Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Be where now?

Oh, unstructured time, it's over so fast, especially when I sleep in, then turn on the computer, and start doing three things at once, in rotation. Laundry, gathering stuff to donate to Sal Val, eating breakfast, getting lost in a maze of googling, and am currently perusing a list called "authors named Michael."  How the heck did I get here?

Um, I was going to go running whilst the laundry churned, then rake leaves. Which will happen, but I needed a slower start this morning. And now I realize that today is Crazy Day at Sal Val, so perhaps I should gather stuff neatly in my trunk to drop off tomorrow....tomorrow, tomorrow, there's always tomorrow.

Oh, yeah, I was going to decide what to read next. I just finished Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude, which I enjoyed very much. There are so many books here, I'm overwhelmed with choices. If I choose a book book (an actual hard copy, not on my Nook), it will need to be something I can finish before we go on our annual December cruise, since one decision I am capable of making is that I'm only taking the Nook. That narrows my reading choices down to--scores of titles.

Hmm, how many pairs of flamingo slippers do I need? Do I need to have multiple flamingo beanie babies? Do I want to keep any of this stuff? Mike apologized for breaking some knick knack while he was vacuuming yesterday, and I cannot, for the life of me, remember much about it. All these flippant gifts of the past, how they do accumulate. I hope it's not too rude to a memory to give them away. I suppose I must keep the beer goggles, since there's actually a picture of me wearing them.

