Spring Fever

spring feverDo you ever feel like you’re just going through the motions? Wake up, go to work, come home, have supper, go to bed, then do it all over again the next day? The days blend into each other and sometimes it’s hard to tell one day from the next. It’s like you’re on a slow ride through a long, boring expanse of flatlands with nothing to see for miles and miles, just rolling along and letting life steer the car.

Lately, I feel like I’m just rolling along and (NOT) enjoying the ride! I think it’s probably cabin fever. The weather’s nice, but not nice enough to be spending a lot of time outside soaking in the sunshine and fresh air. The ground is spongy and damp, the air is cold and crisp…too cold and crisp to really enjoy it yet. The trees are just starting to bud.

Once the weather breaks, I lose my shoes the instant I come home from work and don’t put them on again until the next morning when I go to work. The soles of my feet are dying to feel the ground underneath. I want to feel the grass between my toes. I want those days where I come home from work and sit out on the back porch with my Kindle, reading until the sun goes down, sleeping with the windows wide open and hearing the birds chirping in the morning (although I can do without the mentally deficient Woody Woodpecker who keeps trying to “woodpeck” our gutters).

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Sassi can’t wait to play in the mud after a Spring shower!

I want to sit out in the backyard and laugh at the dogs running in circles, burning off all the energy they’ve had pent up over the winter. I want to breathe in the aroma of cookouts that permeates the neighborhood all spring and summer long. I want those hamburgers that you can only get from a well-seasoned grill in the backyard, with the paper plates and potato salad and pickles and the pitcher of pink lemonade (always pink!).

Ugh, I don’t know whether I feel better or worse after writing all that. LOL! Hurry up, Spring, I’m tired of waiting!

A Boxer Named Luke

LukeoutsideMy husband and I volunteered for several years with a Boxer rescue. We provided a foster home for dogs in need of new homes. We had gotten Sassi, our white Boxer, as a pup the year before and decided to try fostering to see if we could handle two dogs.

We got our first foster dog, a deaf white Boxer named Brutus, in the spring of 2006. After a few weeks, he was ready to go to his forever home. Our second foster was Joe, a big brindle boy, and like Brutus, in a few weeks, he was placed in his new home.

We got the call about Luke shortly after Joe left. He’d been brought to a local dog breeder who had a reputation for taking in unwanted dogs. The family who had him had three little boys and said they just didn’t have time for the dog. The boys weren’t very good with him, they used him as a target for their wiffle ball bats. He spent most of his time either outside or in the house in a crate with very little play time with the family. We met the woman in the parking lot of a local zoo (we always teased Luke that we got him at the monkey pen). Our assignment was to evaluate him to see if he was a good match for the rescue program. We met him, evaluated him, and he went home with us. The rescue was surprised, they didn’t think we’d be taking him that day, just evaluating him, but he was such an awesome dog, we couldn’t leave him.

LukehateLuke was a fawn boy, a bit on the thin side when we took him in, but you could tell that while he was small in stature for a Boxer, he was going to be a big boy. He had the typical expressive face of a Boxer, but there was just something about him that spoke to us. Luke was the foster dog who never left.

We had three more fosters after Luke. He tried so hard to assert himself, to prove himself the “alpha,” but when one of the other dogs pushed back, he gave in and for all his trying, he was normally “bottom of the totem pole.” When our third Boxer, Mickey, came to us four years later, Luke again tried to assert himself top dog, but as usual, he gave in. For our part, not wanting him to constantly be low man, we fed him first, let him outside first, did everything we could to enforce to him that he was top dog. Of the three dogs, he had the most typical “Boxer look.” He was tough-looking and rugged, with solid muscles and a thick, strong Boxer head. He was stocky, had the solid look of a German Boxer more than the lankier, slimmer American Boxer.

lukelukeFor all his insistence on trying to be top dog, and for all his looking the part of the rough and tumble pluggy little Boxer, Luke was the gentlest of our three dogs, leading to his becoming the favorite among our relatives and the one who was allowed to mingle with guests when they were over. Sassi and Mickey could be a bit overwhelming in typical bouncy Boxer fashion, which can be daunting for children and elderly people. Granted, they are not dangerous, would never intentionally harm a soul, but their tendency to get excited and their lack of awareness of their own size gave them a tendency to knock people over.

