Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Television Tradition

 

 

  On this final Tube Day Tuesday of the year, I was thinking about Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.  It’s been on a really long time now.  Of course, anniversaries like that can make a person feel old, when you realize a show that’s been airing for forty-one years hasn’t been on all of your life. 

  Still, in my youth, I really enjoyed watching New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, and though the music long-ago ceased to be my cup of tea, I like the idea that it’s still going on year after year.  It’s not the same without Dick Clark, of course, but I suppose Ryan Seacrest does an okay job.  I still tune in every year to watch the ball drop, even if I gave up on most of the show quite a few years ago. 

On the other hand, television gave up on the show a little bit itself, since it’s no longer broadcast all evening long, the way that it was back in the day.  Maybe I’m not the only one who doesn’t really care for a lot of that music. 

But, whether you’re watching Seacrest carrying on the Clark tradition, or maybe pining for the olden days of Guy Lombardo, or out celebrating with the throngs of revelers, I wish you a joyous new year and a very healthy, happy, and prosperous 2014.

Still Growing Strong

 

“It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”

~ John Leonard


I know that sometimes I complain about getting old—all the aches and pains and slowing down that goes along with it.  And it’s true that there are many reasons I wish my body today was in the shape it was twenty or thirty years ago.  But, back in those days, I couldn’t fully appreciate the value of having a good friend by your side during those passing decades. 

As I’ve likely said before, for me, Kim is that friend, and we got the opportunity to spend the day together today, the first time in a long time.  There was laughter and talking, laughter and shopping, laughter and eating, and then just some flat-out laughter.  Get the picture?

If you’ve got one of those treasured people in your life, I highly recommend finding a day on the calendar for doing nothing but being friends.  It’s one of the very best things about growing older. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Snapshot Sunday, December 29

 

Today’s snapshot is not a photo I took, but, rather, a photo that awes me.  Well, technically, the subject matter awes me, so I’m grateful someone took a photograph so that I would be able to see it.

The picture below is snow art, made by a man named Simon Beck, who makes pictures by walking through the snow.  Yeah, walking.  In snow. I couldn’t make a picture this cool on paper with a Spirograph.  (Do they still make those? I always liked them.)

Anyway, I think art this spectacular is worth sharing, so if you haven’t seen it, check out the article (and more pictures) here, as well as Mr. Beck’s Facebook photos.   Enjoy.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Six Word Free Day

 

Successful vacation day—errands and loafing.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Feel Good Friday, December 27

 

Oh, it’s the very best Feel Good Friday in a while, because it’s totally and selfishly about me.  After a long and exhausting day at the office, I walked out the door knowing I wouldn’t have to walk back in for three whole weeks.  That’s right; it’s vacation time!  How could you not feel good about that?

Of course, the last week of my “break” will be spent taking my certification exam, and good portions of the preceding two weeks will be spent studying for said exam, but, still, I don’t have to go to work.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I have a job, and it’s even a job I (mostly) enjoy, but that doesn’t mean I’m not ready for a bit of a break. 

So, yes, I’m worn to a nub at the end of this day that seemed like it might never end, but I haven’t felt this good in a while.  So, I’m going start my vacation by going to bed early and sleeping late and basically just having a totally relaxing weekend.  I hope you can do the same.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Post Holiday Slump

 

I think we should begin celebrating Boxing Day here.  After all the build up to Christmas, and then a fairly long and busy day on the holiday itself, it always seems like just a bit of a letdown to wake up on the 26th and know that it’s a whole year before it will all roll around again.  Those folks who recognize Boxing Day get to drag out their celebrations for an extra day.  Of course, I’m sure all that really does is delay the letdown; those countries probably wake up with that empty feeling on the 27th instead.

Still and all, when my alarm went off this morning, I was really wishing it was a mistake.  Being exhausted and let down all at the same time is not fun.  Oh, and the music.  I always miss the Christmas music once the season has ended, so I usually wean myself slowly by listening to a few songs every day.  But this morning, in my exhausted state, I ran out of the house without my iPod.  Dang.  I don’t know if they still play Christmas music once Boxing Day rolls around, but today I was wishing my radio would cooperate just a little.

On the other hand, while I’m not entirely sure of the particulars, it seems that Boxing Day still involves the giving of gifts, and goodness knows I do not need another reason to keep spending money around this time of the year.  So maybe we could have some other sort of post-Christmas holiday, one that let’s us keep the festiveness of the holiday, and extend the holiday break just a little, but doesn’t involve gifts.   That might be a nice compromise.

On the other other hand, since I’m getting ready to take my own vacation from work, I guess I can’t complain too much about having to get back to the grindstone; I have a long break just around the corner.  But I still wish the fun and love and peace of Christmas would continue day after day (and, of course, the music), then maybe there would never be that almost inevitable letdown.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

 

Like yesterday, the normal daily topic will be suspended in honor of the holiday.  Besides, who wants to talk about weight loss on a day filled with eating yummy, yummy food?!

The best part of any holiday is always just the gathering together, and today was no exception.  Of course, there were plenty of moments when Granny crossed my mind, and it sort of didn’t seem exactly like Christmas without her, but I hope she was somewhere with my mom, seeing us all together, and knowing they left behind a strong family. 

But, all in all, it was a good day, with everyone getting along, lots of laughter, and, as I said, some yummy food.  Then Brian and I finished it off with Love Actually, one of my favorite Christmas movies. 

Really, it was the best kind of holiday, and I hope yours was the same.

Quiet Tradition

 

Tube Day Tuesday is taking a little break today, in honor of the holiday.  Not that there was no television today—there are few days like that for me!  Brian had a movie channel on for a while, though I wasn’t paying much attention to that, but after dinner we did watch It’s a Wonderful Life.  I mean, it’s tradition.  Really, I ought to get myself a copy of the thing, because I’d prefer to watch it commercial free, but you have to watch it, even if it means putting up with some ads.

