Friday, November 24, 2017

Another Black Friday



Happy Black Friday! I say, in the evening, after most of the day is done. Our job today was not too difficult. Oh, we had a couple of fast-paced times, but overall, it was quieter than our typical Friday. The party was elsewhere. I hope tomorrow's short work day will be as calm.

While I'm gone, Mike will deck our halls. It's really nice that he has time to do that, because I'm not so into it. He does the heavy lifting. Yay.




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Another Thanksgiving is gone, and now it's the second anniversary of my diagnosis. I must admit to having some fretful times this year. I've worried over little aches and pains, struggled to stay offline and keep busy, busy enough not to worry about insignificant physical issues--and not always winning. I've gained some confidence, finally. I am aging, there will be that, but there are good times to look forward to.

Mike's parents are in a rough spot right now, and that is hard to watch, another reminder that time is precious. We are all so very mortal. We stopped to visit them after going out with the rest of the family, and were relieved that their caregiver had in fact prepared a very nice looking casserole for them, ahead of time. Bob had actually picked out this recipe online. We were very sorry that Bob and Sharon couldn't join the rest of us, so it was a relief that they got what they wanted: a tasty meal at home.

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We are leaving for our annual cruise shortly, and this year will be a different trip--different departure port, different ship, and a different itinerary. I'm looking forward to getting away, and being warm. It'll be fun to check out a new ship, too.

And since I work tomorrow, and want to get up early enough to get some exercise, I'd better end today's missive here.

Happy weekend, everyone! Whatchaupto?


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Plenty

This morning, as I practiced my knitting, I listened to my younger sister's voice delivering a sermon based on a book called Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps, by Richard Rohr.
Lara started by stating that everyone is addicted to something--and not necessarily to drugs, alcohol, or gambling. Most of us are addicted to our way of thinking.

This sermon was especially relevant to me right now, as I've been examining my own habits and attitudes. For instance, I recently deactivated my Facebook account. Why? This may appear to be an unimportant step for someone who is not a public figure, who does not need to use social media as a tool. And yet...

Facebook employs this

e
n
d
l
e
s
s


scroll...where I see articles and blogs that would be worthy of my attention, IF ONLY I could stop scrolling. And look! Squirrel!

Yesterday, when it was raining and raining, I sat by our front window and watched the squirrels.

WAIT. That's not what I was writing about. I hate it when I do that.

Okay, so while I'm scrolling past items worth reading and reading items that are stupid, I am also picking up on other people's opinions about issues before I have the chance to read anything about these issues.

There is also the annoying aspect of the nagging invitations to come buy Thirty-One, or LuLaRue, or sign this petition because if you don't you just don't care, or I can tell how many friends I have by who reads this, etc etc etc.

I'm already easily distracted, and also prone to anxiety, as are many people. I was shocked and dismayed to learn how many of my millennial coworkers have been on some type of medication since childhood. It seems to me that Facebook is exploiting habits that most of us need to curb.

My Facebook account is not permanently deleted yet--oh, no--that takes fourteen days. Yep, a two-week cooling off period. Actually, I believe Zuckerberg and his ilk think most people are too addicted to really leave. C'mon...you'll log in sometime this week...we got what you want...

To that, I say...




It's hard enough for me to meditate, to keep my mind from scrolling through all the little aches and pains, all the conversations, all the trivia in my mind...and look, I've messed up my seed stitch. It's okay, I'll get back on track...one row at a time.

Be here now, pay attention, be grateful, and do the job or task ahead of you, one day at a time.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, week, everyone!

And now, I really should vacuum. It's the moral thing to do :)







Sunday, November 12, 2017

Road to Nowhere

Kurt Vonnegut once said that we are here to fart around, and I'm beginning to realize that it's my only talent. If you are having a good time farting around, it's your special power, too.

This weekend has been splendid so far. Friday was Mike's 55th birthday, so we went out to his favorite Italian BYOB, which means he got exactly the wine and the comfort food he adores, and since I have similar taste, it was a double whammy of happiness.

Yesterday, I finally got to walk around with and visit with Mom. We discovered that the local mall is in High Christmas Mode. And just as I typed that, the voice of David Sedaris reading from his Santaland Diaries almost incapacitated me. Anyway, so then we went back and watched Penn State Football, along with Della and Mike. This little get together is a rare treat, actually. AND we got pizza! Good times.

The Christmas Thing that's going on already had me peeved last weekend, when I made my annual pilgrimage to Gertrude & Hawke's to buy Mike's birthday candy: the smidgens are all shaped like Santa, and they have been since the first week of November. Also, Mike's favorite flavor is not a Christmas offering. Interesting. Okay, so things change, and if nothing changed, what a boring world it would be. Christmas shopping and Christmas music start November 1st now. Noted. And the Macris chocolates were a big hit.

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I am doing my best to keep busy and not worry about anything. I knitted a scarf in earth tones with chunky yarn and bigger needles--I keep wanting to type "keep knitting with big kneedles." Knitting Kneedles: it's probably a yarn shop somewhere...wait, let me check...google doesn't give me anything, but Amazon lets me go with it. That's funny. Anyway, my chunky scarf is not a thing of beauty, but it's a first attempt. And it kept me focused on something whilst listening to some good radio.

