Chasing Inspiration

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

In Which I am Thankful for Dancing With the Stars

 Gratitudes:

  1. My Ninja blender. It makes morning smoothies so much easier to make. And the food processor attachment makes my life so much easier.
  2. Caribou Coffee's crafted press. It's cold press coffee blended with cream and sweetener (or none if you don't want). I add vanilla and yum!
  3. Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) season 20. We've only watched season 19 and 20, and the talent has been awesome. Even Mountain Man has gotten into the show. 
It's been a bit of a surprise to me that Mountain Man and I can agree that a dance show is awesome. I can't get him interested in So You Think You Can Dance but the moment he learned Sadie Robertson from Duck Dynasty fame was going to be Dancing With the Stars (DWTS) last season, he willingly jumped down the dance rabbit hole. Only for DWTS mind you. I think it has something to do with the mix of 'stars' and professional dancers. And the judges. Something about the judges resonate with him. 

DWTS has it's season finale tonight and I'm worried. I love Noah Galloway and his story. I swear I cry every time I see him dance. It's beautiful and touches me deeply. That said, as much as I want him to win the mirror ball, he's not the best dancer. That would be Rumer Willis, in my opinion. I want her to win. Ryker Lynch is steep competition, and Noah may be the fan favorite due to his story. And that freestyle. Damn!

No matter who takes home the mirror ball, this is has been an amazing season. And I think Mountian Man and I will continue to watch future seasons. Now, if I could convince Mountain Man he needs to take a ballroom dance class with me...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ruminations

 Gratitudes:

  1. My husband has discovered Better Off Ted on Netflix. This was such a good show. It always makes me laugh.
  2. Coldstone Creamery. Amazing ice cream. Enough said.
  3. Knitting. It's full of mindfulness and productivity.
Life is full of twists and turns and forks in the road. Each decision we make, each choice means we choose to leave certain paths behind as we propel ourselves along. Eventually, these choices catch up to us. The path not taken may rear up and shower us with consequences. Some of these may be painful, even devastating. Perhaps there will be a do over. Perhaps there will be loss. Perhaps we will have avoided something truly awful. Either way, we are forever changed by our choices as we walk through the twists and turns of life.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Knitting and Pie

 Gratitudes:

  1. Good friends, good pie, knitting, and cock jokes. No, not THOSE cocks! Get your minds out of the gutter.
  2. After making a concerted effort to get up earlier in an attempt to actually be tired enough to sleep through the night, I actually averaged a solid eight hours a night this past week.
  3. Shiloh Walker because her books rock my world! Thank you so much for Busted. Please, please, please tell me that Travis and Seb have books coming....
I have started a new knitting project. Hopefully this one will take much less time than my previous one. It's forcing me to try new stitches. I'm not bitter about that at all. 

On the surface this looks really easy and really fast. I'm doing a test with some leftover yarn I have from a lap blanket I made for J.R. Ward when I first met her at Lora Leigh's Reader Appreciation Weekend in...2008? Yes, that was it, 2008. It was my first knitting project and OMG, it took forever. But it was a good first project and turned out really well. I hope J.R. enjoyed it.

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My Warden Lap Blanket

Since then I've made a lot of small items for family and friends. Nothing for myself. I really want this cowl. It looks so cool. And then I want to make it for my friend's daughters. Because I keep talking about knitting them something and then I procrastinate and never do. Maybe this will be the year of knitting. Don't get your hopes up.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Well, Hello There!

 Gratitudes:

  1. Velcro Dog has transitioned well to walks once a day instead two or even three times a day. It's a sign he's getting old (8-1/2!) but it's much easier for me to manage that single walk. 
  2. I'm on a tight budget for books and music so I'm very thankful our library system has a superb selection of both in physical and electronic formats. 
  3. Rain. 
Despite my putting my blog on my to-do list, it's been some time since I've spent time here. Time to dust off the cobwebs, I guess. 

Life has been slow days of pain management, reading, cleaning, walking and playing with Velcro Dog, and wondering if there will be a time when I can rejoin those who work for a living. Sometimes I wonder why I would want to go back to deadlines and stress and leaving my house, and then I remember. Because leaving one's house is a GOOD thing. It means I spend time with people who are not married to or otherwise related to me. Socialization is a good thing.

I spend at least one day a week with a good friend and we sit for hours at a cafĂ© talking life and loves and everything. I love those days. I need more of them. I love my friend. We encourage each other. We amuse each other. And even better, we challenge each other to be our better selves and to reach for things unknown. 

Now that the weather is temperate I spend more time outside with Velcro Dog. He loves the dog parks we visit. I love that he will run and sniff and play while I bring a book or my iPod and relax in the fresh air. Oh, I walk around the park. It's not all sitting on a bench cheerleading from the sidelines. Velcro Dog would never stand for that. We wander and he sniffs while I attempt to bird watch. Or people watch. 

The house is slowly coming along. Mountain Man finished his degree in December so he spends his free time recovering from way too many years of dividing his energies between work, house projects, and school. Some of that recovery time is sitting quietly. I understand. When I finished my graduate degree all I wanted to do was navel gaze for a while. He's slowly coming back to life. I see sparks of the man with a wicked sense of humor and a gentleness that has been missing. We're both in a period of understanding who we are now at this point in time. I'm glad we have each other. 

Life isn't what I expected it to be. I think it's leading to something incredible I could never let myself imagine. 

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.