A quiet Saturday morning marks the last day of February. I am glad to know that tomorrow will be March 1st, because that will bring us one more day closer to Spring and warmer weather. I have decided to stay at home today and relax around the apartment.
I got quite a few things done here. I will be cooking pork chops tomorrow and have them marinating this evening. I just watched Kentucky (my alma mater) go to 29-0 on the season by dismantling Arkansas, which is an excellent team. March Madness is just around the corner and I cannot wait!
Hal came home from work and he was tired, so we are stauying home this evening. Perhaps I will get out some tomorrow if the weather cooperates, although the forecast is looking rather yucky right now. Not a big deal, since we have everything we need right here. Hal does have to work tomorrow, and I hope that he will not have any trouble.
I am closing out today's blog post early this evening in order to make certain that I get it in on time. I am proud of myself for the discipline for making it through 2 months with at least 1 post per day!
Friday has arrived at last! This has been a busy week, with lots of things going on outside of work to go with the greater than expected amount of things actually happening at work. The most important point is that the weekend is nearly here and I cannot wait! It seems that this week has dragged on forever. My goals for the next week is to save some money in order to pay off the Beetle repair expense as quickly as possible. After work yesterday, Hal and I went to Safeway so I could stock up on frozen entrees and I brought in enough of them this morning to keep me from going out for lunch every day here at the office. My low-end estimate is that I will save at least $30 a week by this simple step. Since I am the only person who ever shows up here, it is better that I can have my lunch on-time rather than constantly have to readjust my schedule for work issues involving other people. Another way that I will save some money is to basically stay home this weekend. The weather has everyone depressed right now, so this isn’t a big sacrifice. I am not in any real trouble financially, but I can always do better. If things go according to plan, I should be able to get the complete repair expense taken care of in about 6 months and bring that credit card balance back to zero. Everything else is subservient to the desire to get the Beetle expenses paid for right now. After a month, I will have a much better idea of how long this will take. This evening I will marinate the pork chops I bought last night in order to cook them tomorrow. There is still some chicken from earlier this week for dinner this evening. One of the things that I love to do is to cook. In fact, I looked at, and seriously considering buying, a wok in order to make some stir-fry veggies and meats for a change in our diets. I held off for the time being, but that idea is still in the back of my mind. It will remain there for the time being. I believe that I eventually will purchase a wok for the kitchen, it is just a matter of time. It seems like a good time to relax for a change and not worry about things that I cannot control. As the weather warms up, at some distant future point, I can then turn my attention to other things and get out more. The last few weeks have really been brutal with the cold weather around here. I am really ready for Spring to arrive, but it is still just over 3 weeks away. Another thing that I am looking forward to is making the decision about upgrading my cell phone. Currently, I have the LG G Flex from T-Mobile and I have been very happy with it but there is always something new to catch my eye. The interesting thing is that this is the first phone that i have had that I think I would actually miss when I upgrade. Perhaps this is some type of message that I should pay close attention to but I would not rush out and upgrade to a new phone without lots of research going into the decision first. I use my phone for surfing and blogging more than anything else, so my choice will be very important to me. Right now, the choices are the Google Nexus 6 and the LG G3. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and this is where I am putting my research effort right now. HTC is supposed to come out with a new phone very soon, so that might become another option to consider. I personally have never been a Samsung fan but I know that could change at some point in the future. I am finished writing for now, it is time to get back to work after this short break. I will continue later this afternoon or this evening. I just finished lunch
and am nearly through with the day here. Just one more conference call to endure and then things slow down for the rest of Friday afternoon. I might stop at Harris Teeter on the way home to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. If I do that, I will probably wander into T-Mobile since they are located in the same shopping center as Harris Teeter. Drooling over the phones I mentioned earlier doesn’t cost me anything and I can ask some questions and pick up some information while I am there. It will not cause me to get home that much later than normal, and with no plans for the evening other than writing, I might as well do it. As I am sitting through the last meeting of the week, I found out that Leonard Nimoy has died. I grew up as a Star Trek fan, although it came from repeats because I was too young to remember the original series as it was broadcast back in the 60s. Leonard Nimoy played the role so well that he never escaped the shadow. He came to terms with this and remained popular throughout the rest of his very productive life. I made it home and have kept my word about not going out to spend any money that I don’t need to. I am going to relax for the rest of the evening and enjoy my day tomorrow. Live Long and Prosper, my friends.
Since I woke up at 3am this morning and could not go back to sleep, I am very tired this evening. I wanted to be sure to get something meaningful written here before I collapse and sleep tonight.
Now that I have the Beetle back and it is running splendidly. The time has come to pay off this expense as quickly as possible, and that means tightening the budget. I was even more inspired to get this effort started after lunch today. There is a supermarket not too far from the office that has an outstanding hot food bar. Their fried chicken is normally delicious, but today I learned that they have just installed new cooking equipment in the kitchen. Sadly, this resulted in fried chicken that was rubbery. I swore off getting lunch there for a while. After I left work, I made up my mind that I was going to resort to frozen entrees for lunch for a while. I realized that I can save a lot of money by having the frozen entrees at the office. It wasn't a difficult decision to make, I just have to stick with it. I estimate that I will save at least $30 a week just by taking this simple step. I will notice a difference right away.
