Monday, October 31, 2011

All the news that's fit to tell

Things have been swirling around my life lately and, unfortunately, I haven't had an opportunity to sit down and tell you all about them.  So much to tell with so little time to do the telling.

I'll start with my job.  Whew!  It has been BUSY.  You may remember back on August 28th we had a hurricane down in my neck of the woods.  This particular hurricane brought A LOT of rain with it.  There wasn't a lot of damage here at the college where I work, but there was a lot of moisture.  A week after the hurricane we had A LOT of rain.  A LOT.  Along with the rain we had very humid conditions.  Frankly, the weather was crummy.  At this time I was in Reno, NV enjoying myself at the Tailhook convention and worrying about the patch in my roof leaking.  Here at the college, however, a different creature was taking hold in two of our residence halls.  MOLD.  And a lot of it.  Oh no???!!!! What will we do?  The first thing we did was move 350 kids out of their dorm rooms and set them up in hotels around this county and in one county over.  This is not exactly the "college experience" these kids were looking for, or for that matter, the experience their parents had paid for.  So, I spent a week handling crappy parent phone calls.  Exhausting.  Then, one alum came up with an idea.  His idea was this.  Why not float a cruise ship up to the college and let the kids live on it?  Brilliant.  So, the following week we began to jump through all the hoops involved to get a cruise ship docked near the college.  Fyi, there are a lot of hoops.  Oh, and btw, the folks that tell you the news found this a FASCINATING story.  There have been press all over the place.  My boss is the point man for most of the talking and showing of all stuff mold and cruise ship.  Needless to say, the phone is ringing off the hook.  After the press gets a hold of the story, guess what?  Sales people for every sort of mold remediation, air purification, cleaning, painting, you name it, have called and called and called.  Imagine 75-100 telemarketers calling you for five days in a row.  Exhausting.  There is a press conference going on right now and I hear the ship tooting it's horn and helicopters flying overhead taking pictures.  Wonderful.

So, I was tired.  In the midst of my tirednessness an opportunity presented itself.  My husband was invited to play in a FREE blackjack tournament in Atlantic City.  He didn't think he wanted to go.  He thought he should stay home and work on our tree debris and other repair projects we have to do.  But, I told him, it's going to RAIN all day Saturday.  Yippee!!!  Rain.  Let's go to AC.  He didn't win $35,000 at the black jack tournament, this time, but we did have a wonderful time.  I relaxed.  I napped.  I put a few items on eBay.  Wonderful.

Which leads me to tell you what has been going on with eBay.  Or, more to the point, PayPal.  It seems the government didn't feel it was getting its fair share of tax from my eBay sales.  So now, if you sell more than 200 items and make $20,000 you have to file a Form-1099 and pay income tax on your eBay sales.  This is new for 2011 and it's just another way Obama has his hand in my pocket to give out money to people who don't want to pay their own bills.  Btw, I'm selling stuff I've found in my closet.  I've already paid tax on these items.  Give me a break.  However, there is a bright side to this story.  My son has an eBay account and PayPal account.  I asked him if he would mind if I used his account to sell my stuff.  He balked, at first, but relented.  He knows I love eBaying and he showed his love for me by sharing his account.  Wonderful.

While we were in AC, or rather, immediately after we arrived in AC my son called to tell me he got in a car accident.  CRAP.  Poor guy, he's ok, his car is a total loss.  He had JUST gotten it back from being repaired from having a tree fall on it during hurricane Irene.  I think he had had it back for one week.  NUTS.  It was drizzling, he was driving a bit too fast for the conditions, the car in front of him stopped short, he hit his breaks, slid off the road and hit a telephone pole.  Well, when you hit a telephone pole there are two things you know for sure.  One thing, it's your fault.  Telephone poles don't jump out in front of your car.  You're going to get a ticket.  Second thing, your car is going to get wrecked.  Telephone poles aren't going anywhere.  They stay put and your car bends and breaks.  Oh yeah, and the air bags deploy (add $1000).  So now his car is gone.  Things haven't exactly been going his way.  On the up side, I didn't get angry or yell.  I asked him if he was ok and patiently waited for my husband to return from his massage to tell him the news.  Wonderful.

I think this just about catches everyone up on my wonderful life.  I'm staying positive.  I'm employed, albeit working a bit too hard just now, I'm back on eBay and LOVING it, and my son is OK and he's lucky.  His grandma had given him her car when she passed away.  :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


A swirl of steam wraps 'round
Cinnamon apple caramel cream
Dreams of leaf beds concealing me
Heaps of sweets say November's near

Leaves off trees whip 'round and 'round
Greens fade 'way to orange and sound
Golden brown crunch covers ground
Smokey smells seep through weeds

Snuggling in socks and sweaters now
Bid farewell to summer play
Resign ourselves to shorter days
Songs of Christmas say November's near

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Maybe there is a "do over" in parenting

Yesterday I wrote a post about there NOT being a "do over" in parenting.  I'm not a Mommy Blogger, but I am a mom.  After I posted this I started thinking about it.  A lot. 

Yesterday's post kinda made me look like I was/am a bad mom.  I'm not a bad mom.  I don't think any parent is a perfect parent.  I made mistakes in my parenting and I shared those with you guys.  I just wanted to put a little experience, hope and strength out there in the blogosphere.  I'm trying very hard to be the encouraging and inspiring parent we all want to be.  And, I want my kid to move out of my house and live life on his own terms,... soon.

This led me to this thought.  Hey, maybe I will get my "do over."  How, you may ask? 

