"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year and best wishes to you all!

How was '08 for you? Mine started out very hopefully. I was alone on New Year's Eve but had been given the promise that it would be my last like that. This year: I got to go to Vancouver to see my love. My stepgrandparents died. My son graduated high school. My boss got fired. My love dumped me out of the blue for someone else. I lost 20 pounds because I was physically unable to eat for two months (depression diet - highly effective but NOT recommended). There's more, but I've written it all here before. I've written more than 300 posts, so it's all here if you really want to go looking for a recap.
I'm starting the new year with the hope that this will be better than the last...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reading and other projects

My Internet connection problems have been a bit of a nightmare for me lately - meaning it's down now for HOURS at a time. It's been odd though. I've picked up books to occupy my idle mind when I can't do my usual web surfing. I've read three books in their entirety, in addition to finishing one that I've been reading in bits and pieces for several weeks now. It makes me want to buy more books, but when I go through one every day or so, it really adds up. Besides, I don't have any room for any more books. I have stacks and boxes of them all over the place as it is. You see? I need the infinite resources of the Internet to keep my mind occupied. It is constantly in consumption mode and must be taking in information at all times, it seems.
I have forced myself to have some quiet time each day though. I'd gotten away from my meditations for too long, and now I'm having to ease back in. I'll have to just have my quiet time for a few days before I'll be able to focus sufficiently to really get any good meditation in.
I've got a new project. (I almost always have to have some kind of "project.") This time, I'm making wine. It's just "hobo wine," but it's an experiment that I thought might be kind of fun to try. Kind of like learning how to fold a T-shirt in two seconds. That one was kind of nifty too. So anyway, I'll let you know how the wine turns out when it's ready. :) Woohoo!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Support those who serve

As we spend the holidays with our families, it's easy to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that we might tend to forget those who can't share this time with their families. We are all struggling, but our military heroes and their families are sacrificing even more so that we - and others around the world - can enjoy a life of freedom.

This year, Sears is sponsoring the Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry, so that those of us here at home can give thanks and help fulfill the wishes of those brave souls serving in the military and their families who have sacrificed so much that their loved ones may serve for the good of others.

You too can help Sears in its partnerships with various nonprofit organizations to help fulfill our heroes' holiday wishes.

Donations to the Heroes at Home Wish Registry are not tax-deductible. Gifts are given to military families in the form of Sears Gift Cards, which are distributed equally among all registered military families. More than 30,000 military families are registered for participation in the program.

By visiting the Heroes at Home Wish Registry, you can make a donation, using your credit card, to help out these families during the holidays. You can also post a message of support to thank our military service members and their families for the sacrifices they have made for us. You can also get a Heroes at Home badge to post on your own Web site and help spread the word about the program.


Weather and holiday indulgences

The weather's been crazy lately, hasn't it? We've had ice storms, rain storms, snow showers, bitter cold, brutal wind... Friday we had a deluge, complete with thunder - actual thunder on Dec. 26. That just seems crazy. The temp was just at freezing when it first started, cold enough to put down a glaze of ice. I know - I wiped out on it at work. Saturday, the temp went into the mid-60s. We didn't even need a jacket. Overnight, the wind kicked up, blowing the branches out of the trees and causing the temperature to plunge again. The rivers are running bank-full, and there's standing water all over the place. Just a couple more degrees' drop, and it will all be frozen again.
I'm predicting 8-foot snowdrifts in February. Yeah, that would be just my luck.

And in honor of the holiday season culinary indulgences.....

As you're resisting those holiday treats, consider this: Are you able to appreciate a tiny, perfect moment? Consider what I got for a measly 60 calories:

I sit here quietly savoring this delectable chocolate-covered cherry. I carefully pop the bottom of the chocolate off, creating a small chocolate cup filled with liqueur and a cherry. I hold the cup perched in three fingers while I allow the piece of chocolate in my mouth to slowly melt over my tongue. The warmth from my fingertips begins to melt the chocolate cup. After the chocolate in my mouth has melted, I sip the liqueur from the miniature cup around the cherry, then nibble away at the sides of the cup until I am left with just a tiny cap of chocolate holding the prize: the beautiful, red cherry on its tiny cap of chocolate resting in a puddle of the last of the liqueur. I scoop the cherry up with my tongue and bite into it. The cherry liqueur drips down my chin. After I've savored the texture and flavor of the cherry, I get the final touch of joy found in licking the melted chocolate from my fingertips.

