It’s the Clock’s Fault!

Over the past few months, I’ve noticed as I’ve been out driving that I seem to be having more near misses when it comes to car accidents. I really don’t think my driving habits have changed significantly, or if they have, I would say I might be driving slightly more “old lady-ish” but that would be about all, and by that I only mean I’m more prone to following the speed limit, not running yellow lights, that sort of thing. But over the last several months I’ve had several close calls where I’ve almost been side swiped (twice), rear-ended at high speeds (twice), lane drifters, and all kinds of other stuff. It’s taken me a while, but I think I am finally figuring out the problem.

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is that “oh we’re all so busy and in a hurry”, and that might be partly true, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. Nor do I think that distracted driving is completely to blame either, although it certainly can take the lion’s share of it. So, my analytical little brain has sat and thought, and thought, and thought about this one.

Having a background in Quality Improvement is interesting. You start to look at things in a different way. For example, in the past you might have thought to yourself “I wonder how my favorite bakery decides on a new cookie to bake?” but now it’s all part of a process. You start with this step, move to the next, then next and voila, new cookie in the market! Or you overanalyze things to find root cause, because you can’t just let ordinary things go – you are compelled to keep asking why.

You know, there’s a new trend in interviewing in business, called Behavioral Based Interviewing and the rationale behind it is that past actions are the best predictor of future behavior. Well, apparently, it’s true, just ask my mom, because I’m fairly certain she’ll tell you I was one of those annoying two-year olds that ran around behind her always asking “why, why, why, why, why?” Of course, in hindsight, perhaps she should have known I’d go into Quality, since the key to doing root cause analysis on a problem is asking “why” 5 times! (Parents, take heart – if you have a toddler like this, quality analysis is a great career field!)

So, as I’ve pondered why I seem to be seeing more near misses, I think I have found the answer. The reason why we’re do busy, why we’re so distracted, is the digital clock. Think about it for a moment. Back when all we used were analog clocks, we were much more likely to live on -ish time. You know what I mean…”what time is it honey?” “It’s 3:30-ish”. Or “when do you think you’ll be leaving work?” “5-ish”. We’d glance at the clock to find out what time it was, respond in relative time frames. You’d see it was getting close to a time you’d need to do something, so you’d act accordingly. If you needed to leave by 4 to get somewhere and you saw this:

You’d think “I’d better get going” and off you’d go. But now, we think in terms of this:

and immediately think “Oh, it’s only 3:54, it takes me maybe 30 minutes to get there and if I push it, I can do it in 28. I’m good, ” and then we dawdle until suddenly it’s this:

…and the next thing you know you’re flying down the road, not paying attention, running nearly red lights and almost sideswiping unsuspecting motorists who are doing the right thing at stoplights by waiting until after the light turns green before preceding into the intersection, when you come along and make a right turn on red without stopping because you dawdled. Again.

When I got an Apple watch, one of the first things I did was to set up a watch face that was analog. I like it so much better than digital, as I really do prefer that sense of “-ish time.” You know what I’m talking about when I use that term, we still have it in our lives, just not as much as we used to. “What time will your party start?” “Oh, 6-ish or so.” Or, “What time is dinner?” “Probably 7-ish”. Better yet, I like the even more vague dark-thirty, as in “the party really got going around dark-thirty”. (Don’t overthink it. If I have to explain it to you, we probably wouldn’t have much fun together at a party anyway.)

I know I won’t change the world and get everyone back to an analog life, but it sure would be lovely if we could figure out how to slow down just a little, and not be so urgent all of the time. Maybe get a little more “ish” back into our lives – in the good way.

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Saving What, Really?

Driving home I thought about what a love-hate relationship I have with this time of the year. The air is crisp and smells earthy like no other time of year. Most of the trees have given up their leaves; some remain as if expressing defiance in spite of insurmountable odds, the crimsons, rusts, golds and even the occasional greens providing visual enjoyment in otherwise increasingly bland landscapes. Yards have started to change too, from the vibrant green of summer to the muted khaki tones of fall as the lawns prepare to sleep, going without water for the next few months.