Maybe I'll be a grandma some day.

My mom and her great grandson

Monday, October 24, 2011

You don't get a "do over" in parenting

I've mentioned before I don't have a very close relationship with my son.  We struggle.  I don't praise him enough and I don't feel he respects me enough.  My husband gets so angry with me and often corrects me in the way I talk to my son.  He reminds me to Be Positive.  Point out my son's successes and minimize the failures.  Don't use a Tone in my voice.  Don't Yell.

I wish I could have a "do over" in parenting my son.  In my old age Now that I have more life experience, there are things I wish I would have done and things I wish I had not done.

1.  I wouldn't have felt responsible every act, good or bad, my child performed.  I certainly wouldn't have berated myself as a bad parent for every poor grade or bad attitude my child exhibited.
2.  I would have found more opportunities to take a break from parenting and gone on weekends with my husband.  We lived so far from family it was not possible to ask them to watch our son so we could get away for more than a dinner or a movie.  I wish I had had the courage to ask a friend to watch our son for a weekend every now and again.  It would have been a nice break from parenting and reconnection with my husband.

3.  I wish I would have punished less.  And I certainly wish I hadn't hit him.  Yeah, I called it spanking, but I hit him.  And, I hit him while I was angry.  Super angry.  Yeah, I wish I could take that back. 

4.  I would have picked my battles better.  Lucky me, since my son still lives with us, I can work on this.  Not every issue is worth a battle.  Spilled milk, no issue.  Muddy shoes on the carpet, who cares.  Wearing the same underwear for a week, so what.  Bad grades, this one would be tough, but what the heck.

5.  I would keep in mind that, this too shall pass.  My son is going to grow up, some day.  He's going to move out of the house, some day.  And he WILL be a responsible adult, some day.  This is still one I get to work on since my son is still at home and hasn't done any of the previous things yet.  But he will.  Some day.

6.  I wish I would have treasured his childhood more.  I now know how quickly childhood goes by.  Time flies.  You can't catch it and you can't get it back.  I wish I would have taken more pictures.  

7.  I would've remembered how special my son is.  I wouldn't have wished him to be like any other child.  I wish I would have focused more on what he IS, than on what I wished him to be.  This, too, is something I can do now.  Wow, I'm super lucky my son still lives at home and hasn't moved out on his own.  I DO get an opportunity to continue parenting him, but I'll call it "consulting."  I am SUPER lucky.  (btw, I tried Super Hard to take the sarcasm out of my Tone)

8.  I wish someone would have reminded me you don't get "do-overs" in parenting and give me something like this post to read.  I needed to be reminded I don't always have to be the "bad guy."  I needed to be reminded to say Yes more often.  I needed to be reminded to BE PRESENT more often in my child's life.

9.  I would have remembered how short life is.  Life is short.  Life goes by fast.  When I was 30 I felt I had all the time in the world.  Now that I'm in my 50's I see how fast this life is zipping by.

10.  I wish I would have known how far hugs and cookies go to make a child feel loved and special.  I see now that you cannot get or give too many hugs.  And cookies, well there can never be too many cookies.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I have a new roof!

I am so happy.  You just cannot imagine the happiness I feel.  A roof.  A roof over my head.  A secure roof with no broken trusses or holes.  I am smiling from ear to ear.  I know this sounds silly to say one can get so excited over a roof, but it's true.  I am thrilled.  This is the first step in the restoration of my home.  My sanctuary.  My nest.  The roof is so pretty.  It sounds funny to say it is pretty, but it is a pretty roof.

A short list of chores still to come:
  • Drywall - the drywall guy came today and gave me an estimate.  It was higher than the insurance adjuster figured, but we will see if we can get her to change her mind.  :)
  • Paint 
  • Clean carpet - when we have the carpeting cleaned, we will know immediately if we need to replace it.  If there is a strong smell of mold, the carpeting goes.  *between you and me, I think there is going to be mold.  I've seen the evidence, but I'll play by the insurance rules.*
  • Deck replacement - fingers crossed, this will start next week.
  • Window replacement - just ordered the window yesterday.  It will take six weeks to come in.
  • Remove all trees leaning AWAY from the house - I have no idea when we will start on this.
  • Remove trees in back yard - these trees fell into our back yard, but these were trees growing on common (*read, community center property)  We will have to deal with the HOA on this.  (Oh, I'm on the board of the HOA.  It will be interesting to see how this goes.)
  • Have a Merry Christmas?  I hope so.  :)
My pretty new roof

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why social justice doesn't work and OWS won't make a difference

This is a parable called the River.

A group of people are standing at a river bank and suddenly hear the cries of a baby.  Shocked, they see an infant floating--drowning--in the water.  One person immediately dives in to rescue the child.  But as this is going on, yet another baby comes floating down the river, and then another!  People continue to jump in to save the babies and then see that one person has started to walk away from the group still on shore.  Accusingly they shout, "where are you going?"  The response:  "I'm going upstream to stop whoever's throwing babies into the river.

The moral of the story is to get to the root of the problem, right?  If we get to the root of the problem then all will be well.

I don't have to travel all the way upstream to tell you what the root of the problem is.  I can tell you now.  The problem is sin.  The problem is always sin.  And the problem will always be sin.

