Thursday, May 31, 2007

Nasty Trash

I hate my apartment complex. Maybe that's too strong. I greatly dislike my apartment complex. I don't like living on the 3rd floor, I don't like the neighborhood, and I don't like the fact that rent is going up by $35 a month and I have to renew my lease in a couple of days.

But what I hate most is the nasty trash, and the bag that someone keeps placing outside my front door.

This bag has been on the third floor landing for weeks and weeks now, and I'll be damned if I'm going to throw it out. I don't know whose it is, or if they are even still living in one of the 4 apartments that this landing services. I am perfectly happy to take my own trash down to the dumpster, and usually do so every day or every other day, as I use 13-gallon white kitchen garbage bags and don't like to have anything organic lying around to attract bugs and such.

The past several days, someone has been moving this big open black trash bag close to my door or in front of my door. It was blocking my door this morning, and again when I came home a while ago.

I've had it. This is NOT my fucking trash. I am NOT going to take it to the dumpster. I moved the bag about 10 feet from my door, came inside, got a marker and a piece of white printer paper, wrote "This is NOT my trash. STOP putting it in front of my door!", and taped it to the bag.

It's a stupid simple thing. If it doesn't belong to any of the 4 of us, then the apartment complex needs to dispose of it, because it was probably left by a prior tenant.

And all this talk of trash reminds me I really need to do some serious house cleaning tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Things Commonly Asked for or Heard in a Bookstore

#1 Where's the bathroom?

#2 Can you help me find a book?

#3 (in a 2 level store built in 2004) Do you have an elevator?

#4 I didn't realize you had a second floor!

#5 Where's non-fiction?

#6 Where do you pay?

#7 Is Harry Potter out yet?

#8 How does the trolley work?

#9 Can you call me a cab?

#10 How are your books arranged?

#11 The sticker says 30% off. What does that mean?

#12 I can't believe you carry that trash (usually referring to a book about whichever political idealogies said person does not support).

#13 Are y'all hiring?

Some of these are honest, simple questions. Some are stupefying in their ridiculousness. Some annoy the heck out of me. There are only a couple I despise.

Can you guess which one I hate the most?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Focus on the City: Montreal

I noticed that I had one hit yesterday from someone in Montreal. So....from the big state of Texas, I shout out a big Howdy! to you.

I have not been to Montreal yet, but I know enough to envy you the long summer daylight hours while simultaneously gasping at how sparse of sunlight the winter days must be.

Hello to all from Montreal, and post a comment if you see fit.

Fun College Courses aka Continuing Education

I've been tossing around the idea for a while of taking a course or two a year in something that sounds like fun: watercolor, cooking, art history, Spanish. Heck, I even have a friend who took a course in beekeeping. How cool is that? There are absolute tons of colleges, universities, and community colleges around here, and the offerings are pleasantly varied.

I just saw at the smu.edu site a course on the Trans-Siberian Railroad that I think my Dad would enjoy.

I already have several obligations (mostly training dates/tiimes) that prohibit me from attending some of the multi-week sessions, but there are several that are just one or two sessions in length that I could work into other weeks.

What's available in your area?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Eating on $5 a Day?

I was wondering today if it were possible to eat a healthy-ish, satisfying, set of meals and snacks for 30 days where the cost of all the food and drink did not exceed $5 a day.

What do you think?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Muffin Mixes

In a perfect world, I would have the funds (and the kitchen to match) to have a boy-chef cook and bake for me. In this little fantasy I imagine his creating wonderful, healthy meals for me which I wouldn't guess were healthy--such would be the level of his genius. And he would bake things for me...many things without calories or fat...delicious tasty sensual erotic things; things such as muffins.

Yeah right!

Instead of made-from-scratch muffins, I periodically try those inexpensive muffin mix packets. I know, Charles, I KNOW they are crap, but some are less craptastic than others. For example, the ones I just baked are mixed with water. Last week I baked some that are mixed with milk. The milk-mixed were far superior, as prepackaged muffin mixes go. And I get a meal...an entire meal from a mix that cost less than a dollar. That's not too bad. Of course by the time I split open the tops and put a generous slip of butter inside them, they probably weigh in at 300 calories apiece.

