Friday, April 23, 2010

May 4 Memorial

May 4 Memorial, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

40th Anniversaries this year

April 10, 1970 Paul McCartney announces the Beatles
would never work together again
April 22, 1970 First Earth Day
May 4, 1970 Four Students Killed and Nine Injured at
Kent State University

These are just three events that happened the year I was born, but all three have affected me in one way or another.

I am a huge Beatles fan. Actually, at least according to my husband, you have to like a specific album and listen to all their music instead of just the popular tunes, to qualify as a “huge” fan, so I guess I would just say I like them “quite a lot.” I’ve been to Liverpool and seen where many of the Fab Four grew up, as well as to NYC where John later moved with Yoko Ono. I’ve also seen some of their movies, as well as films about them. I haven’t read many books about them yet, but am amassing a small collection for reading later. I think their music does so much to define the decade even though it was the end of era for them.

To be honest, I didn’t do much to commemorate Earth Day this year (aside from picking up a stray cigarette box), but I like to think I do something everyday to be green from recycling and reusing as many things as possible, to trying to be more energy efficient. I am a fan of Ed Bagley Jr. and try to never miss his show, “Living with Ed.” I still have a long way to go before I’ll be anywhere close to his level of “greenness,” but I’m working on it.

Having been a student at Kent State University, and being born two months before May 4, 1970 happened, I feel a special connection to the whole event. I also lived in the same dorm as Allison Krause, one of the murdered students. We may have even shared the same room. I guess I’ll never know.

The fact that what happened that day in May made national news, and thus ensured Kent State a secure place in history, may have influenced my decision somewhat to attend there. Let’s just say that you can’t attend KSU and not be influenced by it somewhat, at least not if you happen to walk past the memorials everyday like I did. Plus, there’s the annual commemoration every May. As a one-time staff member of the Daily Kent Stater, I once got to meet one of the injured (actually paralyzed) students, Dean Kahler, who, at the time, I believe was an Athens County Commissioner. He was with his young daughter who had lots of questions about the whole thing, like wanting to know if the students died right there (pointing at marked spots in the parking lot). I even came back for the 25th anniversary in which Mary Ann Vecchio (the girl in the famous photo) made an appearance. I do not plan on attending the 40th commemoration due to work conflicts, but I will take a moment out of my day to quietly remember the four who would have been about my parent’s age if they were alive today.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Not flossing your teeth can lead to cavities (half a mouthfull later....)

Styrofoam doesn't hold up very well in a microwave!

Eating too much can lead to a stomache – unfortunately I don't always seem to remember this lesson!

Chili powder is something that should be measured and only used conservatively (as opposed to just shaking some in like I just did – hooottt!)

When recipes suggest softening butter to room temperature, be sure not to nuke it until it melts since that consistency doesn't always work for every recipe.

Pouring fabric softener directly onto your laundry will stain it (oops!).

If you put away your clothes straight away instead of piling them up, they're less likely to get wrinkled. Same goes for why you should get clothes right out of the dryer.

Just because you're warm at the moment, doesn't mean you should leave your sweater at home. It will eventually cool down in the evening (most of the time), not to mention how heavily air-conditioned some places can be. Hence, tie your sweater around your waist or leave it in the car where you can grab it later if you want. This is also another reason why mom was right when she said you should always 'dress in layers.'

Caulk is difficult to remove from your fingers, but not as bad as super glue (hence, always wear gloves when glue is involved).

Always read the fine print (and some that's not even that small). That would have saved me accidentally buying two LPs instead of CDs, an oversized reel-to-reel player, and an earlier edition of a video game.

Make sure you know the difference between the lock and unlock position on the button on the inside of your car door (which could mean the difference between unlocking all the doors or locking your keys inside like I just did).

New addition to list:

Always check the weather forecast when visiting somewhere far from home. There's nothing worse than being woefully unprepared for temperatures either colder or warmer than what you expected. Of course it's not always possible to get an accurate forecast, in which case see 'dress in layers' above.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Trying to Restore the Novelty Value

A couple blogs I read regularly provide tips for simplifying, organizing, and decluttering your life, all things I want to know about. However, when it comes to putting your money where your mouth is, so-to-speak, I have a much harder time.

Having just recently had my hours reduced (at work), and hence, my paychecks, I believe now is the time to really put these ideas to work. One thing I’ve already done is sort through my VHS tapes (yes, I still have some, being the dinosaur I am) and DVDs. I managed to come up with a pretty good stack I plan to donate to a local senior center (being that they’re all B/W classics). I also have another stack to watch before donating. Just by doing this I managed to free up a bit of space in the drawer where they’re stored. I also checked Netflix and was able to determine which I can stream through a home computer (or games system too I think), rendering the item somewhat redundant to keep.

Keeping spending to a minimum will be harder to do since I almost always find at least one superfluous item on a shopping trip. I guess the best way to avoid that is to just stay out of the stores. This time of year (with the warmer weather), it’s certainly much easier, but there’s always temptation to do a little online shopping (amazon, ebay, and etsy being my three favorite stores).

While going through my videos and dvds, and seeing how many things I still have yet to watch, the thought occurred to me, 'this is like discovering buried treasure.' With the amount of stuff I have on DVR, DVD, and VHS, it will probably be several months before I need to go out and rent something new, which is a happy thought.

I also have several Wii games I hardly ever play, and a new one I just got for my birthday, so there’s still a lot of longevity left in those.

I won’t even get into how many books I have squirreled away for a rainy day, but I easily have several years’ worth to read just under my own roof.

I guess the whole key is to entertain yourself with what you already have by “trying to restore the novelty value.”

Of course I’m not saying this concept will last forever. A time will come when I have listened to every CD, watched every video/dvd, played every Wii game, and read every book, but it certainly won’t be for quite awhile, so I should just enjoy the fruits I’ve been blessed with, instead of searching for more – just yet.