Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fun Monday - Christmas Just Past

Our Fun Monday hostess this week is Sayre, and she wants to know:

What was the most touching, wonderful part of Christmas for you this year?
AND what was the craziest, stupidest, funniest part this year?

The most touching, wonderful part of Christmas... that's a tough one. This is the first year that we have had family members join us for Christmas. Typically it is just my family of three, or in some years a few friends who, like us, have far flung family, will stop by for brunch. But this year my mother and brother were able to join us for a few days. Diva was delighted to have them here to share Christmas with, and her delight was contagious.

The craziest, stupidest, funniest part - that's a lot easier. Kitchen errors tend to abound in our household. Typically they are mine (which is one of the reasons why Kilowatt cooks) but this year he got in on the act by confusing a Tablespoon with a Teaspoon. Not a big deal in some recipes; unfortunately, a big deal when you are making bread. Let's just say the first batch of bread was a bit flat and salty. Then there was my accidental overdoing the butter in the sweet potato recipe. Who knew that the stick of butter was supposed to go in the topping, not the potatoes themselves? Oops. Very heavy, greasy potatoes. And who besides me would try a new recipe out on company on Christmas Day? The dressing recipe left a bit to be desired -- like moisture. But no worries, we had plenty to eat anyway!

And here's that promised photo of our snow - better late than never! Yes, we had a White (and cold) Christmas. Although today it was in the mid-50's so the white stuff is going away fast.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

Okay, who am I kidding? I'm not dreaming - we are 99.99999999% sure we'll have a White Christmas this year!

Just a quick update:
~ our generator made the rounds of our friends who weren't so lucky. It has returned home since out last power deprived friend found a place to buy a generator and figured he's going to need it. Today, one week post storm, they still don't have power.

~ In fact, as of this morning, NH still had 32,000 households without power.

~ we had a nuisance storm Wednesday - got a whole 2" of snow

~ kids had school Tuesday, Thursday, and 1/2 day today.

~ a Nor'easter is blowing in today. Depending on how it tracks, we'll get 5" - 10" of snow. I'll post pictures tomorrow if it stops snowing long enough to do so. Because fast on the heels of this storm is another, bigger storm that should dump at least an additional 8" on us.

~ that lawn tractor/snow blower we bought last January is looking like a real good purchase right now.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fun Monday -Random Acts of Kindness

Mommy Wizdom came up with what turned out to be a very timely topic this week for Fun Monday.  Her challenge to us:
Your job this week is to go out and perform a random act of kindness. Now, before you freak out, please read on. This is actually really easy!! This act may be for someone you know or for a perfect stranger. It can be big or small, it'll all up to you. Obviously, it should be something within your means. For instance, don't go out and buy your next door neighbor a car and then complain to me that you can't make your mortgage payment, ok?

So let me start by explaining that I live in Southern NH.  Yes, the place where a federal state of emergency has been declared.  In case you haven't heard, we were hit with a major ice storm in the early hours of Friday morning, which left 300,000+ homes and businesses without power.  To put that in  perspective, the total population of NH is only 1.3M.  The RECORD number of power failures in NH in past storms was a measly 94,000.  In our town of 17,000 people, there were still 4,500 houses without power as of Saturday night.  

The local chapter of the American Red Cross  has had a tough couple of years, between back to back floods in 2006-07, record snowfall last winter, and in 2008 a couple of large apartment complex fires that displaced a number of families, the most recent just a week ago destroying 28 apartments.  Now the Red Cross is operating a number of shelters throughout the state, as there are no hotel rooms to be found even for those who can afford a hotel.  

On Friday morning, the extent of the damage from the ice storm became clear as the only reliable source of information was the internet - our local TV and radio were off the air/operating on emergency generators with very low signals.  We were very lucky, we never lost power and by mid-afternoon what little ice had accumulated on our trees had melted.  The Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at the school next door to my house.  A local nursing home was forced to evacuate their residents to this shelter, a school bus was found to transport them.  Diva and I spent the morning baking cookies and took them up to the shelter.  The volunteers there were so happy, as the NH Food Bank was furnishing meals, but sweets were in short supply.  

On Saturday, Diva's BFF revealed they were calling as far south as CT looking for a generator, and even if they could find one, would be lucky to find an electrician to come install it for them.  With temps heading down into single digits for the second night, they were afraid their pipes would freeze.  Kilowatt loaded our generator (which we thankfully did not need) and his tools into the car and was off again.   An hour later their house was slowly heating back up.  The local utility warns it could be a week or more before all power is restored, and we have another storm forecast for Wednesday into Thursday this week.  

We finished out the week with a run across town -- a couple of posts ago I lamented the loss of my 16 year old waterbed mattress, obviously Christmas wasn't a real convenient time to buy a new mattress. Well, we are fortunate enough that we could afford that mattress, and picked up a new one for my daughter also so we could move hers to the guest room. That left us with a spare bed - the Red Cross was able to put us in touch with a local organization called Beauty 4 Ashes who takes gently used furniture and distributes it to those in need. When I called the woman was very apologetic that they didn't have a truck available to come pick the bed up - no problem, with two SUV's we deliver! Since their storage unit is near Goodwill, let's see what we can find to take there on the way.  Double benefit - my house gets cleaned too!

Want to see what things look like up here?  The best source is local news station WMUR.  Today as I was driving across town what was most notable was that there were large areas with no visible impact from the storm, where just a few hundred yards away were large areas of devastation.  One road had no ice or visible damage on the left, but on the right all the trees still had a thick coating of ice.  I'll leave you with this photo, taken about a mile from my house.  Notice that you can see a line on the mountain where the ice begins....

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Christmas is a tough time of year in higher education, as class projects and final exams hit between Thanksgiving and Christmas, making it necessary to either start Christmas planning in October, or delay it until after exams. Since procrastination is my middle name, I tend to delay it until after exams.

So here we are on December 12, and I still have to complete a Philosophy paper for my studies and grade 15 class projects and 15 final exams for my students.

I haven't even considered what photo to use for our cards this year (thank you Snapfish for allowing me to order online and pick the next day at a local store.)

We were planning to go get our Christmas tree this weekend, but the ice storm has made so many roads impassable that may have to wait. Thankfully, we still have electricity (and internet access:)

Remember as a kid how it seemed like Christmas would never come? The tree went up shortly after Thanksgiving in our house, and the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas dragged on and on. We eagerly marked up the TV Guide for Rudolph, Frosty, and the Little Drummer Boy. If only I knew then what I know now - that having that time - to savor the anticipation of Christmas - was a gift in itself.

