Category Archives: Miscellaneous

The Week in Review

Last week was mostly uneventful, no real fun to report, unfortunately.

It started off on a tiresome note – Monday was all about me being Middle Management, dealing with problems at work that everyone decided to send my way (even when I was sitting in my dentist’s chair in the evening, I was being buzzed with messages!), as well as members of staff who decided not to fulfil their job responsibilities, for reasons unknown to me. So I can’t say I enjoyed Monday too much, but I was pleased that this didn’t become a theme for the remainder of the week – things quietened down on those fronts after that!

My living situation continues to plague me.  I had problems with my downstairs neighbors ever since they moved in last October. After many months of complaining, as well as complaints about their kid from other kids’ parents (apparently he liked to terrorize smaller children), they were eventually evicted at the end of May, after a court appearance.

The following day, I re-signed a 6 month lease. I had 4 lovely, peaceful days. Then my newest neighbors moved in. In some ways they’re worse than the crew before them. At least the previous folk were “only” hell during daylight hours. These guys are a nightmare overnight – so far they’ve woken me 15 times (yes, I keep a log!), between the hours of midnight and 3:15am. It’s either really loud talking when they go to bed, overnight partying, arguing, or bedroom fun.

So far I haven’t put in an official complaint – to be honest, I don’t know what good it will do – they know they’re loud and lacking courtesy. If they don’t, they must be stupid, and if they do, they clearly don’t care. So I have lost the will to complain.

But I have decided I’ll be leaving at the end of my current 6 months, which will be the end of January. I think it’s the only way for me to get some peace. I’m tiring of the whole apartment complex really – it’s horribly noisy these days. Folk running up and down stairwells in my building, screaming…..and in the nice weather months, dozens of kids are typically running around until about 10pm each night outside in the grassy area below my window, yelling and screaming. So I’m officially done. It’s time for me to stop procrastinating and look for somewhere to buy.

Other than that, it’s been life as usual. The weekend was uneventful for the most part – it was overcast here in the lovely north east corner of the country, so I took the opportunity to catch up on some work projects. I spent a large amount of time at Starbucks to accomplish this, and managed to get in a bit of fun reading too.

I made some muffins….a highly exciting Sunday morning! Just cornbread muffins, but they’re sweet enough to give me a sugar fix when I need one. I’m going to have to dig out a high fiber/lower sugar recipe, I think, and see what I can come up with. I don’t like to tax my pancreas too much – I’m hoping it’ll thank me in my later years!

Tiddles, meanwhile, watched me cautiously from a place where she’s not allowed. Not that she cares about the rules….obviously.

And here we are again, the start of another week….but at least the first couple of days have gone relatively smoothly for me so far. No complaints there!

Creating a Monster

I don’t even have any idea how long it’s been since I was here last – maybe 3 weeks? I haven’t even logged into the blog world at all, so I hope you’re all well. Things have just become even more chaotic than previously.

Since Mark has been away training, I’d decided to throw myself heavily into my freelance business, and that’s been going really well. I was very busy in March, & that was a good feeling, acquiring new clients, etc. Last week I acquired another big client, one that seemed to have a project that was perfect for me.

Unfortunately it’s morphed into a monster, and the original 120 hours-before-April 23 that they asked of me, has turned into a never ending requirement of document revisions, add-ons, and “oh we don’t care how many hours it takes, or how many pages it’ll be, we just want it done right….”. Well that’s fine, but they don’t give me any extra on the deadline while they’re raising the bar on what they want…..

So I just had a long and painful conversation with my contact there, who has been so nice all along, letting him know basically that I’m halfway through the allotted 120 hours now, and not even halfway through the document, due to their add-ons. And I just can’t fit any more than 60 hours in between now and the deadline   – simple maths will do the trick there. I feel like I’m just bringing up the elephant in the room that nobody wants to admit to! I already have a full time job and am doing this in my spare time. There just aren’t enough hours in my week to give any more than what I originally agreed to.