If I go upstream and find an evil man throwing babies into the river I cannot take the evil out of the man.  If I kill the evil man, there will be another to take his place.  If I go upstream and find a daycare built against the river with no barrier between the children and the river and see children falling in the river, I can talk to the owner.  I will find a lazy or greedy establishment, unwilling to do the work or spend the money to provide a fence.  If I build a fence to protect the children at this establishment, another establishment will be erected further up the river with lower costs, and there will be no fence.  Babies will continues to fall into the river.  

We cannot depend on government to save us.  We cannot take greed or sloth or vanity or wrath or envy out of government any more than we can take it out of a man.  Only Jesus can change a heart.

We cannot do anything about the root of the problem.  Only Jesus can fix the problem.  All we can do is jump in the river and pull out as many babies as we can.  When we, the Church, agree to waste its time searching for and attempting to fix the root of the problem we are only spinning our wheels and wasting our time and resources.  There will always be sin in the world until Jesus returns.

The Church is the body of Christ, just as the Bible describes.  Jesus met individuals where they were and in the condition they were in, he didn't meet with political figures and try to change the system.  I believe Jesus said something like, pay your taxes or render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar.  I believe the religious / political leaders didn't care too much for Jesus.  They rejected him.

So all you ministers, pastors, priests, Sunday school teachers, Christians who are promoting or participating or beating a drum for OWS.  You are not being the body of Christ.   Jump in the river.  Save a baby.  Social justice is a waste of your time here on earth.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tamoxifen is my friend

Yes, those words tasted pretty bad, but they are true.  I haven't posted about Tamoxifen and me for a while.  Since it's October and all the manly American NFL players are sporting pink on any part of their uniform that will not interfere with the recognition of their team colors, I will ponder my 10th month on Tamoxifen.

I'm going to begin by saying, I thank God I do not have breast cancer.  I am grateful every day that I do not have this horrible disease.  I know I've been flippant about my side effects and the like regarding Tamoxifen, but, so far, I don't have breast cancer and this is the whole job of this drug.  Tamoxifen is supposed to keep Happygirl from getting breast cancer and it is doing it's job.  Thank you Tamoxifen.

I am also grateful I do not have the worst side effect of Tamoxifen, endometrial cancer.  I know I whined and complained about the many tests I endured to ensure I did not have this disease, but now that all that is in the past and I hardly remember all those doctor appointments and the invasiveness of them and the fact that I had to leave $25 on the nightstand.  I will say, thank you Tamoxifen.

Don't expect me to leave this post about Tamoxifen as being all kittens and puppies and butterflies.  Here are the hard facts.  I typically have two hot flashes EVERY day.  One occurs at 7:30 in the morning, as I drive to work.  Thank you, Tamoxifen, for the giant sweat stains under my arms every morning.  Another occurs at 9:00 in the evening.  Thank goodness it's dark at this time of the year as I typically have to go out on my front porch and take my shirt off.  (tmi, oh well)  Occasionally I will have a third hot flash during the day.  It always comes when I'm enjoying myself and usually when I'm with other people.  I love turning beet red and flowing sweat in the middle of a conversation.  (not)  The night sweats are continuing.  I am grateful it is autumn and will soon be winter and our home is heated with a heat-pump.  (read, this is not seriously considered heat)  I'm sure my husband won't mind freezing to death every night while I finally get a bit of sleep.  I do have one little ray of sunshine on the sleeping issue.  Valium.  This is great stuff.  I understand you can become addicted to it, so they won't give me very much of it, but this stuff works.  I've had a few really great nights of sleep under the influence of this drug.  Better living through chemistry, sometimes.

I will sign off with another hearty Thank You to Tamoxifen.  Also, any ladies reading, remember to get your mammogram and be vigilant with the girls.  If you forget I mentioned it, watch some football this Sunday and ask your husband why all the players are wearing pink.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Zombie advice

It seems like I've been in the advice giving mode lately.  Which is truly funny, as I certainly need to take more good advice than pass any out.  In honor of catching myself in the act of doing something I know I shouldn't be doing, I will give you one last advice post.  It's pretty important.  I mean, a zombie apocalypse could happen.  Also, The Walking Dead are back on AMC.  LOVE it.  I'm a zombie fan.  All time favorite, the first Dawn of the Dead.  I love them all.  If you are not a HUGE zombie fan, I recommend Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland.  Both excellent beginner zombie films.

Back to the point of this post.  I have a few tips to survive a zombie invasion.

1.  Get a good pair of running shoes.  Not all zombies are the slow walkers.  In fact, lately, zombies have been getting faster.  It wouldn't be a bad idea to start doing some cardio now.  Zombies, especially the fast zombies, don't become out of breath while chasing you.  They don't breath anymore.  They are dead.

2.  Get a bunch of guns.  Seriously.  You are going to need guns and bullets.  Lots of them.  It may not be a bad idea to start your marksmanship practice now, too.  I mean, you've got to shoot them in the head.  It's the only way to "kill" them.  You can cut their heads off.  That works too, but you have to get up close and personal to do that.  Another way to "kill" them is to burn them up.  So, while your getting some guns, get a couple flame throwers, too.

3.  Get out of the cities and into the country.  You have to have a lot of open space around you to see them coming.  In cities, they can just pop out anywhere.

4.  When you find a safe place to hunker down in the country or small town, find stuff to reinforce windows and doors.  Find strong stuff, like 2"x 4"s and 1/2" plywood.  Sticking a chair under the doorknob is just not going to cut it.  Remember, the zombies do not get tired.  They will pound and pound away.  They don't mind breaking glass or getting cut.  Remember, they are dead.

