Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Other Talents/Hobbies/Interests...

A couple weeks ago I came across this posting on the Photojojo forum:

"After having a chat with a few of you on another thread it seems that a number of us "creative types" also like to try out methods, other than photography, of letting our creative juices flow."

Here's my own personal list of other creative pursuits I occasionally practice:
creative writing, cooking/baking (and I have a pretty impressive collection of cookbooks too!), scrapbooking (what do you think I do with all the photos I continually take?), and making arts and crafts.

I did once take a drawing class, but don't think I have a huge amount of talent in that area.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Holiday Gripes

If this were being written by my husband I think he’d say putting up Christmas lights, sending cards, buying presents, making Christmas desserts, and definitely Christmas music and TV specials (so pretty much everything, but he’s an atheist, so what do you expect?)

Trying to get in and out of parking lots. I don’t object to having to park far away. In fact, that’s preferred because there’s less chance of someone dinging your car and it’s usually easier to get in and out. I hate the people who sit and wait for your parking spot while others car are forced to sit in the traffic queue building up behind them.

The holiday TV viewing schedule. It annoys me how TV Channels show all their holiday specials during the first two weeks of the month and then nothing but crap for the rest of the month. Some of us are so busy with holiday chores that we often don’t have time to sit down and enjoy TV until the second half of the month. Thank goodness for DVR!

Special holiday deals and free shipping. Stores that keep coming up with better and better offers and free shipping once you’ve finished your shopping. It’s like buying something and seeing it go on sale the next day. This system seems to reward last minute shoppers while “spanking” those who are actually organized enough to get it done early.

Long lines at the post office. All post offices should be fully staffed at the counter at all times (especially at lunch time!) to help cut down on the long lines. Also, if you’re coming in to apply for a passport, for the sake of the rest of us, please do that as early in the day as possible, or better yet, do it prior to December. You’ll save a lot of ugly looks from annoyed customers behind you in line. If you’re coming in to pick up mail, don’t. Why not just have the mailman deliver it straight to you? Post offices - Maybe you could come up with a better system, like having different lines for different needs to streamline things a bit.

Christmas cards with glitter. Yes, glittery Christmas cards are pretty and magical and all that crap, but mostly they’re just annoying when they spill out their little gift everywhere. Glitter is one of those things that seems to linger for months, even long after most pine needles.

The Must-Have Toy of the Year. This is especially disappointing when it turns out to be complete and utter crap. Last year it was the Sliders game. Bidding wars were fought on E-bay for this winner (which likely hasn’t been played since last Christmas). Even worse are the people who wait outside on Black Friday to buy the maximum amount of an item just so they can flog it on E-bay for a profit. May those people rot in retail hell!

Charities Coming out of the Woodwork. I enjoy buying stuff for and donating to charities, but I never feel like I’ve done enough. Just when I think I’ve finished writing my last check, a new charity pops up. I guess you just need to draw up a budget and stick to it.

Not knowing what to buy people. Some people are easier than others. For those of you who have it all and don’t want anything, what are your favorite charities? Come on and help us out. We’re not all mind readers you know!

Office Parties/Lunches/Dinners. Depending on the company you work for, these can either be fun or dismal. Long live David Brent and his charity dance on THE ORIGINAL “The Office” Christmas special.

The inequity of Christmas. I know it’s the thought that counts, but what do you do if either someone gives you something and you accidentally overlooked them (or the other way around)? Or what do you do if either the gift you give or receive is outclassed by what the other person gave/received? I know you’re supposed to just shut up and pretend not to notice, but it’s still the elephant in the room. My mother hates it when people either spend too much on her (when she knows they can’t afford to) or get her something when she hasn’t bought them anything.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What I REALLY WANT for Christmas….

First of all, for the meager few who actually read this blog, I just want to say ahead of time, that I will be grateful for whatever I receive for you from Christmas, including your presence, which is just as important if not more so to me. However, in this rush up to the holidays, many things have become painfully clear to me.

1) There is never enough time to do everything. Actually that’s true all the time, but especially at the holidays when things seem to speed up the day after Thanksgiving. Hence, I would like the gift of TIME. I would prefer it in 24 hour intervals, but would gladly accept 12 hours or even 4 if that’s all I could get. In return you get my insanity and eternal gratitude.

2) Courage. Unlike the cowardly lion, I’m not afraid of Cairn Terriors (Toto), though I don’t much care for the breed. Most of my fears come out once I’m behind the wheel. Ohio winters don’t thrill me, nor do busy freeways, or traveling to unfamiliar places. Therefore, I could use a little injection of courage please.

3) Focus and Follow-through. Just ask my husband. How many projects do I start and not finish? I have big ambitions, but little energy when it comes to seeing them to fruition. I can blame life all I want, but what I really need are the two F’s mentioned above. I think I also need to whittle down the list to a more manageable size. Do less, but do it better. Perhaps it's the quality rather than the quantity that's important.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Here are four of my favorite novels - most set in the run up to Christmas. So, grab your snuggie and a mug of hot cocoa and find a comfortable chair by the fireplace to curl up for a good read. (all summaries provided by www.shelfari.com)

Finding Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn
In Finding Father Christmas, Miranda Carson's search for her father takes a turn she never expected when she finds herself in London with only a few feeble clues to who he might be. Unexpectedly welcomed into a family that doesn't recognize her, and whom she's quickly coming to love, she faces a terrible decision. Should she reveal her true identity and destroy their idyllic image of her father? Or should she carry the truth home with her to San Francisco and remain alone in this world? Whatever choice she makes during this London Christmas will forever change the future for both her and the family she can't bear to leave. Robin Jones Gunn brilliantly combines lyrical writing and unforgettable characters to craft a story of longing and belonging that will stay with readers long after they close the pages of this book.

Light on Snow by Anita Shreve
The events of a December afternoon, during which a father and his daughter find an abandoned infant in the snow, will forever alter the 11-year-old girl’s understanding of the world and the adults who inhabit it; a father who has taken great pains to remove himself from society in order to put an unthinkable tragedy behind him; a young woman who must live with the consequences of the terrible choices she has made; and a detective whose cleverness is exceeded only by his sense of justice. Written from the point of view of 30-year-old Nicky as she recalls the vivid images of that fateful December, her tale is one of love and courage, of tragedy and redemption, and of the ways in which the human heart always seeks to heal itself.

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington to L.A. in time for Christmas. Forced to take the train across the country because of a slight "misunderstanding" at airport security, he begins a journey of self-discovery and rude awakenings, mysterious goings-on and thrilling adventures, screwball escapades and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people's essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost.

The Gift by Danielle Steele
On a June day, a young woman in a summer dress steps off a Chicago-bound bus into a small Midwestern town. She doesn't intend to stay. She is just passing through. Yet her stopping here has a reason and it is part of a story that you will never forget. The time is the 1950s, when life was simpler, people still believed in dreams, and family was, very nearly, everything. The place is a small Midwestern town with a high school and a downtown, a skating pond and a movie house. And on a tree-lined street in the heartland of America, an extraordinary set of events begins to unfold. And gradually what seems serendipitous is tinged with purpose. A happy home is shattered by a child's senseless death. A loving marriage starts to unravel. And a stranger arrives—a young woman who will touch many lives before she moves on. She and a young man will meet and fall in love. Their love, so innocent and full of hope, helps to restore a family's dreams. And all of their lives will be changed forever by the precious gift she leaves them.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Favorite Thanksgiving Movies & TV Programs

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I thought I would compile a list of my favorite Thanksgiving-themed movies (in no particular order):

1) Tadpole
2) What’s Cooking?
3) Planes, Trains & Automobiles
4) The Ice Storm
5) Home for the Holidays
6) Pieces of April
7) Hannah & Her Sisters
8) Miracle on 34th Street
9) Son-in-Law
10) Scent of a Woman

My favorite Thanksgiving-themed TV programs:

1) “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”
2) Quantum Leap: “The Leap Home”
3) WKRP in Cincinnati: “Turkey’s Away”
4) The Bob Newhart Show: “Over the River and Through the Woods”
5) Friends: any of the Thanksgiving episodes

I just finished watching another Thanksgiving themed movie, “The Daytrippers” which I believe was made in 1995. This one came recommended on the internet when I did a search for “Thanksgiving movies.” It was an enjoyable little film centered around the adventures a family had in Manhatten (presumably on Black Friday) while trying to track down their daughter’s husband whom they suspect is cheating on her (they’re right, but I won’t spoil the unexpected twist).

Next up on my Netflix queue: “Alice’s Restaurant” (as in the famous Arlo Guthrie song as opposed to the mid 1970’s television show “Alice.”)

Monday, November 16, 2009

40th Anniversaries in Pop Culture 2009

The Apollo Moon Landings. I was just a fetus when this momentous event occurred. On the 25th anniversary I remember watching some commemorative programs while staying at a youth hostel in Ireland. Those astronauts may have literally been a million miles from home, whereas for me being in Ireland, felt much the same. I only wish I had gotten around to visiting the Giant’s Causeway (in Northern Ireland) since it’s supposed to very much resemble the moon’s surface.

Woodstock. Besides the commemorative concert held in Bethel this year, there were events all across the country. Here in Cow town, the Shadowbox Cabaret did a production called “Woodstock: Back to the Garden.” It was absolutely brilliant!!! My husband and I joined a crowded room to see it the second weekend after it opened (in September). Even the dinner menu was specially tailored around the production. I sampled some of the “funky Kool-Aid” and for dessert had a “special” brownie. Too bad it was lacking that one “special” ingredient, but at least it still hit the spot!. I read that Country Joe Macdonald was in the audience during the closing weekend.