Should I run in Nearby Park? Probably, today being a week day...can't park at the middle school and go running around there, too much traffic (for me) to run right out the door. Man it's cold out there today. I'm really not ready for this. Wimp.
~~~~~~~~~~

Sorry, I was looking at Sushi art. Mike and I went to Tokyo Diner on Monday to use his birthday coupon, both got the vegetarian combo. I've  been eating a fair amount of tuna lately, so this could be my Meatless Monday penance.

Oh, the garbage men are here and...gone. The trucks have this special fork thingie now that comes out and automatically lifts the bins and dumps them into the truck. Yes, we all have identical fork-enabled trash containers in these parts. And I've just missed watching the operation. It's the little things, ya know, that are fascinating. Maybe I'll catch the recycle truck. No telling when they come.


If you were presented with this salad, would you just dig in? Surely one should never feel guilty about eating a salad.

Oh, the laundry is dry, but I shouldn't walk down there in flamingo slippers, as they are dangerous. I'll get the bed made, anyway. If I'm home all day on laundry day, that's what I do: just take the sheets out of the basket and put'em right back on the bed. Saves me from folding them! It's the little things.

Now that I've walked downstairs, made the bed, folded the clothes, and put away stuff in the kitchen, I remember where I was going with the Michael stuff. I've collected a few authors, but not gotten around to all those books, especially Michael Ondaatje. But--there's still one by Michael Chabon I haven't touched yet--and there's Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer prize winner, still sitting there--but no, there are just as many Joyce Carol Oates books--ho, snap (as Mingus would say*), I'll never reach the bottom of that barrel.** If there were a superhero among writers...!

My stomach might be ready to consider running. I should at least get dressed for said activity and join the other older folks, doing time around the park. That will get me all warmed up to rake the leaves. It would be nice to get both accomplished before noon.




Okay, really, I need to get up--in more ways than one, that is, I really will get sore and antsy. It's probably a good thing we don't have a lap top, I'd find endless ways to squirm online.

I'll try not to notice all the little piles I've made on my way out.

It's cold out there already. Just sayin'


How cold is it?











*that comes from my last read

**no particular need to do that

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I am here -->

It's always surprising, how many people come in to see us on a Sunday. At the bank, that is. Today was the last day  for one of our teller supervisors, who will be starting a new, back office job next week. In my almost seven years at the same job (same location, same bat channel), I have never seen so many staff changes occur in such short order. Most are just rearrangements; I have met most of the new staff before at some point.  The big, important change will be the shortening of our branch hours, and that will be revealed to us in the next couple weeks.

So, we will endure our present hours for one more holiday season, and we're bracing ourselves. We will be low staffed for awhile, and meanwhile, the problems continue to roll in. Retailers continue to be hacked--after Target, it was Home Depot, and now Kmart. The Paytime Compromise was especially bad, since it wasn't merely debit card numbers, but bank account and social security information, as well. People come to the bank irritated with us, as if we created the problem. A few people have told us that this is very irritating, and asked, how many times is this going to happen? Honestly, I think people will soon start shopping with gift cards and cash. This is, indeed, horrible. All the bank can do is contact customers when their cards appear on the hack list, and make new cards. Which, by the way, gets very expensive for the banks. (Of course the bank doesn't charge customers for new debit cards when this happens.)

Sometimes, I think Ourbank has a giant KICK ME sign somewhere, the way non-customers will stumble in and start making demands. The strangest one this week was a guy who said he was traveling, and lost his Visa card. Was it drawn off our bank? No. Did he have an account here? No.  Hmm. He was disappointed that we couldn't make him a new card (!) and then asked me to do a cash advance. A cash advance off---the lost card? Yes, he knew the numbers by heart. Oy. I told him we had to have the actual card.  Resigned, he then asked me how to get to some place I've never heard of in Baltimore.

People are always bringing in their trash, too, but today was the first time someone handed me a banana peel. Okay, now I'm venting. But really? And yes, our coin counter charges non-customers a 5% fee.  THAT piece of information is posted in two prominent places. Those who stomp off can go to their own banks, or use Coinstar--which, by the way, is twice as expensive.

Speaking of complaining and unrealistic expectations, some of our staff changes started as a flight from a certain supervisor; at least two people requested transfers to get away from one particular individual.  When said supervisor was rotated somewhere else, they tried to change their minds, but were told no, it's too late now, you've committed to moving.  One of them put in her two weeks notice.  One hopes these two young women will be less rash (and petty) next time. Just an aside: I believe the one who quit was the instigator and the leader of the drama club, and that things will be different, and quieter, without her.

This is the start of my third writing session on this--wasn't I just saying that a personal blog doesn't have to be polished? So, I am rushing off for another thin-staffed frenzy, knowing that it won't, can't be as bad as yesterday. After all, it's Veteran's Day. Yes, we're open normal hours, and we're the only ones.

And tomorrow's my day off. I'll get caught up on everything tomorrow!




Monday, October 20, 2014

More October

So many conversations start, "Is it really ______________ already?" where the blank is filled in with a date, not a time of day. The hours often crawl, but only during working hours, while the days speed by. The weekends are over in a flash.

