Thursday, December 28, 2006

It Was Back To Work

Yesterday was the first day back after a pleasant four days off. Fortunately, it was a nice, uneventful day. The beauty part of it was that it's only a 3-day work week! I'm liking that.
Because they "gave" us Tuesday off at work as an "extra" day (of course it was unpaid) they are expecting employees to work 12 hour days for the remainder of the week. I couldn't believe how many were doing it. In at 5am and out at 5:30pm--That's absurd. I still go in at 6am and out at 2:30. Ridiculous.

I guess I may as well back up a few days and cover Christmas.

The high point of my day was going over to Sarah and Teresa's on Christmas morning. I got to be there for the majority of present opening, and also got served a great breakfast. Sarah totally loved her new jacket! After I explained the scenario of the two jackets I bought, we carefully opened them both and compared them. Absolutely identical in every way. I ended up getting (among other things) a couple of nice rugs for my bathrooms, and a shower mat-type rug to step out of the shower onto, and a Monopoly board game. Teresa didn't get anything real fancy--Her list only had a bunch of little things on it. Sarah and I did manage to just about cover it though.

Sarah and I went over to my parents' house at almost noon, and unfortunately had to be the only ones there for over an hour. I ended up getting a set of drill bits that I didn't need, a shot glass that says, "Rick's Bar" on it, and a can of Planters peanuts. It's obvious that they will never get it through their head: NO TOOLS. I don't need any tools, and if I did they wouldn't know which ones I wanted anyway. The whole visit over there was strangely tedious to me this year. I dunno. Now I need to figure out where to take the drills back to. God forbid I should say anything to them about returning them.

When I went home at about 5pm, the day was mostly over. I ended up napping and stuff and basically killing the rest of the evening.

I did go out the next day to try to find a hot killer deal on a Christmas tree for next year, but alas, nothing. I did however, buy myself a 100-pack of blank DVDs. For some reason, nobody bought me any of those. That was something I truly expected to get multiples of. Go figure.

Yesterday I was so busy on the way home from work. I hit Nordstrom's and took the extra jacket back. The gal working at the counter I took it back to said, "Wow, this will be gone in minutes... We have a waiting list for them!" It was totally trouble-free to return it. From there I hit a nearby computer store to pick up a power supply for Teresa's brother's computer that I had here to repair. After coming home, I put that power supply in, then put that computer in my trunk, along with a used power supply I needed to put into Teresa's computer, then drove over to their house. It only took a few minutes to fix T's computer and bring it back to life. After hanging out for a few minutes and watching some of Sarah's new Dane Cook DVD with them, I took off. I made a stop at the local teriyaki place and ordered dinner, then sped off to the public library to pick up three movies that I had on hold, then sped back to pick up the dinner I ordered. Finally back home to stay, I leisurely ate my teriyaki and watch a movie.

Sorry about the diary-type coverage, but I just figured I'd catch my readers up on how mundane my life has actually become. Pretty exciting stuff!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Here it is, my first Christmas as a single person since 1985. It's pretty bare around here. I have a pile of presents for Sarah to take over to her house, but nothing here to open. No lights, no tree, no presents. I do, however, have Christmas music playing on the radio.

Saturday was a good time spent with Sarah. I had stopped by their house earlier in the day to see what kind of pizza she wanted if she was still coming over. She assured me she was, but they still had things to do there. I left and picked up a take-n-bake pizza for each of us at Papa Murphy's. She came over later in the afternoon and we walked across the street to Lowe's and Fred Meyer to do some shopping. We did well, but our main item we wanted at Freddy's was a gingerbread house kit. All sold out. There was a huge pile only a few days earlier. The main reason she was coming over was for the two of us to build a gingerbread house. After going back home, we hopped in the car and went up onto the hill in Kent to another Fred Meyer. Nada. We hit Home Depot while up there too, still picking up a few things for Teresa. On the way home I decided that we may as well try some other avenues for a gingerbread house kit, so we stopped at Top Foods and hit pay dirt. After we grabbed one, we went over to the bulk candy area and added a few more choice decorations to our purchase.