Oh well, that paper isn't going to write itself, and I have DVD's of Rudolph, Frosty and the Little Drummer Boy to watch after finals are over. I may not get to savor the anticipation of Christmas as I'm too doggoned stressed about getting shopping done, gifts wrapped and shipped (thank you Amazon for wrapping and shipping for me) (omg, when is Hanukkah this year?), decorations up, and mailing those Christmas/Hanukkah -- oh lets just make them New Years cards.....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Float On...

It was so nice to be home in our own bed last night, after three nights visiting my in-laws.  Not that their guest beds are uncomfortable, just nothing sleeps like your own bed.  

We got our first real snowfall today, so I decided it's time to switch over to flannel sheets.  I dutifully stripped off the comforter, bedspread (which we keep on the bed to protect the comforter from the cats,) and sheets.  As I was moving the bedspread, my hand detected something wet on it.  As a cat owner, I'm wondering if a kitty couldn't make the litter box, so I sniffed the cover (ewww, why would I do that?)  No kitty smell.  

Then I felt the side of the bed, and it was damp too.  Uh-oh.  Did I mention it is a soft-sided waterbed?  Yep, the mattress bladders inside finally gave way.  I did what anyone would do in this situation -yelled downstairs to Kilowatt "I think we have a problem."  

While I'm trying to figure out how to get the mattress pieces into the bathtub without getting my hardwood floor wet, Kilowatt is opening the bedroom window.  Did I mention our bedroom is on the 2nd floor (or 3rd, if you count the cellar, which in the back of the house is 3/4 exposed.)  He drains the water out the window, then flings the mattress out after it!  I am so glad we don't have neighbors who can see that side of the house.    

I had been thinking it was time for a new mattress, but I really didn't plan on getting one for Christmas, you know?  A quick look at our files show I bought this one in 1992 - yep, guess it is time for a new one.  A quick glance at the internet shows prices have tripled since 1992 - oh goody.  And the soonest we can get a new mattress delivered is Friday.

So until Friday, I'm sleeping on one of those inflatable guest mattresses that you put on the floor.  We've improved its comfort by putting it up on top of the base of our waterbed frame.  Of course, if I get too close to the edge I'll go flying off...and if this is improved comfort I'm not sure how anyone can sleep on one of these.  Maybe this is why no one comes to visit us:)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is always a bittersweet holiday - it marks the beginning of the hectic holiday season, the beginning of winter for us NorthEasterners, and a stark reminder that there's only two weeks left in the semester to complete projects that should be a lot farther along than they are.  But it also marks a day we traditionally spend with family, enjoying the Macy's parade on TV and laughing about Thanksgivings past.  

I woke up this morning thinking about everything I have to do today to prepare for the six hour hike to my in-laws.  It's cold out, I'm tired, you know the routine.  I visited our local paper's website for todays news.  All week, there's been a link at the top right of their page "tell us your positive thoughts as holidays approach."  And for a week now, there's been one entry there, from a woman who's husband has lost his job.  And that's it -- one entry in a city of over 100,000 with probably another 100,000 in the surrounding towns that read this paper.

That's not the whole story -- anyone who clicks on the comments link will see a note that 'no further comments are being taken on this story.'  But on the home page, it looks like no one in NH has any positive thoughts to express.

Well, I have a few positive thoughts, and since I can't comment there, I'll share them here.  This holiday, I'm thankful for:
~ my family
~ my friends, scattered though they are
~ living in a country where we are free to disagree with one another, and yet can come together in times or crisis
~ my faith.  After a semester of philosophy, I'm happy to have faith.
~ the sun.  It made an appearance today!
~ my cats.  They love me no matter what, and show that love by grooming me in my sleep (a whole post coming up on that topic soon.)
~ kids (not just my own.)  amazing how a couple of hours surrounded by the boundless energy of youth can make one feel ten years younger (or older, depending on one's attitude du jour.)


** Thanksgiving clipart from:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just one dollar

I heard on the radio today about a town in MA where the mayor (I believe it was) is asking everyone to donate $1 toward heating costs for those who otherwise couldn't afford to heat their homes.  Then I saw on the news that the local food banks are almost out of food.  

That got me to thinking, what if people would take the mayor's idea and carry it into other areas.  For example, if you work in a small office, and everyone donated just $1 per week (only $52 a year), then you could probably scrape up $500 or so for one charity, or spread it around a bit more and give 20 different charities $25.  Yes, everyone just give up one trip to the vending machine a week and improve the lives of others.  Or if this is too much trouble, how about designating one week during the holiday season as charity week, and ask everyone to throw in their spare change daily.  At the end of the week, take what you have collected to a local food pantry where you can help someone actually get a holiday meal.   

The holidays are coming, and winter is here.  Despite dropping oil prices, a lot of people still need our help as jobs disappear.  So, if you are lucky enough to be employed, and have enough money to buy food, clothing and shelter, why not start keeping an extra dollar in your purse/pocket at all times to drop in that Salvation Army pot this year.  Or use the convenience of the internet to donate a few dollars to a worthy cause or two.  Need an idea:  visit the NH Food Bank and participate in a virtual food drive.  

What you give doesn't have to be much - if every blogger out there just gives a few dollars to their favorite cause, we can make a big impact.  So, what cause will you choose this holiday season?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fun Monday - Veteran's Day

I'm really late joining Fun Monday this week, but I think the topic is so worthy that I had to contribute.  Our host this week is Janis.  Her very timely assignment:
Since Next Tuesday is Veterans Day, I thought it would be nice to salute our Veterans and show our appreciation. Photo requirement of something patriotic.

My stepfather passed away two years ago.  He was a WWII veteran, an Army Laboratory Technician.     
Occasionally, when I was young, he would talk about the war.  I don't remember the specific stories, just the overall lesson that being in a war was a very tough way of life.  I know the war made an indelible impression on his life.   Maybe if I had listened closer to those stories, I would have understood him better.  

Veteran's Day is a tribute to him and all the others who have served our country.  Let us never forget the sacrifices made by so many, and do what we can to honor those.  Even those lucky enough to come home bring memories of the horrors of war with them that we can scarcely imagine.  Let us pause in our daily routines to say a special prayer of thanks for their sacrifice, and to remember those who are no longer with us.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voter Report from NH

It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm day in NH for this election.  I'm comfortable predicting we'll shatter voter turnout records today for our state at least.  The mood at the polls was unlike any I've seen in all my years of voting.  Despite the fact that whomever is elected faces major challenges, voters were excited to cast their ballots.  I didn't mind having to plan my trip to the polls to minimize traffic congestion and wait time - I think it is great to see such a high level of civic involvement.  Let's hope that the involvement doesn't end here!

