Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just like magic

I really like HH Gregg.  I can walk in there, say I want such-and-such with these features and the knowledgeable sales staff comes up with exactly what I want at the price I want to pay.  It happened when I went looking for a TV and it happened again yesterday.  I now have a Sony Blu-ray player that is wireless and streams Netflix and so much more.

As much as I like HH Gregg, I love my Blu-ray.  So far, I have streamed "Been Rich All My Life" while babysitting my granddaughter and listened to music via Pandora.  I love Pandora.  You can enter an artist's name and it creates a "radio station" with that artist plus others of the same genre.  I have two stations so far:  Greg Brown and James Taylor.  The station for the latter is generating a lot of nostalgia:  Van Morrison, Loggins and Messina, the Eagles, Carole King, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young, etc. (although I could do without Billy Joel.)  And I know all the lyrics, so I can sing along.

You go, grandma!

I'm sure none of this is new to any of you out in Internetland, but I feel like I have discovered a third arm.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

If wishes were horses

Every year I try to take the week between xmas and New Year's off.  For one thing, there is NOTHING happening at the office during this time, so it is even more boring than usual.  For another, it gives me a chance to reflect on the past year and plan for the next.  Sort of.  Or at least flush the filing cabinets of all the paper generated by our so-called paperless society.  If I can get the monster desk cleared off, it will make a trip to the Salvation Army, as it is so Sauder.  It would be nice to get the garage cleaned out as well, but it's really cold out there.

This week must be what retirement would be like for me.  I'm "busy" but I don't seem to actually get anything done.  Time takes on new meaning - or no meaning - when all the good stuff doesn't have to be crammed into a 62 hour period between 5pm Friday and 7am Monday (minus 24 hours for sleep and x hours for chores).

Anyway, I did watch a movie - "Remember Me" - which wasn't half bad - intelligent dialog, interesting characters, Chris Cooper, Pierce Brosnan - until the ending.  (Spoiler alert!)  Why are so many writers afraid of a happy ending?  Why can't they let the protagonist live instead of killing him off, this time on (gasp) 9/11?  The surviving characters went on to live better lives, but who's to say they would not have done that anyway?

I am also reading a book called World and Town, by Gish Jen.  It's about a retired biology teacher (Hattie) who is half Chinese, half missionary, and is living in the town where her "host" family summered.  The love of her youth also returns, which gets tongues wagging.  A dysfunctional Chinese Cambodian family arrives and is housed in a trailer not far from Hattie, and she is drawn into their problems.  And then there are the various and sundry locals.  It took me a while to get used to the author's writing style - if you don't pay attention, you trip on the gaps - but now I am into it, interested in what happens next.

And I have been perusing seed catalogs and knitting and babysitting my granddaughter and exercising more than usual.  And trying to figure out this business with incomplete positions in my IRA.  And doing an admirable job of not thinking about my job.  Also in the plans is some shopping:  I "need" a Blu-ray player that is wireless and streams Netflix.  Then my life will be complete.  Except for that retirement thing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

So far, so good

I covered an empty wrapping paper tube with aluminum foil and hung it from the light fixture over the diningroom table, but an airing of the grievances seemed too cynical, even for me. In fact, as I prepared our xmas eve meal, I kept thinking of all the good things the past year has brought.

  • My son graduated from college and moved back to Hoosierdom. This is the closest he has lived to home (and by "home" I mean my house) in ten years.
  • My daughter gave birth to the most beautiful baby in the world, making me a grandma for the first time.
  • The proud papa earned a promotion at work.
  • My SO has a new son-in-law, and he's a good 'un.
  • We are all healthy and gainfully employed (except my SO, who is gainfully retired).

While I am not a fan of holidays (although I love paid holidays), the end of the calendar year is a good time to reflect on what has gone before and contemplate what is yet to come. The daily grind is wearisome at times, but all in all, we are doing okay.

Happy Festivus!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's true

I'm sure you have heard the comment, If I had known grandchildren could be so much fun, I would have had them first! While it is mostly impossible to have grandchildren without first parenting at least one of their parents, it is true that grandchildren are fun.

Of course, I am not the one getting up at 2am or trying to get something, anything done while a fussy baby demands attention. No. I'm the one who is willing to stand in the kitchen for 15 minutes, swaying with baby N while she stares fixedly at the refrigerator magnets. I'm the one with the sedentary job who does not mind strolling slowly around the house, showing baby N what is right outside the window or hanging over the mantle. I'm the one who finds the fussing (god forbid) cute.

I was not like this as a mother. I love my kids, but they are only two in number because I could not face the prospect of teaching a third child the alphabet. I was a stay-at-home mom until they were out of diapers, then I fled back to school and into the work force. They tell you to cherish the moments with your children because they grow up so fast, but when you are in the thick of it, all you want is for them to grow up, FAST.

And then they do. They grow up and move away and go to college and get married. And if you are lucky, they settle down nearby and give you grandchildren. Grandparenting is a pseudo second chance at parenting, but one that contains more fun and less responsibility. It's like a hobby as opposed to a job, dessert instead of Brussels sprouts, springtime even in winter.

I'm most happy to be one of the lucky ones.

Note to self

Don't eat black bean soup on the day you go to yoga class.


Monday, December 13, 2010

More stuff I wonder about

  • I understand why, when I order something from Pottery Barn and they send a confirmation to my Yahoo email account, the advertising at the top of the email page is sometimes for Pottery Barn. But how does Yahoo know what toilet paper I buy?
  • To use up some rewards points that I accumulated through one of my credit cards, I ordered from SkyMall a gift card for Barnes and Noble. Today I received an email from SkyMall stating that the gift card was on back order. How can a gift card be on back order?!?
  • If Social Security is underfunded for the future, is it really a good idea to decrease the amount we pay in for the next two years? And the money we are not paying into SocSec will be taxed, right? So is this just a shady way to transfer SocSec money to the general fund?
  • We have "privacy rooms" at work for people to meet in so they do not disturb their co-workers. But if they don't close the door, it isn't very private, is it?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Actively waiting for things to change

There is a Dilbert cartoon, where Bob the Dinosaur is talking to Asok the Intern: "Most problems go away if you just wait long enough, Asok. It might look like I'm standing motionless but I'm actively waiting for our problems to go away. I dont know why this works but it does." Then the pointy-haired boss sticks his head in the door to announce a re-org.

I like the company I work for, but I have never cared for the work itself. What I do is stultifying. About once a month, I come this close to walking out the door. But I know if I just wait long enough, things will change.

In recent years, we have had a department-wide re-org, followed by a company-wide re-org. Now my team is suffering its own mini re-org, as we are being transferred en masse to another branch of the corporate organizational tree. *sigh* Here we go again.

While I am not quite ready financially for retirement, I am in a fairly decent place. My kids are grown and self-supporting, my house and car are paid for, I have no health issues to speak of (knock on wood). And after a while, one becomes numb to the turmoil, so I'm not losing any sleep over the latest announcement.

As Woody Allen said, "Ninety percent of life is just showing up." So I'll keep showing up because, while most days feel like the previous, one day it will be a new day.