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My refurbished Nook came quickly, and I'm enjoying it very much. There have been a couple of nice updates.  My present novel is Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. It's the lighter fantasy read after the dark and serious Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi (which I highly recommend).

Last night's movie was Collateral Beauty, unusual and unlikely, but engaging and well-done. It sort of channels Dickens, and the cast is a collection of well-known thespians. I liked it.

Look! It's still only 8:00am. I've got all of Sunday ahead of me, and I'm looking forward to it. There is so much to be thankful for...

Whatchaupto?





Thursday, November 2, 2017

Welcome to November

Hello there, how are you? Staying warm? Did you get as spoiled as I did by that long run of warmer weather? Goodness, I don't know what to wear anymore.

Yesterday was Rabbit Rabbit day, and I did say my rabbitses, but alas, I found my Nook lifeless after a whole night of charging. The screensaver has funky lines all over it, and it won't start. It's frozen. No, holding down the button for X seconds doesn't work. I cannot even turn it all the way off. And it's out of warranty. This is not a tragedy, but it's highly annoying. We have a tablet, and the Nook app works very well, so I do have a backup until I decide what to do...of course, Mike has offered to give me my OLD one back, but I'm too spoiled for that: it has no backlight! He is planning on upgrading, probably to the new Nook Glowlight 3 (coming out in a few days), and then he will understand. (I will probably do the same thing, since I am not inclined to buy this model again!)

Superstitions are not one of my foibles, so I didn't attach any ominous thoughts to the fact that later that morning, whilst trotting back and forth at work, I realized that my right shoe had come apart at one side. Some days have themes, huh? I found some (clear) strapping tape in the supply closet that did the trick for the day, if one didn't notice the slight sound I was making...Mike has some special epoxy and vice, and I believe these shoes will walk again. 

Yesterday was super busy at work because it was the first of the month, when so many people come in to withdraw funds that have just hit their accounts. And we are short staffed, and will be for the rest of this year. Today is the last day for one of our tellers...she got a job working for one of our customers. And we all have vacation time planned in the next two months! Good times.

Whatchaupto?













Friday, October 13, 2017

Ides of October...Or Something Like That


One of my coworkers remarked, the other day, that as soon as a month starts, it's over. I don't want October to march off too quickly. Let's have some fall in our lives before winter, I always hope. And so far, so good. 

And speaking of work, there have been some changes, most of which I regard favorably, mostly because change decreases boredom. For one thing, after years of working the drive-thru almost all the time, I'm now working the lobby most of the time. I like the drive-thru, but change is good. Either way, the entertainment can be free. For instance,  in the drive-thru, we have an older gent who starts his day off at the grocery store, riding around in one of those battery operated scooters...then, he comes through the bank's drive-thru--in his battery operated grocery store scooter, and when he's done with us, he gets into the Arby's drive-thru queue in his battery operated grocery store scooter. He eventually returns it...I'm sure people who are not used to seeing him tsk about those big letters on the side of said scooter that say something about not leaving the grocery store, but whatever.

In the lobby, there is much variety...every day, around 4:00pm, Ed comes in, whether he has banking business or not, to trade out his bad blue money for better money, and by "better" he means bills minted in Republican states. He makes quite the impression on the other customers because he has no volume control.  And my manager is not very good at being dignified around him. 

The other change is, we all have phone calls to make, and that is not fun, but--having obligations does pass the time. And honestly, some of the people on these lists can be crossed off right away...and then we have compliance courses, another obligation that does keep us engaged and busy on days that are otherwise not too hectic. Lately, our branch has become busier--but somehow, we're making do with a smaller staff AND these added tasks. And eventually, the branches will be remodeled so as not to have a separate drive-thru, and that will make things easier on us, too. 

Enough of that.
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The last movie we borrowed from Netflix (we still have the snail mail version) was We Need to Talk about Kevin, which is also a novel by Lionel Shriver, one that I've had on my virtual TBR list for quite some time. It's a haunting movie and now I'm even more motivated to move that up on my list. At the end of the movie, I had questions, and I hope the book illuminates some things...it's a heartbreaking story. During the movie, my tears were for Kevin's mother, who did not seem to be getting any sympathy from many others.

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Speaking of books and such, 3D and I got to see Salman Rushdie at The Midtown Scholar, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Mr. Rushdie was very charming and read the first chapter of his new book to us. I'm in the middle of The Golden House and loving it.

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Good news: I got new running shoes, and I love them. After spending weeks walking, my left foot finally feels better...I did see a podiatrist, who diagnosed my problem as extensor tendonitis, and suggested these shoes. Of course, I am now walk-jogging: being very careful, since I am ever so good at irritating myself. Without further ado, here they are!*




Aren't they wild??? Very cushiony, intended for people with knee pain and problematic feet. That's me. They are expensive, but there are better deals to be had online. I ordered my usual size, and they fit perfectly, big toe box and all. The laces are elastic! I mentioned them to my oncologist and he googled them right away--I thought that was funny.