Time's passing brings change, and one  I'm looking forward to happening next year has not been announced yet, so the suspense is building...The bank I work for might be forced to shorten its hours because the stock holders want to see a reduction in operating expenses. (The company's stock is already doing well, but apparently not well enough.) Surely, we will still be open more hours than any other bank around here, but scuttlebutt has it that the drive-thru will no longer need to be staffed until 8:10 pm every single night--perhaps only Thursday and Friday. If the entire bank can close at 6:10 pm most days, that will make a nice difference in my life. Right now, with just two part time tellers, we full timers are picking up some closing shifts. And for some reason, every time I work a closing shift, it's followed by an opening one. Swing! Get home after 8 pm, get up at 6 am and do it again. Drat.

It can't be helped, and I'm not complaining about the way things are now, but I'll be elated if we get a break next year. And, I must add, complaining has recently gotten a couple people fired...recently, it was decreed (passive voice invoked for lack of knowledge) that about half the teller chairs in each branch had to be confiscated. It was some strange, mean-spirited decision that caught us by surprise, and a teller at a neighboring branch blasted the company on Facebook, which was not a smart move. She was gone very quickly. Another teller just got canned for getting into an argument with the assistant manager of her branch. She'd been there for five years, and was a conscientious, hard worker, so I was flabbergasted at that news. Since I would like to stay employed until the end of 2019, I'm going to be make a point of being very quiet. My age already makes me different, so it will take some extra cautiousness to fly under all the radar.

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

This weekend, I took the plunge and created an account on a local meetup site. I've been afraid of doing this, but there's really no obligation to make good on this threat of meeting people. I'm starting extremely small, which in this case means me and ONE other woman running around town on ONE Thursday morning. Yes, I am creating an obligation to show up and run, because that's what things have come to. (Next week, not this one, since it depends on my swinging schedule.) And I'm getting a lot of email updates, beckoning me to come to many events, the more the merrier.

That day, Oct 30th, will be very scheduled, since I will then go straight from work to the burg's library to hear a talk on paranormal and ghosty things. I have no idea what to expect, but it's almost guaranteed to be interesting. It does mean that I'm skipping our trick-or-treat night; Mike will be away with his high school buds, and I'm working late enough to miss part of the parade, anyway. The few we get, that is.

Hmm, it'll be interesting to see how I deal with so much action :)







Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Little Stuff

With me, it's always the little stuff. I don't do big stuff.

However,  made--or I should say assembled--a wreath. Here it is--

Ta-duh....since today is the 165th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's death, I've been thinking ravens. And, on Pinterest, I've seen some very cool Poe wreaths. On another site, I saw that some guy made a Baltimore Ravens Wreath with lots of tulle. This is SO cool. At some point, I'd like to make a tulle wreath, but it would take some tutoring. Anyway, this is my okay version, for someone who didn't have a clue what she was doing. The flowers and bird came from The Dollar Tree, while the styrofoam wreath, black-and-white ribbon, and black bow came from Michael's. Actually, I didn't buy enough of the patterned ribbon, so I used some of Mike's black duct tape for the background behind the flowers (hope he doesn't mind). The lace hanging down from the raven was left over from--something I can't remember, and I didn't bother gluing stuff because I have plenty of straight pins. See, this way I can alter it if I decide it sucks.

For instance, perhaps the flowers should have been up one side or the other, not all on the bottom....hmm, wouldn't hurt to have some kind of cat motif on it, as well.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Weekend Update

Last night's movie was Tim's Vermeer. It's a Penn and Teller film that's not about Penn and Teller, though Penn Jillette does narrate this documentary. It's about his friend, Tim Jenison, an engineer and inventor who thinks of himself as a non artistic geek. However, he loves the paintings of Johannes Vermeer, the Dutch master whose paintings Girl with Pearl Earring and Girl with Red Hat  became so iconic. Tim set out to discover just how Vermeer managed to paint with such photographic detail 150 years before the invention of photography.

Tim chose The Music Lesson as his project. (Nothing too difficult, huh?)

Then, he went about recreating the entire setup, and true to his obsessive tendencies, everything was exactly to scale, he bought the cello, he acquired the tapestry, the windows...no detail was overlooked. His daughter was home for a month for the holidays, and she wound up putting on the dress and posing for a very long time. Penn remarked that no student was ever so glad to get back to school. Anyway, though, Tim did paint his Vermeer.


In my mind, he proved how Vermeer was able to achieve what he did circa 1662. It took Tim Jenison long, hard hours, days, and months to paint one picture, and he admitted that if it weren't for the film, he would have given up. Yet, Vermeer painted dozens. Today, about thirty-four (34) existing paintings are attributed to him. I stand in awe of Johannes Vermeer in a different way, now: he invented something that worked like magic, an idea that allowed him to paint exactly what he was seeing. His paintings might actually be the first photographs.

I'd recommend this documentary!

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




No, no particular need to talk this out.  I am not going to miss my Aunt Flo.  Not a bit. This might sound cold, but her visits were always inconvenient, sometimes painfully so. That said, there were times when she actually took a hint and took a hike--I very much appreciated that she did not come all the way out of Fort Jackson with me, especially during bivouac week. That was surprisingly considerate of her, but that was a long time ago, about three decades. Okay, a wee bit more than that. But anyway. She's lost her energy, she's fading, she's quickly becoming a pest of the past.