Both of us were starved, so we decided that the first order of business was to eat. We watched the classic Christmas Vacation while we ate. After the movie was done, we started in on the gingerbread house. It's been a few years (maybe three, I'm not sure) since we've put one together, and I had forgotten what a pain in the ass the assembly process is. You have to ensure that your house stays together for the icing/glue to set, then you can do the fun part: The decorating. Note to parents: Assemble your gingerbread house a day or two earlier so it's all ready to go when you want to do the fun part. At any rate, we had a great time, and we got it finished at about 10:30 at night. Teresa was at a friend's house the whole time we were out, and she was going to come by and pick Sarah up on the way home. We got about half of The Polar Express watched before she showed up. It was a good time we had together.

Yesterday was a nice, relaxing day. I got all of my presents wrapped up and piled nicely on my coffee table. At about mid afternoon I decided to get put some clothes on and go out to buy some champagne. (I use Christmas as my once-a-year excuse to drink in the morning.) As I was about to leave, I got a text from Sarah asking me if I wanted bacon for breakfast in the morning. I guess that meant I was officially invited for breakfast at their house. I called them up and we discussed what they needed before I went out to the store. I ended up buying eggs, bacon, and two flavors of Jimmy Dean sausage. I really wanted the "hot" variety, but I settled for two others instead. I also bought two bottles of champagne--One for their house and one to take over to mom's later.

When I stopped by their house to drop the stuff off, I got their furnace going again. There's a persnickety part in it that has been "dying" for a couple years, but never replaced yet. She has determined that it is finally time to get it done and has contacted the furnace people (non emergency regular scheduling). At any rate, I got their house nice and warm for them, then hung out with Sarah and helped her wrap her mom's presents. I also did a little troubleshooting on Teresa's computer. I died during a power spike in a storm, and as I thought, the power supply was toasted. I'll take one over today if I remember to. I'm pretty sure I've got a couple of them around here. Anyway, I also got fed while I was there too, which is always appreciated.

So here it is... Christmas day. Yawn.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The 4-Day Christmas Weekend!

Yesterday I decided I was going to ride the Harley to work. The weather report showed a pretty good day for a change. I made sure everything was flowing smoothing and I could find all my riding gear (after all, it had been over a month since I had ridden last). I also had myself leaving for work about 10 minutes early to account for any "just in case" things that seem to happen when I ride the Harley. Yesterday was no exception. I had checked pretty much everything except the Harley itself.

It didn't start.

When it sits quite a while, you have to grind on it a little longer, alternating tries with choke on or off each time. By the time the engine started to burp and cough itself to life, the battery was dead. I sighed and pushed it back into the garage. See, that's why I always have to start earlier when I ride the Harley. You just never know.

The day at work was pretty good. I did my usual press operation, and as usual on my last day before Christmas, I wore my Santa hat all day. I also had on my Harley t-shirt with the Santa on it. Elaine wore her lighted reindeer antlers that she wears ever year as well. We were the only two with Christmas spirit as usual. Our employee Christmas gift this year was a Fletcher's Black Forest ham. I liked that. I was hoping we wouldn't get a tin of cookies like we have a few times in the past. We got a spiral cut ham last year, and I was hoping it would be that good this time. Close enough. A ham to a single guy is a good thing!

My down comforter showed up yesterday. That was the one I ordered from Amazon a while back. I guess it was good that I didn't ride the Harley after all eh? It wouldn't have mattered--I just would have left it to take home the next time I drove the car to work. I tried it out last night. It's a pretty nice comforter--Well made, comfortable and soft--But not overly warm. I guess that's okay... It never gets really cold to need an ass-kicking comforter, and this way I can use it longer throughout the year. I did sort of expect a little more warmth though. It doesn't seem any warmer than the cheapie 95% feather/5% down one that I already had, but it's a lot nicer and better made. Now I have one for each bed.

Thursday I got the jacket for Sarah that I ordered from Nordstrom's that I wrote about. The one they sent via overnight shipping. I didn't take it out of the package, but it sure looks the same as the one I bought in the store... That whole thing was a weird experience. I guess I'll just wrap one of them and then bring the other one out when she opens it, explaining that she gets to choose.