“The Brady Bunch.” Although I am too young to have seen the episodes when they were on for the first time, I am old enough to remember seeing them when they started airing in syndication. Apparently “The Brady Bunch” has never been off the air, which is a valid bragging point. To celebrate, www.tvland.com has been showing complete (commercial free!) episodes. Someday I’d like to own them all on dvd (so I don’t have to channel surf to try and find the reruns), especially the fifth season when they went to King’s Island (since that’s only a two hour drive from Columbus). My neighbor was working at the park when they were there. I would have killed to have met my favorite childhood stars, but at the time I was only 4 years old (and not quite a fan yet).

"Sesame Street." Unlike a lot of American children, I didn’t actually grow up watching the program since most of the time we were unable to tune in to PBS (the closest affiliate being 60 miles away in Cleveland). Hence, the only times we ever really got to see it was when we were visiting my grandparents in Parma (a suburb of Cleveland).

It’s probably been about ten years since I’ve seen it and like the song goes, “the times they are a changin’!” This weekend I watched the season premiere that aired on Tuesday. The first thing I missed was the classic opening theme song. I also miss the old set (where was Oscar the Grouch?). I heard that Sesame Street has been gentrified, and you sure can tell, but what was wrong with the old neighborhood?

I can totally understand the move towards utilizing green screen and animation, but I still miss seeing actual puppets and real people most of the time. I also wish they would get rid of Elmo. Not only is his laugh annoying, but the way he always refers to himself in the third person is grating. At the end of the day, “Sesame Street” still has a lot more to recommend it than “Barney.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

These are a few of my Favorite Things...

Maria Von Trapp may have had her brown paper packages tied up with string & Schnitzel with noodles, but I have my very own list (in no specific order):

Puffkins & Luvvees: what’s not to like – they’re pint sized stuffed animals with huge round bellies and tiny arms and legs.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches: I also love all the variations – like peanut butter & applesauce, peanut butter & cream cheese, peanut butter & banana (no pickles though!), etc.

a thick new paperback novel: I just love delving into a juicy story to help pass the time during a boring afternoon at work.

home improvement shows: nothing motivates me more than watching someone else either clean up or fix their own house. Of course it sometimes depresses me when I look around our house and compare it to some of the ones I see on TV.

new comfy “weekend clothes”: There’s just something about the novelty of having new clothes that never gets “old.”

pocket sized gadgets: I just love my tiny I-Pod and the speaker it rests next to. It’s about the same size as some cell phones. I also love my pocket-size digital camera, which is small enough to have in my purse all the time without necessarily adding much extra weight.

my laptop computer: I love the portability of having a computer you can take with you almost anywhere. Soon almost everywhere will have free WiFi, so it will be nice to be able to access the internet from a lot of different places.

pasta with tomato sauce & cheese: Like with PB & J, I will eat almost any variation on this. It’s definitely one of the easiest and tastiest dinners to make.

chocolate: brownies, cake, candy are my three preferred solids. I also enjoy a nice steaming mug of hot cocoa on a cold winter’s evening.

a fun, hip, new handbag/purse/backpack: I love carrying my things with me, so it’s especially a pleasure when it’s in something funky.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Highlights of October….

Mom and Dad’s visit on the first weekend of the month. Among other things we went out to dinner. The kids were well-behaved; there was wine; food was good (spicy!); couldn’t ask for more. Mom also made the shopping rounds with both me and my sister. We hit a garage sale and craft sale. She took my sister to a new consignment store.

One Friday this month I came home to see I had received a mysterious package (meaning, it wasn’t something I ordered). As soon as I saw on the return address that it was from Fay’s daughter, I immediately knew what was inside. Fay (now deceased for over a year) was a friend of my mom’s parents, and was like my surrogate grandma after both my grandparents died. I had sent her a teddy bear for Christmas every year along with a photo album containing various family photos. Now all these furry little faces were staring back up at me. One by one I picked them up and gave each a hug, and then sat down on the kitchen floor to look through the photo albums. So many happy memories came flooding back, that it was nice to reminisce that way.

Earlier this month I put a second ad (after the first one was unsuccessful) on Craig’s List to try to sell a leaf blower gutter kit we had found in our shed when we were cleaning it out over Labor Day weekend. Since we already have gutter covers and the kit wasn’t compatible with our own blower, we decided to sell it. I previously had three interested parties, but none called me back after their initial e-mail, so I relisted it after the first ad expired.

This time I only got one call from a man who was eager to buy it for his son. Not only did he leave me his cell phone number (to call him in case there was a problem), but he actually showed up to claim the item (a little late, but most everyone is, so I come to expect it). He was really enthusiastic and kept asking me, “Are you sure you want to sell this for only $10?” I hesitated for a moment thinking I wish I had asked for $20, but my husband butted in, “yes, we’re sure. $10 is fine.” He said even if it didn’t fit his son’s blower, he would make it fit with duct tape! I was pleased to see he was so happy, and it was one less thing to clutter up our basement, so I was grateful for that too.

A couple weeks ago I took a one night class at the Upper Arlington Senior Center which was an introduction to the science of Enneagrams. Actually, I don’t know if it’s really a “science,” per se, but it’s a school of thought which proposes that there’s nine different personality types. You can take any of several different multiple choice tests to determine which of the nine you are (though if you read the summaries for each one, it might be obvious just from that). Even though my test results indicated I was a Type 2 or “The Helper,” I am really more of a Type 4, or “The Individual” personality (which was my second highest result). I have since checked out one of the books that was recommended reading by our instructor (though I haven’t started reading it yet).

Yesterday an older lady stopped in wanting directions to her heart doctor in Dublin. Fortunately it was somewhere I was sort of familiar with, and I was able to print out a map to give her, along with some simple instructions. She was forever grateful for my help and wished me all manner of good things on her way out. I can certainly use all the positive karma I can get! [Fingers crossed she got there, or at least close enough to ask someone else directions].

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Wii Fit Milestone...

Yesterday I hit a milestone. According to the very happy Piggy Bank on our Wii Fit, I have completed my Tenth hour of training. If I am at all representative of other Wii Fit users out there, no wonder we’re an overweight nation. Having only owned the Wii Fit for about 10 months, and usually only putting in a half hour at a time, that works out to only 20 training sessions over 10 months (or 2 a month for those who can’t do simple math). However, I should probably add, that some of the time when I am not using the Wii Fit, I am either using the stationary bike in our basement, or at the gym, so I’m not a complete slacker.

There are many reasons why I don’t exclusively use the Wii Fit: For one thing, I have to share the Wii with my husband. Also, since it’s located in our family room, I am often interrupted by our cat passing through, and it’s not in a very private location. Probably most importantly, the exercises do tend to get boring and tedious. On the upside, I have certainly learned a lot about Yoga (enough to know I don’t really fancy taking a class in it).

In order to alleviate this problem, I have just added to my Wish List the Wii Fit Plus, which is apparently 15 more games to “stimulate” you while also giving you a work out. I also see that there’s an EA Sports Active trainer and some variations on that as well. However, I think I’ll stick to the Wii Fit Plus and see how that works out, in conjunction with using my stationary bike and gym membership too.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Movies I Currently Relate to...

These last few weeks I have to admit I would be sorely tempted if I had a remote control I could use to fast forward through quite a lot of it. Maybe you remember that 2006 movie called “Click” starring Adam Sandler. I thought it was an excellent film and certainly made a good point, though it wasn't the first time I was ever told not to “wish away the day.”

I know we should treasure the few special quiet moments we have each day – like giving our cat a tummy rub or curling up with my husband while watching TV in the evening. However, it's those other eight hours away from home that often consumes my thoughts.

While we're talking about movies I can very much identify with at the moment, “Multiplicity” would be another. In this film, Michael Keaton clones himself several times in order to sort of split the work load. If I thought I could get away with it without freaking out other people, I would be tempted to send a clone to work while I stayed home and put my feet up (while another clone did all the house work).

Of course my two favorite movies about the trials and tribulations of work have to be “9 to 5” and “Office Space.” Fortunately I don't have a boss as bad as either of the two depicted in those films.

Well, it's almost the weekend, so I suppose I can hold out for a couple more days.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Shopping at Easton...

Last night my husband and I went to Easton Town Centre to attend a performance of “Woodstock: Back to the Garden” being put on by the Shadowbox Cabaret.

I love shopping at Easton Town Centre, but as we don’t go there very often, I sometimes feel like a bit of a country hick looking around in awe at all the new and fabulous stores that seem to crop up in between visits.

Stores like Tiffany’s, Burberry, or Yves Delorme give me a major case of the “Pretty Woman” nerves. You remember the scene don’t you? Julia Roberts shyly walks into a couple high street stores with the intention of buying a beautiful dress with all the cash Edward gave her before leaving for the office. The sales ladies take one look at her in her skimpy off-the-rack not so classy outfit and refuse to give her the time of the day. Since jeans and a comfortable t-shirt or sweatshirt is my usual choice of wardrobe on the weekends, I feel under dressed if I should ever dare set foot in one of these shrines to capitalism. I can sometimes summon the courage if the store is already busy with other shoppers, but I’ll rarely go in if I am the only shopper.

The stores at Easton are all about Customer Service. If no one comes up to you and asks how you are or if you need any help, it must either be Christmas or five minutes before closing, because they’re trained like vultures to quickly flock to entering customers. In most sizeable stores I don’t mind, but fail to see the point of having like 10 sales people milling around when the store is like 500 square feet or less. I think I can find my way around thank you very much. If not, I’m sure I can ask the next sales associate standing only three feet away from you. Are you listening Lego store?