My town did a great job - they were very well prepared for the turnout, which was quite heavy.  I voted at 3:30PM - not usually a real busy time - and the parking lot was full.  The high school had set up separate lanes for registered voters versus those registering today.  They had also set up extra voting booths and had people directing the traffic.  

A few high school students were doing exit surveys for their statistics class - this is quite normal for us, they do it every election.  And Kid's Vote was set up in the room next to the polling room.  

All in all the process went very smoothly, and we were in and out in 15 minutes or less.  Finding a place to park was the biggest challenge!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Giant Pumpkins - Oh My!

Here's another reason I love NH, and my town in particular. Every year we have this great Giant Pumpkin Regatta.

First, we have a contest to see who can use a trebuchet to shoot small pumpkins thru small holes in a floating target. And yes, the target moves when the wind blows!

Next, we take some of the giant pumpkins that weren't quite big enough to be crowned #1, and make them into boats for our big regatta. Yep, we scoop out the pumpkin guts and there you have it - instant boat.

The racers spend the evening decorating their craft, and the next day we all gather at the river for the big race:
Since pumpkin boats don't travel very fast they also shoot at each other with super soakers to keep things interesting (and this is NH, so that water is cold in October!)
Don't worry, we have divers standing by for any boat that sinks!

Now we'll bring in the 'big guns...'

But still our brave Fire Chief fights on:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Life in a Purple State

Only ten days remain until the 2008 Presidential election.  In my entire adult life I don't recall ever looking forward to an election as much as this one.  Is it because I can't wait to cast my vote for my chosen candidates?  Nope.  Here's a list of the reasons why I can't wait for this election to be over with:

~ so I can answer my phone and actually have the person on the other end be someone who is calling to talk to me, not to poll me.  Number of times I've been polled in 2008 -- greater than ten.

~ so I can answer the phone and not have someone offering me directions to my polling place.  I know I'm getting older, but honestly, I can remember where and when to go vote.

~ so I can sleep in on Sunday morning, get up and roam the house in my jammies, and not hear my daughter yelling "Mom, there is a strange man at the door with a bunch of papers and an "insert candidates name here" sign on his car."  At 9AM no less!

~ so I can listen to the radio again, without hearing the words "I will stand beside George Bush" in the ads of the candidates from BOTH parties in the Senate race.

~ so I can listen to the radio again without having to eventually give up and switch to my iPod because the only stations not playing attack ads are interviewing people about the attack ads.  

~ so I don't see the people filling up the comments section of my local paper and tv station continue to spew hate-filled rhetoric about anyone who doesn't share their point of view.  And, for the record, no one party has a monopoly on this rhetoric.  What happened to basic respect for others?  For that matter, what happened to the ability to think for ourselves and not spew some party line?

Okay, I'll get off my soap box for now, plug in my iPod, unplug my phone and cable-tv (but never my internet access,) lock my doors, and count the days until this election ends.  

Oh yeah, and I'll pray that whomever is elected has the wisdom, the will, and the ability to do something to rally the people of the U.S. to address the multiple crises our Nation faces.  Because the job is too big for any one person.  

Friday, October 10, 2008

October Sky

A five page philosophy paper.  Statistics homework I don't understand.  A research methods midterm.  Clients traveling soon.  Tests to grade.  Laundry to wash.  A house that even I term 'dirty.'  Yep, this is the highlight of my to do list for this weekend.  All the things I should be doing.

Outside my office window:

The entire sky is that blue - not a cloud in sight.  Maybe all that stuff I have to do will just have to wait a bit longer....

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This Can't be Good...

After a long day of classes and a long drive home, I made the final turn toward home.  Sitting a few feet away from my driveway was satellite news truck.  Uh-oh, this isn't usually a good sign.  

The school I live next door to (and my daughter just started attending) was just letting out.  Bus loads of kids were waving as they drove by.  I walked by and noticed the truck was from a Boston station.  We're an hour north of Boston.  Double Uh-oh.  

When Diva and I walked by on our way down, we noticed a man sleeping in truck.  Immediately I start thinking of good reasons why he might be there.  With a hotly contested Senate race, and our status as a purple state, maybe some politician was in town at the local college and this guy thought he found a quiet street to take a nap?  Yeah, right....

Turns out that a former teachers aid (female) was arrested for an inappropriate relationship with a 14 year old (male.)    They communicated via text messages and online chat, so police have plenty of evidence.  The school did a criminal background check before hiring her, but she had no criminal history.  

Now is when I really envy all my homeschooling friends.  It really shouldn't be this scary just to send your child to school.  

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Back in the "Real" World

Now that I'm in school I'm actually required to get up, get dressed, and leave my house four days a week.  Over the past four years of mostly working from home, I forgot how good I had it.  

I just completed week 4 of classes, and Diva, who is fortunately (knock on wood here) a very healthy kid, came down with a flu bug on Thursday.  We Mom's know how this one starts:
(Weds. Night)  Diva:  Mom, my throat is scratchy
Me (hopefully):  Maybe you yelled too much at school today?

It invariably continues in a sleep-deprived fog around 4AM:
Diva:  Mom, I'm cold and I can't breathe good.  
Me (unintelligibly):  glubglobglib....  I think that means I'll get you a glass of water and some cough syrup.  
Me:  Oh drat, we don't have any kid's medicine in the house because Diva hasn't been sick in so long.

Then comes the 6AM arm-wrestling match:
Kilowatt:  Do you think she's really sick enough to stay home?  She's never sick.
Me:  What do you have going on at work today?  I have Philosophy class at 10 and Fraud class at 5:30.
Kilowatt:  Do you really think she's sick?
Me:  If I were still working from home, I'd keep her home.  Let me go get the thermometer.  (pause.)  Uh-oh, we're in 'no man's temperature land' 99.5.  That means the school won't officially consider her sick.  But I do since she never has a fever.  
Kilowatt:  I guess I can work from home today.
Me:  I'd better go hit the showers so I can come home between classes.  
Kilowatt:  I'm off to the 24 hour pharmacy to pick up drugs.  

Lucky for us, it appears to be a just a 24-48 hour bug.  I had Friday off so Diva stayed home both days, and is now eager to leave the house where she's been stuck for two days.  

