Monday, December 26, 2011

Nooking Netflix

As you may recall, a while back I tried to treat myself to an iPad but settled for a Nook instead. In general, I have been satisfied with that decision, as I am not cool enough for any Apple products and, until I deleted the app, found I was using my Nook primarily to play Solitaire.

But now the coolness factor of the Nook has gone up a notch. With the release of the 1.4.1 update to their operating system, I can stream Netflix content. I spent xmas morning upgrading my device and checking out the Netflix app, and am pleased to report that watching Law & Order on the Nook in my lap is not a whole lot different that watching it on my 42" TV from across the room. So now I am eager to go on a business trip, just so I can do something besides surf channels and knit in my hotel room.

I also checked out some of the new apps available for the Nook (careful to stay away from the adictive games). Several of the ones I already owned had upgrades, but I also purchased "Garden Tender", "Simple Shopping List", and "Journal". I have a habit of carrying a Moleskine and a calendar in my purse (because I am too cheap for a smart phone and my dumb phone is too dumb), but am also in the habit of making lists ad nauseum, both in the Moleskine and on sticky notes, then losing track of just what I wanted to accomplish. I also have old Moleskines and calendars lying around, which is sometimes useful but mostly is just clutter. At work, I have managed to eliminate my paper usage by keeping information on my laptop; maybe I can do the same in my real life, by using my Nook for more than to weigh down my purse.

And that continues to be my main complaint about the Nook: its weight. Otherwise, it is cool enough for me.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Hallow weinies

I'm not one of those nut jobs who decorates the yard for whatever holiday is scheduled for the current month, but for Halloween, I usually make a half-assed attempt to make my house look somewhat inviting.  No flashing lights, but something resembling a pumpkin may appear.  This year, meh, but I doubt that was why only a dozen or so kids showed up.

For years I ranted (internally) against the little extortionists that forced me to puchase candy and answer the door umpteen times.  Leaving the porch light off did not deter them, either, because (thanks to DST) it is still light out when Trick or Treating begins.  Then, in a moment of self-awareness, I realized I got a kick out of the kids (or most of them).

The two girls that live in the house north of me are always the first to show up.  They look how I expect kids to look on Halloween - kind of disheveled, a little breathless, very excited.  This year the girl in the house to the south of me finally decided (or her parents decided) she was too old to Trick or Treat - after all, she now has her drivers license.  At least she and her cohort were always well costumed.  Several years ago, a too-old-to-trick-or-treat kid showed up at my door, wearing street clothes and a mask.  And bling.  I didn't know whether to laugh or worry he was casing the joint.

The number of kids who TorT in my neighborhood can fluctuate wildly, depending on whether there are forays from neighboring additions.  Consequently, I never know how much candy to buy.  One year I ran out and tried offering apples (classic!)  The look on the kids' faces still makes me laugh out loud.  Other years, I have tried buying candy I don't like - Dum Dums or Almond Joy - so I would not be tempted to eat it myself.  Turns out no one likes that crap.  The kids did not exactly recoil, but they definitely hesitated before plunging their hands into the goodie bowl.  The worst was the year I handed out cheapo plastic toys, in my misguided crusade against suger; most of them wound up in my front bushes.

When I was a kid, most people handed out store-bought candy, but there were always a few who made popcorn balls (always stale) and cookies (always crumbly), or handed out apples (see above).  One family took advantage of the opportunity to divest their household of all the comic books their boys had accumulated over the past year.  This was a very popular house.  A few would wrap ten pennies in netting and ribbon, which sounds kind of cheap, except back then, a regular sized candy bar cost five cents.  Last night I could have handed each child a dollar and come out ahead.

We also used to collect for Unicef.  Does anybody do that anymore?  I could never figure out if one was supposed to collect candy OR collect Unicef money OR if it was okay to do both.

The biggest puzzle of all, though, were the kids who did not consume all their candy on Halloween but rather doled it out over a period of time.  I'm sure parental assistance (or insistance) was involved, but it just seemed unnatural.  And pointless.

Now, hand over the Peanut M&Ms, and no one gets hurt.

She walks!

(OMG, ignore the mess!)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Maybe it's a European thing

If you were in a video conference, sitting closest to the camera, in full view of those far away but not invisible others, would you pick your nose?  Then roll the result between the tips of your index finger and thumb?  Then transfer the result from left hand to right hand, so as to deposit that result on the carpet?

I thought not.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The family obligation vacation

My dad is 92 and lives about 800 miles east of me.  Two of my brothers live near Dad, so I don't worry about him (much), but I do make it a point to visit each year.  When I can, I combine my visit with a business trip, but that is not always possible.  Like this year.  So last week, my SO and I drove to Massachusetts.

And we had a good time, despite the griping I did each evening.  I did not sleep well and felt tired and grumpy and OMG THE TRAFFIC.  But in retrospect, it was good to see everyone.  One day was spent at my dad's house, visiting with him and my stepmother.  A trip to the basement yielded a waffle maker, a couple of boxes of old letters (mostly from me), and a shoebox of home movies I plan to have transferred to DVDs.  Another day we drove north of Boston to see my younger brother's new apartment and the upscale fruit and vegetable "stand" his wife works at and to hoof around Newburyport.  A third day took us to Concord and then into Boston (more or less) where we enjoyed dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant with my older brother and his wife.

The highlight of the trip was our pilgrimage to Walden Pond.  My SO is a big fan of Henry David Thoreau.  On previous visits, we frequently drove right past Walden Pond, but we never stopped.  This time we did.

Replica of Thoreau's cabin.  And of Thoreau.

I can't recall the last time I visited Walden Pond, but it may have been in 1973.  One can swim in Walden Pond, and besides a beach area, there are spots around the shore where a break in the fencing and some stone steps allow one access to the water.

Rock pile near the site of the original cabin
There is not much evidence of the original cabin besides a bit of foundation.  I'm not sure how the nearby rock pile got started, but it has turned into a shrine of sorts.

One of several stupas (cairns)
Some of the writing on the rocks was of the "I was here" sort, but many were obviously memorials to loved ones, which made me a bit weepy.  (Sleep deprivation will do that to you.)

Memorials and such
When my SO picks our vacation destinations, I usually have a much better time than when I choose.  I think this is in part because I feel so responsible for everyone having a good time when it's my idea.  Also, I tend to have an agenda of sorts - day 1 is for this, day 2 is for that, etc.  It's difficult for the goal-oriented to just relax and have a good time.

