Tag Archive | random

happy thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Well, Happy Thanksgiving if you’re reading this in the States. Otherwise, I hope your day is going well!

My plan is to spend the day with my family eating pretty much everything I see, which will include appetizers like cheese and crackers and veggies and dip; turkey with stuffing and gravy; squash; the ever-amazing string-bean-with-mushroom-soup topped-with-crispy-onion-rings casserole; pasta (for our vegetarian guests); and cranberry sauce. Not to mention the pumpkin pie (my contribution) and cheesecake.

I’m sure before the day is over, I’ll have enjoyed myself to the point of sleepiness. A little like this guy.

sc cat looks ferocious, but he’s just worn out (and wishes you a happy thanksgiving, too)

Have a great day!

what I’ve been up to

My “cold spell” away from blogging/blogs period lasted way longer than I expected it to…I’ve observed throughout my life that when I’m knocked out of my routine by something, it has a domino effect and everything starts to go. So, cold = more couch time, different foods, no exercising, less pretty much everything, followed by a “need to get back into the swing of things” period.

But, I didn’t just have a cold…some other things also conspired to change my routine. To name a few…

1. My mother came out for a brief visit. She lives in California, so we don’t get to see each other often. Per usual we got in a mother-daughter shopping trip (look for these clothes in future “what I wore” posts!).

2. Last week, mr. strivingcynic and I went to see Margaret Atwood speak at Princeton University. We were so excited at the prospect of seeing her (major gratitude to Princeton for having events like this free and open to the public) and so sure the lecture hall would be packed, that we got there an hour early (the hall was empty but people arrived right after us).  The lecture hall did fill up as time went by, though.

Aside from my fear I would cough my way through the lecture (I kept the cough drops going and tried to take advantage of audience laughter to cough), we had a great time. It was a really interesting talk about zombies and other literary monsters. Another interesting thing for me, I learned about the lecture because I follow Atwood on Twitter and she mentioned it there. So glad I joined (and she wished a special hello to her Twitter followers).

3. I got a little older. My 41st birthday was last week. Funny how when I first started this blog almost two years ago, I had posts devoted to my turning 40…and once that happened, very few about turning 41. But, the day has come…and, I’m cool with it (like I have a choice).

Looking back at this last year, I’ve had a lot of fun and adventures…going to Cape May, England, San Diego; seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert, the play Chicago, and seeing Margaret Atwood speak. I got a new computer, an iPad, and some new books and clothes (and have begun thinking about a new car…), not to mention my beloved Keurig coffee maker (a Christmas present from mr. sc) and our kitchen improvements. I got out into the social media world more, read about 30 books, saw at least 5-7 movies (probably more..I should probably start keeping a list of them, too). I worked my way up to running 10 miles (couldn’t manage it yesterday–but I’ll get back there soon). I’ve had many wonderful times with my family and friends (and blends).

4. And as usual, I’ve been thinking about where I want my life to go…yes, I could be more organized and more on top of things, but I’ve got an idea of where I’d like to focus some energy (to be discussed in another post…shame on me for “teasing”..but there you go.

Anyway, I feel much more caught up. For now!

the constant catcher upper..

Things…well, time, got away from me last week and I never got around to responding to comments or visiting as many blogs as I wanted to. Hopefully, this week will be less hectic.

So anyway, a few follow ups or things I’ve been meaning to talk about.

1. My last post. Just to clarify…nothing in particularly turned me ragey last week. But, I’ve noticed of late that I’ve gotten “better” when something sets me off…and I wanted to use more sculptures in a not “hey, here are sculptures” way…

2. Books. I wanted to give some sort of review of Prep, by Curtis Sittenfeld, which I finished a few weeks ago. But, I couldn’t come up with a full-fledged review. So, here’s a shorter version…I really liked this book, which is interesting because like Carrie in Ann Packer’s The Dive from Clausen’s Pier (my review), the main character, Lee, was often hard to like (I have a version with an interview with Sittenfeld that mentions how Lee is a difficult character…so I know it’s not just me). But, this book really nailed a lot of the awkwardness of feeling like an outsider in your teen years and I was really anxious to get through it. I would definitely recommend it.

Right now I’m reading The Little Friend, by Donna Tartt (so, this was on my “hope to read this summer” list; it’s now fall, so it didn’t make the summer cut entirely). This is a long (550ish pages), dense book that I have to put down after a bit…it’s pretty unsettling. Even the cover is unsettling.

see what I mean?


Hopefully it won’t take me too long to get through (I’m more than halfway through) since I’m on my way to meeting my 25 books this year goal.

