Sunday, June 25, 2017

Beautiful Sunday




It's a perfect day.

Now that I have a smart phone, I can simply take a picture of my husband enjoying one of his magic books outside and email it to myself. No more hunting for a USB cable for a camera, or plugging in an SD card. Voila.

From now on, I've decided to think twice before posting some silly image from the interwebs, too. Well, until I cave on that...another epiphany from the smart phone world: my phone's gallery, which is a built in app, contains ALL my google-related pictures--anything I've posted on one of my blogs or facebook or whatnot, it's there. And when I started to delete some of them (cuz I don't need ALL my pictures on my phone), guess what? I also deleted them from my blog entries. And since we got a new computer earlier this year, there were some pictures that are not on our back-up stick. . So--they are lost. Slipped through the cracks.  Not many. Live and learn.

Last night's movie was Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. It was excellent. I knew nothing about it before we started watching (Mike picked it), and was delighted that it was serious and poignant as well as funny and improbable. It's a true story, as counterintuitive as that is...

Here I sit, forgetting what I was going to write...this reminds me of that first time we were upgraded to an ocean-front room at that special resort in the Riviera Maya and I just plopped down on the swinging lounger on the patio, a little tipsy from the arrival champagne the staff handed us, and thought, it's all too beautiful. And I just veg out on lovely sunny weightlessness. What have I done today? Some housework, ran an errand, practiced knitting (trying to be patient), read a novel on the couch upstairs, then downstairs, then outside (but not inside out). Onlined--there should be a verb for that time we enjoy/lose/waste doing stuff that involves being connected.

And it's late afternoon on Sunday...almost gin-and-tonic Scrabble time. I enjoy blaming my games on the cocktail. Some of these weekends are fabulous.

Mike will be flying to Bangalore, India in just a couple weeks. One week left in June. Tempest fugit, indeed.

This just in: it's okay that I don't know what frim fram sauce with oss and fay and shifafa on the side is. It's just silly lyrics. Aren't you glad I looked that up?

Whatchaupto?










Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happiness Is...

"And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."


--Kurt Vonnegut
~~~~~~~~~~~


It's a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, some breeze, warm but not oppressive...




Happiness is getting the night deposits done before opening time.




Happiness is a little alone time in the drive-thru




Happiness is finally catching on to the seed stitch. And a new hobby.




Happiness is the ability to get up at 5:30am, drink a cup of coffee, and jog three miles before work.




Happiness is being injury and cold-free.




Happiness is expecting fun stuff in the mail.


Happiness is the very first day of summer! The sun is out there spreading happiness, even if we're not going to the beach.


Whatchaupto?











Thursday, June 15, 2017

Jubilee

It does happen to be Jubilee Day here, but I'm not going. It makes a nice title for today's installment and is also very temporally descriptive.

So, what has happened in the past month? I'll start typing, order doesn't count...

Mike's mother was in the hospital with an ailment that has not been definitively diagnosed, but she's been discharged with several medications that are treating her symptoms. Her symptoms were very scary; she seemed to be out of her mind. An MRI ruled out a stroke, but there was blood in her spinal fluid (poor MIL had two spinal taps). We will see them this weekend, and see how things are going. It might be best if Mike's parents move closer to us, since they both have health conditions that will eventually make them seem too isolated out there in Annville.