5.  If, by chance, you meet up with other survivors and decide to join forces, do not turn on each other.  Seriously people, you don't want to throw other survivors under the bus.  One of your group is probably already the bossman and I can guarantee that the group you hook up with will have a bossman.  Please, for the love of God, encourage these guys (or girls) to get along and not forget they are in a zombie apocalypse.  This will only put everyone else in danger.

6.  This goes without saying, but I'm going to have to say it anyway.  Don't have sex.  Just don't.  Please save your energy for being a lookout or looking for food and water or finding more bullets and guns or finding more gas for your car or truck.  Seriously, sex should be the last thing on your mind.

7.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot, learn to be a good story teller.  There will not be any electricity, so, no tv, no Netflix, you won't be able to charge your iPod.  You are going to have to entertain each other in your downtime.  Please learn to tell a good story.  :)

8.  Make a plan and agree on it.  If you are going to survive, you're going to need a plan.  When you've figured one out, using whatever democratic or autocratic method you use, stick to the plan.  Don't go rogue when you break into your small groups.  People are counting on you.  For pete's sake, don't decide to check out the high end department store if you've been sent out to get food.  You don't need that Louis Vuitton bag, just because you don't have to pay for things anymore.

9.  If you get bit by a zombie, tell the other people you are with all about it.  Don't hide your wound and think you will be the one that recovers from a zombie bite and doesn't turn into a zombie.  You're going to turn into a zombie.  It's a fact.

10.  Don't be afraid to shoot your mother, father, sister, brother, husband, son, daughter, wife, minister, anybody you are related to or good friends with if they turn into a zombie.  You're going to have to shoot them in the head, cut their head off or light them on fire.  There are no close relationships with zombies.  They will want to eat your brains and they will not remember who you are.  That's just the way it goes in the zombie apocalypse.

Ok, that's all my advice giving for a while.  I think I've covered all the important things in life in the last few days.  Let's see, what you need to know to live a better life, how to succeed in life and now, how to survive the zombie apocalypse.  I think we're good now.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The key to success in whatever you do in life

I just heard a great quote about the key to success.  I decided to write a post about it (before I forget, 'cause that happens sometimes) because I hope EVERYONE gets an opportunity to hear it.  Today I was flipping through the channels looking for something to veg in front of for a few minutes.  (yeah, yeah I know I have a chore list to get around to)  I stopped on the image of John Leguizamo on HBO's The Latino List.  He was talking about his hit movies and work on Broadway.  He said something funny about getting a LOT of fan mail from prisons for his work on the movie To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.  He was talking about making a name for himself in Hollywood.  He was talking about how agents and others told him to down play his ethnicity.  He was encouraged to tell agents and producers he was Italian and to change his name and stay out of the sun.  He, of course, didn't do this.  He was proud of his Colombian heritage.  I wasn't listening to everything he said, but this one thing caught my attention.  He was talking about his children and the advice he was giving them regarding how to be successful in whatever they chose to do in their lives.  I wish I could replay exactly what he said, but this is the nearest I can recall.  He said, to his kids;

"If you spend 10,000 hours at anything, you can be successful at it."

This is such good advice.  I think every person should hear it and believe it.  Success is not instant.  Success is not being lucky.  Success comes from hard work and lots of it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

25 things everyone should know

1.  If you don't have any money, you can't spend any money.
2.  To lose weight you have to expend more calories than you take in.
3.  It doesn't cost anything to be nice.  Compassion is a wonderful quality.
4.  If you borrow something, you should return it before you are asked to return it.  
5.  Please and thank you go a long way in relationships.
6.  When you make a promise to someone, keep it.  
7.  If something is too good to be true, it's not true and it's not good.
8.  There is always a winner and a loser and everyone in between.  Not everyone can be a winner.
9.  Being habitually late or keeping people waiting is a sign of arrogance, nothing less.
10.  A good night's sleep does wonders for your well being.  
11.  Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your body. 
12.  Pay yourself first.  Make saving money a priority.
13.  Get some exercise.  It'll make you feel better and have a better attitude.
14.  Treat other people the way you would like to be treated.
15.  Pick up after yourself.  Don't leave your mess for someone to clean up behind you.
16.  It's a good idea to keep most of your opinions to yourself.  Opinions are like noses.  Everybody has one.
17.  Don't comment on facebook when you are drunk  
18.  Chew your food with your mouth closed and don't talk while you have food in your mouth.
19.  Telling the truth leaves less to memory.
20.  It's rude to text while you are talking to someone face-to-face.
21.  Be generous.  Give to charity or at least, pick up the check once in a while.
22.  Saying "I'm sorry" is a gift to yourself, as well as the person you say it to.   
23.  It's not a conversation if you are doing all the talking.  God gave us two ears and one mouth.  Use accordingly.   
24.  It's good to have a sense of humor about yourself.  It makes you more fun to be around. 
25.  You really are as happy as you decide to be.

There are more than 25 things people should know, but 25 is a good place to start.  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What makes you Happy?

I thought I'd take a couple minutes to think about things that really make me happy.  A few things came to mind immediately.  It was funny, but they were all birds.  It makes me happy to see goldfinches on my bird feeder.  It makes me happy to see hummingbirds flitting around my flowers and feeder.  It makes me happy to see a bluebird sitting on the basketball backboard in the morning.  It makes me happy to see a heron in the pond in my back yard.  Such simple things and they make me smile. 

It makes me happy to accomplish a task I've been planning to do and to do it when I planned to do it.  *sigh*  Like making tomato sauce on Sunday from all the tomatoes I froze over the summer months.  It makes me happy to floss my teeth at night before I go to bed.  It means I'm not so exhausted I'm unable to properly care for myself.