So far, Kilowatt and I are okay.  Now I have to go drink my OJ! 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

They're Baaaaacckkkkk!

Just when I thought I could safely drive down the road without fear of getting caught in a motorcade -- we became a purple state.  Or maybe it's a striped state.  At any rate, both Senator's McCain and Obama (in alphabetical order) visited us this weekend to bash each other try to win our votes.  

I try to stay away from political blogging, because it just begs controversy and that's not why I blog.  But honestly, am I the only person who's really not happy with either choice at the moment?  

They both promise to cut taxes and give us all kinds of great stuff.  I wasn't born yesterday - that tax cut promise they are trying to use to buy my vote has to be paid for somehow, and borrowing more money from overseas just doesn't seem like a good idea to me.  I've already resigned myself to working until I drop dead, hopefully somewhere with good medical coverage so my dropping dead can be put off a bit, since my 401k is going nowhere and social security is going to be bankrupt before I'm old enough to draw.  

I'm tired of hearing about the party base - either party base.  I'm about as moderate as can be, and I think the polarization that the two parties 'bases' are insisting upon is destructive overall.  
I'm tired of political ads telling me how bad the opponent is without telling me anything about the person who is running.  I'm tired of ads that anyone with a grain of sense can tell are distortions of the truth - are we really that stupid in this country?  

How many more weeks of hearing candidates talk about how bad their opponents are do I have to look forward to?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Random Thoughts...

Why is it that as soon as I hang laundry on the line, rain clouds move in?

Why does the price of gas always go up right when my tank approaches empty, and drops immediately after I fill up?

Why do I have a hard time asking people to do something for me, but so few people seem to feel the same restraint when asking me to do something for them?

It must be that philosophy class that has me pondering all of these questions.  That, and the fact that statistics homework is looming over me like a big, dark cloud.  I used to be really good at stats -- 25  years ago.  That knowledge was pushed out of my brain-RAM by new knowledge, like how to tell if two ten-year-olds playing upstairs are being just too quiet to be trustworthy.  
I often say 'if only I knew then what I know now.'  In some cases I really mean it, but in many others I'm so glad I didn't know, because I might have made choices that would have ultimately changed my life for the worst.  Isn't it funny how you can tie individual decisions into major impacts they made in your life?  

Friday, September 12, 2008

Two Weeks Down, 62 More to Go!

I'm now two weeks into my PhD program.  The way I figure it, I have 62 more weeks of coursework to go.  Then two years of writing dissertation materials.  I'm ignoring summers in my count - those will be filled with writing articles and comprehensive exams - I deny those exist.  

Highlights of what I've learned the last two weeks:
  • I  don't really understand Philosophy.  I'm not sure I ever will.  
  • All research is flawed.  
  • People lie with statistics all the time.
  • Driving three hours roundtrip, 4 days a week, is more exhausting now than it was 10 years ago.
What I'm still struggling to figure out:
  • What am I doing in a room with all these brilliant, intense people?
  • Will there ever be agreement between philosophers?  

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane Gustav

I have several friends who live in areas that are likely to be hit by this monster storm.  If you are interested in thoughts on this storm (and Katrina) from someone who lives right in the midst of the storm, check out my friend Chuck's website MacChuck, and his blog.

LA and MS have already been devastated by Katrina.  Even as I selfishly hope this doesn't do too much to raise oil prices, I urge everyone to remember those who live in these areas in your prayers, and hope that lessons were learned from Katrina that can be implemented now to save lives and property.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Get Ready....

Tomorrow starts orientation for my PhD program.  Panic is beginning to set in as I contemplate how on earth I'm going to be a Mom, study, teach, and keep the sails on my travel business!  

Thank goodness I  have some great friends & family who have already stepped in with offers to help out.  

It's a beautiful day here in New England.  Today is my last lesson at UpReach with a client I've worked with this last year.  She's an adorable little four-year-old girl who in 12 short months has transformed from fearful and clinging to Mom to brave and waving with both hands at Mom from atop her pony.  I'll miss working with her, but our schedules just don't match up this fall.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to see her again and marvel at her progress!   

I'm going to attempt to post each week with my thoughts on going back to school.  And I'm going to try to get back into Fun Mondays again! But for today, this will have to do...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vacation & Home Improvements

I love to travel, but looks like we won't be going for any big trips anytime soon.  We finally got tired of gluing patches onto our 25+ year old pool liner.  Plus this summer started out with a heat wave - two weeks of 90 degree temps.  With no plans for a true summer vacation it looked to be the perfect summer for a little vacation at home.  


Isn't that just the prettiest pool liner you have ever seen?  I'm warning you, say yes, because not only is that my vacation money in that hole in the ground, but it has also been COLDER and WETTER than average ever since we got that thing put in.  We've been in the pool about five of the last 30 days since we put the new liner in.  

Yes, those guys who tormented us this winter by telling us about the record snowfall (I believe we finished the year in 4th place for total recorded snowfall) have now shared the fact that we are in 7th place for wettest summer - and we've still got 17 more days to move up that list.

So I guess I'll go pump some more water OUT of my pool, and contemplate how nice a WARM weather vacation would be! 

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fun Monday - Wordly Wise

The ladies over at Mothers of Brothers, or MoB (I love that acronym) have challenged us to "use our words" this week.  Their instructions:

Words are our building blocks, our stepping stones, and, for many of us, our salvation. We string them together so quickly at times, we often lose sight of how precious they are. So tell us about your favorite word… or if you can’t pick just one, tell us about a few. Are there certain words that feel good the way they roll of your tongue? Do some words make you feel smart? Or silly? Or happy? Which words do you find yourself selecting to put in your posts? Since this response could be a short one, feel free to poll your family and friends and include some of their favorite words as well. If you think a definition is required, please share one. Please keep the words rated G for all audiences. Any language is acceptable, but please provide a translation. And stick to real words as opposed to ones made up along the way. We then challenge everyone to visit the posts on Monday and try to use other bloggers’ favorite words in your blog next week. We can’t wait to expand our vocabulary!

Hypermiling - I predict this will be THE word for 2008.  The hyperlink will take you to a site all about it if you haven't already heard this term.  Since I drive an FSP (fuel sucking pig) I've been trying to follow as many of the tips as possible.  Boy do people hate to drive behind me now:)  

Imagine - I just hear this word and my mind starts off on wild explorations.  It's my happy word.