I seem to remember a certain episode of All in the Family when Edith goes through "the change". Since I was young kid, I did not fully understand what all the fuss was about, but it was clearly something terrible, something all us women would have to--endure. Well, I still don't know what all the fuss is about. Just sayin'. So far, it's my favorite part of getting older.

Enough of that.

My least favorite topic right now is that I might be reaping the consequences of youthful sun exposure. Consequence: it has such a negative ring. About a month ago, I dyed my hair, something that is actually against everything I believe, and yet--I've been doing it for ten years, using the same inexpensive product in the comfort of my own bathroom. I've also grown out my hair quite a bit, another way of avoiding unnecessary human contact. (I see what I'm doing here.) This time, I wound up with a red mark on my face, and assumed that I'd developed some kind of allergy. After it hung around for weeks, I went to my doctor, thinking that she could give me medication to make this leave me alone. Well--this is where I get to the topic in the first sentence--she told me that there was no way no how this was contact dermatitis. She's given me a referral to have a skin shaving biopsy.

Just when I thought I'd had my last trip to the doctor this year...I'm so tired of making appointments. Bright side: I have satisfied my deductible. (There's a first time for everything.) And for now, I find myself more stressed out about getting this over with than what the actual results might be. If it is a squamous cell, it'll be an early call. Honestly, it doesn't look like much, and I was a little embarrassed about even being there.

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

Back to films...here's a short one, Danish with English subtitles. It would be a tad too ironic to put it one Facebook...



No9 NEW STATUS from The Current on Vimeo.


Okay, I need to go read...I have a pile that are screaming out my name and furious about the neglect they've suffered.

Happy Weekend!






Saturday, August 30, 2014

lalalalalala

I'm off this weekend! Two whole days to get stuff done, exercise, and read. So far, it's mid-morning on Saturday, and I have not even read all my e-mail. The problem is the number of sale notices I get. And, as we all know, the distractions just get worse as soon as we click on the link that leads us to those cool shoes: even when we wake up and realize we can't possibly need or want anything shiny today, or next week, or next month, we will see those cruel shoes everywhere we go on the interwebs. They know where we live and they know what we want, what we really, really want.

However, I did cut Mike's hair, an act that has been scheduled for quite some time. He reminded me a couple times this week that he'd really like this to happen right after his run today, because he knows how I forget stuff. Now, there's a man who knows how to use a day off. Yesterday (on a day off), he got up in time to go running before the plumber came to fix our shower, then he went off to his eye appointment, vacuumed, and cleaned the bathroom. By cleaned the bathroom, I do not mean a quick, cursory wipe down. Things seem to be glistening.

He's off on a bunch of errands now, as I sit here thinking about a bunch of stuff, none of it very important or interesting. I must work on Labor Day, but it will be a short, easy day in the drive-up window (just so the company can say, we're open!).  This is happening because we are so dreadfully bereft of staff at this juncture that the only part timer we have left isn't allowed to have more than twenty-five (25) hours a week, and we need him other times.

And--vacation time is upon us. Four more work days! Even if they keep me overtime, I will NOT be reporting on Friday!  By the time I get back, the staffing situation will be improving.


Soon, very soon, that desperate feeling that comes over me when I imagine being stuck at work all night with coworkers who can't conjugate simple verbs and let drama upstage everything more important will be a thing of the past; it will be back to sane schedules for everyone, and there will be much rejoicing.

I will not hear the words, that transaction was ran wrong, or you shouldn't of did that for many days. And no, Weird Al, they are not being mocked online because few know better and even fewer care. (They could not care less.)

There are so many odd things going on in my head just now that I'd really better start moving. There will be pictures, later...




p.s. We will be staying at a resort in the Riviera Maya region, the same place we've been visiting for years now. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Update

This is a day off for me because I must work this coming Saturday. Actually, I had originally scored a three-day weekend, but had to work yesterday (Sunday, yes we're open Sundays) because of  a staffing shortage...but I won't bore you with that. Yesterday was easy money, and a slightly shorter work day, so I am not feeling too put upon.
~~~~~~~~~
On the bright side, I did score that sundress! What a surprise...it started in Ohio, then traveled to New Jersey, but then it sat in York, Pennsylvania for a very long time.  Suddenly, however, it was in Maryland, then North Carolina, and then at some point,  Philadelphia. Anyway, it did materialize, and it's cute.  Speaking of material, it's a bit thin, but I will wear neutral underwear in low lighting at the beach and it will not matter.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In other news, my older sister moved back home after convalescing at my mom's house for a few weeks. (She had back surgery) This is happy progress, and when I first arrived at the top of the stairs and entered her apartment, I was greeted by Tiger, a cat I hadn't seen in months, soon followed by Gray Boy, and I think I got a glimpse of the shy Bazzy.  No lighting trick is going to hide the fact that these cats are not thin.  They've always been heavy, but they are larger now. I suspect that GB has been eating more than his share, and that Tiger has been loudly complaining to both her caretakers that she hasn't been fed. (Liar)