But now, it’s time for my other tradition, sitting in the dark, only the glow of the Christmas tree lights (well, and for right now, the laptop), listening to the holiday music channel.  I’ll sit here quietly for just a while, then I’m going to stretch out on the couch and sleep in the glow of that magical light.  I can’t go to bed just yet because I’ve got to get up again in about four hours and put the potatoes on to cook, and I don’t want to disturb Brian in the middle of the night.  Then I’ll crawl into bed for just a couple more hours sleep before it’s time to get up for real and start getting everything ready for the day.

One tradition that won’t happen this year is eating cinnamon rolls and opening presents with Billy on Christmas morning.  This will be the first year he hasn’t lived at home for the holiday, and he’s opted to not come until the afternoon with the rest of the family.  I’m kind of sad about that, but I’m trying not to be selfish.  I know he’s a grown man now, but that doesn’t keep me from wishing our traditions were as important to him as they are to me.

But, I’m not going to let that disappointment keep me from enjoying my own tradition right now.  I’m going to soak up the peace of the season for just a short while, and I hope you have a moment or two to do that, too.

Monday, December 23, 2013

For the Rest of Us

 

I needed a hair cut today.  You’d think, on one of the rare occasions I didn’t actually have any more last minute shopping to do, that I would avoid the mall on December 23, wouldn’t you?  Apparently I’m not all that good at thinking things through, although the truth is it was a fairly well reasoned plan, in that I wanted my hair shorter before vacation, but with a little bit of lead time to let it grow out of the weirdo stage that always happens right after a cut.  Unfortunately, that meant strolling in to the salon in the final couple of days before Christmas.

I had other plans, too; I wanted to hit the gym afterward, and then come home and relax a bit before wrapping Brian’s presents after he went to bed.  But, best laid plans, and all of that.  It was almost nine o’clock by the time I left the mall, as apparently everyone and their dog had a good reason for needing a new hair do this evening.  Much as I really needed a workout, it was just far too late in the day to be heading over to the gym.

But before that decision, as I wandered the mall, waiting for my turn in the cutting chair, seeing everyone bustling around(including quite a few folks who did not seem particularly merry), I had a pretty good understanding of why the concept of Festivus arose.  The season is supposed to be joyous, magical, peaceful.  But there’s just so much to do.  It’s no wonder people get cranky—everyone’s exhausted.  Not that I want to quit exchanging gifts, or having family gatherings, or decorating, because that’s all the fun part of the holiday.  But how do you do all of that without wearing yourself to a nub?  I haven’t figured that out yet.  But you can see where a Festivus pole would have its appeal. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Snapshot Sunday, December 22

 

It’s not that I’m bored with the Photo a Day challenge already.  I mean, not exactly.  I’m taking the pictures, but they’re not particularly inspired.  I think the problem is that all the prompts are holiday related.  Well, they don’t have to be, of course, but I think it’s safe to assume that’s the intent, when you’ve got things like “tree”, “on the door”, and “sparkly”, all during the month of December.  And the problem with that is that I have a harder and harder time getting into the holiday spirit as I age.  I don’t like it, but it’s true.  Thus, uninspired photos that aren’t really worth sharing.

So, instead, I’ll share with you some pics from a couple of events of this week: a dress-up day at work and an ice storm that blew through the area this weekend.

First, the office silliness.  Apparently, in days past, the office has done an ugly sweater day, but our office manager decide that was becoming old hat.  Instead, she decided we should have a TuTu Cute Christmas day, wherein we would all dress as a holiday character, but accessorized with a tutu.  It was silly, and I really could’ve better spent my time on things other than making a tutu, but it was still fun.  We had everything from a snowman to Rudolph to Charlie Brown, and all sorts of things in between, including my gingerbread man.

Tutu 12.22.13


And then there was the ice.  It came in Friday evening, and it’s still here.  We’ve lost a lot of trees, though fortunately none that have come crashing onto our house.  The up side of things is that the roads have miraculously stayed clear all weekend long—probably because we’d had several unseasonably warm days before the storm. As I commented yesterday, the ice really is pretty; it’s just too bad it tears things up the way it does.

Ice Storm 12.22.13


And that’s it for this week’s Snapshot Sunday.  Maybe by next week I’ll feel better about the daily pictures again.  Or maybe not.  We’ll see. 

Here’s hoping you all have a great Monday and a wonderful week.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Six Word Freeze

 

 

Ice storm today.  Pretty, but destructive.

IMG_3144[1]

Facebook Friday, December 20

 

There is absolutely nothing “feel good” about today’s topic, though it has certainly been front and center on my Facebook newsfeed for a couple of days.  I’m a little sick of seeing it, really, and it makes me wish I had a hide button for an entire topic.  (Now that I think about it, that would frequently be a pretty good idea; somebody get Zuckerberg on the phone.)

So what’s so overwhelming and unwelcome these days?  Well, it’s probably no surprise to anyone with a news feed, but it’s Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson and the entire firestorm surrounding his recent interview

Obviously, he’s not the first celebrity to say something offensive and get social media buzzing, with people lining up to take sides, and anyone who thinks he’ll be the last is living in a fantasy land.  And it’s not even the first “controversy” to annoy me as I scroll through my friends’ posts, though this one does seem to be bothering me more than most.  I’m not sure why that is.  I don’t watch Duck Dynasty, nor do I particularly care what its stars have to say about most any topic.  I’m not gay, black, or an adulteress or addict of any sort, so most of the offensive comments in his interview weren’t directed at me, so I’ve got no real skin in the game.  You know, except for the idea that I think any decent human would be offended by the careless way he denigrates people and assumes that everyone who doesn’t conform to his particular way of believing is in need of salvation.   There’s no doubt that I’m easily annoyed by narrow-minded people, so I guess that part is no surprise.

