10 January 2011

Grandma knows best...

Tonight's dinner was leftovers.  Let's say that they were old enough to be on the questionable side.  I gave them the sniff test, which seemed OK. I gave them the once over, and they were perchance on the slimy side, but only if you gave them a good hard look.

I thought about my options for grabbing something quick at a nearby restaurant. Nothing seemed terribly appealing and at 8 pm, dinner was already late. Plus I hadn't called my Grandma to wish her a happy birthday, so I decided postpone my dinner decision until after the phone call.

While I was on the phone with the birthday girl I mentioned that I hadn't eaten dinner yet because I wasn't very hungry and because I was doubting the goodness my leftovers. Grandma told me that while she is no expert on leftovers since my Grandfather stipulated on their wedding day that there were to be no leftovers in his house (something she obliged during their 63 years of marriage), she thought that they were probably still OK, especially if they were microwaved a few seconds too long.

"Besides, Kimberly," she said, "probiotics are very fashionable these days."

What?  At 89 she claims to be slowing down, and that her mind is "not the steel trap is once was" but I think that's pretty hip for an old lady. 

Also, we have a very polite relationship, so it's not like I could say, "Ugh, Grandma. Yogurt that makes you poop is so 2009."

01 January 2011

Crank it up to '11

Happy New Year!

I had hopes that this year would start out by bringing me some green for my wallet. Instead it has brought me some green for my nose.  I'm sick. It stinks. Please pass the antibiotics.

So instead of my plans to eat a gaggle of waffles with my friends, I've been downing chicken noodle soup with lots of Sriracha. Usually I can only handle the stuff in small doses but with stuffed up nose parts, anything goes!

In any case, since my celebrations were slight, I'm rewinding the New Year's countdown clock for February 3rd. Year of the rabbit, you'd better get this tiger off my back right quick!

14 December 2010

Taming the Beast: Parental Mail Edition

My parents send me articles in the mail. Lots of them.  I have complained about it here before, but I don't think I captured the shear magnitude of the situation.

I will say that sometimes their assorted reading materials provides me with some absolute gems. For example, they recently passed along a Halloween card from my long-deceased grandmother. It filled me with a wonderful nostalgia, and the wobbly script of the greeting inside reminded me of when she broke her shoulder and taught herself to write left handed.  "You really can teach an old dog new tricks," she told me, "but it doesn't mean they can do them well."

Most of the time, these shipments are full of articles and other ephemera. My parents are voracious readers so sending these items is a way that they say, "We are thinking about you." And although I read a lot myself and realize that their motivations are good, I often perceive the ever-growing stack of papers as a succubus of time, attention and space.

Part of this is my fault. I feel compelled to read it all and I can't throw it away until I do. This is a problem when I receive a shipment like the one I received last week with a piece of upholstery fabric I had requested. It contained:

  • Aforementioned card from my grandma
  • Christmas letter and photo from their college friends
  • Financial Times Graduates Face Hard Route to the Top
  • Entire program from the Theaterworks production of Tracy Lett's Superior Donuts
  • Financial Times insert The Connected Business Digest
  • 3 pages of my medical records. One dated June 2000. Two were from 1991.
  • Info regarding an Oregon-based insurance company.
  • An article from Time Magazine about kitty prozac and pheromones.
  • Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For 2008
  • Printed MountainWings email entitled How to be Happy
  • Money Magazine's The 50 Best Jobs in America
  • Are You Ready for 76 Million Echo Boomers? from BottomLine
  • San Jose Mercury News article Engineering, Computer Science Pay More than Liberal Arts
  • An article called Rekindling the Home Fires
  • Kiplinger's Personal Finance Don't Worry Little Lady about sexism and auto repair.
  • Another page from Kiplinger's either citing an article called A Wounded Warrior Returns to Work or What You Need to Know About Warranties. I'm really not sure which, so I read both.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek Inside the Swoosh

It may not seem like too much, but this adds up to well over 100 pages of material. It also creates a brand new pile of papers all on its own. The salt on the wound? I received it on a day where I had literally spent hours eliminating a hauntingly similar pile.

So, in order to curtail the paper overload, I composed a set of criteria which I plan to refine and put into flow-chart form. Where's Visio when you need it the most?

1. Can I read and ingest the entire contents within 2 minutes?
  • Yes. Ok to send.
  • No. See question #2.

2. Is it something I am passionate about?
  • Yes. Ok to send
  • Maybe. Ask if I want to read it via phone or email.
  • No. See question #3

3. Is it something I need to act on?
  • Yes. Send with explanation.
  • No. See question #4

4. Is it something that will make me feel good?
  • Yes. Ok to send.
  • No. See question #5

5. Did it resonate with you in a way that made you think of it a day later?
  • Yes. Send with explanation.
  • No. See question #6

6. Have you recently sent me an article that is very similar?
  • Yes. Do not send.
  • No. Ok to send.
What do you think? Is this a way to let them down easy?