Interjection - If like me you grew up with SchoolHouse Rock, I probably don't need to say anything more about this one!  I start singing every time I hear it. 

Sesquipedalian - given to using long words; a word of many syllables.  
I use this one on my students when they start trying to BS (pardon my acronymic swear - is acronymic a word?) their way through my class with big words.  Unfortunately (for them) they typically use those big words totally out of context.  

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Call Centers

I just have to get up on my soapbox about a pet peeve of mine -- call centers.  

You may know the drill.  You call the toll free (or sometimes not toll free) number that is given for customer service.  You get the obligatory recorded message giving you nine different options to choose from.  Heaven forbid you don't listen closely, because then you have to go through the entire thing again!  You push you number and.....

You get the next menu of recorded options, with nine more choices.  You take great care to listen carefully, because you don't want to go through this again.  You press the number that most closely relates to why you called in the first place (assuming you remember by now.)  And then...

You hear the 'click' as your call is transferred to somewhere overseas, because workers here in the U.S. demand pesky things like decent wages, and benefits.  These eat into corporate profits, so they are bad.  But I digress....the person who answers speaks very proper, albeit heavily accented, English.  But they don't understand the idioms we Americans love to use, and they don't understand the nuances of what you are saying.  

You vow to remain calm while you are attempting to get (in this case) your bill corrected.  You explain that there is an error on your bill.  The person on the other end tells you how much you owe.  You explain that no, that's not the right amount.  The person on the other end tells you how much you owe (the same amount again.)  And so it goes....  

After the first three minutes, your voice raises.  You begin to swear in your mind, hoping the words don't make it to your lips.  You attempt to explain again.  Finally, you are getting somewhere, as the person places you on hold.  Yep, this is the one time when going on hold is a positive thing.  

Five minutes later (why do hold times always seem to average five minutes) the person on the other end of the line comes back to tell you that yes, you are correct, there is an error.  Here is the right amount.  

But wait -- the amount she quotes is LESS than what you owe.  Your desire to be honest wars with your desire to stick it to the company who put you through this in the first place.  What would you do?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fun Monday - Careers

I've been out of town (and then trying to catch up from being out of town) the last couple weeks, and have missed playing along on Fun Monday. I'm finally caught up beyond caring about being behind, I just wanna have some fun.

This weeks hostess is Dungareesablaze at the Irish Coffee House and here's a great topic for those of us who like to use our blog as a way of remembering things...

Careers- Then and Now

THEN: As a child day dreaming of what your future would hold for you, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you ever pursue or achieve it?

NOW: If you could be trained and placed in any career beginning tomorrow, what would it be?

My destiny was clear in my mind from second grade onward - I was going to be a veterinarian. That is, until my senior year in high school, when I met my first love. I just couldn't bear to be separated from him by going away to college. Unfortunately, he didn't tell me not to give up on my dreams, that he would wait for me, we would make it work; the way I now understand that true love does. So I changed my dreams for him. The relationship didn't last, but by the time it was over I was too far into my degree (and student loans) to change majors.

I majored in accounting, because I was good at math. Not exactly the best way to choose a career. I ended up with an internship at a really big company my senior year of college, and this led to my relocating from KY to NH.

A few years later I was still in NH, independent and financially successful, but not really happy in my career (or other areas, but that's a story for another day.) Someone said to me - "why don't you do something else if you are so unhappy?" I decided to look into vet school. I visited the nearest vet school, and they told me the first thing I needed to do was arrange to work with a local vet. I went to the nearest vet's office, and he scheduled me to work with him weekends for a month.

Among those who have influenced me, I have to rank him among the most positive of influences. He took the time to make me really think about what I wanted to do, and to understand what would be required to make this career change. He let me fully observe the activities at his veterinary hospital and realize what really is involved in veterinary medicine. And he told me "You don't do this because you love animals. If you love animals, there are plenty of other ways to be around them and help them. You do this because you love the science of veterinary medicine."

In the end, I understood that I would have to go to school for 4-6 years, incur massive student debt, and when I graduated I would make less than I was making in my current job. And being a vet didn't look quite as glamorous as it did when I had no experience in the field beyond taking my own animals to the vet. I realized that my dream was more of a fantasy - an idea I had created based on a love of animals without adequate consideration of what the career involved. Instead of changing careers, I looked for a new job. Preferably one with lots of opportunities for travel, which was the one part of my current job that I actually liked.

I found a great job, got a huge pay increase, traveled extensively, and while on the road, met Kilowatt.

I'm happily married to Kilowatt, with a wonderful daughter who teaches me something new every day.

I explored a few other career options along the way. I considered teaching high school math (shudder), I've been (and still am) a travel consultant, and I've taught computer and accounting classes.

This fall, I'm starting a PhD program in accounting, so I can teach and do research in my favorite areas of accounting: forensic accounting and accounting systems. So I think this answers the 2nd question.

And while I reflect back over how I got to where I am today, I am reminded of the Garth Brooks song Unanswered Prayers: "I guess the Lord knows what he's doin' after all"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cute Crowns!

Every now and then I get a really great idea for something crafty. It usually is really involved, and typically Kilowatt must rescue me from myself as I try to create something beyond my capabilities.

This one is no exception. I came up with the idea Saturday afternoon. Asked Kilowatt for help figuring out how on earth to cut chipboard into the shape of a crown. I have a Cricut (cutting machine) but no way is it going to cut something as thick as chipboard. Kilowatt has the real cutting tools. Tables saws and routers.

A few hours later, he concludes that chipboard is too much like paper to cut well with a router. So off to AC Moore we go to look for an alternate material (or cutting tool.) While I admired the $500 Pazzles that cuts chipboard, there's no money in this family's budget for one of those. So it was on to Kilowatt's favorite place - Home Depot.

There we found hardboard, which the router loves. A few hours today and here are the results -- autograph books/photo albums shaped like crowns for little princesses.

Bristol, CT Pictures

The previous post talks in more detail about where these were taken.... I finally took the time to pull some photos off of my camera.

First, from the Watch and Clock Museum, one of my favorites:

Next, from the Carousel Museum, one of the most interesting animals. Not the metal handle on the horses withers - this is where the rider held on for dear life as the horse flew down the track.

Finally, a view of Lake Compounce....

and the fabulous Boulder Dash...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quick Update

Summer is a time for creating new memories.  I am amazed at how different each summer is.  Even though we are doing the same things, they are different as Diva matures into a "tween" and Kilowatt and I just mature.  