But naturally they’re making it all my problem, and about how much of a predicament I’m putting them in. I feel horribly frustrated. My priority is helping them meet their deadline, but they’ve changed the goalpost numerous times now, I just can’t keep up with it.

So I’ve sent them some suggestions of science writers to network with, and have even told them I’ll cap my hours right now and won’t even charge them any more – I’ll just work on my currently-completed draft at the halfway mark, & get that perfectly squared away for them, while someone else works in parallel on the remainder. Realistically, that’s the only way they’ll meet their deadline since they keep adding to what they originally outlined.

Never turn your back on the coffee-ready mug, even for a couple of seconds…..

My poor car has also been a pain in my backside too. In 3 weeks it’s visited VW 3 times…..wheel bearings needed attention first, the car was horribly loud for a while. What a difference it made when they attended to that issue! Three days later the a/c died….and 10 days after that, my check-engine light made an appearance. More than $2000 later, it’s ok again…..as I was leaving VW today when they’d dealt with the engine issue, the guy who took care of me said: “See you Monday, kid!”……I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!!

On a lighter note, Mark is home again as of a couple of days ago. He’s happy to have a real bed again, and it’ll be nice to see him tomorrow. It’ll also be a welcome break for me since I’ve not stopped working, days and nights, since he went away at the beginning of March!

Sadly the nice care package that I mailed to him at Fort Polk was returned to me a week after I mailed it 😦 –   I was really annoyed because the box had been opened up, and then badly re-sealed, and 80% of the stuff I’d put in there had been taken out. Honestly, I wish whomever had delved into it had just kept it. It made me sad to think someone had been in there, going through the personal stuff I mailed, like notes and photos. Swines.

"I know you can smell burned cat fur….I just jumped on the oven, onto the open-flame-burner, scared myself to death, and now I'm feeling rather sheepish……"

OK, I’ll have to get back to my writing project…..it’s been good therapy taking a 15 minute break though! Hope you’re all well……one day I might even get to read again about what you’ve all been up to!

In Our Home

In our home, we prefer not to open food bags the conventional way…….

Yet another sign that Tiddles has thumbs. The food bags are kept in a secure location, in a closet – given her propensity for a little B&E when it comes to these! Yet somehow I discovered this latest bag to be somewhat breached. Without my help or permission.

I’m thinking of just leaving it open like this in the kitchen so she gets free access…….I might get some peace!

Talking of peace…..remember I mentioned my neighbors from hell? Things have not improved. I’ve now complained to our leasing office about them. They’e received verbal notice from the office that they need to be more considerate. Then a letter from their lawyers when nothing changed after a couple of phone calls. Still no change. Right now it’s 5:40am and their dog woke me up barking at 4:17am – he is still barking now!

I definitely could have done with more than 4 hours sleep – I worked until almost midnight and I’m exhausted. That extra hour to take me to my normal 5am alarm would’ve been wonderful.

Time to start the audio recordings of these neighbors’ shenanigans….

Weekend Recap

Ah, the weekend never quite seems to last long enough these days……

I made the tiring drive to upstate New York to see Mark on Friday afternoon. I tend to do most of the traveling because, shockingly, the Army is less flexible than me. Having said that, however, I’d been spoiled a bit over the holiday when he drove here. It seems like it’s been a long time since I had to make the drive. I actually love driving – I swear I could be a driver for a living.  In-car satellite radio, a travel mug of coffee, and off I’d go……

But the problem with the weekend driving is that there’s always the “rush” to get there and back, so it’s never a relaxed drive. Friday’s journey was quite a nice one though, the weather was great for the drive, so that helped a lot. It certainly made a nice change from this time last year when my drives were all snow and ice.

Friday evening turned out relatively uneventful. By the time I arrived, there was time for pizza and beer, and watching some of our favorites on TV – “Gold Rush” being one of them. I’m addicted to watching anything based in Alaska – can’t get enough of the scenery.

Saturday was also relatively quiet. Some more laundry in the morning. I think I counted up that we’d done about 8 washes since Friday evening. To say Mark needs a wife is a gross understatement.