Luke, on the other hand, belying his timid nature, seldom jumped, never bowled anyone over in excitement, and was forever gentle and calm. Kids loved him, grandparents loved him. He would stand with his head down letting you scratch him behind the ears or rub between his shoulders. He was our gentle giant in a small package.

LukeLuke’s beautiful fawn coat was a light golden brown in summer and a gorgeous red-brown in winter. His expressive big brown eyes were set in a black mask, his chest and the tips of his toes flashed with white. He was thin when he first came to us, but over the next few years, he filled out into a little ball of solid muscle.

A bit of a scare around age two when he had a small mast cell tumor removed from one of his back legs left him with a dark-colored “tattoo” and was the only health problem we encountered with him until he was diagnosed last year with canine degenerative myelopathy. We began noticing a slight underturn of his rear feet when he walked, a little stumbling now and then, but during his annual checkup in the summer, the vet told us it was probably nothing to worry about. We were more concerned with his sudden difficulties eating; he would often regurgitate his food shortly after. We began feeding him three times a day and sitting him upright afterwards for a short time to let his stomach settle. As the months passed, he continued to lose weight, and his gait continued to worsen. He was finally diagnosed with DM in the fall. The prognosis was not good. DM tends to move quickly, and this was true in Luke’s case. He continued to lose mobility in his rear legs, tended to stumble down the few stairs to the backyard at potty time and by the time winter arrived, he needed assistance getting up and down the stairs.

lukeoutside2The final few weeks of his life were hard for us, watching our “big brown boy,” as we called him, become weaker and weaker and lose control of his legs. He paced continually, the tops of his toes scraping against the floor, bleeding. We’d come home every day to urine and feces in the kitchen. Frustrating, annoying, but easily cleaned up. When we started finding blood from his toes from one end of the kitchen to the other, we knew the time was coming when we’d have to make a decision on whether to continue allowing him to live like that or to let him go.

My husband came home one day to find the usual mess, but this time Luke was laying in it and didn’t get up, barely lifted his head to even look at him as he cleaned it up. At suppertime, it was becoming necessary for one of us to stand beside him and hold him in place so he didn’t fall over. My husband had to carry him outside to the yard and hold onto him so he could relieve himself without stumbling. This was when he knew it was time. It was a painful decision to make because he was still mostly alert, still trying to lead a normal doggy life, but his rear legs just were not cooperating with him. We could tell that it was frustrating to him, trying to walk with his legs going in different directions and not doing what he wanted them to do.

lukefaceOn Thursday, February 20, 2014, my husband called the vet and made an appointment for that Saturday. I took Friday off from work and spent the entire day in bed with all three dogs and the cat snuggled around me, and on Saturday morning, we took the long, solemn drive to the vet. Luke lay on my lap, wrapped in his favorite fuzzy blanket, hugged tight to me while I spoke softly to him, told him what a good boy he was, thanking him for being in our lives and for giving us all he had over the years, telling him that it was okay, that we’d see him again someday.

On Saturday, February 22, 2014, we said goodbye to our “big brown boy,” stroking him, kissing him, and speaking softly to him as he left this world and headed to the Rainbow Bridge to wait with our other departed pets. We watched the light go out of his big brown eyes, tears streaming down our faces as we said goodbye.

Goodbye, my sweet brown boy. We miss you:(

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Frustration

I work as a secretary at a teaching hospital. Prior to my job here, I was a paralegal and a legal secretary. Throughout the years, my job has become more and more difficult. I probably don’t mean this in the way you think I mean it.

I am not saying that the work I do has become more difficult; with experience, the tasks themselves become easier and easier as time passes because I become more efficient at them. What I mean is that it becomes increasingly difficult to be a good secretary because of the many restrictions that are placed on us at our workplace.