It is also difficult to relax and have a good time when driving in the dark and the rain and the entrances to the interstate are blocked by police cruisers.  Such was our plight after our Vietnamese dinner.  But with the help of Ms. Garmin, who took us down roads that didn't even look like roads (we had NO idea where we were going), we managed to find our way back to the inn where we were staying.  And in record time!  Hurray for technology!

Friday, September 02, 2011


Have I complained about my job here?  Of course I have, but lately it seems worse than usual.  Ordinarily, it is feast or famine, either absolutely nothing to do or too much to do and all of it due yesterday.  But the past month or so has felt like day-after-day of wind sprints. Go, go, GO! I am a plodder by nature - I can walk all day long - trudge, trudge, trudge - so this fast paced marathon is exhausting me.  Last night it was all I could do to lay on the couch and pretend to be interested in the Colts' pre-season game. I went to bed around 8:30.  So I am really looking forward to this three-day weekend.

A weekend that starts with a marathon session of babysitting, tonight and all day tomorrow.  Fortunately, Baby N still takes two naps a day, plus she is getting to be more fun all the time.  Not only does she crawl, she can walk behind a push toy, much to her delight.  Unfortunately, it is going to be HOT, so no stroller rides around the nabe, my usual go-to activity when she gets fussy.  Maybe I can teach her to walk the vacuum cleaner around the house?

Sunday it is supposed to rain, so it will be the usual laundry and housecleaning day, ending with dinner for my SO and me.  I've been buying grass-fed beef, so even though it will still be summerlike, I plan to cook a pot roast.

Monday is supposed to be cooler, so that will be slave-away-in-the-great-outdoors day, and by "great outdoors" I mean my backyard.  Hopefully, one activity will be the assembling of a patio canopy.  The online reviews warn against following the instructions, so we'll see how that goes.

And then?  Back to the grind.  *sigh*

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Studio of Exhaustion from Diligent Service

That is what I am going to rename the West Wing, a room I added onto my house several years ago.  That, or Hall of Fulfilling Original Wishes.

My SO and I traveled this past weekend to Milwaukee, where (among other things) we visited the Milwaukee Museum of Art and viewed the Summer of China exhibit which features the Qianlong Retirement Garden.  Each building and pavilion in the garden is named, and these two struck me as the epitome of what a retirement garden should be.

It was a technology-based weekend:  we met up with a friend of my SO's with whom he reconnected on FB; the I-Pass doodad made traversing the Tri-State a breeze; detours were overcome by the GPS; the Internet helped me locate local yarn stores, including one that was open on Sunday; texting enabled us to meet up with my son for lunch; etc., etc., and so forth.  We are soft.

Crossing Indiana on our way there, my SO swears he saw a sign for "Snapping Beavers" campground or golf course, with a picture of a beaver wearing a turtle shell.  Alas, Google was unable to confirm this, but "Snapping Beavers" became the phrase of the weekend.  The kilt-wearer with a jackalope sporran (look it up) only added to the mirth at Irish Fest.  (Yes, there were many kilt-wearing men at Irish Fest even though - according to Wikipedia - kilts are actually of Scottish origin and were co-opted by the Irish at the beginning of the 20th century.  Copy cats.)

I can't believe what a relaxing weekend we had.  When I am in charge of our vacation plans, I have an agenda that must be followed in order to see everyone and do everything planned.  Since this was my SO's trip, I was just a tag-along, and that's what I did.  I had never met the FB friend, and neither of us had met her husband, nor her brother and his partner, but the six of us spent a companionable Saturday, eating (Blue's Egg - highly recommended for breakfast), shopping the Third Ward, and "doing" Irish Fest.  Sunday was more eating (Beans and Barley - also highly recommended), the museum, and visiting with my SO's brother and his wife.  The latter expressed disappointment we had not stayed with them, but since that would have involved sleeping in twin beds under Mickey Mouse comforters, I was perfectly happy with the Crowne Plaza in Wauwatosa.

Choosing the hotel and arranging to meet up with my son on our way home were my only responsibilities for this weekend getaway, so it felt like a real vacation to me.  And I needed that.  I'm taking today and tomorrow as vacation days as well, before easing back into the work world.  NOT looking forward to that.

Thursday, August 04, 2011


  • I went to the pet supply store and bought a big ass litter box for my big ass cat.  Seriously, this thing is so huge you could bathe a toddler in it.  And yet, its footprint is no larger than the tray I had under the old litter box.  And, miracle of miracles, Princess Fern has accepted it.
  • The pet store I frequent serves as an adoption point for cats for Animal Control.  When I was purchasing the new litter box, there was a kitten at the store, all black, about four months old, CRYING.  OMG.  Even though Princess Fern is leading me down the path to a catfree household, I had to flee the building.
  • Unfortunately, I fled to the store next door, Tuesday Morning.  It's like a brick and mortar eBay without the bidding.  I don't stop there often, but when I do, I usually spend $50 without trying.  This time I came out of there with a glass pitcher, four skeins of yarn, and a meat grinder.
  • I don't know if I have mentioned it here, but I don't care for my family doctor - the last time I went to see Dr. W, I had classic signs of diverticulitis, but because I also had a bladder infection (with no symptoms - they just automatically check when I show up), he refused to believe I could have two infections at the same time, so I had to finesse him into prescribing an antibiotic that would work on both.  I wanted to divorce him, but stay in the same multi-location practice, but did not know how to do that without feeling awkward.  Now I don't have to worry - he is changing locations.  Unfortunately, the doctor I want to go to also changed locations, albeit to a different one than Dr. W, but she is not that far away.
  • Where I work, we have a chat tool called SameTime.  Initially, I was reluctant to use it, but have since discovered it is very useful.  Yesterday, however, I had NINE chat windows all going at the same time, flashing on my tool bar every time someone responded.  It was like command central.  Today just the idea of using SameTime makes me feel nauseous.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Free to good home

I have owned cats since I was about four years old, starting with a tom cat named Pinky. Back then, all cats were outdoor cats. They might spend time indoors, but they knew to sit by the door when they needed to go out and do their "business". In fact, they preferred to spend at least some of their time outdoors, especially at night.

