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Friday, August 30, 2013
A couple of weeks ago, the hostess of Five Question Friday decided to hang up the question marks and call the whole thing off. That left me without a theme for the day and wondering what I’d use to fill the spot. Well, at least for today, I’ve decided to try out the idea of Facebook Friday.
Like most people (I assume), I’ve got a Facebook feed full of all sorts of pictures, motivational thoughts, snarky cartoons, videos, links to websites, and offers to buy stuff. Oh, and every now and then, my friends actually post something about themselves and their lives, though it can be easy to overlook amid all the other stuff. Still, I have to admit that even though I scroll pretty quickly through some of the random stories on my page, I do take the time to look at quite a bit of them. Sometimes, clicking a link leaves me feeling like I’ve just spent a couple of minutes of life I’ll never get back, but sometimes, every once in a while, something on Facebook really resonates with me.
And that’s what Facebook Friday is about: something that came to me via my social media feed that made me laugh, cry, think, feel—just something that meant something to me in the moment and made my day a little better than it had been. I don’t know how often I might want to visit the theme, but this week there was definitely something that deserves sharing.
This story is simple—a 96 year old man lost his wife and wanted to honor her memory, and some decent folks found a way to help him do just that. Spend ten minutes with Fred and Sweet Lorraine; I think you’ll be glad you did. Though, if you’re like me, it might be good to keep a tissue handy.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
A friend of mine had to have his cat put to sleep tonight. This was the last of a feline family that he’s had for . . . I don’t know how long, close to twenty years, I’d guess. It’s very sad. I’ve been there, and I know how difficult it is to make a decision that is best for your furbaby but oh, so hard on you. People try to say the right things, like “she’s no longer suffering” and variations thereof, but there really aren’t any words that make it better. I said them, too, even though I know they don’t really help. I think we say them more for ourselves than anything.
Image courtesy of athiwat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Of course, it’s not exactly like losing a person; I think we can all make that distinction, even those of us who cherish our pets. But person or not, they do become family, and for my friend, that cat was his only close-by family, as he lives states apart from his siblings. And though he certainly has friends—good friends—where he is, he is also separated from those of us who have known him the longest. I worry that this is the sort of thing that’s difficult to handle alone, worry that he will withdraw into himself for at least a while, and won’t let anyone help him. That’s sad, too, knowing that my friend will have a hole in his life that he’ll try to fill all on his own. No one should have to do that.
I hope he can feel my love and thoughts wafting his way. And I hope his healing begins soon.
I’m taking a break from Weight Loss Wednesday this week. In the first place, I still haven’t lost any weight (though my pants are still getting a bit looser by the day, so that’s still encouraging), so there isn’t much to report in that department.
Much more importantly, though, is the fact that some events were so impactful in our society that they should be commemorated by our society, even by lowly bloggers such as myself. Today we mark such an event.
When Martin Luther King, Jr. stepped before hundreds of thousands of believers in Washington, D.C. and uttered the words that would ring out through the next fifty years, I was eleven days old, so I can hardly claim to be any sort of an expert on what the world was like on that day. Also, I am a white woman, so I cannot claim to fully understand the hatred and oppression that these true believers marched against. But I also like to think of myself as a person of empathy, and a person of fairness, so I certainly can try to understand the injustice that was so prevalent in our society, and I can recognize a leader who tried to change that society for the better.
Today I work in a law firm that specializes in employment law, and if I ever wondered about whether this historic march had accomplished its goals or this impassioned speech had really made a difference, I only would have to take a look at the issues that came through our office every day for an answer. A simple scan of clients’ complaints reveals that while we may have come a very long way in the past fifty years, we still have farther to go. We may no longer have segregated facilities, or blatant “whites only” employment policies, but it seems that every day people are treated differently because of the color of their skin. That is not the dream that Dr. King spoke of; it is not the society that he envisioned.
So as we mark this fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, maybe we should take a moment to reflect on what those hundreds of thousands of people were marching for, and the dream that one brave man foretold, and simply ask ourselves whether our daily actions help or hurt that cause.
I am grateful that even though I grew up in a time where I had (a few) black classmates, and in a town where people were (mostly) accepting of others, when marches and riots and all the rest seemed a world away, I was still raised to recognize Dr. King as a man of honor who was to be respected, as someone who spoke the truth. As I sit here now thinking of his truth, and recognizing again his eloquence and conviction, I know that there is nothing I can say that could hope to improve upon what he has already said. So, I will just say that my own dream is simple: that his dream will someday come true.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
In the intervening week since the last Tube Day Tuesday, USA Network has finally come out with the answer I’ve been waiting on: White Collar returns on October 17!