At least I have managed to keep my daily writing streak intact and I will work to continue to do so in the future.
Today is the day that I finally get the Beetle back from the garage. I will not be happy when I pay the bill, but I am thankful that I can pay the bill without extra stress. If this had happened last year, I would have been in deep trouble but I will be OK with it now. I will still have to pay the balance off after putting this expense on the credit card, but it has to be done. At least I have the available credit to make it happen, and that was not the case last year.
Life is a series of challenges that we all must face. I have overcome the ones set before me in the past, and I will continue to do so in the future. I have surprised myself with my resiliency as I have knocked down one bill after another. I can accomplish this, and I will do it as quickly as possible!
Today seemed like one of those days without any inspiration for a topic. I muddled through the day at the office and left on time this afternoon. As always, on the way home I called Hal to see if he/we needed to go anywhere. I was rather surprised when he said he needed to go to Walmart.
I have not shopped at Walmart in many years. I find their business practices reprehensible and I refuse to shop anywhere that doesn't pay a living wage to its employees. Since I had asked Hal about where he needed to go, I was on the hook to go to Walmart with him.
We got to the store and surprisingly were not accosted by the senior citizen greeter. Perhaps they wanted to stay away from the cold air that flowed through the open doors as the sheep hurried into the abattoir. The first sight that greeted me was the return line, where people were waiting forever to return the crap that they had foolishly bought from Walmart in the first place, only to discover that it was indeed nothing but crap.
We made our way past that throng of suffering humanity and Hal went to look for a coffee maker, or whatever brought him to this place. I decided to wander through the store rather than wait outside in the cold. Almost immediately I observed several other phenomenon peculiar to Walmart. First was the lack of anyone that resembled a normal human being. THe people in Walmart looked as if they weighed 300+ pounds or were on a cocaine diet. If you ever want to see the motorized shopping carts being abused, go to Walmart and watch some 400+ pound heffer riding one. You can almost see smoke coming from the poor little engine that was never designed to carry such a huge load.
The next phenomenon was the dead stop. These obese people seem to collectively stop in the middle of aisles whenever something shiny catches their eye. I guess that there is not that much excitement in the trailer parks, because the slightest thing causes mass paralysis and results in no one being able to get anywhere in the store. Once the amazement at whatever these slack-jawed people were staring at wears off, then you can actually move again. This meant that the distance I could have covered in no more than 10 minutes took nearly 30 minutes.
I finally made my way to the front of the store. I saw Hal there struggling with the tide of human refuse in the checkout line that was clearly designated as 15 items or less. Illiteracy is a tragedy, especially when it comes to checkout lines. At this point I signaled to Hal that I was going to wait for him outside. I made my way out of the store, hindered all the way be fat people who could not be walked around as they clogged the doorways. Once outside, I took a deep breath, relaxed, and lit a cigarette as I waited for Hal to emerge. I remember vividly why I never shop at Walmart.
Another Monday has begun. I slept well last night and the back spasms aren't as bad this morning. Unfortunately, when I got to work at the townhouse office, I found that I had to get out and do some sholveling and ice removal since nothing had been done over the weekend. I took my time and hopefully didn't aggravate my back any more than necessary. It is no surprise that there was ice to deal with this morning. Yesterday the temperature got to 60 degrees and a lot of the snow melted, although there is still plenty of it laying around. Today is supposed to get colder, with temperatures falling into the 20s, so whatever ice isn't removed this morning will stay around for a while. We got our taste of springtime yesterday, but it looks like it will be the first of March before we see that type of weather again. I will make a few more attempts at ice removal before the temperature drops too far today. I am still driving the VW Passat loaner car while the Beetle has repairs done. It is very un-nerving to drive another vehicle when there is still snow and ice around. The Passat is much larger than the Beetle and I am being very cautious with it. The Beetle should be ready sometime tomorrow if things go according to schedule. After that, I will begin paying off that expense. The temperature has dropped below freezing again, so there will be no more ice chipping outside unless the sun comes out and causes a little melting. I am really ready for Spring to arrive here. We made it through most of Winter without bad weather, but the pattern remains that President's Day Weekend is when we will get nailed. Apparently, this will be a quiet day around here. There are still network issues that are out of my control that are preventing me from accomplishing a lot of work that has to be done. At least I am not being held responsible for these delays. The longer the problem lasts, the more work I will have to catch up on later when the system is available. I just finished my lunch and now it is time to begin the afternoon meetings and conference calls. At least they will keep me awake for the rest of the workday. The temperature continues to drop here, we are back into the deep freeze for several more days apparently. I got away from the office on time this afternoon, and I came home so I could cook some chicken breasts that have been marinating overnight. This will give me several days worth of meals. Here they are before going into the oven.
Once these chicken breasts are finished, I am going to take it easy for the rest of the night until bedtime. Eventually, I'll make another trip to the grocery store and make sure there is something else to cook once the chicken is all gone. Possibly some pork chops for the end of this week. I do need to cook more and eat out less in order to save some more money. It is 1730 and still no word about the Beetle, but I honestly didn't expect to get the call that it is ready until sometime tomorrow afternoon at the earliest. I will not enjoy paying for the repairs, but at least I can manage it.