Actually, Tiger's the one who reminds me of a Kliban cat (it's the stripes), but she looks small next to Gray Boy.  When GB is lying on his side, he looks like an area rug. I am not exaggerating, and yes, I've seen bigger cats on the interwebs, but I am hoping that they are photo-shopped. (Bazzy is merely chubby. She who arrives last at the feeding trough gets the least.*)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
IF I am writing about my sister's fat cats, THEN it must be slow around here. 'Round here...' gives me a Counting Crows ear worm, which reminds me: they are releasing a new album in early September. It's about time.










*IF they are aware that they have separate dishes, it is not evident. 

Sunday, August 03, 2014

For the time being

Goofing off as much as possible this morning before I must go to work...it's unusual that I must work all weekend, but yesterday wasn't bad at all.  I do have a slight self-induced headache from that last beer* at last night's social outing. How lucky it didn't rain. This morning's run did not quite jiggle out the ache, but I can tell it won't linger too long.

What have I been up to? I'm almost finished watching all three seasons of BBC's Sherlock Holmes, and then I will go through withdrawal. Each episode is two hours long, which always seems to come as a surprise--was I really cloistered in my dark room, bent over my DVD player with my headphones on that long? Yes, yes I was. Several times. So far, this series is not a disappointment, but soon I will be forced into withdrawal.

The only disappointment I've had recently was ordering a sundress from a catalog, which was the last one available, just happened to be my size, at a bargain price--and I even scored free shipping--but I never got it. Lost in the mail. *sigh*


Alas, not to be...oh, is that Moriarty? I know he faked his death, too--I'm counting on it. But I wasn't counting on the dress, really, it's okay. A bargain on a whim, I'll find something else, as if I needed anything else.

We will be visiting Mike's parents later today because one of our Minnesota nieces is here! It is the end of an era, when the girls can no longer come together. Adulthood: sooner or later, it catches up with all the kiddos.

And now, I really must get ready for work...thank goodness we wear a uniform.





*called, aptly, A Wee Heavy. Tasty, but I should not have lifted that one.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Whatever floats the boat

My ideas about what I can or might do, and what I will or won't like, are sometimes frighteningly unrealistic. For instance, I've always had this feeling that I could, if I tried, become a very early morning person, which in this case means "I could get up at 5:00 am and go running."  Recently, I actually came up with the harebrained idea of putting my wind-up alarm clock inside my teddy bear puppet, and sleeping with it. Yep. And when the alarm I was snuggling with went off at 5:00 am, what did I do? I jumped out of bed, left the room, shut off the alarm, and got right back into bed (with the bear).  Yes, it did help me roll out of bed earlier, but first I had to recoil and recover from the shock of that alarm. I didn't like it. Note to self, forever more: 5:00 am is too early for you, and this must be accepted. It's okay, it's not actually necessary, anyway. Get over it.

This is me and Beachnut, my bear. My hair is long now, pulled back, yet still a mess.

If there is anything I must constantly remind myself not to do, it is inventing problems I do not have. Or, making problems out of the way things are.

Enough of that. This fall, I am determined that I am going to make one of these--



I love it, and this really should not be that difficult. Yeah, I remember, vaguely, a blog post about starting to loom knit, which I did not keep up, but I am slowly crocheting a throw for our couch in the living room. That I can do. That loom knit hat I started was another strange, harebrained notion; I don't need or particularly want a gray hat, and--every time I put that project down, I had to remind myself how to do it, all over again. In contrast, basic crocheting is something I learned as a kid and never forgot. And there are all kinds of new stitches to be learned by watching YouTube. How exciting.