My goal in the usually one hour or less I am given to shop, is to find something not too expensive to bring home, and I usually succeed. Some of these purchases include a couple little wooden boxes shaped like acorns, a journal, and a couple bras. I also like the designer bags every store gives you so you can strut around with your purchases acting as a status symbol. It’s even better if the bags are the reusable type like the orange drawstring bag I got from VSX (Victoria Secret Sports Clothing). It’s a bit too traffic cone orange and crinkly for my liking, but at least easy to carry around since it doubles as a backpack.

Once again, didn’t have time to get to Crate and Barrel or The Container Store, but maybe on my next visit!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Life in Book Titles

Someone in the Flickr Books Group came up with this idea, so I thought I'd add my own answers.

1) Describe Yourself: Growing Up Small: A Handbook for Short People by Kate Gilbert Phifer

2) How do you feel: Bored to death by Jay Williams

3) Describe where you currently live: In Buckeye Country: Photos and Essays of Ohio Life by John Moor

4) If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Anywhere but Here by Mona Simpson

5) Your favorite form of transportation: The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby by Tom Wolfe

6) Your best friend is: Double Fudge by Judy Blume

7) You and your friends are: The Pain and the Great One by Judy Blume

8) What’s the weather like: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judith Barrett

9) Favorite time of day: Afternoons in Mid-America by Erskine Caldwell and Virginia M. Caldwell

10) You wish your life was: A Life Less Ordinary: A Memoir by Baby Halder

11) What is life to you: The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams & John Lloyd

12) Your fear: Suddenly Single!: A Lifeline for Anyone Who Has Lost a Love by Hal Larson and Susan Larson

13) What is the best advice you have to give: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, and it’s all Small Stuff by Richard Carlson, Ph.D.

14) Thought for the Day: If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits by Erma Bombeck

15) How you would like to die: “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” (poem by Dylan Thomas)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

the Passing of Patrick Swayze

Another light went out in Hollywood last night with the passing of Patrick Swayze. Like fellow actor, Farrah Fawcett who died earlier this summer, he had been ill for quite some time and the prognosis didn’t look good. From the few news headlines I read, he fought the good fight, but didn’t manage to beat it.

Although not a huge fan, I very much enjoyed his performance in “Ghost,” and can recall seeing him in “Dirty Dancing,” “Roadhouse,” “Point Break,” “The Outsiders,” and “Donny Darko.” As just another fan, it would be hard to capture in words what he meant to the world, but film critic, Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times wrote a beautiful tribute in this morning’s edition.

Patrick, you may be gone, but you’ll definitely not be forgotten.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

discussing "Cocoon" and its sequel

This past weekend I sat down to watch an old film – well, it was actually only made in the 80’s (1985 to be exact, and the sequel in 1988), but as that decade was over 20 years ago, that makes it old to me! Plus, I’m sure it would feel like an old movie to my very young nieces and nephews.

Anyway, the film I was watching was “Cocoon,” followed a couple days later by the sequel (I always feel compelled to watch the sequel no matter how much I might dislike the original, but didn’t really dislike this one). It was one of the few movies that somehow escaped my notice back then (I was probably too busy watching “Back to the Future” and “Karate Kid” over and over again). It’s my understanding that it’s based on a book, and I’m curious how closely adapted it was. To be honest, I didn’t think it was that well-written a movie, so I hope it’s the case that Hollywood changed the story since I always hate to criticize authors.

However, the movie is certainly thought-provoking as I’m sure everyone who sees it asks themselves, would you be willing to be whisked away to another planet if it meant you’d never be sick and that you’d live forever? Personally, I would rather stay behind, but might consider leaving if all my friends and family could come with me.

What’s also kind of sad and maybe a little ironic, when you think about it, is how almost none of the elderly members of the cast are still alive. It’s just Wilford Brimley as the lone survivor, so I wonder if any of them would have chosen that option in real life if that were a possibility. At any rate, I’m very glad they made a sequel, and in many ways, I think I liked it more than the original and provided some much needed closure.

Watching the movie made me feel a certain nostalgia for the 80’s and made me kind of miss my grandparents seeing all these great vaudeville and classic actors strut their stuff. May they rest in peace.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Favorite T-Shirt Quotes

I was just looking through a stack of catalogs that have been accumulating on my counter since arriving back from vacation, and found these little gems throughout the pages.

Don’t listen to my sister. I am the favorite.

Some people have a way with words, others not have way.

I googled myself and found nothing.

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.

Mirror, mirror on the wall…
What the @#$% happened?!?

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened.

Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

It is – What – it is.

Irish Diplomacy – The art of telling someone to go to hell,
and having them look forward to the trip.

Be careful or you will end up in my NOVEL.
(especially appropriate for me since everything is noteworthy!)

Catfud giver person

Cats humor us because they know their ancestors ate ours.

I’m so busy I don’t know if I found a rope or lost my horse.

I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

I’m not sure if Life is passing me by or trying to Run me over.

There are two ways to live your life. One, as though nothing is a miracle. The other, as though everything is.
-- Albert Einstein

If you liked PMS, you’ll love menopause.

My hobby is collecting dust.

[The way this week has been going I especially love these last two - ]

Let me drop everything and work on your problem.

Everyone brings joy to this office. Some when they enter. Some when they leave.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Home Sweet Home….

Just got back Saturday evening after spending a little over a week in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Actually, I’ll take everyone’s word for it that it’s beautiful, because I didn’t see much of nature due to spending most of our time in the city. However, I did manage to catch a glimpse of Mt. Ranier after accidentally driving in the wrong direction away from the Arboretum (which is where we were headed). I told my husband, “I think you were meant to do that so we could see the mountain. We definitely wouldn’t have seen it from the other direction.” We also saw it, and its sisters as we flew over them on our way out of Seattle.

Anyway, it was back to good ‘ole Home Sweet Home. As usual, it was bittersweet. Although I very much enjoyed my one week holiday, part of me was definitely ready to come home. The other part of me (the adventure loving/shopaholic/shutterbug side) hated coming home to Hilliard, which isn’t exactly known for its plethora of culture or nightlife. For that, we usually go downtown to some place like Short North which has a gallery hop every month and no shortage of quirky shops and galleries to browse away the afternoon.

As a sort of “Material Girl,” one of the best things about being home is being surrounded by ‘my things’ again. Of course it’s also nice to get away from all that baggage and live a minimalist life out of a suitcase for a little while. I am always envious of people in movies and on television who can pack up all their life’s possessions in just one or two suitcases and be done with it. My book collection alone would take up more than that! I am slowly trying to “lighten my load” of possessions, but find it difficult not to acquire more. Thankfully my husband tolerates me and my collections.

Another reason I am glad to be home is more control over the menu. Although I very much like eating out and getting out of the kitchen, I found myself craving simple comfort food after just a couple days, and often dreaded deciding where we were going to eat dinner. The best meal we had was brunch on the Space Needle. I’m not just saying that because it was our most expensive meal. It really did taste outstanding.

The worst meal I had was at a Chinese restaurant where every type of food had its own page, so there was certainly no lack of selection. I just chose wrong and ended up with a plate full of mushrooms, celery, water chestnuts, and just a small amount of chicken and tiny pieces of peanuts. It was very bland and I just ended up picking out the chicken and leaving the rest, which is something I don’t normally do, but was a little fed up with my selection.

Probably the biggest reason I was glad to be home was to see our kitty again! Poor little Tamsin was at the kennel all week probably pining for us every day. We certainly thought about her quite a lot – especially after meeting the “Cat Whisperer” at the Pike Market in Seattle. He had two cats sitting on a little platform of sorts. Of course, being cats, neither really wanted to stay very still, so he took turns carrying them over his shoulder, much like a mother does with her baby. One of the cats was a tabby, like our very own precious “baby,” while the other was one of those 6-toed cats like Hemingway used to have. I made a small donation and he let me take photos to my heart’s content.

Now I just have all that unpacking to do…

Friday, August 7, 2009

the death of John Hughes….

Anyone who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s should be familiar with the work of John Hughes. If not, he’s the creative mind behind such great classic 80’s movies as the National Lampoon “Vacation” series, the “Home Alone” series, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles.” I only mention these few because they’re some of my favorites and I can quote from most of them.

Although you can’t really compare them to Academy award winners like “Sound of Music” or “Gone with the Wind,” I think his movies will still hold a timeless classic appeal for future generations.

If nothing else, the “Vacation” movies can perhaps make you feel better about your own family. Having been to London multiple times and driven through roundabouts where I live now on a daily basis, I would be remiss not to quote, “Look kids, Parliament, Big Ben!”

The “Home Alone” movies are great because every kid has probably had that fantasy at one time or another of what they would do if left to their own devices. I admit to sometimes having that fantasy myself on nights my husband is out (except I still can’t bring myself to eat a half a gallon of ice cream in one sitting) : ). I also really like that they’re sentimental too.

“Planes, Trains, & Automobiles,” though not my favorite by a long stretch, will always be memorable because my hometown was almost in the movie. Apparently they were scouting locations in the Midwest looking for places that had a little snow on the ground. If my memory serves, it must have been sometime between September and November because I think it was the middle of football season. My friend and I wandered into town either during or just after our local middle school football game. We saw that they had closed off “Main Street” and were filming a car driving back and forth down the street. Actually, I don’t think the car was actually being “driven” as much as it was being pulled down the street by a device with a camera rigged up in front of it. Although I can’t remember the name of the car off the top of my head, I do recall the tacky adult-oriented d├ęcor inside. It might have even had a fur interior, though I can’t substantiate that. Not surprisingly, I think most of that scene ended up on the cutting room floor.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” will always be my favorite, even as an adult, because who doesn’t like to play hooky once in awhile? (though I’ve never had the nerve to fake an illness). Plus, Chicago is a great city in which to play hooky. I can’t imagine taking off in a fancy car and going to Cleveland while I was in high school. Almost none of the attractions that are there now existed back then. I think our only options would have been the zoo, a handful of museums (none on par with the ones in Chicago), and the old Galleria shopping center (and Higbee’s too).

