Chasing Inspiration

Thursday, February 19, 2015

In Which I am Annoyed

 Gratitudes:

  1. Athletic wear that comes in plus sizes. It's hard to find and can be expensive, but that moment when we robust gals find something that fits, looks fabulous, and feels fabulous, there are no words.
  2. Working WiFi. The last week has been an exercise in getting Comcast and Apple products to play nice together. And when the wifi was down I felt cut off from the world. Oh, internet access, I hope to never take you for granted again.
  3. Post-It notes for no other reason than they make me so very happy. 
Can I bitch for a moment? Wait, it's my blog, I don't need to ask permission to bitch. So stop with the gratitudes if you want to read a happy post.

I have a couple of things I want to complain about. Both are first world problems so part of me feels like I shouldn't even want to complain. However, I have learned that if something is bothering me it is best to not let it fester.

First, it's cold out. Not just cold but freeze your ass of cold. I am not a fan. My body hurts. And that's with me sitting inside with a cup of tea and a dog at my feet. Covered in fleece. Me, not the dog. Mother Nature, I know the poor people in the Northeast are being bombarded with snow and could seriously use a break. I know it's far worse for them right now than it is for me. But could you please keep the Arctic wind chill up where it should be, in the Arctic? Thanks!

Second, Comcast. We only use this cable service for our internet. We don't have cable TV. We don't have a house phone so do not need Voice Over IP, aka VOIP. We have high speed internet. In this day and age anything less is just...wrong. Our provider is Comcast. In December I called because our internet was cutting out intermittently in the late evenings. I rely on our internet connection at night because I often have bouts of insomnia and I need something to do to entertain myself. Netflix can be a girl's best friend. And who says catching up on Facebook at 2am is a bad thing.

The customer service rep (CSR) in India asked all the questions that are asked. Did I check my cable connection? Yes. Did I unplug the modem, wait 20 seconds, and plug it back in? Yes, multiple times. If we have a router, did I cycle it? Yes, again. Well, ma'am, it looks like you have an outdated modem and we will have to send you a new one. Great, Mr. CSR. When I can I expect a service tech to come out? Service tech?  No, ma'am. We will send you a kit and you will install the new modem yourself. We've always had a tech come out. Often there is an issue found that is not the modem itself and I want to make sure everything is in working order. Well, ma'am, the techs are a third party service, not owned (yes, he said owned!) by Comcast. We cannot authorize a visit by a tech just to install a modem. Good day.

The new modem arrived a week later along with a letter indicating that I needed to return the old modem to a service center or we will be charged the cost of the new modem. WTF? Oh, and also, this new modem is super fancy, she said with sarcasm. Comcast's new Xfinity modems come complete with their own routers. Sucktastic routers. AND Comcast now wants each person to allow these WiFi routers to act as Comcast hotspots - no extra charge to you and will not infer with your personal WiFi network. Uh...not!

We had to go online while we were setting up the modem. Which is difficult when you don't have internet service! And have lame phones that don't have data plans. We were able to figure everything out, find the well hidden option to turn off the hotspot service, and hook the modem up with our Airport router. And the internet speed was worse than ever.

Then the Airport died. So off to ye olde Apple Store I went, purchased a new and improved Airport router, came home, plugged the new girl in, and...no wifi. Seriously? Teeth gnashing I called Comcast. Not once. Not twice. Five times. Over the course of a week. We were using the Xfinity built in router - which was crappy - so we could still go online with the tablets and my laptop, but not if we were upstairs, and only if we were wearing the color blue. On my fifth call I was transferred to an Xfinity modem/router specialist who reset the modem and firewalls to the factory specs and then turned off all the router capabilities so it wouldn't interfere with the Airport. Why it had to take this many calls for a solution that finally worked, I have no idea. Comcast, utilize your specialists more! And bring back tech service for replacing modems. I bet this wouldn't have occurred if we had a tech involved in the first place.

Phew, I feel better. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Year, No Resolutions?

 Gratitudes:

  1. Murchie's Balmoral Tea - I can't drink very much coffee but I still need a wake-up call in the mornings. This tea is amazing! I'm almost out so must budget hunt to order some more. I needs my Balmoral tea!
  2. Sunshine - in the spring through early autumn months one can forget that winters in MN carry with them a dearth of sunshine, so when we have days like today when the sun is brilliant in the sky, we take advantage of them. Velcro Dog may just get two walks today.
  3. My Noise Soundscape Generator - OMG! This is the best find on the internet I've made yet! All thanks to Kait Nolan reporting about it on her blog or twitter. Maybe it was FB. Doesn't matter where, she reported it, I started using it and now my days are filled with lovely soundscapes. I even turn on the water or nature sounds when playing classical music. There is something so wonderful about running water, yes? 

