Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I'm supposed to give this to 15 blogs, and there are so very many blogger friends I've found over the past several months, so I'm passing this award to:
The Daily Puglet http://dailypuglet.blogspot.com/
Through the eyes of Tweedles http://tweedles-georgie.blogspot.com/
Brutus the Frenchie http://brutusthefrenchie.blogspot.com/
Little Miss Pearl http://littlemisspearl.blogspot.com/
Hank and Molly http://hank-itellyawhat.blogspot.com/
Stella, Gunther and Betty http://livingwithapug.blogspot.com/
Yoda and Brutus http://thepugsstrikeback.blogspot.com/
Sophie and Dixie http://pugandbugg.blogspot.com/
Mister Bean http://misterbeanalittlepuginabigworld.blogspot.com/
Jemima Jones http://jemimajones.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Thanksgiving 2009: 9 stops for gas, 2 quarter pounder meals, one roast beef sandwich, 2 dollar menu sundaes, 2 Mccafes, 4 Starbucks, 6 states, 4 days camping, 3 dogs camping, 4 days of turkey leftovers, 3 college football games, one day at Disney, one trip to the beach, one day at Ikea, 3 Christmas concerts, two nights at Comfort Inn, spending time with crazy family -- priceless!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
1. Publish a post on your blog - referring who awarded you.
2. Share 5 things you like to do
3. Share or pass this award to 10 friends.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
May we all take each day as a precious gift, use it wisely, savor it, go slowly and consciously through it, but always going forward, may we recognize the small treasures of the day that make it special, may we find something each day to be thankful for and may we bring out the best in ourselves to meet each day.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
In Florida, a man tried to steal a ferret by putting it in his pants. A witness confronted him in the parking lot and the man held the unhappy ferret up to the witness's face. In addition to theft, he's being charged with branishing a "special weapon" -- the ferret!
In New Jersey, a manatee was found in waters by an oil refinery. Since the water's too cold for a manatee in that area, he's being flown to Florida. I hope he doesn't get a middle seat -- I'm sure he'd use both of the arm rest!
36 inches of snow in the Denver area -- really? In October? I guess there's an advantage to living in the middle of the country after all.
A British couple, sleeping on their yacht, were taken by Somali pirates. I still think I deserve royalties -- they were all stealing my story!
U2 is planning a July 2010 concert in Soldiers Field again. Chicago Bears' groundkeepers are already planning the resodding of the field after the concert.
Bad economy? Then why are full face Halloween masks, the kind that cost upwards of $250 a piece, selling like crazy?
Americans Against Taxes on Food is running a commercial against proposed new taxes on "juice drinks and soda." And just what is of nutritional value in "juice drinks and soda"? You call that food?
Friday, October 23, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Yes, I'm a book geek, having roughly 2,200 books which includes textbooks and travel guide books, but the collection also includes many novels, books on history, science, philosophy, political science and law. Needless to say, it was quite a job getting the whole collection moved over, even if the move was only 16 miles.
Tomorrow, a friend is picking up yet another bookcase for me at Ikea and will kindly do the assembly work. This may not be my last bookcase, but it is yet another small detail that will make the condo feel more like a home.
Several years ago, a friend mentioned once that he never felt at home when he moved until he built some bookcases for the place. I think I feel the same way about having bookcases in the house, though I couldn't build them if my life depended on it! Some people have all sorts of seasonal decor, some people lots of dishes, some people collect and display things in a curio cabinet. For me, it's books.
What little detail makes your house feel like a home?
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
As I started to think about the possibility of losing all those good viewing hours, I realized that most of it will be on again: I have nearly 20 movies from HBO or Showtime or TCM that will probably be on again at some point (I detest watching movies with commercials since they just gut the heck out of them). Also the TV episodes will no doubt be on again, though it will make for a difficult season without the premieres of House and Heroes. There were two series that I don't know if I'll be able to retrieve again, both from PBS: Guns, Germs and Steel (based on Jared Diamond's book) and The Supreme Court.