I hit a couple of stores on the way home from work last night, looking for nothing in particular, and found (yes, you guessed it) nothing in particular. I did manage to come out well when I stopped for beer though. I bought a new one to try called Blue Moon, and I loved it! I may have to push that to the top of my favorites list. I also bought a half case of Foster's lager. That's that Australian beer than usually comes in the giant cans like motor oil used to.

I went out last night at about 8 and bought my parents a copy of the first season of My Name is Earl. I know they'll like the humor, but I don't think they've ever seen the show. Each time I ever mentioned it, they said they didn't see it because they watched the John Ratzenberger show, "Made in America" instead.

Well, what's going to happen this weekend remains to be seen really. I've got a lot to do, but I want to have fun too. I think I want Sarah in on as much as possible. I think I'll see if we can do the gingerbread house kit this afternoon. Maybe a pizza too.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Poet... At it Again...

I was in the poetry mood again, but this time was a little different. I usually do my rhymes on the "two line" system, meaning every two lines rhyme, and each pair is a verse. This time I thought I'd try my hand at 4-line verses, meaning every other line rhymes. I'll tell you, it's a lot harder than it looks. This poem took me two days to complete. I hope you like it. Especially you, Melinda... After all, it's for you!

Ode to a Cousin

Melinda, whom I love so dearly
cousin since my day of birth;
Our meetings then were at best, yearly
I never knew your friendship's worth.

Your pictures graced my grandpa's wall,
both yours and sister Jan.
When I went near they seemed to call
so there I'd stop and stand.

I remember that I'd stop and gaze
any time I could
I'll bet I could have stayed for days
transfixed, right where I stood.

I was so in awe of you
whenever you were here,
I always felt self-conscious
whenever you were near.

The times you guys came up
to visit were so few,
that each for me was awkward
like I had only just met you.

Algona, where I lived and grew
was "no-wheres-ville" to me;
I longed for Southern Cal with you
where tanned I'd always be.

"Where the Action Is" and "Bandstand"
I watched them on TV.
I'd dream of California sand
and in those thoughts you'd be.

You were older than me back then
and so cool in every way,
I'd try to memorize the things you'd do
and everything you'd say.

Now that many years have passed
and our ages finally touch,
I can truly say at last
that I love you very much!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Spirit is Trickling In...

... But it's coming with a little frustration too.

I ordered a nice item for Sarah online from Nordstrom's a week or so ago. I was feeling pretty good about myself--Free shipping right to my door... yada yada. Well, the order status showed "Item is backordered. Estimated ship date December 19." Well, December 19th came and went with no change, so I got online this morning and went to the "live chat" feature to talk to a person about it. She did some checking and assured me that there were none of these items in Washington State, and because of the backorder status, they were not due to be shipped until late January. I don't mind telling you, I was pissed. I held it back though and was courteous to her as she was to me. After all, Sarah has a birthday coming up in late January, so maybe I could use it for that or cancel it if I chose to. Besides, there are still a few shopping days... No sense in getting too worked up about it.

After work today I went to Southcenter mall to do a little walk-through of the Nordstrom's store there just for the hell of it. Imagine my surprise when I found what I was looking for on the rack! Not one, but 3 or 4 in each size. Things were "clicking" and I was feeling good.

I drove home in the typical rush hour traffic feeling pretty good about having made the "key" purchase of the season, and listened to Christmas music all the way home.

When I got home, I got online to cancel my order. Imagine my surprise (yeah, I'm getting tired of imagining my surprise too) when I see, "order shipped" on my status, with a DHL tracking number. WTF? I got on the "live chat" thing again to see if I could make sense of it. After the nice lady spent a while checking, she determined that they evidently had a different UPC for whatever reason, and it was possible that there were actually subtle differences in the two jackets. She offered to cancel the shipped order and recall it back to the warehouse, but I opted to let it be delivered. This way Sarah will have a choice. Isn't that frustrating though? I went from "nothing delivered until late January" to owning two of them... All in 12 hours! At least it's Nordstrom's--They have an impeccable exchange/refund policy.