Ah well.

Life is better with muffins.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Imagine

Imagine you are reading something profound right here, right now. Imagine it delights you, charms you, inspires you, challenges you. Now, keep on imagining, because that ain't what's comin'.

Thought #1: Postage just increased on Monday. I didn't know about it until last Friday. Why? Because I mail exactly 2 items each month: my credit card bill and my water/sewage bill. Absolutely everything else is handled electronically. One would think I still would have known about this increase, which leads to...

Thought #2: I don't read newspapers, I don't listen to talk radio, and I don't watch tv. Why? I detest the feel of newspaper. It is dirty, inky, and I just hate the texture. I don't listen to talk radio for the same reason I dislike arguments or debates: if two people are arguing or debating, then they are already at the point where there is nothing that one can say to change the mind of the other, so it is pointless. Additionally, talk radio tends to focus on professional sports, politics, religion, and world affairs, none of which interest me. And I don't watch tv because I haven't yet decided on cable versus satellite, or even if I need the added onthly expense and time expendature, which leads me to...

Thought #3: Money. Being a single gal, I feel I must take care of myself now financially, because it's looking like I won't have any kids to help out when I am older. One of my bestest friends is now 59. She never married and has no children. Her mother died of breast cancer in her 40s, and her father died of Alzheimer's in his late 60s, I think. Both illnesses require a great deal of care at quite an expense, and who is going to do that for her? I have no such history of any major diseases, illnesses, or conditions in my family, but still I want to live as full and productive a life as possible...which leads me to...

Thought #4: Do I place too much importance on myself as a person? Someone in my life used to tell me, "You think you're better and smarter than the rest of us." Well, looking back, of course I did, and I still do to some extent. This is probably why I identify with a particular character on this one particular tv series I have been enjoying lately. Except that unlike him, I do possess a large array of social skills, some of which I actually use from time to time. I have found that throughout my life I've had to downplay all my accomplishments and abilities, because lying and pretending to be modest is more acceptable than sitting up and saying, "Yes, I am great at what I do. I am talented in this or that, and I'm proud of it." And so logically, this leads me to...

Thought #5: The Challenge of Life. I remember when I was a kid, being scared of growing up, because the 'real world' was unforgiving, relentless, and could crush you in an instant. My how perception changes things. I love almost everything about my life, and those things that I don't already love, I am working on changing, adding, or deleting. We each of us own our own destiny. The decisions we make along the way move us along the cosmic flowchart of life. We influence and are influenced by others. When I visualize a life, that is how I see it. And I didn't really have a point when I started writing this, but I think now that I might possibly have one. And so finally, that leads me to...

Final Thought: Isn't that why we each blog, comment, and read blogs in return? To allow ourselves to influence and be influenced by others? Possibly. At least it's worth thinking about.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mother's Day and Graduation

Two topics unrelated except for their temporal correlation. Heh, temporal correlation...that makes me sound smart.

I had today off, so I went in search of a Mother's Day gift at the Carlyn Galerie (www.carlyngalerie.com). I have found beautiful birthday gifts there before, and I just knew I'd find something gorgeous to give to my mother for Sunday. I was short on time, as I had made plans to meet a friend for lunch shortly thereafter in a town just north of Dallas. Fortunately, it took me a just a few short minutes to find the hand-made blue and green folded design glass bowl that I brought home with me.

I would take a pic of it, but the nice lady at the galerie boxed and wrapped it for me. It is a lovely work of art, and quite functional to boot. A small spray of her multi-colored roses will look stunning in it, or Mom can use it simply as a decorative piece.

It is nearly impossible to find a Mother's Day card that isn't too sentimental, gushy, or lovey. The relationship I have with my mother is none of those. It is practical and mostly functional, and that's all I've ever needed it to be, so I usually skip the card part of the holiday. Too much information...
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It is also graduation time for most colleges, and even public schools here are winding down their last 2 or 3 weeks. People are going to the grad ceremonies for their friends and relatives, and it reminds me of how many graduation ceremonies I attended while in school.