Really, I don’t think there’s much else I need to add to that joyful news; I’m just beyond thrilled. At first, I was sure I’d have to wait until November for new episodes, so a few extra weeks early makes me very happy. It even helps take a little bit of the edge off the earlier-released information that there would be fewer episodes in this upcoming season. Not because WC is doing poorly, or anything like that, but because its creator, Jeff Eastin, has another show on USA right now, too—Graceland. In order to accommodate both schedules, something had to give. And I even understand that the well-established program is the logical one to have to give up a little bit, even though I’m not thrilled with it. So I’m glad to have happier news of a confirmed return date.
Oh, and in even earlier news, a few weeks back, they also released the street date for season 4 DVDs, and presented the cover art work. The DVDs are coming out October 8, which probably should have been my clue that the show would return to the air earlier than I thought—ever since the first season, they’ve been very good at releasing the DVD sets just a week or so prior to the show’s return. Glad to see they’re holding true to form on that one.
As for the cover art, I was very happy with that bit of news, too.
For the first time, the cover will feature both characters, rather than just Neal. About time! I can’t believe it’s taken them this long to figure out that Peter Burke brings as much to this show as his partner. Still, better late than never.
And that’s all the White Collar news for today. If you want to get a peak at the upcoming season five, too, just check out the promo below.
And mark those calendars for October 17.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
I’ve never been one of those folks to get on the “big brother” kick. If “they” (whoever they may be) want to put cameras at all the intersections to make it easier to catch folks with traffic violations, I’m not too worked up about it. Sure, it’s lazy police work, but maybe it saves a few bucks. GPS tags in license plates? Well, I’m not sure exactly why they would need that, but I’m not going anywhere I’d be ashamed to be found, so I don’t have any real privacy privacy objection to it.
Even in my computer browsing, I don’t take a lot of steps to hide my history, or block cookies, or anything along those lines. But, here’s something that bothers me: those targeted sponsored posts on Facebook. You know the ones, they’re about some product or service that you were just browsing for in another window. Like I said, I’m not doing anything I’m ashamed of—not even on the web—but that doesn’t mean I want people poking around in my search history just to try and sell me something. It seems like that crosses a line that ought not to be crossed, even for me. It might not be exactly “big brother”, but it does seem awfully rude.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This week Brian emailed me all of the open enrollment information from his work. I haven’t yet had the strength to open it.
I can’t be the only person who dreads sorting through all the provider options when it’s time to choose insurance again, right? I mean, yes, it’s important, and I’m glad we have options, but it’s just so overwhelming. The premiums are the easy part to compare, but all that really helps you do is rule out the ones you know you can’t afford. Then you have to get down to the real nitty-gritty—coverages, deductibles, networks, the list goes on and on.
I’ll admit, there have been plenty of years that I’ve just looked at the information long enough to determine if we would still be insured if we just left everything exactly as it was, and then I just let it ride. Last year, with my change in job status and associated loss of benefits, I pored over Brian’s information painstakingly, trying to find a way to duplicate the vision and dental benefits we’d had with my job without spending a small fortune. Then, I went and let open season pass me by without making a final decision. I was beyond annoyed. This year has to be different, if for no other reason than I’m pretty sure I need a new prescription for my glasses. And, I’ve got some weirdo condition with my eyes (I never can remember what they call it) that makes me have to get really expensive lenses; I need some insurance to help offset that. Billy’s contacts are at least normal enough, but they’re still not cheap. And Brian has reading glasses, along with day and night driving glasses. Yeah, some vision insurance could be really helpful. If only I didn’t have to sort through all of that paperwork to make it happen.
And, yes, I am very much aware that this is what the Internet likes to refer to as a #firstworldproblem. I do recognize how fortunate I am to even have the big pile of papers to sort through and the freedom to choose. But that doesn’t make it any less overwhelming, and I really wish there was an easier way.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Week one of the fall semester is in the books. And none too soon, seeing as how I’m sitting here now barely able to keep my eyes open. I just have to glance at my task list to know that I’ve been busy, and I’ve still got plenty of items left to occupy my time for a while yet. But, this final day was a pretty good culmination of the rest of the week.