As an example, in the past, when one of my bosses would need me to obtain some information for them, it was a simple matter of picking up the phone and calling the person from whom I needed to obtain the information. I would say, “This is S____, calling from So-and-So’s office. Ms. So-and-So has asked me to get XX information from you.” That person would then give me the information my boss had requested.

Now, however, nine times out of ten when I call, I’m told, “I’m sorry. I can’t give you that information. Ms. So-and-So will need to call us personally to obtain that information.”

On the surface, I know that what I’m saying doesn’t seem like a big deal. Ok, so Ms. So-and-So will just have to pick up the phone and call herself.

One of the things I’ve always told my bosses over the years is this: You are a lawyer (or doctor), I’m your secretary. Your job is to serve your clients (or patients), my job is to serve you. Don’t sweat the small stuff. That’s my job. However, now I find myself having to tell my bosses, “I’m sorry. You’ll have to sweat the small stuff now because I’m no longer allowed to do so.”

In the medical field, I work for busy doctors, and working in a teaching hospital, the doctors for whom I work are not only busy with patient care and surgery, but also with teaching medical students, residents, and fellows. It might seem a simple matter for them to pick up the phone and request a piece of information themselves, but it really isn’t. Most of the time, it’s not a five-minute phone call; it’s sitting on hold for 45 minutes.

I think it’s ironic actually, this incredible push for privacy, especially in light of the fact that very little, if anything, these days is actually private. If you watch the news, it seems that the government has access to almost every little detail of our lives, so to me, being told “I’m sorry, you’ll have to have your boss call us herself for that information” is nothing more than a sense of false security. Big Brother, after all, still knows all. Right?

To be perfectly honest, with my former boss (she left here last Spring, but I worked with her for seven years), I could have called right back and told them I was her, could have answered any question they threw at me to “prove” my identity. Hell, I knew (and still know) her SS#, date and place of birth, parents’ names, first pet’s name, children’s names (and dates/places of birth), husband’s name (and date/place of birth and SS#), credit card numbers–I know more about her off the top of my head than she herself probably keeps in her own head lol–the only things keeping me from doing that were my integrity and my honesty…and if she’d told me to do it, I would have done it. Because that is, after all, what a secretary USED to be able to do.

Freedom

I used to have a web site called Random Rants. I spent a lot of time sharing my thoughts and opinions there, and it’s been awhile since I’ve had a good rant, so consider yourself forewarned:)

I’ve seen several posts on my Facebook newsfeed lately regarding the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase “In God We Trust” on our currency. The discussions are whether recital of the Pledge of Allegiance should be mandatory in US schools and whether the phrase In God We Trust should appear on our currency. The comments on these posts can get quite heated.

The Pledge of Allegiance
us flagRegarding the Pledge of Allegiance, a majority of people argue that recital of the Pledge should be mandatory and should start the school day. While this was standard practice when I was a child, as an adult I tend to see things differently. For one thing, the US was founded on the principles of freedom, and the First Amendment of the US Constitution grants every citizen of the United States the freedom of speech (also sometimes referred to as “freedom of expression”). What this means is that we may communicate our opinions and ideas using our body and property, and as such, we may express our opinion of the government (and anything else) in any way we so choose. The First Amendment gives us the right to disagree with our government. Sure, kids probably don’t refuse to recite the Pledge because they don’t like the US; in most instances, I’d say the decision to make recital of the Pledge of Allegiance mandatory usually isn’t made by the kids in the schools but by some adults or organizations on their behalf.

 What comes to mind when I think of rooms full of young people reciting a pledge to their country is crowds of Hitler’s Youth raising their hands in salute or young cadets marching in formation to the beat of a drum as they head off to war. Yes, it’s an extreme vision, but when you think about it, why is forcing children to pledge allegiance to a country just because they live there considered good? As I said, this country was founded on the principle that all humans are created equal. Why should we make young minds pledge allegiance (by rote, no less) to a country when they’re only just beginning to form opinions and ideas of the world?

