Saturday, December 26, 2009

laptop addiction! Now I want a netbook!

I'm addicted to my laptop.

I'm going away for a few days and debated whether I should take my laptop with me. I decided it was ridiculous and vaguely insulting to my holiday hosts (although, one of them is always logged in so he probably wouldn't care).

And yet, I'm having a hard time leaving it home. I can check a lot of things on my iPhone, as long as I have wireless access. But, I've become so used to having the laptop write things on the blog, to watch movies or TV shows that I missed. It's become better than having a stuffed animal :-)

Now, a of those small, lowcost little computers has suddenly become interesting. They're much smaller and lighter than a regular laptop. And, sufficient to do what I might want while traveling...just a way to access the Internet, email, and other similar stuff.

I think there's a business there...renting out netbooks for travelers. I would have rented one, I think.

Goodbye blog...I'll stop in again on the 31st when I'm back home again.

For anyone who might be reading...Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Is there anything we can't do online?

There are days when I feel like I'm becoming a Luddite. I get tired of all the hoopla regarding social media -- I find I use these sites less and less. I get annoyed with people who cannot be parted from their cell phones or laptops, even during social gatherings.

And yet, doing some things online are a partial solution for my chronic procrastination. The other night, I did all of my annual charitable contributions online. Writing checks is so tedious that I just put it off...for months. I pay most of my bills online, which means I pay them on time. For all my accounts that have a set, monthly payment, I've set them up to be paid automatically. Now that I have the option of being able to deposit checks from my home PC (yes! deposit from home!), I might actually get my checks deposited in a more timely fashion.

I just set up an appointment for my car to get an oil change -- online. Took way less time than calling, getting transferred to the Service department, and then setting a time. I've never tried this before, so, I'm curious to see how well it will work. Will I get my preferred time? I hope so.

I often buy gifts online, although rarely do I buy physical books online (I do love going to a bookstore and buying the books!). I expect I'll purchase another ebook reader in the future (I had one years ago and loved it), so I'll eventually be buying my ebooks online.

All of this, of course, just enhances my underlying fear of losing power. :-) I want a solar power system so I never have to worry about such a horror :-) :-)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Selecting a word

A life coaching blog that I read on occasion has an interesting end of the year tradition. Insteading of recommending that people come up with New Year's resolutions, she asks them to pick a word for the year...a word that sets the tone for the year, a focus for the actions that a person takes. For those who picked a word last year, they post an entry on how their accomplishments for the year matched the word they chose.

I like this idea and I've been trying to come up with a word to use as my guide for the upcoming year. Some words that I'm mulling over:

Explore - perhaps this is the year when I step out of my comfort zone to explore new things, new places, new people.

Expand - Broaden my horizons? Take bigger risks?

Release/Let Go - Get rid of old baggage, maybe. Or old habits that aren't useful anymore.

Action - enough with my chronic procrastination. Take action when it's needed instead of putting things off, over and over again.

I think it would be an interesting experiment -- can one word be enough to influence one's point of view in the future?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Maybe it's the time of year, maybe it's a reaction to the economic misery we've had to endure this year, or maybe it's the people in my life right now. Whatever it is, I'm seeing a lot of anxiety in a number of my friends. One person, especially, has me worried. He seems to be on the way to a nervous breakdown. Medication, therapy -- none of it seems to be working. What drives a person to obsess over something he can't control (and he knows that)? What motivates him to feel responsible for issues that he really doesn't own (and he knows he's doing that, too). And all I can do is watch this person fall apart. I offer my support, but when someone is in that state, I know it's hard for them to reach out and ask or accept help. Sigh.

And then, there are a few others. All struggling with life issues. In those situations, though, they are making use of counselors and therapists. So, while they're struggling, they seem to be on an upward path. I don't worry so much about them.

As for me, I'm feeling less anxious and a bit more at peace with myself than I have in a while. I've spent a lot of time working through some personal issues and while I have a long way to go, at the very least, I'm a bit more clear regarding what is acceptable in my life and what is not. I'm setting better rules for myself and learning to live by them. Knowing that I'm making personal progress leaves me feeling just a tad less anxious today.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Who are you, again? When I don't remember people who remember me...

Along with misplacing all kinds of important stuff (where DID I put that escrow check that I received from the mortgage company last month--it's gotta be somewhere here), I also forget people. It amazes me that people I haven't heard from in who knows how long remember me. But, my mind is blank.

For example, at the company I work at now, the marketing manager remembers me from the early 90s. I have ABSOLUTELY no memory of him, but he not only remembered me, but he talks about a whole bunch of people I used to work with -- ok, so he still keeps in touch with some of them, so it's easier for him. I recall the names he throws out, but I really don't recall what they look like or what project we worked on together.