I think I have mentioned that we’re re-launching the paralegal club at our school. It hasn’t been active for several years now, so we decided it’s time to do something about that. We kicked off with a “mixer”, giving the students a chance to get know each other, mingle with the professors, and eat some free food. What better way to spend a couple of hours on a Friday night?
I have to say that I would never have thought getting a school club up and running could be such an ordeal, but it certainly has not been a walk in the park. And who knew a smallish community college could have so much bureaucracy? But we persevered, and the Paralegal Student Association officially got under way tonight.
Not that everything went off without a hitch—does anything, ever? In fact, I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that one of the reasons schools encourage such organizations is so the students get some practice dealing with the frustrations of committees and red tape and things that just don’t go as planned, you know, part of a well-rounded education to prepare for the real world. Yet another advantage of returning to school so late in life is that I’ve been dealing with all that real world nonsense for years. You wouldn’t think that would be something to brag about, but the strangest things can come in handy sometimes.
So, we had our launch party, and everyone seemed to have a pretty good time—good enough that they were willing to commit to coming back for a chapter meeting in a couple of weeks, so things are off to a pretty good start. I think we can be proud of ourselves, knowing that this busy week was an overall success, and that we’re well-positioned to continue to succeed going forward.
Now, where’s the rest of that list?
Friday, August 23, 2013
Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I’m kind of melancholy today, thinking about the way people grow apart as they go through their lives. I don’t have an answer for it, of course, just thinking about it. And, as with many painful things, sometimes the parting is even for the best, but that doesn’t really make it any better.
The flip side of those who drift away, though, is those who drift into your life as you go along, bringing with them the fun and excitement of new friendship and all the promise that brings. And because I think we’re programmed to try and find the good, we usually welcome these people with no thought to the idea that they could someday be the ones drifting on out of our lives.
But I suppose that ebb and flow of people is only natural, even if there are those you thought would probably be around forever who have now drifted away. And it brings up the age-old question of whether it really is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all. I come down firmly on the side of “yes” when answering that question, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t times when the concept weighs heavy on my heart.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Another decent week for steps, at least overall—vacations can be great for the step count— but still very inconsistent. I really am trying to work on that.
And I’m not sure when I became an emotional eater, but sometime within my adulthood it seems to have happened. For me, the trigger is definitely stress. At my old job, that was a really bad thing, seeing as how the place was powered by stress and I was miserably unhappy for the last couple of years I was there. Even so, I had somehow managed to control the eating. Now, it’s a different kind of stress, a much lower level kind of thing, but I seem to have lost the control. I’m pretty sure there are entire professions built around helping people figure out why things push their buttons and how to deal with it without stuffing food into their face, but I’m hoping I won’t need to go quite that far to get myself under control. Every day is a new challenge, so I’ll just keep on keeping on.
33 mins treadmill, 1.77 miles
35 mins treadmill, 2.45 miles
Sad news from the television world yesterday with the apparent suicide of Lee Thompson Young. (The authorities have not yet issued a definitive cause of death, but Young’s publicist has confirmed that he took his own life.)
I never saw him in his first big vehicle, The Famous Jett Jackson, but I’ve been watching Rizzoli and Isles since it premiered a few years ago, and I was very fond of his character, Barry Frost. Of course, the loss to the program is at the bottom of the list of priorities right now, with his family and friends suffering a much greater loss than fans of a fictional character.
Still, there is the reality of the job he left behind. Just last week Rizzoli and Isles was renewed for another season, and they were in the process of filming what I assume is the tail end of their current season when this tragedy occurred. The show has shut down production for a couple of days, both to allow co-workers to cope and to evaluate what this means to the program. I don’t know what the powers that be will ultimately decide in terms of dealing with a now-missing character, but I’m going to go on record as saying that I think it would be nice if the show could somehow take the opportunity to address the almost-taboo subject of suicide and depression. Obviously, I don’t know the circumstances behind Mr. Young’s decision to end his life—probably no one ever will—but I am quite confident that depression played a role. And I’m not saying that R&I necessarily needs to go the route of a “very special episode”, but I think there are far too many people in our world who feel that depth of depression but think they’re the only ones, and I think media—even entertainment media—should take what opportunities are presented to try and make a positive difference in society. If even one person could see an episode of a television show that could somehow make clear that other options exist, then the episode would be worthwhile.
Of course, it might be far too difficult for the cast to deal with a storyline that had Frost the victim of suicide, and I completely understand that. Some things are just too close to home. But maybe Frost could be called back home to help out after losing a family member to suicide. That would still give the show the opportunity to have a discussion about the topic and perhaps raise some awareness. At the very, very least, I believe the show needs to do a PSA during the first episode without him, maybe others. (I haven’t seen tonight’s episode yet, so I don’t know if they addressed it in any way during commercial breaks.)