Constitution_of_the_United_States,_page_1“If you don’t like this country, get out!” Why? As an adult, I choose to pledge allegiance to my country; I love the country in which I live, mainly because of the freedoms it affords me. If I disagree with something my government does or says, I can stand tall and state my opinion without fear of vanishing in the dead of night and turning up dead. But that’s a choice I make; every citizen of the US has a right to make that choice for himself. If someone doesn’t like something our government does (and believe me, I think we can all attest to feeling this way sometimes), they have every right to, and SHOULD, speak up and let their feelings be known, not be told to “get out!” The government of the United States is “for the people, by the people” and if the people don’t agree with something it does, they SHOULD share their opinion! It’s what our country was founded upon and was one of the very reasons our founding fathers left the country(ies) they were born in!

In God We Trust
1in_god_we_trustRegarding the phrase In God We Trust that appears on our currency, to be honest, I don’t care one way or the other whether it’s there. I’m (probably) not a believer, and at best, I’m an agnostic. I won’t even argue that the Constitution also gives us the right (and freedom) to choose the beliefs we wish to follow (it absolutely DOES grant us that right). I’d rather focus on the arguments I’ve seen on those posts. They run the gamut from “the US was founded by Christians” to “of course it should, because this country believes in God and doesn’t bow down to a false god like those filthy ragheads!” Another common comment I saw went something like “Yes! We need God in our lives more, people don’t even have dinner with their families anymore, they don’t go to church anymore, this country is falling apart because people don’t have God in their lives!”

All of these comments bother me, not because of the belief people have in God, but because of the nonsense they’re stating. Let’s break them down:

The US was founded by Christians.”
According to sources cited on Wikipedia, “of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 49 were Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics. Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (or Episcopalian, after the American Revolutionary War was won), eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists.” Additionally, a few were anti-clerical Christians (Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin), and some (Thomas Paine, for example) were deists. Some historians even argue that some of the most prominent founding fathers were theistic rationalists.

muslim pray…this country believes in God and doesn’t bow down to a false god like those filthy ragheads!” Regardless of what our founding fathers believed, the US Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words, the US has no “official” religion, and no one in the country can be prohibited from freely exercising the religion of their choice. So those “filthy ragheads” have every right to get on their knees for Allah! And printing the words In God We Trust won’t make that commenter any less of a bigot than he is now.

Yes! We need God in our lives more, people don’t even have dinner with their families anymore, they don’t go to church anymore, this country is falling apart because people don’t have God in their lives!
you-must-be-the-change-you-wish-to-see-in-the-world-1024x576This comment gets me every time. This person is essentially blaming the absence of God for the lack of family and community. She thinks that by forcing God on people, they will miraculously change their ways and become better people. The fact that people don’t have dinner with their families is directly related to the fact that they don’t have God in their lives? How so? As I stated above, I’m a non-believer…but I have dinner with my husband nearly every night. My beliefs, or lack thereof, do not determine whether I’m a good person or not. The presence or absence of God in my life doesn’t make me want (or not want) to have dinner with my family. All that needs to happen for people to change their ways is for…GASP!…people to change their ways!!!

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A LOT of the comments I saw on the In God We Trust post were bigoted and hateful. I replied that words on a piece of paper won’t make people “better” if they’re bigots. In God We Trust won’t do anything to change someone from hating the “filthy ragheads” or make them have dinner with their families more often if they don’t want to. Those are things that THEY have to do on their own.

We should not need God to tell us to be good people; we should aspire to be good people regardless of what we, or others, believe.

Disclaimer: For the record, this post is not at ALL about, or against, religion. I could not care less what anyone believes, what religion they are, etc. This post is about bigotry and hatred and my frustration at people thinking that what’s wrong with our country can be fixed by forcing other people to conform to what THEY approve of.

Where Did the Summer Go?!

