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Category Archives: How It Is

It sounded like a good idea at the time

Mmm, gravy. Image from Pinterest. If you manage to find the actual recipe, please let me know!

Mmm, gravy. Image from Pinterest. If you manage to find the actual recipe, please let me know!

So, because I don’t have enough real work on my to-do list, I finally caved and joined Pinterest today. Like I need another time-suck to add to email, facebook, and general web surfing to keep me from the real work.

How did this happen??

Well, I’ve been looking online for lots of decorating ideas recently (curtains are the mission du jour), and my “other bookmarks” tab is OUT OF CONTROL. I noticed that a lot of the links I was clicking in my search were taking me to someone’s Pinterest board (where I’d get distracted looking at all of their pins and forget why I was visiting in the first place). I thought if I joined Pinterest myself, I could create a board (or ten) of my own to keep track of all these fascinating decorating ideas in a more visual way, thereby conserving space in my “other bookmarks.”

Well, I’ve already run into problems. Mainly that I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing. I went through the tutorial when I signed up, and as an exercise I pinned a gravy recipe to a new board I called “Turkey Day.” When I go back to that board, and click on the gravy pin, it directs me to some other Pinterest board containing about a bajillion recipes. I’ve yet to find the gravy recipe. Having just a picture of gravy is not so helpful.

I subscribe to the philosophy that if all else fails, read, so next I clicked the Pinning 101 link in my welcome email. I fully expected to learn enough to finally get to that gravy recipe. Instead, I found out that Pinterest is intended to be less personal organizing tool, more social media site. Drat. I don’t care if other people see I’ve pinned a gravy recipe. I’m not trying to gain followers by pinning cute curtain ideas. Why can’t this just be a bulletin board where I can organize inspiration, without the whole world looking over my shoulder?

Now I’m not sure whether I should invest in the Pinterest for Dummies book on Amazon or just delete my account, print out the ideas that catch my eye on the web, and stuff them in a folder where they’ll never again see the light of day pin them to a real bulletin board. I figure either option burns up about the same number of precious moments. Moments I could have spent actually sewing some curtains. Or making gravy.

 

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in How It Is, Monday Mix, On Me, True Life

 

Just be

100_1597Deep breath in…deep breath out

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day chaos of life. I am famous for it. An early morning walk in the crisp September air this week reminded me how much I need to occasionally step away from the ceaseless internal chatter and endless to-do lists that constantly plague my brain. Though I’m normally a fairly competent multi-tasker, I absolutely can’t absorb a scene like this one at the lake near my house and filter all that other crap too. It’s nice to turn off once in a while and just be. I’m ever so grateful to Mother Nature for providing a glorious fall so far, and for a peaceful neighborhood that allows me to get out and stretch my legs in relative safety (late-for-work commuters and nut-chucking squirrels notwithstanding). Here’s to just being.

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2013 in How It Is, Six Word Saturday, True Life

 

Something about this picture seems familiar

readingBack on September 14, the instructions in The Daily Post‘s Daily Prompt were to “Grab the nearest book. Open it and go to the tenth word. Do a Google Image search of the word. Write about what the image brings to mind.” Ten days ago, I was afraid if I cracked open a book I might be accused of goofing off instead of unpacking and setting the house to rights, so I filed the prompt for a calmer day. Today wasn’t really calmer per se, but I have an ulterior motive for tackling this prompt now; if I write a post, I can purge the prompt from my email inbox. 🙂

I am cheating a bit, though. I am too lazy tired to get up off the sofa to go upstairs and grab a real book, so I fired up the Kindle app on my iPad, executed a fast finger swipe in the library, and opened the book that rolled to a stop at the top of the screen. The book, An Orkney Maid by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr, begins with an introduction, so I dutifully counted ten words into that and landed on, ironically, reading

A Google Image search resulted in the above photo, supposedly from http://www.schoolimprovement.com, although I could not find it on the site for proper attribution. Of the thousands of images that popped up, this one spoke to me because that could literally be me sitting there surrounded by all those unread books. These days, I feel that about the only way I’ll get to read all the books I’ve amassed is to camp out by myself in the middle of the woods.

Over the past five years, each time I visited the States from overseas, I collected an assortment of hand-me-down books from my mom and haunted Costco in search of every new Nicholas Sparks (don’t judge) title to add to my collection. I read exactly none of them.

I was going to read lots and lots on the crossing from the UK to the US. I loaded more than a dozen new books on my Kindle, just in case the two dozen unread books already on there weren’t enough. I read exactly none of them.

A local library had a clear-its-archives book sale two weeks ago. For $10, I was allowed to stuff a cloth eco shopping bag with books. I took them at their word, and waddled out of there with twenty-two books threatening to spill out the top of my bag. I have read exactly none of them.

I signed up with BookSneeze, which gives bloggers free books in exchange for posting an honest review within 90 days. I received my first book August 26. You guessed it. I have read exactly none of it.

We won’t even discuss the five boxes of books I’ve unpacked in the past week and a half. Ninety percent of them I have not read.

Anyone have an unused acre or two of woodland I could borrow?

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2013 in How It Is, The Daily Post Prompt, True Life

 

Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike…What day is it, Mike?

camelGeico Camel retrieved from Google Images

Hump day! Woot! Woot!

Around here this week, it means we’re standing smack in the middle of two deliveries of household effects. The items we left behind in storage when we headed out of the States five years ago were delivered yesterday. By mid-afternoon today, we’d unpacked the majority of it, and it was kinda like Christmas. We had to stop every few minutes to hold up something we’d unwrapped from layers of packing paper and say, “Hey, I remember this!”