12 December 2010

Aha! Rational Humanism is to blame!

I just watched a TED video that is definitely worth 20 minutes of your precious time, particularly if you are someone with a creative bent.

I'll admit. I had not been drinking the TED KoolAid until this week, but now it's coming up everywhere. I most recently saw their efforts poked fun of in a rather lame webseries which does not deserve my precious link.

This video features Elizabeth Gilbert (she of Eat, Pray, Love fame) with an engaging and articulate pontification on why there is so much fear surrounding creative career motivations.

In case I have not adequately dangled the carrot that enticed you to watch said video, may I offer that Ms. Gilbert succinctly explains:
  • Why I cried when Dobby the House Elf died in Harry Potter.
  • The "bizarre collaboration" between the work-mule artist and an externalized creative spirit.
  • A nice anecdote about Tom Waits being interrupted by inspiration while driving down the freeway. 


Enjoy!

11 December 2010

Twelve-Eleven-Ten

Today's descending date 12/11/10 was a deadline for me. Eons ago, I realized that I really missed this medium and actually wanted to write in a blog. I like that creating things here takes some concentration and focus. So I wrote down a couple of ideas and jotted down a message on my calendar to get things going again.

I don't think there was any specific reasons my absence that are worth mentioning. I'm not big on excuses to begin with and all of the reasons I came up with seemed like excuses. I simply fell out of the habit.

Obviously, after such a long time away, this place is going to need a little housekeeping. First order of business? Get rid of the damn canned meat in my comments!

19 February 2009

Oh, the Germanity!


My recent switch to digital television means that I no longer receive Saturday morning cartoons en espanol. I am pretty sure I can watch Spanish evangelists on one of my 9 religious channels, but somehow I feel as if this gringa could learn a broader vocabulary watching Las Aventuras de Piggly Wiggly.

I decided to fill the void with Spanish language tapes. So, on today's trip to the library I decided to put my latest obsession (cookbooks) to rest. It was beginning to get expensive considering all of the ingredients and kitchen gadgets this hobby caused me to purchase.

I looked through the aisles and I could not find a series that was at my level. Most of the books on the shelf were catering to the Introduction to/Traveler set. So, do I look at the Library catalog and attempt to find what I'm looking for? Maybe put something on hold that is more suited for my purpose?

Of course not. I decide to learn German. I pick out the Teach Yourself: Beginner's German and promptly play the accompanying CD in the car while I finish my errands. German has long been one of those languages that I know in bits and pieces-- mostly from music or from my sister (who is fluent in the language and would use her language skills to torment me). I saw the tape and thought, "Why not?"

It struck a chord of amusement to know that one of the very first phrases the series teaches (on page 5 of the book) is, "Ich habe Kopfschmerzen." Meaning, "I have a headache."

Is this a sign of things to come?

11 February 2009

Sleepytime Buster

I have many good things to say about living in 500 square feet. It keeps me from spending even more of my life cleaning. It makes me evaluate what I hold onto more carefully. All things told, a 500 square foot apartment is more than enough space for me.

But I'll admit, sometimes it is a little small for both myself and Buster. When I first adopted Buster, I had trouble coping with two things: near-constant allergy attacks and the fact that I was sharing my small space. While both problems have subsided significantly since those first few weeks, every so often I am reminded that Buster and I are individuals who need our space.

Buster's new habit is sleeping with his face nearly planted into a pillow. He will do this on the bed or on the couch. I caught him napping this way this afternoon and took some video. My apologies. This video is shot on a point and shoot type digital camera, and I shot it holding the camera perpendicular. Now I can't easily rotate the file, and I have no editing software.

Please note that this video features the embroidered "MEOW" pillow that my parents bought for me many moons ago and is shot on my faded rainbow loveseat.


video

Although I hate hate HATE listening to my own recorded voice, I should say that I am asking him, "Are you pissed?" But I'm saying it "Pee-yust?" because I am always asking him that and I know he is not really a pissed off sort of a guy.

Yes, it does seem a little cruel to be waking him up from his nap. However, before I grabbed the camera, I noticed that one of his ears is turned back, so I knew he wasn't actually asleep. After this I ran a few errands to give him some private time. When I returned he'd moved from his spot here to the pile of blankets in my dining room/bedroom. At least someone gets to enjoy laundry day. He's still there now, see?