Holy crap! I haven’t blogged since last month! It’s been a sometimes crazy, sometimes fun summer.

sassi-elvisOne of my dogs, Sassi (above doing her Elvis impression), has been having seizures, so that’s been a bit stressful. She’s now on phenobarbital, which seems to have the seizures under control but has brought with it some side effects (lethargy and some coordination issues) which are starting to finally dissipate as her body adjusts to the meds.

Wicked-posterA few weeks ago, I went in to Boston with my sister and my oldest niece to see the play Wicked.

Other than the fact that it was raining, which sort of put the kibosh on our plans of spending the day wandering around the city doing some shopping and taking in the sights, it was AMAZING!

We went to FiRE+iCE for dinner, which was an experience. I wasn’t feeling all that great due to a sinus infection, but I was starting to feel much better, and by the time the play started, I was feeling great.

I can’t wait to do it again sometime soon!!!

Square_250x250Last weekend, I went to NecronomiCon 2013, the H.P. Lovecraft convention held in Providence, Rhode Island. I brought my hubby along and while he probably wasn’t that interested in most of the talks and panels we attended, he was a good sport and seemed to enjoy most of the weekend.

The con ran from Thursday through Sunday, and we went every day. It was definitely one of the funnest things I’ve ever done, and I’m really glad I went! Had an awesome time and really need to get a post written about it for Principia Esoterica!

259I’ve signed up for a Sofa to 5K program and have registered for the Monster Dash 5K in Providence on October 27. I’m determined to do this!!

Hubby and I are going to a local running shop tomorrow so I can get my gait analyzed, buy some really good running shoes, get formally fitted for a sports bra to keep my girls from knocking me out, and we’ll be good to start training next Tuesday! Yay! I’m actually psyched for this!

My brother’s girlfriend Shannon is going to come down from NH to run it with us too. No backing out now!!

wedding046-1-ddb17fSo much coming up in the near future. In addition to my fun summer and my upcoming running adventures, my BFF has gotten engaged, so there is wedding planning in my future too!

I can’t wait to get started and to share in her special day!<3

The Bus

I’ve always had a vivid imagination. It’s part of the reason I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Once I realized that not everybody sees things the way I do, it made me want it even more. Of course, my low self-esteem has always been detrimental to my aspiration to publish, so…

The Bus
“The Bus”

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about The Bus. Several years ago, when I worked in the legal field, I had to deal with a lot of difficult people. I was a supervisor in the word processing department of a fairly large firm (by Rhode Island standards anyway), and my staff was responsible for doing all the overflow work from the “real” secretaries, as well as providing coverage when someone was out sick or on vacation.

I loved that job, despite its difficulties. I didn’t have to sit at the same desk every day and do the same old work day after day for the same people. I got to work with nearly everyone in the firm, and I loved the challenge of knowing exactly how they liked their documents prepared, their phones answered, etc. I loved solving problems and gaining the reputation of being able to make Microsoft Word do things people didn’t think it could do.

mountain cliffBut along with all the good stuff came the constant complainers, the people who were never satisfied and always found something wrong with something no matter how you prepared it. One day while I was sitting at my desk, stressing over a particularly difficult encounter with one of the lawyers, I imagined him on a bus careening down a steep incline toward a dangerous cliff. I giggled. My anger and stress dissipated a little bit.

So from then on, whenever someone upset me, rather than let it get to  me, I just added them to The Bus. My friend down in accounts payable emailed me one day, upset over being hassled by her boss. I told her about The Bus, and before we knew it, we had back-and-forth emails about The Bus. We had people clinging to the roof, and if we were especially upset or angry, people desperately grasping the grill on the front of the bus, barely able to hold on, and the speed of The Bus would increase, the incline would become steeper, cliffs would appear on either side of the road, the weather would get rainy or icy.

I’ve used The Bus a lot over the years, and it never ceases to help me deal with the every day stresses of working in an office with various personalities.

not-an-easy-way-down
“Not an easy way down”

So the next time someone pisses you off at work, just close your eyes for a moment and imagine The Bus, swerving and bouncing along a high mountain road, cliffs on either side, lots of twists and turns, and picture the people who pissed you off in various areas of The Bus–their eyes wide with fear, their knuckles white as they cling to the back of the seat in front of them…or the edge of the window they’re hanging out of…or the back door flapping wildly as they hang on for dear life. I usually picture an old, decrepit school bus, but you can make it look however you want.