Later on we decided to get out of the house for a wee while. The weather wasn’t great, but it made a concerted effort to shine a bit of sun on us by the afternoon. So we headed out to the mall, meandered a bit, ended up “accidentally” in Best Buy (maybe all guys are addicted to this shop?), and then did a coffee run.

Back home it was time for the Master Chef to emerge. Mark had decided to cook for me in honor of my birthday, so it was nice to just sit back and have dinner prepared for me for a change! And very tasty it was too. I swear everything tastes so much better when someone else makes it for you.

Sunday morning Mark headed off to the airport around 9am – he’s away in Virginia for a training course this week. He drives me nuts. Despite being someone who’s “mostly” (I think he just about gets by) organized at work, he takes that uniform off and I’m convinced he reverts to 6 year old boy mode. I’ve never met anyone so forgetful and disorganized in my life. We’re complete opposites when it comes to the general planning involved in everyday life.

Bizarrely he made some random comment to me on Saturday evening about how he hoped I wouldn’t forget to lock the door when I left the house on Sunday. I counted to three, bit my tongue, and resisted the urge to simply choke him. I had no idea where that came from.

It seemed even more bizarre next morning. He was standing at the door with his case, and I asked if he had his paperwork, wallet, phone and charger. “Yes”, he answered, as he was on his way out.

Half an hour after he’d left, I heard the unmistakeable peep of his cellphone…….still in the living room. I spoke to the guy who was the “incoming text”, just so he’d know Mark had forgotten his phone. I pondered on driving to the airport with the phone – it was an hour and a half drive away. I’d have to leave immediately, and would be faced with my additional 6 hours drive home to Massachusetts afterwards. Plus there were no guarantees that I’d find Mark when I arrived.

After about a 10 minute debate with myself, I decided he’d just have to do without for the few days he’s away. It might teach him a lesson anyway!

Although somehow I doubt it…..

So instead I hit the gym, and then gathered up my belongings for the drive back to MA. (Yes, I did lock the door!)

Another decent drive though, with good weather conditions for the trip home.

And naturally the obligatory coffee stops to keep me going!

I arrived home around 6pm, but somehow didn’t make it to bed until about 11pm. I’ve no idea where the time goes……

 

Birthday Girl

It was my birthday a couple of days ago. It always seems to get lost in the melee of Christmas and New Year. It used to bother me when I was younger, but not any more. Maybe I’m just older and wiser. Or maybe I’d just prefer to forget how many I’ve had!

Me with my grandparents a few decades ago! Apparently I liked squeezing kittens then.

 

 

Either way, it was mostly uneventful, but in a good way. I had to work, so that added to the non-birthday feel. And these days the thought of a night out midweek is a killer since I’m up at 5am each morning for my hour-long commute to work. So I’m entrenched in the habit of a quiet night in on most weekday evenings, followed by an early night in preparation for the next day. But Tiddles at least helped me celebrate with a bottle of beer!

 

And I was excited to receive a lovely package from my kid sister. She was upset earlier because it hadn’t arrived in advance. But I know how the mail can be this time of year. Delivery time for anything posted from overseas over the holiday can be very unpredictable. But it arrived right on the day of my birthday, so we were both happy!

My main present was this lovely necklace. I just loved it. My sister chooses the best gifts!

And I also received other wonderful goodies from her too. One of my favorites included a few boxes of my favorite Twinings tea. Haven’t been able to find it in the USA, so my sister kindly bought some for me. It’s really nice. I received some last Christmas and initially didn’t like the sound of it. But I tried it out of interest one day, and was instantly hooked. It has a lovely spiced, citrus taste. Very festive, but I love it any time of year.

And naturally, another of my favorites was a selection of tasty chocolates. There’s a very distinct difference between European and American chocolate. And although I’m all about equal opportunities when it comes to any decent chocolate, I do miss the easy access to Euro-grown chocolates! But that just makes them all the more sweet when they appear on my doorstep.

It’s been a short week since I didn’t return to work until Tuesday. But I’m suitably exhausted and don’t feel as if I’m really back in the swing of things yet. Hopefully next week won’t be so much of a blur.