It makes me happy to know my husband is pleased with me.  To know I've helped him in some way.  It makes me happy to watch my husband laugh at something that just tickles him.  It makes me happy to see my son happy.  I love seeing my son laugh.

It's funny, if you would have asked me years ago what I thought would make me happy I think the answers would have been quite different.  I think the answers would have involved trips or gifts or outings, but now the things that make me happy are much simpler and smaller.  I'm glad they've become simpler and smaller.  I'm glad because they are easier to attain.  My happiness comes much more often now.  I can find it in my kitchen or outside my window.  I don't have to look very far to find happiness.

If you have a minute, please tell me what makes you

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

See the Light

Red light!  Stop!
Halt all action on the street.
99% are taking over.
Take my picture.  Instagram.
I'm a tweeting bird on the wireless.
Greed, lies, it's not fair.
Arrest me!
Where's my trophy?  I got a C.  
Good enough. 72% is passing.  I got me a degree
In theater. I deserve the best.
What more does it take to pay the rent?

Yellow light!  Caution!
Slow down anonymous rhetoric and think.
You bought the dream.  You signed the form.
Pay the piper, pay the debt.  With interest.
You're on your knees in protest now.
When did you ever turn and bow?
To God
Blame the man.  Don't look down
At your iPhone, flat screen, data flow
On mom's plan.  She owes me
Doesn't she?  I didn't ask to be born.

Green light! Go!
Get a job.  Raise your family.
Stay with the wife you chose.
It's all grass, everywhere, none is better anywhere.
You don't need more than you have.
Be content and be generous
To all.
What goes around will come around.
You aren't entitled to the good life.
Don't believe the lies.  Repent your sin.
Return to truth.  The real truth, not yours.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~ William James

True this.

I've got a few thing hanging over my head lately.  They are, without a doubt, exhausting me.  I'm not tired from doing, but I'm tired of thinking I SHOULD be doing them.  I have a list.  Maybe if I write this list and share it with all of you, I will start accomplishing SOMETHING.

But, before I write the list, I want to talk a bit about procrastination.  I want to talk about good procrastination and bad procrastination.  I've learned there are three types of procrastination.  Depending on what you do instead of working on something, you:
  1. do nothing
  2. work on something less important
  3. work on something more important
I will suggest the type 3 individual is doing good procrastination.  He is putting off the small stuff to take care of the big stuff.  I'm going to suggest many moms fall into being the type 3 procrastinators.  I believe being actively involved with your children is a "big stuff" project, as opposed to dusting the bookshelf.  However, watching Ellen instead of being actively involved with your children or dusting is a type 1 or bad procrastination.
This is certainly the "reader's digest" condensed version of this theory, but I hope you are getting my drift.  Some of the small stuff things, like mowing the lawn, filing your taxes, grocery shopping, and the like, will eventually become big stuff problems if avoided long enough.  So even though you may have big stuff in your lives, like raising children, running a business, finishing your dissertation, writing the next great American novel, you eventually have to deal with some of the small stuff before they become big problems.

And this is where I find myself.  Lately I've been dealing with the big problem of my broken house and destroyed landscaping.  I've been hoping the roofer, we have ALREADY hired, will start replacing our roof.  I thought when this finally began my paralysis on doing other jobs, *read small stuff*, would end.  But, no roofing work has begun.  No repairs on the house are underway.  Now the small stuff is starting to build up and weigh heavily on my mind.  My procrastination must end.  I can no longer use the excuse of fixing my house to keep me from doing the small stuff.  So, back to the concept of writing down my list.
  • Send in my winter CSA contract and check
  • Iron all the clothes I have piled on the chair in my bedroom
  • Fill out the tax forms for donations to Vintage Value
  • Send church the letter telling them we have moved on to a different church
  • Pull weeds and pull overgrown annuals out of my flower beds
  • Wash all the mildew off the front door of my house
  • Call the rancher and order my lamb
  • Work with my son to sort through stuff from his room
  • Go for a walk every now and then *read start exercising*
Wish me luck.  :)  Oh, while I was thinking about getting some of these things done, I rewrote Carly Simon's Anticipation to fit my post today.  If I felt ambitious I would have sung it and made a YouTube.  Maybe I'll do that someday...  When I find some time.

I don’t ever finish all the chores I have to do
But I think about them all the day
And I wonder if I'm really going to do them now
Or just wait ‘til after what Ellen has to say.

Procrastination, Procrastination
It’s making me late
It’s keeping you waiting

And I tell you how easy it is to put things off
And how right it feels to nothing at all.
But I rehashed the things I have to do last night
Then started thinking about how to avoid this work.

Procrastination, Procrastination
It’s making me late
It’s keeping you waiting

And tomorrow we might not have clean clothes
I'm no prophet, but I know we will need food
So I'll try to get out to the grocery store
I'll get to it, 'cause I'll get it done someday.

I'll get it done someday.
I'll get to it, 'cause I'll get it done someday.
I'll get it done someday.
I'll get it done someday.
I'll get it done someday.
I'll get it done someday.
  I'll get it done someday.  

I guess I should get working on that list now.  :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

I really do have a sense of humor

I know I've mentioned my Myers Briggs type is ISTJ.  I realize not everyone is quite as fascinated with personality typing as I am, but it's my blog, so there you are.  My point today is about my sense of humor.  An ISTJ's sense of humor is often described as "offbeat."  It's also been described as sarcastic humor.  My sense of humor has been described as witty and dry.  Finally, I'm fairly quick on the uptake and can come up with a clever come-back at a moments notice.  There are some types out there that just don't appreciate this type of humor.

