Archive for the 'reflections on life' Category

Office Reflections

winter skyline

distant mountains.

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Although I still miss the lake and the trees at my previous location, this office can enchant. Whether it’s when I walk in on Monday morning and am greeted by the distant mountains at the end of the hall, or when the sun breaks through after a rainy day, casting late-day shadows on cubicle walls, I’m grateful to have glimpses of nature.

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schflera shadowI do prefer lots of long days of sunshine, but there is pleasure to be had walking out of the office at sunset on a winter’s day. The sky is filled with color, and the windows capture the flames.

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office windows at sunset

Taking Another Step Away

I treated myself and bought a new computer. It arrived yesterday – a Lenovo Yoga 730. I got the active pen as well, about which I know nothing. 🙂 I gather it lets me draw on the screen. IMG_9869How can someone be so ignorant about their new computer? I don’t pick my own computers. I (like Blanche DuBois) often depend on the kindness of others, in this case coworkers, not strangers.

Way back at the end of the summer I asked a former coworker for advice on a new computer. He’d given me great advice when I was searching for a hard-core gaming computer to handle Second Life and Open Sim. That was all the way back in 2010 and I got an Alienware. I still have that Alienware and it is still going, but I can’t upgrade it and USB ports are a bit different now, and so are operating systems.

Somewhere between then and now I bought myself another computer that could handle gaming and virtual realities. That one was the same machine that we’d bought our son, with a few enhancements added.IMG_9871 I never got a chance to use it. First my son broke his, so I gave him mine. Once it returned to me, my sister’s computer ceased to run her programs so I lent her mine. Permanently. 🙂 I love my sister. So here I am, without a modern functioning computer. I back up all my iThings to the Alienware, but I’ve discovered that I cannot write from it to the iThings. I had to do my last phone update by using my work Mac. It’s time already for a new machine.

I took the list of suggestions from the first coworker and showed it to my former teammates, whose opinions I have ALWAYS sought and trusted. I told them all that the only thing I do anymore is read mail, blog, social media, and process photos. They all agreed on the Yoga 730 and they all told me “buy the pen, you’ll like it”. Okay, I did. IMG_9872I haven’t even opened the box yet, *grin*, but I’m sure one of these days I’ll figure it out.

So why “another step away”? Because I suspect this machine will NOT run Second Life. I loved my time in SL. I’ve written about how much fun I had, how it challenged me, changed me, shaped me. I’ve written about the friendships I made that exist today and moved from virtual reality to RL reality. I still, foolishly, maintain my premium membership, although I have surrendered all my land. I want to go back, but there is no “back” – we have all moved on. Some of my friends are virtually dead, others have passed away in physical reality. Buying a non-gaming computer is yet another step away from the past.

You can take the woman out of SL, but you cannot take the SL out of the woman. No matter WHICH computer she buys.

Why We Compost

I do the majority of the grocery shopping for our household. I use a shopping list, I check the shelves and stocks before I go.IMG_9861 While I shop I have a general idea of the week ahead – what I think we’ll be doing, what meals will be needed. Yet somehow I always seem to be led astray in the produce department. The fresh fruits and vegetables are so appealing that I’m SURE we will be running short before the next grocery trip. I’m often wrong in that assumption. A few years ago I began composting. This has alleviated a lot of my guilt about ‘wasting’ the produce we don’t eat. I don’t consider composting “wasting”. I love to garden, I need fresh soil every spring. It’s my own little circle of life – produce to dirt to produce.
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I’m NOT Hiding

Am Yisrael Chai
jewish starI’ve written this post over and over and over. I started with growing up, I started with the past weekend, I started with the wonderful Shabbat service I attended last night with my congregation/community. But it all comes down to one thing – I will NOT hide. I will NOT live in fear. You hate me and want to kill me? That’s on you. I may have my moments of despair, but I will not fear and I will not hide.

AM YISRAEL CHAI!!

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THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL LIVE!!

Am Yisrael Chai lyrics

A Little Ray of Sunshine

Yesterday was, in the words of a famous children’s book, a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It was extremely frustrating and infuriating. There were a few moments of respite (such as falling asleep on the chiropractor’s table) but for the most part it was a day filled with chest pain, headache and fury. I arrived home still seething, unsure what I could possibly do to relax.

As I got out of my car, I heard my name being called. I looked up to see my 2 young neighbors running up the sidewalk, calling to me. They were very excited because they were having dinner DELIVERED but also a bit frustrated because they’d “CALLED AN HOUR AGO”. *smile* I commiserated with them and mentioned I was going to go inside and have leftovers. G, the little girl, looked up at me and asked “Can I have a hug?”

Well. Cue the sunshine, the flowers, the hearts, the rainbows, and all things warm and wonderful.

“Of COURSE you can have a hug”, I replied. I started to bend down to deliver the hug and stopped and said “let me put down all this stuff and give you a proper hug”. I dropped my bag, my laptop, my other bag and picked up this adorable, wonderful ray of sunshine and gave her a very big, long hug. I put her down and we smiled and she ran back to her house.

I needed that.

Reality…. Is it worth it?

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More headlines I’d prefer not to see because there are WAY TOO MANY headlines I’d prefer not to see, but they keep on showing up, day after day after day. I do need to bring the renovation information up to date (no, it is NOT 100% done yet). It keeps raining and raining and raining and by now that, too, is a bummer. They are promising sunshine this weekend so perhaps reality will be a bit improved.

