Sunday, May 17, 2015

Life Update

It's been over a month since I've updated my life! Oh, no.


 I've found a new recipe that I can actually do, and it gets a thumbs up from both of us. It's called One Pan Mexcian Quinoa.  There are a bunch of ingredients, none of them hard to find. The most exotic ingredient is quinoa, which I'd never heard of a year ago, and am now cooking with.

Making something different, the one night of the week I prepare dinner all by myself, is a big deal. We're on a schedule.

Sunday-pasta (all I do is boil the noodles) Mike prepares the sauce and salad. 
Monday- we go to one of a few local BYOB places
Tuesday- Mike prepares dinner, usually soup, salad, and some kind of muffin or bread
(If I should have a staff meeting on Tuesday night, Mike will make pancakes--sometimes)
Wednesday- pizza night
Thursday- that's me. Usually, I boil some other kind of noodle and put stuff on it.
Friday - we go grocery shopping, and pick something out for dinner, while we're at it. This past Friday, it was hummus, bread, and veggies. (The hummus was on a super sale we could not pass up.)
Saturday - movie night, when we snack around

So--a new recipe is a big deal here.

Things are happening! Also--this weekend, for the first time ever, we did not receive our Netflix movie. This caused Mike to remember that I still had several coupons for a free Redbox movie, so-yep, another first! I gave Mike carte blanche (or, as he likes to say, the white card) to go forth and pick something, and he did, carefully avoiding anything on our Netflix cue. He came home with A Most Violent Year. Good times. I was afraid of the title, but it was actually a good movie, and not gory. That's important.

Actually, the most important thing about Movie Saturday is the popcorn and beer. Which leads me to another important development: for the first time in many years, I own an air popper. JUST bought it yesterday afternoon at Kmart...got tired of destroying endless paper bags in the microwave. This is a much more convenient way of making naked popcorn.

Another adjustment is not expecting the Sunday paper to remain in our drive way unmolested for hours. In the past, we thought that we could leisurely get up, go about our business, then pick up the paper whenever we pleased. Times are changing, and so must we. Last weekend, for the first time ever, our paper walked off before we had the chance to get dressed and snatch it up. (Yes, it was delivered.) We get the Sunday paper only, so we only have to rescue one paper per week. I think we're up to it! It's the coupons--or is it the plastic bag it comes in?  There are so many dog walkers around here.

To sum up, I found a new recipe, our mail service no longer delivers Netflix on time, we tried Redbox, saw a good movie anyway, I got an air popper, and we had our only paper stolen.


Oh, yeah! Mom got me Kah Reposado Tequila. It's 110 proof, and...perhaps that's why I can't remember anything else. It's fabulous stuff. Mike would like me to sip it while we play Scrabble. As if.

So--whatchaupto?



Friday, April 10, 2015

I'm Such a Liar

So, it's Friday, and I have off work because I'll be working the odd Saturday. An odd day to get some odd things done. Cool. It's not the prettiest of days, but I did do my requisite laps around the neighborhood and I finished the hem job I was doing on a pair of pants.

Then, I decided to go out to the mall and redeem a Free Panty card at Victoria Secret. Now, I'm always a bit embarrassed about going there. I've had no success in analyzing this. It's more than the fact that the sales staff take way too much time wrapping everything--even the small item--in tissue paper and a pink and pink striped bag that proclaims to the world (or at least everyone in the mall): UNDERWEAR! And--these same sales clerks are always visibly unhappy that you've trekked into the store and not bought anything.

However, I'd mentally prepared myself: I love their lip balm, and I'd decided to find that first, then slink over, pick up my free booty, and get in line. Oho, but this was not to be. I was immediately approached by the most enduring young lady who wanted to know what she could do for me, is there something special? Why wasn't I prepared for this? The sales people in this place usually ignore me. So what do I do? I LIE. I say something like, oh, no, I'm just lookin' around...and then I proceed to poke around, obviously lost because the set up is completely different than the time before. And yes, I have a problem recognizing the order in things. And yes, retailers purposely make you walk around and look at things. So, Young Sales Person approaches me again, telling me how the bras are organized. The bras--the overpriced item that these people are dying to sell you in the store. My eyes get round, and I realize that I'm about to panic. I cannot now admit that well, I'd just come for the free panty, and then ask where on earth they're keeping the yummy bubble gum lip balm--I just can't. So, I stroll around again, and....stroll right out of the store. Slink. I slinked out. I did notice, on the way out, that there was a quite a line waiting for the one cashier on duty.

