something more than water, so thank goodness for a zero-calorie sweetener I actually like.
  • Sunshine.  It’s naturally healing and joyful, and especially nice this time of year when it holds the winter at bay just a little longer.
  • The Big Bang Theory.  Of course, we all know that I’m a big fan of television in general, and there are a few current shows that could individually make the list (White Collar, anyone?), but I really love this show.  It never fails to make me laugh, and I think that’s a good thing.  (Tangentially, have you seen their recent flash mob?  It’s worth watching.)
  • Good food, and plenty of it.  Sort of like the whole home ownership thing, making food can be a hassle from time to time, but I try to never forget that not everyone gets to feast on turkey and fixin’s for Thanksgiving, or have pretty much whatever they want every other day of the year.  It really is a blessing.
  • John F. Kennedy.  I know this probably seems like a strange thing to include on my list, especially considering I was barely three months old when he died.  But, today is the anniversary of his death, and—as I do every November 22—I’ve taken a few minutes to think about him and the things he did for our country.  I can recognize that his assassination has probably caused history to be kinder to him than it might otherwise have been, but I still firmly believe that America is better now than it would have been had he never been in office.
  • Animals.  My cats, the dogs I’ve had, the birds I watch in the yard, deer I see crossing the road, the miniature horses I pass on my way to school, the grizzlies we saw on vacation last year—all of them.  Animals are cool, and I’m glad there are so many to enjoy.

So, on this national day of thanks, those are just a few of the things I’m grateful for. I hope that during your holiday celebrations you’ve had a few moments to make your own list and be thankful for what you have.

 

S is for Serenity. (And Silly)

 

Well, let’s start with the silly, shall we?  I sat down this evening to make my Thanksgiving list to post, at which point it fully hit me that today is Thursday.  Seems obvious, I know, but the other obvious thing that becomes clear then is that yesterday was therefore Wednesday.  And why does that matter?  Well, because it means I didn’t post my ABC Wednesday post this week.  Dang it. 

And it becomes even more silly when you find out that I’d already written that post for this week, and simply forgot to use it.  Why wasn’t it actually scheduled instead of just stored in drafts?  Who knows.  This writing in advance thing is new to me, though my friend Roger keeps extolling its virtues.  So I’ll consider this my next bit of learning:  when you write them, schedule them.  Or at least remember that you have them!  Anyway, late or not, I’m posting it now, and then I’m going to actually write my post for today.


Given my love of television in general, and Star Trek in particular, one might have assumed that I was going to write about that show today, but I’ve done that already.  And, given those same facts combined with the title of today’s post, one might extrapolate that I am also a fan of the show Firefly and have decided to write about the ship of that show, or the film follow-up to the series.  But, no.  While I do enjoy Firefly (though I was very late to that party and have only watched the episodes in the last year or so), today’s serenity is all about the state of being serene.

serenity 11-22-12Image courtesy of prozac1 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In today’s hectic, mile-a-minute, always-connected world in which we live , I think it’s important to keep in mind the things that can bring us a moment of peace and tranquility.  Of course, what those things might be that bring us to a state of serenity is different for everyone, but whatever it is, it’s important.

For me, it can often be something as simple as a few moments of silence and solitude.  I’m a fairly solitary person by nature, and I need some alone-time in order to recharge.  It’s one of the reasons my sleep schedule has stayed so out of whack even now that I am no longer working—because I got used to getting that solitude in the middle of the night when the rest of my household is sleeping, and I still take advantage of that time to just sit and listen to music, or read Facebook, or write my blog post, or watch old episodes of Criminal Minds, or whatever I feel like doing.  It’s just a time for me to only worry about me, and enjoy the solitude.  In the same way, I enjoy starting my day by sitting alone on the patio, watching the birds at the feeder, with no sound but their chirping and the sound of the wind in the leaves.  It’s very relaxing.

But, when I can’t have any real-world solitude, I turn to my imagination and conjure up the most serene moments I can think of.  And, for me, that usually involves water.