It’s really amazing the range of colors, from the dull rust of some of the oaks, to the truly vibrant red of the Euonymus, which gives it it’s common name, burning bush. On a sunny day, late in the afternoon as the sun is low in the sky and nearing the golden hour, a burning bush can look so intensely red that it will take your breath away. Yet I know that within days, or if I am really lucky weeks, it’s all gone and all I’m left with for month will be the bleak gray of winter.

The sky looks different to me too, with fewer of the fluffy clouds that are characteristic of summer. You know which ones they are, they’re the ones you can lay on your back and find animals in.  They really do seem to disappear in fall as more cirrus clouds fill the sky, lighter and wispier. In my imagination I can picture an old weatherman, kind of like Father Time, as he begins to advance the seasons. As the chill comes on he starts up his own fireplace and the wisps of smoke come out from the chimney, crossing the sky not unlike like the clouds we see.

In spite of the beauty that can be found in these, the shortening days bring with them sadness from a pending sense of withdrawal, from friends and neighbors, from social events, from many outdoor activities that so many of us love in summer. I’m not a winter person – I want to just go to ground when it’s cold out. I don’t ski or snowshoe, and think anything below zero is just plain inhuman. I have to pack away my tropically painted Adirondack chairs, my bamboo wind chime and brightly colored yard flags. I’m sure there is probably at least one neighbor out there saying “hooray!!” but eh, who cares. All I can think about is that in early November, it’s less than 6 weeks to the shortest day of the year before we can start gaining our precious sunlight again.

Speaking of gaining light, does anyone else think that Daylight Savings Time is an idea whose time has come – and gone? First of all, no one can even remember when we’re ON DST (is it summer or winter?) let alone why it was started in the first place. The answers are: Summer, and  originally, so a New Zealand golfer could golf additional rounds after dinner. Ugh. It went away for a number of years, then was adopted in the 1970s in the US as a part of the Energy Crisis. However subsequent studies have provided mixed results on whether or not it saves or uses more energy, but the increases and decreases are both small. The bigger impacts are on health, safety, economics and confusion. screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-11-46-29-am

Maxine really did say it best, didn’t she? Seriously, what’s the point. Arizona, Hawaii and Puerto Rico don’t do this to themselves, and neither do some Canadian provinces and a handful of countries. So if you travel a lot, have family and friends around the world or work internationally, you have to remember all this. Yes, the internet helps, but sheesh, wouldn’t it be easier if we didn’t have to try to remember? And then we have to worry about if our body has adjusted, or if we’ve forgotten and missed appointments, or are early for things. Gah! Let’s just do away with this once and for all.

The farmers hate it too, as they would prefer being in fields earlier and home earlier, rather than staying out until 10 at night. Who can blame them? How long do you suppose it takes their poor dairy cows to adjust to the time change? “Uh, Bessie, sorry, but your poor udder will need to just hold out another hour…clock says it’s NOT 5 yet. I don’t care how much you moo.”

Guess what teenagers? It won’t kill you if you get up earlier because the sun came up earlier. I know, I know, you heard it would and you believed it, but it isn’t true, any more than all the other ridiculous rumors you hear as a teenager. No one’s going blind, parts won’t fall off, and yes, just once is an issue. (But of course, since I don’t have children I will do what any wise woman without children does…toss these topics over the proverbial wall to someone else and their blog, like the hot potato topics they are  🙂

So don’t forget, this year Daylight Savings Time ENDS at 2 AM on Sunday, November 6. That’s this coming weekend, so you need set your clocks back. screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-11-59-41-am

 

Betwixt and Between

I recently had a birthday. Note I didn’t say “celebrated”, so please don’t feel compelled to offer felicitations, congratulations, or other similar happy sentiments. I had it, I’m over it. I’m becoming ‘a woman of a certain age’, and each year I’m less happy about it, and I can admit it freely. It’s a confounding state to find oneself in…chronologically the calendar insists that I am eligble for senior discounts at restaurants, auto service centers, and other businesses, every morning before I get out of bed my joints tell me I’m older than dirt and I ought to be grateful I’m waking up on this side of it, but my spirit? I feel like I’m about 35 – there is still so much world out there! I want to explore new places I’ve never been in the world, flirt with 35 year-old waiters, and keep feeling like I have all the time in the world. I don’t want to be this age. I don’t like it one bit! I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t! (picture me stomping my foot in protest, a la Herman Munster.)