In other news, Mike is definitely going to Bangalore in about three weeks to help train the people who will be taking care of his creation and taking his job. He will be there for two weeks, with that middle weekend off, and I hope he can do some sightseeing. It's a lengthy period, to be all alone on the other side of the world.

In a little less than a month, my bank's hours will be shortened and so we'll all be working pretty much the same hours. Change is afoot in more than one way, and all I need to do is roll with it, hoping to stay employed full time for about five or six more years. Our present staff will change, too: one of our long time tellers is at a point where she really needs to move on, and another plans to move out of the area sometime this fall. (And another wants to go part time, but that's no longer on offer, so she'll probably stick around and be unreliable and annoying. And our last part timer will continue to call off and ride the skinny line that separates her from being fired. But enough drama, it makes me feel petty.)



My current obsession is knitting. After hours of watching YouTube videos, reading my how to book, and practice, I can finally cast on, knit, purl, and cast off. Not well. Slow as molasses, plodding. It would be nice to have some talent, but then--it wouldn't be as epic. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this knitting thing, and yes, I did choose the hottest time of year to do it. That was random, but that is the nature of inspiration and motivation. Learning to knit was something I'd always wanted to learn, and I've learned that it is not outside the realm of possibilities.



I should put so much time into Spanish.

There is enough national news to make my head explode. So, instead of hurting my head, I'll go for my morning jog. Soon, I will not have any of these later-start days...

Happy Thursday, have a gentle one...whatchaupto?





Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Last of May

We had a delightful time at The Magic Collector's Convention in Montreal. Overall, the presentations were unusually well done, in my opinion. The museum tour was fabulous, and we got a special look behind the scenes, especially in the museum's vault.

The way the exhibit was laid out was clever and attractive, and I'm sure the donor was very happy with it. We're not supposed to know who that is, but of course we do. He's getting on in age, as are many of these (mostly) men, and he didn't want to stick his children with a complicated inheritance. Speaking of aging, it's good that we made it to this convention, because the future of MCCs is very much up in the air...they are a lot of work for the organizers and the audience is dwindling.


Of course, one of the highlights of the trip was eating out, and I wish we'd had more time to just sit and enjoy the Resto House of Jazz...the convention had us very scheduled in a way that I found strangely tiring.

I need to learn how to put the pictures on my cell phone onto the pc...actually, I need to learn how to use my cell phone camera. The above picture was taken by a friend--she got a much better shot. And about half of my photos are a tad blurry.

We walked miles...all over the historic part of Montreal, over cobblestones and through streets that looked very European and where the predominant language was French.  We found a microbrasserie--I think the place was called Les 3 Brasseurs, on Sainte-Catherine Ouest. If there's a microbrewery, we'll find it! Mike mentioned that we collect beer coasters, so the waiter gave us several, and they are really cool, as is everything about this place.

We, the conventioneers, also received a special surprise gift: a large hardback book called The Art of Magic from the McCord Museum, a wonderful book of prints. There are two versions, English and French, so of course we got one of each, so that Mike has both for his collection. We are tickled pink with these.

It was fun catching up with people we don't see often, and perhaps we'll eventually make arrangements to get together, convention or no. We've gotten to know a couple from Texas who own one of the largest Houdini collections in the world...it would be mighty interesting to see it.