Fast forward about twenty years (and many cats later because, gee, outdoor cats seem to "disappear" a lot), and we were living in the country with one rather old cat, ostensibly an outdoor cat, but one that didn't seem to "need" to go outside very often. Alas, this was because she was using the area under out bed as her litter box. What amazes me to this day is that we never noticed any smell, that is until we rudely disturbed the area by ripping up the carpet. For the first time, we instituted a litter box. Problem solved, but it was also the beginning of the Era of the Indoor Cat.

Fast forward another thirty years....

Most cats seem to be born knowing how to use a litter box, but somehow my current cat is one that has, and always has had, "issues". It doesn't seem to matter how clean, how private, how perfectly designed a litter box may be (and I have quite the collection of them), with Fern it is hit or miss. When I still had a Florida room, with its cement floor, this was not a big problem. Fern would pee in the box and at least poop in the area of the box if not right in it. But now the Florida room is gone, and I have discovered that there is no other area in the house that is conducive to haphazard litter box usage.

Right now the box is in the laundry room where there is a toilet, so scooping up errant piles and disposing of them is not a big deal. But recently there has been pee just outside the box. Of course, in Fern's mind, she is technically in the box, but just barely. I keep the box in a tray, so at least the floor is spared. But still.

I could not figure out why all of a sudden this problem cropped up, but one day, when the carpet cleaners came and I dragged Fern out from behind the couch, I discovered that she weighed a TON. Aha, I thought, she is simply too big for the box. That also explains why her personal hygiene has been a bit lax lately.

You might wonder why I had not noticed Fern's weight gain before this. For one thing, she is a big cat, a raccoon look-alike. For another, she is not a lap cat. She likes to be petted, but only on her terms, and distrusts me completely. After all, I am the one who takes her to the vet and cleans her ears. Also, sometimes I yell at the dog, which causes Fern to think I am this household terror who is out to do her harm.

Fern is not actually my cat, but my daughter's, but my daughter and her husband already have two cats and a baby, so they don't want Fern. Fern loves my SO, even lets him brush her, but the sentiment is not returned. Fern also loves my son, but he is in a three-cat household, plus is not interested in such a high maintenance animal. Fern is, what, 11? 12 years old? Surely she can't live forever. Or can she?

I tried to weigh Fern, to see just how heavy she was, but that freaked her out. Even so, I cut back on her food, and now she appears to be fitting into the litter box better these days. One can only hope.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Move for the camera

I write a lot, have even in the distant past published a couple dozen articles in newspapers and magazines, but rarely think of myself as a writer. I take pictures, many pictures, to get one or two that are halfway decent, so never think of myself as a photographer. But put a camcorder in my hand and before I have even learned how to turn it on, I feel like a videographer. Why is that?

Yes, I made a few purchases the other day, since it was too hot to do anything besides shop. I went to ABC Warehouse to buy a grill that was on sale, and walked out of there with a Sony Handycam and a Kitchen Aide immersion blender. It's too hot to cook, especially outside over an open flame, and the blender needs to be washed before using, but I have tried "filming" a hummingbird. They are nearly impossible to capture in still photos, and the camcorder is no better. Recording a robin splashing in the bird bath worked great, though. And with the zoom lens, I can work the garden from the comfort of the West Wing.

(This was my first time at ABC Warehouse. The sales staff must work on commission, because the guy that helped me with the camcorder rang me up separately from the guy who sold me the grill. Also, they really push the extended warranties, offering discounts on what you are buying if you will please, please, please purchase the warranty. And customer service after the sale is practically non-existent; my SO purchased a refrigerator that was supposed to be delivered today but was not. On the other hand, the prices are good and they are willing to dicker, if you like that sort of thing.)

Update on my Nook usage: my primary Nook activity is playing Solitaire, although I subscribe to a couple of magazines through it. One of the issues contained a recipe for Peach Salsa, which I made; cooking with the Nook is okay as long as your fingers aren't sticky with peach juice and the Nook doesn't go into sleep mode too often. I thought I might use it as an organizer, so I downloaded some apps, but I find it easier to access a Moleskine and pocket calendar I carry in my purse. I can download ebooks and audio books from my local library, but the selection is a bit limited. While I don't regret the purchase, I'm glad I did not shell out the big bucks for an iPad because I don't think I would make better use of it either.

I also bought a small coffee grinder a while back. I initially purchased it to grind flax seeds, and when I ran out of seeds, decided to try grinding coffee in it. I have a big coffee grinder that I used until I got tired of the mess; the little grinder is not much better. And I can't really tell the difference between coffee that comes ground, coffee that I put through the grinder at the store, and coffee that I grind at home. Can you? So the little coffee grinder is going back to being a flax seed grinder, and the big grinder is my backup unit for when the grinder at the store is not working and/or one of my "cool" friends brings me coffee beans.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Resolutions - who needs 'em? and other random topics

The whole idea behind a monthly recap regarding my New Year's resolutions was to make myself accountable.  But it's not working.  So we are going to abandon this topic, hopefully forever.

* * * * * * * * * *

I work mostly with people whose first language is not English.  Firstly, I am impressed at how well they not only speak English, but how well they understand the language.  Still, certain words seem to be mispronounced by all of them.  One that readily comes to mind is "synonyms" - my colleagues put the stress on the second syllable - syNONyms.

And then there are the words that don't seem like words:  "updation", "prepone", "parallelly".  Initially, I considered these creative alternatives, but discovered that they are in Internet dictionaries.  In my own defense, they are not in my battered 1968 edition of Webster's New World DIctionary.  It is truly a new world out there.

* * * * * * * * * *

I've had my NookColor for a while now, carry it with me everywhere I go, but find I don't use it very often, except to play Solitaire.  In fact, I have not been reading much lately at all.  I blame Netflix streaming for that - I am currently marching through "Law & Order: SVU".  But I did finish Birds in Fall, a sad novel about a plane crash off the coast of Nova Scotia, and am working on another sad story, The Bird House, about a woman whose memory is failing.  Geesh, maybe I need to pick out happier themes, maybe then I would read more.

* * * * * * * * * *

Apropos of nothing, isn't she cute?!?