The technician is coming between 1 and 4, and I don't know if I'll lose everything. But I've prepared myself and in some ways it's liberating. I won't feel as if I have all these things to watch right now, it won't be a burden to have so much to watch. Sometimes a fresh start is a good thing.
I found a quote that sums this all up rather nicely, and I leave it for you. It's by Mary Manin Morrissey: "Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?"
Friday, September 18, 2009
Soon the tank tops and thin tee shirts will get moved to the closet, making way for the sweaters and sweatshirts and long sleeve tees that are a part of the winter wardrobe. School has started and old routines are new once again.
The days are still warm, but the evenings have a definite chill in the air. The sun is setting earlier now making the days a bit shorter and the evenings just a bit cozier curled up at home.
The seasons change and the cycle continues and though I love the spring and summer with their promise of new growth and the delivery of warm, sunny days, I also love fall with its colorful trees and cool, crisp nights. Leave the cold north, some tell me. We don't have snow and ice, they say.
But aren't the worst days of winter the reason we can appreciate those promising spring days? How can we know the beauty of a field full of spring flowers if we have not also known the desolation of a grey winter's day? It's hard to really appreciate things we see every day, even though we might try very hard to make a point of noticing. Do people in year round warm weather climates notice a nice summer day?
I think Mother Nature has given a special gift to those of us who live in a northern climate. She's given us a yardstick, she's given us a way to see how each day stacks up against each other. She's given us a means of appreciating the everyday around us.
So as summer draws to a close and autumn takes its place, I'm not sorry to see the seasons change. I know I will look out on a grey, cloudy, snowy, cold day and remember the warmth of the sun, the brightness of the sky, the freshness in the air. And when that day comes around again, it won't be just another day of the week. It will be special.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
On another note, I'm not sure how many people out there watch Oprah. I don't, normally. But here in Chi-town they run a repeat of the morning's show after Nightline, so it airs around 11:00 pm. Sometimes when I have the TV on for background and catch part of the news and then get distracted, I'm aware of the time when I see Oprah come on. Anyway, the other day I saw part of her season opener. She had shut down Michigan Avenue one day last week -- yep, the Magnificent Mile, all of the street in front of that retail bliss tied up by the Oprah people. That alone was cool to see, but what was really fun was this:
This fun Flashmob was awesome! And yes, tonight's gonna be a good night!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Yes, travel is hard, but it is also rewarding. Travel allows us to expand our world, to see things we've never seen, to have experiences we've never had before. It's a way to see far away family and enjoy the celebrations that go with it. It opens up your mind to other cultures, other ways of doing things, to rituals and traditions that are foreign to you. And it reminds us that we are constantly learning new things, that education doesn't stop at graduation, that there's a whole world of things we don't know. But travel is one small step toward changing that ignorance.
My travel won't be exotic, but I'm sure I'll learn something new because every time we travel, even to a place we've been before, something has changed, or we find something we missed the last time. My travel won't be long, just a week, but there will be a while when time has slowed and it seems like a day can last forever and then there will be those days that fly right by.
So where would you like to go, on a fantasy trip? And what would you like to see or do there? Can you dream? If you can, you can make it happen! Bon Voyage!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I bring this up because yesterday's paper had a column that started out about a judge who held a court spectator in contempt because he (the spectator) yawned loudly. This judge apparently has the highest rate of finding people in contempt in the county. Maybe this shows that the judge "goes too far in pursuit of order in his court. Or maybe they are evidence that [he] is an admirable defender of civility inside one of our most important institutions."
The author of this article, Barbara Brotman, who also writes the outdoors column for the paper (with some good hiking ideas in the area!), wanted in on this action.
"That driver who forced me onto the shoulder as i tried to merge into his lane on the Eisenhower (expressway)? You, sir, are in contempt of court!
"The people yakking through an entire Grant Park Orchestra performance in Millennium Park? Comtempt of court!
"The owner of the SUV hogging two spaces in a packed parking lot? Contempt!
"Tailgaters, cell phone shouters, car music blasters -- I'd jail 'em all."