John Hughes, may you rest in peace.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sick of Sticky Adhesives….

I think it was probably someone in the adhesive manufacturing business that invented the term “acid free” in order to put all those magnetic page photo album companies out of business.

Like most people probably, I had never heard the term “acid free” until about fifteen years or so ago. It wasn’t until I took my first scrapbooking class sometime in the mid 90’s that I was fully versed in the pitfalls of using non acid free products. The instructor warned us that those magnetic pages would eventually yellow slowly destroying both the page and everything on it. I didn’t believe her at the time, but looking back through old albums today, she definitely knew what she was talking about.

As a result, I no longer buy those, and they’re becoming slightly harder to find. Now you either go the slip in route (pages with pre-sized sleeves where you slide in your photo to store it) or get really creative and do “scrapbooking.”

I do a little of each depending on how much time and creative impulse I have. Sometimes I even manage to combine the two by adding a sticker or other embellishment to the slip in albums.

Whenever I do scrapbooking, I can’t help but wonder how many hours would be saved if I could simply just lay out everything on the page and then pull the clear sheet over it and go on to the next page. Yes, you can buy clear sticky sheets to lay over your pages, but unless you’ve somewhat secured everything down, static cling will sometimes cause the various elements to be pulled on to the sticky sheet thus disrupting your whole page arrangement.

I know adhesive manufacturers are trying to do everything in their power to make this process easier from manufacturing glue dots, to small sticky squares to spray-on adhesive. However, at the end of the day, it’s still more expensive and time consuming to have to glue down every element of your creative scrapbooking pages. This is what takes all the fun out of it for me. I shudder to think how much I have spent on these various adhesives, never buying enough and running out halfway through a project. No, I’m not ready to resort to ‘digital scrapbooking yet,’ but will continue on my quest to find a cheaper and more effective product to help facilitate this niggling little detail of scrapbooking.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Observing the Total Solar Eclipse, France, 1999

France 1999, #4, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

My Solar Eclipse Experience...

Having read about the solar eclipse in Asia (best observed in India apparently) yesterday (7/22), reminded me of my own experience witnessing not one, but two solar eclipses in the last century.

The first one was while I was in my last year (as a student) at Kent State University (1993-1994). However, unlike the eclipse yesterday, all we witnessed was an annular eclipse. According to Wikipedia, “An annular eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the outline of the Moon.”

I remember a large shadow being cast over the campus as if a rather large cloud was overhead, and felt a slight shiver. Still, an interesting first experience observing a solar eclipse.

I was lucky enough to be living in Europe (Great Britain) in 1999 which was directly in the path of the century’s last total eclipse. Although we could have traveled to Cornwall, which was reckoned to be the best place to view it in England, I read about a coach trip to France where the viewing was supposed to be equally good. Having never been to France before, that won hands down.

Our group traveled to the city of Rouen, the capital of Upper Normandy, and best known as the location where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Although the day started out as rather promising (sunny with a gentle breeze), clouds eventually started rolling in and somewhat obscured the sun during the eclipse. However, we all still took necessary precautions and tried not to stare directly at the sun. Even though we couldn’t see the eclipse as much as we would have liked, we still witnessed the effect of a total solar eclipse.

The square where we were standing gradually plunged into darkness, causing the street lights to come on mid-afternoon. There was an eery silence as all the birds fled to their nocturnal shelter. I’m sure they were completely confused! I just remember being in awe of this spectacle of nature and being so grateful to be sharing it with my husband nearly a year after we were married.

To view more of my eclipse pictures, click on the link here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/authorwannabe/sets/72157621660626787/

Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

His funeral is today (7/23/09) in Manhatten. May he rest in peace.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What a momentous month...

What a momentous month it’s been filled with so many history-making news stories.

First there was Michael Jackson’s very public memorial service watched by millions and attended by thousands on July 7. Now it just remains to be seen whether the Neverland Ranch will be turned into a museum like Graceland.

Although somewhat less publicized, July 16 was the tenth anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. whom many remember from the poignant photo of him at nearly 3 years old saluting his father’s casket.

A day later came the death of legendary News Anchor Walter Cronkite (age 92) on July 17. “The most trusted man in America” ‘set the standard by which all others are judged.’

Today (7/20) is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landings. It’s only too bad NASA didn’t have the foresight to keep the original broadcast recordings. Fortunately others did have the good sense to record the moment for posterity – digitally re-mastered and coming soon to DVD!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Harry Potter" comes to town...

Last night my husband and I went to see a movie at one of our local cinemas and noticed a queue forming of eager fans who wanted to be the first to see the next installment of “Harry Potter” when it opened at midnight.

Not surprisingly, most of the people in line looked to be somewhere between maybe 15 and 25 (hence, may not have to get up and go to work the next day). Some were in regular clothes, while many were dressed either in capes and pointy hats or in a Hogwarts school uniform (just the girls). One could be forgiven for thinking that the group were on their way to a convention. Yes, “Harry Potter” conventions do exist, as I recently read somewhere. Remembering back to a couple summers ago, I think there were more people in line for the movie today than for the last book release, but it was still early when we walked by.

Part of me wanted to join them in their anticipation as everyone seemed to be in high spirits. The night was warm and not too humid making it perfect weather to stand outside for hours.

My husband and I, both children of the 70’s, tried to remember any movies which we were that excited about seeing. The only films we could think of was the “Star Wars” trilogy or maybe “E.T.” later on in the 80’s. Even then, none of those had people queuing up overnight, or were based on a book, so it’s really like comparing apples and oranges.

Kids today are fortunate to be able to participate in these momentous events in the history of pop culture, which they probably take for granted. Those of us who are older and wiser know that we’ve never seen anything like it and probably never will again.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Take Back your Childhood Day

Last night I was at a minor league baseball game and I couldn’t help but notice how much fun everyone else was having – especially the kids (most of whom weren’t even watching the game). It made me long for my (mostly) carefree childhood. That’s when I came up with this idea: ‘Take Back your Childhoood Day.’ It will be held mid week in mid July. Since we still need some people to work and serve those of us with a day off, it will actually be held over two days. One for everyone whose names start with A – M, and then another for all those who start with N – Z.

The idea is to just be a kid again. You get to sleep as late as you want, eat whatever you want, and just spend the day doing whatever you want. I would be loathe to suggest to people they act like kids if what they really want to do with their day off is spend it gardening or reorganizing their book collection, but each to their own!

As far as what to do about taking care of the children on this day – we’ll designate the grandparents (or hire some seniors to fill in) as caregivers for the day. They don’t need a special day to act like kids when most of them are retired anyway and can do whatever they like.

How would I spend the day off? I would definitely sleep in, then eat a big bowl of sugary cereal followed by whatever sweet pastry I had on hand. I’d probably spend at least part of the day shopping (either at the mall, a flea market, or antique stores), part of the day either at a bookstore or library, and then the rest outside taking pictures and just enjoying nature (and maybe curl up outside with a good book).

In the evening I’d probably attend a baseball game (and eat lots of junk food), maybe watch a little TV, and then go to bed.

I suppose you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy most of these pleasures, except for the junk food since you can’t get away with eating as much of it when you’re an adult. It also probably helps to be an adult in order to afford most of these things.

Sadly, for now I guess I’ll just have to settle for the weekends (after I get my chores done of course! : ( )

Monday, July 6, 2009

Karen in MJ jacket

Karen in MJ jacket, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

It was actually a Christmas present, not birthday, but here it is anyway.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson Impersonator (in San Francisco)

Here's one of the photos mentioned in the blog. The rest can be found on my flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/authorwannabe/

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Day 80's Pop Culture Died

If you read my previous entry, you know that yesterday I sold one of my favorite 80’s icons, a stuffed Alf I had sitting around for the past twelve years. Later that day I was saddened, though not surprised, to read that Farrah Fawcett, herself a 70’s/80’s icon (thanks to “Charlie’s Angels”) had passed away after a struggle with cancer. Then last night my husband broke the news to me that Michael Jackson had died.

My sister was the big fan in our family. Not only did she have fan buttons, but she glued sequins all over one of my mom’s old white gloves to make her own personal Michael Jackson glove. The zippered jacket she got as a birthday present from my aunt was her most prized possession during the height of his popularity in the 80’s. I have a picture of her wearing it unzipped with a white shirt and a skinny red tie underneath. We used to tease her mercilessly about her devotion. I remember her watching the 1984 Grammy awards with the same kind of interest she now dedicates to “Dancing with the Stars” or “American Idol.”

As kids we owned most of his music on cassettes. We probably all loved “Thriller” the best, especially the video!

One of my favorite Michael Jackson-related memories is the episode of “Silver Spoons” with Alfonso Ribeiro (before he was Carlton and a Tom Jones fan in “Fresh Prince”). He was playing Rick’s new friend, who, in an effort to be popular, told everyone he knew Michael Jackson (this was actually true since he danced in a Pepsi commercial with him). He hired an impersonator to come to a local restaurant, who ends up getting mobbed and Alfonso eventually confesses it was all a lie.

Speaking of Michael Jackson impersonators, my parents saw one once in California and managed to get a few good pictures. They thought he was the real thing until someone clued them in that it was only an impersonator. Judging by the photos, I guess I can see how they might have gotten confused, though I doubt the real Michael Jackson would have gotten that dressed up just to walk down the street, not to mention he probably wouldn’t go out in public unless he was incognito.