I was in band, and we played at each graduation in high school, so I had to sit through all those years of pomp and circumstance (which we very tee-hee-ingly called pompous circumcise) And my senior year when I would have been able to finally sit with my class, I had to sit on stage because, you see, I was salutatorian of my senior class. Not quite valedictorian, but #2...most of the accolades and none of the money. Oh well. And to top it all off, I was expected to give a speech--in front of thousands of people--in a blue robe and mortar board--with a microphone--wtf?

Now, as I've said before many times, I was in band for several years and performed before crowds of thousands before....I even had solos in front of crowds of thousands...but those were crowds that came to see the bands perform. At a graduation ceremony, no one cares about the speeches or the music, they just want to see their child, grandchild, sister, brother, etc. walk across the stage and accept their diploma. I was not keen on being an obstacle to their gratification. So, I wrote my stupid little speech, the topic of which I have long since forgotten, timed it to less than one minute, and managed to deliver it. Whew...graduation over.

I didn't attend my college graduation, because really, I went to a school of 28,000, and even though each college within the university held their own event, I graduated from the college of arts & sciences, along with a couple thousand others, I'm sure. I had them mail my diploma to me. For me, college was just another thing in life that was an expectation in my route to adulthood and becoming a contributing member of society as well as a self-reliant individual.

I did attend my younger sister's high school graduation, to be fair, but I skipped my older sister's masters and doctoral ceremonies. Then I skipped both of my younger sister's undergrad ceremonies...she received two different bachelor's degrees several years apart. Yeah, I know...huh?

Enough ceremonies...enough enough enough! Geez.

And it was only years later--just a couple of years ago or so--when my Dad told me about attending what must have been his 45th high school reunion (his does every 5 years, I guess) and the conversations he had with his old friends about their various families, that I finally understood how rare it is for all of his children to have graduated college. Add to that the fact that none of us are in jail, we aren't druggies, not divorced, and we all have careers, not just jobs, and you've got an apparently enviable thing, at least in the eyes of some of his old high school classmates. And here I was just thinking that it was normal to graduate college, stay out of trouble in general, have a strong work ethic, and be a productive person in the world.

I guess that's not normal, or maybe the odds of having a black sheep in the family among the children are 1 in 4, and since we are only 3 sisters, we just snuck in under that arbritray statistical line.

Back to the topic of graduation...

Um, nope. I think I'm done with that topic. I have to work in the morning. Night.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Instant Viewing on Netflix

I had not visited my Netflix site recently, as I normally load up the queue with full TV series and let it run for a few months. But, I did just drop by there to drop Planet Earth into the front of my queue when I noticed something called "Instant Viewing" that is included in my regular monthly fee.

Apparently, if I were to use a Windows based computer (slimly possibly my 6 year old laptop), I could watch up to 18 hours of various movies and TV shows. Rather nifty.

But, since I don't care to sit in front of a computer for 2 hours at a time watching a movie, and I really don't think my old laptop could handle the streaming volume, I will be forced to think of Instant Viewing as a very creative method by Netflix to retain loyal customers and recapture ones lost to other online DVD services.
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Assortment

I had Sunday dinner with my parents and younger sister a couple of days ago. I learned my mother's car had been sideswiped by another car fleeing police. How nice. So it was a hit and run, and even though the Ft. Worth police were in hot pursuit, no one stopped to help her, which is even more nice. She is fine, and the car is really not that badly damaged, though the insurance adjuster posted the claim at $2,000. Cars can be replaced; people can't. If that bastard had hurt my mother, he would have more serious problems than the police right now.

Last night/this morning at 4am I got an alarm call from the monitoring company we use at work. These calls occur a few times a year, and it's usually right after some severe weather has hit. Such was the case last night. There are calls that I must go to the store for, and there are calls that I don't. Fortunately, this was a call that did not require me pulling clothes onto my slept-in raggedy body and pretending to be awake for the short drive there to meet the police or FD.