~~~~~~~~~~~

In other news, I'm trying to learn how to knit by watching YouTube videos. It's driving me crazy, but I will keep trying.

Whatchaupto?


Thursday, May 4, 2017

May the Force Be with You!

I did not post a May rabbit on the first, so--






Today was just a half-day for me at work, compensation for working this Saturday, so like the lazy procrastinator I know how to be, I did my jog thing after work. Hey, I've got all afternoon. Well, I did when I started--but anyway, seeing Dingy (honestly, that's what he goes by) reminded me of how wonderful it is to enjoy a day. Not everyone can do that--enjoy a day--and it is not to be taken for granted. Dingy has asbestosis, so is easily winded, and his wife has had a stroke. She was able to come back home, so he is not living alone. But still--he always has a smile, socializes with everyone, and gets out to fish (hence the nickname) many mornings. Probably most mornings. I can't imagine him crabby. A good outlook is a golden egg that not everyone is able to find...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On April 21st, I took a day off work and celebrated the first anniversary of my last chemo treatment with Mom. We had pizza for lunch and then went to see Beauty and the Beast on the big screen and both enjoyed it. Going to the movies is a rare treat, especially in the middle of the afternoon, when there are very few other people there. Just a few of us adults, hiding there in the dark...it was fun!

And...the Monday after that, I damaged the house. Yep. I was backing out of the driveway, on my way to work, when I decided to run back in the house to get something. Put the car in park. Open the garage door. Run in, put my hands on said object, run out. I came out just in time to see my car come sailing (?) into the garage and crash into Mike's tool chest. It demolished the tool chest, but the big news is, it damaged the back of the garage. Lovely. The good news is, the damage is not profound, and our insurance agents were very, very nice to us. And we found a good handyman service that I will gladly use again. So, it's fixed!  And from now on, I will shut off my car if I need to get out for any reason. It's just a better policy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mom and I also stepped out to join an anti-45 march. It was a lovely evening for a walk, actually! We marched until we came up against a diligently prepared barrier: three cop cars, cops, and lots of road block thingies. Two secret service men watched the fun, too. The media was not there. Actually, there wasn't much coverage of the rally, either. 45 was...not such a big event.  My favorite sign read, "Twinkle twinkle little czar, Putin put you where you are."  It was a better sized crowd than I thought we'd get.

~~~~~~~

In better news, I did enjoy reading Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders. Since then, I've read a Terry Pratchett book (everyone needs a vacation to Discworld now and then), and am now reading a thriller by Tana French called In the Woods. (bwaaahhaha)

It's not the biggest news, but it's all mine! And I'm enjoying my day.


How 'bout you--whatchaupto?










Friday, March 31, 2017

Rabbit, rabbit, happy lucky April!


April is peeking its head out--so rabbit, rabbit, happy lucky April, everyone...I must confess that I have mixed feelings about April Fools' jokes. And I'm working on April Fools' Day, and hoping that not too many customers have the urge to be obnoxious. There is some mighty unrest out there, these days. The latest changes at New Bank are actually omissions. The famous coin machine is gone, and I have felt punished for that, since people are bringing in copious amounts of rolled coin that we must check at some point before handing out to others, sometimes fifteen minutes before we close...good times. And there are other changes coming, as well.

Luckily, my life is such that staying a bit later than scheduled is usually not a problem. And I'm not being bothered by any coworkers, either. It does make me feel icky when a couple of them whisper in front of me, but it's groovy that I'm not involved.  Oh, the drama...(not to mention bad manners.)



March 31st :  a special morning: I jogged three miles without walking breaks. This is a light of hope; my oncologist had said something like 'three miles is enough,' after citing some study that concluded that distance training was harder after adriamycin. HE DIDN'T HAVE TO SAY THAT, I was paranoid enough. And me and my joints have no intention of ever doing that again, anyway. So there. And distance training is harder on the over-50 crowd, too. I am so happy to be tendonitis-free...


So much for my little world. The bigger world is always charging in, scaring the hell out of me. Oh, another thing about my coworkers: they are naïve. Since they have no memories of life without the internet, they are not bothered by any changes that take place there...and honestly, they are so busy shopping and buying stuff that who cares? Hey, whatcha doing for lunch? Sometimes, I fear that  they're right: go ahead, spend your paycheck on lunches, expensive phones, and clothes, because if the government collapses, at least you'd have enjoyed all your stuff. Eat all your nuts TODAY, before Russia completely destabilizes our trees.

April Fools' Day!

Sorry, that came from a dark spot in my brain. Facebook is becoming such an echo-chamber, I need to limit my viewing habits, or I'll become obsessed with scary news.

This weekend has almost pre-filled for me...working Saturday, and then on Sunday, one of Mike's long distance friends, and his wife, will be in town. This is turning  Sunday afternoon into quite the party, and I'm looking forward to it. As usual, we'll try not to get political.

In other social-crowd news, we will be taking a Gettysburg ghost tour in June, in conjunction with our reading of Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders. Mike is reading it now, and (so far) thinks it's way weird. I haven't gotten to it, yet. We often read stuff at the same time, but I'm still finishing Absurdistan, by Gary Shteyngart,  on loan from someone in our group. Both our Nooks are registered to me, so everything I buy is on both devices (and the tablet), which is very convenient.