One other thing I did the other day that I forgot to mention. I did a little philanthropy of sorts. I went over to the Auburn High School (yes, that's my alma mater) and gave the music department my alto saxophone. My alto sax served me well during my school years, but was never a very good quality instrument to begin with, and I doubted that I would have ever gotten any decent price for it if I sold it. I decided that I would ask the band director there about whether or not they could use it. He was elated, "Of course! We'd love to have it!" I felt like it would be best served that way because I know there are always kids that have musical talent and come from poor homes, and he concurred. This gives them an instrument to loan to students that have a need. I wanted Sarah to see the whole thing, so I had her along with me too. I have no idea what she got from it, but it felt good to me.

I love to be able to do stuff like that!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Feeling Unplugged

I'm still not feeling the Christmas spirit.

I've started listening to 106.9 FM here locally this week because they're playing nothing but Christmas music, and it does seem to help a little. It helps, but I'm still not feeling quite right. I think the reason I can't quite put my finger on the reason for my state of mind is that it's because of a combination of things. I think what I wrote in my little poem the other day still holds true. I evidently missed the free concerts the Auburn School District puts on at this time every year. They do concert band, jazz band, orchestra, and choral concerts that are all holiday music. I missed them all.

Saturday I finally got rid of all that computer stuff that I sold on Ebay, so that cleared my living room back up to it's former barren self. That netted me about 90 bucks. The guy drove down from Everett to get it all. He would have been down sooner but for the weather we had on Thursday night. I couldn't fault him for that.

While I was waiting for him I boxed up the items I had to send down to LA to Mark, Dana, & Emma. They were, of course, wrapped and ready to just take out of the box and put under the Christmas tree when they get there. I managed to make it to the post office and get them mailed well before they closed, so that was one weight off my shoulders.

Sarah and I went out shopping last night for one of her friends. Her group of friends at school drew names and did a give exchange (actually it's taking place tonight) so she wanted to know if I would take her out shopping. We had a good time, but we ended up right back across the street from me here at Fred Meyer and bought her friend a gingerbread house kit.

I told Sarah I tried to get hold of her on Saturday because I wanted to build one of those with her, but she was out somewhere. We've done those in the past and she loves it and she definitely wants to do it again, so we'll get together some time in the next few days to do that. Today was her last day of school, so because I don't have to pick her up after school the rest of the week (or next week) I'm free to do shopping on the way home from work. Who knows, I may even decide to ride the poor old Harley to work. It feels so neglected.

I'm a little nervous about present delivery. The "big" item I bought for Sarah was back ordered. They expected it to ship on the 19th (today) but evidently it hasn't. I fear that because of Christmas' proximity to this weekend, I was cutting it too close as it was, let alone having an item back ordered. I screwed that up, and it pisses me off. Even if it does ship, I'm having it sent to work, and that means I can't get it on Saturday should they try deliver it then. If it does ship, I'll try to intercept it at the shipping place so it doesn't even go out on a truck. But still... It needs to ship first, and it's not moving yet. Dammit.

That's just the kind of thing that I don't need to happen right now. I need everything to go smoothly. No wonder people drink so much during the holiday season...

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Holiday Season - In Rhyme

I felt the need to do
a little poetry again.

It's a bit of the Christmas
season melancholy:

The holiday season we hold so dear
feels very, very odd this year.

My lack of lights and Christmas tree
could be the problem... Possibly.

My home is a quiet, empty house
without my daughter or nagging spouse.

No endless loop of Christmas songs
playing over and over, all day long.

No fighting over what to see
when Christmas specials are on TV.

Party invites never seem to be
when they're all couples and I'm only me.

But what if all these things I've missed
are actually my Christmas list?


What a Night...

It's not every night a person has to sleep in the guest bed... With earplugs!

Let me start at the beginning.

I picked Sarah up from school, patiently waiting in the car while she tried to track down a teacher for some homework help. After giving up, she came out and we headed down the hill. She had quite a bit of homework to do, and wanted to know if she could just do it at my house because I have cable Internet. We stopped by her house so she could pick up a couple things then headed over to my place.

Our area was about to get smacked hard by a fairly major windstorm, and by the time we got to my house it was picking up pretty good. She was upstairs doing her homework while I was downstairs reading a magazine. Occasionally the lights would flicker, reminding her to save her work as she went so she didn't lose it. At one point, there started a banging noise on my North wall. I went outside and found that the wind had pried part of my aluminum siding loose and was slapping it pretty good. I knew it would only get worse, and went to the garage to see if I could find my duct tape to anchor it with for the time being. After not finding it, I called my landlord and gave him the lowdown, and he assured me he'd be there within the hour. I wasn't so much concerned about the noise at that point--More concerned that the siding would come off and be ruined. I was just trying to save him some grief and expense. I also saw a few shingles off someones house fly through the backyard. At that point I carried my bbq grill to the garage for safekeeping.