So are we lacking civility as a society? Have we become so narcissistic as to totally ignore the impact we have on others? Are our lives so busy that we can no longer take the time for small acts of courtesy to strangers?
I would like to think that I see the positive side of people, that there are just a small percentage of people who are mean and nasty and uncivilized. But every once in a while I think it's all going to hell in a handbasket. (Were DID that phrase come from!?) Then something happens, something positive and good and uplifting.
That's when you realize there really are disability lawyers out there who really are working to give the weak and broken their day in court and a fair and just settlement, there really are people who care about the environment and encourage people to leave less of a carbon footprint without making them feel as if everything they've done so far is completely wrong and stupid, there really are nurses out there who care for patients and will endure long and trying days making them feel more comfortable, there really are people out there willing to walk for three days to raise money to help find a cure for breast cancer, even if they don't have a family member who's been affected, there really are organizations out there that rescue animals who are abandoned or the victim of cruelty and make sure these least among us have someone looking out for them.
There's better people out there than maybe this city girl would think, sometimes. There are still those for whom the word civility isn't obsolete. And maybe being held in contempt wouldn't be a bad way to make sure the rest get the message. Either that or have them write "I will not be mean" 1000 times!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
I live in a big city, surrounded by brick and concrete, with traffic noise and people noise. Most of the time it's okay for me. It makes me feel less lonely to know there are other people around. Even the thump thump of the guy upstairs when he's home is reassuring. But sometimes, every now and then, it's nice to get out and enjoy some peace and quiet, away from the bustling crowds, away from the noise, away from the city life.
Out there, in the woods, is nature, what the original explorers first saw when they came to this big continent. Oh, yeah, it's been moderized (thank goodness there are bathrooms, however rustic, in the park), and non native plants and flowers are found, but it's vastly different from the view out my windows and I'm going to enjoy a little change of scenery for a day or so.
Still I know coming home will be sweet, as it always is when traveling. It's not that I haven't enjoyed getting away, seeing other things, tasting other flavors, but home is...well, home. But it's good to refresh, to refill myself with what's out there. And so a "nice trip to the forest," will recharge my batteries, refresh my soul and yes, make me yearn for home, and my couch and my fridge, but it will also make me a better person, better able to face another week!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
But it's not just April. In February last year, five customers and employees were killed in a robbery at a Tinley Park, Illinois Lane Bryant store. In December of 2007 a gunman killed eight people in a Von Maur store in Omaha. And the list can go on and on and on.
The reporter on the news today said that this type of tragedy is an American signature tragedy. Gun violence doesn't need to be dramatic multiple killings either. In Chicago this school year, 20 Chicago public school students have been killed, 18 the result of gun violence, most of them one at a time over the course of seven months.
I don't even pretend to have the answers, but I do have a lot of questions. Why do the simplest arguments need to be resolved with a gun? Why are so many innocent bystanders killed? When did human life become so disposable? Why is it so easy to obtain a handgun legally? Why do proponents of handguns object to delays for background and criminal checks on gun purchasers? And what can be done to stop this killing?
I don't have answers to these questions or any others, but I do know something needs to be done about this. Something needs to be done to stop the killing, to make lives count, to make the lives lost not be for nothing, but perhaps a catalyst for change, for a better way. Life, in April or any other month, doesn't need to be cruel. There has to be a better way.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
But nobody really wants to hear the Good News or the good news, do they? We really do prefer the darkness, don't we?
Open a newspaper, turn on the TV news, open a news webpage, and the headline will most likely be bad news. I just opened up CNN.com and the main headline was "Fourth Oakland officer dies after shootings." Every so often there's a story on the evening news that is uplifting and positive, but that is the exception rather than the rule. And any news editor will tell you they are giving the public what they want.
And we stop to look at car accidents, slowing to crane our necks to see what's happening. We can't take our eyes off the major bad news stories (consider the massive coverage of the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina a few years back), we remember where we were for major tragedies (individuals from previous generations remember exactly where they were when they found out JFK was shot, for some it's the Challenger disaster; do you remember where you were on September 11th?) It's all the negative things we remember and use to mark history.