Speaking of my oncologist, I just had my last three-month appointment and have graduated to seeing him every six months. Yay, fewer doctor appointments. I think the blood draws might be over, too; those numbers were simply checking my recovery from treatment, and I have been recovered from treatment. 

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This coming weekend might feel like a study in opposites. Before the word bipolar was used to describe a certain type of depression, I might have used it here...but anyway: on Saturday, we are going to a wedding, which will be a joyous occasion, but it will also be sad, since the bride's father is gone. Her father was Mike's best friend, and her mother has already cried at the sight of her daughter's dress, and I'm sure this will be an especially loaded event for her. But it will mostly be happy! These young'uns are great people and well-matched. Their children are doing well. 

On Sunday, we will go visit Mike's family. Our niece is driving all the way from Minnesota to see her grandparents. Mike's mother is now in palliative care at the nursing home, where they are now acknowledging that she will not be going home. It will be wonderful to see Niece, but in general, the mood will be melancholy. 

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It's My Blog and I'll Cry if I Want To!

And then, there's politics. The backdrop to all of our lives right now is the dumpster in chief, and how in the world we are to recover from this. Puerto Rico! If his base still thinks his words are okay...then there are no words. 

Okay, I won't start. Besides, I need to get ready for work...


Cheers! I read some study that stated that Americans are drinking more. Really?? 



Whatchaupto?



*Hoka One One Gaviota. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Lovely Weekend before September's Last Week

Yes, this is the last week of September, and I am still reeling from the realization that summer is over.

This was a nice weekend for me; I stayed pleasantly busy walking, reading, talking, eating, playing Scrabble, watching a movie and some magic, as well.

Our Saturday movie was Nocturnal Animals, a thought-provoking, sad film starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. It's so dark and scary that I would not recommend watching it alone. I'm glad we saw it, though--it's well done.

My weekend mediation....

delighting in
a beautiful day
taking a walk
feeling good
my family
my home
having a job
having health insurance
good times
beer
future plans
good memories
books
music

Goal: stay busy, using my time, my precious life, for peaceful enjoyments

Speaking of future plans, Della is coming to An Evening with Salman Rushdie with me--and it's THIS Friday! Dates do sneak up on me so...And after I come home with The Golden House, I must make a point of reading reading reading...it's up next for discussion.

Speaking of staying busy.

May my motivation get me exercising after work, as I did not get up early enough this morning!

Need some bunnies here, no?

While I sit in the lap of luxury, I am troubled by the news of people in Texas, parts of Florida, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, and Mexico--and every place where people's lives have been upended by nature's forces--and global warming.  That is one thing most of us can agree on.

Whatchaupto?

Friday, September 15, 2017

September's Little Getaway and Some Half-Baked Notions

Home again, home again...taking the train to Atlantic City to get a peek at the ocean was relaxing, and we did have nice weather...



My pictures tend to look like Monets...good for an overall impression. Since we don't gamble at all, this was all about walking up and down the boardwalk and eating. Drinking. And since this was the off season, it wasn't at all crowded.

One thing I must say that perturbed me a little was the constant noise coming from the casinos along the ocean front. In some areas, the music videos and advertisements completely drown out the noise of the surf. That seems to violate the beauty of being at the shore. If listening to the sound of the waves is the point, it's necessary to either walk all the way down to the beach, or walk more to the end of the boardwalk. Both are quite expansive.



It's a lovely beach, such a juxtaposition with so much tackiness. But then, casinos are tacky. There's simply no way around it.

On Tuesday night, we walked quite a ways, over a mile, to reach The Tun Tavern, but unfortunately, it was closed for a private party.  Fortunately, we found another charming place--

I took a picture of the back wall, so as not to forget this place. Wingcraft Kitchen & Beer Bar has a stunning microbrew menu. The food is good, too. Yes, they have wings, but we had some very good pizza.

Two smiling people who arrived very hungry and relieved to find this place! 


On Wednesday, we visited The Havana Tower, where we had dinner at an Italian place called Il Verde. It was wonderful. I ate too much, something I find myself doing lately...


This section is referred to as The Quarter, and the fake sky overhead is reminiscent of something I remember from Vegas (at The Venetian? Not sure). Another impressionist picture, no? The Tropicana is lovely.

The next morning, I rented a bike and rode up and down the long boardwalk for an entire hour, but did not see all of it! I was surprised that there is a very long, very quiet residential section. Who knew? 


On taking the train: honestly, the only hassle is finding a parking space, and we agreed that we wouldn't be parking again--we'll get a ride. And I was thinking that someday, if we have more time, this might be an alternative to flying to Florida before cruising. I was noticing that both these train stations do have escalators or elevators for people who are schlepping more than a carry-on, but if that is a problem, Amtrak will ship stuff from one station to another. Of course, there is a fee for this. I don't expect it's prohibitive.  Just a thought, if air travel gets more expensive and/or onerous...

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Now, for the weekend...whatchaupto?