All that for 60 calories.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Flashback Friday - Tainted Love

This week's Flashback Friday is one of my all-time favorites, and I'll never apologize for it: Tainted Love by Soft Cell.

Christmas done

Well, Christmas is over and done with, and even though this was a lean year, somehow it still looks as if a toy factory exploded in my living room, and we've no idea how all the new stuff will fit in a room that didn't have room for all the old stuff before.
Christmas Eve the girls and I wrapped the last of Book's gifts and stashed them away before heading off to pick him up for the night. As we drove past Wal-Mart at 7:30 pm, Gin piked her sister and said, "Take a look, Munch. That's the last time you'll see that. Wal-Mart is completely empty." I looked over and she was right. The parking lot was empty, as they'd closed the store already. I was a little surprised that it had closed so early. I expected they'd want to pick up the last-minute Christmas Eve shoppers. Anyway, I pointed out to Gin that we would indeed be seeing the same sight the next morning when we brought Book home.
We spent the late evening at my parents' house, opening gifts and doing the usual Christmas Eve thing. Pooh and his girlfriend (yes, they're back together again) even came in to share the night with us after spending the early evening at her grandmother's house.
We arrived home fairly late, and I sent the girls and Book straight to bed, as we'd be getting up early the next morning. Of course, that didn't go quite as smoothly as I'd hoped, so it was still at least an hour and a half before they were all tucked away, and I could haul out the gifts.
Pooh and his girlfriend were camped on the couch, so I simply told him not to snoop. I wasn't waiting any longer. Good thing I didn't bother, as it turns out, because he ended up sleeping on the couch anyway. And he didn't snoop at all. :)
Christmas morning, Book was the first one up - not for enthusiasm. He had a nose bleed at 7:30 a.m. He got himself a wet washcloth and asked if he should go back to bed. I told him not to bother. Within about 15 minutes or so, the girls were awake too. So we all headed downstairs to start Round 2.
Pooh popped right up and took delivery of his gifts right on the couch. He knew he was getting a new cell phone, but he wasn't expecting it by Christmas, so that turned out to be more of a surprise for him than I'd expected. What really surprised him, though, was the Bluetooth headset I got him to go with it. Surprising him at 18 years old is a challenge, so I was glad that was a success.
Book got a new book - naturally - as well as some clothes, a game, a talking Star Wars helmet he's been wanting for weeks, and assorted odds and ends. Munch got the obligatory giraffes (she's been obsessed with them since she was three), and Gin's gifts seemed all to be of the Hannah Montana or High School Musical theme.
After the gifts, we got all the kids dressed and packed up. We took Book back home to his dad's, and I dropped the girls off to spend the rest of the day with their dad and his mother. I would have kept them from him, but this is the first time in six years that he's gotten them anything for Christmas. He's living with his mother who just got out of the hospital for cancer treatment, so it really didn't seem right to keep them from having more of a Christmas with them too.
Pooh left to go to his dad's shortly after I arrived home, so I actually spent most of my Christmas day at home alone. It wasn't bad though. After the inevitable holiday stress, I was actually able to just sit back, watch a video and relax with no responsibilities at all. The house was empty, and I figured that the pile of crumpled paper, ripped boxes, yards of ribbons and assorted toy parts in my living room could do just fine where it was for the time being.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Watching cartoons

We had more freezing rain tonight, so well-stocked with junk food, Munch and I spent most of the evening watching some of my old favorite cartoons. They're now her favorites too. Here's a sampler of some of the ones she liked best:

Marvin's my FAVORITE!!

This had her giggling. :)

This one had her laughing hysterically.....and as soon as it was over, she even asked to watch it again!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bitter cold and unreliable connections