                                See, it's as broad as my hand now, and can be sort of meditative.

Another thing I keep thinking I want is a big plastic "swimming" pool.
Why? Do I really picture myself pumping this up, filling it with cold water, and--sitting in it? With my Nook? Because I need more sun? Oh, yeah, it would need to be covered when not in use, too. It does not come with a cover. Anyway, it's only $18 at Big Lots, but it seems more appropriate for me to simply keep sitting out on the patio with a cold drink. I do enjoy that. See? My summer does not need to be fixed.

Perhaps, one of these warm days, I'll do something really different and visit the township swimming pool, instead of staying home to crochet an afghan. That's not a totally unrealistic notion...









Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Magic of Summer

Summer goes by so quickly, I'm trying not to miss it. Any late afternoon that is not dark and stormy, I will find a way to enjoy, to live in the summer.

We had a very good time at the 2014 Magic Collectors' Convention in Cincinnati, OH. It was fun spending time with a few people we enjoy but rarely see, touring a couple awesome collections, and hearing Teller speak (he does) about a trick he'd spent a year perfecting. And no, sadly, that link does not contain a video; evidently, it's been taken off YouTube, and I can't find it anywhere.

However, we did take a few pictures--first, an idea of where we were, exactly.

We stayed at the Marriott in Covington, Kentucky, which is right across the river from the big city. Those murals are The Roebling Murals, and they depict the history of Covington. At the near end of these paintings, there is a staircase that leads to the Roebling Bridge.


Quite the ornate crossover, no? Nice walkways on both sides. The Ohio River is pretty murky looking, though. Here's a shot from the Cincinnati side--


And here is the lovely Smale Riverfront Park. I had the pleasure of running through this park two beautiful mornings in a row. As you see, we had very nice weather.

One of the highlights of the tour was Ken Klosterman's collection, the Salon de Magie, which is overwhelming. His collection is well rounded: posters, apparatus, photographs, books, historical items and ephemera--you name it, he had it. And this was not all of his collection.


This is what Mr. Klosterman calls his little log cabin. The man does own a sense of humor.  It is much bigger than it looks in this picture, and there is a natural cavern underneath, accessible by a tiny elevator. It is a hidden passageway to the booty down below...


This photo was taken upstairs in the living room, and that is a Robert-Houdin clock I'm standing with. This is just one of them--he has two others.


Down in the cavern, every available spot is taken with valuable collectibles. Even the tables belonged to famous magicians.


This is the famous Light and Heavy Chest, the most important artifact in the entire place.

We had lunch outside, in front of the cabin, between his horse farm and the lily pond. We did not tour the Whitehall Mansion, where the rest of his collection is housed, but we did receive a nice video of both these collections with the rest of our convention goodies.  It's rather startling, seeing so much--wealth.

An unexpected highlight was the fire drill that occurred at the Marriott during the convention's auction, which I'd decided to skip in favor of some down time. As a result, I was called out just as I was seriously nodding off, to the sounds of sirens and k'booming. It turns out that all that k'booming I heard was coming from across the river, the game night fireworks show. Gee, we hardly ever get to see fireworks. Along with the sirens and flashing police lights, it was quite a raucous event.

Mike came away from the auction with another collectible book, while I bought a memoir by Celeste Evans, one of the first lady magicians. She kindly autographed it for me, and I'm happy to have had the chance to meet her.

The night before the convention, we stopped overnight in Columbus, Ohio to meet up with a friend and see his sizable collection. Columbus was a happening place that night, mostly because Santana was in town. Also, at the hotel in which we stayed, there was a Haunting Convention. Hmm, if the magic collectors ever become too tiny a group (a definite possibility), perhaps they can merge with the haunters...two groups that thrive on costumes and illusions.

It's always nice to get away, and even nicer when it turns out to be such an interesting and enjoyable trip. And now for the rest of summer---