Memories, Dreams and Reflections of 2011

I’ve seen lots of folk joining in on 2011’s Memories, Dreams and Reflections, so I thought that following the photo prompts seemed like a nice excuse to spend some lazy time on the first day of the new year.

1) Me! – A picture of yourself – you don’t have to show your face.

Me – doing what I do best – drinking coffee!

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2) I Love You – A picture of your husband, boyfriend, kids, pets…

 My boyfriend, Mark.

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3) Still Laughing
– A moment you’re still laughing about…tell us a story.

Going through security at San Francisco Airport after our Yosemite trip, I was waiting on my belongings, when this little plastic bowl appeared. Mark had emptied his pockets into the bowl, and had remembered that this little fella was in there too. So he went through a security check with everything else! This is “Cheeky” – the little monkey that I sent Mark when he was deployed to Iraq the year before last. He tends to come everywhere with us, so naturally he was part of the Yosemite trip too. Apparently one of the TSA crew had asked him about it, so he’d explained that he was his deployment buddy, and is now his travel companion!

It gave me a big smile anyway!

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4) Winter Wonderland
 – A picture that reflects winter.

I took this photo last January when we visited Old Sturbridge Village in MA. It’s a “living history museum”, depicting life in New England from 1790-1840. Despite the frigid New England winter, it was still hopping with visitors, as well as photo opportunities.

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5) Birthday
 – Share a birthday picture (your own or someone you love).

A photo collage that I put together from Mark’s birthday last year. He couldn’t decide whether he wanted chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake, or Oreo & white chocolate cheesecake. So I made it “half and half”. It was a big hit!

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6) Friends – A picture with friends (this could be your friends or your children with their friends).

Just a fun gathering with friends – Raf is Sicilian, and his mother (3rd from the right, sitting down) was visiting for a while. She apparently wanted to cook for all of his friends, so we had quite a large gathering for some fabulous Italian food!

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7) I Was Inspired – A picture of what inspires you (person or thing).

My volunteering inspires me. My most regular volunteering gig is for the USO at their lounge at Boston Logan Airport. It’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more I do it, the more I enjoy it, and the more useful I feel. If you’ve ever considered volunteering, I can highly recommend the experience. Pick your cause and go for it – and if time constraints prevent you from donating a regular shift somewhere, check into any possibilities for helping “remotely” (maybe you could be in charge of an organization’s newsletter etc), or see if you can be added to a pool of volunteers who can be called upon every now and then. The opportunities are endless.

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8) Spring Fever – A picture that reflects spring.

I love this photo from April last year when we were tripping around the Adirondacks. I remember how still the air was – quite a change from the windy, cold winter in upstate NY! A beautiful spring day, with a great chance to catch some wonderful, colorful reflections in the still waters.

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9) Travel or Vacation – A picture taken on vacation or on a recent travel experience…even if it was only a few miles away.

Last January we went on vacation to New Zealand for almost 3 weeks. It was a “first” for both of us, and was somewhere we’d both been looking forward to visiting. On our first day there, we went to Christchurch’s International Antarctic Centre – what a fabulous experience. I’m a huge penguin fan, so I was particularly taken by their Little Blue Penguins – these little guys have all been rescued as a result of injuries that would’ve left them defenseless in the wild. The little fella on the right has been under veterinary care for bumblefoot – those boots are made for walking…..

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10) Summer Days
 – A picture that reflects summer.

Given that I live in Massachusetts, you’d be forgiven for doing a double-take initially when I tell you that this photo was taken in January last year. But this is another of my favorites from our New Zealand trip!  And since January is their summer, this helps to clear up the initial confusion…..We spent a couple of days in Blenheim, in the Marlborough region of the South Island – wine country! Specifically Sauvignon Blanc (my favorite) country. We arrived as a cyclone was hitting the coast, and we thought we were going to be wine-tasting in our rain gear. But the next morning we awoke to the most beautiful weather imaginable. Just in time for a day of wine tours!

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11) A Day In My Life – A picture of a typical day in your life.