Image courtesy of Feliz Salida via Flickr CC

It's a new year. 2015 to be exact. In the past I have been tempted to make all sorts of resolutions or choose a major area in my life to overhaul. I think because of the fibro and the fact that I'm still not recovered enough to work (yes, it's taking a long time. Get over it), I haven't made any such declarations. And I'm glad. 

Starting a new year doesn't automatically mean we get to start over. Or that there is this reset that can magically occur in an area of our lives. Change is something that happens every day, whether we like it or not. Its all around us. The weather changes. People change. Our pets change. Our bodies change. Opinions change. Change is good. It keeps life from becoming stagnant and dull. When I quit my job I was looking forward to some slow and easy changes. I had been running for so long at a pace of change and stress that was not healthy for me that I needed slow and steady. 

I didn't realize that slow would be microscopic at times. But I also didn't take into account the fact that even teeny tiny changes over time eventually culminate in larger changes. When I looked back at the last six months I saw some internal changes that I didn't even realize were happening. Little shifts in perspective. Nothing that my husband noticed. Nothing that jumped out and said "Ta da!" Just these little changes that are slooooooowly changing the course and direction of my life. 

Healing can take time. It all depends on the depth of the wound or the breadth of the injury. I'm not making any huge proclamations this year. Instead, I'm leaning how to enjoy who I am and to see where life takes me. I'm learning to embrace the process. Which is funny because, hey, process engineering was a big part of my job for the last decade of my life. Okay, okay, some of us are a bit slower to come to the party. At least I finally got to the right party. 

Here's to 2015! May it be a year of enjoying who we are all becoming. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Freakin' Awesome

 Gratitudes:

  1. A nicely padded emergency fund that will keep the wolves from the door.
  2. Wonderful new-to-me authors who are as friendly as their books are entertaining.
  3. The ever unconditional adoration of Velcro Dog, who makes sure I get out of bed in the mornings and get moving, especially on cold, snuggle under the comforter for just a little longer mornings. 
The last three months have been...interesting. Full of ups and downs, more bad days than good, and impatience on my part. And sometimes my husband's part. I've had to learn my new limits, and the cost of pushing past them. Sometimes you have to push past a limit in order to grow. It seems counter intuitive to healing but it's true. And often painful in the process. I've become very familiar with pain. 

In addition to learning to live within and ignore my limits in turn, I have caught up on some of my reading. Give me a moment to laugh hysterically. There is no way on God's green earth I will ever catch up with my ever increasing to-be-read (TBR) piles. Yes, piles. There are the books lurking by the bed, displayed on bookshelves, and *cough* hiding on my ereader/computer. These consist of various genres of fiction and non-fiction. I don't discriminate. 

I don't recall each and every book I've read or reread lately, but a few stand out:
Each of these book either challenged me, entertained me, or both. Or I *cough* read them more than once. Because they were that good. Honest! 

Another bright light in the last three months is Guardians of the Galaxy, both the movie and the soundtrack. Such. A. Great. Movie! And the soundtrack rocks as well. I was able to pick up Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and the actual movie score in a two disk offering. When I need some inspiration, or just need to dance around the house (much to Velcro Dog's chagrin), Awesome Mix Vol. 1 does the trick. I have the DVD on my Christmas wishlist. Which is a good thing cuz a day doesn't go by when I don't want to head back to the theater to watch the movie again. And again. 

I also did a little impulse shopping in the fandom department and purchased this t-shirt from Teespring. It is freaking awesome! 




It's the simple things, apparently. And that's alright by me. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Kind of Updates and a Book

 I am dropping in to say updates are coming. Gratitudes will be reinstated (because they work so much better than grumbling). And I think I'm going to reinstate my book/movie reviews. :)

On a book note, Shiloh Walker has a book that has been re-released. It's hot and sexy and Christmasy! And only 0.99! I read this when it was first published by Ellora's Cave and it's a fun sexy story so if sexy fun appeals to you, pick it up!

It is currently available at the following booksellers:  Amazon | iBooks | BN | Smashwords |




Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Recovery and Patience

 Gratitudes:

  1. After almost a week and a half with a horrible GI virus/bug of some sort, I'm finally beginning to feel like myself
  2. Streaming TV and movies - when you don't have it in you to concentrate on reading and can't go anywhere, streaming media is a lifesaver
  3. Velcro Dog, who snuggles all the blues away
Since returning from vacation I've been a hot mess. The husband wins an award for patience and caring during this time. He made sure I had what I needed to feel comfortable while he was at work, took care of the laundry, walked the dog twice a day, cooked for himself (I've been on a rice and clear liquid diet regimen, so not fun or tasty!), and did some light cleaning. 