And don’t be afraid to let people fall off–or to let The Bus crash–it’s a magic bus…it will be there the next time you need it!

Good Times, Bad Times…

“…you know I’ve had my share…”

Zeppelin, and a nice cover by Godsmack;) Anyway, this post will be about good times, no bad times. I just like that song.

I thought I’d write about some memories (good only:)

I remember the little turtle I had. His name was Sam. Sam ate little bits of ground beef that I fed him out of my hand. He lived in a little plastic terrarium. I can remember the smell of the artificially colored gravel that we put in the bottom.

I remember the little pet hamster I had that I wanted to take for a walk on a leash. My mom let me (why?!), and of course my little hamster ran away. Not a really good memory, but I remember how happy I was to have a hamster.

I remember visiting my grandma’s house around the corner from our house. Later, my parents would buy that house from them when they moved one town over. But when my grandparents lived there, they had these cool blackout shades left over from World War II. I have memories of taking naps in the living room and my grandma would pull those shades down and there were little teeny pinholes in the shades, and the sun would shine through them like stars in a night sky.

I remember fishing with my dad. He used to take my sister and me fishing, but eventually he ended up just taking  me. He said my sister was too impatient and jumpy, whereas I could sit there for hours just staring at my bobber waiting for a bite. Plus, I’d bait my own hooks and take my own fish off the hook. I was a lot less girly than my sister.

I remember camping when I was 11. I mean, I remember camping most of the summers of my life, but when I was 11…that year was special. That’s when I realized that as much of a tomboy as I was, I liked boys:) I met Jeff. He was younger than me (I was 11…he was 10-1/2…woooo!). I was riding my bike down at the lake, and the boys had set up this jump that went down the hill, then shot them out into the lake. The problem was, most of the boys were afraid to try it. So I did. And when I flew off that ramp and shot out into the lake, I think their jaws dropped. Jeff came up to me after that, all blue eyes and sandy blond hair, and said, “Wow…I’ve never seen a GIRL dare to do something like that. You’re the coolest girl I’ve ever met.” We spent the rest of our time at the campground together, riding our bikes, catching frogs, fishing. Haha!

I remember, a year after my dad had his first heart attack, and a few years before he died, hiking up Mt. Chocorua in New Hampshire–my dad, my brother, my uncle (Dad’s youngest brother), and me. Dad told us, “Don’t pack anything needless, you don’t want to carry things if you don’t have to.” So we were smart about what we put into our packs. Near the top, my brother and uncle wanted to climb the rocks to the summit. My dad and I stayed behind because we were both afraid of heights. Once my uncle and brother were out of sight, my dad reached down into the bottom of his pack, held up a can of root beer, and said, “Wanna split this?” I still remember the view sitting there next to my dad, passing that can back and forth, what seemed like the entire state of New Hampshire spread out below us like a quilt. I didn’t tell anyone about that until years later. I sometimes wish I hadn’t because it was one of the few memories of just me and my dad.

I remember taking my brother, 11 years younger than me, to his first concert when he was 14. I took him to see Metallica. One thing he and I always shared was our taste in music. My dad used to tell me, “You corrupted my son, getting him into that damn heavy metal shit.” Haha! But the way that kid’s face lit up when Metallica hit the stage. It was priceless!

I remember being at a rock concert with my then-boyfriend (now husband), back when he was a drummer in a band and looked like he’d just jumped out of the pages of Kerrang or Metal Edge magazine. I remember thinking, What on Earth is this guy doing with ME? as I looked around at all the slutty metal chicks whose eyes were all on him–then I turned to look at him and his eyes were on me–not on any one of them.

I remember that same guy suddenly pulling his car over to the side of the road once, jumping out and running into the middle of the median on the highway, then running back with a handful of daisies.