“40 is the new 30”, we heard that one a few years ago, then along came “50 is the new 40”. In some ways it’s true, living in a world that is as connected as we are, with easy transportation and technology we can get places better and faster than generations before us could. There is work on new supersonic transport starting, and seeing watching “Planet Earth” a few years ago in high definition was pretty darned amazing. We can Skype with people halfway around the world from us to stay in immediate contact, instead of waiting weeks for letters.

And yet….

At 55, I have more gray hair than not (trust me when I tell you this, although I’m not ready to let you see it yet), the word “retirement” creeps into more conversations every year, friends have begun moving to southern climes to escape Minnesota winters, and when I recently sorted through things for a garage sale, I found myself becoming rather maudlin. While not a hoarder or pack rat, I have some things I’ve saved over the years that were special for one reason or another. A hand puppet my parents gave me, an old kerosene lantern that matches one my mother has and keeps at her cabin, some treasures from travels as a child, and other mementos. They’re stored in plastic bins and I look at them perhaps once every few years and have a moment or two of nostalgia, then don’t think about them again until the next time. I have no other reason to save them, no children to pass them along to. So what’s the point? Saving them for someone to have to throw away when I die? (Which of course makes me think about “if I died today, what would they find?” and my reaction is a cross between ‘ugh’ and ‘oh dear God’!)

It’s difficult being at an age of having to think about your own mortality when you don’t feel old inside and at least for me, it’s like having two personalities. One on each shoulder as it were, like the angel and the devil. “Go out, live life! Have some fun! Go sky dive, zip line!” says one. The other? “Stay home, organize, dust, save your money, put more into that Roth”. I also REALLY hate it when I run across a story about someone that decided to give it all up to live the dream. Why? Because I wish I had that kind of courage, and willingness to give up my creature comforts. So many days I could do it but then there are just so many more of the days that I’m not quit there. I’m not talking about Starbucks, or Macy’s. I couldn’t care less about that. But I have a lovely home and we’re having fun (most of the time) fixing it up and putting our signature on it, filled with tchotchkes and treasures we’ve collected. Well, ok, mostly what hubby has collected, that’s his deal. I’d put myself more in the bucket of ‘get a couple of things here and there that coordinate, but not a whole series’. While living the easy life on an island someplace sounds lovely, paring back to only  critical clothing, a few electronics, 3 houseplants and the 2 cats just isn’t me quite yet. I have to at least wait until my niece and nephew have homes of their own so I can pass along some of those “treasured heirlooms” to them, lucky ducks.

And I don’t want to think about any of that anyway…I’m only 35 for heaven’s sake. I have light-years of time ahead of me, don’t I? I can’t possibly be old enough to have a niece that just got married, it feels like I just held her in my arms as an infant for the first time last week. And only a moment has passed since I held my nephew for his baptism…that same nephew who is now getting ready to be a senior in college and just passed his second actuarial exam (smartie!) Yet I look at them, and am amazed at how many years have flown by. How did this happen? Dear God, how did I become one of those people who needs someone to do their pedicures because they can’t reach their own toes, or their arthritis is so bad they can’t do it themselves? I guess I should be grateful we don’t need to buy Efferdent and Polygrip, but still…

On a happier note, I AM celebrating something else.

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cakecentral.com

 

It was my one year blog birthday on August 14. Here I am with 43 posts, and views in 26 countries later and still blabbing on. If I were going to have a cake, I imagine it would look like this one. Thank you to everyone for the encouragement, and stay tuned, there’s more to come. Remember, my brain says I’m only 35.