This weekend I thought I was getting better so while he was visiting his sister and family, I stayed home and started to deep clean the kitchen. Mistake! I think I set myself back a couple of days just because I was tired of looking at my mess of a kitchen and because I was tired of needing to lay around all day. I also had brunch with a friend and maybe the food choices I made weren't the best for my ailing GI tract. 

I did learn something about myself over the past week. While I am an introvert, there comes a point in time where I need human interaction or I feel like I'm going to go crazy. Also, I can only handle so much down time before I start to itch with the need to do something. 

However, I also learned that pacing and timing are as important in life as they are in storytelling. Instead of trying to deep clean the kitchen in one day, I could have broken the surfaces into zones and tackled one zone over the course of a day. Instead of eating like I was healthy, I could have had a few bland sides and some tea and enjoyed the conversation and companionship. The food I really wanted to eat would be there for a future date. Instead of acting as though I was in tip top condition, I could have given myself the space and time I still required to heal AND still have been able to do some light cleaning and spend time with a friend. 

I'm not very patient with myself or with being in process. I'm going to have quite a bit of time in the near future to practice this patience. So much fun. 


Saturday, August 02, 2014

Of Mountains and Oceans

 Gratitudes:
  1. That there are people out there who research and compile said research along with suggestions on how to apply said research, especially when it comes to health and nutrition - it cuts down on all the time I would need to spend trying to figure out my health issues on my own
  2. My husband who has been so very kind while I've been horribly busy with work these last months and feeling ill and icky on top of it all
  3. Coconut water, a magical elixir, especially when dehydrated and miserable due to a GI virus
A week ago we were in Canada visiting family and enjoying the raw and majestic landscape that is Vancouver Island. I cried a little when it was time to leave for there is nowhere else where I have felt so surrounded by the natural elements that quicken my soul. Mountainy craigs, raw and untamed. Violent and powerful bodies of water, battling and soothing an ever changing shore. It was bliss.

I knew the trip would be amazing after two things occurred: we saw both Mt. Rainer AND Mt. Baker from the plane as we landed at the SeaTac airport in Washington state; a pod of orcas decided to breach the surface and cavort alongside the ferry as we made a windy and choppy voyage from the Olympic Pennisuala to Victoria. Orcas. Breaching. If you know me you know I have a fondness for these great mammals and while I hate seeing them captive, watching them in the wild is nothing short of magical. 

For a week I drank in family, nature, and I felt connected in a way I haven't for some time. I'm taking all of this as a sign that some hard decisions will have positive and rewarding outcomes and that I'm ready a for a new phase in life to begin. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

In Which There Is Beauty

Gratitudes:
  1. Gift cards and ebook credit balances - it's the next best thing to free money for a bibliophile like me
  2. Sweet smelling hyacinths in lovely lavender and purple hues snuggled up against 
  3. My orchid, a gift from a dear friend, is growing new roots and new spikes - yay for flowers
  4. Winter appears to be FINALLY over and spring is gaining momentum!
After a long, long, long winter I am delighted that spring is taking root. Quite literally. I saw some rogue crocus spikes in the grass out front, where the rabbits promptly ate the succulent bulbs in a drunken orgy of celebration and dancing with the randy squirrels. Even the squirrels are excited and it's hard to get them excited about almost anything. 

After the dreary and oh so long winter I decided it was high time to stop and look around me. What do I surround myself with? Do those things feed my spirit? 

Let me step back a moment. My husband and I have been living amidst home renovations in some form or another for the last 9 years. And before that, the house was someone else's idea of...something. Let's put it this way, the house did not reflect who I am or who we are. It was a hodge-podge of styles and eras that was less than charming. 

I knew that someday I would have a house I would be proud to call home. Then I would display beautiful things. Then I would have flowering houseplants. Then I would hang our treasured pictures. Then. I was reminded, several times in fact, that there doesn't have to be a THEN or a LATER. It can be a NOW. And for our mental and spiritual health, beauty is important. Not what other people feel is beautiful, but what you feel is beautiful. 

I may not be able to hang our treasured pictures yet or display my mom's beautiful china tea set, but I can fill vases with flowers, nurture the orchids I have gathered to me like wayward children so they grow and bloom. I can drink my tea out of pretty tea cups. I can drink my breakfast smoothies out of crystal. I can listen to magical music. Wear rings and bracelets that make me smile. Bake cookies to fill the house with comforting scents. Burn luscious candles for the same reason. Beauty doesn't have to be expensive or invasive or difficult. 

Beauty is a wonderful thing. I wish for you beauty as you walk along your journey.