Say what you will about his fall from grace. He was still a record breaking rock legend who, at least in my book, will always share a pedestal with Elvis and the Beatles.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

me and Alf

me and Alf, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

I should have known it was too good to be true!

I should have learned my lesson after the dvds I mailed to Alaska, or the game I mailed to Pennsylvania, but greed got the better of me again.

Yesterday I was bored at work and thought I’d put a few items up for sale on Amazon.com, as I had done successfully several months ago. Among other things I listed a book, a set of VHS tapes, a CD, and a Golden Retriever Lilkinz Webkinz. I’m not sure how I was suddenly inspired to list my stuffed Alf toy. There were other listings (of Alf for sale), as well as on E-bay too, though none seemed to be selling. Perhaps that’s what gave me the courage to offer mine up too, not thinking it would actually sell ($15 was my asking price).

Thus, I was very surprised, to say the least, when I checked my e-mail after returning from lunch to find that it had sold, and I was to ship it out as soon as possible. I spent the rest of the day agonizing about this moral dilemma. Part of me was happy to be getting paid $15 for something on which I only spent a few dollars for over a decade ago. The other half of me was sad to see it go after owning it for at least 12 years.

I definitely thought of backing out of the deal, but trying to be mature and adult about it, I thought, ‘well, a promise is a promise.’

I also drew strength from remembering how my husband had to give up his favorite Amiga computer (and monitor and games, etc.) when he moved to the states with me. Not only would postage be exorbitant, being on different voltage here, it wouldn’t work anyway.

Then there was my dad who lost some of his most treasured items when my parent’s basement flooded back in 2006.

After taking numerous amounts of photos with Alf and giving him one last hug, I placed him in the box, covered him gently with newspaper and taped the lid shut. He at least got to spend the morning in my air conditioned office before taking him to the UPS store at lunch.

The story ends when the nice lady (with whom I chatted about life in Hilliard since she lives there too) told me Ground shipping would be over $12 instead of $7 as I had calculated. I felt like I had just sold my best friend for $3! I think my co-worker probably said it best when he said, “Now you’re sentimentally scarred as well!”

I think I’m going to stick to E-bay from now on where you can set the amount of postage in order to increase your profit margin. I think I’m also going to stop selling my cuddly toys!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dumpster Chairs

Dumpster Chairs, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

This is one save I did make in time! (though I found both on separate occasions).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You Snooze, You Lose...

It’s Tuesday and that’s Trash Day for my neighborhood. Actually, in the 10+ years I’ve been married, Tuesday has always been Trash Day and I’ve already lived in 4 different neighborhoods in two different countries. That certainly makes it easy to remember since it’s pretty much second nature now.

Anyway, as I was driving down the road I scanned the piles of stuff people had left out. There wasn’t much of interest, but something did catch my eye, and it would be hard to miss since someone had pulled a whole desk to the curb, along with an old orangish colored desk chair. If I wasn’t already running late for work, I probably would have pulled over and had a closer look at the chair (since my husband mentioned wanting another one awhile back). Instead I made a mental note to come back at lunch and cross my fingers it was still there.

Sadly, luck was not on my side today as it was gone, but the desk was still there. I thought about it momentarily, but decided it would be too difficult to try to fit it in my Ford Hatchback. Plus, I wasn’t entirely sure where I would put it anyway, so I left it. When I passed again on my way back to work it too was gone, so obviously someone else had eyed this treasure and decided to haul it away (it wasn’t the trash men since they hadn’t come yet).

I will have to make it a point to ride my bike around the neighborhood on Monday nights to scout out any treasures that might be set out the night before (in many cases they’re put out over the weekend). I guess I can understand people not wanting to take the time to try and sell things, or perhaps they did, and failed, so they’re then relinquished to the scrapheap.

If I can’t use an item myself and don’t know anyone else who can, I usually try to sell it on Craig’s List since that’s free. Otherwise, there’s always second hand stores in the area that take used furniture and other items, or charities too I suppose.

One of my favorite books when I was kid was called Dear Garbage Man (by Gene Zion). According to the Publisher’s Weekly summary, “A very childlike sensibility underlies this book about Stan, the new garbageman, who finds items that are just too good to throw away.” Basically, he ties the objects to the truck, finds them good homes, then later discovers they’re back on the curb because they were broken to begin with. He means well, but his heart overrules his head, which isn’t always a bad thing, and that may be the moral message here. At any rate, it’s a cute book. Maybe they should come out with a second edition where Stan takes the junk home to his artist wife who makes beautiful sculptures out of everything and then turns around and sells them to a public for a small fortune.

Speaking of turning trash into treasure, have you ever seen “The Junk Brothers” TV program? I’ve only ever seen it once, but for those who haven’t, there’s a set of brothers who go door to door under cover of darkness stealing treasures out of peoples’ trash. They then return to the scene of the crime a day or so later with something fabulous made out of them. In the episode I saw they turned an old dresser into a desk and a set of fireplace tools into, well, I can’t actually remember, but it was something a little more visually appealing. I only wish I had that time and talent!

For now, dumpster diving will have to be a hobby at best, and one I will have to be much quicker at if I hope to be more successful!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What feature would you like to have in your next home?

Question of the Week in the June 11, 2009 issue of Columbus Alive:

What feature would you like to have in your next home?

Self-Cleaning Everything!
(Adrianne Prescott, Display Account Executive)

I totally agree!

Someone else said a walk-in closet with a wet bar and another said a jewelry closet. I wouldn’t mind combining these ideas, but I don’t need a wet bar there (maybe in my own personal library since there’s nothing like reading while sipping a nice glass of wine). Really, it would be nice to have all my clothes in one room so I wouldn’t have to keep switching things back and forth between seasons. That would definitely be my highest priority.

If we’re talking luxuries, I wouldn’t mind having a room big enough to display all my books, and then have someone come in once a month to dust them!

I guess I also wouldn’t mind a bathroom with one of those nice big round whirlpool tubs (big enough for two so we could use that as our own inside personal hot tub). We currently have a whirlpool tub, but it’s rectangular and barely big enough for one person and not really as luxurious to use as you might think. Since you’re so close to the jets you feel more pummeled by them rather than relaxed or whatever you’re supposed to feel. We also have a hot tub, but can’t be bothered to maintain it for how infrequently we actually use it and for only about a half hour at a time anyway.

If we’re talking staff, it’s a toss up between my own personal chef/nutritionist and gardener. However, a chef is more useful on a day-to-day basis, whereas I think I would only need a gardener to come in like once a month and clear out all the weeds and debris. Obviously I would also like a housekeeper like Alice from "The Brady Bunch" or maybe Mr. Belvedere or Geoffrey (from "The Fresh Prince of Belaire").

Friday, June 12, 2009

boy on leash

boy on leash, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

a good example of 'kinnearing.'

A couple interesting things I learned this week…

the art of “kinnearing”

Earlier this week I was watching a taped program - one of our favorites from the UK called "Graham Norton." He happened to mention this website:
http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2007/08/02/i_was_kinnearing.html making particular reference to the 'kinnearing' part since Greg Kinnear was on the show. Apparently 'kinnearing' is now a verb and others have made reference to that. It basically means 'shooting from the hip' and surreptitiously taking pictures of people without them realizing it.

I agree with one of the comments (on the blog) that the lomography company kind of invented it, but I still like the idea of 'kinnearing' and it's a fun word to say! I only wish I was better at it. I missed a lot of good shots at the recent Columbus Arts Festival because I either wasn't ready with my camera or didn't feel brave enough just to point it straight at someone. There's a lens you can buy from photojojo.com that makes it look like you're shooting something to the side of your intended subject. I doubt this lens would fit on my digital camera, otherwise I might seriously consider purchasing it.


the story behind the song…

They were childhood chums. Then they drifted apart, lost touch completely, and only renewed their friendship decades later, when illness struck.
Not so unusual, really.

Except she is Lucy Vodden — the girl who was the inspiration for the Beatles' 1967 psychedelic classic "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" — and he is Julian Lennon, the musician son of John Lennon.

They are linked together by something that happened more than 40 years ago when Julian brought home a drawing from school and told his father, "That's Lucy in the sky with diamonds."

Just the sort of cute phrase lots of 3- or 4-year-olds produce — but not many have a father like John Lennon, who used it as a springboard for a legendary song that became a centerpiece on the landmark album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

story credit: http://new.music.yahoo.com/beatles/news/real-lucy-in-the-sky-with-diamonds-gravely-ill--61989942

Isn't that cool? I've been to Liverpool and own a bunch of books about the Beatles, but haven't come across that fact before.

Monday, June 1, 2009

How Should I Live My Life?

Every time I hear about someone dying young (i.e. before 70-80 years old) – usually unexpected, though sometimes from a long illness, I ask myself, am I living my life to the fullest? What could I do differently to be happier?

Like most people I suspect, I think I would be more content if I could just chuck my day job and live a life of leisure. However, anyone who knows me would say I wouldn’t be happy sitting around the house for too long (which is why I would get out and volunteer or get a part time job doing something I like). Given the current state of the economy, I’ll keep my day job for now thank you very much.

It’s those few precious hours after work and weekends that we must treasure. The way I balance my schedule now, I try to squeeze in at least an hour, maybe an hour and a half most weekdays to sit down with my husband and watch something on TV (or a dvd). If our cat comes and joins us, all the better. I also enjoy the brief 10-15 minutes when we sit down to dinner. Bonus time is when we’re both in the kitchen during the preparation catching up on each other’s day.