The wind and cold has been brutal today. We've had a little snow, but it's come in tiny little pellets, and the fierce wind is blowing it all away. I always wonder where it's collecting.
I was listening to the wind all morning before I had to go out. It sounded as if it would tear the roof off the house, it was gusting so strongly at times. I hoped that it would die down a bit before we had to go out, but no such luck.
We took Book home to his dad's, as per our usual Sunday schedule. I've arranged with his dad to pick him up on Christmas Eve, so we can do our Christmas at my mother's that night. Then we'll open presents Christmas morning at my house before I take him home again. That way, he gets to be with his siblings for all of the Christmas festivities and isn't excluded from any of it.
After dropping him off, the girls and I went out to my parents' house, and then we all went into town for lunch. That was a break from the routine, but we had an ulterior motive. Pooh's cell phone service has been horrible, so my parents decided to take out a cell phone contract and include him on it in a family plan. They're both on prepaid service now, and my mother pays my son's cell phone bill on his contract. With such bad service, we decided that paying the fee to break that contract was worthwhile, and combining them all on one will ultimately prove to be cheaper each month than the separate bills. I considered joining in on it myself, but I'm happy with my service and the cost. And more importantly, international calling would be much more on their plan. Considering all of my connections are trending international, I'll stick with my own plan.
The wind kept blowing and the temperature kept dropping. By the time we were finished with lunch and went to the grocery store, it was so bad that we were outside in it for only seconds before it actually made our skin hurt. I suspect frostbite would take only a few minutes in this kind of cold, dry wind.
I already received notification that school has been delayed for tomorrow morning. There's no snow accumulation, so I have to assume that it's the wind and cold and that it's expected to continue through the night.
My internet connection has been spotty at best recently, but tonight, it's been abysmal. It was down for the first three hours after I got home, returned for just a few minutes, went back down for almost two more hours, was up for two hours, and now it's down again. (I'm writing offline, with hopes that the connection will return in time for me to post this before bed.)
My whole life is online. I was even inspired to write my column about that fact tonight. (I took advantage of one of the brief windows of connection to e-mail it in. Good thing. I would have missed a deadline.) The column was far too long, but I didn't have access to my word count tool on Google, so I didn't know until it was finished and I was ready to send it in. I was afraid to start trimming for fear the connection would drop before I was finished, and I wouldn't be able to send it in.
Now, I'll go back to reading my book and hope that my connection returns before I go to bed, so I can post this.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bonus Flashback Friday - Interjections!

Bonus Flashback because HEY! It's Friday!

Haven't dropped off the face of the earth after all :)

Oh boy, have I been neglecting things around here! So I guess I should provide a little update....
Well, we've been having some nasty weather around here, and I've seen by the news that there's been some weather weirdness all over. Some friends in New Orleans sent photos of SNOW there last week. Most of the comments were along the lines of, "What the hell?!?! How do you drive in this sh*t?!" I even saw that Las Vegas - you know that city built in the middle of a DESERT - got 3.6 inches of snow yesterday.
Here in my little hamlet in Ohio, we got ice. Lots and lots of ice.
I went into the office Monday, as per my usual schedule. All was well then. Tuesday morning, I couldn't access the Internet from home, so I was forced to go to the office again, even thought that's my usual day to work from home. I finished up around 1 p.m. and headed home, because I've had to keep my days as short as possible these last two weeks. Use-it-or-lose-it policy for vacation hours. During the drive home, the temperature was dropping fast, and the freezing rain was starting up.
By the time Wednesday morning rolled around, everything in sight was covered with a glaze of ice. That's a usual office day for me, but I wasn't risking my life to go in when there was no real need for it. Besides, I'd already gone in the previous day - and the boss was off, so why bother? The kids had a school delay, which turned into a cancellation, so that cinched it for me.
Thursday morning I awoke to a text message informing that there was another school delay. It was the day for the Christmas "dinner" and annual staff photo at work, so I'd been planning to go in, but considering the delay and the nasty conditions out, I began to rethink that plan. I looked outside and saw that Pooh's car was gone, so clearly he had to work the morning shift at McDonald's. But then I went upstairs, and found that he was home. So what happened? Well, it seems he DID have work, but on his way there at 3:30 a.m., he spun out of control on the ice and landed in a field. He was ok. The car - not so much.
I asked him where the car was, and he informed me that he'd parked in the lot at the local market, figuring that it wouldn't make it up the icy driveway at home. So I went over to the market to check it out. The front quarter panel on the driver's side was crumpled, and there's grass and mud wedged into the tire under the rim. The passenger side appeared undamaged, except that the tire was completely flat and falling off the rim. He drove it all the way back - about 10 miles - on a flat tire. He has a cell phone and AAA - but apparently, in the stress of the situation, he forgot.
So anyway, we had more freezing rain last night, and the roads were just as bad - if not worse - early this morning when he had to drive in again. Fortunately, this journey was uneventful, if extremely slow. There was another school delay this morning, so I didn't go into the office until after I got the girls off to school. By then, the temperature had risen enough that most of the roads were in decent shape.
I got to come home early because I'd used up all my hours. There's still a cold rain falling. The temp is up above freezing at the moment, but it is supposed to drop significantly. Everything is wet, and it'll all freeze over again. We'll just have to see what it looks like tomorrow. In the mean time, I'm in for the day. I stopped and got beer on the way home from work. I'm all set.