One final note, for all my blog buddies from Diane Henders’ blog “Probably Inappropriate” , as promised

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Now where did I put that article on parasailing in the Sea of Cortez?

 

 

 

 

I Am My Age…I Think

And now, back to your regularly scheduled lightheartededness…..

 

Not old enough to know better

Old enough to know better

Not old enough to know

Old enough to know

Not old enough

Old enough

Not old

Old

Not

And so goes the poem, “The Nine Ages of Man” by F.Emerson Andrews. I was delighted to stumble on the Diane Henders’ “I Spy” series of books about a year ago, for several reasons. The first is they’re just darn good, and keep me entertained. But the second, is that her protagonist Aydan, isn’t 20 something, or even 30 something…she’s – gasp – in her 40’s!!  Someone who is at least closer in age to where I am (and w here I mentally think I will be someday, because let’s face it, I’m still only 35 in my brain.)

Then in the last month or so, I found author Donna McDonald, who writes romantic fiction with a couple of her series focusing on – but not exclusively – adults in their 40’s and/or 50’s (See “The Art of Love””Next Time Around” and “Never Too Late” Series).  The characters may be widowed, divorced or never married, are flawed and imperfect, just like we are, know what they want and don’t want because they are of an age where they’ve lived and experienced life. They aren’t going to shortchange themselves for anyone. I LOVE that! Her characters are strong, funny, and her various series of books are engaging. I really would encourage you to check them out.

But it really got me to thinking about how much I appreciate these authors. The reason? Well, quite frankly it’s all about the old expression “Just because there’s a little snow on the roof doesn’t mean there isn’t a fire in the fireplace”.  Too much women’s fiction out there today is written about the 20 and 30 something crowd and honestly, at 55, I can’t relate. I’m never again (I hope!) going to fret about my apartment roommate, or go clubbing until the wee hours looking for a man (ugh). At this age, we’re over that nonsense. Let’s just cut to the chase because we know what we want, the type of man we want, what we are (and are not) willing to tolerate and we’ll end a relationship a whole lot sooner if it’s not working out. We have jobs, careers, families, hobbies and many of us are intellectually, socially, emotionally and spiritually satisfied already with our friends. A significant other doesn’t fill a gap, it’s an addition to an already full life.

When I finally understood those last two sentences, and truly believed them, I was 38. I had finally come to terms with not being married, and was pretty sure I was never going to be, nor was I ever having children. My sister had two of them and that was going to be enough for me. (I figured I could “borrow” hers on the weekends if I was feeling very maternal, and give her a parenting break, then give ’em back at the end. It was a win-win for everyone.) 1917020_1178599432945_4986073_n

 

Here are a couple of pictures of my niece Rachel on a weekend with Auntie Beth back in the day, clearly having a blast!

401485_3375010141840_1509729840_nI mean what kid wouldn’t have fun when she can wear her ball cap backward, cool sunglasses, and her aunt’s dive mask and snorkel (which she found all on her own and surprised me with!) Wouldn’t you have waited to go to your Auntie’s house too if you could have had as much fun as we did?  Of course you would have!

 

 

 

I remember when I started feeling really peaceful about all of this too.  I was on a sailing cruise in the Carribbean and stood on the deck of the ship with the wind blowing through my hair, just feeling the boat bob up and down, watching the horizon ahead of me as the sun slowly set on the water. The dolphins were swimming just ahead of the boat, giving us a great show as we sailed along, the wind catching our sails. Take a moment to go to Islandwindjammers.com. 149The line that I sailed with is no longer in business, but the photos here will give you and idea of what the boats were like. It was an incredible experience, and I was lucky enough to sail with Windjammer Barefoot Cruises four times before they went out of business. There are thousands of us still in mourning. Here is a shot from the deck of  the boat my husband and I sailed on for our honeymoon, which was the last time I sailed with them. As Jimmy Buffet says “salt air it ain’t thin, it can stick right to your skin and make you feel fine, it makes you feel fine”. And oh boy, does it ever.
Ah, the stories I could tell…but that’s another day.My life was my own and I had no one to answer to. The sense of accomplishment and freedom was amazing, no kids to worry about, no one that needed my time or anyone to split my income with. It was all about me. Then I came home and started seriously dating the man who became my husband. Yep, he was the addition to my full life. As it should be.