Here are a few of the things I find funny.  I found this on fb.

I think this was the wrong story for him to cover.

I love dark comedies.  Fargo, Thank you for Smoking, Bad Santa, and the best EVER Dr. Strangelove or: How I Stopped Worrying and Love the Bomb.

Was I born with this sense of humor or did I develop it?  One time a lady told me the things I say just make her jaw drop.  I guess that means she didn't think I was funny.  :(  Too bad for her.

When in college I had an anatomy class with a cadaver.  There was a living teacher and other living students in the class, but there were also eight cadaver.  I was always respectful, but there is a certain level of humor one must have when dealing with the dead.  And, I had that sense of humor needed for dealing with it. 

Finally, this blog is HILARIOUS.  I wish I was a clever enough writer to comment on it.

If you've never seen Dr. Strangelove, quick, open your Netflix streaming and ENJOY!!

Please feel free to send your most offbeat humor my way.  I LOVE it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs, the best we had

Just about every evening I watch Mad Money with Jim Cramer.  Last night Jim gave a moving tribute to Steve Jobs.  Of all the coverage I've seen or heard since Mr. Jobs passed away, this was, by far, the best.

Jim Cramer paid homage to Steve Jobs, a man he called uniquely American and "the best we had."

Cramer said it's hard to capture the importance of the iconic founder and former CEO of Apple.  Ford, Walton, Edison, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Steve Jobs left the whole pantheon in the dust.  While legends like Henry Ford revolutionized transportation and Sam Walton provided affordable clothing for all, Jobs had the power to transcend them all by making machines that made the impossible possible.  His Apple Stores have the greatest sales per square foot of anyone.  Apple's devices are not only innovative, but look cool and sleek.  Jobs seemed to know what the consumer would need 5 years ahead of time, and was one of the greatest CEOs in history.

Cramer said machines we never knew we needed turned out to be necessities, and it's hard to remember the time before computing was made easy for the masses.  He made machines that brought the democratization of thought to to all.  Just as inventions like the wheel, the pulley, the screw, the incline plane, and the lever were groundbreaking, we take them for granted now, like the iPod, iPhone and the iPad, but they were all invented once, too. Can you imagine if just one man invented all of them?  "He had vision. He had brilliance. He was otherworldly."

Then there's Jobs' $350 billion worth of wealth creation under his tenure.  This creation of wealth bought a lot of retirements and college tuitions and vacations, not to mention countless meals on the table.  Jobs was able to see four and five years ahead, to see around corners, and worked hard every day, never turning to Washington for help or money.

Cramer said Jobs was like Beethoven or Mozart and we simply may not be smart enough to truly understand his legacy.  In an era when Americans have a lot to not be proud of, Jobs showed us what we are capable of and provided us the tools to get there.

"It's Apple against the world.  And the world doesn't stand a chance."

Please take a moment to listen to this wonderful tribute in it's entirety.  It's worth your time.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Is there a bully for every victim? I don't think so.

I've been thinking about a woman with which I recently had "another" unfortunate encounter.  I've discovered she was reading my blog and, in her opinion, I hurt her feelings.  I didn't force her to read my blog.  I didn't even know she knew I blogged.  I've taken some time to look over my behavior in this encounter.  I was looking for my culpability.  I couldn't find any.  Seriously folks, this is a blog about Being Happy.  I don't rant.  My goal on this blog is to look at myself and discover how to turn negative situations into positives.  I focus on gratitude and how it changes my attitude.  And, every now and then, point out some absurdities in the world of social media and how it has changed our relationships with each other.  So, I looked at myself to see if I was being a "mean girl" and discovered, I was not.

On the other hand, I uncovered some information on why some women play the victim and perceive others as bullies.

Bullying has become a HUGE buzzword these days.  For every man, woman, or child out there in the world who is having social difficulties at school or work or on the internet, a bully is being created.  Are there really that many bullies out there?  Or, are there just a bunch of victims?  Here is what I'm getting at.

There are "professional victims" out there in the world.  Truth be told, these victims are, in reality, BULLIES.  How can we tell if someone is a professional victim?  (I'm going to use the female gender in this description, because, in my experience, I'm dealing with a woman.  I'm sure men can be professional victims, too.  But I'm not going to go there.  *wink* you know why)

1.  The victim never acknowledges when she hurts others.  She is the only injured party.  It is always someone else's fault.  Even though she posted the inflammatory fb status, it was the person making the negative or contrary comment that injured her.  Even though she is reading a blog of a person she doesn't either agree with or like, what they said made them a "hater" towards her.  She is the only one with feelings and everyone else is out to hurt her with their opinions.  Agree with her or else she will cry.

2.  The victim must be victimized.  She will poke and poke or harp and harp or blog and blog, whatever... until she gets a reaction from you.  She knows what the reaction will be.  She knows how sick of her crazy ideas you are.  She knows and she wants attention.  The type of attention she knows how to evoke best is negative attention, so she goes there.  You react to her prodding and, voila', she has been bullied.