There is little that’s more relaxing to me than the sound of the sea.  Whether it’s waves lapping gently and rhythmically against the shore, or crashing violently against rocks, I love the sound of the ocean.  It’s hypnotic and calming, and always makes me wish I lived someplace where I could hear it every day.  Or, better yet, every night as I was drifting off to sleep.

My next favorite imaginary serenity is a waterfall, and it’s again mostly about the sound.  The rush of the falling water constantly moving, and then splashing into the waiting pool is great.  And then the gentler sound of smaller water flowing away, maybe gurgling through a stream in a darkened forest.  I could sit in that forest and listen forever.

waterfall 11-22-12

 

 

 

                      

                                                                                                                Image courtesy of Christian Meyn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

And the last element for my soothing illusion is a sky full of stars.  Millions of them.  When I imagine this serene world of water sounds, it is almost always a vision of nighttime.  Not dark, but shadowy, lit by those countless stars, and maybe even a moon just behind a thin veil of clouds.  It’s a beautiful place, this imaginary world I have, and it’s where I go when I need to regroup and get my serenity (or my sanity) back again.  I love these places—even more than the spaceship you may have been expecting.

What is serene for you?

Linking up with ABC Wednesday.   Stroll on over and see what sort of sights, sounds, and sagas you’ll be shown.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday To-Do List

 

to do list 11-21-12

 

  Like most people, as the holidays roll around I find that I have an awful lot of things to do.  For Thanksgiving, we’ll be having the whole family gathering on Friday night, since Thursday has some conflict with work schedules.  So, tomorrow, it’ll just be the three of us, but I’m still cooking a turkey because, it is Thanksgiving.  But everything else is pretty much pre-packaged: frozen potatoes, gravy from a jar, frozen veggies.  Then I’ll make another bird on Friday, with some actual potatoes and gravy, but others will be bringing the other side dishes. 

  So, the cooking part isn’t too drastic, but I’ve still got cleaning to do, which is really a much less pleasant task.  Then, of course, the holiday shopping will begin in earnest.  Thankfully, I’ve already purchased a few gifts, so I haven’t put everything off until the very last minute.

And during all this holiday stuff, the school semester is also wrapping up, and I’ve got a research paper to do that’ll take quite a bit of time.  But, only two more exams, and one is open-book, so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. 

Oh, and today, my laptop charger fried itself, so finding a replacement—ASAP—has been added to the list as a last minute item.  Even as I type this, I’m down to my last 26 minutes of power.  So sad.  Thank goodness I have other ways of computing, even if they aren’t as convenient, because I’m really not interested in braving the Black Friday (or even Thursday) crowds.

On the upside, we got our new cooktop installed today, so that’s one item marked off the list.  Oh, and I got my new pots and pans (because we bought an induction cooktop and most of my old ones weren’t magnetic) all washed and put away and ready to go, so technically that’s two check marks.  Yay me. 

So I guess it’s mostly just the regular stuff:  cook, clean, entertain the family, and sit back and enjoy.  Really, that’s the kind of task list I could get used to.

What’s your to-do list look like?

Spy Games

 

Tonight the USA Network brought us the season three finale of Covert Affairs, so it seems like a good time to devote a Tube Day Tuesday entry to giving you a few of the reasons why I like it.

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                                                                               Image credit: usanetwork.com


If you’re not familiar with the program, it’s a spy show.  It stars Piper Perabo as Annie Walker, newly minted CIA agent.  In fact, she’s so new that in the pilot episode, they pull her out of training to send her on a mission.  Once she arrives at Langley, she meets her new best friend, Auggie Anderson, played by Christopher Gorham.  Auggie’s there to show her around and help her get settled, and there’s some irony right off the bat, as Auggie is a blind man. 