So what age am I now? I don’t know. I look at the poem and I laugh, because it depends on the day. I guess I’m at least at the “Old enough to know” mark, but then feel like I do move back and forth a bit, sort of how one moves through Kübler-Ross’ stages of grieving. I’m “Not Old”, then “Old” then back to “Old Enough” again. I’m certainly “old enough to know better” when it comes to going out clubbing, and “old enough to know” that a man will never make me happy, only I can do that. I’m “not old enough” for retirement and AARP (although AARP thinks I am!) and I’m “old enough” now that parts need fixing and replacing. I can only hope it’s a very long while before I feel and act like I’m truly “old”, and even longer before I’m “not”.

Fancy Pillows

While I’m a child of the city, I was fortunate to have grandparents that lived out in the country. One set lived on a farm, and the other lived 3 miles away in a very small town, where they were related to almost everyone there and had a town motto of “if you’re not Dutch, you’re not much”. (Don’t worry, I’ll get mileage out of that someday!) My mom’s dad was a real corker, even taught me a curse word in Dutch when I was little (“tsk, tsk Grandpa Cornie, you should have been ashamed of yourself.”)

Beth and Grandpa Cornie

Me and “the corker”, about 1963

My dad’s parents were a bit more on the stoic, German side. Kind of the no-nonsense, hard working farmers you expect to find in the midwest. Growing up we called them by their last names to differentiate which grandparents we were talking about, but as we became adults and the grandchildren started having children, somehow they picked up on Grandpa’s nickname as a child. His first name was Albert, but his nickname was Abby and somehow, he and my grandmother became Grandpa and Grandma Abby, probably because our last name was a long, difficult German name to pronounce.

I remember some of the stories from Grandma Abby, although not as many as I’d like and now that I’m older, probably not nearly as well as I’d like either. I’m a little hazy on the one about how and why she caught her bloomers on a fence, and I seem to recall something about a finding a rattlesnake in a bale of hay when she took lunch out to the men one day during hay baling season. I remember too, Grandpa Abby saying how proud he was that he paid cash — cash (can you just imagine?) — for everything, except for the time he bought a cream separator on credit, for which I think he paid a nickel a month, and it bothered him so much he never bought anything on credit ever again.

Beth w Grandpa and Grandma Abby

Me with Grandpa and Grandma Abby, about 1962

I do remember, very well, grandma telling me about the fancy pillows they used. She said that they had every day pillows on the bed, with regular pillow cases, but that when company would come to stay they would take the everyday pillows off the bed, and put them aside, take out the nice pillows and put on the really nice, embroidered pillow cases with the hand crocheted lace edges on them. They called them “fancy pillows“, and those were the ones that would be out for guests. I always kept that phrase in my head, and knew I’d write about it someday in a book or blog.

I thought about all this tonight when I was talking with my mom, after I had asked her what she remembered about some places in downtown Minneapolis that were tickling in the back of my memory. The area is called “The Theater District”, and I believe I’ve also seen it called “The Lower Loop”. My dad worked downtown near 13th Street and Hennepin Ave for a number of years, and the two places I remembered were the Gnostica Bookstore and the Pink Pussycat. I asked mom what she remembered, and she thought the Gnostica might have been an occult bookstore but she wasn’t sure, but she laughed when I brought up the Pink Pussycat. With a name like that you can take a wild guess what kind of business this place was, and you’d probably be right! Apparently his employer had purchased the land that the building sat on, and was going to use the building for something else. Some of the ahem – dancers – lived upstairs, and my  dad was given what he saw as the less than desirable job of telling these lovely young ladies they had to move out. Imagine in the late 1960’s, a 28-30 year old, ultra conservative young man going to tell strippers to move out of their apartments. He wasn’t terribly keen on this assignment and ended up taking a co-worker with him to get it done.