After a couple hours (still no sign of Alan the landlord) Teresa called and asked me if I was going to bring Sarah home soon, adding that she had put dinner in the oven, hoping to beat the inevitable power outage that always happens where they live. A little bit later Sarah and I headed to her house. About halfway there it was apparent that Teresa didn't make it with her dinner... The whole area near their house was black.

I had Teresa get her half-cooked dinner and I took the both of them back to my house where she was able to finish her baked chicken/rice/veggies meal. I even let her finish watching the Seahawks game on TV (am I a nice guy or what?) that she was into when her power died. It was a good dinner.

Windstorms usually come and go in waves, and this one was no exception. Up until now, the wind had died down considerably, but now it was rearing its ugly head again. Now the siding had come loose even further. I made a halfhearted attempt to fix it short of actually nailing or drilling, and gave up. Teresa kept calling her house every half hour or so, listening for the sign of the answering machine to tell her that her power was back on. At about 9pm, Sarah went up and took a shower and washed her hair just in case she wouldn't be able to at home. Their power finally came on at about 9:30pm so I took them home.

When I came back home, I was tired and pissed. The siding was banging like hell outside and there was nothing I could do about it. There were about 3 or 4 runs of it loose now, and they were making a helluva noise. The problem was that they were directly outside of my bedroom. After deciding there was no way I was going to sleep in there, I took my alarm clock (which has a 9v battery backup) and I went to the guest bedroom, which is farther away from that outer wall. It was better, but not much. That noise was probably heard even by the other tenants. After lying there in bed for about 15 minutes or a half hour, I went to the garage and got some foam earplugs out of my toolbox and put them in.

Ahh... Peace finally. At first I was worried I wouldn't hear my alarm clock, but I figured that I usually wake up just before it goes off anyway. Fortunately, this time I was right. After I woke up this morning, I pulled out the plugs and lay there for a while--Assessing the noise. I could still hear plenty of wind, but not really any banging. I went and looked out the door and saw that the trouble had finally hit the ground. At least it didn't end up wrapped around some pole down the street or anything.

I sure hope it gets fixed today. I want to be able to have a normal evening tonight.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Surround Yourself With Good Friends!

What is there in life if you don't have friends? You can be the most successful businessman in the world, but if you don't have friends, you're nothing. How can people that are poor be so happy and so carefree--Seemingly oblivious to their financial situation?


When I was working at Boeing, I worked directly across a cubicle wall from the sassiest, woman I have ever known. Dolores (or Dee as many of us call her) was a cutie that had a certain fire about her. She didn't take any shit from anybody. For such a short little gal, she could be quite intimidating. Not everyone got along with her, but I saw right through that tough gal act that she put on display. I saw a special lady. We were both laid off from Boeing back on the same day back in December of 2001, and I've kept tabs with her via email ever since. Dee, if you're reading this, I was SO happy to get a Christmas card from you! There's no way I could possibly imagine what kind a grief a person goes through to have kidneys fail, then to be years on a waiting list, hen to finally get one and have it try its damnedest to reject itself from you. When I got a Christmas card from Dee the other day, I was overwhelmed. I could see pain in your handwriting, Dee... It really meant a lot to me to get that card from you.

Then last night I got a call from my dear friend, Mary. I "met" Mary way, way back when we were both members of an Internet chat site. Chatting, although not new, wasn't anywhere near as mainstream as it is now, and we bounced many a topic off each other, eager to get other's inputs on various things. We have been in touch now for something like 5 years. Prior to life changes in both of our lives: Her marriage and my divorce. 5 years ago in "chat years" seems like ages ago in real life. So many things have passed under the bridge since then. Last night was very special though: It was the first time we had ever heard each others' voices! Isn't that wild? It's funny how someone that lives in South Carolina can seem almost like a family member, but yet whose voice had never been heard. Mary, that phone call was so cool... I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Truly special!