Was an Oklahoma Woman Killed By a Pack of Small Dachshunds?
And I thought the deer in our neighborhood were brazen.

Woman on antibiotics develops a ‘black hairy tongue’ in bizarre medical case
I regret deeply that I did actually click through on this and saw the picture. I have sworn off antibiotics.

The CDC is warning people to stop reusing and washing condoms
Sigh. Really, this shouldn’t have to be said. Ever.

Man Arrested for Having Sex with Injured Beaver
I WOULD have said “only in Florida”, but this happened in Washington state – a continent away from the usual totally bizarre behavior that gets reported on my less circumspect news feeds.

“Vampire facials” at New Mexico spa may have exposed customers to HIV
Gross. Totally ick. And as far as *I* am concerned – the only place to hang out with vampires would be in Bon Temps, LA.

Teenage Pageant Girls Who Kill and Skin Rattlesnakes
Yet another reason why Texas is NOT on the list of places I’d consider for my retirement. And this must also be why I did not win the beauty contest I was in at my swim club the summer I was 13 – I forgot my dead rattlesnake

Watch a Moth Suck the Tears Out of a Bird’s Eye, Because Nature Is Metal
I’m not sure I have any problem at all with the moth drinking the bird’s tears, that seems somewhat ‘cool’, actually. “Nature is metal”??? Not really liking that accolade.

There you go. This is the best I can muster for you after this week. There were some absolutely lovely moments during this week, but there were far too many more that belong in the “I’d rather not see/know/hear” category. On the other hand – I’ve just typed this up with a purring black cat in my lap. 🙂 There is much that is right in the world.
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Knob and Tube Wiring

IMG_8493In the last few years of my home-ownership, I have discovered 2 things I would change if I could go back in time and make different decisions. The first mistake, that seemed absolutely correct at the time, was putting down that horrible black ground cover underneath the mulch that was all around my deck. Why was there mulch all around my deck? Because my deck is several feet off the ground, and I envisioned active children climbing about and falling. I wanted a nice soft cushion (or comparatively soft) in case of someone falling off the railing. (Always plan for the worst-case scenario.) The irony is that the mulch disintegrated, became dirt, became weeds, became a few inches deep of landscaping I don’t want. I tried to plant a morning glory and could not figure out why I could not dig more deeply. Upon closer inspection I found the black fabric. I had to take a scissors and hack away at it to create an opening wide enough for the plant and dig down so the roots could extend. I’ve hit the same issue with everything else I have tried to plant in the back. I will NEVER use black fabric again.

IMG_8507I was born in an old town – here since before 1776. My parents’ house was not that old, but it wasn’t new. It must have been built back in the 1930s or so. At that time gas lights were out and the new fangled electricity was in. And you got your electricity through your house with knob and tube wiring. We never had an issue with electricity in that house. Over time my father had the main panel upgraded from those little round glass thingies (fuses?) to circuit breakers, added a subpanel, but all of that was hooked to the K&T and everything was fine. We bought our house in the same town over 30 years ago and knew that there was K&T. Our homeowners insurance company knew there was K&T and we got insurance with no problem. We too have upgraded our panel, added a subpanel, rewired to modern standards whenever we had any electrical work done, but the core of the original house still has K&T. Even in places where we bypassed the K&T it was often left in place, disconnected, because of the mess and inconvenience of removing it. Let me also point out that the core of the house has plaster walls, not sheet rock. That’s just how things were done in those days.

Flash forward to selling our parents’ house 3 years ago. We learned then that we would have to rip apart the (plaster) walls and remove and replace all of the K&T because any new homeowner would not be able to get insurance on the house with K&T in existence. Yes, read that again. A perfectly working, reliable electrical system that never failed is uninsurable. I think one estimate we got was $10k to do the work. We couldn’t even find anyone to call us back with a solid estimate.

IMG_8508Asbestos. Did I forget to tell you about asbestos? All the hot water pipes way back when were wrapped in asbestos. When I was a teenager having parties in the basement, Daddy had wrapped red tape around the white asbestos so that people would not hit their heads (it was a low ceiling). My father, may his memory be for a blessing, was oh so smart. Daddy (wrongfully) removed most of the asbestos in HIS house by cutting it off himself (wearing a little cloth face mask) and bagging it up and tossing it in the garbage. But there was still some left. When we bought OUR house, of course there was asbestos. I’d grown up with asbestos, so what. At that time an ACCEPTED TREATMENT was to wrap the pipes with something such as heavy-duty aluminum foil, sealing them up completely. My husband donned his little respirator and dutifully wrapped every single pipe he could reach, wrapping them with the heavy-duty foil and miles of duct tape. We can’t sell the house with that either.

IMG_8504Knowing all this now, I’d have ripped apart my house before I moved in, and upgraded all the electrical (which I couldn’t have afforded – not the electrical part, not the repairing the ripped apart walls and ceilings) and had the asbestos removed “by professionals”. Maybe I’d have even removed the zillion layers of flooring you can see under the kitchen radiator. Of course all the horrible wallpaper would have been dealt with then too. As it stands now, I plan to burn my house to the ground before I’m ready to sell. Then no one can give me grief about my pipes, my electricity, my probably-not-current-grade water pipes and I can just sell a plot of land. It will cut down on a lot of inspections. And think how easy it will be to til that plot and rip up the stupid black fabric if there is no house in the way.

We all have fantasies……


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