Flashback Friday - Last Christmas

Today I'm offering a little seasonally appropriate cheesiness for Flashback Friday - Wham's Last Christmas. Enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flashback Friday - Girls on Film

The live version - not the "adult" video - of Duran Duran's Girls on Film

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My day off work in the middle of the week

I took the day off work today and spent the better part of the time sleeping. I woke up to get the girls off to school, then I climbed back into bed. I woke up about three hours later, but I was still feeling tired, so I lay back down, expecting that I wouldn't fall asleep again. I was wrong. The next thing I knew, it was 1 in the afternoon. I don't regret it in the slightest. I probably needed the rest. It's certainly been long enough since I've gotten much good, uninterrupted sleep. And it was wonderful just waking up on my own rather than to an alarm clock or a child knocking on the door or kids arguing in the hall outside my room.

When I finally did get up and moving around, I managed to get a few things done that needed to be done. Then I got online and did a few things there, including some Entrecard dropping that I've been neglecting lately, I must admit.

I also got a welcome message in my inbox on Facebook that a friend of mine in Europe is planning a trip to the U.S. for business soon. He's trying to work things out so that he will be able to come my way as well, so that will be nice. We get along very well, and it would be so nice to get to meet him in person and spend some time together. I'm too used to disappointment to be counting on it just yet, but I do hope that it all works out that we can see each other. I've needed to be able to look forward to something.

My cousin called me yesterday and asked if I might be able to go out this Saturday night. She won't have her kids, and she and I haven't been out together since I was in college, I think. We hardly ever see each other anymore. I've got Book on Saturday, but I might see if I can switch that to Friday if I can make arrangements for the girls too. It would be nice to have a night out. It's been far too long.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Seeking serenity

As each day passes, it seems that life is weighing more heavily upon my already overburdened shoulders. And even the little things I had to bring me a shallow and temporary moment of escape or joy are being lost to me one by one.
At least I have one small thing to look forward to - or I might anyway. And even that is still months away, if I really have it to look forward to it at all. I don't know what to believe anymore. But I need something to believe in. I need something to hope for, and I need something I hope for to actually come to pass.
Every day I wonder how I will manage to get through to the next. And then get through the next. Each day it gets harder, and I wonder if it will ever end. I wonder if I will ever get to a day when I won't fear the next and the next. If there will ever be a day that I can feel warm sunshine and loving arms and soft kisses and know that I am safe and loved and finally whole.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Flashback Friday - Perfect Way

This week's Flashback Friday is Scritti Politti's Perfect Way. Enjoy!

Time off coming

It struck me this morning as I was adding up my hours for my timecard at work: I have almost four days of time off that I somehow have to work into my schedule over the next two weeks. The only possible way that I can do that is to take at least one WHOLE day off. A whole day off. It's almost too good to be true.
I've decided that I'll be taking Monday or Wednesday of next week, depending on what works best for my backup person. That way, I'll either have a long weekend (since this is my weekend off), or I'll split up next week into two mini-weeks (although I'm working next weekend, so that "mini-week" will still be nine days long). Either way, it's one less day at the office. And I still have almost three more days' worth of hours to shave off, so I'll be keeping my work days as short as possible. I can use the break right now, and maybe I can use the opportunity to find some new revenue sources.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Turbocharge it

Life gets a little crazy and sometimes we just want to get away. What better way than to hit the open road and feel the wind blow and cleanse away all the stresses of life?
But does your car have the power to make that drive really effective? If not, you might want to consider turbocharging it. Turbochargers force air into the fuel system to boost horsepower.
If you're looking to boost the power in your car, take a look at turbochargerpros.com. You'll find an Acura turbocharger, Volkswagen turbocharger, and everything in between.
To get that extra boost out of your car - and put that extra pep in your step - turbocharge it.