And, not to be guilty of as much stereotyping as Phil, but I’ve been exposed to a lot of redneck types in my lifetime, so even though I don’t watch his show, I’ve heard enough about it to have formed a rough idea of the Robertson family values, and I’m not surprised by his viewpoint.  And I’m also not surprised that a television network would take steps to distance themselves from that viewpoint in the wake of public outcry, though I notice A&E has not removed the show from its lineup.  Call me cynical, but I’m guessing they’re not really surprised by Phil’s comments, either, and probably not really that bothered by them (at the corporate level, I mean; I won’t presume to know what the network execs think personally), since these sorts of controversies often lead to increased viewership. 

And I suppose I really shouldn’t be surprised by the number of Robertson defenders flying the banner of FREE SPEECH, though I think it’s possible that’s the root of what’s really irritating me.  Somehow, these people seem to have missed the entire point:  his speech was not hindered, even though it was clearly offensive to any number of people.  Phil hasn’t been arrested, whisked off to some government torture chamber, or put to death for his beliefs.  I’m fairly certain that’s precisely the sort of protection the First Amendment guarantees.  And I’m equally certain that the founding fathers never meant to imply that there would never be any sort of consequences as the result of practicing your free speech, only that you wouldn’t be persecuted by the full force of the government because of it.

It’s really a pretty simple process:  Robertson has the right to say what he thinks, a magazine has the right to give him a platform to share those thoughts, people in general have a right to agree or disagree with what he thinks (and flood Facebook with those opinions), and his employer has a right to reconsider their working relationship as a result of those thoughts.  You might not agree with A&E’s decision to suspend the man, but unless you’re working for yourself, I bet there are things you can’t do if you want to keep your job.  And I bet a lot of those things have to do with offending whatever customer base you serve and potentially driving them away.  Bosses don’t like that sort of thing.  It isn’t a Constitutional issue; it’s business.

But, whatever people want to call it, I’m tired of seeing it debated on Facebook, and while I never thought I’d say this, I will be very relieved when my feed gets back to pictures of food, weather, and cute kittens. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Putting Off Until Tomorrow

 

So, apparently there are some psychologists who believe that chronic procrastination is a disease or disorder of some sort. 

I’ve been thinking about this today because, as is the case just about every year around this time, the only presents that have been wrapped are the ones that I must put in the mail tomorrow (December 20th, mind you), and I’m not even 100% certain that all my shopping is done.  And let’s not even talk about the list of to-dos for both holiday and vacation—I think there are maybe two things checked off, with about another twenty still to do.

Life would be simpler if I dealt with things more promptly; I am quite certain this is true.  So, the fact that I still end up putting things off time and time again seems like maybe it is just a little bit crazy.  Honestly, I’d be okay with that, if it were true, as long as they could then find a cure.  But, then, I’d probably never find time for the treatment.

 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday, December 18

 

Well, no pounds lost this week, but I think I should take measurements again soon, because my pants are starting to feel a little bit looser.  And even though I’ve still got a whole bunch of those pounds between now and the end of my weight loss journey (I say that like there’s actually an end, but I know that this is an ongoing battle), I’ll gladly take—or give!—those inches as I move along. 

 

Steps

Activities

Wednesday

5,412

Thursday

8,823

Friday

9,520

Saturday

4,605

 

Sunday

8,048

21 minutes treadmill, 1.57 miles; 24 minutes exer-bike, 3.2 miles
Monday

6,079

Tuesday

15,415

43 minutes treadmill, 2.53 miles

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Too Commercial

 

Man, look at the time. I was just unspooling from the day, only having gotten home about an hour ago.  and I fell asleep writing this post.  It’s just  well after midnight time, though if you’ve been round here before, you know this is hardly the first time for that.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about today’s Tube Day Tuesday for a few days, and it’s short and to the point, like a commercial, because that’s what it’s about.  Well, really, a series of commercials—the Ford Dream Big series.  I don’t like them, not one little bit.  It’s one thing to show kids all focused on the presents and giddily asking for all the little kid things that they hope Santa brings; that’s part of the fun of Christmas.  Somehow it doesn’t come across as greedy and calculating when there’s actually some childlike wonder in the mix. 

But these Ford commercials have older kids (though not old enough to drive), rushing through their visits with Santa, no joy in their hearts, just very matter-of-factly asking for a car.  I don’t know why, but it rubs me the wrong way, and it wouldn’t bother me if I never saw them again.  For me, dream big is really more like a little nightmare.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Moment of Fear

 

Just so you know, there’s no real point to the following story, just a little slice of life from my day . . .

Have I mentioned before that I think my office is haunted?  Yeah.  I’m frequently the last one at work in the evening, and there have been a couple of times I could have sworn I heard voices, even though no one else was there.  Kinda creepy.  But I don’t think spirits had anything to do with the scare I had today. 

I was once again alone at the office, trying to finish a project while dealing with computers that were not functioning properly after a power surge that happened right at 5:00.  Anyway, somewhere around 5:30/6:00, I thought I heard something up on the roof.  Now, our parking lot is on the roof, but like I said, I was the only one in our office, and the neighbors who share our roof-top parking are government employees, so I was quite certain I wasn’t hearing them at such a late hour.  So I wandered down our hallway, trying to get a better understanding of what I was hearing, when I realized I wasn’t hearing somebody on the roof, but rather, in the ceiling.  You know, like up in the attic space where all the ductwork is and all.  That sort of freaked me out, since I knew we weren’t having any work done, and I still thought it was kind of weird to be having any sort of activity after business hours.  But I just kept hearing somebody doing something up in the ceiling.  Finally, after about ten or fifteen minutes of hearing these random noises, I decided I should set the alarm to make myself feel better.  Not that the alarm would do much good if crazed criminals decided to bust down through the ceiling tiles, of course, but it did make me feel better.

And, just shortly after setting the alarm, the noises died down.  I convinced myself that it was just coincidence, not that I’d scared anybody off with the rather noisy process of getting the alarm system armed.  After all, I knew I was still going to be there a while, and then I’d have to walk out onto that rooftop parking lot all by myself; I didn’t want to think about somebody being up in the rafters. 

