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.