3. I never got around to writing a post about going to Atlantic City to see a show a few weeks ago. I had only been to AC once, about 15 years ago. The show (comedian Louis C.K.) was at the Trump Taj Mahal..which was amazing for its…well, let me show you…

hmm…I wonder what this place is called…

all I could think was….wow

the ripley’s believe it or not museum was also fun to look at

4. Clothes…just to give you a preview…I am finally rewearing. Yesterday, with fall’s arrival, was my first rewear (I’ll keep you in suspense on what shirt I rewore.)..I think I still have another two posts worth of clothes to get everyone caught up. In the meantime, I am thinking about how to continue these as the weather gets cooler.

5. Something else I probably won’t get around to posting about so I’ll just talk now…I went into NYC yesterday to see Chicago. It was a beautiful day yesterday, nice for walking around Central Park. The show itself was really wonderful. Interesting to see how it was staged and how it compared to the movie.

That’s it (for now..)

mental sunscreen

Sometimes, my head is not where I want it to be…

at grounds for sculpture…I believe this is called something like “garden of the subconscious”

[pretty weird isn’t it…?]

One thing I’ve wished I could change about myself is that I tend to get riled up by things…sometimes I say, I won’t let this small thing get to me…but if something bothers me, it’ll keep pushing on my brain, wanting to be acknowledged. It makes me feel a little…

yep, also from grounds for sculpture

I’m not saying I have a rage issue, but I let things get to me more than I should.  I aspire to have a zen-like calm in the face of whatever provokes me. In the meantime, I  have learned a few things about anger…like it never enhances my communication skills when I “talk angry.” I used to think that putting on a frowny face and a harsh tone in my voice showed people I was to be taken seriously, but I’ve learned a lot of people  (not surprisingly) don’t respond well to anger…they get angry/defensive in turn or they just shut down. And, I almost always feel bad about how I acted as some time passes (and on the occasion when I deal with a genuine jerk, I console myself that they are someone else’s problem…not a constant part of my life). Also, sometimes I can feel how corrosive anger is, how much it burns me, no matter how justified I think it might be. And that’s hard to shake off.

anger just weighs me down

But I think I’ve gotten better over the years. Maybe it’s a regressive or iterative better (two steps forward, three steps back) but I’ve learned that when something makes me angry, the worst thing I can do is react in anger. I have to retreat a bit, regroup, figure out if there’s a way to turn the anger into something productive (a better way of going about something that frustrates me, for example).

And I’ve learned what things will distract me and give me space. When I play with the cats at the animal shelter, I find I totally  forget whatever might be bothering me while I give a sweet kitty a head rub, or make sure everyone has plenty of water (a couple of the more playful ones constantly tip their bowls over, which is always fun). And inside my head, it gets more like this.

yes…exactly like this (and I love the impressionist painting sculptures…there are quite a few at grounds for sculpture)

Sometimes, as anger flashes into my head…it takes a while to remember that it’s a lot better for me to be like this last picture (ooh..and notice how the women have parasols to shade them from the heat of the sun [sun/heat/anger]…aren’t I being metaphorical [either that or I chose this photo and then realized I could work the parasol angle..])….but I get there (or close enough) eventually.

And of course, there’s always my “living art” that can give me a sense of peace

I’m like a statue!

Having a sense of humor doesn’t hurt either….

Are you easily bent out of shape? What helps bring you back to calm when you’re angry?

the great pastime

A few weeks ago, the strivingcynics went to a baseball game. This was not a first for any of us (I went to a few Phillies games growing up), but it was my first Mets game.

Luckily, it was really a perfect day for baseball (okay, for watching baseball). It was sunny and warm, but not too hot. Our seats were pretty high up, meaning we were shaded for most of the game.

Before the game started, there was a performance by a local(?) Irish dancing school. It was fun to watch the dancers, but I particularly enjoyed it when some of the players came out on the field to stretch and warm up during their performance.

dancing and warming up

One thing I was really struck by was how much advertising was going on. Almost every announcement, contest, or special moment, was “brought to us” by some organization or corporation. One of my favorites had to be something to the effect of “today’s featured blood donor is brought to you today by….” There were other highlighted audience members and also contests that always came with a sponsor.

ads everywhere that meets the eye (and more Irish step dancing)

I will admit, I’m not really a baseball fan, but I was excited to go to one after so many years. I was particularly excited about stadium food (although not stadium prices)! A slice of pizza, a soft pretzel, and some ice cream made me very happy.

mr. met, the freaky (to me) mascot, takes a walk

You can also tell I’m not that into baseball because I’ve said nothing about the game. It was against the Dodgers…and I think the Dodgers were winning until the ninth inning…when the Mets tied. Then we got to watch nothing happen for another two innings, only for the Dodgers to get 2 or 3 more runs in the twelfth.

At least we had plenty of time for stadium food.