As I said, I can’t begin to guess at the despair Young was feeling to lead him down such a dark and desolate road, but I know 29 years old is far too young to die. And if television can make a difference in the life of another struggling young person, it should do what it can.
RIP, Lee Thompson Young, and I hope that you have found the peace you needed.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
“I am definitely going to take a course on time management... just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.” ~Louis E. Boone
This quote makes me laugh; I think it pretty much sums up the way we live our lives these days. I worked my butt off for the last two semesters so that this final term of school I would have an easy schedule. And I do—only six hours. I do still have to be on campus four days a week—which really sucks, by the way—but it still feels like a pretty easy workload compared to the nine hours I just finished in summer school or the eighteen I packed in back in the spring.
But, of course, rather than trying to kick back and enjoy the relative ease of the schedule, I’m filling my time with other things. Phi Theta Kappa always needs something, and now we’re trying to get the Paralegal Student Association (PSA( up and running. Today and tomorrow we’ve got campus-wide back to school activities, so I took a long lunch and ran over to the campus to help support my clubs, then hurried back to work to finish up some actual work, then rushed back to campus for tonight’s class. Then, a quick trip to the gym before heading home. And I’ll do it all again tomorrow, with the added pressure of an important motion that has to be put on file before the day is over.
Wednesday I’ll take my normal lunch hour to drive over to the school and talk to a new group of students about the paralegal club and then Thursday I imagine I’ll have to work through lunch to make up some time. Finally, Friday will roll around and then it will be time for the Back to School Mixer the PSA is sponsoring.
Then, by the weekend, I figure I’ll have the first round of homework to churn out, just so I can drop into bed Sunday night to get ready to do it all again, only the details will change. I’m not sure when life became so busy, but I’m not sure I entirely approve, even if most of the business is of my own making.
Heading off to bed now, while there are still a few minutes left in Monday.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
I will try to update this post with a few photos in the next day or so, but for now I'll just say that the water gardens are definitely worth seeing, as is the botanic garden, but the cattle drive is overrated.
It was nice to just spend a couple days doing nothing, spending time together, and just having fun. Tomorrow school will begin again, and it will be time to buckle down for one more semester, but this was the perfect way to unwind on the last weekend of my abbreviated summer.
And, we finally started making some more specific plans for my graduation trip--looks like maybe a cruise in January. I do love to travel (anywhere, for any reason and for any amount of time), but the planning is almost as much fun as the going. Now I've got something fun to get me through the final semester.
If you could be planning a trip, where would you be going?
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Saturday, August 17, 2013
Friday, August 16, 2013
It’s another August 16, another anniversary of my mother’s death. Last year was something of a milestone—20 years—but the truth is, every year I feel the same ache and sadness.
This year there’s a song that’s helping me through, though as is often the case with music, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between what makes you feel good and what makes you sad. I’ve heard this song twice today, and both times I’ve cried. And I’d be lying if I said today was the first time it’s ever brought tears to my eyes. Mostly, though, it brings me some small feeling of peace, so that’s what I will focus on.
And it’s from a home girl, Oklahoma native Carrie Underwood. I don’t know if that makes it better, but I know that I love this song, even if it makes me cry. I think the truth is like that.
I think it is a sure sign of old age that upon thinking of the Woodstock Music Festival your thoughts always turn to the idea of how difficult it must have been to find someplace to go to the bathroom and that there would have been no way to grab even a few good hours of sleep during those hectic three days. Of course, this is not to trivialize what a truly cool event the festival must have been, only to say that it’s been a really long time since I thought of it as “cool”.
The massive gathering took place over forty years ago, kicking off on this date way back in 1969 (well, it was August 15; an unexpected snooze means I’ll be posting today’s entry after midnight). I was just about to turn six, and though I’m certain the event must have garnered all sorts of attention from the national news, I have zero recollection of hearing about it. But as I was growing up, the name Woodstock got tossed around frequently, whispered like kids were talking about the Promised Land. You see, back in my youth, the idea of Woodstock conjured much more pleasant thoughts than huge crowds and limited facilities. Even though the musicians that made up the festival were not so much my cup of tea—then or now—I still could appreciate the idea of such rock royalty appearing out in the middle of a field, performing for the masses, really bringing people together. And that part of it really is still cool, even as old as I am.