Open door

I woke up this morning to an unusually warm bedroom. What this usually means is that my son Pooh, who works early shifts at McDonald's, turned up the heat before he left the house and forgot to turn it back down. When I say turned up the heat, what I mean is that he's pushed the thermostat all the way up to the top to try to quickly warm up the house. I couldn't believe that this could have happened, as just two days ago he did it, and I made it clear - in no uncertain terms - that he was not to touch the thermostat again unless he plans to pay the heating bill.
Well, I opened the door to my room, and rather than being struck by a wave of warm air, I found myself in a freezer in my hallway.
It seems he'd neglected to pull the door shut all the way, and as usual, he did not lock it. The latch on my front door doesn't work properly since my ex-husband "fixed" it a couple of years ago, so it blows open rather frequently if it's not kept locked or properly latched.
So the front door was standing wide open to the world, for probably at least a couple of hours. Fortunately, I'm in a very safe little tiny town, so when the door stands wide open - even all day long - nothing is disturbed inside. Of course, my heat bill is sure to be completely outrageous, and I'm completely broke. The heater had kept running trying to get the house to 68 degrees, and my room with its closed door was a good indicator that it had been cranking out the heat for a while.
We're also searching for a cat who wandered into the house and has hidden himself so effectively that we're not even sure which floor he's on.
The cat will wait, I suppose, until he gets hungry enough to show himself.
And I've GOT to find a way to get some more cash, or I'll find myself moving my children and myself into my mother's house before winter's through.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tactical gear for holiday shoppers

It's holiday shopping time, and this year we're all more pressured than ever to get the most out of our holiday dollars. We're looking for practical, durable gifts that won't break the bank.
Not just for law enforcement anymore, "tactical" clothing has gained popularity in the general population for its incomparable practicality and durability. Naturally, with this increase in popularity, cheap, low-quality knock-offs are showing up all over the place. It's not enough to have the look of tactical pants with a clay or khaki color and a few more pockets than ordinary pants. What makes the tactical pants used by real law enforcement personnel special is their careful design and heavy-duty construction.
If you want the tactical gear used and trusted by law enforcement professionals and outdoorsmen across the country, you want the genuine 5.11 Tactical label.
If you're looking for pants, they've got more than 20,000 pairs in stock. Available in a dozen different colors and a variety of styles, you can find exactly what you want - and at great prices too. The classic style is only $39.99, and the flannel-lined (GREAT for hunters and outdoorsmen!) pants are only $49.99 right now. All 5.11 Tactical pants feature triple-stitch construction and bartacking for superior durability.
But it's not just pants, you'll also find 5.11 Tactical shirts, shorts, footwear, eyewear, bags, uniforms, jackets, jumpsuits, knives and other accessories.
If you've got a hard-to-buy for outdoorsman or teenager or farmer or weekend warrior or any hard-working, hard-playing person on your Christmas list, you'll find a perfect gift here.
Right now, free shipping is available for orders of $50 or more. Other bonuses available right now are a free tactical operations flashlight (not a cheap toy - this is a heavy duty flashlight with an 80-lumen output) with the purchase of more than $100 of 5.11 Tactical gear, and three pairs of socks with the purchase of any 5.11 boots.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I've got the *real* Mac virus...

I've become a pretty big Mac fan since I got my laptop for work about a year ago. I didn't realize how high a pedestal I'd placed Mac on, though, until today. I was home from work, surfing some blogs and all was going well. Then suddenly, when I was in the middle of typing a comment on a blog, my screen went black. The screen on my MacBook Pro...just...went...black. I was dumbstruck. I was in shock - I mean, to a degree comparable to seeing a stranger shot dead in front of me. I sat staring at the black screen, thinking, "What the hell?!?! This is a MAC! This doesn't happen!"
I've worked on Windows PCs for years and years, and frankly, whenever one crashed on me, my response was something like, "Damn it! Typical! Piece of crap!" But when my Mac just went black, I was ... stunned ... bewildered ... speechless.
Even now, I'm typing away just perplexed as to what happened and wondering if it will happen again.
I have to laugh at my reaction even more because I saw the new episode of The Simpsons last night (the first new one I've seen in a while, incidentally). At the beginning of the episode, the Simpsons were at the mall and there was a new "Mapple" store (Apple, but with an extra bite taken out). The store was a massive, futuristic glass structure filled with every surreal Mac stereotype imaginable. Then Steve "Mobs" giant image appears with a message and all the Mapple disciples turn to face and worship him.
Anyway, as I watched last night, I laughed at the Mac stereotypes being parodied. Then here I sat today, dumbstruck, when my Mac *gasp* failed.
I was looking up Mac viruses, to see if perhaps there had been some threat, but everything I read said that Mac OSX is still 100% virus-free. I think the "Mac virus" though is something entirely different. The "Mac virus" does not infect the computer - it infects the user. And it's not the product of some hacker - it's the product of Apple. It makes you have to have a Mac (or iPod, or iPhone, etc.). Then when you have it, it makes you dependent upon it. Then when you are dependent upon it, it makes you worship it. It becomes the "one thing you can't live without" in your social networking questionnaires. You become part of the cult. And now, it seems they've gotten me too.