So, the clock keeps ticking, I finish my project, and finally, about 645, I was ready to go home.  I gather up my stuff and make a stop in the break room to fill my water glass, and I realize I’m really not looking forward to the trek to my car.  I decide I’m going to call Brian while I’m walking out, and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to juggle my purse, water glass, and keys, along with the manila envelope I’ve got to take to the mailbox, all while walking up a flight of stairs and talking on my cell phone. Not to mention I’ve got to disarm the alarm, and then set it again as I head out.  I’m not sure I’ve got that kind of coordination.  It was one of the few times I’ve ever wished I had jumped on the Bluetooth headphone craze.

Anyway, as I’m pondering how I’m going to pull off this feat, the silence is suddenly shattered by the ear-splitting sound of the alarm siren blaring through the building.  It is such a fortunate thing I had made a trip to the bathroom just a few minutes earlier, or I probably would have peed my pants.  Oh my gosh, my heart was suddenly pounding a million miles an hour, and my brain was racing about what I should do, though the rest of me was pretty much frozen in place. 

After a few (eternal) seconds, I realized that no crazed criminals had come rushing down the hallway, so I was probably still alone in the office, alarm clamoring notwithstanding.  And then I realized that even if someone had come through one of the alarmed doors, the system should not have alerted immediately like it did, because I hadn’t set it to do that.  Maybe this was the ghosts after all.  Or maybe just a malfunctioning security system.  So, I forced myself to walk over to the control panel and shut off the noise, then listened for more seconds to make sure I really was still alone.  And though it seemed I was, my heart was still pounding, and I was actually shaking just a little.  Wow.  I can’t believe how immediately and truly terrified I was.

I did manage to clear my befuddled brain enough to make a phone call to the boss’ wife to let her know what was going on, since I knew the alarm company would be calling her soon, and I explained that I really didn’t know why the alarm went off; I’m hoping maybe tomorrow she’ll have someone out to look at it.  Like I said, I’m frequently alone at the office, and I’d really rather not have another of those terrifying moments any time soon.  Of course, if it really was the office ghosts, then a repairman might not be much help, but I’ve got my fingers crossed for a more earthly explanation.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I finally decided I really wasn’t coordinated enough to get out with all my stuff, and I absolutely was not making two trips out to that roof, so I opted to sacrifice my water glass in exchange for being able to call Brian on my way out.  And, I typically park toward the far end of our parking lot, just to squeeze in a few extra steps every day, though after slowly opening that outside door tonight (and why do we not have a peep hole, btw?), and seeing my car so very far away, I may have to rethink that practice going forward. 

Anyway, since I’m sitting here telling you all about my scaredy-cat moment, it’s obvious that there were no lurking loonies waiting in the dark, and I made it to my car safely.  Still, tomorrow I might have to think about leaving with the crowd.

 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snapshot Sunday, December 15

 

Generally speaking, when I’m snapping pictures for the photo a day challenge, I use my phone.  Even though I have “real cameras”, as Brian likes to call them, the phone usually wins the job simply by virtue of convenience; it is never far from my hand.

Unfortunately, I think that convenience may have had a detrimental effect on the phone itself.  For a while now—maybe a couple of weeks—I’ve been getting a message that it could no longer conduct a backup because it was too full.  And then for the past day or so, the camera has not been working as it should.  The app would frequently force close, meaning I’d have to take a shot multiple times before it would actually capture a picture.  It was really annoying.  So, today, I finally decided I had to take the time to clear up some memory space and see if that was the cause of the problem.  The good news is that it may have solved the camera problem:  the app didn’t force close even once during multiple test shots, and images were captured on the first try, just like they should be.  The bad news, though, is that as my memory has been filling up, my phone has been filing photos away in random places rather than in sequential folders like it normally does.  I was sort of keeping up with them while they were on the device, but now that I’ve moved them all to a computer file, it’s a big jumble.

And what does all that have to do with Snapshot Sunday?  Well, of course, that means that my daily photos are now needles in a digital haystack, and I haven’t had the time today to dig them out and make sense of it all.  So, today’s pictures will instead be just a couple of snaps from the company Christmas party from last night, taken with one of the “real” cameras.

12 oaks

 

  We had a totally scrumptious dinner at a place called Twelve Oaks.  According to their website, the owner had always wanted to own a restaurant, and a couple of decades ago or so, he bought this beautiful house, had it moved to a remote and peaceful location, and turned it into his dream.  It’s cozy and just a little bit fancy all at once.  And did I mention the food was scrumptious?   

 


Company Christmas

More than the food, though, the really great thing is to be working at a place where employees are mostly valued.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had that, and it’s truly something to celebrate.  Not that the office doesn’t have its issues—what office doesn’t?  But for the most part, everyone gets along, tries to help each other, and we laugh every day.  That’s more important than you might think.

Happy upcoming Monday to you all. 

Six Word Kitchen Project

 

New oven today; makes good cookies.

 

Oven 12-14-13

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Feel Good Friday, December 13

 

I think you probably would have to have been living under a social media rock to miss these things I want to share with you, as they seem to have been everywhere this week, but I think they’re worth sharing again.  Especially on a day that saw both a man arrested for plotting to blow up an airport, and another school shooting.  It’s definitely a day for wondering what the world is coming to, and I think there are far too many of those lately, so it’s nice to be reminded that decency and goodness still exist in the world.

This first video is an excerpt from What Would You Do?, and really does help to restore my faith in humanity, though the haters have already pointed out that most of the people didn’t do anything.  It’s still nice to know some of them did.



And this second video could easily be labeled a self-serving publicity stunt, but I don’t care.  It makes me feel good.  And, more important, it made a lot of people feel good, first those involved, and second, the millions of people who’ve watched and shared.  Advertising stunt?  Sure.  But so what?  In fact, I hope this airline reaps some benefit from it, because this sort of fun and kindness should be rewarded.


 

I hope you enjoyed those, and here’s hoping to an upcoming week filled with more feel good moments than not.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Merry Happy Everything

So, I’m not sure this time of year is supposed to be the season of frustration venting, but I’m going to take just a second to do it, anyway.