I’m a pathologist, so I spend most of my days peering down a microscope at work!

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12) All Smiles – A picture that makes you smile, or one of smiling faces.

Science really can be art! I’m always on the hunt for something artistic in my science-filled days. And I often find unexpected smiles on the slides that I get to read…..

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13) Autumn Harvest – A picture that reflects autumn/fall.

Nothing says autumn better than a pumpkin!

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14) Family or Home
 – A picture of your family or a picture that represents family/home for you.

This is quite a typical scene at home for me – if I’m not cleaning up the carnage in the wake of Tiddles’ latest grand adventure, I’m trying to carve out some space at the computer as she insists on sitting “right there” with me while I work!

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15) Celebrate!
 – A picture that reflects a celebration.

A toast to Mark’s promotion last May.

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16) Let’s Do It Again – A picture of something you’d like to do again soon.

Yosemite National Park.  Spectacular. This is Yosemite Valley in the first beams of sunlight after the sun rose high enough to the east of it. Seen from the famous “Tunnel View” lookout.

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17) I Miss You – A picture of someone or something you really miss.

My kid sister! She visited just after Thanksgiving in 2010. Can’t believe it’s been so long since I last saw her!

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18) Beautiful – A picture of someone or something you find beautiful.

New England in general. I love this region very much. This is one of the churches in the town of Shrewsbury where I live. So picturesque.

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19) Dress Up – Someone who is all dressed up. Could be Halloween, or some other occasion to dress up fancy!

Enjoying the military ball when Mark returned home from Iraq.

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20) Macro – Share your favorite macro or close-up image.

One of my favorite close-ups came from a meet-up with my local photography club. We visited the Hanover Theatre in nearby Worcester, MA & had “All Access” passes to allow us to wander around after closing time. It’s a beautiful theatre inside – a fun few hours was had by all! I loved the bokeh I caught behind the microphone.

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21) Holidays – A picture from the Holiday of your choice.

A collage of images from our July 4th celebration in Carthage, upstate NY!

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22) My Favorite – Share your favorite picture or memory from 2011.

A summer visit to my favorite town of Newport, RI. This is probably my favorite photo that I took last year – Castle Hill lighthouse. If you haven’t visited Newport, RI yet, and you live within a reasonable distance – don’t wait any longer! Even in the winter, it’s a truly beautiful town.

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23) Don’t Ever Change – Something you love about yourself, someone, or something that you never want to change.

I hope I never lose my desire for wanderlust. I do like the fact that I constantly enjoy making the most of any opportunity I have to see somewhere new. Without this desire, I’d be missing out on scenes like the one below, taken in Cades Cove in the Tennessee Smokey Mountains. I randomly ended up staying overnight at Sevierville, TN on my way home from a conference in Nashville in early December. When I did a little online research after checking into the hotel, I discovered that I was only a 20 minute drive or so from Cades Cove, the most visited region of the Smokies. Naturally, I just had to fit it into my trip the next day!

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24) Just Because…So There! – Share any picture that you really want to share, but which doesn’t fit in any other category.

I think this might be my favorite present ever. Mark gave it to me when he returned from Iraq. He’s not the most romantic of folk, but he has the occasional “moment”!

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25) Hopes and Dreams – Share what you hope or dream for in 2012. Feel free to share an image of your choice.

Last year I started doing some scientific consulting in addition to my regular job. It was hard work keeping up with it all, but I’ve enjoyed it so far. I’m hoping to take a step further with it this coming year, and increase my productivity for the year by 50% over what I achieved last year. My ultimate goal is that one day I’ll be able to work from home as a freelancer. If I can get there slowly, one step at a time over the coming years, I’ll be happy!


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I hope 2012 allows for at least some of your hopes and dreams to be fulfilled!

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Another New Year

And so we have another start to another year. They sure seem to roll around quickly these days, don’t they? I remember when a school semester used to seem like an eternity……Nowadays I feel like New Year’s Eves happen every couple of months.

We finally returned from California on December 30th after a fabulous trip to Yosemite. It was tough leaving the place. But all good things must come to an end, and I suppose it’s a good excuse to be able to visit again some day!