So that’s the basic setup: rookie operative with innate talents learning the ropes at the CIA, with the blind guy serving as her lifeline.  I think it’s a good thing the USA network is so good at picking out winning shows, because on the surface, this one doesn’t sound like it would work.  But it does.


So, without further ado, here is my Covert Affairs top 5 reasons to watch:

  1. The opening credits.  I know I mentioned once before how much I enjoy a good theme song, and I do like the actual song on this show, but it’s more the overall feel of the entire sequence that really works in this case.  (This isn’t the current version, but the look is fairly similar.) 




  2. The locations.  Though the story is based in Washington, DC, the show films primarily in Canada.  But like any good spy, Annie does a lot of globetrotting, and we get to go along for the ride.  Early in the series, we mostly just got some establishing shots of scenery (and sometimes not even that), but as the show’s success grew, it seems the travel budget did, too.  More and more we got to see large portions of episodes filmed on location, which is nice.  Since there are a lot of places I’ll likely never visit myself, I might as well live vicariously through the on-screen CIA.
  3. The intrigue.  It’s fun watching the characters dance around, never quite knowing who to trust or what’s going to happen next.  Though sometimes I ponder outside the television world for a moment, and I think it’s probably really like that for actual spies, and I think what a horrible way that would be to live.
  4. Flirtations and hidden feelings.  Annie started out with a crush on Auggie, even though she was still sort of hung up on Ben (who she didn’t even know was a spy when she fell in love with him); she dated a doctor for a while, but that didn’t work out; then Jai came along, and he seemed to be interested in Annie; Annie had some harmless flirtations with Eyal, and some that were not so harmless with Simon, never noticing that somewhere along the way, Auggie had developed his own crush on her.  And in the background, Auggie fell in love, got engaged, and got dumped, Annie’s sister had some marital problems, got separated, and ultimately moved across the country to try and make things work with her husband, and Annie’s two bosses, Joan and Arthur, are a couple who can’t quite seem to decide if they’re happily married, or just married.  Really, it’s sort of like high school, but it’s fun.
  5. Auggie Anderson.  While Annie is definitely the main character, it’s Auggie that tends to keep things grounded—and interesting.  It’s not just that he’s a cutie pie—though that certainly doesn’t hurt—it’s just that he’s a fascinating character.  Ex Special Forces, Auggie was blinded during a mission in Iraq, but he’s managed to overcome that limitation and become a go-to guy for all sorts of people, both in the Agency and out.  He’s intelligent, droll, charming, mildly self-deprecating, and intensely loyal.  Annie couldn’t have asked for a better guide to help her navigate her new world.

So, there you have it, some of my favorite reasons to watch Covert Affairs.  Someone said to me just recently that they had watched it early on, thinking it would be like Alias, and they were disappointed when it was not.  So, yeah, let me be clear: this is not Alias.  And that’s a good thing.  Don’t get me wrong; I liked that show, too, but it tried to do too much and lost its way.  By the time it went off the air, Alias had become convoluted and not fun anymore.  After three years, Covert Affairs isn’t showing any signs of letting up on the fun.

TV Tuesday 9-19-12
                                                                                                               Image credit:  digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net







 

 

 

Monday, November 19, 2012

7 Score and 9 Years Ago

 

If you check out any sort of “this date in history” type of list, probably the first entry you’ll find for today is the Gettysburg Address. 

Giving a fairly last-minute speech at the dedication of a military cemetery, President Abraham Lincoln took a few minutes to utter some of the most famous words in American history.  It only took him a few hundred words to remind his audience of the founding principles of our country, and encourage them to go forward re-dedicated to those principles.  As someone who sits down to tap out my thoughts pretty regularly, I have to say that I’m impressed with that sort of efficiency.  And the fact that those few words have taken on such historical significance is nothing short of awe-inspiring. 