And Rhon... What would gushing about my special friends be if I didn't mention you? You and I have laughed and cried over many things. We've leaned on each other, shared trials and tribulations, compared failing marriage horror stories, gloated over our offspring's accomplishments, and consulted each other on so many things. All before we ever even met! It's so strangely cool to "meet" before you meet!

I'm talking about friendships. These are three of the nicest, most caring women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, and all three of their scenarios are so different: I haven't seen Dee for 5 years, I've never met Mary face to face at all, and Rhonda lives far enough away from me to make meetings special, but close enough for them to be treasured and possible.

And I love you all!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Art of Being Fickle...

... Lately applies to my posting (or lack thereof) in my blog. Sometimes I have multiple posts in one day, and seem to always at least have one post per day. Then there are other times, like lately. The last post I made was on the 5th, which was one week ago today.

I don't know if it's the gloomy time of year and the lack of sunlight, the impending weight of the holiday season, or what it is, but I just seem to have the doldrums. I can't get motivated to write. I have been spending a lot of time downloading and burning movies, and that could have a little bit to do with it too.

I put my Kaypro computers on EBay a week ago and the ad ended Sunday morning. Unfortunately, the only bid I got was the opening $100 bid. I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed, but after all--They didn't cost me a dime. The buyer lives up North in Everett, but he still hasn't picked them up yet. I specified "local pickup only--Will not ship" in the auction because I didn't want to deal with packaging and shipping three 33.5 lb. computers and all their applicable crap.

I managed to get out and do a little Christmas shopping on Sunday. That morning I hurried out to buy a paper (or "pile of ads" as I called it to the lady at the counter) so I could make sure I wouldn't miss that "killer deal" on anything. I ended up at a few stores, but only ended up buying at a Barnes & Noble store. A little something for my granddaughter Emma and something for Sarah.

The last several days at work have been grimy and interesting. I've been blessed with the task of rebuilding a conveyor that carries scrap from the press that I run and dumps it into a scrap bin. Way back when they first got this press and got it going they "cob-jobbed" a conveyor together just to see if it would do the job. That was quite a few years ago. Due to the slow time of year, I got the bosses blessings to give it a complete overhaul. To me that means rethinking everything--Changing things and making them better. It will be finished today.

I was going to go out last night and hit up a Nordstrom's to buy something for Sarah, but I'm glad I did my research first online. I already researched the fact that nobody had it for sale for anything less than retail. I guess it's just one of those things that never seems to be on sale. Either that or my timing is wrong. Anyway, I thought I'd get online before I went out and braved the elements, to see what their return policy is. Well, it turns out that if you buy anything from Nordstrom's online, you can return or exchange it at one of their stores. That's what I wanted to hear. They also had a special deal going online with free shipping, so I did my order right there... Nice and dry while the wind and the rain pelted my windows.

I'm still not even close to being "out of the woods" on Christmas shopping, but I'm making progress.

Hopefully I'll get my blogging back on track, but what I really need a vacation to a sunny, tropical place. Yeah, that's what I need.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Time, Goals, Worry, and Frustration

I used to pride myself on the fact that I didn't worry about things.

I've concluded that I'm fooling myself. To make a statement like that, I would have to be the epitome of happy-go-lucky. I would have to be the person that is always smiling and bestowing happiness to everyone I meet. That's simply not me at all. What I've decided is that while I thought I was not a worrier, I am most certainly so. I just never worried about the same things that someone else was worrying about. That is a strange realization. Someone worries about something and you tell them, "Hey, don't worry about that--It just doesn't matter." In fact, it does matter to them, and it may matter very much... I just don't feel it. They do feel it, and there's no way I could possibly make an assessment like that when I'm not standing in their shoes.

The fact is I do worry, and most of it is self-inflicted.

I end up worrying way too much about things I never should have been worrying about in the first place. The reason I end up in that situation is because my desires and aspirations end up being higher than my actions. Although it sometimes means I'm being lazy, many times it's just a matter of something else catching my interest or attention, and my spending too much time at it. Before I know it, I've run out of time. It's strange how being a generally fickle person can cause "crossover" issues. Again, there I go worrying about it.