Friday, May 20, 2011

I feel dumb

When I purchased my Nook, I also became a member of Barnes & Noble's "club".  (It was free, or I paid $25 for the membership and the price of the Nook was reduced by $25, or something like that.)  Later, when I wanted to register my membership number on, I could not find my membership card.  In fact, I had no memory of receiving a membership card.  I looked in my wallet, my purse, the little orange pouchI use for all my other customer cards, but could not find it.  I concluded I had never received it, and sent B&N an email requesting my card.  They sent me a new card, with a new number, which I registered.  Fine. 

Last night, while buying pet food, I rummaged around for my Pet Supplies Plus customer card and found... the original B&N membership card. 

On my way home from Pet Supplies Plus, I passed a gas station and noticed that regular was below $4 per gallon.  I decided to fill up at the Marathon near my house.  A few blocks later, while waiting at a traffic light, I had the feeling there was some place I wanted to stop on my way home, but could not remember where.  The grocery story?  The library?  Then I glanced at the BP station to my left, saw that regular was below $4 per gallon, and remembered.

And don't get me started on names and faces!

This kind of stuff happens to me all the time.  Part of the problem is my sedentary job - on weekends, when I am more active, I feel much more astute.  Part of the problem is I move through my days in a haze - same ol' same ol', lather, rinse, repeat.  I'm getting to that age where a headache is a brain tumor, indigestion an impending heart attack, and forgetfulness the onset of Alzheimers.  Re the latter, denial is a good thing, because really, what are you going to do about it?

Now, pardon me while I go do a crossword puzzle.  If I can find a pen.  And my glasses.  Which are on my face.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Resolutions - April recap

No real progress in April.  I caught a bad cold that suppressed my appetite, but if I did not eat, I felt lightheaded; then when I started to feel better, I also felt ravenous.  Meditation went out the window, but I was more active despite my illness.  Pluses and minuses.  And so it goes.

This past week I was on a business trip, which is usually an opportunity to overeat, but I did okay even though Monday turned into cookie day.  Also, I ordinarily eat a lot of nuts and avoid carbs in the form of bread and pasta, but on this trip, that was reversed.  I rarely felt hungry and even though it seemed like I was eating a lot, did not gain any weight.  I must rethink my nut-laden ways.

The hip problem that I reported in the March recap is better.  My massage therapist targeted two muscles she thought might be the culprits - the psoas and something else that begins with p - and while I am not 100% cured, there was significant improvement.  Tomorrow I get another massage, so we'll work on them again.  Deep tissue massage is not an instantaneous cure-all, but it does keep the aches and pains to a minimum.

Does anyone know anything about raw milk?  I find there is a nearby source.  There is a "call out" to gauge interest.  I will go to see what it is all about.  I find that a lot of foods I loved as a child don't taste very good anymore, and milk is one of them.  We used to get milk delivered to our doors, practically right from the cow.  Now who knows where it comes from, or how far (especially organic milk), or what the cows are fed.

And speaking of food, I am reading (on my Nook!) Blood, Bones, and Butter, by Gabrielle Hamilton.  She owns a restaurant in NYC, and the book describes her journey through food and the food industry.  Very interesting and very well written.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Finally starting to feel better.  This cold has been one m-fing misery.  I'm not used to being sick - can't imagine how I would react to developing a chronic condition of some sort.  Not very well, I'm afraid.

A few weeks ago, I asked my SO how he felt about being 60.  He said, it did not bother him, but the prospect of turning 61 next month does.  What a difference a year makes.

I won't reach 60 for another 18 months, but I already dread it.  It feels like the beginning of the end.  No longer will I be able to cling to middle age.  I picture the final third (if I'm lucky) of my life as being a slow but steady decline.  I wonder if this cold signifies what is in store for me.  Bah.

One of my brothers is a financial advisor, and his advice it to work as much as you can for as long as you can, so you won't run out of money.  My goal is to retire as soon as possible, while I can still do all the things I want to do.

A head hunter contacted me a week or so ago, and I was tempted by his offer.  If I were inclined to follow my brother's advice, I might be interested in a new job.  But I'm interested in having no job.  My current employer is plumping up my 401k, so staying put seems like the best choice for me right now.

We'll see.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Snot nosed kid

I cannot believe how sick I have been this week, can't remember the last time I had such a bad cold.  One disadvantage of being able to work from home is, as bad as I feel, I can still manage to get something accomplished but no one sees just how big a sacrifice that is.  During conference calls, I can hear others sniffling as well, so I am not alone.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

New 'puter and a new vector

After a certain amount of dithering, a little bit of research, and a frustrating hour with my old laptop, I treated myself to a new HP Pavilion.  My old PC is a Pavilion as well, so I felt comfortable with the quality.  And I think (hope) I got a good price.  I won't know for sure because once I purchase what amounts to a big ticket item for me, I stop looking at advertisements.  No sense torturing myself.

Originally, I looked at the 17" ones, but they are HUGE.  I don't watch movies on my computer (that's why I bought a big screen TV), so I went with the 14" model.  Why the 17" one was less, I don't know - most of the features were identical.  Maybe small is preferable when the public shops for laptops.  Who woulda thought?

Meanwhile, I managed to catch a cold from my granddaughter.  The past several years have been relatively illness-free for me, but now there is this drooling creature who sticks everything into her mouth, and sneezes so hard her pacifier flies several feet, and does not cover her mouth with the crook of her elbow or wash her hands AT ALL.  Oh, well.  My immune system needs to be exercised.  Just wish the cold had hit during the week instead of the weekend.

Speaking (obliquely) of work, the past few weeks have been difficult.  Part of the problem is a looming deadline on a big project where a lot of smaller projects all need to interact.  People are getting a little tense.  From my perspective, I find myself NOT invited to meetings and NOT `cc'd on memos, and yet expected to know what is going on.  Goes hand in hand to having a role for which I was NOT trained (just expected to magically know what to do).  My current project is winding down soon (it's part of the looming deadline pastiche), and there has been talk of a subsequent release, but no one is keeping me in the loop.  My line manager has discussed what I may be working on next, and it involves a role I liken to being the guy with a shovel who follows the elephants in a parade.  So, yeah, a little stressful.

And I'm at that awkward age:  too young to retire, too old to start over.  And there is the money and the benefits and the green building and relatively nice co-workers and the ability to work from home, etc.  A lot of perks.  Too bad the work itself is so stultifying.

Poor me.  I have to work for a living.  Wah.  Wah.  Wah.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Apple lost a potential customer

As I reported earlier, I had trouble purchasing an iPad 2 from the local Best Buys.  I thought the claim that they were all sold out was legit, but apparently not.