I have to say that I’ve become completely annoyed at all the people getting up in arms over the phrase “happy holidays” or any equivalent thereof.  And, of course, by “all the people”, I mean “all the Christians”.  I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone rant over inequality or discrimination because no one said “Happy Ramadan to you”.  But the way I see it is this:  During this time of year, there are a lot of things being celebrated, all deeply personal and none more right than the other.  Christmas is my celebration of choice, but I’ll admit that I often opt for a more generic greeting with those I don’t know, because their choice of celebration could be different.  I don’t feel that saying “happy holidays” to someone in any way lessens my belief or cheapens my own celebration.

On the other hand, I don’t think less of people who say “Merry Christmas” to total strangers, either.  Sure, it might carry with it just the slightest layer of conceit to assume everyone believes the way you do, but I don’t think that’s the way most people intend it when they say it, and I think even most non-Christians would take it in the spirit it was intended.  Just as it wouldn’t offend me if someone were to wish me a happy Chanukah or Kwanzaa or Saturnalia.  Whatever the phrase, I’m pretty sure most folks are just trying to convey wishes for the joy and blessings of the season, and I’m thankful if someone wants to share those wishes with me in any form.

So why do so many Christians these days want to take offense if their particular greeting is not the one being used?  Why do they offer a “Merry CHRISTmas”, like they’re brandishing some sort of weapon?  Is their faith so weak that it’s threatened by a few words?  Honestly, I just don’t get it.

Here in our state, we’ve got lawmakers trying to pass a Merry Christmas bill. (They’re modeling it after a similar one passed recently in Texas, which scares me just a little that our elected officials are taking their lead from the folks down there, but that’s a whole other story.)  Anyway, they’re trying to make it legal for schools to have “traditional” displays and celebrations and teachings of the same.  Of course, traditional means Christian or Jewish, though I’m pretty sure there are seasonal celebrations that pre-date those two mainstays.  Not that Oklahoma is just a hotbed for diversity of any type, of course, religious or otherwise, so, honestly, if the schools were to celebrate only those two holidays, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance the vast majority of districts would be serving 99.8% of their population.  Or more.  But I’m not sure that’s really the point. 

I think it’s ridiculous that the legislature would want to encourage our school system to teach any sort of exclusion.  And let’s be honest; religions tend to be very exclusionary.  Most teach that their way of believing is the only right way of believing, and that to do otherwise will certainly have some sort of negative repercussion on your eternity.  I don’t think public schools are the place to teach that message.  I think educators should be the ones to ensure that kids know there are lots of things being celebrated as the year draws to a close, and that no one is wrong for celebrating the way that they do.

So, please, if I don’t wish you a merry Christmas, don’t be offended.  I’m not trying to diminish your belief in any way; I’m simply hoping that your season is a joyous one and filled with everything that you want it to be.  In other words, happy holidays.

 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday, December 11

 

Another week, and another 1.5 pounds gone; yippee!  And that’s with one totally sick day and one before that when my body must’ve known what was coming, because all it wanted was rest.  Oh, and a couple of evenings sitting immobile for hours cramming for finals.  I will gladly take the pound and a half loss in those circumstances.

I did manage to squeeze in one trip to the gym this past week, and I hope now that I’m done with school I’ll find a little more time.   I still think maybe not until this weekend, since Friday I’ve got a paralegal club commitment, and tomorrow evening I hope to put up our Christmas tree, but after that, I’m hoping to find a bit of motivation to go along with the free time.  I still would like to lose a few more pounds before our vacation, so gotta start working it.

As a slight aside, there are stories floating about that Justin Bieber was approached by a fan at a hotel swimming pool.  She was in a bikini, and he supposedly commented that she looked like a beached whale and should go on Biggest Loser.  Now, I’m a long ways past my days of fascination with teeny bopper boys, so I don’t follow the Biebs except for whatever story is making the shocking headlines of the day, and, sadly, there seem to be quite a few for him.  I would hope that no one would be so cruel and heartless as to say such a thing to anyone, much less a total stranger, and some adoring fan on top of that.  But the unfortunate commentary on our society is that it wouldn’t surprise me if the story were really true.  We have been trained to put a premium on skinny girls, preferably with blonde hair and blue eyes.  And while I can admit that I am overweight, and there are myriad reasons why I should be smaller, I’d really rather not add into my thought process the fact that a great number of folks find my size repugnant.  I especially don’t like to consider the fact that no matter what I do, I will never be skinny, (though I know from experience I can get my weight down to a far healthier number), nor will I ever be blonde-haired and blue-eyed.  (Technically, I suppose I could dye my hair, and maybe get some colored contacts or something—can you change brown to blue?—but that’s not really the point.)  The point of this little diversion is that people need to stop judging other people.  Honestly, they need to stop judging for a lot of things, but they really need to let go of the idea that anyone not a perfect size zero ought to be the subject of ridicule.  Oh, and if Bieber really did say those things, well, he should be treated like the spoiled, childish brat that he apparently is. /slight aside.

And now, back to our regular programming, the other thing I’m  had intended to do to do with a bit of free time, was spend a few nights crawling into bed before midnight.  Apparently that trend won’t start tonight, but if I hurry, it’ll be really close.  Goodnight!

 

Steps

Activities

Wednesday

11,030

Thursday

7,089

Friday

5,079

Saturday

10,335

17 min treadmill, .85 miles; 22 minutes on exer-bike, 3.25 miles

Sunday

1,886

Monday

2,525

Tuesday

7,363

 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

From the Newsroom

 

Today’s topic is not about television, but, rather, inspired by a news story on television.  Our local channel here covered the item, but it’s really a story out of Colorado. You can watch the news broadcast here, but let me tell you the headline:  Six Year Old Suspended for Sexual Harassment

Yeah, you read that right.  There’s a school in Colorado that seems to think it’s reasonable to suspend a six year old boy for being some sort of sexual predator, or something.  And, I suppose it might be possible that there is a six year old somewhere who might fit the bill, but it seems to me that you probably need to have some sort of understanding of sex before you can commit sexual harassment.  And I’m guessing the very large majority of first graders do not have that sort of understanding.