Im glad to report that the chicken breasts turned out delicious. Now I can take something to the office for lunch if I choose to later in the week.
For years I have struggled with back spasms. They come and go at random intervals. Sadly, they always come back. This time they seem to be located in my lower back and that makes it very difficult to sit, or stand, or even lay down at times. Less than a week ago I had my monthly visit with the chiropractor and I felt wonderful for the next several days. I must have slept in an odd position or something that is aggravated the spasms again. I try never to sit at a computer for more than 30 minutes at a time before I get up and walk around to relieve whatever pressure has built up. I do this regardless of whether I have spasms at that time. The spasms returned late last night and have bothered me all through the day. I will take some Aleve and see if that will help to relax the muscles as the evening settles in. I am hopeful that I will get a good night of sleep before returning to the office in the morning to start my new work week. There is nothing more frustrating or painful than working at an office when my back is killing me.
After the snow yesterday, I was hoping that today would turn out to be a much nicer day. I got my wish!
This is the view from the apartment early in the afternoon. The temperture has rocketed up to 55 degrees and the sun is out! I hope that most of the snow melts before the temperature drops again tonight. I am not sure when the next storm is forecast to hit here, if there is not another one, I will be glad for that.
It is Saturday morning at just after 1000 and I have just returned from my trip to the garage with the Beetle. It was time for the annual inspection and an oil change. Sadly, I did not return WITH the Beetle, since there is some extra work that needs to be done on it. This will set me back some money, but I am able to pay for it, and I'm greatful for that fact.
I suppose that the easy thing to do would be to bitch and complain that the minute I eliminate 2 bills that I have to take on another one, but that would do no good and I realize that this is a necessary expense that I have to deal with. I have to realize that if things had not gotten better that I would not be able to take care of this at all. THe timing belt is well past the end of it's expected use and it is cheaper to replace than to have it wear out and break while I am driving the Beetle. There were a few problems with the struts as well. Therefore, I resolve to not worry about this matter.
The Beetle is a 2002 and I got it used in 2012. It has held up remarkably well and I have no real complaints about it. Things were bound to wear out and need replacement by now. I will have the repairs completed by Tuesday and will get the Beetle back. In the meantime, I have a loaner, a VW Passat Deisel. It is more modern than the Beetle, although I honestly cannot remember the year for this vehicle. It was strange driving the Passat back to the apartment because it is a larger car and is also an automatic. I have always preferred a manual transmission on my vehicles.
I carefully parked the Passat in the garage and with more snow predicted for later today and tonight, it probably won't get much use until Monday when I go to work. The heated seats are something that I definitely like on a cold day. It will be back to the regular seats when I get the Beetle back.
The moral of this, if there is one, is that I am able to take care of these expenses and make the arrangments to pay for them. In the past, this would have been impossible. Therefore, even though this is a setback, it is one that I can overcome.
The BIG Ten conference is reportedly considering a proposal that would require that freshment athletes sit out for a year before competing in their sports. This is not an old idea, in fact, freshmen were ineligible to play intil apprxomately 1972 at all NCAA schools. I know several people who are instantly onboard with this idea, but I see some flaws that will doom it to failure.
The first problem. The proposal seems to limit the rule to men's basketball and football. This immediately brings up the question of discrimination against those particular athletes. If this proposal applied to all athletes, male and female at all sports in the BIG Ten, then this issue would be eliminated. The link doesn't indicate that this is the ultimate goal, it focuses on men's basketball and football only.
The second problem. The BIG Ten is the only conference that is currently taking this under serious consideration. While other conferences might be interested, I seriously doubt that the BIG Ten would take such a step knowing that their recruiting efforts would be severely damaged as a result. If this is a trial balloon to gague interest from the other major conferences, then it bears further consideration, but as a singular gesture, it would cause damage to the BIG Ten. WIthout participation from ALL NCAA members, this will go nowhere.
The third problem. Would such a policy hold up in court? The NCAA has nothing but a bad image when it comes to enforcing the rules that they have, let alone trying to implement this new one. The NCAA hides behind the old argument that athletes are students first, and atheletes second. This is completely absurd to argue whern it comes to men's basketball and football. Coincidentally, these two sports are the primary revenue-generating sports at all NCAA colleges and universities. The hyprocrisy is staggering. These athletes earn millions of dollars annually for their universities, and yet the NCAA insists that they are no different than any other student. This goes beyond considering that athletes are simply employees og the university, they are in effect promoters and wage-earners forn the universities who receive no fair compensation for their efforts.
The fourth problem. Is a freshman still on athletic scholarship during this year? One would certainly hope so. And one would also hope that the scholarship is automatically extended to cover the sophomore year, which would be the first year of athletic eligibility. Is the kid allowed to practice or interact with the team? If not, this will preclude many potential student athletes from attending in the first place. Like it or not, most prized athletes have sacrificed a great deal to reach the point they are at when they graduate high school. To take that away from them "for their own good" is a failure from the start.
