Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Obsession With Pinterest


My Obsession With Pinterest

Really, why have I developed an obsession with Pinterest? I spend time I could be reading a fabulous book or sewing or cultivating plants or cleaning my dust bunny overrun house pinning things I like to Pinterest.

In lieu of reading the Washington Post or the New York Times, I surf the online Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom catalogs for “to die for” footwear, handbags and accessories or the Metropolitan Museum of Art archives for gorgeous clothes and accessories of the past or international museum sites for art that makes my heart sing.

It isn’t as if I can take a high road and say “well at least I’m not shopping or playing online games”.  Essentially, I am wasting time.  But, it is my time to spend chilling in any way that seems appropriate.  After a challenging week at work where I’ve overworked my brain, sometimes I think it is beneficial to do something mindless.  And, pinning things that I find beautiful brings me happiness. It isn’t as if I lust for the people, places or things I pin. I just appreciate them. Appreciating beauty is a good thing. And from my humble perspective I can justify that it is no more mindless than watching most TV programs.

And from some perspectives, I can call it research- especially when I am searching museum archives for mid 19th Century clothes, accessories and photographic evidence that documents the way people of the American Civil War era lived and dressed.

Yea- that’s the ticket. Research!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Keeping Perspective When Stressed


Keeping Perspective When Stressed

Whenever I hear that my “expertise” is needed as a problem solver I immediately presume that whatever I am about to face will be challenging and stressful. And usually, I am correct.

Additionally, when my spousal unit becomes irritable for no apparent reason, I realize for my peace of mind and body, it is essential that I try to practice my mental Tai Chi. Sometimes I am able to practice yoga, which is mentally and physically healing. At other times, I must focus on my attitude. I cannot control the actions, words, motives or inactions of others.  But I can control my reactions to the outside stimulus.

If I am at work and my “expertise” is requested, I will dive in. My challenge in those instances is to avoid letting my ego take control so that I become obsessed trying to be a hero and fix it masterfully immediately.  I cause myself to wake up in the middle of the night, with my acid reflux churning, and deciding that it makes since to log onto my work site at 4:00am.  This is a sign that intervention is needed.

Fortunately, I have subscribed to a year of reminders to keep me aware of tools I can use to deal with stressors and seek balance in my work and private lives.

Reminders:

·      I have no control over other people, places and things;
·      It is not about me;
·      My husband or boss must be having a bad day;
·      I work to live; I do not live to work;
·      Life isn’t always fair, but it sure beats the alternative;
·      Yes, I make mistakes; but I do the best I can with the tools I have at the time;
·      If it doesn’t get done today, there is always tomorrow or next week;
·      I am not a brain surgeon, a cardiologist, and EMT, or a soldier; what I do at home or at work is not life or death;
·      If I forget something, it is not the end of the world (so far);
·      I have gratitude for my husband (even when he is grumpy) and appreciate my job – even though every day is not a bed of roses.
·      I would rather bat cleanup that be pulled from the line up! I am grateful my employer appreciates my particular set of skills – as esoteric as they may at times be.

So, those are my pearls of wisdom for the evening. Now to go soothe my grumpy savage beast.




Sunday, August 25, 2013

An Overloaded Memory


An Overloaded Memory

Unlike computers, we do not have the option of purchasing more RAM, defragging our hard-drives, moving information that is no longer useful to a trash folder and then permanently deleting it, or saving it to the Cloud.

So, whenever I have an error message, such as misplacing the tape measure I just used or unwrapping Christmas presents to look for the remote control that I might have inadvertently dropped in a box, I don’t panic and fear I’m exhibiting signs of early stage dementia. Instead I remind myself that my hard drive is overloaded and there is nowhere to off load the junk.

No doubt we all have junk that we would like to delete from our hard-drives. For truly horrible life experiences, there is talk therapy, REM therapy, shock therapy or really heavy-duty drugs. But the memory is still there, slowing down the amazing computer that is our brains, causing us to periodically “clock”.

If I could selectively delete certain folders and permanently shred them into cyberspace, I would include the disturbing images of people I know and don’t want to see naked that have told stories that I just can’t get out of my head about say, shooting a bunny from the kitchen door au natural early on a winter’s morning or a former boss who talked about jumping into a quarry swimming hole sans trunks. I don’t need these memories that pop into my head at the oddest moment and I’m sure they have taken up valuable space in my brain that would be better served remembering to take the clothes out of the washer before they mildew! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Really – Amazon.com Offers USED Toilet Seats for Sale!


Really – Amazon.com Offers USED Toilet Seats for Sale!

Yes, I’ve been in the market for one or more toilet seats. The discount versions I’ve picked up at T.J. Maxx, Ross or Wal-Mart over the last 8 years have had quality control issues. So, replacement is no longer a luxury!

During the entire time I lived in the house of my childhood, I never recall my parental units having to purchase replacement toilet seats. They were user friendly, utilitarian products that stood (or sat) the test of time. But, no more! The plastic not-so-hard…ware on modern toilet seats disintegrates with casual use.

It was my intent to head back to the usual sources, perhaps try Lowes or Home Depot. But my brilliant husband suggested Amazon.com.  So, I searched “toilet seats” on Amazon, which returned 30,184 results.  A bit of fine-tuning reduced the options to a mere 1,311 options. The most disturbing aspect of this search -  47 options in USED condition!

Now, I am fairly certain these were actually RETURNS (hopefully unused because the color was wrong). But, who actually buys a used toilet seat? That just seems like one of those items you don’t buy “previously own” or pick up for a song at Goodwill – kind of like underwear. Remember the brouhaha when it was revealed Hillary Clinton took a tax deduction for donating her used panties to charity? Even the “sanitize” option on my state-of-the-art top loading washer will not make that an appealing choice. 

Wow! I continue to be surprised every day! And, it gave me quite the opportunity to guffaw on the phone with my spouse. But, I did find just the right product and with Amazon bonus points, got 2 for 1~!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tatiana~ An Arkady Renko Tour de Force by Martin Cruz Smith


Tatiana~ An Arkady Renko Tour de Force by Martin Cruz Smith


Martin Cruz Smith’s Russian investigator Arkady Renko first pulled me into his world with 1981’s Gorky Park. With subsequent books Cruz Smith brought the reader further into the psyche of Renko, a relentless, buck-the system-pessimist filled with melancholy that squandered his rise to the top of the militsiya because of  his dogged pursuit of justice. This has never set well with his superiors.

While Tatiana may not rise to the excellence of Gorky Park, it is none-the-less a solid effort and a good read.  To his credit, Martin Cruz Smith has not churned out Arkady Renko novels on an annual basis, which has kept me wanting more.

With other series that began with intriguing characters, the annual installations by authors seeking to capitalize on the franchise resorted to diluted, formulaic plots that left me cold. Not so with Martin Cruz Smith and Investigator Renko.
Renko has evolved and survived through the Soviet era, the end of the Cold War, D├ętente, and the rise of capitalistic criminal enterprises.  Despite his being an American born author, his research is superb and I always feel as though Cruz Smith is at heart, a Russian.

Tatiana brings us an older, wiser, sadder, Renko who is walking around with a bullet in his head. Despite the official determination that a famous investigative journalist has committed suicide, Renko believes otherwise and decides to investigate under the guise of looking for her body, which has disappeared or been misplaced.  This is a mystery involving international intrigue, wealthy Russian and Chechen gangsters, a look into the amber industry, and the danger to journalists seeking to expose wrongs. It is current. It is relevant. It is Cruz Smith at close to his best. Highly recommended.