Mike is doing an admirable job staying calm, with all the uncertainty at his place of work. We all need to stay hopeful. It's hard to balance enjoying life with planning for the future, sometimes.


Interesting article : http://www.iasc-culture.org/THR/THR_article_2014_Fall_McPherson.php

Anyway. It's the weekend! Let's all drink, be merry, and lose at Scrabble!

Whatchaupto?












Saturday, March 4, 2017

March Came Quickly, and...

Trying to Save Piggy Sneed was an interesting memoir penned by John Irving, back when he was my age.  It's actually a compilation of memories, short stories, essays, and anecdotes from his life.  The title of this work lets it masquerade as a novel, and I must confess it tricked me. (Even its spine classifies it as fiction!)  Piggy is a cruel nickname for an unfortunate man Irving knew in his childhood, whose life comes to a sad end.  Since this collection of stuff starts with him, I expected it to end with giving Mr. Sneed a better ending, because that is what writers do. If I were to put my hand up in Mr. Irving's class and say, but what about Piggy Sneed, weren't you gonna save him? He'd peer at me over his half-specs, suppress an eye roll, and tell me to use my imagination.

Well, my imagination says that Piggy was way smarter than he let on, and those bones you found after the fire weren't his. He'd been stashing cash somewhere else forever and retired to a warm place, way way out of Maine, where people don't make fun of him. The End.

This is why I am not a writer. But still, I must persist, it would have made for a nice symmetry to end it all with Piggy Sneed--not ending it all.

Seriously, though, I stand in wonder of how Irving is able to effectively proselytize* about any subject that strikes his fancy; I know nothing about wrestling, it all looks like rolling around to me, but his wrestling stories are great, especially the ones involving refereeing. Yes, the famous author refed, and got screamed at by some of the strangest people I never want to meet. Great material...

Another subject Irving proselytizes about is literature. Yes, yes, it's true. He's part teacher. After reading his rhapsodies (the h filled in for me, love that) about certain authors and books, I picked up The End of the Affair, my first Graham Greene book. I know that we saw the movie years ago, but it's not memorable. This short novel is. The whole of this sad narrative is told in first person, takes place in one mind, and it is riveting and thought provoking.

After the end of  The End of the Affair, I picked up a novel that's been in my queue for awhile, one that's gotten a lot of buzz. It's called The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah. It's a tall order to follow Irving and Graham, and at first, I thought her style seemed thin, but that might be me acclimating to  different prose. Readers have to do that. I am getting into the story, which involves two very different sisters. Lately, I feel as though the two-sister theme is a strong one. Another book awaiting me is Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi. I'm digressing. A much more common theme is World War II. The End of the Affair and The Nightingale both take place during WWII.

WAIT....I forgot to do a Rabbit Rabbit post. March came so quickly, hopped right in after what must have been the warmest February ever. We are experiencing cold and windy sensations right now, but this shall pass very soon. And California has gotten multiple inches of rain. I remember watching it rain from the porch or "the old old house" with Granny, that's how unusual it was (Pasadena, long ago).
I do not have anything to report that would be exciting to anyone else...to me, it's exciting that I'm not working this weekend, and I get to sit and bask in the fact that I get to bask. And feel well. My parts are feeling better than ever, even my tendonitis seems to be gone, I can do the snow angel thing, and I'm sleeping better. Not to brag.


Yeah, yeah.

So. Whatchaupto? I'm all ears!



*Mike and I recently watched a spelling bee. That word did not come up. I was so far off that Blogger had nothing. I love google.




Sunday, February 12, 2017

February Distractions

On a rather dreary but unusually balmy February morning, our Sunday paper arrives in its electric orange sheath, just before we arise. That's one of the little things in life I enjoy--the paper, yes, but especially that orange contrasting with the lack of color around it.

Last night, we watched a documentary called Wiener. Yes, Wiener--it's all about Anthony Wiener. And he participated, and let the camera roll behind the scenes. It's a fascinating train wreck. I highly recommend it. I have so many thoughts regarding this film, especially because of what's happening right now in our nation's capital. Anthony Wiener was a talented politician, brought down because of a weird online obsession. Many of Wiener's constituents felt betrayed that he'd lied about his actions, though that would appear to be the least surprising thing about his behavior.  Allowing this film to be made might qualify as astounding behavior, but then, Wiener is obviously an exhibitionist.

Does it take an exhibitionist to run for public office?  An important part of honing one's public image is now taking place online, and perhaps it's exacerbating some people's inner tendencies.

Okay, enough about the Wiener, except to point out that some emails that turned up on his computer helped to bring down Hillary Clinton, too.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




And now a break to sit here, and be here, and experience the moment...

More than just a moment...I went for a three mile walk in my nifty yellow raincoat. Yes, it's raining, and there is a treadmill in the basement, but I can't pass up the opportunity to be The Girl in the Yellow Raincoat experiencing the rain, the slight breeze, the dog barking, and--the sirens. I spend enough time indoors.
~~~~~~~~~~~
This is the week of Valentine's Day, and next weekend will be our 28th wedding anniversary. Last year, on our anniversary, I was unfortunately unable to eat, which bothered and disappointed me, but this year, I'm worried that I've been eating too much, which does not stop me from looking forward to it! What difference a year makes.

