Thursday, January 06, 2011

Chill out!


Sooooo, why a picture of my kitchen today? And why two (almost) fridges? Well, our 12 year old fridge was dying so we bought a new one. No big deal, right? Delivery & set up (including icemaker hookup) included. Yeah. So, add an 85 year old house (with 85 year old plumbing) to the mix and you have a MESS! Turns out the hookup for the old icemaker was jerry-rigged (illegal as hell) and there is no way to turn off all the water in the house so you can hook up a new one. Plumber came to no avail. Deliverymen left two fridges in the kitchen. Tomorrow the city should come out to shut off the water, the plumber should come back and hook up the icemaker, and the deliverymen should come back to haul out the old fridge. NOTHING here is ever easy.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Today I had the privilege and pleasure of having lunch with a very old friend and her daughter. I met this friend almost 20 years ago when we moved back to Milwaukee and needed daycare for our (then) two children. Carol's daughter was just ten days older than Alie, both of them not yet 2 years old. They have been friends all this time, even though their lives have taken divergent paths, and while they have both changed, as has their friendship, they still enjoy time spent together. They are truly "BFFs".

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A room with a view

Or should I say office? This is the view from my office early in the morning. The pond is frozen over and the wildlife is all laying low right now. From this window I have seen thousands of geese, ducks, deer, muskrats, a mink, herons, a fox, and many hawks. Often while on a conference call or when having a long conversation on the phone, I turn my chair around to face the window and prop my feet on the sill. From morning to evening, it is a lovely view. I really enjoy it!

Monday, January 03, 2011


Tonight I brought my cameraphone into Alie's room while her elderly Siamese, Tiffany, was deigning to sit near her on the bed. Tiffany is beautiful, but incredibly neurotic. She's about 15 years old, and her life revolves around sleeping on Alie's or our bed (always in the top left corner, thank you, and on HER blankie), eating, drinking and using the cat pan. No such thing as "play" or any sort of undignified or unnecessary activity for this kitty. This picture really captures her very crabby yet loveable personality!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

A New Year

The new year always seems so ripe with possibility, yet I refuse to drag myself into "resolutions" that I will later look back upon with regret for not having lived up to them. I have in previous years created a list of intentions, but this year I will keep those to myself. I have them, they are just not solidified yet.

One of the people in my online scrappers group got me intrigued by a concept called P365. It is simply taking one photo a day and posting it online in the group. I do intend to play along with this, but thought I might also post the photos here, kind of a daily "This Is My Life" in pictures.

Today's picture was taken in PhotoBooth on my Macbook. Connor heads back to base today, and his dog, Twinkie, seems to sense that his boy is leaving again. He's been really needy and pushy. Connor, frustrated, told him to go lay down, and instead, Twinkie climbed up on the couch with me for some cuddles and kisses. Twinkie is half Newfoundland and half Golden Retriever, weighs in at about 120, and looks a bit like a bear. Despite that, he thinks he is a lapdog. I think this shot shows a sweet side of his personality.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Living a Blessed Life

I think it is only appropriate that during Lent I find myself reflecting often on all the beautiful gifts in my life. Although not without its ups and downs, my life of late has been truly magical, and I am literally living the life of my dreams. There may be others out there more successful, more powerful, more wealthy, more attractive, whatever, but there is surely no one as lucky, as happy and as loved as I am.

Taking the time to count blessings makes me see exactly how many I have and how far better they are than any of the little inconveniences that do fall into my life on occasion. Yes, work is sometimes challenging, even downright frustrating, but I really, really love my job. Of course my family can occasionally do things that annoy me or make me wonder how we can possibly be related, but my family is amazing, every one of them an integral piece of the beauty of my life.

Thank you, God, Allah, Yaweh, or Supreme Being of whatever name you may prefer, for choosing to bless me with so much, and help remember to be truly grateful for my blessings and every mindful of how lucky I am.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The karmic wheel

Karma can really be a bitch, but then it can surprise you. This year felt as though we were always at the bottom of the karmic wheel, squished between it and the hard, rocky road, but just when it felt its most bleak, the wheel turned and we're coming back on top.

These past months have taught me a lot about what really matters most in life: love, family, friends and peace. The rest is all just "stuff". Facing a life-threatening situation in May, I discovered that even when things look their bleakest, there can be both more joy and more pain in store. The joy I had planned on, the pain I had not, and thus when it happened, it was doubly hard to bear.

A lesson was learned, though, that it is not the "stuff", but the love and the memories that really matter. Shortly after my recovery, our basement flooded and we lost quite a bit of "stuff". One thing that was hard to part with was the pair of ice skates my dear grandpa bought for me when I was much younger. As a kid, he took me skating every Saturday, and my North Star skates were among the finest you could buy at the time. I still remember driving to Casanova's and picking them out, shocked that Gramps would be so extravagant. Every time I wore them over the next 30+ years, I got that happy feeling once again. Yet there they were, soaked in sewage, unsalvageable on the basement floor. Yet I shed no tears, as the flood could not take the memories of those beautiful Saturdays on the ice from me. I will always remember the joy I felt wearing those skates and how proud I was to skate for my grandpa. No flood can take that. The love and the memories will always be with me.

As my continued underemployment has threatened our financial stability, this principle has become increasingly important to me. While we love our home, it is not the structure, or even the contents, that really matter, but the love and the memories of family and friends that count. We can live in a different place, drive different cars, get rid of "stuff" and we will still have what really counts: each other, our family, our friends and abundant love and blessings. The rest does not really matter in the grand scheme of things.

That said, it was not until the karmic wheel turned again and we started coming back to the top that I realized how hard these bad times have truly been on me. It was not until the weight came off my shoulders a bit that I realized that I had completely lost hope, and how sad and tragic that felt. Looking back, it is as if I saw the world through a fogged-up, rainy-day window; grey and wet and dripping, with no sunshine or color to brighten the day. Now as things change and improve, I see how truly and deeply sad I have been, and I thank God that this time is passing.

Perhaps I had to come through such a very bad time to really learn the most important lesson of all: my blessings are many, no matter how few I think I have.