I remember my first niece, sitting in her car seat in the back of my car, bobbing her head to Patsy Cline’s Crazy and singing, “Crazy! Craaaazzyyy!”

Good times:) I can never get enough.

Think Positive!

I’m trying to think positive…really I am! This is a busy time of the year for me at work. We have a fellowship in our division at the hospital, and I’m the fellowship coordinator. That means that when we start recruiting fellows (which happens starting in March), I’m the one that has to coordinate the interview schedules, the transportation, the pre-interview dinner, etc., for all these people.

As in past years, we invite 10 applicants for each of our four interview dates, with the supposition that not all of them will accept (because that’s what I was told to do…even though I said, “If all of them DO accept, we’re screwed…” I was told, “That won’t happen.”). Well, guess what? All 10 of the applicants invited for our first interview date (tomorrow) accepted…to which the doctors said to me, “What?! How are we going to interview 10 applicants in just one day?! Why did we invite 10?!” To which I replied:

deanfacepalm[And yes, that is Dean Winchester. Like I said, I’m trying to think positive. He helps:) ]

I won’t go into detail about all the other things that are happening. It seems that on my busiest days of the week, that’s when people start having computer issues or the phone rings off the wall–little, tedious, mundane things that can wait, but they all want it now, NOW, NOW! Not to mention that one coworker called in sick and the other called in late, which leaves me answering their phones all morning.

Positive thoughts, right?

I’m going to see Wicked in a couple weeks in Boston with my sister and my niece. Woo! Can’t wait! I have the day off from work so we can head up early and spend the day in the city. Ha, and of course, the following Monday is that one holiday that RI celebrates that nobody else does–Victory Day–so I will have a long weekend!

Then there’s NecronomiCon August 22-25. I’ve already got my tickets to that. How appropriate that my first Con is a Lovecraft convention:)

I’m getting myself in creative mode again–writing and dabbling in some photomanips. I am determined to leave my job at the office, so once I leave at the end of the day, I don’t give it another thought (so I say…it’s much easier said than done;)

Oh…AND! I put on a pair of capris this morning that I hadn’t worn since last summer and found a nicely washed $11 in the pocket:)

Doo Wop A Diddy Vrooooom

SAMSUNGI love rock and roll. The harder, the better. Most people who know me know this. I’m a headbanger, a metalhead. Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax–I listen to those when I’m in a pissy mood. My tastes in hard rock range from the melodic (think Foo Fighters, Goo Goo Dolls) to “cock rock” (Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch) to the artistic (Tool, Nine Inch Nails). I also have a soft-spot for 80’s hair bands (Mötley Crüe, Ratt) and blues (Delta blues, specifically, rarely Chicago blues).

What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I also love, love, LOVE doo wop music. I’ve always loved the whole vibe of the 50’s/60’s–from ponytails and bobby socks to poodle skirts and saddle shoes. I can’t think of a better time to grow up than in the 1950’s/60’s. I’d have loved to have been a teen then.

camaroAnd the cars! Oh my god, the cars! I look around now and I see teens driving little Hondas and Hyundais, with big tires and low carriages, neon lights underneath, tinted windows. They sit at lights and rev their little lawnmower engines, their seats so far back they may as well be sitting in the back seat, leaning over so far to look “cool” that it’s almost like they’re sitting in the middle of the car instead of the driver’s seat.

That ain’t cool. Cool is a ’69 Camaro, a ’65 Mustang, a ’57 Chevy Bel Air. No plastic bodies on those, just sleek styling and a big-ass sound. They don’t make cars like that anymore. My dad had a ’57 Chevy Bel Air coupe (haha, in fact, my parents often told me I was conceived in the backseat;) It was two-tone, turquoise and white. He loved that damn car. I never saw it; he sold it when my mom got pregnant with me and bought a 1963 Mercury Comet. THAT car I remember. It was black with a red interior. I remember the big old steering wheel and the shiny leather seats, the way it smelled and the way it sounded. I don’t remember what year my dad finally got another car, but he was so adamant that nobody else own that car after him that he had it scrapped–and took pictures of the entire process of its demise.

mustang2My first car was a maroon red 1975 Mustang that my grandfather gave me as a graduation gift. Granted, a ’75 Mustang wasn’t really anything special, but to me it was everything. To me, it imagined itself to be a 64 1/2 ‘stang, and it gave me the freedom I had been yearning for. I got it with 150,000 miles on it, and I put another 150k on it before I was through with it.