In other ME news, I've been spending a little time in physical therapy--nothing serious, just learning some exercises to control some symptoms that will probably come and go. My therapist referred to it as cording syndrome, and I suspect a bad head cold brought it on. That probably sounds strange, but colds do put one's lymph nodes to work. Anyway, I was at first concerned that it was something that might get worse, but that is not the case. It's almost completely gone now, but I'm glad I met someone who knows what it is.

After this week, I won't have any appointments for awhile. Ahh, almost three months until the next oncologist appointment, six months until I see the dentist, eight months until the next GP visit, and NINE months until the next radiologist appointment (still looking for side effects, apparently).  Life is good.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My younger sister and her wife are in India now, and have shared some beautiful pictures of Taj Mahal. It's always a good time to see a masterpiece, but it seems especially wonderful to be there so close to a romantic holiday. A trip of a lifetime...

And now, I must spend some time reading...


Whatchaupto?






~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Interesting:
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/internet-online-exhibitionist-anthony-weiner-psychology-mental-214201

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New Era

Facebook was supposed to be fun, a word here that means, posting funny memes and keeping up with your peeps.  Peeps: people you actually know, or at least pen pals with common interests.

Unfortunately, I've let it become a major time waster, sometimes a stressful one. My newsfeed has become all about politics, and I've contributed to it. It's not my intention to be thin-skinned, and I certainly don't think anyone is trying to upset me, but I find that some of the links shared by people I barely know from high school  are--upsetting me. So, I've unfollowed and made up a restricted list, because I'm sure I've upset them, too.

It's become a belated resolution for 2017: spend less time on Facebook. Look to see what specific friends are up to, then get off.

An example of newsfeed mania: President Trump Declares 20 January 2017 "National Day of Patriotic Devotion."  Yes, it's hilarious because it sounds just like him, but according to Snopes, this is just fancy verbiage, and President Obama also had a special name for his inauguration date.

The Women's March in Washington was a meaningful experience, and people everywhere were very nice and friendly. I enjoyed the speakers I was able to hear. Most of them I caught later. Gloria Steinem was, as usual--well, The Bomb. Michael Moore was excellent, and there were a couple young celebrities who were charmingly earnest. The only one who annoyed me was Madonna. We all know who she is, but it's not cool to mention bombing The White House, even in jest.  Also, I'm not offended by The F Word, but I thought the idea was to out-class Trump. Still, her heart is in the right place.

SO. It's back to reading my mountain of books--and yes, calling my representatives, because I can do that. It's our civic duty. Even those who voted for Barack Obama sent him petitions about drone strikes and Chelsea Manning. I want to participate in our democracy, not obsess over it. It cannot be my new hobby.

And now for something completely different:




It made me laugh, so here it is.

Happy Tuesday!




Friday, January 20, 2017

Dreary Day

Last night, my sisters and I went to the movies. This is news, because I hardly ever do that. We saw Lion, a film that follows a little boy's life after he becomes lost and separated from his family in India. It's based on a true story, and it's moving and parts of it are particularly sad and hard to watch--it's especially hard to watch adults shooing away homeless children, as if they were vermin.

This particular story reminds me a bit of Dickens; the boy, Saroo,  has a few misadventures until he is adopted by a nice Australian couple and gets to live a more privileged life. Still, memories haunt him, and the second part of the story is about how Saroo discovers who he is and just how far he's traveled.

Lion is the latest big film that reminds us of the more typical life much of the world experiences. India, in particular, has so many messy problems--population, sanitation, missing and homeless children, and extreme poverty, just to name a few.

Today seems like a dark day in more than one way, and yet--we are not India. With all the graphic news we receive online every day, we should cherish all we have, and all we stand to lose, instead of feeling that our "middle class" lives are normal. I know young people who seem to think that there is some law that would prevent congress from taking certain actions, such as repealing ACA without a replacement. See? Naïve. For granted. Not paying attention.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY CORNER: I'm feeling well, walking about three miles most mornings...I do plan to start physical therapy, aimed at treating lymphedema, in the near future. At this point, nothing is visually obvious, but I have a lot of tightness in my arm, and some spots, especially around my wrist, are feeling sensitive. I'm able to stretch the arm and live normally, but I do want to learn how to manage the symptoms as early as possible. I've been referred to a practice very close by, just down the street from my oncologist's, so if they don't receive my faxed script in a couple days, I'll have time on Tuesday to simply be my own messenger...

AND tomorrow, we'll go to Washington, D.C., and yell. Democracy is messy, indeed, and it will me messy in many places tomorrow.

And look! It's finally time for me to get dressed and go into work. What a shame, it's raining on a parade somewhere...