I can see the reasons why this is a serious effort in the first place. Kids go to college and if they are athletes, they have an added burden of responsibility placed on them from day one. They have to go through the adjsutments of being away from home, of learning to budget their time, of recognizing that they are no longer the masters of their destiny but are instead at the mercy of others in order to succeed. All of these are lessons that college teaches us. Getting yourself up and to class on time or facing the consequences is one of the most valuable lessons that can be learned. A year in which kids adjust to being students is not in itself a bad idea, but the proposed rule being discussed is a wrong approach to take, and one that cannot be implemented overnight without careful consideration of the pros and cons.
With all apologies to Monty Python, I felt that the title of today's blog was appropriate. I believe that I have fallen into a rut when it comes to my writing recently. While I am glad that I maintained the discipline of writing every day, I felt that the subjects were getting to be the same every entry, and I want to avoid this in the future. Therefore, I resolved to make today the start of a wider range of subjects that I will write about. Today I will cover the subject of my cell phone and the chance to upgrade it in the very near future.
I currently have the LG G Flex through T-Mobile. I got this phone almost a year ago, and it has done an outstanding job for me. in all honesty, I don't remember having a phone that has worked as well as this one. Granted it is a brick with a 6" display that makes it difficult to handle at times, but the battery life is outstanding. In fact, I have only had 1 problem with this phone when it did drain the battery way too fast. I checked online for a solution and decided to restore the phone to factory condition and then reload my apps. I am happy to report that did the trick and I have not had any trouble since then.
The question I ask myself is, "Will I upgrade in the near future?" I am not at all certain yet that I will. There are a few new phones out there that have caught my eye, but I wonder if they will be worth the trouble in the long run. I recently did a swap with a friend who has the iPhone 6, and I honestly have to say that I am going to stick with Android for the time being. There were things I liked about the iPhone, but there were more that I disliked and that involved the customization that I can do on an Android device that is lacking on iPhone.
I have looked at the Nexus 6, which has the advantage of always getting new releases of Android. It is actually as large, if not a bit larger, than that G Flex I have now. I am not sure that I want to change this phone for another that is so large. The Nexus 6 is a great device, but I am not ready to change just to have it.
LG has a phone that was released last year called the LG G3. It is about .5" smaller than the G Flex I have. It offers the same interface and options to customize that I am used to. It has a comparable battery while also offering the chance to simply remove an old battery and replace it with a fresh one that is already charged. That is an option that is lacking on the phone I have. If I were to decide to upgrade right now, I would choose the LG G3.
HTC also is coming out with a new phone, the HTC One M9, or whatever they will call it. I am an HTC fan, and I suppose one of the reasons I am waiting to decide about anything is I want to see what HTC brings out at the beginning of March.
Samsung is another option, don't get me wrong, but I have never been a huge Samsung fan. I cannot point out anything specific about their products, but they have never appealed to me. That can change in the future, but I don't see it happening this year.
Anyway, that is the situation I find myself in right now. I am eligible for an instant upgrade with only a small payment, and by June that will be no payment at all. I know that the prudent thing to do is to wait until the Summer and make my choice then, but it is fun to see what is out there and try to decide what I would do if I decided on impulse to upgrade right now.
Friday at last! It seems like years have passed since last Friday. Even though this was a short work week, it seemed to last forever. I suppose it is a universal truth that short weeks seem to last so long. Say, the next long weekend for me won't be until Memorial Day unless something unexpected happens before then. It is comforting to know that the next time I have a long weekend that the weather will be so much warmer than it is today. The temperature hasn't made it above 20 degrees, and the wind makes it feel ridiculously cold outside. This weather can't last much longer, and I'll be very happy when it warms up. Until late May, it is back to the 5-day workweeks for me. I want to build up my vacation time for the summer anyway. I will find a use for it then.
Thursday is off to a very cold start. The temperature has risen to 13 degrees! It is the wind that is making things really miserable here this morning. The wind chills are below zero and tomorrow is forecast to be even colder. I know that Spring is just over a month away, and I wish that it would get here sooner because I am tired of the bitter cold. At least the days are getting longer, and that is the most reassuring sign that Winter is slowly coming to an end here.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Thursday if there were not some type of network issue here at the office. A firewall that has been malfunctioning for weeks remains down, and therefore I cannot access a system that I really need for my job. I cannot do anything more than mention this again at the daily conference call since the firewall is operated by another company and just griping at them will do on good. Since there has never been an ETR (Estimated Time to Repair) the firewall, I have work that is just piling up that will have to be done once the problem is resolved.
When I get home this afternoon, I plan to do some more writing and to relax. I cannot think of anything that we need at home, so there will be no reason to go out into the cold. Actually, Hal and I notified the apartment community about renewing our lease yesterday aafter I got home from work, and that is something that we won't have to have worrying us later. We like the place we are at, and will hopefully be there for several more years.
Back at the office after my 4-day weekend and realizing how much I wish I had won the lottery. There are times when work is just incredibly boring, and this is one of those times. There are still multiple people that I have to work with who are out due to the recent bad weather. There is nothing I can do about that, so this will be a very slow day for me.
I am amazed that one of the coworkers actually showed up this morning. Although it is nice to have someone else here for a change, I will miss the solitude that often helped me to get things done. Another one of the multiple things that I cannot do anything about, so I won't worry about it any further.