Even though I don’t have kids, there’s usually enough chores to keep me distracted from fully indulging in my hobbies, and this is something I’m trying to work on. I’ve decided that it’s okay if there’s cat fur and dust everywhere, as long as the dishes are done my husband is happy.

I also make an effort to try and keep in touch with people either by phone or e-mail. Even if we can’t always get together in person, I think it’s the quality of the time versus the quantity.

Would I have any regrets if knew I only had a week to live? Of course, but I know I’ve lived a good life filled with much happiness. I’ve already accomplished the important things – graduated from college, married a wonderful man who is the love of my life, live close to my family whom I see on a fairly regular basis, have a job that allows me free time for reading, web surfing, etc., have a nice house, enough money to travel and sometimes spend a little frivolously, adopted a cute kitty cat that rules our house!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Things Learned...

What do you know about that? You learn something new every day….

I think the funniest one is when Jeff Foxworthy says, “You learn a lot from your kids – like just a few days ago I learned you can get three boxes of raisins into the cassette player of a jeep. I didn’t know that! Last month we learned you can get goldfish out of an aquarium using a dustbuster…”

Here’s what I’ve learned over the last week or so…

• John R. Buchtel was the founder of Buchtel College (now the University of Akron). I had always heard the word 'Buchtel' kicked around while living in Northeast Ohio. Until now I had no idea what it referred to.

• what a banjolele is: According to Wikipedia:
The banjolele (brand name; sometimes banjo ukulele or banjo uke) is a four-stringed musical instrument with a small banjo-type body and a fretted ukulele neck. "Banjolele," sometimes also spelled "banjelele" or "banjulele" is a generic nickname given to the instrument, which was derived from the 'banjulele-banjo,' introduced by Alvin D. Keech in 1917.

• not to cover a pie too soon or it will get soggy (unfortunately we learned the hard way, but the pie was still quite tasty!

• that Jamie Lee Curtis is married to Christopher Guest (saw her in the audience of a recent concert featuring her husband).

• Ducks can have as many as 23 babies (5-8 is normal). The reason I know this is my co-worker recently showed me a newspaper clipping with a picture of the proud parents and their rather large gaggle. I assume all 23 were theirs as they were in an enclosed area safe from predators (other than nosy teenagers and adults). Incidentally, the ducks were in a courtyard at a school in rural Plain City, Ohio and the students aren’t allowed to use the courtyard as long as the ducks are residing there.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Necessities vs. Luxuries

It’s kind of a coincidence that today is the day we get our Tempur-pedic mattress delivered (somewhat of a luxury, but that too is debatable) and that on MSN there was a slide show debating Necessity vs. Luxury of several common household items. Here’s how I weigh in on each:

1) new car – I have yet to buy new, though my husband has a Toyota Prius that’s only a couple years old. I’m not too bothered to buy new if I can get more extras on a used car (like the sun roof on my Ford Focus).

2) dryer – we didn’t have one for the 6 years we lived in England, so I can definitely do without, and most of the time I didn’t miss it. However, when it comes to hanging up lots of socks and underwear, that’s when I definitely prefer a dryer! Also, for softness, you can’t beat the dryer. It’s night and day difference when it comes to things like wash cloths and socks.

3) air conditioning – nice to have on at night time, though a ceiling fan on high usually suffices (but you have to put up with the vibration noise).

4) microwave – a luxury, but something I would definitely miss if I didn’t have it. The only thing I have gone back to stove top cooking is hotdogs (they don’t tend to explode in hot water).

5) television/flat screen TV – a definite luxury. We bought one (a flat screen) last year which is high definition, pretty typical these days. As I don’t watch much TV, I was quite happy with our old one. The nicest thing is ease of moving (not something you do too often though).

6) cable/satellite TV – for how few channels we actually tune into, I wouldn’t miss it that much. Plus, quite a lot of things eventually come out on DVD, so we can always rent those later.

7) personal computer/ high speed internet access – As I use a computer all day at work, I don’t tend to use my laptop at home much, and almost never over the weekend. However, I would miss it if I didn’t have it. Also, a laptop/notebook computer is a luxury, but I much prefer it to a big old clunky PC.

It’s only in the last few years that we’ve switched to broadband and high speed access, and it’s a definite luxury. It’s nice to be able to access e-mail and upload things to the internet without having too much delay (though even that is inevitable).

8) dishwasher – it’s only in the last four or so years my husband and I have had one, and we definitely like it, though realize it’s a luxury. Obviously I can live without it, but would definitely miss it!

9) cell phone – I’ve only had one for about four or so years and only miss it if I don’t have it when I’m out shopping and need to call someone and ask their opinion about something (usually my husband, but sometimes my sister). It’s nice to have in case of an emergency, but I still hate how much people are so fixated on them. I would say they’re almost a necessity, but you don’t need all the bells and whistles they come with these days (like a camera and MP3 player).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pretty dresses

Pretty dresses, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

A little window shopping never hurt anyone...

Shopping Buzz

I suppose I am fairly typical as a woman in that I like to shop (but I actually have at least one friend who doesn’t shop). Sometimes it’s to fill a need (but inevitably I’ll have a look around at one or two “wants);” sometimes it’s out of boredom; other times it may just be a reward. On those few rare occasions that I either find something truly spectacular, or the planets are all properly aligned, I can get a real buzz from shopping.

One of my happiest memories is an afternoon shopping excursion on the day before Good Friday in 1999. I was living in Gloucester, UK and only had to do a half a day of work before I was allowed to have the afternoon off. This was one of those days where it was sunny and unseasonably warm for April; one of those days where you’re happy to be alive. Since my husband probably wouldn’t get the afternoon off, I thought I’d spend the afternoon doing a bit of “spring shopping.”

I don’t remember all the places I visited, though I’m sure I hit a bookstore or two, and probably a few shops that sold kitschy things. However, I do remember spending the bulk of my time in my favorite department store, Debenham’s. It was probably the most upmarket store in Gloucester, and was several stories tall. It was much like my favorite stores back home, the main difference being that the prices were listed in pounds instead of dollars.

Among other things, I remember picking out a new purse – a little tan nylon backpack that could be used on daytime excursions (but not big enough for all my everyday needs). I also chose a cream colored vest with lots of pockets that reminded me of something a professional photographer might wear. I also bought a white v-neck pullover sweatshirt that had “Sport” embroidered in white thread on the front of it. I don’t remember what else I bought, but I’m sure I probably picked out at least one pair of trousers. Out of all those items, I think the only thing I still have is that photographer’s vest. If nothing else, I am keeping it because of all the happy memories attached to it from that day.

I was definitely in a mood to splurge and rarely spent that much money at one time there. The receipt must have come to somewhere between £50 - £100. That was my last stop of the day since it was getting late and my bags were getting a bit cumbersome.

Another shopping “buzz” I remember is the time I was feeling a bit sorry for myself as I had been suffering from gastroenteritis for a week or so (which means you’re on a pretty limited diet until your digestive system can process food properly). It was lunchtime and I was wandering around town (in Bath) as I did most lunch hours. I was in my favorite store, Bloomsbury (known for all its interesting and cool items) and I saw the tiniest little camera. I had seen small cameras before, but those were antiques and in museums. This was an early digital camera (probably only about 1.3 megapixels if that) and I HAD to have it. I think it cost about £40, but I decided to put it on my credit card and hope my husband wouldn’t be too angry afterwards (he wasn’t).

That toy camera provided me with hours of fun and entertainment as I could discreetly slip it out, take a picture, and put it away undetected. I even bought a chain for it and sometimes wore it around my neck. The pictures are only thumbnail size at best, but fun to take, and I still have the camera (they cost about $10 or less today).

Sometimes you can get a buzz while shopping with other people, but never your husband unless he's in the mood to spend too, which is pretty rare! My mom took me shopping on Black Friday last year (the day after Thanksgiving), like she sometimes did when I was still living at home. She thought I could use some new work clothes. I spent best part of a couple hours picking out armfuls of shirts and blouses and styling them for my mom. It was nice to have some one on one time alone with my mom, which is pretty rare these days since I'm married now.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Emily on swing

Emily on swing, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

Why it's Sometimes Better to be a Kid

Why I'd Sometimes Prefer to be a Child

10) If you’re lucky, your main concern should just be about getting good grades and not getting grounded.

9) You can maintain optimism about the future after you graduate because you haven’t yet had your soul crushed by a mind-numbing job.

8) After homework and a few usually minor chores, you have gobs and gobs of free time.

7) If you can afford it, you can have it (except for maybe motor vehicles or a pet).

6) You can usually get away with eating a lot more junk food than adults.

5) Someone else usually cooks your meals.

4) Free rent at mom and dad’s.

3) Great toys and gadgets.

2) Cute wardrobe.

1) Two words: SUMMER VACATION.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In recent years I thought it would be fun to be a columnist, and perhaps not a very hard job. However, I have since learned that it’s a lot harder than I thought. Even though I have no editor to report to or deadline to keep, I still find it difficult to come up with a meaningful topic every week. I believe in “quality” rather than “quantity,” which is why there may be lapses between my blog entries.

Since I haven’t come up with any good ideas of my own to write about, I’ll use one of the writing prompts from a new book I recently acquired called "Old Friend from Far Away (The Practice of Writing Memoir)" by Natalie Goldberg.

“Tell Me About the Best Moment You’ve Experienced”

I know most people would say either their wedding day or the day they had their first child, but for me, it was the day my parents came to visit me in England.

I had lived there nearly two years (since getting married to a Brit) and would soon be moving to another city. For my parents, it was their first time “across the pond.” My sister, who had been to England about ten years previously, was tagging along.

