Saturday, September 05, 2015

This and that just because

Our last movie was Mr. Turner, a film about an eccentric 19th century British painter. On one hand, it was brilliantly acted and the scenery and colors were beautiful.  The film displays a man's life without any heavy handed statements or background. For this reason, it was a challenging film to watch, and I was at times a bit confused. Also, I felt it was overly long. It did, however, inspire me to look up more about this painter, since there was so little factual information in the film. I cannot really recommend this film to people I care about, though.

Since I like lighthouses, this is J. M. W. Turner's painting, The Bell Rock Lighthouse.

Honestly, I must start adding some more--lively films to the Netflix cue...

The last book I read was Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson, which I enjoyed very much. The premise is fascinating and thought provoking in several ways. I find it immensely interesting to read other people's reviews on Goodreads, since opinions vary so widely. Sometimes, in the discussion threads, I find ideas that never occurred to me, even more ways to love a book! On the other hand, there are always people who think that what you've just enjoyed so much is rubbish. Different tastes. This time, though, I was surprised that one of the most prolific reviewers hated this book because there was too much drama.  (She uses lots of exclamations!!!! but doesn't like drama.) While it's important that one not know too much before reading Atkinson's latest book, it is nevertheless well known that the protagonist dies--many times. The title suggests this, and it also follows (in my opinion) that there will be--drama. Anyway, I just got a laugh out of that. I've certainly had the experience of disliking  a book or books that many others call fabulous.

Speaking of the reading experience, the latest Nook has just been released. Since Barnes & Noble has moved away from making eReaders, it's a Samsung product--another one. While it does sound like an improvement over the first B&N--Samsung product, the price is a shocker: Four hundred dollars. $400.00. Four. Hundred. Dollars. It's the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 NOOK®
But then, if the iPad Air 2 can cost that much, I suppose this one can, too...what the market will bear, I suppose. We'll see.

Pretty scary. I find it entertaining to watch all these new devices come out, for some strange reason. We already have a Samsung tablet, and I do have the Nook App, so I can easily purchase and read anything I've ever bought from B&N on the tablet--should I ever want to do that.  Lots of people already have tablets. So.  Who, exactly, is the audience for this very expensive tablet?  According to the B&N website, the previous model of this size is $150.00, while the biggest one is $250.00. Those upgrades better be astounding. And really, all I want when I read is an eReader. The only one Barnes & Noble still makes is the Nook Glowlight, which I hope is still around when my vintage Nook dies.  I never thought eReaders would ever go the way of eight track tapes. One can hope. 

Now, that's an idea...

Happy long weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

First Wednesday

Today is the first Wednesday of September and also the first Wednesday for most returning students in this area.  There have been the usual changes in traffic--for me, working in the drive-thru, that means people showing up first thing, as soon as I'm open or sooner, in hurried-surly moods--OR in the late afternoon, in impatient-tired-surly moods. We don't have enough staff right now to comfortably make the stretch, so sometimes I find myself alone with a full drive-thru with customers who expect us to look up and fill out everything for them, and don't seem to realize that I'm actually waiting on someone else while they're placing their order.  I understand that, but do not understand why they have to be rude when I either can't hear everything, or need to verify something.  Do they treat other wait staff that way? 

Enough of that.  Even when I get highly annoyed, I don't take it personally. The big news is that we're turning into another bank by April of next year. The new owners are looking over the branches and have already begun to make little changes.  Yesterday, one of the most senior members of our facility team was here and stopped in to chat--he'd wanted to retire here, but he seems to be fairly certain that he'll be getting severance instead; the new company uses contractors for maintenance.  I don't know how close he is to retirement...I am optimistic that we tellers will survive.  Of course, it will be nice if this transition goes smoothly, but it can't be as bad as last time! (This will be my second experience with big transitions, but this time, the circumstances are different.)

In other news, it's almost vacation time for Mike and me!  I have five (5) more work days until I'm off for a glorious week and a day.  And I don't care how bad that Sargassum seaweed is. If the ocean really is that untenable, we'll sit on the beach and cool off in the pool.  We've been there when the beach was flat out closed all week because of severe weather and had a good time.  No worries.

I've enjoyed anticipating this trip more than I can ever remember doing in the past.  I'm  not sure what explains this, but it's a good thing: looking forward. 

Happy September!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Late June, 2015. Yes, 2015

Is it really possible to be in love with both Stephen Colbert and the pope?

I had very strange dreams last night--have been lately, probably because of the change in night noises. In this case, that means the window unit that keeps us cool enough to sleep. Last night, a storm changed things up a bit. But anyway, I woke up this morning with a strange craving for Fresca and I wanna go tubing.

I want to at least peek in on my sister later today, who is convalescing from a hip replacement. And then, tomorrow is Father's Day, and we will be going to see my father-in-law, who has just had a knee replacement.

When people ask me if there's any news with us, I'm usually at a loss. I should say, Good news! Neither one of us is having a knee or hip replacement.  Mike and I are still here, still going to work every day, still healthy, and still playing Scrabble. Mike is actually running outside these days, not always on the treadmill, as he had been for a long period of time. So far, so good, he's not injured. I'm either running or walking every day, trying not to hurt the aging knees.

The latest national tragedy is the shooting of  nine  people in a church in South Carolina, a church that happens to be historically African American. The shooter was a 21-year-old who admits his guilt and states that he wanted to start a race war.  It's hard to fathom how anyone could think that African Americans are taking over this country. There is no understanding this. It's a crying shame that it's so damned easy for anyone to be armed and therefore dangerous. If the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings did not change spark change, I fear nothing will. Scary, sad, depressing.

I did not mean to take a walk on the dark side this morning. When I heard this news, I'd just finished reading the novel, The Orphan Master's Son, by Adam Johnson, which takes place in North Korea. I was feeling so thankful for not being in a country like that.

And I am. I like to think that the people who choose to do horrible violent things are rare, and that the majority of people are hurt and outraged by these actions. I like to think that the enlightened population is growing. I like to think that the current pope is a sign of the coming tipping point, when logic, reason, and tolerance will finally take over.

Breathe in, breathe out...

Monday, June 01, 2015

Rabbit, Rabbit!

                                                      Happy Lucky June!

This might be the quickest update ever. This past weekend, while my mother and younger sister were being amazing, indefatigable tourists and visitors in NYC, I read a book. I did get up earlier than usual on Saturday, I did run a little farther than usual, I did vacuum a little (I'd try to suppress that), but then--I read a book. I did do this mostly outside on the patio, so I did tell myself that I had gotten--out.*

Meanwhile, my older sister was visiting friends and her daughters at the coffee house or the movies. Mike and I saw a movie Saturday--at home. It was Unbroken. Oh, my, I hate to say this, but it was not good. Emotionally flat, and I daresay, if you haven't read this biography, by Laura Hillenbrand, you will have no idea who these men are.

For a little while, I am scoring a later shift on Mondays because a coworker is taking summer classes, but hark, yonder clock is making that dingy noise telling me that I need to start thinking about getting dressed--and going out.

This month, I resolve to spend at least one weekend day at a park or reserve, watching the birds and stuff. I do like to that, honest.

* I was surrounded by people mowing lawns, weeding, or walking dogs. Lazy me. 

Cheers! Here's to June! Whatchaupto?

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 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.


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? 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.

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.


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


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. 

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.


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.


Life--so unpredictable. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


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!