With so many people out due to the weather, I am limited in what I can get accomplished today. Personally, where I live didn't get a lot of snow. The DC region is notorious for panic when it comes to winter weather, and that has been happening for the last 2 days now. Therefore, I resolve to get some things done that have sat on the back burner for far too long around here.
This week also marks the start of the new boss at HQ. This change has been going on for far too long, in my personal opinion. It was almost a year ago when we first were notified that the change was going to take place. It would have been so much more efficient to have the higher position located here rather than 3k miles away, but that request fell on deaf ears.
I hope that today will remain quiet, even with my coworker here. I plan to go out and get something for lunch to bring back to the office before the afternoon meetings and conference calls begin. There is a frecast that calls for more snow later today, although not much. I wonder what type of panic that will cause.
I have made it through lunch and am now settling in for the afternoon conference calls that never seem to end. I am looking forward to going home this afternoon and relaxing. There are no plans for this evening and I suspect that will not change.
I enjoy having this day off work. I am sitting in the Chiropractor's office waiting for my appointment. It is nice to be able to take care of this during the day rather than having to wait for the evening. This is especially true today, since we are supposed to have snow starting late this afternoon or early this evening. Of course, news of the impending snow has triggered the mandatory panic here in the DMV (DC MD VA) and I am sure that Hal and I will have plenty of company when we hit the store after I return from this appointment. Thankfully, I already had taken tomorrow off as a personal day, so I won't be fighting the weather in the morning to get to work. I always take these forecasts of approaching doom with a large grain of salt because the forecasters in thus area have a less than stellar track record when it comes to winter weather. If things don't turn out that bad in the morning I will take the Beetle in for its annual inspection to get that task out of the way. If the forecast is anywhere near accurate, I'll just take care of that job on Saturday morning instead. Time to see the chiropractor, so I'll continue this post later.
I finished at the Chiropractor around noon. I drove back to pick up Hal and we went and ran errands until around 1430. We got home just as the snow arrived. As you can see from the picture, the snow has arrived and has been falling steadily for the last 2 hours. If the forecasts are correct, we could see up to 8" of snow by tomorrow morning. That remains to be seen. I am just glad that we won't have to go out anymore this afternoon or evening.
I am glad that we have this place which is warm and safe for us and The Stooges. I feel terrible for those who have no shelter in weather like this. I find it unacceptable that our country cannot find the resources to provide basic shelter to everyone.
I am finished with this daily post. I hope that everyone will be safe and warm.
As this very cold day has dragged on, I was struggling with another topic to write about. Plenty of thoughts went through my mind, but nothing really inspired me. After I had fed the Stooges and then had my own lunch, I saw how all three of them had relaxed and I realized that my nest writing topic was right in front of me. I grabbed my cell phone and snapped pictures of each of them.
I realuze how fortunate we all are to be safe and warm on a cold day like this.
First picture is of Stevie Nicks. She is the Diva of the house, as you can tell from this picture. Steve Nicks came to live with us in 2011. She is almost 4 years old, 10 years younger than her two brothers. Stevie Nicks is the attirude around the house. She remains the most playful of the Stooges, and we often find her running the other two ragged as she plays with them. Stevie Nicks is also the resident food critic. She seldom eats from the same can twice in a row, and constantly demands new flavors in her food. Keeping her fed and happy is the most challenging thing about her.
Stevie Nicks is also the Stooge that will find her way onto my lap and demand that all other efforts cease until she feels that sufficient attention has been paid to her. This is never a quick process. Stevie Nicks is also the Stooge that will pose for the camera on demand.
Next, we have Maxwell. Maxwell is the prototypical middle chold, or Stooge. Although he and his brother SPartacus (pictured below) are the same age, Maxwell is always the Stooge that ends up without a lap to lay on because he is so reserved and shy most of the time. Maxwell loses all pretense of shyness when it is time to eat, however, then Maxwell can be heard throughout the house demanding food on a regular basis. I swear that he can read the clock and knows exactly what time it is!
Maxwell will gladly accept love and attention when we go and find him, but he seldom comoes looking for it. A wonderful buddy, but very shy.
And finally, we have Spartacus. Spartacus has always been Hal's baby more than mine. Whenever Hal is home, Spartacus will be near him. On the weekends when Hal is at work, SPartacus usually keeps to himself, but at times he will seek me out and spend lots of time in my lap as he falls asleep.
Spartacus and Maxwell came from the same litter back in 2001, and they have never been apart. This can be apparent when watching them interact with each other. They know exactly what the other one is up to, and their playfights look more like a carefully choreographed dancve than anything else. Each knows which way the other will lunge and reacts accordingly.
On a cold winter day, I am glad that the Stooges are here with me. I am also very glad that we can provide a safe and happy place for all three of them to live. Hal and I love them all equally, and we would never allow anything bad to happen to them.
I slept in late this morning and woke up to find that it is ridiculously cold outside! I knew that this cold weather was on the way, but I didn't quite expect this! It is only 10 degrees outside and the wind continues to howl. Hal had already left for work by the time I got up, so I hope that he is doing well and staying warm today. I am staying home and out of the cold today. There is nothing that I need so badly that I will venture out in this!