So, what did this deviant little boy do?  He kissed a girl’s hand.  And not just any girl, but his girlfriend—apparently they are a couple, at least as far as the elementary crowd can actually be a couple.  So, he wasn’t just indiscriminately touching someone, nor forcing himself on someone, he was showing affection to someone he cares about, someone who apparently cares about him, too.  And a kiss on the hand?  How chivalrous.  Hell, I wish someone would kiss me on the hand!

You know, there are a lot of crazy things that go on in schools these days, and I’ll even grant you that a lot of it probably starts in the very earliest years of schooling, so I get where educators would feel like they need to get a tight grip on behavior right from the get-go.  But in their zeal to maintain control, I think some may have lost touch with their common sense.  If you don’t want a little boy to kiss a little girl in class, even on the hand, why not just tell him so?  I mean, there are legitimate reasons why in-class PDAs may not be the most appropriate thing, but you can deal with those issues without making the kid sit at home for a day, and certainly without branding a child as some sort of sex fiend. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Rocky Start

 

So, you know that thing where you wake up feeling like crap all over, and you know you can’t drag yourself to work because you’ve got a bit of a fever and you can’t stray too far from a bathroom for too long?  But you argue with yourself, because you’d hate for anyone at the office to think you just had a rough weekend and are making excuses.  (Do people think that about 50 year old women?  I don’t know, but I know I hate calling in at all, but especially on a Monday.)

And after all that debate, you finally just accept that you’ve got to stay home, so then how you sleep on and off all day, just wanting to shake whatever bug is making its home inside you? 

And, then, how nighttime rolls around, and you don’t really feel good, but you don’t really feel tired because you slept so much during the day?  Are you with me so far?

Well, after all that, add in the fact that you’ve not only got a lot of work to do the next day, but a final exam the next evening, and I’ll be glad to tell you that it pretty much sucks. 

However, I did see a random Facebook post today that reminded me of a gift idea I’d had for someone earlier and then totally forgotten I wanted to get them, so that’s good—assuming I remember it long enough to actually buy it. 

Either way, color me not thrilled with this week so far.

 

Snapshot Sunday, December 8

 

I have pretty much done nothing all day, so why is it that I’m just now getting around to this?  Procrastination at its finest, I suppose.  And, technically, I suppose I didn’t do nothing; I did quite a bit of holiday shopping.  All online from the comfort of my couch, but shopping just the same.  There will be some evidence of that later on.  But for now, let’s take a look at the photos, shall we?

2.  Where I Stood

  Prompt:  Where I Stood.  It’s nowhere exciting, since I stand here every morning to brush my teeth, but I do like my fuzzy rug and my fuzzy slippers.



3.  Silver

 

  Prompt:  Silver.  Like I said last week, I think a lot of this month’s prompts were written with a holiday theme in mind, but there are other things going on this month besides Christmas.  And, anyway, I haven’t put up my decorations yet!



4.  Tiny

 

  Prompt:  Tiny.  This is one of my furry friends, Tiny.



5.  In the Cupboard

 

  Prompt:  In the Cupboard.  This is just some of the stuff in the cupboard that we’re going to give up almost entirely to install our new oven.  I hate to lose the storage space, but I am looking forward to a new appliance.



6.  Shadow

 

  Prompt:  Shadow.  It occurred to me as I was taking this picture that I might have taken it before.  I know we’ve had a shadow prompt before, and I know I think this is sort of a cool shadow, so it could well be a duplicate.  Oh, well.



7.  6 O'Clock

 

  Prompt:  6 O’Clock.  Well, you know the drill:  A time prompt is almost certainly never going to be captured at the AM hour.  And at 6:00PM, I was at Papa Murphy’s getting dinner.  By the way, I tried their new pan pizza, and it was yummy.



8.  I Shop Here

  Prompt:  I Shop Here.  Told you we’d get around to my shopping spree.  Like most everyone, I shop at Amazon for a lot of stuff (though they let me down on a pair of shoes I wanted to order today, but that’s sort of beside the point).  Anyway, a while back I got an email introducing Amazon Smile.  When you shop at that particular site, a small portion of your shopping gets funneled into a worthy cause of your choice.  I’m not entirely sure how it works, as Amazon was quick to point out that selection and pricing remains the same as at their flagship site, and from the item comparisons I made, it seems that’s correct.  Still, however it works, I’m willing to go to slightly different site to somehow cause a donation, no matter how small.


And that’s it for this first full week back to the photo a day challenge.  I was glad I managed to keep up at least these first few days; we’ll see how the rest of the month goes as things really start getting hectic. 

I am off to bed now; pleasant dreams to you all and a good Monday, too.



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Six Word Bedlam

 

2013 Bedlam 12-7-13

 

The underdogs pull off a win!

Feel Good Friday, December 6

 

I’m glad people share things on Facebook; it exposes me to things I might not ordinarily see or know about.  But, just as often, clicking on a link from Facebook causes me to click on another link, then another, and another.  The Internet really can be a time suck, but more times than not, I run across things that make it worthwhile.

Such was the case a day or so ago when I wandered through one of my favorite spots, Upworthy.  I don’t remember now what originally led me there, but I do remember the story of Mushy, a high school student in England struggling to overcome a stammer.  This is the original video I saw:

But this video had a link to Mushy’s “full story”, and after seeing these few minutes, I knew I wanted to see more.  It turns out that he was featured on a reality TV show called Educating Yorkshire.  Typically I’m not much of a fan of reality television, but if all eight episodes of this show were as good as Mushy’s episode, I might be persuaded to reconsider my view of the genre.  Oh, and I love that Mushy’s teacher was willing to try something he saw in a movie; that’s a man after my own heart!