Oh, well!  Best Buy lost Apple at least one customer.

Regarding my NookColor, I am discovering there are things I like about it and things I don't.  As a reader (which is its main purpose in life), it is fine.  I have not yet purchased a book, but I have subscribed to a couple of magazines.  Also, I downloaded a sample of a cookbook to preview.  Unfortunately, the sample was not large enough to include any actual recipes.  Maybe that was on purpose?  I wanted to see how I liked using the Nook as an electronic cookbook, but I guess I will have to do that another way.

The Gallery (where photos are stored) is kind of whacky.  Sample photos that come on the device cannot be deleted, even though there is a delete button; I will try it through the PC interface.  Once you enter the slide show, there is no obvious way to exit directly back to the Gallery, either.  Still, I like using it as a photo album.

The fact I can load my own files onto it is another plus.  So far, I have loaded PDFs, although it is supposed to support MS Office documents as well (in view only mode).  I should try that feature, although I doubt I will carry the Nook out to the garden while viewing my gardening spreadsheet.

I tried downloading an audio book from my local library, but it was in WMA format, which the Nook apparently does not support.  All the audio files on my laptop are also WMA, so no downloading them, either.  I have not tried listening to Pandora or any other Internet radio on it yet.

B&N provides a few free books, including three for children.  Only one will download; the others have "technical difficulties".  Maybe I will call their help line and see just how helpful they are.  The one that did download, a simple Richard Scary one, entertains my granddaughter.  The Nook will read it for you, if you so desire.  One negative thing about reading picture books is, if you touch the screen to point something out, sometimes you end up turning the page or changing the mode.

One area of frustration is the Web browser.  I finally realized that I could upsize the text size easily, so now I can read and select items on the screen more easily.  And some sites (like FB) have Android-specific versions, which makes it easy to navigate.  But the Google Reader does not, plus while I can scroll the screen up and down, I cannot scroll within the feed display window.  Then I read about NookFeed, so I tried that.  It can be synced up with Google Reader (yay) but the navigation buttons do not appear on my Nook screen (boo).  I sent NookFeed some feedback AND left a note on their FB wall, but no answer.

Officially, there are no apps for the Nook - at least, not yet - but there is a way to "root" it and download Android apps.  I have not tried this because 1) I don't want to void the warranty, and 2) I don't want to screw up my Nook.  After the warranty runs out and/or I find some guts, I may try it.

The NookColor is a little heavy for carrying around in my purse, but using it to look something up on the Web is faster than my laptop (which admittedly is really old).  One of my coworkers has a cell phone that can act as a WiFi hot spot, so we tested it with the Nook, and that worked well.  Said coworker is the guy I go to with questions about new technology, and he was favorably impressed with the Nook.  That says something right there.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Resolutions - March recap

As I struggled just to maintain my weight loss this past month, it occurred to me that the dead of winter is NOT the best time to resolve to eat less and exercise more.  Maybe we should make April Fool's resolutions instead?

DST helped and hurt.  The change made it difficult to get to bed on time to get enough sleep and get up in time to meditate before work.  However, the extra daylight at the end of the day makes it easier to get out and walk.

My right hip has been bothering me in the "it hurts when I do this" kind of way.  Additional walking seems to help, yoga class sometimes aggravates it.  It is not keeping me from everyday activities, though, so I'll keep self-treating it for a while.

Even though I gained back two pounds this past month, I can't fault what I eat, just how much.  I have been on a soup-making orgy - the freezer now contains three different kinds of lentil soup - but I also have noticed my appetite decreasing as the days lengthen.  Not sure how I am going to deal with hot weather, though - ice cream!

Monday, March 28, 2011

That was the weekend that was... FUN

Last week I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, so I decided to take today as a vacation day.  (That is another perk of my hateful job - lots of paid vacation and holidays.)  I spent the past three days doing a lot of the things I love, like babysit my granddaughter and visit with my daughter and talk to my son and my dad on the phone; watch some movies, play with my Nook, blog; cook, bake, eat; spend time with my sweetie (who brought lunch one day and dinner the next!); knit, dig in the compost, shop online for more stuff to knit and grow; etc. etc. and so forth.  Now I am pretending that I don't have to go to work tomorrow.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Scratch that itch

Wednesday night I came this close to purchasing an iPad.  My SO and I went to Best Buy to check them out.  And they ARE cool.  Having done my research ahead of time, I knew what features I wanted.  The store had two iPads in stock, one matching my criteria.  But when I added up the cost for the gadget plus all the accouterments, the total was close to $1000.  That gave me pause.  Enough pause that we walked.

While shopping for odds and ends at Target, I continued to debate whether to get the iPad, which led to a discussion of whether I had a tendency toward denying myself pleasure.  My SO said, no, that I was just being a Libra, weighing the pros and cons (ad nauseam, I might add).  Also, even though my mother has been gone for almost 40 years, I still hear her voice in my head, saying, "But you don't NEED one."  Even so, when we reached the checkout, I turned to my SO and said, "You know we're going back to Best Buy, don't you?"

And back we went, but the model I wanted had already been sold.  Thanks, Mom.

I'm not the kind of person who purchases things in hopes that they will make up for what is missing in my life.  For one thing, there is not much missing.  For another, I have never been particularly attached to things.  When asked by my kids what I wanted for my birthday, I could never think of any things, but there were other non-tangible gifts I would have liked.  Like someone to clean the litter box.  I suggested that once, but was told no.  Giving things is so much easier than giving oneself.

Anyway, over the next two days, I continued to examine the iPad issue.  Would I regret buying it or not buying it?  Maybe I would be happier/better off with a new laptop.  Or a Nook.  Or a different, less expensive model of the iPad.  I would lean one way, then read an article that would tilt me the other.

And was "the universe" telling me NOT to buy the iPad?  Friday after work, I tested that possibility again, by stopping by another Best Buy.  Nope, they had none in stock, except some old models.  Well, okay then.  As I was leaving the shopping center, though, my car magically found its way to Barnes & Noble.  About 15 minutes later, I headed home, a new Nook in my possession.

And I was very happy.  I scratched the itch to buy myself something frivolous, but without spending so much money.  Win win.  Even my mother might understand.