I remember the last time I drove that car–I pulled into the local convenience store, and there were two little boys sitting outside the store, maybe 10 or 11 years old. As I started the car when I was leaving, I heard one of them say, “Man, that car sounds AWESOME!” I smiled a bittersweet grin when I drove away, even though the rumble of the exhaust was really just a hole in the rusting muffler.

They were right, though. That car sounded AWESOME!

Haha, well this post went a bit wonky, didn’t it? From music to muscle cars to memories! I have to say, though, while I would have loved to have grown up in the 50’s/60’s…I would, of course, wish to have modern tech;) 

Good News

I read an article last night that came across my Facebook page. It was about a 2-year-old girl named Hazel who’s been in the oncology ward of a children’s hospital for several weeks, battling a high-risk Stage 3 neuroblastoma. Her family spends a lot of time there and they try to keep her feeling happy and upbeat. A few weeks ago, her grandmother visited and shared a time when she was in the hospital and put a message up on the window of her hospital room.

ht_hazel_hammersley_ll_130715_16x9_608
Photo: Hope for Hazel/Facebook

The little girl was waving out the window at passersby, but nobody was waving back, so her family decided to put a message up on the window. Using tape, they wrote: SEND PIZZA, RM 4112. A passerby saw the note, snapped a photo of it, and posted it on Reddit. Pretty soon, the hospital was inundated with pizza, so much that they had to begin handing pizzas off to the nursing and other staff, and Hazel woke up to the wonderful smell of hot pizza and had a pizza party in her room. Look at that smile! Isn’t it beautiful?!

This is the kind of thing I like to read in the news; the kind of story that makes you take a second look at your fellow Earthlings and wonder why more people aren’t more kind more often. To see the results of a simple pizza order–the grin it put on a 2-year-old little bald girl’s face–we should all strive for those results. Every. Single. Day.

I don’t subscribe to a local (or national) newspaper. I haven’t for at least 10 years. I first stopped my subscription to our local paper because the writing was so atrocious–or at least the proofreading. I’m a bit obsessive about spelling, grammar, punctuation, and typographical errors, especially in the media. People trained to deliver the news should deliver it as accurately as possible, and nothing bothers me while reading a professional publication more than finding errors. [My favorite was the brochure for my local community college, which offered a course in “Pubic Relations.” Ugh! That’s just unacceptable!]

I do have some news apps on my phone, and I do try to catch the news on a regular basis via my phone or CNN; but sometimes I’ll go days without it, not due to grammatical and spelling errors these days, but simply because there are so few uplifting stories. There’s always a “trial of the century” or a natural disaster or a terrorist bombing, and they’re always overblown and sensationalized, which I find offensive. News anchors should be reporting the news, not making it into a hyped-up reality TV show.

smileyI pay attention to the news and try my damnedest to not let the media color my own perception of the facts. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what really matters and what is just “fluff,” added to make the story more sensational. It seems as though modern media thinks we need crazy headlines and a sensational “name” for everything that happens… Do they not think we’ll watch a news story about a deadly tornado in the Midwest if it doesn’t have a flashy title like “Horror in the Heartland”?

I love the feel-good stories, but they seem so far and few between these days. So every so often, I find myself visiting sites that share good news, and I’ve provided some links below. I’m going to make it a point to visit those sites more often, to remind myself that for all the bad things that happen in the world around us, there are also so many many good things that happen as well.

Good News Websites:
Daily Good
Good News Network
Good News Planet
Good News | Huffington Post
Good News | Today
Happy News
Inspirational and Positive News | ABC
Positive News
Positive News US