My husband and I booked a room at our favorite hotel near the airport (The Travel Inn) and stayed there the night before since we’d have an early morning picking them up from Gatwick. Although it would have been funny to hold a sign, we didn’t think of it in time, so instead just looked for three bleary-eyed Americans and spotted them in no time at all. Hugs all around before heading to Baggage Retrieval to collect their luggage.

After rounding up their suitcases, it soon became obvious that it was going to take some clever maneuvering to fit them all in our tiny little Nissan, as well as making room for 5 adults. My husband, who has always been good with spatial relations, managed to squeeze us all in, though there was a suitcase wedged between my mom, sister, and I in the back seat. It was far from comfortable for the approximately three hour journey back home, but we all managed.

First thing we did after arriving at our semi-detached home in Gloucester, was go out to lunch. I can’t remember if we walked or drove, but we went to a neighborhood pub so my parents could try some real British food. I think my dad might have had curry, and my sister a jacket (baked) potato with beans. I’m not sure what my mom had. I also remember stopping at the small grocer’s next door to pick up some sweet cherries to snack on later.

Since everyone’s appetites were satiated, there was only one other thing to do, have a kip (nap) for the rest of the afternoon. My husband and I stayed up since we weren’t suffering from the jet lag that the others were.

We stayed in for dinner and I made pasta bake and a salad, proving that I had learned a few useful skills since getting married.

After dinner my sister gave me a belated birthday present she had made for me. It was a little scrapbook featuring the family dog, Comet. It was so sentimental that I just cried – because I missed him so much, and because I was so happy to have my family see me in my new life in this wonderful country.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Miscellanious Thoughts on Photography...

I’ve given many reasons for why I enjoy photography and why I started taking pictures, but perhaps the most obvious reason has never been stated. That reason is because I’m lazy. I’ve been trained as a journalist and as a writer to take down all of life’s details and turn it into an article or a story, something to perhaps educate or entertain people.

Although I still take down the occasional note when I visit places, I’ve gotten lax and found it’s easier just to document something, and then refer to the picture if I want to make any further notes.

Maybe that’s not the right reason to take photos, but it’s just a conclusion I came to recently.

I found this comment (which I thought was interesting) on a website showing some of Julius Shulman’s photos:

Ken Carpenter (ken_carpenter) wrote:
When I read his (Julius Shulman’s) remark about "taking a 1000 photos and then, simply selecting the best, I smiled from ear to ear! I agree that digital is a brilliant concept and, has its place. But to me, photography has become more of an "Exercise in Deletion", rather than a creative art form. When Alfred Steglitz stood for 4 hours in the snow, until the image came to HIM.........THAT....is photography!

I sooo agree!

An excerpt from Michael Palin’s New Europe book (pg 125):

“Away from the parade ground there is much letting down of hair. Stalls have appeared under the trees in the centre of town, a Ukranian musical group is playing heart-rending melodies and, as in Chisinau yesterday, it’s the seventy-year-olds who lead the on-street dancing. I watch mesmerized as an old woman reveals a mouthful of monumental gold crowns as she’s twirled round and round by an old man in a suit, who a moment ago had been a lovely figure sitting on a bench.

In the West, all this would be recorded, filmed, photographed. Looking around the crowd here in Tiraspol I can’t, apart from our own, see a single camcorder, mobile phone or digital camera.

They’re just watching.”

Sometimes I feel like I must have ADD, because I often find I can't enjoy going on excursions without taking along my camera and shooting even the most mundane things to keep myself constantly amused. Sometimes I get nervous because I wonder if I'll have time to see everything and document it, instead of just looking around with my own two eyes and just enjoy the moment.

Since the invention of the digital camera and camera phone, I'm sure I'm not alone in this. It's like an addiction I'm not sure I can shake. Of course I don't take a camera everywhere with me, but when I do, I feel so compelled to use it all the time. The only time I don't necessarily care about taking pictures is when I am focused on shopping. Even then, sometimes I'll take the occasional picture if I come across anything unusual that I don't necessarily want to buy.

It would be interesting if they had support groups for this - Photobugs Anonymous. "Hello. My name is -------- and I have a photo addiction."

I probably wouldn't feel so guilty if I could at least make a living off of it, but so far I've only sold two pictures (though not for cash), and mostly just do it for fun, rather than profit. I think if I had to make a living from it, it would probably cease being fun and just be too much hard work.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


If I wasn’t counting calories….

I’d have a big bowl of chocolate Wheetos (found only in the UK as far as I know) for breakfast, a peanut butter (crunchy of course) and jelly (grape) sandwich for lunch, fritoes on the side, and then either a Hostess cupcake or Ho-Ho for dessert, followed by a tall glass of chocolate milk or Hi-C orange drink. I might also have a cup of yogurt and/or an apple (for moistness).

If money were no object…

I would definitely go on more vacations, buy more books, and do a lot more shopping!!! (I’d also have more than one house and neither would be where I am living now!)

If time wasn’t an issue…

I would definitely go on more vacations, and probably accomplish a lot more with my hobbies. I’d probably watch a lot more TV and movies, and maybe read more books. This probably has as much to do with my attention span as it does with how many hours are in a day.

If there were no dress code…

I’d probably wear jeans and hoodies all the time (though I’d probably get sick of them, so I suppose it’s good that I have to dress up for work).

If I weren’t so old…

I’d probably own more stuffed animals (I’m sure my husband thinks I have too many already) and dress younger in more cutesy tops with rainbows and peace symbols on them. I might see the attraction of Hannah Montana and all her cute teen friends. I might stay up later and see what all the fuss is about with late night TV (have taped the occasional program and don’t think any of them are worth staying up for). I might enjoy concerts more. I don’t understand why people try to get up on stage when they’ll only get carried off forcibly, which has got to be more than a little embarrassing.

If I had more time and stamina…

I’d like to drive cross country and take a lot of pictures along the way; maybe try some diner pie.

If there were no consequences…

I’d tell off (and maybe inflict physical violence if I were really upset) everyone who ever offended me or I thought was being rude.

If I knew I only had a year to live…

I would travel to all the places I’ve always wanted to go (maybe for 6 months or so), then maybe spend the last six months relaxing, reading, watching movies/TV with family and friends, and happily eating whatever I like (I hope!).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Numbers...

1 The number of cookies I ate at lunch today
2 The number of cookies I wish I could have eaten today
3 The number of kids in our family
4 The number of nieces I have
5 The number of people in my family (while growing up)
6 The number of corduroys I currently own
7 The total number of nieces and nephews I have
8 The number of photos in my England 2008 set on Flickr
9 The number of hours I like to sleep sometimes
10 The number of years I’ve been married (as of Aug ’08)
13 The amount of Victoria Secret Pink dogs I currently own
14 One of my favorite teen years; 1984 was definitely a good year!
16 The number of years I’ve known my husband (in August)
21 The number of years since I graduated from high school (in June)
22 The age I was when I met my first serious boyfriend
24 The age I was when I went to Great Britain for the first time
28 The age I was when I married my husband
30 The maximum amount of minutes I usually exercise (at least twice a week)
40 The number of years my parents will have been married (in August)
50 The number of years my great aunt & uncle will have been married (in July)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Notes to Past Self...

Try not to fall too hard (in love) your first time. It’s hard advice to take, but it will hurt less if you remember that it’s just puppy love.

Be your own person with your own interests. It’s fine to explore new hobbies in the interest of a man, but you don’t have to fake enthusiasm just to please them.

Maybe re-think your selection of college courses to minimize the amount of classes that either won’t transfer or you’ll have to drop later. Choose a different teacher for your English 300 class! She goes on sick leave halfway through the class; you never finish your paper and end up flunking (which creates problems down the line when you transfer to Kent State).

Try to choose a more definite career to avoid all the dead-end jobs you’ll be stuck with for what is now going on 15 years (although some of the jobs have at least been somewhat interesting).

Buy Microsoft stock while it’s still cheap!

Take more notes. You’ll thank me later when you go to write that first book.

6/10/07 Either skip your ice skating class or go a different way to avoid your car accident.

That's all the advice I can think of for now.

Monday, March 9, 2009

It's the Thought that Counts...

As an Obama fan and supporter, I am frankly embarrassed by the huge inequity in the recent gift exchange.

I could maybe understand if the Prime Minister had just sprung the gifts on the Obamas as a complete surprise, and all they had time to do was send a poor aide to the White House gift shop (which is where you can apparently buy the toy helicopters which were purchased for the PM’s sons).

I can understand men not knowing how to buy an appropriate gift, since this isn’t usually their field of expertise, which is why they often delegate such tasks to their secretary or personal assistant.

What I am even more ashamed about is the fact that all the articles say Michelle Obama was the one to choose the toy helicopters. Since Mrs. Brown is credited with choosing books and outfits for the girls, how did Michelle so badly drop the proverbial ball? Was she too busy with PTA meetings and helping the girls with their homework that this little task just snuck up on her facilitating a last minute dash out?

In Obama’s defense, I thought the dvds were a nice touch (at least they were special editions!), even if they were movies everyone has seen a million times. Perhaps a better choice would have been a box set of “West Wing” or “W,” though my two favorite presidential movies are “Dave” and “The American President.” I also like “All the President’s Men,” but that might not set the right tone.

I’m not sure what I’d suggest as a gift for the prime minister’s sons not knowing their ages, but if they’re tweens, then maybe something autographed by either the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus?

If the Obamas are reading this, if the situation should ever arise again, don’t hesitate to call. I promise to buy top-rated gifts that won’t embarrass you or bankrupt the economy. After all, what price do you put on good diplomatic relations? We don’t have too many friends out there, so we can hardly afford to lose one who has always been there for us.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Forgive me father for I have sinned….