It's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here it is December 5th, formerly my wedding anniversary. Am I worried about that? No. What I do worry about is how close it is to Christmas. The days pass by so quickly and I worry about it. Here again is a case where my aspirations are higher than my realistic achievement score: I wanted so much to make a video of myself reading stories to send to my granddaughter, Emma. Not just "a video" but rather a complete DVD with a menu. My thoughts were to have a menu with a selection of story choices, each a story read aloud to the watcher. I didn't just want the camera to be on me while I was reading, I wanted it to be looking over my shoulder at the pages of the book while I read, with a shot of me every now and then sitting in the chair, all while still keeping the reading continuity. It sounds easy doesn't it? Well I thought it did too. When I started thinking more and more about it (read that "thinking" not "doing") I started worrying about the logistics of it. The fact is, it is not something that is currently part of my knowledge or ability. All the time I spent thinking about doing it, nothing got done. Then it switched to worry and frustration. Now it's December 5th and it's time I admit defeat once again like so many times before in my life. Now I've wasted so much time that I'm out of time. Now all I can do is be an average person and shop for a thoughtful gift and send it.

It's time for me to admit that I can't do anywhere near the amount of things that I want to do. If I learn to concentrate on the things that I can do, I won't worry anywhere near as much, and I may stop running out of time by spinning my mental wheels needlessly. I need to forget about things I want to do but can't do well (or maybe never have done at all), and instead concentrate on things I do do well. It's apparent that I just can't make time work for me. I guess that's why my one fantasy genie wish would be for more time.

I kinda feel bad that I even had the thought of Emma's story DVD now. It got my hopes up without my considering whether or not it was something I could actually pull off. I guess I'll be a typical relative that's a victim of distance and send something store-bought in the mail.

But I wanted so much more. I wanted to make an impact. I wanted.

Just Playing Mister Nice Guy Again

I took Sarah home from school yesterday, and while I was there I put up their Christmas lights. It's not like it's a hard job or anything though. Their house has a really low-pitched roof, and all you really have to do is walk around the edge and squat down, hanging the lights on the already-existing nails. As usual, there were a bunch of them that were burnt out too. Sarah counted 16 of them out of four 50-light strings. I really think this should be the last time they use those crappy lights. They are the big (c9?) size which are crappy-made and use tons of electricity. If it were me, I spring for the new LED lights. They look great and use hardly any juice at all, plus I doubt if they will ever burn out.

This weekend I stayed home for the most part. I did some cleaning and some laundry and stuff like that. I had Sarah and Teresa over for spaghetti and meatballs on Saturday. I never have to twist their arms to come for dinner. T will always come just because it's free and she doesn't have to cook, and Sarah just likes to come over period. It went well, but I wasn't overly pleased with how the meatballs came out. It's funny (NOT) how the simplest little ingredient can make such a difference. In this case it was the quality (or lack thereof) of the seasoned bread crumbs that I put in them. Last time I made them they were great, but this time not.

I bought myself a present on Sunday. Fred Meyer has a watch sale going on this week, and I finally went and bought myself a replacement for my aging Timex Datalink watch. That's the watch that stores a whole bunch of your personal information in it. The old one was in pretty sad shape. The main mode button had broken off, so it you wanted to use it you had to find yourself a paper clip. Other than that it worked fine. It had two limitations though: The data transfer method and the software/capacity of the data. The data transfer method was actually via a barcode flashing thing that the monitor did. You put both the computer and the watch in "transfer mode" and hit the button while holding the watch up in front of the monitor and it downloaded that way. When it first came out computer monitors were small and it worked great. Now that monitors are much larger, the data transfer is persnickety at best. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. The new watch does the same task via a USB cable. The software and capabilities of this watch are much, much better. I had to manually type all the info in though because the old version had no export capability.

I printed out my Christmas card mailing labels last night in anticipation of my Christmas cards arriving. I ordered them online and I'm hoping they'll show up today. I like to use computer labels because that gives me a physical "list" of names to use, and I know that way I don't miss anybody. It's also much faster and easier. It's sorta different this year, being "solo" like I am. In the past I had always had to put up with whatever cards T had in her pile of "discounted after Christmas sale crap" from the year(s) previous. I also had to always listen to how much of a waste of money sending out cards was.

Not any more.