Speaking of downtown Minneapolis, my mother also told me a funny story about coming into downtown with her dad and mom, and younger sister. Her father owned a general store in that small town I mentioned, and came into Minneapolis from time to time to buy dry goods. Apparently they arrived late and when they got to the Hotel Andrews, it was full. Well Grandpa Cornie, the aforementioned corker, has them get ahold of his friend who was perhaps the manager, they find a room for them and get settled in with a second floor room facing Hennepin Avenue in about 1945. (If you ‘re unfamiliar with Minneapolis , Hennepin is the main drag through downtown, and has always been the central street for the bars, theaters, bums, pandhandlers, etc. It’s much better now, but always has been the focal point of downtown, and a great place to people watch.) After dark, on a rainy night. Across from the Gay 90s.

 

gay90smhs

1958 Photo courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While today it’s most well known for being a gay bar, back in the 40’s  the location was first a restaurant called The Casablanca, then Shanghai House before becoming the Gay 90’s in 1948, and turning into a “striptease and jazz music” bar (info courtesy of Jeanne Andersen).  So my mom would have been 8, her sister 6, and she said she and her sister just sat and watched, and watched and watched for hours, all the drunks coming and going from the bar, their eyes so wide they about fell out of their heads!

 

 

I’m so glad I found the time to have that conversation with my mom, and to remember the stories from my grandparents. It’s sad when we don’t capture those moments and they’re gone.  I stumbled on some incredible resources tonight, with old photos of Minneapolis. Historyapolis is an amazing trove of old memories, as is Thomas Lowry’s Ghost on tumblr and this Minneapolis history site on Flickr. If you haven’t sat down and talked to your parents and grandparents about what life was like when they were kids, take the time to do it. It’s amazing what you’ll learn. Go through old website archives, take a stroll down memory lane. Start a journal or blog and write it down, before memories are gone, and along with them, the stories. Shortly after my dad died, I started a journal that was for memories of him. I wanted to capture those unique things that I knew I’d forget over time. I pulled that out today and added the story my mom just told me, and was looking back at some of what I’d put in there. What a gold mine! (And rich treasure for future blogs too.)  I am so glad I wrote those things down because I had forgotten some of them, and reading them made me smile and made me feel very, very lucky. It reminded me my life was full of moments of fancy pillows, even when I forget they’re there.

White Line Fever

I. Am. Spoiled. Rotten.

I am a fully mature, adult woman and can admit that without fear of embarrassment or humiliation, although knowing some of my friends, the jury is still out on retribution. I am lucky enough to work for a large Fortune 100 company that believes telecommuting can be very effective (at least until I start writing best sellers and can start my 2nd – or 3rd career), and has 34% of it’s workforce at home. I’m part of the 34%, and feel so fortunate to be able to get up every day, roll out of bed, wake up at my leisure, drink my coffee, read, and walk to work in my jammies/shorts/jeans/sweats or other uniform of the day. I might go to the office once every other month or so for a class or special meeting. When I do, my first reaction is, of course, the reminder of how glad I am that I’m a telecommuter. Not because I’m getting up earlier than normal – oh no, the days of sleeping in are long gone now that I am, as my mother so kindly puts it, “at that stage of my life” and I generally wake between 5 and 6 every day. I just like not having to muck around with the dressing up, the make up, the hair, the jewelry, the shoes (ok, maybe the shoes are ok. I mean, let’s be real.) Then comes my second reaction. It goes a little something like this.

“What the…” mumble, mumble, swear, “what’s the matter with you, jerk face!” (Soothing jazz from satellite radio plays in the background). Keep driving, settle in, then “arrgghhhh” hit the brakes, swerve, pull back, speed up, slow down, let someone merge along with the jerk who snuck in because he has ants in his pants and can’t wait his turn. That’s just in the first 10 of 35 miles.