Day 3 and I've already fallen off the wagon.

I ate half a donut this afternoon. I am going to eat chicken for dinner tonight, and I haven’t gotten in two days on the exercise bike or one day on the Wii Fit.

I have somewhat valid excuses for my lapse. Since I knew I was going to blow it with dinner tonight, I figured I may as well blow it big, so I went ahead and ate the donut (it was delicious!). The reason I am having chicken for dinner is because my husband made a sort of chicken mushroom stew on Tuesday. Neither of us ate very big portions the first time. In spite of eating quite a lot of the leftovers last night, there is still one portion left. My husband already has other leftovers that need to be consumed, and it’s already been in the fridge for three nights and reheated twice, so it’s now or never. I think it’s a bigger sin to waste food than to eat meat (on Fridays) during Lent. I promise to abstain (from meat, etc.) tomorrow instead.

The reason for not getting in two nights on the exercise bike is I was busy partaking of another form of exercise on Wednesday night : ) and had a class to rush off to last night (didn’t get home until about 9pm). Yes, there’s still tonight to repent, so we’ll see.

I have much higher hopes for next week!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

the forbidden fruit

the forbidden fruit, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

I sat down and added up the amount of calories in all the candy I had bought, and it came out to just over 2000! (which means I would gain at least a pound and a half if I ate it all in one sitting, not to mention a whopper of a belly ache!)

I did actually eat the one non-peanut related item in the bunch - the M&M's candy bar, and I have to say it actually wasn't very good. Mars ought to drop this one from their product line.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lenten Resolutions

It's that time of year again; the time when we pick ourselves back up from falling off the wagon after making failed attempts at New Year's Resolutions, and try to get back on the straight and narrow by making Lenten Resolutions. I realize giving up something petty like candy and donuts is pretty cliche' and perhaps a bit of a token gesture, but these are foods I indulge in way too often (donuts less so, but needs to be never!).

Realizing that the best way to get rid of winter flab isn't just to diet, but to exercise, I am also trying to stick to an exercise routine. I figure by making it public should hold me accountable (not that anyone even reads this blog). I guess I'll also try to update my blog at least weekly. It's just hard to come up with positive things to say since this has been such a dismal winter.

1) Forbidden foods – candy, donuts

2) No snacking unless it’s fruit.

3) Work out at gym at least two days a week.

4) Work out on bike at least two days a week.

5) Use the Wii Fit at least once a week.

6) After dinner desserts only permitted on Fridays and Saturdays.

7) All rules void on my birthday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

my so-called (unfulfilled) life

dull, gray, dreary

cultural wasteland

concrete jungle

day in, day out

fluorescent hell

deep funk

going through the motions

meaningless existence


a walking coma

just waiting for the golden hour

5:00 when I can leave this wretched dump

8:00 it starts all over…

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Having a Sort (and Clear Out)...

As a way to pass the time at work, and clear some clutter in the basement, I recently (today actually) decided to start going through some old papers. Some date back to kindergarten (special drawings, etc.), but most are from my college and journalism days.

In the small stack I’ve tackled so far, I found a newsletter and a membership card from the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys Fan Club. That dates back to 1984 when I was going through my “detective phase” (blame it on “Remington Steele”). It was in a folder with a bunch of news clippings, brochures, etc. all relating to detective shows, books and magazines. I’ve tossed the lot, but decided to hang on to the ND/HB Fan Club membership card for nostalgia’s sake.

Some folders contained the mundane – like info. about various subjects I was once interested in: Sleep & Dreams (took a class on that at KSU), the Moore Mansion (a historical property located on the back campus of LCC), and the Titanic. Having lost interest in at least two out of three and no longer needing the info from the other, all went straight to the recycling bin.

Other folders weren’t so easy – one contained various notes and letters from the period when I was dating my ex-boyfriend. With the exception of a few sympathetic notes and greeting cards, that folder was soon dumped (contents to be shredded!).
The only thing I’m uncertain as to what to do with, are the various brown envelopes containing a meticulous collection of news clippings from various historical events over the last 40 years or so:

a) 20 year anniversary of May 4, 1970
b) death of Princess Diana
c) death of JFK Jr.
d) the reopening of the Sam Sheppard case

It seems a shame to just chuck out the lot, especially after all the effort I went to in clipping each individual article. I guess I thought maybe someday I might put them in a scrapbook, but who wants to read about death and doom and gloom? (I already have a Sept. 11 scrapbook). I doubt my nieces and nephews will ever appreciate my compulsion. Perhaps if I were the artistic type, I could mould some sort of a paper mache’ mannequin relating to the topic of the articles, but that strikes me as a bit morbid too. I guess ending up in the recycling bin is probably the kindest future for these remnants of the past.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why I’m Glad Barack Obama is President…

No more having to see that smug-looking SOB who once called himself our president. Whenever he was on the telly, it always made me want to throw things at the set (instead I usually changed the channel).

It will be nice to have a president with three IQ points for a change.

I no longer have to apologize or feel ashamed of being American as long as Obama is at the helm. He hasn’t even done anything yet, and is already more respected and revered around the world than GWB ever was!

It’s about time we had a little racial and ethnic diversity in office, not to mention a president who ISN’T from the south!

Maybe, just maybe, he’ll be able to solve, or at least come close to fixing some of the MANY problems he inherited in his “In Box from Hell” (thanks Sam Holliday).

It’s nice to witness a POSITIVE historical moment for a change (that being the inauguration).

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Little Crayon Therapy

(written in 2001, taken from my archives)

I was having a bad day at work the other day and decided I was in need of a little “crayon therapy.” What is “crayon therapy” you may ask? It’s a de-stressing exercise my friend invented while we were in college.

Whenever we got bogged down with studying and needed a little diversion, we would pull out our coloring books and crayons and color away until we felt able to cope with studying again.

I’ve been out of college just over seven years now, so I’ve since gotten rid of most of my coloring books and crayons. In fact, last Christmas I gave my three-year-old niece an unopened 96 box of crayons. Before giving it to her I thought to myself, “When am I ever going to use these?”

Now I wish I had kept them, because after going to every stationer and lots of other shops in our small town I came up empty. Out of all the stores I visited, only one actually sold crayons, but they were a cheap knock-off brand. Not only did they not smell like the old Crayolas we all know and love, they didn’t even have the names of the colors listed on the wrappers. Now what fun is that I ask you, to not know that you’re using burnt sienna or sea blue? That’s how we all learned our colors.

Disappointed I slumped off back to work to rejoin the adult world once again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Things to Look Forward to in 2009...

Borrowing yet another idea from one of my favorite Bath Chronicle columnists, Sam Holliday (who recently wrote a column entitled, “Reasons to be Cheerful”), here is my first blog entry of the year.

“Barack Obama. In some ways it seems ages ago when he won the right to be the next President but in less than two weeks that is exactly what he will become. So cast your minds back to the general sense of elation and optimism his election created and it may help to get you through the next few weeks. True, he may have the 'inbox from hell' when he takes over, but he has the goodwill of a large chunk of the world's population and that has to count for something. And one other reason to be cheerful about Obama? It will mean no more of George Walker Bush.”
-- Sam Holliday

I couldn’t agree more Sam!

More Fun on the Silver Screen...
Among the slew of big Hollywood blockbusters to come out later this year, is the next installment in the on-going “Harry Potter” series. I believe it’s due out sometime in the summer, so heading into your local cinema is certainly one way to beat the heat.

Countless hours of fun playing on the Nintendo Wii…
Now that they’ve come out with Wii Fit, it doesn’t have to feel like such a guilty pleasure. It also brings out (what little I have) my competitive side. Okay, so it also makes me want to cheat to maintain those high scores, hopefully once I master some of the more difficult exercises, it will bring out my athletic prowess : )

Summer Vacation…
All I ever wanted
Had to get away

(lyrics from the song by the GoGos)

Though nothing’s been booked or written in stone yet, we are thinking of heading out to the great Pacific Northwest to Seattle and Vancouver (and some of the outlying areas). The inspiration from this holiday comes from my in-laws who want to see the Canadian Rockies and are heading up to Banff and Jasper (and visiting Vancouver on their way back down).

Among other things I am looking forward to visiting Roslyn, the tiny town made famous when the 1990 CBS TV series, “Northern Exposure” was filmed there. From what I understand, although they enjoy reaping the financial benefit, they really don’t care much for tourists and would just as soon you not mention the show if you visit. I’ll certainly keep that in mind! Seeing as how the program ended almost 14 years ago, hopefully they will have chilled out a bit!


I look forward to devouring more of my own personal book collection (only got three new ones for Christmas, so not too many more to add to the growing stack). Next on the list to read is Maureen McCormick’s autobiography entitled, Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice. Just can’t get enough of the Bradys!

I signed up for two more (one day) classes being taught in Upper Arlington. One is an all day (Saturday) writing class being taught by one of Natalie Goldberg’s former students. Having read most of Goldberg’s books, I am quite interested in learning from one of her pupils.

I also signed up for a lecture being given one evening all about the Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the near vicinity – some I’ve visited, but a couple I haven’t. Some of the evening might be a bit redundant, but I hope to learn more about the few local houses I haven’t yet visited.

As far as photography goes, I look forward to going back to my old ways by shooting a bunch of FILM pictures since I now have a refrigerator full of it. I particularly look forward to experimenting with medium format using the Diana F+ camera I received for my birthday last year. I have since acquired a macro lens for it, so I hope it lives up to its rave reviews.

Good food, fun with the family, cherry blossoms in the spring, autumn colors, Christmas lights - these are a few of my favorite things (and no they don't rhyme, like the items in the song).