Today, someone (again from early work days) "friended" me on Facebook. I recalled the name immediately, but I have ABSOLUTELY no recall of any interactions with him. Apparently, he recalls me fondly, addressing me by a nickname that only people who know me use. It was nice to get such a friendly message. At the same time, I feel a bit foolish. I looked at this person's picture and I didn't recognize him. At least the name is familiar. But only the name, nothing else.

I must walk through this world in a fog. I've sort of accepted the embarrassing moments . You know, when someone who obviously remembers me starts talking to me and I have to look sheepish and ask them to tell me how I know them. But, some days, I wish I had eidetic memory.

Or do I? Now that I think about it, there are definitely things (and people!) that I don't need to recall. So, I suppose what I really want is selective, eidetic memory.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Politics and a Community Garden

Here in the town where I live, a committee is forming to create a community garden. I love the idea of having a "real" garden, instead of just the patio garden, so I went to the kick off meeting.


Even at such a simple event, there were hidden agendas and politics. The folks from the garden club went on and on about their own personal achievements -- nothing whatsoever to do with why they want a community garden. And, of course, they advertised the garden club. The retired teachers talked about the need for education and solving world hunger (people must learn to feed themselves, insisted one well-meaning altruist).

Then there was the long discussion about PR and Marketing the gardens to serve as some sort of example to the town.

Finally, wiser heads prevailed and we ended up back to the discussion of having a garden so people could grow their own stuff and do it as part of a small community of people with a similar interest. Whew! Because, that's all I'm looking for -- a place to enjoy growing stuff because I don't have my own land.

After the meeting, the very nice gentleman from the Landscape Trust chatted with me a bit and I was pleased to hear that he totally got where I was coming from and he agreed that the community garden really should be something geared towards those who don't have space.

I think it will be quite interesting to see how this progresses. It's very admirable that people are willing to volunteer to get this project going. At the same time, it's quite fascinating to try to figure out what's motivating these people to work on this project. I have a sneaking suspicion it's not because they want a garden.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The magic of the First Snow in New England

There's something special about that first bit of snow covering the trees and grass. Especially, when it happens at night.

I was driving home from a friend's house last night. The snow was coming down gently, not so much to make the road slippery, but enough to cling to the grass, the trees, and the bushes like vanilla icing. The Christmas lights glowed through a translucent coating of new, white snow.

It was a magical moment. The sounds of the night were muffled, the falling snow contrasted with the darkness of sky. When I reached home and got out of the car, the air felt clean, clear, and sharp as I breathed it in. I love moments like that.

Today, the temperature is up, the sun is out, and the snow is changing back into water.

More snow on tap for this week after today's melt down. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Doing the right thing isn't always the best thing?

One of my favorite book series is A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. One theme that runs through the books is that the characters who try to do the "right thing" or the honorable thing don't always end up rewarded for their efforts. In one early incident, the character is betrayed and executed. Not because he did something wrong, but because he was too honest and honorable.

It happens in real life.

My bead making instructor has had her own studio for 8 years. Last year, she expanded her studio to accommodate those of us who needed a place to do our work when New Street Glass studio shut down. Which meant adding additional propane tanks and oxygen concentrators for the torches. Being the safety-minded and law-abiding citizen that she is, she made sure she contacted the fire department to get the permits and such that she's supposed to have, to be in compliance with the city laws.

And doing the right thing has led to multiple headaches for her. After several attempts over the last year to get the fire department to have them do an inspection (which they ignored over and over again), an inspector finally gets in touch with her. And proceeds to lambaste her for having equipment that they claim she's not supposed to have. (despite the fact that an fire department officer told her at an earlier time that it was OK to do what she was doing). Finally, this week, the inspection is supposed to happen and my instructor is a bit concerned that they will shut her down, based on the inspector's harsh treatment of her (he clearly doesn't understand what a glass studio is all about and that she has all of the correct safety measures in place).

If she hadn't gone ahead and tried so hard to get the fire department to come out and do the inspection, she wouldn't be at risk of being shut down. Of course, she's an honest person and there was no question that she would do her best to get the correct permits and approvals. But, I think a part of her wonders if it was worth the effort.

Honest people should get better treatment. It's so easy to NOT do the right thing and benefit from it. People brag about how they get around our tax laws or buy things from NH to avoid sales tax. Or how they got away with something that wasn't totally on the up-and-up. I'm not immune from this behavior, myself. (what is it about humans...we all try to find a way to cheat "the system" at some point).

I'm hoping the inspection goes well and I can continue to do my glass work at her studio. If she does have to shut down, I think I can return to my original studio and rent time there, as it's back in operation. But it wouldn't be the same without my instructor being there.

Let's all keep honest people in our thoughts today and wish them better rewards.