I have always said that if we can get through the President's Day weekend without a major winter storm that we are usually pretty much done for winter. That still rings true, although there is a forecast for some measurable snow tomorrow evening. Will have to wait and see what happens with that.
I will probably write quite a bit today to pass the time. Whether or not the writing will make its way into the blog is hard to determine right now. Other than the extreme cold, I am not sure of a good topic for another post today. I will have to work on that,
I have been very fortunate to have my Valentine with me for 15 years now. Hal is the love of my life. We have shared so much, we have gone through so many good and bad times together. I know of couples that have crumbled at some of the obstacles that we have overcome, I feel sorry for them but for whatever reason, Hal and I have always managed to work things out and keep moving ahead. Both Hal and I have lost a parent during our time together. Both Hal and I have had the upset of changing jobs, not always as planned. Both Hal and I have gone through the pain of moving from one place to another. Both Hal and I have struggles with money problems. Somehow we keep coming through these events together and stronger than ever. As time goes by, the comfort level in our relationship has increased. We each feel that life without the other would be a huge letdown. I personally am not sure where I would be if I had not met Hal when I did. It isn't a huge stretch to say that I might not be here if I hadn't met Hal. My life was on the verge of going either nowhere or completely out of control when I met him. From Hal, I have learned the art of calm and grace. I still am very spontaneous and quick to act regardless of the consequences. Hal has moderated me tremendously. I hope that I have had a good influence on him as well. Unfortunately, Hal had to work today. After he came home we did go out for a while. During the time we were at dinner, the cold and snow finally arrived. We got at least 1" in under 20 minutes. Thankfully, we are at home now and the Beetle is parked in the underground garage. Time to be with Hal for the evening.
I know far too many people who dread today. It is Friday the 13th, and for some that means nothing but bad luck. Personally, I don't believe in that nonsense, and I treat today like any other day, well, like any other FRIDAY :)
I am not a superstitious person. I find no reason to live in dread of a particular day that occurs throughout life as dictated on a calendar. Some badic research shows that the whole issue of Friday the 13th being unlucky is a rather recent phenomenon that began in the 19th century, and became widely popular in the 20th. Therefore, I see no reason to dread this day.
The only bad thing about this Friday the 13th is that it is so cold outside today! I have thought about going to look at a new computer with Hal, that might not happen after work this evening since the weather is so damned cold. Tomorrow isn't supposed to be that much better, looks like we are stuck in this weather pattern for a few more days.
Anyway, this afternoon is really dragging at the office. No surprise since I am taking a 4-day weekend and am probably just impatient to get it started.
After work, I went shopping with Hal so he could get a new computer. This took us several hours, and we had dinner while we were out. Luckily, Hal finally found the computer that he wanted for a great price. We brought it gome and he is now sitting at his desk setting everything up.
I did some looking at cell phones during the time we were out. I am very impressed with the LG G3. It is probably the likely winner as my new phone in a few months, if not sooner. I will corss that bridge when I get to it. There is no rush for things like that right now.
Anyway, it is nearly 2200 and I wanted to make sure that I got this post completed for the day. It has been a great day, Friday the 13th, or not.
This is one of those days when inspiration about a writing topic seems elusive. I resorted to one of the topics for today type of sites to get something to make me write.
My Blog is titled "Dreamer's World". I chose this title because I have always been something of a Dreamer in my own life. I try to see the best in life and am left wondering why so many others seem satisfied with things such as hatred and violence? I also chose this title as respect to the song by John Lennon, because he was also a Dreamer. I look around me every day and see the news filled with people ranting about this and that. I cannot force myself to listen to them anymore. I know that there has to be a better way ahead for us all.
A Dream is not real, except in our minds. This is not to say that a Dream cannot become reality, far from it, some of the greatest people ever have taken their Dreams and worked to see them come true. A Dream is often a way of protesting the way that things actually are at the time, and a plea to make them better.
I cannot claim to be the most inspiring writer. As I mentioned, there are days when I truly struggle to find anything to write about at all, but I refuse to let that stop me. I know that giving in to the temptation of not writing is a sure way to never writing again. I don't want that to happen to me! I write for myself first and foremost. To do otherwise would be to fool myself and those who read these words. That means a great deal of soul-searching to find something about myself that is worthy of being written down.
Before you think that the previous sentiment was morose and depressed, I choose to differ. Strugging to find that something to write about actually makes me examine myself more closely. It makes me want to find something that is worth writing about. It gives me ideas about what I can actually DO in my life to make certain that I have something to write about wach day. That is the key to this. I write because I Dream about things, I try to model my Life after those Dreams, I then write about my experiences.
Being a Dreamer isn't easy, and it probably isn't for everyone. It is who I am, someone who wants to find better ways of doing thinngs, someone who wants to find a way to have everyone get along without hatred or violence. That isn't wrong at all, I think it is inspiring and a worthy goal. The difficult part is to make others understand what it is that I am trying to say.