Without thinking about it, I wandered down to Sears, where there were some very good sales. No one spoke to me, and I relaxed. On one of the racks, I found a beautiful gray cardigan--I love cardigans, and they're so hard to find--on clearance for $3.99.  Gray goes with everything, I'm thrilled, and feel so much better now. Then I get in line to pay. It's a long wait. In this whole big department store, there is just one kiosk with two cashiers working. And the dear, sweet lady who waits on me wants my email address, and to be polite, I don't refuse. However, after a few attempts at spelling out my address to her, I decide to LIE again. I know how it feels to face a line of customers, but I have no idea how it feels to face a line of customers speaking a language I wasn't born speaking. So finally, I tell her that yes, she's typed my email address correctly, and then I hit a button confirming that it is correct--so hopefully she won't hear about it.  Mea Culpa. Let the Fickle Finger of Fate or whatever come down and point ME out as being a liar. I don't even want those emails.

As I drove home one cardigan happier, I pondered the under-staffed mall, and wondered if that's a sad trend right now. At the bank where I work, we are understaffed to the point of being unhappy and stressed--and it turns out that our branch has it better than a couple others close to us. One of our tellers was loaned out for an entire week to another in this area, and when she came back she told us a tale of woe: she didn't get a proper lunch break the entire week, and on one of those days, the teller she was working with actually passed out. This is suck.

And then, of course, there's the usual drama. On Wednesday, I was the first one to arrive at our branch for the opening shift. We were supposed to begin at 7:30 am. When my supervisor did not show up on time, I was frankly not surprised. (Assistant Manager runs late.) Pulling out a book, I proceeded to read in my car until my peripheral vision told me that some else had arrived. Supervisor? Nooooo....it was Dee, the teller scheduled to start at 7:45 am. We shrugged at each other. And waited. And waited. Finally, our manager drove up and rushed into the building, saying he'd been called out of a meeting and told that his branch wasn't open! We should always call him! Eventually, he told us that we'd done nothing wrong (DUH).

Dee and I had assumed that our assistant manager, who was supposed to open, had had some kind of emergency, and of course she'd called--someone. We were wrong. She'd completely forgotten that she was the opener. Yep--and she's the one who approves our schedules.

One day at a time. I've gotten a lot better at holding my breath and relaxing as the waves crash over me. There is nothing I can do. Mona tends to call off on Mondays, Assistant Manager is not very considerate, Lankydude is lazy, and Manger is just gonna be arrogant and weird. The corporate culture is insane, and perhaps it's worn off on him. Blah. I show up, I work, I leave.



I saw this image on Facebook, and it took me a full two minutes to perceive what I was supposed to notice right away. This might be related to the frustration I have with shopping, that I don't know how to look.

Omigosh, did I just happen to find this--now?



And look, it's practically 5:00 pm! Days off go whoosh.

More fun tomorrow! Whatchaupto?







Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Ides Have It

March is working on that lamb phase. Methinks I actually see a few beginnings of buds on yonder trees. Or perhaps that's wishful thinking. It's a bit blustery out there, but that's okay, because it is not very cold. This is normal behavior for Mother Nature.

The improvement in the weather, the nearing of spring is coming at a very good time. Yes, that would be at the same time as every year, but lately, I've had some negative thoughts that have led me to estimate that I have 3.4 years 'til I turn fifty-five, or about 41 months. Subtracting holidays, weekends, and vacations, I have roughly 800 more days at this current job. At that time, should I need to keep working, I shall be due for a change of venue.

