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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Letting Go

Yesterday my DVR stopped working. I got this message out there that said it was unavailable or had been disabled, contact your cable company. So I did. I called and they tried to send the box a message but that didn't work. So today a technician is coming out to see if he can get the DVR going again. If he can't, he'll have to replace the box which means that nearly 100 hours of movies, specials and TV episodes will be lost.

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?"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Chill is in the Air

As I look out the sliding glass door in my condo's living room, I see the bright green leaves of the trees across the street beginning to turn yellow. Last fall, when I was in the process of moving my things in, I didn't see the incremental changes in the leaves. Now that I'm living there full time, I can see the colors change. Mother Nature has once again taken her paintbrush out from the drawer, dusted it off, and is beginning to get creative.

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

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Okay, I admit football isn't my favorite sport (I think that is reserved for hockey and maybe baseball as a close second), but it's hard not to get excited about a brand new season, with a brand new quarterback, playing an age old foe! Tonight it's Bears/Packers, baby!!

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

On the Road Again

Travel is hard. You have to pack up whatever you think you might need into a small suitcase, consider if you need to pack fluids in those 3 oz containers if you'll not be checking luggage, wear appropriate clothes for the trip (too hot or too cold on the plane? non binding slacks, especially for long flight), go through security in stocking feet making sure you've worn "airport socks" (aka socks without holes!) get wanded at airports with bored TSA agents (happened to me in Cody, Wy. 6 TSA agents, 5 passengers at the time = bored TSA agents; it also makes Cody one very secure airport!), find food at the airport past security, find coffee at the airport past security, find the restroom hopefully past security (if not, repeat the going through security step), hope your flight is online (especially if you have a connecting flight), line up for the "cattle call" airline and find a seat that you can call home for the next few hours or so, shove your carry on in the overhead bin, wait for the 10,000 feet ding before turning on your ipod (though if something the size of a postage stamp can hamper an airplane we've got big trouble!), hope the guy next to you doesn't encroach on your space (I may be small but I paid for my seat just like he paid for his!), listen to the weather report from the cockpit for your arrival city, listen to the Southwest flight attendents sing their version of the "Rawhide" song, land and then watch the plane drive the rest of the way to your arrival city because the landing strip is remote, watch as 90% of the plane gets on their cell phones the minute wheels are down, watch as 90% of the plane unbuckles their seatbelt before reaching the terminal, wait patiently as everyone stands up to leave when the doors haven't opened yet, walk out of the gangway into a strange airport and try to find signs directing you to the restrooms and the baggage claim, find the right carrousel for your flight, grab your bag and heave it off the belt, find the airport exit and hope that your ride hasn't forgotten about you!

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!