Today’s counterpart is, I guess, the Bonnaroo festival that goes on every year out in Tennessee. My son has always wanted to go, and I hope he’ll get the opportunity to do that sometime before all he can worry about is how he’ll be able to go to the bathroom or grab a few winks during the weekend. But me, I’ll be staying home.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Made it to the gym four times this week, though I have to admit it wasn’t without some strong self talking to, especially on Sunday, when I just really did not want to drag myself out of the house. I’m always glad once I’m there, though—dig out the iPod and watch an episode of White Collar while I work up a sweat. It’s actually a pretty good way to spend some time. (Though every time I’m there I think I really wish I’d get a spectacular bonus so I could try to justify spending cash on an iPad and have a bigger screen for watching!) The visits helped me meet my step goal for the first time in a while, even exceeded it by a couple of thousand. Got to try to make that a habit.
But, the downside is that I didn’t drop any weight, even with my gym diligence. However, I have lost an inch from my hips and almost that much from from my stomach, so there is some progress. I’m hanging on to that.
43 mins treadmill, 2.27 miles
32 mins treadmill, 2.27 miles
51 mins treadmill, 3.61 miles
46 mins treadmill, 3.18 miles
The news from Hollywood today is that Sandra Oh will be leaving Grey’s Anatomy at the end of the coming season. As a faithful Grey’s viewer since the very beginning, this makes me sad.
Oh, I’ll admit that it took a while for me to warm up to Christina Yang, the prickly, know-it-all surgeon that Oh has been playing for the past ten years. And, even once I grew to like her, there were still times I slipped back into not liking her again. In truth, I haven’t been in love with her this past season, but it’s been kind of a weird time for a lot of the characters, dealing with the aftermath of the plane crash and all. I was sure that Christina would find her way back into my good graces.
But while her absence will be felt in and of itself, it’s really the impact on the other characters I wonder about most. Notably, of course, Christina’s ex-(and future?) husband, Owen Hunt. They are better together than either of them are apart, so it will be interesting to see what becomes of him. Though, like Christina in general, theirs has been a weird relationship all season.
Mostly, though, how does Christina’s absence impact Meredith Grey. They are the best of friends—each other’s “person”—and I already feel bad for Meredith going on without Christina. And, incidentally, I’m assuming that “going on without” means that Christina ends up taking some spectacular job somewhere else and moves away, or goes to find her true self in the Himalayas, or something, but that she continues on somewhere else. There’s been far too much death at Seattle Grace lately. Or, more accurately, at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, which just goes to prove my point: when your hospital is named after two now-deceased characters, there’s been way too much dying going on. So I’ll spend the next season preparing myself and Meredith to say goodbye to Christina, all the while hoping goodbye won’t be forever.
Monday, August 12, 2013
A while back, I was browsing through a list of prompt ideas, just looking for something that might strike my fancy. As is often the case when looking at those sorts of things, something I read sent me off on some sort of tangent and I found myself something to write about, even though it wasn’t something on the list.
But, there were several of the actual prompts that had sort of intrigued me, and I kept thinking I should go back and address them specifically, and today seems like as good a day as any to deal with one of them.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Prompt: Describe what happiness means to you in 100 words
At first, I thought maybe the easiest way to answer this prompt would be a simple list of 100 single-word things that make me happy, and I’ll admit that the idea held some allure. But even with a hundred individual items, there would undoubtedly be something really important that I’d leave off (yes, that many things make me happy), and that doesn’t seem fair.
So, to smash it down into one or two basic thoughts, I’ll say that happiness is having the things you need, dreaming of the things you want, and family and friends to share it all.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Image courtesy of Teeratas at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
On my first non-Snapshot Sunday in a while, I’m not straying far from the topic of photographs—in fact, not straying at all. It’s just that they’re not my photos today, but pictures from the other side of the world and the technology and skill that could save them.
There are places on the web that I like to browse from time to time, for no reason other than to see what might be interesting today. One of those interesting places is the home to TED talks, a site with a tag line of “ideas worth spreading”. You never know what you might find there, and it’s a fun place to spend a little time.
So it was that I was browsing there on a lazy Sunday evening and came across a talk from last summer. It’s all about photos that were damaged during the horrific tsunami in Japan a couple of years ago. Damaged, recovered, and restored. There’s nothing necessarily earth-shattering about this particular talk; it’s just the experience of one woman trying to do a little something to help total strangers as they dealt with a disaster that destroyed countless lives. I think it’s encouraging and uplifting to hear these tales, when people try to do what they can to make the world a little bit better. The fact that this particular tale is also about a subject that is near and dear to my heart—the importance of photos—just makes it that much better for me.