P.S.  The sales people in B&N are WAY nicer than the staff at Best Buy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I have never owned an Apple product.  No iPod, no iPhone, no Mac.  And yet I am strangely tempted to treat myself to an iPad 2.  I'm just not sure I would make good use of it.  Would I read books on it?  Do crossword puzzles?  Blog?  Or would I just carry it around because I want to look cool?  My head says, Don't waste your money, but my heart says, For once in your life, buy something frivolous!  I'm such a Calvinist.

Many years ago, Judith Viorst wrote a book called Necessary Losses.  When I read it, I was too young to really get it.  Now, as I have had to give up one thing or another, I do.  After years of responsible alcohol consumption, I planned to do some serious drinking in my late middle age, only to lose my tolerance for booze.  I am still pretty limber, but the aches and pains are starting to catch up with me.  This morning, on the tail end of a hormonal roller coaster ride, I actually wanted to have a baby.  Thank god that is not even remotely possible anymore, but it still makes me sad to think so much is behind me now.

It's not that I don't have things to look forward to, or that I don't appreciate what is in my life right now.  It's just that suddenly my life is about two-thirds over.  When you are five years old, a year represents 20% of your life - the time between Christmases or birthdays is interminable.  When a year feels more like 1 or 2%, though, the days fly.

So, do I want to spend my (relatively) few days left on earth obsessing over an electronic gadget in hand?  Damn straight!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The week in review

  • Monday - I work at one of those places that goes through the motions of annual reviews.  These are also known as "self assessments".  But first, one has to define one's goals, aka MBOs (manage by objective).  Besides the usual project-related goals, the company assigns a corporate level one.  This year's corporate goal is to SIMPLIFY - we each are supposed to come up with something we personally can drive to help simplify the company.  The employees view this as a joke, of course.  HOWEVER, in my spare time, I have been rewriting an application I support, in MS Access.  If I can pull this off, it definitely would count toward simplification.
  • Tuesday - My SO and I went to see Garrison Keillor at The Embassy.  What a great storyteller!  If you listen to "A Prairie Home Companion," you are familiar with his "News from Lake Wobegone" segment.  This was like that but instead of 10 minutes, he rattled on for TWO HOURS.  And two hours of Garrison is equal to two hours of laughter.  My SO and I were at the lower end of the age demographic of the audience, but close enough.
  • Wednesday - Even though we were not out late Tuesday night, I scheduled this day as a vacation day, just in case.  Started with a massage; while the therapist was working my back, she asked, "Have you had this checked out?"  What?  She thinks I have a lipoma, aka "fatty tumor".  This aging thing is not really working for me.
  • Thursday - My SO left for New Mexico, to visit his son and family.  So now I am off boy friend duty for a week or so.  I am really glad he is in my life, but sometimes I need a little alone time.
  • Friday - Earlier this week, I purchased a book at Barnes & Noble (40% off and I had a gift card).  Today I stopped at Borders to buy Moleskines.  Once upon a time, I wanted to own a bookstore, but today's reality is I rarely visit them.  In fact, thanks to a great local library system and a small house, I rarely buy books at all.
  • Saturday - The usual - laundry, vacuuming, soup making (Red Lentil and Squash from Love Soup) - plus grandbaby sitting.  See video clips below, if you dare.  One is from last week, one from last night.
  • Sunday - Nada de particular.  I have been doing a little furniture rearranging (which is a good way to motivate myself to also do a little spring cleaning) and hope to complete the West Wing today.  When I work from home, I like to sit in the West Wing, at the bistro table by the windows, but the afternoon glare can be brutal.  Plus the bistro table was so cluttered with work and computer crap, I could not use it for other activities.  So I moved my desk from the family room, positioning it behind the love seat, just to see how that works.  I can now avoid the afternoon glare but still keep an eye on the bird feeders and bird bath; I can also eat my lunch at the bistro table.  Now I just need to put an area rug under my chair and put away the crap that seems to erupt whenever I attempt any cleaning that goes beyond vacuuming.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Resolutions - February recap

I can't believe I have not posted since the last Resolution Recap.  It's not that I don't think of things to write - I'm composing posts in my head almost all the time - I just do not get around to actually typing them into the blog.

February has been a month of ups and downs, or should I say downs and ups and downs?  I lost a couple of pounds, gained them back, then lost them again.  So my net loss for the month is 2 pounds, net loss since Jan 1, 6 pounds.  Not a lot, but I can feel the difference in regards to how my pants and bras fit.

My success with meditation is about the same - I do it most work mornings.  The exercise fell off a bit, partially due to mid-February doldrums and partially due to an addiction to "Grey's Anatomy".  I am almost done with season 6, so soon I shall have my life back, at least until season 7 comes out, but I might get that on disk to prevent the nightly GA marathons.

Another blogger I follow (found here) went through a cleanse as outlined in Clean.  I got the book from the library, briefly scanned it, and gave up after running across a section about dealing with hunger.  Sorry, I can't do hungry.  However, I did pay attention to the pre-cleanse "elimination" diet.  It is close to how I eat, so I was interested in ways to tweak my eating habits to further improve them.  If I had read the book, I might know why the author excludes pistachio nuts and bananas, but I'm guessing he considers them plus citrus and foods from the nightshade family to be too acidic and to cause inflammation.

Personally, I think most of us can eat just about anything in its natural form.  After all, humans are omnivores.  In general, the more processed or poorly prepared a natural food is, the more likely it is to be less healthy, if not downright bad for us.  Another consideration, however, is that we are all individuals.  One person's "health food" is another person's allergen.

That said, I did decide to make one change in my diet:  to eliminate coffee.  This was not an easy choice because I love coffee.  It doesn't love me, however, at least not as much as when I was younger.  Even though it has been less than a week, I have to admit that I do feel better without it, more energetic and less tense.  I drink some hot tea in the morning and some iced tea with lunch.  While tea has caffeine, it doesn't pack the jolt coffee does.  And since I don't like-like tea, I'm less likely to overindulge.

Anyway, that is all on the past month's status.  Hopefully, I will write something more interesting between now and the end of this month.  Perhaps.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Resolutions - January recap

Last year, Crazy Aunt Purl revisited her New Year's resolutions each month. I'm not sure it helped her, but I decided it couldn't hurt me. So here goes:

Meditate once a day on work days (these are my most stressful days)
I was 89% successful with this resolution. After all, it is not all that difficult to sit down and shut up, especially at 7am. In general, I did seem calmer, and I noticed a difference if I skipped several days in a row.