Happy thoughts. We all need to see a light at the end, I suppose.  People have lived through horrible, dangerous times, and here I am, one of those first world, spoiled souls.
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I'm currently rereading Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, and wishing I could remember what I thought of it during my sixteenth summer...right now, I am not much liking Heathcliff or Catherine Earnshaw.  This story is certainly a testament against seeking revenge;  Heathcliff manages to ruin the lives of all his enemies, and shorten the life of his true love, in the bargain. He clearly had not heard the saying, 'if you love someone, set her free,' either. If he hadn't returned, Cathy would have gotten over him. However, for some reason, it's still a compelling read.  That's pretty much what I said about Gone Girl--a page turner, despite the characters.

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Here comes another week, yippee, I can hardly wait!

Whatchaupto?

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Rabbit Rabbit, Happy Lucky March!



This picture is called TEMPUS FUGIT, by Eileen Sorg.  Time sure is passing, and February could not make tracks soon enough. Tracks. Perhaps I should not have mentioned them. It's was--beastly. 

Today, March 1st, is March Hare Day. Well, probably not, but in my mind it is. After all, March is the month when the weather can do anything and everything, but in the end--it's spring. I mean, it will be spring!  Let's not forget that. 

Last night's last February movie was And So It Goes, starring Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas. Rotten Tomatoes does not give it a very good rating, but I thought it was pretty good--well acted, not tedious, and rocked a very happy ending.  It's true that the plot isn't dense and the ending doesn't surprise, but I still enjoyed watching Diane Keaton do that charming thing she does, and Michael Douglas being so comically crass and lousy. (He's got some really funny lines, in my humble opinion.) I've developed a soft spot for older coming of age stories--I mean, the stories of people solving problems and coming to terms with life at an older age. 
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Since it's a new month, I feel the need to launch into a book list. These are the books I've read so far this year. 

The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton. Fabulous! Talk about dense plots...(this book straddled years, so it looks like I read more than I did.)

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevon.  Short, sweet, and very endearing. I liked it very much.

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, by Jeff Hobbs.  Nonfiction. Fascinating and sad.

The Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula Le Guin. The first in a series, this is fun, well-written sci-fi.

Beatitude, by Larry Closs.  No, it's not a religious thing--the title refers to the beat writers and poets. Specifically, the friendship between a couple of young men who are rather obsessed with them.

I am currently reading Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. She also wrote Seabiscuit, so I knew this would be an engaging read. 

The "to be read" pile keeps growing! And now, I must stop typing, sit on my hands, and let someone else have a turn....







Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Anniversary Day :)

Let's see, what's happened? Today is our anniversary! We are going out to a little Italian place tonight, and exchanging gift cards (we just did the candy thing), and it will all be good. I am so happy and thankful to have my Mike to come home to, more than I can ever express. It's been twenty-six (26) years, a little more than half my life.




It's nice to go out on a Wednesday.



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IN WORK NEWS: Two of our branches have been robbed in the past week, by a guy whose girlfriend or wife was recently fired by the bank. They believe he's the same dude that robbed a Kmart. His picture is on Pennlive, clear as day. I have no idea why he is not in custody.

Also, as of March 1st (March Hare Day), we will lose those precious one-hour breaks. I shouldn't be surprised, since our weekday hours were slightly shortened. But still--I'll miss having the option to run home...or an errand. (That's almost zeugma.)  And, coming sometime this spring, we will be doing our own items processing, and that will put a few people in the back office out of work, and probably cut the couriers' hours.

Right now, we seem to be frequently getting these unannounced visits from Back Office Brass, and yes, they do mean to intimidate; we have no idea what they are looking at, but they showed up at one branch and wrote someone up for having a box of fasnachts on the break room table--and it was Fasnacht Day! Good grief. Of course, word spreads fast--they show up, and the other branches let everyone know. I understand that we must keep public areas looking good, and we do our best--honestly.

Oh, speaking of that, our ATM does not like to work in cold weather. It's not on the side of the building, so people must actually get out of their cars to use it, which makes them grumble, and baby, it's cold out there, and that's a drag, so after unbuckling your safely belt, turning off your car, and lumbering into the vestibule to find--that the damned machine won't work. Hmmmm. Also, our coin counter is on the fritz. It needs to be babysat and manually operated by whoever isn't busy with a customer at the time. AND two of our drive-thru lanes are not working properly.