I HATE traffic. Really. Did anyone out there take Driver’s Ed besides me? Blinkers are NOT just pretty colored lights, nor are they optional. If your “boom-boom” music is making my mirrors vibrate, you should get a ticket. If you force your way up in line in merging traffic going from 2 lanes to one, you should be forced to have a bumper sticker on your car that says “I don’t know how to merge in zipper formation, I’m an idiot”.

Eight-sided red signs with thin white outlines aren’t optional, no matter what your high school friends told you back in central Minnesota, merge means “yes, bonehead, you too”, and the bright red light that comes after the yellow one? IT DOES NOT MEAN GO FASTER. The white lines that are painted on the road have a purpose. Stay between them, and you’ll find life is much better, particularly if they are solid and not dashed.

Did I mention I hate traffic?  If you can’t do hands free on your cellphone, don’t use it. (You probably shouldn’t anyway, but I know some must, and I’ve done it too, but only hands free and don’t when conditions are such that my attention has to be laser focused on the road.) And for the love of, STOP TEXTING, sheesh, amazing that anyone needs to be told THAT one.  I look around and my blood pressure is up, my heart beats faster and no dreaming of my happy place on a beach in the Caribbean or sailing on a tall ship can make the tension of traffic go away. Like the redneck comedians say, “here’s your sign!”

Thank heavens it’s only a day now and then. Yep, spoiled rotten. I can live with that. And if my friends don’t like it, well they can just come drive me to work every day instead. No more spoiled me AND no crabby me. If that’s not a win, I don’t know what would be. But since I’m more likely to get a jet pack before a chauffeur, I think I’ll opt for my version of the Staples Easy Button, and keep working from home. But for the love of God, don’t make us use the webcams.

What’s Free Time?

“What are you going to do with all your free time?” Someone asked me that question the other day, when I told them I was getting ready to complete my post-graduate studies. Yes, after 5 long, long, LONG years, I am almost done. The end is in sight. Shortly after I post this my final paper and project will be turned in and then I will be free of the worst professor on the planet, and the countdown to walking graduation will start, and on December 15 I get to make my mom cry a few happy tears. But I digress.

Free time? What’s that? Oh yeah, it’s what other people have…insert snicker here. I used to know what it was. I was going to ask the people around me what they do in their free time, you know, like family and friends. Here’s the problem with that. After a few years of having no life, what do we do? We surround ourselves with OTHER PEOPLE JUST LIKE OURSELVES who also have no lives. ARGH. I’m in trouble. So I’ve started to dig deep into the recesses of the brain closet for old hobbies to resurrect.

Quilting was something that I liked, so I’ll probably try that again, hopefully I’ll have learned some patience over the last 5 years. And some precision. I do have a project that I started a number of years ago, and I never finished it so it would make a good one to tackle. My grandmother started a quilt when she was a girl, in the “granny’s flower garden” pattern. The blocks are hexagon shaped, and are of course hand quilted. When she did it, she accidentally put too many blocks together, so the center ended up oval. The pieced block ended up the wrong shape and she got stuck and ended up with 31 blocks that are about 12″ x 8″ that she didn’t know what to do with, and she quit. She ended up giving them to me, and I started by cutting hexagons to try to piece them by hand, but boy is THAT putzy. So maybe I’ll try to figure out something else. I could do…..

Knitting…now THERE’s an old lady pastime! Sitting in a rocking chair by the fire, kitty at my feet. Crap, there goes the cat again, chewing on the yarn. “Stop it! Let go of the yarn” and I stop my foot. “That’s $20 a skein from England and is a gift for Amy, darn it!” (not really, Amy, don’t get excited.) Or I could….

Probably the one I’m most excited about is photography. We do have several cameras and lenses and I love getting out and just shooting nature, and trying different things. We have some fabulous locations close by here and I can’t wait to just take a chair and sit, and have the time to just wait for the opportunities to happen. Isn’t that a lovely phrase? “Have the time to just wait”? How often do we ever do that? For anything? Yeah, me neither. But it’s a nice thought….

In the meantime, it’s 26 days, 11 hours, 43 minutes until graduation. But who’s counting? It’s not like I’m impatient or anything.