It does seem that there is some disagreement among the scholars about the precise wording of the speech, though the variations aren’t great.  And I think everyone is in agreement about the final few words:  “. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” 

Whether in honor of those lost in battle more than a hundred years ago, those fighting today on the other side of the world, or those who sacrifice in a myriad of ways in service to this country, I think it’s a resolution worth keeping.


gettysburg 11-19-12

Image courtesy Henryhartley via Wikipedia Commons

 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Snapshot Sunday #15

 

Happy Sunday, everyone!  We didn’t make it to the movie today, so I guess Mr. Lincoln will have to wait until next weekend.  Instead, we spent much longer than I anticipated getting the kitchen ready for our new cooktop.  The existing cutout was just a couple of inches too small, so we (read: Brian) had to modify it a bit.  The actual tile and wood cutting didn’t take all that long, but, if you’ve never used a circular saw to cut through kitchen countertops in your home, trust me when I say it makes a really big mess.  I think I’ll be wiping that fine dust off of things forever.  But, the new cooktop is supposed to be here Tuesday, which means I’ll get to use it for Thanksgiving, so I’m excited!  Incidentally, that also means alternate cooking methods until then, so we grilled tonight and I’m planning crockpot pork ribs tomorrow night, so we should be covered.

But, enough of that, let’s see what this week’s photo challenge turned up.  Check out Chantelle over at Fat Mum Slim to see the prompts and play along.

11.  Night

 

  Prompt:  Night.  My house, barely lit by the porchlights.

 

 

 



12.  Drink

 

  Prompt: Drink.  Chocolate milk in a color-changing glass.

 

 

 

 

 

 



13.  Where You Slept

 

  Prompt:  Where you slept.  A quick rest while we were out running errands all afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



14.  Man Made

 

 Prompt:  Man made.  I don’t really know what this is supposed to be; it’s something artsy they constructed over a new highway.  It probably has a name, but I don’t know it.  I do know it lights up at night and looks like some sort of glowing alien ship, but during the daylight hours, it’s not nearly as cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15.  In Your Bag

 

  Prompt:  In your bag.  My school bag.  It’s solid black on the outside, but I like that it’s so colorful on the inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




16.  The View From Your Window

 

  Prompt:  The view from your window.  This isn’t all that exciting; it’s the truck of the water well repairman who had to come out to fix a leak.  Even less exciting, while everything seemed fine after he left Friday, when I got home from school yesterday, our water had become brownish.  We’ve got another call in to them, but it’ll be tomorrow before they call back.  I hope they can come out soon, though we’ve stocked up on some bottled water, just in case.

 

 

 

 

 


17.  The Last Thing You Bought

 

  Prompt:  The last thing you bought.  Well, you have probably guessed that I did not win the lottery last night since you’ve read this far without hearing anything about it.  On the other hand, neither did anyone else, so I can try again Wednesday! 





And, just a few random shots  . . .  a pretty sky one evening at school, the latest batch of kitties (we need to find a home for them, if anyone’s looking for a cat in the next couple of months), and our cat Mel snuggling up in leaves. 



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And that’s the pictures for this week.  I hope you’ve all had a good weekend and have a great week ahead.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Six Word Relief

 

Saturday class met last time today!

Celebrating woman 11-17-12

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

Tell the story of your Saturday in six words with Show My Face.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Snacks, Slimy Food, and Cuss Words

 

Friday has rolled around again, and next Friday will be the dreaded Black Friday; I really can’t believe how quickly time seems to pass these days.  And for sure this day is passing too quickly, and I need to get to bed since I’ve got one more early Saturday wake-up tomorrow for my last weekend class (yay!).

So, let’s check out 5QF, shall we?  Mama M is vacationing at the moment, so hosting duties are being filled by Kate; you can link up with her here

five question friday



1} What snack/drinks do you eat at the movies?