Have you ever been to a baseball game or do you have a sport or team that you follow. What is your favorite stadium food?

award randomness

I was thrilled to hear from Stacie that she had given me a blog award.

I was even more thrilled when I looked at her post and she acknowledged the “chain letter” aspects of blog awards and has left it up to her recipients to do as much or as little as they want. And so, although I’m not going to try to pass the award on (Stacie travels in my circle a lot so there’d be mostly repeats), I will do 2 things. 1. State 11 random things about myself. 2. Answer her 11 questions.

By the way, I’ve done a random facts about me post before and it was meant to be the first of who knows how many? So, consider this part 2.

1. I am a dessert fiend. I pretty much have to have it every evening. Even if I have something (like an ice cream cone) in the afternoon, I still want evening dessert.

2. Speaking of dessert, I have never purchased anything from cinnabon because I fear I will become instantly addicted/helpless before cinnabons.

3. I prefer to write using black pens. If I start using a pen and realize that it has blue ink, I’ll put it down and look for a black-ink pen.

4. I love note cards…I have tons of them but probably send less than 10 notes a year!

5. I have been to 22 states.

6. I have been to 14 countries.

7. My favorite condiment is mustard.

8. Whenever I pass an animal, I have to comment, usually by naming the type of animal it is (ooh…doggie! kitty! horsie!).

9. My cat has me wrapped around his little paw (big surprise there).

10. I pretty much only listen to my iPod when I’m exercising so there are almost only fast songs on it.

11. I wear my contacts almost every day because I don’t feel “dressed” in my glasses.

On to Stacie’s questions and my answers.

1. What is your biggest pet peeve? Oh…so many to choose from. I’d say when someone is inconsiderate but puts it off to being easygoing “Oh…you’ve brought the donuts for the last five meetings and say it’s not your turn again? Well, *I* don’t keep track of that sort of thing (you petty petty person you!).

2. What is your biggest blogger pet peeve? Well, I stopped reading one blog a long time ago because I felt the blogger had a “holier than thou” attitude I didn’t appreciate. Otherwise, I guess I have moved away from some full-time bloggers whose self-promotion turned me off (although I guess you have to self-promote if blogging is how you make money).

3. Coke or pepsi? Not a big soda drinker, but Coke.

4. What is the number one item on your bucket list? More travel.

5. Do you like surprise parties? Hmmm…probably not. I haven’t been the victim/guest of honor of one, but I’ve been to a few and find that the effort probably isn’t worth the payoff.

6. What is the oddest thing in your handbag or wallet right now? An empty pack of gum I’ve been toting around because I’m too lazy to throw it out.

7. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Veterinarian/Marine biologist/Actress

8. What are you afraid of that actually shouldn’t scare you? Pictures of sharks with their teeth showing. Admittedly, they’re scary as hell, but I literally flinch if I come across a picture like that when I don’t expect it.

9. Are you on Instagram yet? If not, why the heck not? Yep. One of my first iPhone apps.

10. What’s your favorite animal? Cats. Shocking, I know.

darn tootin’!

11. What’s your favorite hobby (blogging doesn’t count)? Reading.

Thanks so much, Stacie! This has been fun!

the vault and the changes

shy girl

I know I’ve had pictures of her on the blog before, but this was strivingcynic cat’s big sister. A very sweet girl!

As I’ve probably also mentioned before, the computer I use for blogging has been frustrating me due to its “slowness.” When I got it, I thought it was the best thing ever…it replaced a 6 year-old computer that just could not handle what I needed to use it for. But, time passed and suddenly, another 6 years were gone…and I realized my technique of turning on the computer and going away for 15 minutes so I wouldn’t get frustrated while it booted up was no longer working for me. Neither was the freezing/slow loading. 6 years is apparently all I can tolerate as far as computer ages go…which means this is the first post on my new computer.

[I should admit here that mr. strivingcynic put me on a more proactive path than the one I was on. The one where I sat and pouted and whined about how slow things were. Not only did he point me in the direction of some good choices, but helped me get set up (left to my own devices, this would still be sitting in the box till the weekend)]

One thing I realized with the previous computer was that all the photos I was now taking were going to take up too much space. So, I got an external hard drive and moved a lot of photos there. Every once in a while, I’d want to use a photo that I knew was on the hard drive…since I didn’t keep it connected…well, I wasn’t going to do the waiting to connect it, so I couldn’t use the photo.

Now, I’ve got a new setup and will stay connected to the hard drive, which means I have access to the vault. So, I can go back and display pictures like this one:

My trip to Rome, 2006

or this:

 from when sc cat was a kitty and I built him a “house” out of cat food can boxes

So, I’m excited that I get to work on my blogs and look at yours in a less-frustrating setting! 

Do you have a set time period for exchanging/upgrading technologies? How do you decide what to choose?