But WE don't have donuts on our break room table.

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Life--so unpredictable. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Disturbed

I did not stay up to watch the Grammys.  Award shows? Meh, I'll read about them later, mostly. What disturbs me is how many younger people are expressing the view that Madonna should quit. Why? Because she's over thirty-five? Is there some limit for women?  These same people think she's showing too much skin, including those who will never be in as good shape as Madonna. This is her life, her choice.  No one is telling Hugh Jackman to put his shirt back on.


Another source of disturbance comes from the popularity of a fan-fic "novel" that has actually been made into a movie and coming out on Valentine's Day.   Pictured above is the Vermont Teddy Bear Company's latest capitalist venture. I don't know where to begin, so I won't.






And now, something that made me giggle:




While some people are getting buried in snow, we get a dusting, and all the schools call in delays! This works for me; now I can run laps around the neighborhood without the school buses and parents creating any traffic.

And now, I must get dressed and go to work. Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Rabbit, Rabbit! Happy, Lucky February!





On this first evening of February, we shall finally put The Super Bowl behind us. We are having our traditional gathering, when some very nice people arrive to crowd around our small TV and visit, mostly. No one seems to be a big fan of either team this year, and that's just as well, because the weather could be crummy enough that some people might leave early.

However, at this juncture, it's been snowing for a couple hours, but it's still too warm to be an accumulation threat. It'll probably be rain before long.

This afternoon, I spent some time watching the German Shepherd next door catch frisbees. She's good. And I did go for a run--a very short one, but it still counts as my Rabbit Rabbit run. And I am feeling better, so things will seem more cheerful for me.

Well, better go--Happy February, everyone!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hello and Good-by to January

According to long range forecasts, February will be a little warmer. That may be obvious, but I forget that. I forget that the worst of winter does not last long. By the time March is here, our average temperature will be well above freezing. That's not far away. So, if spring is fifty days away, some of those days will be pleasant. I'm pointing out the obvious to myself because it's not always obvious to me.

At this juncture, I am trying to get over a chest cold that has made me cranky, achy, and rather sedentary--at least when I can get away with it. This happens so seldom, and I am so spoiled, that it feels unjust. Actually, it seems that half the people I know have caught something. I love NyQuil, but the way. The daytime stuff, without the alcohol, not so much. But NyQuil, or whatever off-brand I can find, is always dreamy; puts me to sleep and lets me pretend that I am not sick.


                                                                       Yeah.


Anyway, here it is, only Tuesday, and I wishing the week away. I'm ready for this month to be over, I'm ready to get The Superbowl over with, I'm ready to stop hearing jokes about balls, and I'm very ready for it to be February. Notice that February never outstays its welcome. That's nice.

To update my exciting life's happenings from last month, I finished The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, and found it enthralling. So much to discuss! Not many novels make the reader work quite that hard. I've got Mike reading it.

After that, I read our book group's selection, The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, by Jeff Hobbs. The title of this riveting biography warns readers that Robert Peace will not meet the happy, successful ending that anyone with his talents, drive, and stamina should have. It's frustrating, puzzling, and very sad. I hope that Robert DeShaun Peace's story serves as a cautionary tale for those who start life with the deck stacked against them. Peace should have gotten out of Newark, but obviously felt anchored there out of some sense of obligation to his family and friends. People do need anchors, but unfortunately, he got involved with the worst side of Newark. A person's friends say a lot about a person, and he had some wonderful people on his side. And his mother, Jackie, is a superhero. And still. This story is hard to take, and will stay with me for a long time. 


And now for something completely different: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin. This is a much happier book, and I'm currently enjoying it very much.

And now, I must go; there's one more thing about this month I'm ready to get over with, and that's our monthly last-Tuesday staff meeting. Hurry for it being the last Tuesday, though.

Okay, I must chop chop.

Whatchaupto?


Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Last Week

Here it comes...The End. Well, not the end, not the end at all, but more to the point, the beginning of a new year. Remember when the sound of the year 2000 sounded so--out there, science fiction-like? Such a long time ago, now. So much has happened in the last 15 years. But--that's too much to think about right now, so I'll stick to this week, the last week of the year. Three more days after this one, and 2014 will be history.