The family held a surprise 75th birthday party for my Father-in-law, so we took a July 4 road trip to New York state.  On the way we decided to take a mini-vacation, so I pulled out my "Reader's Digest Guide to Off the Beaten Path Attractions."  This led us to Bristol, CT, home of ESPN.  

No one in my family is a sports fan, so we looked with only mild interest at the satellites in the parking lot of the home of "Sports Center."  Our destinations were much more interesting.

First, we visited the American Watch and Clock Museum.   I promise to post some pics after I get them off my camera.  Imagine a room filled with grandfather clocks.  Imagine 11 o'clock in a room filled with grandfather clocks.  Mechanically inclined Kilowatt loved the clock mechanisms.  I loved the section dedicated to Disney character watches and clocks.  Diva loved the sound of numerous clocks chiming 11 times.  

Our travels led us next to the New England Carousel Museum.  I have a thing for carousels, and have wanted to visit this museum for many years.  The collection includes some fascinating carousel animals (did you know there was once a horse race ride where you zipped along at 40 miles per hour secured only by two metal handles on the side of a wooden horse?)  There is also an old Wurlitzer carousel organ that plays the lovely (and very loud) music that accompanies riders on traditional carousels.  Diva loved the carousel organ (see a trend here?)

Our final stop on our tour of Bristol attractions led us to Lake Compounce, America's oldest continuously operating amusement park.  We were a bit hesitant to spend the admission price when we only had five or six hours to enjoy the park, but the lure of an old wooden roller coaster was too much to resist.  Little did we know what treat was in store for us....

Let me digress a bit by explaining that in my younger days, I was quite the roller coaster connoisseur.  A group of friends and I once drove four hours just to ride a wooden roller coaster that Money Magazine had listed in it's Top Ten roller coasters list.  There was a time when I would ride any coaster in the country.  As steel coasters have become more extreme, and I've become less daring, I now limit my coasters to wooden coasters (which will always be my favorite) and those with minimal inversions and average size drops.  

Anyway, back to Lake Compounce.  They have a wooden roller coaster called Boulder Dash that is built into the side of a mountain.  This coaster was worth the price of admission, and there were virtually no lines to ride.  I have to rank this among the best coasters I've ever ridden, and well worth a visit to CT.  Even for non-coaster fans this is an excellent park, most notable is how clean and well-maintained the park is.  

Once I've recovered from the trip I'll post pictures!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fun Monday: Clothes you can't part with

Our hostess for this weeks Fun Monday is HulaGirl and she has come up with a fun and creative challenge. Her instructions:

After much thought and consideration I’ve come up with the following topic….clothing…specifically clothing you can’t get rid of. We all have at least one or two items of clothing that we can’t part with, even if we can’t or don’t wear them. I want to know about yours. Show us if you have pictures or describe it in detail. Model it for us if you dare. Nothing naughty please-we don’t want to see your backside (or your front side) in that thong you foolishly bought in Cancun on vacation. Is it your old FFA jacket from high school (which my husband has)? A Grateful Dead concert t-shirt from 1978? A shirt from an old lover or that size *&! pair of jeans you hope you get into again one day? Or maybe the really large pair of jeans you wore before you lost 100 pounds or your grandma’s vintage wedding dress. Dig around in your closets and find something you want to share with us Monday.

I have an entire box full of items, so the tough part was deciding which ones to showcase.
I decided to start with a favorite of mine:

I wore this suit when I was much, much younger and thinner. I looked really hot in it, even if I do say so myself. I doubt that I will ever fit into it again (some things have grown and shifted over the years.) But I just can't bring myself to get rid of it!

I have a whole collection of t-shirts that bring back lots of memories of concerts and events of old. Like this one:
This is from my one and only visit to the Kentucky Derby. I have the matching Derby glass too. Did I pick the winner? No. Spend A Buck beat out my long shot favorite by, well, a long shot.

Then there is this one, a souvenir of my first ever rock concert date:
In case you don't remember, the band is REO Speedwagon. I saw them a couple of years ago here in NH - like me, they have aged a bit. They still make great music though!

And finally,Hulagirl, this is for your hubby:

I actually have two of them, the other is a white one from the year I was selected as Chapter Sweetheart. But the white is now more of a beige -- it hasn't weathered time quite as well as this one has.

The other items in my box include lots more concert t-shirts: Air Supply, Oak Ridge Boys, Brooks and Dunn (signed). Also some Sigma Phi Epsilon Lil Sis items as a reminder of my college days, and my old horse show clothing, which like the suit I will never fit into again.

I can hardly wait to see what everyone else has offered up!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fun Monday - Walls

This weeks host is Jan, and she's come up with quite a challenge. Her instructions:

The subject is walls. We all have walls of some sort. What I want to hear about and see, if you're going to show off your amazing photo skills, is what is on your walls, what color are your walls, what is special about them, what is your favorite or least favorite, is it inside or outside. You get the idea, let's show and tell about walls.

When I first considered this challenge, I thought 'uh-oh, this is going to be tough.' But as soon as I began walking through my house, camera in hand, it became easier.

First, I like to showcase some of my favorite things on my walls:

I love pictures of beach chairs, beckoning me to come and sit:

What I didn't realize until I walked around, camera in hand, looking at my walls, is how much into wallpaper borders I am:

This isn't all of them - just my favorites. From left to right:
Master bedroom, Diva's room (but did I have to tell you that?) and dining room...

So: Does anybody recognize the color scheme in Diva's room?
Hint: Disney channel....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Crazy Eights

Geez, I miss a few days of reading my favorite blogs and return to find myself 'tagged' by Hula Girl. Since I don't have time to think up any topics to blog about, this works for me, so here goes:

1. My wonderful family (especially Kilowatt, who is spending father's day cleaning the OUTSIDE of the house!)
2. Reading
3. Scrapbooking (and scrapbook supplies)
4. Computers and the Internet
5. Horses (and their unique healing powers)
6. Business Ethics (and leading the next generation to be more ethical than my generation)
7. Freedom
8. Music

1. Write a book
2. Finish my coursework and dissertation
3. Take a world cruise
4. Spend a year traveling around the US, hitting off the beaten path attractions along with the major ones
5. Catch up on my scrapbooking!
6. See Diva graduate from college
7. Make one of my high school reunions
8. Ride a mule in the Grand Canyon

1. "Meanwhile, back at the ranch" used when I ramble off on a tangent from the current discussion
2. "Just a sec" This one has come back to bite me, as now whenever we ask Diva to do something, the response is invariably "just a sec."
3. "Brush your hair"
4. "Don't forget to check BlackBoard" if you know what I mean, your either a college student or a college professor!
5. "I need the phone" if you are the parent of a pre-teen girl, you know what I mean
6. "Yes, my husband and I have different last names" I never dreamed how difficult this concept would be for others to accept. We are married, really!
7. "Thank you, God" Okay, I don't say it often enough.
8. "yes, I can do that" and I really need to learn to say 'no, I don't have time for that.'