3.  She blames others for her own shortcomings, failures, or the circumstance in which she finds herself.  She is not responsible for her own behavior.  She will blame her mother, her boss, her co-workers, the girls in her middle school class, the minister, her girlfriends, and, Lord help you if you are her husband.  If only her boss could see how talented she really is and didn't put so much focus on doing the paperwork correctly.  If only the co-workers didn't count on her to follow through with the committee agenda and could see how smart she is.  If only the minister who thinks the service is being run in a slipshod manner could see how talented an organizer she is.  If only, if only,... the list goes on and on.  It's never her action, it's those mean people out there.  Can't they see how good she is?  Maybe if she looked at herself in her mirror a little more closely, she'd see the truth.

It is not possible to have a positive relationship as equals with a professional victim.  She goes through life feeling slighted and angry, never taking responsibility for herself.  You won't be able to talk to her about this.  She will be defensive.  She will avoid a frank conversation.  She will cry, continually.  She will blame.  She will tell you it is your fault or someone else's fault.  And she will lie.  She is often a pathological liar.  Her identity is wrapped up in being a victim.  If she doesn't believe she is being victimized, then who is she?  My answer to the seemingly rhetorical question is this.  She's a person who treats other people like crap and is wasting her life.

This type of person should be avoided or kept at a healthy distance.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I'm Dutch

We bloggers have a little thing called a dashboard to show us who, when, how many, where you're from and how you got here.  I try to avoid looking at it, but sometimes it calls my name and I have to look.  So I did.  I noticed, recently, I've gotten quite a few hits from the Netherlands.  I LOVED this.  Why?  Because, I'm Dutch.  I'm all Dutch.  There is nothing but Dutch blood running through my veins.  So, I thought I'd talk a bit about being Dutch.  I have never been to the Netherlands.  My parents visited.  One of my brothers visited.  But not me.  I'd like to go, someday.

How will I talk about the Dutch?  Since I've never been there, I'm going to have to guess.  And use stereotypes.  So all you Dutch readers out there, feel free to correct me in any way.  I'm open to it.

The Dutch are cheap.  I've been told this all my life.  My father could make a penny cry.  I won't even tell you what they said about the nickel.  (US buffalo nickel, mind you)  I was always told the reason we were so thrifty was because we were Dutch, not because we didn't have a lot of money.  (we didn't)  I want to read Simon Schama's book The Embarrassment of Riches.  I want to understand the discrepancy between the era of the Dutch being the "bankers of the world" to the thrifty Calvinist I was raised to be.  I think it will be fascinating.  Also, you've all heard the term "going Dutch."  A well known term that means "I'm not paying for you" doesn't come without a background of truth.  :)

The Dutch are pious.  Another thing I've been told all my life.  I was raised a Calvinist.  This is a reformed theology stressing the human nature as total depravity.  There is no good in us.  The only thing saving us is the Grace of Jesus Christ.  And, we have been preordained to receive this Grace.  It is not of our own choosing.  This is what I was taught from my father's knee.  I still believe this.  Also, from history classes, I learned most pilgrims came to America from Holland.  The Dutch wanted to worship the way they wanted to worship without interference from any government.  They were willing to risk their lives to do this.  I don't know how true this is in modern Netherlands, but I'll get to that.

The Dutch are "house proud."  This is another thing I learned at my mother's knee AND from my grandmother.  I grew up cleaning the house.  A lot.  We swept the sidewalk out front.  We swept the street in front of our house.  We may be so cheap we won't buy anything new, but our stuff lasts a LONG time.  We clean it.  We take care of it.  We fix it.  Anyone looking at my house, growing up, would have seen a neat, orderly, clean house.  :)

The Dutch are hard workers.  My family had the strongest work ethic of any family I knew when I was growing up.  My dad taught me to be early for work. If I wasn't ten minutes early, I was late.  I think the fact that the Netherlands is land reclaimed from the sea with dikes and canals is proof of the hard-working nature inherent in the Dutch people.

Now for the part of being Dutch I really don't understand.  And, maybe this is why I'm an American and my ancestors moved away from Holland.  The Dutch are tolerant.  They've got the pot smoking in bars and the prostitution in the picture windows.  I just don't get this, but I've heard it is true.

I hope I go to the Netherlands one day.  I would like to see the beauty of the windmills and tulips and canals and wooden shoes and bicycles and row houses.  *sigh.  fingers crossed.  :)

Btw, I think the Dutch are smart, too.  Any country with a language using as many double vowels and assorted letters to make words must have smart people in it.  I mean, little kids learn how to write this language in kindergarten.  :)

I'd tell you my maiden name, but with the double a's and the double g's it wouldn't fit in the space allowed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fishing and waiting

I've been thinking about fishing lately.  I don't have much opportunity to fish.  I should correct this.  I live next to a storm water management pond that has fish in it, but I don't really think of going in my back yard as going fishing.  Maybe I should.  Anyway, I usually only go fishing when I visit my mom and dad in the summers in MN.  They live on a lake and my dad likes to fish.  I thought about fishing today because I called my mom and she said dad was out fishing.  She said he's been fishing every day, but he must be throwing them back, because he isn't bringing any fish in the house.

What does it take to be a good fisherman? 

I was thinking about this.  Every time my dad takes me fishing I catch fish.  When I go out on my own, I don't catch fish.  Why is this?  It's because my dad knows where the fish are.  It's not because he thinks like a fish.  It's because he knows where, on the lake, the fish like to swim.  He also knows what time of the day the fish like to go wherever they go.  He knows the lake.  It's fun to go fishing and catch fish.  One thing that makes a good fisherman is knowing where the fish like to hang out.