So, if you’ve got about ten minutes, listen to this story of the photographs and those who tried to save them. And, when you’ve got even more time to spend, wander through the TED talks and see what inspires you.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
So, as I’ve been doing every Friday for quite some time now, I dropped by Mama M’s place to check out the questions for the day. But, instead of questions, I found sad news: Five Question Friday has been put on an indefinite hiatus.
Having just retired one of my own blog themes—and not even one that’s a link-up that requires attention beyond putting my own fingers to keyboard— I can understand how she feels about reaching the “have to” stage of something. And she’s right, at those moments, it’s far better to opt out than to try to do something you really don’t want to do anymore.
So, while I admire her courage in laying to rest something that’s been very successful on her blog, now I have to worry about what it means for mine. (It’s all about me, you know!) In the space of one short week, two of my theme days have now gone by the wayside. Maybe that’s some sort of sign that it’s time for a change here, too, though I’m not sure what. As I said before, I’d like to replace those days with new and exciting themes, I just need to figure out what those new themes might be.
Of course, it won’t be the end of the world if I just have to chatter about random thoughts for a while on Fridays and Sundays, or maybe browse around the great World Wide Web and try out a few memes and themes and see if any really feel good to me. One of the most beautiful things about blogging really is the fact that I’m free to do whatever I dang well please; there’s definitely a certain liberation in that feeling that doesn’t come from too many other parts of life.
So, I’m putting my thinking cap on, but I’m jamming it tight onto my head because I’m just going to see where the wind blows me.
Friday, August 9, 2013
Maybe it’s because I’ve never been much of a girly girl. Or because I don’t think buying a pair of shoes should be like paying off the national debt of a small country. Or maybe just because I’m old and cantankerous. Whatever the reason, I don’t like shoe shopping.
There, I said it. Alert the fashion police and I’ll go quietly.
Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Maybe the real problem is not so much that I don’t like shoe shopping as it is that I just don’t particularly like shoes. So many of them are less than attractive and absolutely uncomfortable. I’d live in sneakers, if it was up to me.
So it was with this frame of reference that I came upon a sponsored post on Facebook. (You know those things, right? They’re the advertisements you see while scrolling through your newsfeed.) Anyway, it was a post for tieks, “luxurious ballet flats”. As the name implies, they were simple, flexible flats, which is definitely my kind of footwear. And, they came in a whole palette of colors, which is handy. If shoes really are comfortable, I’d like to have several pair and maybe minimize the shopping ordeal next time around. So score one for the marketing team: I clicked the link.
I should’ve known I was in trouble when the shopping area of the website was called a “boutiek”, but I kept browsing. The shoes did look mighty comfortable, and the choice of color was astounding. To be so promising this far along in the process, I was starting to get a little bit excited. I’m currently in need of some navy shoes, so I decided to take a look, and this pair seemed perfect. Right up until the $165 price tag.
What? Almost two hundred bucks? For shoes? I don’t spend that much on my sneakers, and as I said, I could live in them. Ridiculous. And, yes, I’m well aware that there are plenty of shoes with much higher price tags than that, but that’s just exponentially more ridiculous. And besides, none of those really high-end options have shown up in my Facebook feed trying to pass themselves off as comfortable footwear for daily wear.
I don’t know how this pricing trend got started, but I’m pretty sure that no matter how luxurious these particular flats are, they can’t be worth that kind of money. Of course, the problem is that you can’t not have shoes, and I think the shoemakers are well aware of that, so they’ve begun a “whatever the market will bear” type of attitude. Again, ridiculous.
Instead of some sort of sticker shock reaction, I’d much rather this post be about successfully finding—and enjoying—a new pair of navy flats. Maybe even a review of a new shoe, and how it compares to others in its category. But the truth is, those tieks were the best ones I’ve run across as yet, so instead, all I can do is tell you that my search continues. And in the meantime, the tieks ad is still showing up in my newsfeed, and my subconscious just keeps trying to come up with reasons a shoe is worth $165. But I don’t think the marketing folks are going to win this one.
Have I mentioned that I really don’t like shoe shopping?