If you enjoyed the five minute condensed version, and if you’ve got half an hour to spare, you can see more of Mushy here:

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Great Man Lost

 

I’m sure that I won’t be the only person who feels compelled to write a few words about the passing of Nelson Mandela, and others will likely have much more profound words than mine.  And, really, the main thing I am thinking is that I was truly saddened to learn of his passing, and that I think the world was probably better with him than without. 

Beyond that, I thought rather than try to say something about who the man was, I would let a few of his own words do the talking for me: 

“I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days."

"Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies."

"Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."

"A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of."

"It always seems impossible until it's done."

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

I think the best thing that could be done to honor him is to try and live these words.  Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday, December 4

 

Wow, a day with less than a thousand steps!  I’m hanging my head in shame, though the truth is I napped an awful lot of Friday.  But isn’t that what long weekends are for? 

Anyway, believe it or not, even with so little activity, and even over the Thanksgiving break, I managed to lose two pounds last week.  I’m hoping I can keep it off and even add to it, even though my best laid plans have not gotten me to the gym in weeks.

Steps

Activities

Wednesday

9,446

Thursday

5,520

Friday

577

Saturday

3,258

Sunday

10,556

Monday

9,602

Tuesday

7,240

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

No TV Tuesday

 

 

On this Tube Day Tuesday, I have two things to say.  The first is that I heard on the radio this morning that today was the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  This really annoyed me, because I thought if only TPTB had waited one measly week longer, they could have aired this wonderful classic with a great build up of the awesome anniversary, plus had the added benefit of being appropriately shown after Thanksgiving.  Well, a quick check of sources say that the radio DJ was incorrect; Rudolph seems to have premiered on December 6, 1964, which not only makes today the wrong date, but also only 49 years ago.  But I’m still annoyed the network didn’t wait to air it. 

The second thing is that I have made the conscious decision not to watch any TV today.  And probably not tomorrow, either.  Why?  Because I’m tired.  It’s almost 10:30 as I sit here writing this; I’ve been home less than an hour, scarfed down some dinner, and still need to do a little homework.  And tonight isn’t really unusual; this is pretty close to my normal schedule.  So, even if I only watch one program every night, that still pushes things out at least another 45 minutes to an hour before I’m in bed, and usually I try to watch at least one program plus the news, so that’s closer to an hour and a half. You can see why I’m rarely in bed before midnight.  And if there’s more homework than normal, or more than one show that I really want to see right away, it can be as late as 1:00 or even 2:00 before I call it a night.

But tonight, I’m not going to give into that repeating cycle, even as much as I might enjoy the television viewing aspect of it.  I’m tired, and I want to go to bed soon, so no TV for me tonight.  And, as I say, probably not tomorrow, either, to give myself a chance to try and catch up on rest.  But we are expecting a winter storm to move in Thursday, so the Wednesday nightly weather report could be helpful, but I’ll just check it on the computer quickly, or have Brian watch and let me know what to expect. 

So, for two days, no TV and extra rest; I think that sounds like a really good plan.  But if you’re wondering why only two days off, when I could probably get really caught up on my rest (not to mention studying for finals) if I pushed my boycott just a few days longer, well, that’s an easy answer:  Thursday will bring with it a new episode of White Collar, and we all know Peter and Neal come first, right?

So from my strangely quiet living room, I will bid you good night.

Confessions of a Non-Shopper

 

ID-10042720

   I’ll confess:  I went Black Friday shopping once, many, many years ago, and I can’t say I have any desire to ever do it again.

  And, though I will almost surely do the vast majority of my shopping online, the only thing I purchased today was a pair of exercise pants for myself.  (Don’t judge; these things are expensive, and they were 40% off!)

  I think maybe it’s another of those sneaky little signs of growing old, that I no longer have any sense of fun and excitement when it comes to the actual execution of the holiday shopping.  I just want to find nice gifts, and do it without a bunch hassles—no crowds, no slow page loads.  That might make me something of an old grouch, but I think maybe I can live with that. 


Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Snapshot Sunday, December 1

 

What?  Snapshot Sunday?  Did you think maybe you’d stepped into some sort of time warp when you saw that?  I sort of did when I wrote it.  But, it’s almost the end of the year, time to move into other things as the new year rolls around, and since it’s been many months since I’d played along with Chantelle’s Photo a Day Challenge, I thought I’d try and end the year getting back into some of the fun.

Of course, the end of the year is a busy time of year, not to mention I’ve got finals in a couple of weeks and still a bit of homework to do before buckling down to study for them, so even though finding a daily picture will be just one more thing to do, I’m hoping it will also serve as a bit of a distraction from some of the hectic bits.DECEMBER-PHOTO-A-DAY

So, first, a look at this month’s prompt list: 

Looks like some fun things, appropriately heavy on the holiday focus, though maybe it’ll be more fun to diverge from that just a little bit now and then.  We’ll see. 



So, let’s get this party started with the first picture of the month, with a prompt of RED.

1.  Red

   

  Nope, no holiday theme to start the month for me, just some juicy red fruit sitting on my countertop.

 

   And, that’s it for this week’s return to Snapshot Sunday.  We’ll see what the camera finds in the coming days.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Six Word Convection

 

 

KitchenAid® 27-Inch Convection Double Wall Oven, Architect® Series II

 

  

 

      Got a new toy coming soon!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Feel Good Friday, November 29

Really, this should probably be “Feel Lazy Friday”, since lazy is absolutely what I’ve been today.  My day’s agenda looked like this:  sleep in, move from bed to couch, eat some leftovers, nap, watch football/play on computer, eat a bowl of cereal, watch more football, and I think I’ll probably end it with an early bed time.  I’m not really a stranger to lazy days, but this one was pretty extreme, even for me.  But I guess extra days off work are the perfect day for that, especially when we’re about to move into a whirlwind few weeks, so I’m not feeling too bad about it.

But, there’s something else to make you feel good, besides my incredibly carefree and unproductive day, and that’s this video by a cute kid.  In all the words that we say day in and day out, there are some that just aren’t used enough, and Kid President would like to remind us of the things we say more often.