It doesn't help that I am surrounded everyday by people who seemingly never take the time to Dream on their own. I hear them talk and instantly know the source of their information on a given subject. They are worshippers of the process that gets them through the day. They do not value critical or independent thought. They are laser-guided to complete their tasks and work without any distraction that requires them to actually THINK for themselves. I seldom communicate with them because I cannot reach them. I have tried through the years without success. Unless I am willing to discard my thoughts and feelings in order to deal with their extremely limited vocabulary of things, people, and events, I am an alien to them. I prefer to be that alien rather than shut down the parts of my brain that are involved in making me a Dreamer.
In some ways, being a Dreamer makes one more introverted. That in itself makes many too afraid to listen to their inner Dreams. It takes a particular type of person to buck the trend and walk their own path. I am one of these people, making my way through lIfe on my terms. My goal is to leave no one harmed in my wake, but also to never allow myself to be assimilated to such a degree that I can no longer know myself first.
Being a Dreamer isn't easy, but it is the only way that I can be true to myself. That is why I call my Blog "Dreamer's World".
This week will mark the fist payday in forever that I have looked forward to payday without worrying that all of my money was basically already spent before I received it. I cannot describe the feeling of elation and relief that I have right now.
The fight to get to this point was long and difficult. The sacrifices and self-denials were worth it in the long run, but they were extremely difficult. Now I can take care of expenses without the constant worry of running out of money because so much was tied up with paying off debts. It was a combination of things that got me into trouble in the first place. A low-paying job that promised promotion and failed to deliver, expenses that I couldn't budget for such as car repairs, the rising cost of gas several years ago. All of those contributed to the mountain of debt that I accumulated. That is behind me now.
This is the beginning of the next phase in my life. I will do my very best to not allow things to spiral out of control again. I have emerged from the shadows into the sunshine and I am not going back!
People have asked me how I managed to finally put this all behind me without declaring bankruptcy. The answer is that I very nearly gave in and filed for bankruptcy several years ago. I have friends who have had no other option but to do so. I managed to work through a credit counseling service to get settlements reached on my debts. This didn't save me the huge percentage that the TV commercials claim, but at least it enabled me to stop the bleeding and begin to plan my way ahead.
I reached settlements with creditors and began paying them every month. I always sent money orders obtained from the US Post Office. I did this to avoid giving creditors access to my bank account, and also to insure their reliability throughout the process. Every month I would go to the post office and get money orders for the bills I was paying on. I always mailed them using REGISTERED MAIL, which involved me getting a receipt from the creditors. Before mailing the money orders, I copied EVERYTHING, envelope, money order, and a payment schedule letter to the creditor stating that this was payment # of # scheduled payments. I kept these copies for my own reference. Having the copy of the registered mail receipt gave me the advantage of being able to initiate a trace of a payment if the creditor claimed it had not been received.
I performed this monthly ritual for almost 9 years. As the total I owed dropped, I continued to pay the creditors at the agreed-upon rate rather than attempting to renegotiate with them. Eventually, the creditors were paid in full and some money was released to my own budget. This process is now over with, and I have years worth of records to prove that everything was paid.
I have spent too many years digging my way out of this mess. I am tired, but relieved to have it done at last!
Over the past week, I tried out the iPhone 6. I say that now because I have returned that phone and am sticking with Android. The choice between OS is purely subjective, there is no right or wrong answer other than the one that we each come to for ourselves. I found the iPhone to be incredibly slim and light compared to my LG G Flex, but the larger battery with the LG means never having to worry about running out of juice. I drained the iPhone 3 times in the 7 days that I used it. Advantage definitely goes to the LG on that score. The iPhone was the clear winner in terms of a convenient size and weight. I did miss the larger screen on the LG, but quickly grew accustomed to the iPhone screen. The screen resolution is another aspect that is purely in the eye of the observer. The iPhone wins for usable size, but the LG wins for a bigger display.
I am definitely an Apple fan when it comes to iMac, iPod, and iPad. However, that love does not extend to the iPhone. It is a great device, but just not the one for me. I prefer the flexibility and creativity that Android allows. When I upgrade mt current Android phone, I will definitely be getting another Android to replace it.
Another Monday begins at the office. The weather has returned to normal for this time of year, cloudy and cold. Yesterday was beautiful with temps in the 70s and this makes the contrast that much more noticeable. We are nearly 2/3 of the way through Winter and Spring will arrive as anticipated. I am hoping for a good and productive week here at work. Today has begun on a slow note. I had to go and visit the client earlier today and answer some questions that he has about our project. After that, it was back to the office, then lunchtime followed by the daily conference call. All those events are behind me now, and I am waiting on some data for review once the person responsible gets around to sending it to me. After a day at work, Hal and I had a few errands to run after work. That kept me out until almost 7 pm, but at least we were together. Got home and am ready to relax. I have a great true story that I will blog and.
Sometimes I forget to be thankful for things that I take for granted. The smallest things in life are very often the most valuable and should be treated as such. When I took the photo of my Snoopy calendar for this post, I thought about the way in which the date blocks fit into the slot provided. They are not perfectly aligned, there is an imperfection about them as they appear to us. I had to realize that this is part of it's charm. It maintains the appearance of something that a child would have done.