On one hand, it’s nice to see some of these things again…many of them family treasures (Grandma’s china, Dad’s toy car) or souvenirs of our respective and collective pasts (the hubby’s tennis medals, my high school yearbooks, our Lions Club awards) that we were either afraid to move because of their fragility or reluctant to take because they would not fit comfortably in a Japanese-sized house.

But on the other hand I have to think, “If we forgot about these things in the five years they were out of sight, how important are they really? Do we truly need them?” Of course, I know the answers. But it’s so hard to take sentimentality out of the equation. We’ll see what happens in the coming days–the math could get significantly easier with the next delivery.

The stuff we actually humped around the world from the States to Japan to England and back again (to which, ahem, we might have added one or two things in our travels) arrives tomorrow, and there’s twice (three times??) as much of that as there was in storage. Sentimentality may finally be trumped by frustration practicality as we try to find a place for everything.

It is very unfortunate timing that the community wide yard sale is planned for this Saturday…if it were being held a week later, I would probably be out there selling off the excess. I wonder if Goodwill makes house calls?

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in How It Is, True Life, What's She On About?

 

No, I’ve got it, thanks

ask for helpThis week’s Deep Thought Thursday question was actually the writing prompt issued yesterday by The Daily Post. Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you prefer to rely only on yourself? Why?

I am not good at asking for help. There are several possible reasons for this shortcoming, but I suspect the real answer is some combination of all of the below:

I have some control issues. It’s not that I think other people can’t do something as well, or better, than I could. I know they can. But as soon as I add something to my to-do list, I’ve also mapped out in my head exactly how I will do it and what the result will be. When I’ve given up control and turned over one of those items in the past, it’s like someone flips a switch on my personality–a pleasant, mild-mannered, don’t-sweat-the-small-stuff pacifist becomes a tense, hand-wringing, micro-managing witch with a capital B. It’s not a pleasant experience for anyone involved (anyone being, most often, the hubby–this Jekyll-Hyde transformation has never occurred at work). I don’t like who I become, and I certainly don’t like subjecting anyone to the dark side of my personality, so I very rarely ask for help.

I loathe being an inconvenience to anyone. I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy. I don’t like adding to anyone else’s workload when they’ve already got a dozen balls in the air. I’ll juggle mine (and probably offer to take one or two of yours off your hands) and work myself into exhaustion rather than ask for help.

I fear looking weak or incompetent (even if no one sees but me). As a result, I have moved furniture up and down countless flights of stairs singlehandedly, I have tiled a floor with only Google by my side (I did cave and ask a sales person at Lowes to cut a couple weird shapes for me, but only after my blisters had blisters from using the tile nippers), and I have spent hours troubleshooting minor computer issues rather than enlisting assistance from others far more qualified than I. Although in reality it is probably nothing more than sheer stubbornness, I prefer to think it’s a matter of pride, a refusal to admit defeat. If I’ve tackled a project on my own, especially if it is something new and out of my comfort zone, I have an innate need to independently see it through to successful completion. Otherwise, I’d have to admit there is something I can’t do. And as long as humanly possible, I intend to work under the delusion that I can do absolutely anything I set my hand and mind to.

On the flip side, if someone sees me struggling and offers to help, I try to accept gratefully and gracefully. I mean I certainly wouldn’t want to look controlling…or lazy…or bull-headed…

 

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Can you hear me now?

Paar im Restaurant schaut auf HandysPhoto credit

Months ago, the hubby and I made a pact that when we returned to the States and got smart phones, we would not use them while eating. We’d seen couples, and even entire families, sitting around the table in a pub, fish and chips growing cold and soggy on their plates, completely ignoring each other as they scanned sports scores, checked emails, and texted friends. We vowed that as a couple, we would not let technology undermine common mealtime etiquette or rob us of civilized dinner conversation.

As discouraged as we are at the way smart phones seem to be encapsulating individuals in their own private bubbles, tonight we were privy to a most annoying alternative.

The couple seated behind us in Applebee’s placed their order, then whipped out a single iPhone, on which they proceeded to watch a movie. Seated on opposite sides of the table. At full volume. Competing with the restaurant’s satellite music channel, the bartender using her decidedly non-inside voice to explain the computerized ordering system to a trainee, and the screaming toddler banging her mother’s cutlery on the table all the way across the restaurant.

I’m sorry. If you want to watch a movie while you eat, call ahead for Carside-To-Go and enjoy your meal in front of your big screen AT HOME. Because I did not come here to listen to your movie.

I wanted a relaxing dinner. I wanted to spend some quality time with the hubby. I wanted to talk to him. And hear his responses.

We couldn’t have held a conversation if we’d tried. Maybe we should have used the time to check our email.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2013 in How It Is, Observations, What's She On About?

 

I stand corrected

101_9448

Day 1 of the four-day packout is over, and it did not go at all like I predicted. I happily admit that I had it pegged all wrong.

Three guys arrived 30 minutes earlier than expected, took a quick tour of the house, asked a few questions, dragged in rolls of bubble wrap, bales of paper, and stacks of boxes, then got straight to work.

There was no mid-morning tea break.

They seemed grateful for the pizza and cookies we provided, but ate lunch on the fly–no one-hour break as I’d anticipated.

There was no mid-afternoon tea break. Apparently they all agreed that they’d rather work the entire day without a proper break and knock off an hour early at the end of the day.

The same three will return tomorrow morning, bringing along one additional crew member. I figure if they work at the same pace as today, the four of them should have no problem finishing all the packing. If they were really ambitious, they could theoretically get it all out of the house and crated as well. I don’t figure that’ll actually happen…I suspect the crating and removal will be slated for Wednesday, but I see no reason for the process to run into a fourth day as planned by the surveyor.

I say, “Three days, then be on your way!”

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2013 in How It Is, Monday Mix, True Life