The thing my husband can’t seem to understand—even after more than a quarter century of living with me—is that going to the movies is about more than watching the movie.  It’s an experience, and nothing helps make that experience more than buttered popcorn.  So, that’s a must.  If I’m feeling particularly munchy, I also like to have a box of Junior Mints. I may have mentioned before, but when I was a kid, I used to drop the mints down into the bottom of the popcorn tub to float in all the butter before eating them.  Now that seems sort of gross to me; I still like to have both during a film, but not together.  Anyway, that’s the snack part, and it rarely varies, though occasionally I’ll mix it up with some Milk Duds or M&Ms.  For my drink, these days it’s usually a bottle of water.  I try not to drink so much soda anymore, and the theater I prefer has Pepsi (which I can’t abide) rather than Coke, so that makes it easier to do without.

2} What's one food you refuse to ever try?

There is no one food I refuse to try; there are lots of them.  One thing I know I must’ve said before is that I am a very picky eater.  I’m not saying that I’m particularly proud of it or anything, it’s just the way it is.  As a rule, I won’t try seafood, anything slimy, or anything stinky.  That’s not an all-inclusive list of things I won’t try, but it’s a pretty big start.

3} What's your favourite nail polish color?

I don’t wear nail polish, so I’m not really well-equipped to answer this question.  If I were going to wear it myself, it would be something completely demure, like a pale pink or simple French tips or something.  On others, I enjoy seeing bolder colors, but I don’t really care for multi-colored patterns, or shiny bling.

4} What is your favourite Thanksgiving tradition?

I don’t guess it’s really a tradition precisely, but I just like getting everyone together, having a nice meal, and visiting.

5} What are your least favorite words in the English language?

hmm.  Well, like most people, there are some curse words I’m not fond of.  In truth, I don’t do a lot of swearing myself, but I do live with an ex-sailor, so there aren’t too many variations I haven’t heard, but I do draw the line at the “C” word; unacceptable, as far as I’m concerned.  There are a couple others that I just don’t say, even when I do cuss, but don’t get too worked up if others do, like “gd” or the “F” word. 

I think that’s probably about it, though there are certainly some that conjure up less than pleasant thoughts:  bigotry, hatred, bully.  Any word that exists to describe mean-spirited behaviors or feelings isn’t going to be high on my list.

And there you have it; another week of Q&A wrapped up.  I’m sure the weekend will fly by, just like all the days have been doing lately, but we’re going to try and squeeze in at least a couple of specific things: seeing the Lincoln movie, and cutting the hole for my newly ordered cooktop, which should be here Tuesday.  (The existing space is just slightly too small.)  Other than that, it’ll be class tomorrow, and then homework.

What kind of plans do you have in store?

Not Yet

 

thanksgiving-vs-christmas 11-16-12

 

  I’ve had reason to be out and about doing some shopping these past few days, and I’ve been annoyed to hear Christmas carols playing in the stores.  On Facebook, I’ve also seen several pictures along the lines of the one posted here, so I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in my annoyance.  I was going to write something about it, but, really, I already did that, a long time ago.  So, rather than re-invent the wheel, I’m simply going to repost my long-ago rantings now.  This is a post entitled, “Well, I Meant it at the Time”. . .


When I was younger, I made a promise to myself: I would never become one of those “old folks” who launched into diatribes of varying topics but that always began, “Why, back in my day”, and ended, “What is this world coming to?” No doubt, this promise has been made for countless generations past, and will be made for countless more to come.

But I had cause to think of that just this morning when I made a brief trip into town and saw Christmas wreaths hanging on the light poles on Main Street. Now, before you start checking your calendar, let me assure you that you didn’t misunderstand. There are Christmas decorations hanging in my hometown. And, I’m certain the city workers didn’t put them up yesterday, being Sunday and all. And Saturday, we had a home football game, and nothing interrupts the flow of traffic on those days. And back one day further, Friday was Veteran’s Day, so it’s unlikely they were hung that day, either. So, logically, that means those wreaths have been hanging since Thursday, November 10th, at the latest.

Now, I love holiday decorations as much as the next person, maybe even more than many. But it used to be that you had to wait until after Thanksgiving before you got to see them hanging around town. That’s always seemed pretty reasonable to me. Let’s at least deal with the major holidays in the order they appear on the calendar, with no skipping ahead.