I know that this thing is mass-produced somewhere, but to have made it appear this way means that someone else made the conscious decision that what had to be shown was the intent, and not the substance. It this calendar appeared to be absolutely perfect, with everything having clean lines and no apparent flaws, it would lose what makes it special.
How often do we fail to see the perfect imperfections in others, or in ourselves? I try my very best to always accept someone for who they are, warts and all, as the old saying goes. It is a sure thing that looking for perfection will make you crazy, because perfection is a concept that only we ourselves can define. The trouble arises when we realize that everyone else will also have their own definition of perfection, and that they will never align 100%. We are better off letting perfection sit on the shelf and accepting people for who they are. It is a much more valuable means of evaluating someone.
Notice how I have not touched on the subject of our own perfection? That is deliberate because we are already perfect. Let me say that again, each of us is already perfect! If we allow others to try to place us into the categories that they have constructed for their own lives, then we have lost what makes us special, what makes us unique, what makes us perfect. Always remember that when dealing with other people. Your own life will be easier because of it. Never bemoan their lack of meeting our view of perfection, embrace what and who they are, because in the long run the differences are what help us to define ourselves.
Saturday at last! It is nearly 2 am and I am finally getting ready for bed here. I am not taking the Beetle in for inspection later this morning. Hopefully, after I get Hal off to work, I can catch on some sleep later in the morning. I expect that I'll stay around the apartment unless there is a pressing need to go to the grocery store. I ended up sleeping until well after Hal left for work this morning. I finally crawled out of bed just after 9 am. Since I'm staying here for the day, I am resting to relieve a pulled muscle that has been bothering me for the last few days. My side has been extremely sore, and I have been taking Alive for it. I had my quarterly physical with the doctor yesterday afternoon, and he confirmed that it was just a pulled/strained muscle, and nothing to worry about. That was a load off my mins since it is causing pain in my abdomen. The worst fear was that it might have been my appendix.
After Hal gets home from work, we might go out for a while together. If not, that will be fine with me. I can get out tomorrow while he is at work since the weather has turned nice after all the bitter cold we had the last several days. I will try to put together another blog post later today that is more focused.
No matter how busy my days get, I always find the time to appreciate what goes on around me. I hope that I never lose the childlike wonder that so many of my friends see in me. Since I recently turned 51, I think that I will retain this for the rest of my life, and I'm grateful for it.
When I see something of interest I resolve from now on to take a picture of it and attempt to describe my feelings about it and what made me think that it was important enough to photograph in the first place.
I can always count on Stevie Nicks to give me a picture worth talking about. She lives for the camera, like any real Diva does. I wonder what goes through her mind when she sees the camera, but she is always ready for a close-up. I enjoy photographing Stevie Nicks for this reason. Maxwell and Spartacus are much more difficult to photograph since they always look away from the camera. I am always amazed at hoe relaxed and happy Stevie Nicks seems when all the attention falls on her. She is my Baby :)
As this week draws to a close, I am reminded of a birthday that isn't celebrated anymore. My Mom was born on this day in 1925, so today she would have been 90 years old. She passed away just before her birthday in 2001. If we are lucky enough to have a good relationship with our parents, it is never easy to lose one. Mom was the last to go, my Dad had passed years earlier.
I was able to get to Mom and be there with her when she passed away. She had always been there for me, and I would have felt tremendous guilt had I failed to get to her in time.
I still miss her at times, but the pain of loss fades through the years. On her birthday, I remember the good times and the sense of loss returns, although it is somewhat muted. She always told me that m life is a gift that we can't waste. This is the most important lesson she taught me and I remember her on this day and renew my promise to her to be the best person I can be and to love each say to the fullest.
A genie has granted your wish to build your perfect space for reading and writing. What’s it like?
My ultimate writing room would look something basically like this.
I found this picture online and it best visualizes my ultimate Writing Room. I like an open area with lots of natural light. It would not be this large, but I prefer the Spartan type of furnishing without a lot of clutter. I would have my computer desk against a window in order to have a lot of natural lighting, and I would have the Chromebook available with a lap stand for times when the light was too bright to work at the desk. There would be a sofa to sit or lie on, and an easy chair. One table would suffice. Obviously my Writing Room would be much smaller, but there would still be plenty of open space.
I often picture my Writing Room as something like one of the micro apartment models that one sees in IKEA, with lots of windows to bring in natural light. Obviously, I wouldn't have all the appliances and kitchen crammed into the space.
I like all the windows that would allow me to snap a picture of anything that happened outside that might spark a blog post. I cannot imagine being in a small, dark room without any windows or sense of the outside world. I want to feel as if I am a part of something as I write.
I would definitely find a space for my Bluetooth speaker in order to have music available to me. Again, this is not a large item that would take up much room. I would also try to have a radio there as well so I can keep up with things and still avoid the incessant yammering on TV. Like so many of the people I follow on social media, I find the media to be untrustworthy because they present an agenda that is defined by their corporate masters and allows for very little actual truth to be reported.
I cannot think of much else that I would require in my Writing Room. Whatever else I can think of would be located somewhere else in the house. The purpose of the Writing Room is both writing and reflection. This would be the place where I would come to in order to focus on what I want to write about, and to read what other people are saying.