Since then we’ve been trying to catch up on all things “home”. Yesterday we had a date at the movies! Mark took me to see War Horse. It was a wonderful film – if you haven’t seen it yet, do try and catch it somewhere.

Then we bunkered down for the evening. After our grand adventure in California, we didn’t want to do anything that involved energy expenditure on New Year’s Eve. So an evening of food, wine and TV was in store!

I know haggis isn’t exactly a classic American, New Year’s Eve dish, but it was on our menu for the night. Mark developed quite a taste for it when I first introduced him to it about a year ago. So he was quite excited when I told him what was about to be served.

I only suffered one mishap during the food preparation. Tiddles, my heinous pet, just loves to counter-surf, and she rudely jumped up there shortly after I’d set out plates. She then decided to knock one plate off the counter. Sadly it never survived, but at least it was an empty plate!

We washed it all down with the remaining couple of bottles of New Zealand white wine that we had left from our trip last January. And finally, we followed up with some peanut butter and chocolate ice cream.

All in all, a simple, but successful, end to 2011!

Spreading The Christmas Cheer Around

These days I buy very few Christmas presents – just for a couple of loved ones. Christmas used to be a nightmare for me. Over the years I’d accumulated a large number of people who I would buy for, and many of my friends also had anything between one and three children. It would end up with me buying for about 25 individuals each year. And naturally I’d have to mail out the majority of those, find appropriate boxes for toys etc. And since my family and many friends are in Britain, the cost of mailing would be ramped up for those folks.

I don’t even want to admit to how much money I’d end up spending on presents and postage each Christmas. Not to forget the stress of the shopping. I really don’t like shopping at the best of times, so when I’m forced into action, it’s even more painful. And I’d have to start around early October so I could gather a few every week. It was getting simply ridiculous. And those same 25 or so folks – I’d be doing similarly for their birthdays each year too!

Eventually one year I lost it. Enough was enough. The cost was tremendous, as was the pressure to be organized – I’d literally have calendar alerts on my phone every month, reminding me to buy and mail someone’s present! It wasn’t just about “me” though, it was bigger than that. As I’ve gotten older, the “extreme Hallmark-ing” of Christmas has hit me more and more.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the festivities and gift exchange, but the intensity of it all is just bizarre these days. Now it seems that an iPhone is a mere stocking stuffer for many kids! Gone are the days when kids would have tangerines and chocolates in their stocking.

So anyway, I decided to go cold turkey. A few years ago, after one Christmas was over, I contacted everyone for whom I’d usually buy presents, and announced that I’d no longer be doing so for Christmas or birthdays. And instead, I’d be making donations. I said that if anyone had any particular charities that they’d like me to donate to, I’d be happy to do so. And similarly, I asked those folk who’d buy for me, to also stop. And if they just had to think of me at Christmas or on my birthday, they too could donate in my honor instead.

I can’t even tell you the amount of joy this process brought me. The stress of all the present organizing was instantly gone. And most importantly it felt so much better knowing that my money was going to some charity each birthday month, as well as at Christmas.

So I’ve donated to a number of different charities this Christmas, as well as throughout the year in honor of birthdays. And a few weeks ago I did package up a big box full of holiday goodies that I’d bought for a bunch of Marines in Afghanistan – that felt nice sending some cheer overseas!

I know this idea isn’t for everyone, and I realize that the economy has left most people financially short, but even if you can spare one or two dollars every so often to add to a charity box, it will make a big difference to someone.

One of my favorite ways to help, is through the Green Beans Cup of Joe for a Joe program. For just $2 you can send a coffee to a random military servicemember overseas, along with an accompanying note. And you can pay via PayPal, so they make it easy. They have an online store too, so I actually bought some coffee for myself a few months ago.

I sent out a number of Cups of Joe for the holiday. It’s a very sweet way to put $2 to good use.

So if your friends or loved ones are deployed, encourage them to sign up for this program so that they too might get a smile in the form of a coffee one day!

Hope everyone’s Christmas holiday is continuing to go smoothly!