A good fisherman knows what kind of bait to use.  He knows what kind of fish he is fishing for, so he chooses his bait accordingly.  When we fish for crappy, my dad uses minnows.  Or a big umbrella-like lure thing that has a lot of hooks on it.  (I don't know much about fishing and he usually doesn't use that thing when I'm with him because he uses it when he's trying to catch a LOT of fish and fill his freezer and he doesn't need me getting in the way while he's doing this)  When he's fishing for bass he uses a popping lure to lure the fish to the surface.  When he's fishing for perch he uses worms.  So, the right bait is important.

Another thing that makes a good fisherman is patience.  My dad is a patient man, when it comes to fishing.  But really, who wouldn't be?  A nice day.  A pretty lake.  Quiet.  No phone. (unless he brings me with him and I bring my iPhone.  This makes him a little nuts so I try not to do it, but I love my phone)  Time away.  I could learn a lot about patience if I spent more time fishing with my dad.  Patience is important in fishing.  I saw a shirt that said "A bad day fishing is better than a good day at the office."  I think this was written by a person who enjoyed the time it takes to catch fish.  It's important to look at the waiting for the biting of the fish as a pleasant diversion.  Have patience.

I said I didn't know a lot about fishing.  Writing this post has reminded me of the joy of fishing.  I should do it more.  Maybe I should try that little pond behind my house.  I could take a little time and just be.  (but if I catch a fish my husband will have to take that slimy fish off the hook for me :))

Monday, October 3, 2011

What is church?

I went to church yesterday.  My husband asked me to go to church and I said I would.  I've been thinking about why going to church is so hard for me.  Why?  What in the world do I have against church?  Do I have anything against church?  Or is it me with the problem regarding church?

What is church?

This seems like a easy question.  The kind of question one might answer in an simple sentence or two. "A church is a building in which Christians meet for worship," is one. "A church is a group of Christians who gather for religious purposes" is another.  Not so fast...

Church used to fit this description for me when I was younger.  It even fit this description when my son was younger.  Not so much, now.

First of all, the "group of Christians" portion of the definition is becoming blurrier.  Christians are believers in Christ, right?  You would think this is pretty self-explanatory.  However, I'm finding most mainstream churches are becoming places trying to change that kind of belief.  Just believing in Christ and the Grace given to us through Christ's coming to us as a man and living a sinless life and dying on the cross for our sins and raising from the dead and ascending to heaven, is pretty limiting.  If this is the only way to God and this is the only thing Christians are allowed to believe, well, that's pretty intolerant of other beliefs.  And, intolerance is not very loving, right?  And Christians are all about love, so... we should be tolerant of all other beliefs.  REALLY?

I know not all churches believe this, but I'm out here in the mid-Atlantic coast.  I'm in one of the MOST liberal areas you can imagine.  No, the Bible belt does not pass through this area.

Almost every church I've attended, in my area, has a yoga class in it's list of weekly activities.  I've taken yoga.  I know I don't have to buy into the spirituality of it.  But why is it in the Christian church?  Why?  Why muddy the spirituality of a Christian church with yoga?  I'm guessing,... to be inclusive.  To be tolerant of other beliefs.

Yesterday the minister (pastor, reverend, whatever you want to call him) was preaching on original sin and why we have trouble in the world today.  He said last week's sermon was on creation, and "whatever you believe about creation..." and continued on with the sermon.  I guess I'm glad I wasn't there last week to hear that "whatever I want to believe" will be ok.  It just didn't sound right, "whatever I want to believe."  I've always been under the impression that the Word of God was infallible and if I believed what it said, I'd be on the right track.

What I am finding, in churches, is more like the above, than not.  Whatever I want to believe is ok with them.

Back to the definition of church, a group of Christians...  maybe not.

I know I've complained about church ladies in this blog before.  This is another thing making it hard to go to Church.  Church ladies.  I'm a little afraid of church ladies.  These are the ladies that teach the Bible studies and "pray for you" when I would really like a little "hands on" help.  These are the same ladies that remind me, "we don't do it that way" when I offer to help.  These are the same ladies encouraging me to be transparent and share my deepest faults and fears and then talk about me behind my back.  I'm afraid of church ladies.

I read a blog from another Church lay leader from a church I used to attend.  He wrote about forgiving people, but still being mad at them.  He thought this is something he should get over, but he just couldn't do it.  He wrote about a minister, he felt, stealing members of his "praise band" from him.  So here is this guy, sitting in this minister's church, hating on him.  He writes about listen to the music, and he says it's good,  it's good because this minister guy stole all the talent from his church.  Really?  Churches steal people?  I'm not feeling the love here.
So, I went to church yesterday.  The minister preached out of the Bible.  It was ok.  The church ladies sang in front of the people and it was ok.  They prayed for me (all of us sitting in the audience) and it was ok.  I know going to Church is not dangerous.  The Church is full of broken people, seeking God.  Right?  That's what they tell me, anyway.  Sometimes I find it a little hard to believe.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Work project

I've mentioned I'm a secretary.  I work in a department that builds buildings on campus.  Here's one of the projects we've been doing.

This is a video done by a student, Chris Paige, at the college I work at.   To save money (just a little) we moved this building to a new location instead of demolishing it.  It was sitting on a site to be used for a new building.  It's a cool video.  I can't believe there are people out there doing this for a job.  They must either be crazy or super brave.  Btw, not even a window cracked during this process.  Enjoy.

Margaret Brent Hall Moving at SMCM from Chris Paige on Vimeo.

And, if you want a bit of a history lesson to understand the riddle, here you are.  Who was Margaret Brent?