Enjoy, and if we ever get together, the corn dogs are on me.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013


thanksgiving 11-2-12

 

 

 

 

 

 


Image courtesy of debspoons at

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s been a long day.  The alarm went off only about half an hour later than any other day of the week, and still slightly before the sun came up.  But sometimes—a lot of times, really—good times require some effort.  And today was good times.  The family was here for lunch and we visited and laughed and ate a whole bunch of food.  I’m thankful that we have the opportunity.

And, as I spent my first Thanksgiving without Granny, I realized how fortunate I was to have her for as many as I did.  At my office, three of us have lost our grandmothers in the past few months, and I am by far the oldest of the trio; I know that I had a gift many, many people do not.  And while Billy may never have gotten to know my mother, he was blessed to grow up with a great-grandmother who adored him.  Today I am particularly grateful for that.

Honestly, as I sit here, tired, full, and reflecting on a good day and a good life, I am simply grateful.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday, November 27

 

Not quite a half pound this week—only .3—but I’m glad to be moving downward again.  Seriously running out of time before vacation, so I nee to get serious about getting back in shape.  Won’t be easy this time of year, what with being even more busy than usual and surrounded by tons of food, but I’ve got to give it a try.

And, speaking of all the food, I just made my cooking chart for tomorrow and realized I have to be up by about 630 in the morning, so I really ought to head on off to bed. 

Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving.

 

Steps

Activities

Wednesday

9,511

Thursday

8,970

Friday

8,463

Saturday

7,198

Sunday

7,091

Monday

5,544

Tuesday

11,729

The Season of Repeats

 

As with so many things, there’s both good and bad in the typical television approach of handling the holiday season and it’s accompanying programming.  And what is that typical approach?, you might ask.  Mostly, it’s avoidance. 

Fear of low ratings prevents a great many network shows from airing new episodes during the height of holiday season, and as a forever-fan of the medium, I have to say I’m not in love with the mentality.  I get it; you have to compete with holiday programming, some of it truly classic.  You have to compete with holiday activities in the real world, that simply keep people away from the living room TV.  And you have to compete with viewers’ sheer exhaustion, that makes people stay away from anything that requires too much effort.  (And let’s face it, sometimes keeping up with some of these ongoing storylines takes a lot of work.)

But, it’s also a time when some people might actually have some extra time to watch television, and maybe they’d like to spend some of their holiday break watching favorite television programs without having to wait days or even weeks to pull it off the DVR.  But a lot of times, that isn’t an option, as the networks either show reruns throughout the season, or pull a show off the air for their own holiday programming.  I really get tired of reruns this time of year. 

But the good side of that equation?  Well, all that classic holiday programming I mentioned earlier.  And even some of the new holiday programming that comes out each year (maybe we’ll get a good Hallmark movie out of the deal this year).  And, of course, the whole point—when I’m super-duper busy with shopping and planning and finals, I don’t have to try to squeeze in quite as many hours of television viewing . . . though I’d gladly do it!

And, this year, I’ll also have some vacation preparation to add into the mix, plus tons of stuff that needs to come off my DVR, so I certainly have plenty to keep my busy.  But I still get awfully tired of reruns this time of year.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Short Follow-Up

 

If you saw my post yesterday, you know I’m a little bit annoyed at the folks over at CBS who have decided that this year it would be a good idea to air the timeless Christmas classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, two days before Thanksgiving.  And it’s not just CBS annoying me, but the whole segment of society that just won’t let us finish one holiday before beginning on the other. 

Well, I was really ticked off yesterday, and a blog post wasn’t sufficient venting, so I also made a quick post to Facebook.  I was glad to see that most people agreed with my idea that Christmas is simply arriving far too soon if it’s happening before Thanksgiving. 

So, I was amused when someone shared this little beauty to my timeline today:

Sure, it defiles Rudolph just a little bit (though probably not much more than showing the poor guy on Tuesday before Thanksgiving), but it still made me lough out loud.  Put down the Christmas cheer and back away slowly, and nobody gets hurt.

*No reindeer were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Too Soon

 

I really feel like I’m turning into some sort of cranky old woman.  A lot of things annoy me these days that I used to pretty much take in stride—loud restaurants, crowded stores, cold weather, whining kids—I could probably come up with a much longer list.  Honestly, I’m probably not even another birthday away from yelling out the front door, “You kids stay off my lawn!”  You get the picture.  But there is something else that’s been bothering me for quite a few years, so maybe it’s not entirely a sign of encroaching crankiness, but it is really irking me this year.  

And just what is so egregious?  The way the trappings of Christmas show up earlier and earlier every year, that’s what. 

I saw my first Christmas commercial a good two weeks ago, maybe more.  My Facebook feed has been peppered with people tuning in to the holiday movies on the cable stations for almost that long.  And sometime in the past week, the local radio station that annually transforms into the Christmas music station on Thanksgiving day must’ve lost track of the calendar, because that transformation has already taken place, even though Thanksgiving is still several days away. 

But the thing that really pushed me over the edge was when I was watching TV tonight and saw a commercial for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Yes, it’s a classic.  Yes, I love to watch it every year.  And, yes, if I’m ever lucky enough to have grandchildren, I hope it’s still being shown so they can enjoy it, too.  But I don’t want to watch it Tuesday, when I’ll still be making plans for Thursday, otherwise known as Thanksgiving.  That’s just too early. 

I know that I’ve been bothered by this for quite a while, because when I wrote about it last year, it was really a recycling of a piece from years earlier.  But it seems so much worse this year.  I get that Thanksgiving is late this year, so all the advertisers and money-makers are likely worried they won’t have quite as much time to work everyone into a holiday frenzy and take every last penny from our pockets, but still.  Rudolph in November?  That’s just really going too far.  I won’t be watching this year, because some things just shouldn’t happen.  Not that the people who make these decisions care what I think, of course,  They probably won’t even listen when I start telling them to stay off my lawn. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Six Words, Fifty Years

 

 

Ultimate Top 10 Lists on Anglophenia


Happy anniversary to you know WHO!