So are we part of the problem? Are we so ready to condemn (or be condemned) that we don't allow ourselves to be open to be saved? I certainly don't have the answer, and am also guilty of looking at the bad rather than the good.
Maybe we can take a moment out of our lives, just a moment every day to part the positive, to point out the good, to encourage it, even. So what in your life today is good? What did you read in the paper, or see on TV that is positive? What today renews your faith in the goodness of people? Let's be part of the solution. Let's make that one small step to acknowledge the positive, encourage the good. It really is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. It's spring, it's daylight savings time, it's the time of renewal, and dusting out the old cobwebs and starting fresh.
So light that candle, renew your life. Whether you are religious or not, it's worth a try to renew your spirit.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Then the whole thing tanked. While we had quite a bit of sun in January, the temperature never really got that high. It probably stayed mostly in the single digits or teens, reaching the twenties maybe a few times. Maybe. It snowed, and snowed, and snowed, never all that much each time, but it's piled up and the damage to the streets (some of which were never really fixed last year) only became evident when the city plows went through. The snow was pretty, at first. White, fresh, glistening. Only we all know snow doesn't stay that way very long. It turns off-white, then dusty white, then contains streaks of black (and perhaps even yellow) and finally turns into a dirty mess on the side of the roads and walks.
Today, most of that changes. Today, the temperatures are enough to melt most of the snow. Today we can see green peeping through. Oh, sure, there is still dirt. What landed on the snow now lands on the sidewalks and streets as the snow melts. And everything is wet, puddles everywhere. But the sun is out, the temperature is 58. It feels like spring is coming.
I know it's just February, and early February at that. But we've turned the corner, so to speak. The sun is higher, it's at a better angle for the Northern Hemisphere to get the light and warmth. The melting snow gives us the promise of something better to come, even if it's probably a couple months away. We've made it through the worst of it, our minds tell us. We've made it through the bone-chilling cold days of January, the month that seems to go on forever. We've made it through the days that come and go without hope, without promise. We're on the other side of that hill now, still with a ways to go, but past the roughest parts. And we know that for a fact. This coming week, pitchers and catchers report to spring training. It's that yearly sign that we're over the hump, past the worst winter can throw at us, on the downward slope of that nasty pile of snow going toward spring.
Yes, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood today. It needs a few good rains to clean up the crud, but it's coming, sooner than we think, when the dream begins again, and a young woman's fancy turns to baseball once more.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
And that brings me to my New Year's resolutions. It's a time to say I, too, want an update. I, too, want a fresh face, a new look for the world to see. The changes don't always last, the traditional ones keep coming back every year: lose weight, eat healthy, exercise more. The lack of success in one year doesn't eliminate the possibility of change in the new year, so we keep including these resolutions.
Some may say it's foolish to make the same resolutions year after year after year when there's very little, if any, progress made on them. But is it foolish to try? Is it foolish to want to be better? Aren't we all just fallible humans who are just trying to go forward? And what is the alternative if we don't try? Do we give up?
In our own personal progression, our own growth, trying is necessary. It's a sign to ourselves, a sign to everyone else, that we want to improve, we want to make ourselves better, we care that our world be a little better. We may not always succeed. We may fail horribly. But maybe, somewhere along the way, we achieve a little victory that makes it all worthwhile. Maybe we learned something about eating better. Maybe while we still eat things we know we shouldn't, we've started to buy more locally grown foods, and thereby helped local farmers stay in business. Maybe we're walking to the store, getting exercise and creating less emissions into the air we breathe. Maybe we're carrying our own cloth bag to the store to get our junk food, and eliminating all those plastic bags.
Success isn't measured by how many of our resolutions are kept. Success is measured by those little steps, those small gestures that don't seem to mean much if taken alone. Success is measured by the fact that we keep making resolutions, that our will is there to be better, to improve ourselves and our world. My New Year's wish to you is that this neverending story continue and blossom and thrive. For if we stop, if we give up on improving ourselves, all is lost.