Thursday, August 8, 2013
No weight lost this week, though I am beginning to feel my muscles begin to tighten just a bit, so yay for that. I am also beginning to find just smallest amount of energy boost coming my way, though I am still sitting here pretty darn exhausted tonight! I know it’s just a matter of patience—well, that, and actually getting my activity level up!—but I sure would feel a lot better if the weight would start changing.
39 mins on treadmill, 2.62 miles
30 mins treadmill, 2.08 miles
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
As I mentioned earlier this summer, Matt Smith, the current star of Doctor Who, has decided that this is his final season with the show. I’ve still not really dealt with that disappointment, and it’s entirely possible that there will be tears when it comes regeneration time, but it’s time to start moving on. To almost-quote Four, the end is near, but the moment has been prepared for.
This past weekend, with much fanfare, the BBC announced their selection for Twelve: Peter Capaldi. I don’t know the guy, so I can’t really form much of an opinion, though I suppose he’s got a decent look for the Doctor. On the other hand, I was really getting used to a younger incarnation. Eleven may be the youngest, but his two immediate predecessors were also both youngish (comparatively speaking), and I’ve found that I sort of like that. It seems to make the character more relatable somehow, though I suppose viewers older than I might think of them as children, and younger viewers still might think of them as old, so maybe relatable is all relative. But Christopher Eccleston (Nine) is practically my same age and David Tennant (Ten) is only seven or eight years younger, so they’re very contemporary for me. (They also are not much older than Tom Baker was when he played Four, my favorite incarnation). And I guess because I still like to think of myself as young, I like to pretend that Smith is my contemporary, too. Though, in truth, Capaldi isn’t that much older than Eccleston (or me), it’s just a pretty big change from Smith, so it’ll be a bit jarring for a while.
And, I suppose there are some who would believe I should have my Whovian card revoked because even though Capaldi guested in an earlier episode (one with Tennant), I don’t really remember him. Some folks are saying it’s going to be hard to accept him as the Doctor since they already think of him as a different character within the Who-verse, but I won’t have that problem. They’re also saying similar things because he had a recurring role in Torchwood, a spin-off of Doctor Who, but I’ve never seen it, so I’m still problem free.
So what it boils down to is this: I’ve been a Doctor Who fan a long time; I’ve watched ten of the incarnations (somehow I completely missed out on Eight) and mostly enjoyed them all (I found Seven pretty iffy, likely the reason for missing his successor), so I’m certainly going to give Twelve a chance. And, really, the current show runners seem to have a good grip on the character, so I’m going to trust that they’ve seen something positive in Capaldi and that he really is the best choice. And most important, I want to like him, even though change is hard. But I’m still going to mourn the passing of Eleven, and know that Twelve has a lot to live up to.
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” ~ Alan Watts
You know the worst thing about a new(ish) job? Not knowing what you’re doing. That never happened at my old job. I mean, sure, sometimes I’d run into something with a new twist to keep things sort of interesting, but after thirteen years, nothing was going to come my way that would completely throw me for a loop, nothing that I couldn’t figure out.
Today began my second full week working on my own, and I’ve already lost track of the number of times I’ve wondered how long it will be before I feel like I really know what I’m doing. Oh, I can get through most of the tasks okay, but a lot of the reasoning behind the tasks is still something of a mystery to me, so it leaves me being very reactive rather than proactive. I can honestly say I’m not particularly fond of that feeling. And I’m certainly not fond of the mistakes I make, or the painfully slow pace with which I do so many things. And knowing that it’s all part of the learning process isn’t really helping me.
It’s strange the way some things make you really examine yourself. For instance, I don’t consider myself particularly competitive, or much of a perfectionist, but when I’m making stupid little mistakes multiple times throughout the day, or constantly dropping into someone’s office to ask another question, it really starts to weigh me down. Maybe I’m more competitive than I typically believe.
On the other hand, even as lost as I’ve felt this past week or so, and even with the ridiculous mistakes I’ve made, I’ve managed to get through quite a few “firsts”, things that I managed to do for the first time on my own. And, one of the other assistants has come to me several times looking for help to do some things that she had never done before. I like that. Even though I know she’s only been there maybe three or four months longer than I have, I still like the idea that there’s something I can do to help, rather than just being a constant drain on resources. And, who knows? Maybe tomorrow will by my first mistake-free, question-free day.
Monday, August 5, 2013
First, a little blog business: it’s time to put Snapshot Sunday to rest, at least for a while. I seem to have lost my photographic mojo for the moment, and there’s just no sense trying to force these things. Interestingly, Brian and I were talking just this evening about finding a photography class at the vo-tech or someplace, somewhere I could learn some actual skills to go along with my interest. It’s certainly not anything I’m giving up on completely. But for now, it doesn’t need to hold a regular place here on the blog. Doesn’t mean pictures might not pop up from time to time, but it’ll be sporadic, as the spirit moves me.