1. Extraordinary Circumstances - Cynthia Cooper
2. The Legend of River Mahay - Deborah Cox Wood
3. Race Across Alaska - Libby Riddles
4. Executive Orders - Tom Clancy (for about the fifth time)
5. Jade Island - Elizabeth Lowell
6. Great Family Vacations: Northeast (it's summertime!)
7. 1000 Places to See Before You Die
8. Fraud Examination (yes, professor, I read my text)

1. Dirty Dancing - my favorite 'guilty pleasure' movie
2. Christmas Vacation - our annual tradition
3. Star Wars (original) - and at least six of those on the big screen
4. ET - ditto
5. High School Musical - I'm the Mom of a ten year old girl, what can I say?
6. Hairspray - Diva's current favorite
7. Mulan - MY all time Disney favorite
8. Grease - Diva's past favorite

Given that on a good day (that being Fun Monday) I'm lucky to have 8 readers, not sure how to handle this one! Can I cheat and make up names?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Only in New Hampshire

I love quirky places.  I remember as a child visiting Rockaway Beach before nearby Branson, MO became the vacation mecca is now is.  Other favorite vacation places include Weeki Wachee Springs in FL (home of living mermaids) and Talkeetna, AK (a small drinking town with a climbing problem.)  

This quirkiness is one of the reasons why I absolutely love living in New Hampshire.  From yesterdays news headlines:  "Bear Removed from Tree in Downtown Rochester."  It took about 14 hours of efforts by local police and fish and game officials to get the 200 pound bear out of the tree.  Residents were asked to avoid downtown during this time.  

Makes the deer that were munching on my garden last night look downright tame.  

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wardrobe Malfunctions

While I was avoiding work by exploring my favorite blogs, I found Hulagirl telling a great story that triggered some old memories, which led to more than one stress-busting belly laugh.  You know, the kind of laugh that supposedly makes you healthier.  

Why Denim is now blended with Spandex:
Back in my high school days, my cousin really liked one of my best friends.  So much so that he decided to buy a horse in order to impress her.  A friend of his was conveniently selling a horse, so we went out to his farm to take a look.  I was quite impressed with my cousin's friend...

When invited to hop on the horse behind my cousin's friend, I didn't need a second invitation.  I agilely jumped on just like Tonto would.  Unfortunately, my jeans were just a wee bit too tight for that sort of jump, and announced that fact with a loud "Rip."  And kids, that's why it's important to wear clean underwear without holes, and to always bring a jacket along (to tie around your waist.)  And that's why I love Spandex.  

Why Elastic is Evil:
A few years later I was a college girl, and working in a retail store selling pianos.  That was when retail store clerks still dressed up to go to work.  For me, this often involved wearing panty hose - one of mankind's most terrible inventions.  I've always hated to have anything tight around my waist, and so I developed this unconscious habit of constantly adjusting the hose to a more comfortable position.  I wasn't really aware of this, or the audible "Snap" that accompanied the adjustment, until my musically inclined boss wrote a poem for me at Christmas that year about my habit!  I'm sure I still have it somewhere, I'll have to post it if I can find it.

I saw the light:
A few more years passed, and I was a working girl (no, not that kind of working girl.)  I was teaching a class on auditing computers.  This was when instructors still dressed up to teach.  Because the class was in Atlanta, and it was 90 degrees in the classroom, and I was wearing a very long black skirt, I opted to skip the evil panty hose and almost equally uncomfortable slip. 

What I neglected to notice was that directly behind the projection screen was a full length window, which provided excellent back-lighting for myself and my co-instructor.  The black skirt was no match for the midday sunshine.  My co-instructor calls me "Lady Di" to this day, and says I have great legs.  

Stunning Swimsuits:
I was in the YMCA pool with my daughter when suddenly my one piece tank became very, very loose.  I decided I'd best get out of the water to see what was going on.  Lucky for me our big towel was right next to the pool, and we were pretty much in a corner by ourselves.  A quick trip to the ladies changing room revealed that the fabric (Lycra I think) had just given up, and was now 1) very large and 2) very transparent.  Time to go home!

I honestly can't believe how many wardrobe malfunctions I've experienced in my life, and we won't even go into wet, white shirts.   So -- am I the only one, or do you have a wardrobe malfunction to share?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fun Monday - I Made It Myself

Sorry to be so late posting, I've been battling much of the day to get these photos to upload.  

Karisma came up with this fabulous idea for Fun Monday.  Her instructions:


I think the title pretty much says it all, but for those of you who may still be wondering, I would like to see or hear about things you have made with your own two hands (or feet, Im not fussy!) We all have different talents and abilities, maybe you like to sew or knit, chisel or sculpt, draw or paint? Whatever your talent is, please share it with us this week.

Da Rules.....

Well there are not any really! But you know, we all know that you made your kids so lets NOT choose them this time. (After all you did not make them with your hands or feet did you?)

I didn't realize how difficult this would be for me.  You see, I have a house full of half-completed projects.  My first challenge was finding something completed.  My second challenge - I'm not really the creative type.  I still recall my elementary school art teacher telling me "you just can't draw" in second grade.  So I am very sensitive about showing my creations to anyone.  My third challenge - I'm a perfectionist.  So I can find something wrong with everything I've ever created.  Again, this makes me a bit shy about sharing my creations.  

As I walked around the house looking for something exciting I created, I pulled out the cross-stitch I started making for Kilowatt the year we met.  It isn't even half-completed, so that went back in the bag.  

Next I found this:

I was in an art class where we were given the vase, and told to carve a picture on it, and paint it.  I had never done anything with ceramics, and have never done anything since then.  The art instructor kept telling me I was taking too long - it didn't have to be perfect.  I eventually completed it and I'm pretty happy with the result.

I do scrapbook, but I couldn't find too many pages that I really felt comfortable sharing.  Mainly because they had people on them who might not like seeing their picture online. I finally settled on this one as a sample.  