I guess I should’ve seen it coming. I mean, I was in Wal-Mart last month, shopping for Halloween tidbits, and just one aisle over from the fake blood and scar tissue was the row of stockings and tree tinsel. I tried not to make too much out of it then; I mean, these are retailers, after all. It’s their job to push the envelope of marketing as far as it will go. But now my local government is in on this travesty, too, and I am appalled.

Not that we couldn’t all use a little extra time of Peace on Earth, and all the meanings of the holiday season, but I’m talking about the completely secular festivity of it all. That’s the part that’s only fun because it’s unusual, because it doesn’t happen every day. It’s something to look forward to and be treasured. How special can it be if it’s in our faces for 60 days out of the year? And, yes, I know, it’s been creeping up, getting a little earlier each and every year. But at this rate, it won’t be long until we’re bringing down the flags from Labor Day and immediately replacing them with those darned wreaths. And my future grandkids are likely to believe that the holiday season begins just after watching the last burst of the local fireworks display, which seems unfair, somehow.

So, yeah, back in my day, we only had a month of Christmas decorations, but it was a month filled with joy and wonder, because we wanted to hang on to every fleeting moment of it all. Now those moments aren’t so fleeting anymore, but they’re also beginning to lose some of their joy. And, I can’t help but wonder, what is this world coming to?

 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

R is for Rose State

 

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As many of you may know, this past August, I returned to school, pursuing an associate’s degree in paralegal studies.  I’m undertaking this endeavor at Rose State College.

Now, let me admit up front that I can be a bit of a snob about community colleges, probably because in my formative years they were called “junior” colleges, making them seem like they weren’t quite up to par somehow.  Also, I’ve spent almost all my life in a university town, so to me, a full-fledged, four year institution is what college is supposed to be.

But, I certainly can understand the benefit of community colleges, Rose included.  Of course, cost is a major factor.  My full semester cost at Rose—tuition, fees, books—is setting me back just slightly less than tuition alone at OU.  And then there’s the convenience aspect of things.  While some of the added features of campus life—library, cafeteria, gym—don’t keep very late hours at a commuter school, the classes themselves are much more agreeable to the schedule of a working adult.  (Not that I currently fit that description, of course, but it was still a consideration.)  If need be, I could complete this degree with only evening classes.  It might take a little longer that way, but it could be done.  Trying to complete a degree at OU without venturing into the daylight hours would not be possible.  And, the last consideration is class size.  I completed most of my general education requirements years ago, but many of them were in classes of 50-100 people.  At Rose State, most classes are limited to 30, which I think creates a much better learning environment.  And, if one semester is anything to judge by, the nighttime core requirement classes don’t get anywhere close to the max, so it’s really kind of nice. 

Not that it’s all smooth sailing, of course.  There have been many days that I’ve cursed the processes—and lack thereof—in place at Rose State.  And I have made the inevitable comparisons of actual class content and instructor presentation, and the community college doesn’t always end up on the winning side of that comparison. 

But, all in all, I’m confident that I’ve made the correct choice.  I’m learning the information I’ll need to pass a certification exam in a year or so; I’ll manage to check an item off the bucket list when I end up with any type of college degree; and I’ve made friends at school, both in class and in Phi Theta Kappa.  When I look at that list of items, the senior institution in my town would certainly prepare me for state certification, but they don’t offer a degree in paralegal training, only a certificate program.  And, while I can’t really blame the school for this, I’m pretty sure that I would not be nearly as involved at OU as I am now. 

So, basically, I’m enjoying getting an education that will better prepare me to re-enter the workforce and improve my overall lifestyle.  I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what school is supposed to do, and I owe it all to Rose State College.

Linking up with Mrs. Nesbitt over at ABC Wednesday.  Roll on over there and see what sort of revelations you’ll find.

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