Practice yoga twice per week
I was only 44% successful with this one. Catching a cold mid-month did not help. Taking a weekly class did. My home practice has really fallen off, though, much to my dismay.

Get some aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week
And by aerobic, I mean almost anything that involves putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes that is walking, although the weather and ice-covered pavement was not very conducive to that. I have a spectacularly inefficient method of shoveling snow, a method that involves more walking and snow pushing than actual snow shoveling, so I count that. Again, that cold interfered, but I still managed a 69% success rate.

Turn out the lights by 10:30pm on the eves of work days
I neglected to keep track of this one, but I am guessing I was about 75% successful. Of course, just because I turn out the lights doesn't mean I sleep. And just because I fall asleep doesn't mean I stay asleep. But if the lights are on, I am definitely not sleeping. On a purely subjective basis, I have felt more rested this past month. I will pay more attention to this one, to make sure I am not fooling myself.

So, did this translate into weight loss? I lost four pounds. Not a lot, but enough that I can now fasten my "fat jeans" and that counts for a lot.

Speaking of counting, I discovered that I DID need to count calories, at least initially, to keep from lying to myself ("I didn't eat THAT much today" - like a whole pizza is not that much). Once I had a better grasp on just what constituted 2000 calories, I abandoned the counting.

In general, I have yogurt, fruit, and nuts for breakfast, a salad for lunch, an afternoon snack of fruit, a "normal" dinner (tonight it was homemade vegetable soup and half a grilled cheese sandwich), and a bedtime snack of cereal, fruit, nuts, and milk. That sounds like a lot of food, but it is less than I ate before. I weigh the yogurt, cereal, and nuts, to make sure I am not fudging.

Sometimes I get hungry, but it is not that frantic kind of hunger. No foods are off limits, but I keep an eye on carb-carbs like bread. It helps that I don't have a sweet tooth. It also helps that I live alone so am completely in charge of what food comes in through the door.

I'm satisfied with January. Let's see how February goes.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I had BK, Betsy had morphine

Betsy likes to hang out at the front of the house while I shovel the driveway.  She scares up rabbits and follows their trails through the bushes and otherwise has a good time as only a beagle knows how to do.  Last Monday, once I finished with the snow, I found the front walk covered in blood.  It was surreal.  There was so much blood that at first I though Betsy had actually caught a rabbit and sacrificed it.  But no, her paw was bleeding.  By then, the bleeding had almost stopped.  I tried to see what the problem was, couldn't really tell, and since she wasn't limping, decided to just wait and see.

Tuesday Betsy seemed okay except she kept licking her paw and making it ooze and dribble, but it still did not seem to bother her much.  I washed it in warm water, poured peroxide over it, wrapped it up to protect the carpets, and continued to wait and see.

Wednesday I came home from work early because I was not feeling well.  Betsy's paw seemed worse.  Of course, her veterinarian is not open on Wednesday afternoons.  I debated whether to take her to the emergency clinic ($$$) and decided to wait until Thursday when we could visit her regular vet.

That's today.  We went to the vet this afternoon.  The bloodiness was due to one claw hanging by a few threads.  Dr. M offered to yank it off, but provided the option of morphine or no morphine.  Betsy  is so traumatized by each visit to the pet hospital that I opted for the morphine.  She is now virtually comatose, nothing like the picture above, which I took Tuesday.  She is also minus one claw.  It should grow back, eventually.  Meanwhile, she has some good drugs to sleep off.

Back to Wednesday, well, actually Tuesday night.  At yoga I felt less than energetic, but did not think too much of it, as I'm not a high energy person to begin with and I spend a lot of time sitting on my butt in front of a computer.  Wednesday morning I still did not feel very peppy, but I had not slept well, so again, I did not think too much of it.  At work, I developed a headache and figured it was due to lack of sleep.  Then I got the chills, but I am usually cold at work anyway.  Then I started salivating, the way one does prior to becoming nauseated.  I didn't throw up, but I did throw in the towel at noon.

The best thing about being sick now as opposed to being sick a month or so ago is, now I have a Blu-ray player.  I watched "The Kids Are All Right" (good but not a "must see" - why was it nominated for an Oscar?) and FIVE episodes from the first season of "Grey's Anatomy".  Five out of nine episodes.  The first season of Law & Order: SVU has 22 episodes.  Why the difference?  Inquiring minds want to know.

And today?  I feel fine.

* * * * * * * * * * 

This evening I saw a Smart Car with the vanity plate "9VOLT".

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


When I worked for a company that was big on diversity, we did not get MLK Day off.  This same company shares the name of a certain president, but we did not get Presidents Day off, either.  Now that I work for a Swiss company, I get both days off.  Much as I hate my job, I like my employer.

Last Monday I was busy doing those little things that I never seem to have the psychic energy to do at the end of the day.  Like clean off the coffee table.  And the diningroom table.  And the breakfast bar.  I also vacuumed.  Housework is one of those things that no one notices unless you don't do it.

I also bought some new shoes.  Over the years I have invested heavily in Earth shoes, for my back's sake.  But my back is much better while my satisfaction with the value of Earth shoes is much less.  So I decided to try something new.

Keen Presidio in walnut

These are both Keen shoes, two different styles but the same genre, purchased online from Planet Shoes (free shipping, fast service).  I wanted something kind of urban outdoorsie and these fit the bill.  Some of my friends favor Keens, so I was relatively sure of the quality.  And the price, while not great, was tolerable.

Keen Toyah in black

I haven't decided how much I like them.  For one thing, it feels weird to wear shoes with heels after years of that "negative heel technology".  Also, they feel stiff, especially the collars.  But - and this is a big plus - they make my big feet look smaller.  I don't know how, but they do.  And they are light weight, so I don't feel like I am clumping around in them.  I'll keep them.  We'll see if they get more comfortable with use.

Last Monday I also watched my granddaughter for a few hours in the evening.  The last few times I've had her, she has been fussy.  This time was much better.  She seemed interested in the music on the stereo, so held her in front of the speakers and we "danced" to Carly Simon and Conner Oberst.  By the time Carrie Newcomer started up, Baby N was asleep.  She slept through two episodes of "Law & Order: SVU" and probably would have dozed through a third, but her mommy came to get her.