Gracie kitty is sneezing a lot, but then again so are many of us. With plentiful rain comes high-volume botanical growth, which leads to big time allergies. I choose to ignore my allergies for the most part, and believe it or not, the method actually works for me. Ahhh, the power of the mind.

Two friends and I are in the very early stages of planning a road trip to Acadia National Park for summer 2008. I have requested visitor's guides and brochures from the chambers of commerce of many of the towns on the island, and last night I found website that links to realtors who assist in the renting of privately owned cottages up there. I've never been to Maine and am looking forward to going.

I go to work here in a little bit. The days have been so nasty humid and miserable lately with all the rain we've been having. At least it's not 105 and nasty humid. I need to squeeze in a week of vacation somewhere, but I don't know when I'll have a week when I'm not already scheduled for something at work.

Have an interesting day.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Body Worlds

Sorry about the long delay in updating. I'm not very disciplined when it comes to posting every day, even if I may be online at least for a few minutes most days. I like to think of my posting frequency as 'whimsical', which sounds carefree and happy, but really just means lazy.

On Thursday, my day off this week, I went to see the Body Worlds exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Science and History (or some such configuration of those words) in Fair Park. This is the same Fair Park where I saw Wicked at the Music Hall a couple of weeks ago. To tangenticize this post...Fair Park covers many many acres and is home to numerous small museums, the Music Hall, the Cotton Bowl football stadium (avoid this area during Texas/OU weekend if you want to live a long life), and of course the annual State Fair of Texas.

I found a much quicker way of getting to FP from my apartment using surface streets, but while the drive is a mere 2.something miles, it goes through the nasty-hood that is situated between here and the Park. I picked up two friends in the parking garage at my store, and we made our way to the museum.

There were point billion kids running around outside the building, and I dropped off one of our party to run up the stairs and see what entry time we could get on our tickets. I was much relieved to learn upon her return that almost all the kids were there for the IMAX theatre, and were not going into the galleries we were visiting. Whew!

At this point, if you are not familiar with Body Worlds, check it out at www.bodyworlds.com. You know by now that I can't do links with my mac on blogger, so just suck it up and type the addy into your browser field. And it's Body WORLDS, not WORKS.

There are 3 Body Worlds shows currently touring in the US. The one in Dallas is the original. There apparently is some controversy surrounding the exhibition, as it involves the 'plastination' of deceased human bodies that were donated to science. Some of the bodies are positioned in various poses and the bones or muscles or organs displayed in various arrangements to provide better viewing and to make particular points.

We each of us opted to pay the mere $4 for the audio tour, which was informative enough, but became laborious as I moved through the galleries. It felt like I was holding a cell phone up to my head for 90 minutes, so I pretty much stopped near the end.

The galleries in the exhibit were very warm, and there were too many people let in at one time, causing great congestion at each of the exhibit pieces. There were quite a lot of kids, which I was happy to see were pretty enthralled by the whole experience. Most of them were well behaved, and the younger ones would giggle at the very visible reproductive organs. Who wouldn't have giggled at reproductive organs at age 10?

I don't know how long the exhibit has been touring, but some of the pieces looked tired--like they'd been moved too many times. I have no idea how they pack and ship those items. They're not very solid, even if they are 'plastinated'.

Overall, I enjoyed seeing the exhibit. I finally made use of my high school anatomy class, and I got to see what will happen to my city girl lungs if I stay living near downtown for the next 40 years.

The other two exhibits are in Chicago and Phoenix currently, so go check them out if you get a chance. The one in Dallas is here until the end-ish of May.

And I'm mad at myself for neglecting to see the Matisse as Sculptor exhibit at the DMA before it left on April 29. So many things of 'cultcha' to see, so few days off. While I don't mind going and doing things on my own, it is still much more enjoyable to go with friends or family. I think next up will be a play or an outdoor symponic concert of some kind. Maybe Mayfest in Ft. Worth, even.

I am off to work here in a couple of hours, so everyone have a great Saturday.