In the meantime, Sunday is in search of a topic. I’ve grown sort of fond of the idea of theme days here, and I’d like to find one for Sunday. If not, goodness knows I can ramble on about something, but a little direction can never be a bad thing.
So, if anyone has any grand ideas, this would be an excellent time to share them.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
For today, though, let me tell you about a little incident that had me shaking my head . . .
Since I’ve been working, I’ve been relying pretty heavily on the slow cooker for dinner time, because who wants to walk in the door at sixish and start preparing a meal? Especially given that Brian goes to bed at nine, that wouldn’t give us a very large window of opportunity for eating. Anyway, the problem is, my cooker is just a plain old fashioned one, not one of those newfangled programmable ones, which means the food cooks from the time I put it on at roughly 7:00am until Brian gets home at about 5:00pm and turns it to warm for another hour or so until I get home. As you might imagine, ten hours is a long time for food to cook, and some of it hasn’t fared so well from the extra time. (As an aside, chicken was the worst; that stuff dries out fast.)
So, I finally went today to buy one that switches automatically to a warming setting to see if that could make a difference in the palatability of our meals. I spent quite a long time in the small appliances section, trying to decide just which one I wanted. In fact, I spent enough time there that I also decided to pick up a breakfast sandwich maker, even though I didn’t know such a thing existed. I’ll be trying that puppy out tomorrow morning. But I digress.
After looking over the slow cookers for longer than strictly necessary, and browsing the rest of the store just for fun, I selected a nice six quart Crock-Pot model and carted it and my new sandwich maker up to the register. Then I tossed my purchases into the trunk of my car and went about the rest of my errands for the day.
Hours later when I returned home, Brian was actually the first one to open up the box, and he stuck his head out into the garage (I was still carrying in some other purchases; it was tax-free weekend here and I needed some shoes!) and said “there’s no crock pot in that box.” Well, Brian has been known to be a prankster, so I just figured he was being silly and went about my business. When he repeated himself firmly, I realized he wasn’t joking around, so I went into the kitchen to see what he was talking about. This is what was in my Crock-Pot box:
Oh, and there was also a set of bowls and a strainer in there, but Brian had been digging through the stuff and had some of it sitting out when I took this picture.
Anyway, about half of the stuff was brand new, the rest various stages of used, but none of these things are going to slow cook my roast. If I can paraphrase Colonel Sherman T. Potter, I ordered a Crock-Pot and got a box of kitchen gadgets; both highly useful items, but hardly interchangeable.
The chain of events leading to this seems very clear cut to me, and here’s how I think it played out: Someone got a slow cooker for a wedding gift, which they wanted to keep. They also got a bunch of kitchen gadgets that they were not so fond of. Deciding they could keep the cooker, get rid of the unwanted gadgets (and some other random crap already lying around their kitchen), and even make a few bucks on the deal, they took the Crock Pot from its box, stuffed it full of various gadgetry to reach the appropriate heft, and then packaged it all back up nice and neat. Then they took it to the unsuspecting store and returned it. Likely for store credit, but you never know, someone might’ve given them a gift receipt just in case they got two Crock Pots, so they might’ve even gotten a free sixty bucks out of the deal. All of this definitely causes me to shake my head.
It didn’t have to happen just that way, of course. There might not be some soon-to-be-wed couple starting their life together by trying to turn a profit on the gifts of well-meaning friends and family. But however that box of stuff ended up in my kitchen, it wasn’t accidental. Someone got a free slow cooker out of the deal in some way, shape, or form, meaning the store is out the cost of the item (because they have agreed to replace it) and the inconvenience of an extra trip to the store for us. Seriously, what’s with people? If it truly was a wedding gift scam, do you really want that sort of negative energy hanging over your new life? And even if it wasn’t, could you ever really enjoy a meal that came from that cooker, knowing you’d stolen it?
Typically, when people steal, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and think that there’s some set of circumstances that made it almost a necessity; I try to think that they must have needed the item more than the rightful owner. And maybe that’s the case here, but this just seems so deliberate and deceitful, that I’m having a hard time cutting the thief too much slack.
Still, I don’t wish them a lot of ill will; it is only a slow cooker, after all. But I do hope their chicken turns out dry.