Christmas Vacation Begins

Ah, I love ending the year with my saved vacation days……..I finished work Tuesday night, and thanks to a combination of university holidays, and vacation days that I’d specifically saved, I don’t return until January 3rd.

My vacation started out with my usual Tuesday evening USO shift. It was a nightmare trying to just get to Boston’s Logan Airport – huge lines of traffic awaiting arriving passengers. I ended up ducking into an “official vehicles only” throughway (where all the hotel vans go to make pickups) just so I could exit at the other end and get to the parking lot near USO. Otherwise I’d have been waiting for the about 30 minutes. And the traffic wasn’t much better trying to get out a few hours later, but at least my exit wasn’t as time-sensitive as my arrival! Clearly the Christmas traffic insanity has begun.

But it was nice and peaceful in the USO lounge, and I even managed to get a bit of work done (I suppose no vacation is ever a true vacation when you work in academia, although I do try to keep my vacation time as sacred as possible). And the lounge looked nice and festive, especially with all the holiday cards that were handmade by local schoolkids – very sweet!

Yesterday was off to an early start with a gym visit, although I cut it short – been having lower back pain this week, so I ended up at home popping some ibuprofen instead. And after that I drowned my sorrows in some coffee with pumpkin spice-flavored creamer, and all seemed much better!

There were chores to catch up on in the apartment, and I also managed to take my non-perishable food collection to our leasing office. Every Christmas I donate food to our local Worcester Food Bank. Last year the hair salon that I use made it easy for me since they had a drop-off box there, so I killed two birds with one stone when I went for an appointment. This year it’s even easier for me – our apartment’s leasing office has a collection point, so I only had to wander across the complex with my box. That was a great move on their part.

In the afternoon I also got to meet up with my holiday catsitter. My usual catsitter is away for Christmas, but she kindly referred me to a friend. So this nice young lady visited me so she could meet Tiddles and see where things are kept. Tiddles is usually very low-maintenance for others, but loves to push my buttons when we’re home alone together! But nobody ever believes me when I tell them of the chaos she causes.

The evening brought a haircut for me  – very exciting! Maybe the first time I’d been able to just sit down and do nothing all day, it was quite nice in that respect.

Meantime, I’m waiting for Mark to arrive from upstate New York. We’re heading to deepest, darkest CT to visit his aunt and uncle tomorrow, and then we head north back to Boston to fly out to San Francisco on Christmas evening. We’re off to Yosemite National Park for a few days. Can’t wait! Although I’m sad because there’s no snow there yet, so I won’t be getting the winter wonderland that I was hoping for. But that’s ok – the weather seems to be bright and sunny, so I think we’ll have a fantastic trip!

And it’s going to be nice having Mark around for maybe 10 days or so. At least that’s how I feel now. Ask me again in 10 days time……

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Had a busy evening after work last night……routine car service (plus a safety recall check), followed by some Christmas shopping to get some last minute stuff for the boy – just some fun chocolatey stuff to accompany his presents.

I also needed a new winter jacket, so I hit a local store near me. I lost count of the number I tried on, I’m sure I was in there wandering up and down the aisles like a loon for about an hour. This felt like purgatory for me since I really don’t enjoy shopping at the best of times, but I was determined not to leave empty-handed – mostly because this would mean a return trip, and that’s just not allowed. Thankfully I eventually found one that looked like it belonged on me. Strangely it kind of reminded me of my cat too. Not too sure what that means…..

Managed to also pick up some men’s socks. Every year at Christmas, we collect new, new socks at work for a local men’s homeless shelter in Boston. Apparently socks seem to be the number one item on the “needed” list for this and many other shelters. We usually gather them together at our departmental holiday lunch. I’m not going this year though, because it’s being held next Wednesday which happens to be the 1st day of my vacation leave. But I still bought a bunch of socks to add to the collection! Such a nice idea.

Then when I eventually got home, I managed to finalize the holiday trip plans. So it really does feel like Christmas all of a sudden…..

A glass of wine before bed was really all I was fit for afterwards….