Last night's movie was Saving Mr. Banks, the story behind the making of the movie version of Mary Poppins. I had no knowledge about the fact that Walt Disney spent twenty years trying to convince the author, P.L. Travers, to sign over the rights to the film. Emma Thompson portrays Mrs. Travers as a miserable, arrogant person who finds fault with everyone and everything. Travers is so prickly and difficult that one must admire the tenacity and amount of patience Disney and his crew exhibited in making this production happen.

It turns out that Pamela L. Travers, born Helen Lyndon Goff in Australia, had a sad, difficult childhood. Her father, Travers Goff, had an alcohol problem, trouble staying employed, and he died early. The seven-year-old Pamela was traumatized and never recovered from this loss. Saving Mr. Banks  posits that Mary Poppins was a re-write of Pamela's childhood; this magical nanny does more than save the children--she saves their father, Mr. Banks.

And by the way, lest anyone suspect that Emma Thompson's portrayal of this eccentric writer is exaggerated, there are tapes (as Mike pointed out, just like Watergate)--yes, P.L. Travers wanted all their working conversations recorded, out of a basic distrust for everyone in the room! Some snippets are played during the closing credits.

I'd forgotten how good the music was, and had completely forgotten what the story was about, and should view this movie again. Clearly, the talent involved was impressive. And about this movie: I liked it quite a bit, though it had some sad parts, while Mike thought it was good, but rather unpleasant to watch. That's a rocky recommendation: well done, but not one of those feel-good Disney movies.

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On Christmas Eve, we re-watched The Ref, a movie that is now quite old--1994! I still have to remind myself that that year is more than ten years ago. Anyway, Denis Leary is the burglar who blunders into taking a difficult couple hostage. Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis bicker hilariously, forcing Leary, the armed criminal, to constantly act as a ref. It takes place on Christmas, which means that their quirky extended family enters the drama, as well.

We re-viewed Elf, as well. This flick is much funnier than I remembered it to be--really, there are some great, laugh-out-loud moments. Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Caan, and Bob Newhart are all wonderfully cast. Will Ferrell plays the 6'3" human guy who is brought up by elves, then must adjust to life outside the North Pole. Just imagine...
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We also played Scrabble on Christmas Eve, and a rare thing happened: I won. Barely, but still counts--



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Sometimes, I sit and crochet--this throw is now 27 inches wide twice that long, and contains about four different stitches. I think I've settled, for awhile, on the 1/2 herringbone stitch.
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I am currently reading The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, a 800+page Victorian mystery, which means I shouldn't be here on the interwebs, at all--so many books to read, so little time.
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And, we had a marvelous cruise. I took some inept pictures, which I will post on the other blog.

So. Whatchaupto?



Monday, December 22, 2014

A Meditation

This morning, I did something I haven't done in awhile.  This won't sound like much, but--I ran alone without headphones. It feels a bit like meditation, except for the moving part. If the point of meditating is finding quiet time to oneself, then--this works. It may sound awfully boring to be running laps around the neighborhood, but it really does not matter where the run takes place, and the air is just as fresh. I do run a bit slower without the music, but perhaps that is temporary, I don't know. I do know that the music became too important.

It's as if I'm trying not to live through exercise. A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. Why? What better past time am I rushing off to? It's one thing to look forward to certain times and events, but I find myself wishing every minute away. A couple blog posts ago, I even pronounced my auntie's visits dead--well, her death was greatly exaggerated; it turns out my body isn't quite that mature yet. Hold your horses. Patience, grasshopper. It's okay, everything's okay, nothing is so unpleasant that it cannot be tolerated a little bit longer.

Breathe in, breathe out, pack your lunch and take your headphones: that is what music is for, when the traffic is too bad to come home for lunch, but too loud at work to concentrate on reading anything. This season is happy, but it's overwhelming, and I am thankful that we got away for a week this month.


I will try to paws pause and remember to enjoy being here, being healthy, and being so amazingly lucky.



ps. This nifty Buddha Cat came from here: http://bmoussart.blogspot.com/2008/09/new-aceo-buddha-cat.html