You're so vain!

I don't watch much TV, but now that I have a Blu-ray and can stream Netflix right to my livingroom with just a few clicks of the remote, I am hooked on reruns of "L&O: SVU". I am about halfway through the first season. Interesting tidbit: One of the first season characters (who is already gone) is played by the same actor as that "mayhem like me" guy on the Allstate commercials. While streaming is fun and easy, I really, really, really hope Netflix does not stop offering DVDs because a lot of the movies I watch are not available to watch instantly. I am even willing to pay more than the stream-only customers.  And now I think I am.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Today is the first day of the rest of your weekend

Bumper sticker on a car with Colorado plates:  Honk if you think I'm Jesus.

* * * * *

Have you seen that commercial on TV where someone calls customer service and talks to a burly man with a Slavic accent named "Peggy"?  Well, yesterday I received an email from someone on our help desk in Bangalore whose last name is "Johnson".

* * * * *

We have new recycling service here in the Fort.  No longer will we have to separate our recyclables into paper and aluminum-glass-plastic1&2.  And there's more:  plastic 3-7 will also be accepted.  The two small bins we have had to lug up and down our driveways will be replaced with a single big bin on wheels.  I don't have the new big bin yet, and force of habit led me to separate my recyclables, but when they picked them up this week, I watched.  Yes, they took it all, including the plastic-5 containers, and they threw it all together into the truck.  I watched the sanitation worker bend and lift and toss while trying to maintain his footing in the snow and ice, and I was glad I work in a clean well-lighted place.

Speaking of Hemingway, I recently read A Moveable Feast which he wrote about his years in Paris.  It's been a long time since I read any Hemingway, like maybe 35 or 40 years?  His style appeals to me - no flourishes, no extra padding, adjectives and adverbs being the enemies of that one true sentence.

Last night I finished Shadow of a Doubt, by William J. Coughlin.  It's a courtroom-centered murder mystery, the type of book I usually save for "beach reading" (even though I never go to the beach).  Winter reading should center on more weighty topics, like How to Live.  I just started this book by Sarah Bakewell; it's a biography of the original essayist Montaigne.

What are you reading on these cold winter nights?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just like (slow) magic

One aspect of growing older that I find disconcerting is the skin changes.  I have sun damaged skin that tends to mottle in the summer, plus these things crop up periodically.  Their official name is Seborrheic Keratosis.  My dad gets them, has them removed.  I have one on the very top of my head.  I showed it to my doctor, who said, "I could remove that, but we'd have to shave your scalp there."  Um, thank you, no. 

Another one of these things recently appeared on my left shoulder, in back where I ordinarily don't look and can barely reach.  It seemed HUGE because it was so raised.  My SO examined it and pronounced it NOT CANCER, and told me that he had had one on his leg.  He treated it with Mentholatum and now it is gone except for a spot of dark pigmentation. 

Dr. Gott writes a medical column that appears in my local morning newspaper.  He serves up legitimate medical advice, but he is also open to home remedies.  Frequent readers are bombarded with treatments such as putting a bar of soap under the sheets for nocturnal leg cramps, eating cherries to ease the symptoms of gout, and eliminating nail fungus with Vicks VapoRub.  Vicks and Mentholatum seem to be about the same, so it made sense that it might work on SK. 

So I tried it.  Twice a day, I smeared a blob of Mentholatum on the latest SK and covered it with a BandAid during the day, sticking a small piece of toilet paper over it at night (the adhesive on BandAids irritates my skin).  After about a week, I could tell that the SK had shrunk.  After two weeks, I picked off what remained.  I am continuing treatment for another week, just to make sure it does not grow back. 

In just a couple of weeks, I went from OMG WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?  to IT'S GONE! without having to visit my doctor.  That's a win in my book.  I'm now treating another spot of SK on my tummy, and once the weather warms up enough that I don't need to wear a hat, I'm tackling that one on my head. 

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a medical professional of any kind.  I'm just saying that this worked for me.  Your results may vary, especially if what you are trying to treat is not SK but skin cancer.  If in doubt, get thee to your family doctor or a dermatologist.  Better safe than sorry.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

That year-end quiz

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before? Went through a full body scanner at the FW airport.  I didn't even realize what it was until later.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No and yes.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? YES - my daughter birthed my first grandchild.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes, another one of my college classmates.
5. What countries did you visit? Massachusetts.  It felt like another country, what with the traffic.
6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010? Confidence in my retirement accounts.  (This is a repeat.)
7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? My granddaughter's birthday.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Showing up at work on a regular basis. This is another repeat.
9. What was your biggest failure? Weight gain.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No.  Well, except when a took a dive at a local restaurant.  Received my first floor burn in years.  Otherwise, just my pride was hurt.
11. What was the best thing you bought? A lot of electronic shit:  had FIOS installed, bought a digital TV, a new digital camera, and a Blu-ray player.  That sounds really shallow, but world peace was not on sale.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? No one impressed me this year.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? All politicians, everywhere.
14. Where did most of your money go? I paid off my mortgage and home equity loan.  Whoot!
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My granddaughter.
16. What song will always remind you of 2010? I got nothin'.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? same but about different things
b) thinner or fatter? fatter
c) richer or poorer? poorer (on paper)
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Exercise.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Eating.
20. How did you spend Christmas? With family.
21. Did you fall in love in 2010? Yes, with my granddaughter.
22. What was your favorite TV program? NFL Football.  And reruns of Law and Order: SVU.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? The Queen of Perfume at work guaranteed me a headache every day I was in the office.  She is not a bad person per se, but I spent some time and energy disliking her immensely.  Thankfully, we no longer sit near each other.
24. What was the best book you read? I'll say The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery? None.
26. What did you want and get? To be debt free.
27. What did you want and not get? Chickens.
28. What was your favorite film of this year? "The Secret in their Eyes" and "Winter's Bone" and "Nathalie"
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I visited my granddaughter on my 58th birthday.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Being able to retire.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010? Hand knits.
32. What kept you sane? Knitting and blogging and yoga.  Lather, rinse, repeat.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? No one this year.
34. What political issue stirred you the most? Climate change.
35. Who did you miss? My mom.  Again.  We could have been grandmas together.
36. Who was the best new person you met? Meeting someone new would require I be more social, and I'm not.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010. Facebook is a time suck.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. None.