Finally, I have to cheat a little bit.  Kilowatt is the talented one in this family, and happily Diva shows signs of having inherited his artist talent.  Here is one of his masterpieces - an advent calendar he made for me after I complained that I couldn't find anything American made in any store, and didn't really like the ones I found anyway.  Isn't is lovely?  He used different kinds of woods to make the doors, that's why they aren't all the same color.  

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fun Monday - Vacations

This weeks Fun Monday Hostess is Alison.  Here's the assignment she's prepared for us.  I'm really looking forward to all the great photos and stories this one should generate!

Vacations...this is the time of year when most of us go on vacations. Show us and/or tell us about your favorite vacation - where you went, what you did, etc. Pictures would be great. Let's all take a trip around a the world via our FM friends!!

I love vacations.  It's really hard to choose one as a favorite.  So I decided to go with my most recent favorite.

In July 2007, we headed North to Alaska to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary.  Kilowatt and I were married in Alaska, at the Alyeska Resort.   Ironically, we didn't visit the resort in 2007 because it was raining so hard the day we were in that area.  Alaska is hard to describe with just words, so I'll let some of my hundreds of photos do the talking.

We started out in this lower 48 city - do you recognize it?

Yes, there is a mountain in the distance.  The city is Seattle, and the photo was taken from here.

Next, we took the Amtrak Cascades to this wonderful city:

After we departed from Vancouver, we sailed North up the Inside Passage.  We stopped first at Ketchikan, where it was raining.  I've give up on ever seeing Ketchikan in the sun.  Next stop Juneau, where it was quite lovely.  We took a photography tour - of course, if  you are in Alaska, what do you photograph?  These:

And these:

And then some of these:

Next stop, my favorite port, Skagway.  We took the White Pass and Yukon railroad over some white-knuckle territory:

Once we reached our final port, we headed inland.  We only saw these at the Alaskan Wildlife refuge, although that may not be a bad thing.  Don't think I'd want to be this close to one in the wild:

We went hiking at an abandoned mine:

Participated in this:

Enjoyed a ride behind Iditarod competitor Vern Halter's dogs:

Finally, on our last day, look who peaked out to say hi.  We took a ride on a Mahay's Jetboat (a tiny one shows in the photo.) I should note here that our last visit McKinley never graced us with a view, so this was an extra special treat.

Sigh... everytime I look at these I want to go back and do it all again!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things

I think Jeanne C Riley (country singer) is the one who sang that song... "Kids Say the Darndest Things."  Until you have kids though, I'm not sure you can fully appreciate the truth in this title.  
Diva has shocked me a couple of times.  Unfortunately, it is usually in front of some authority figure.  For example, we recently visited the doctor for her annual physical.  Does anyone else's doctor spend more time quizzing the kids than actually examining them?  Question 1:  do you wear a helmet when riding a bike?  Diva answers yes, I smile.  Question 2:  Do you wear a seatbelt?  Again, yes, right answer!  Question 3:  Do you help Mom & Dad out at home?  Diva says "no."  Follow up question:  Do you set the table (no.)  Follow up #2:  Do you help with your pets? (no.)  Follow up questions 3-10 Do you... (no.)  

So the doctor says "what do you do at home?"  Diva says "I watch TV!"  Doctor gives me evil eye.  I turn very red while thinking about the discussion we'll be having in the car on the way home.  For the record, Diva earns her allowance money by cleaning the litter-boxes, helping hang up clothes, and occasionally setting the table and running the vacuum.  

Then there was last winter.  We went on a lovely cruise with some friends for school vacation week.  We visited Tortola and Samana, where the snorkeling was divine and we saw incredible sea life, including a huge starfish up close and personal.  On the ship, we saw a family of acrobats that were spectacular, and Diva got to talk with the kids in the show.  Plenty of wonderful experiences to remember.

The last day of the cruise, we were laying by the pool in the sun.  A lady sunbathing nearby us undid her bikini top to avoid tan lines.  She was a bit older and heavier than your average bikini wearer.  Anyway, something nearby startled her, and she sat up fast, forgetting about the undone bikini top.  You get the idea....

So, on the first day back at school when the teacher asks each child to share something they did over school vacation, what do you think Diva shared?  I was afraid to answer the phone for weeks after that in case her teacher was calling.  

 And then just this week, while driving her to dance, Diva asks me how much someone working at McDonald's makes.  I tell her an amount, and she says "well I'm gonna get the he-double-hockey-sticks down there and get me a job."  After driving back onto the road, I ask her "what was that?"  She gleefully repeats her statement.  I explain that we don't talk like that (at least no authority figures were with us!)  She says "but that's what I heard on TV."  

That settles it - more chores and less TV!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fun Monday - Collections

Hulagirl inspired me to start blogging.  I've read some of her Fun Monday posts, and thought it might help me get a little more consistent about blogging if I tried to participate.  When I headed over to this week's host, Mariposa's, I saw that this Fun Monday could have been written for me!

Here are her instructions:
We all have them...and if you don't, you just may not realize it. For some reason or another we all collect something and we collect it for reasons that will definitely make for good reading. So on Monday, I want to see your collection. If you don't have or don't want or CAN'T (wink) show us a picture, then tell us what the collection is in 10 words or less. Then tell us why you started collecting it."

How many of you guessed from this photo what it is I collect?  If you guessed scrapbooking supplies, you are close, but that's not quite it.  Take another look....

I collect storage containers!  I started collecting them to store all the other stuff I collect, but I got hooked on the storage itself!  In this photo is merely a small portion of my storage container collection - 23 pieces, to be exact.  My collection ranges from the inexpensive pieces by Rubbermaid, to the more expensive overpriced by Longaberger, to the high-tech by Maxtor and Western Digital (hard drive manufacturers), to the truly large pieces like the custom cabinet shown in the photo.  

There's a good story that goes with that cabinet.  Kilowatt started building it a number of years before I met him, as a gun cabinet.  When I met him we stored it for quite some time unfinished in our spare bedroom.  As my collection of papers, brochures, books, etc... grew, I eyed the base as a good storage place and he finished that off.  But then I needed to expand upward - and thus the top of the 'gun cabinet' became my 'brochure & paper cabinet.'  

I'm serious about my collection. The Container Store is bookmarked as a favorite.  I own and use packing cubes when traveling.  I have a storage bench inside my door for shoes, gloves, and hats.  I was a Longaberger Collector's Club member (and I use those baskets).  I should consider buying stock in Rubbermaid.  

Please feel free to leave tips for me on new storage containers I might need to add to my collection!