Thursday, December 17, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
- Macaroni & Cheese (Martha Stewart's recipe, not the Kraft boxes...)
- Hyacinths and lilacs (Hmm. Neither of which are in my garden...at the moment...)
- Small blank books--oh! the possibilities!
- Scarves--a new obsession since being in London.
- Hot, hot showers.
- Ok, I give up. New box of crayons. Doesn't even have to be the 64 size, but it helps.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
She said, "No."
"What?" says Rich, " Aren't you interested in what is happening in the world?"
Renee responded, "No, I am only interested in princesses, fairies and leprachauns." So, instead of watching Brian Williams, we watched Darby O'Gill...
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Twice in the past week, as we have traveled to London and now to Colorado, I have heard about the effects of oxytocin in the brain. On Sunday we arrived at Hyde Park Chapel an hour early for Church, unaware that it was their Stake Conference instead of Fast Sunday. One of the speakers referred to the scripture, “Perfect love casteth out fear.” (1 John 4:18) She told of how oxytocin floods a woman’s brain when she gives birth, giving her feelings of heightened love and pleasure. This translates to a bonding experience with her newborn.
A scientific experiment was conducted in which two groups were given vials, one containing oxytocin, the other a placebo. Right before viewing/experiencing something that should normally induce feelings of fear, they opened the vials and inhaled the essence. They were wired to monitors which recorded the brain activity, and in those who received the oxytocin, the “fear” reactors did not reach up into the brain. Those with the placebo felt the full effect of the negative emotional reaction.
Just now on the plane to Colorado, I watched a show called the Music Brain. Sting underwent a brain scan with scientists that were studying the brains of musicians. Turns out that music can also release oxytocin into the brain. The more we move to the music, the bigger the effect.
I always find it interesting when science reinforces scripture.
(BTW, photo is new granddaughter, Norah Gail Fillmore. We are in Colorado bonding with our newest family member.)
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I'm in the library, talking to the Aflac representative, who is here from 9-12 to talk to staff. His first question was, what did I know about Aflac? I said I knew it was insurance, but mostly for catastrophic illness or accident coverage. His eyes got wide and he lifted his hand for a High-5 as he exclaimed, "No one has ever used that word to answer me and it is absolutely correct!!" I responded, "well, I am a librarian...I do know some big words..."
(p.s. This was a synchronicity because right before this V had told me of a similar incident that had just happened to her at work)
Monday, September 21, 2009
If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one painting....or, if you could choose from any painting to own (Impressionist, Old Master...no limits!), which would it be? This was a question posed in the book I just checked out called The Gentle Art of Domesticity: stitching, baking, nature, art & the comforts of home, by Jane Brocket (she actually phrased the question, "Which work of art would you happily steal?" but we are assuming there is a fairy god-mother involved here for our benefit...). I've been browsing the 700's off and on all day and couldn't decide--Vermeer? Wyeth? Monet? Then I saw a book of watercolors and decided my choice would have to be a watercolor, because I personally find that medium very difficult and admire those who can pull it off. I was impressed with the works of Xiaogang Zhu, and actually took a gouache class from him once here at Jubilee. Very Difficult. So I think I would like to own Zhu's Red Umbrella over Arched Bridge (above) or his Waiting for Spring. Lovely. Which would you choose?
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Reading a Communications Bulletin for Managers and Supervisors, an idea jumped out at me: celebrate mistakes. By encouraging employees to share their errors with the team, everyone would learn from the mistake, and disciplining would be unnecessary. At the same time as I was mulling the merits of this, I was listening to a book on CD: How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer, and found it sychronistic that it contained these similar messages:
- Self criticism is the secret to self-improvement; negative feedback is the best kind (Bill Robertie, backgammon master)
- An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in his field (Niels Bohr)
- Mistakes should be cultivated and carefully investigated
- Mistakes are the building blocks of knowledge
- Unless you experience the unpleasant symptoms of being wrong, your brain will never revise its models.
So, I think Celebrating Mistakes may take the place of the Kudos lists I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to encourage with staff. Now I just have to think of a mistake of my own I can publish to get the ball rolling...
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I grew up in the 60s. I wore bell-bottoms, and tie-dyed shirts and my music was Donovan, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and the Beach Boys. And I read Richard Brautigan (In Watermelon Sugar; The Revenge of the Lawn, Trout Fishing in America). Working in the "book business" (bookstores and libraries) since I was a teen, I've come across Brautigan time and again and remembered his work as cool, and innovative and...weird. Today I just finished re-reading the above, along with The Abortion, and The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, and I have to say, I think he's just weird. I found this clip of him--brushing his teeth and reading a few excerpts from his works--and he reminded me of a young man who comes in to the library frequently: quirky and maybe not all mentally and socially "there."
Brautigan committed suicide in 1984, but he still has a following: a website of devotees, and from his Wikipedia entry,
- "But when his novel Trout Fishing in America was published in 1967, Brautigan was catapulted to international fame and labeled by literary critics as the writer most representative of the emerging countercultural youth-movement of the late 1960s")
- Also in a 1980 letter to Brautigan from W. P. Kinsella, Kinsella states that Brautigan is his greatest influence for writing and his favorite book is In Watermelon Sugar.
- In March 1994, a teenager named Peter Eastman Jr. from Carpinteria, California legally changed his name to "Trout Fishing in America", and now teaches English in Japan.  At around the same time, National Public Radio reported on a young couple who had named their baby "Trout Fishing in America".
- There is a folk rock band called Trout Fishing in America., and another called Watermelon Sugar, which quotes the opening paragraph of that book on their home page. The industrial rock band Machines of Loving Grace took their name from one of Brautigan's best-known poems.
- In the UK The Library of Unwritten Books is a project in which ideas for novels are collected and stored. The venture is inspired by Brautigan's novel The Abortion.
- The library for unpublished works envisioned by Brautigan in his novel The Abortion now exists as The Brautigan Library in Burlington, Vermont.
- There are two stores named "In Watermelon Sugar" after Brautigan's novella, one in Baltimore, Maryland and one in Traverse City, Michigan.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I called Rich at 5:15 to see if he'd be ready to go home at 5:30. Yep. So at 5:28 I start packing up my stuff and can't find my keys...I even look in the Library lost and found, then panic that maybe I dropped them on the way in. I rush outside and...MY CAR IS GONE! I must have lost the keys, someone found them, and drove my car away!!! What will I tell Rich?? Wait..did I get dropped off this morning?... I remember now that Rich had a Dr. appointment...ah...HE has the car today! Phew!
He was 5 minutes late picking me up because he was standing outside the Service Center waiting for ME to pick HIM up. Then he noticed the car in the lot and wondered why I parked there instead of driving up to the curb to wait as usual...then he remembered that HE had the car...and got out his keys.
What are we going to do?? Both of us are losing our minds at the same time!! Synchronized Alzheimer's.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Five years ago I was:
- Planning for a family reunion at a California beach house
- Thinking about selling my "dream home" in Dryden
- Worrying about what to do with Vanessa for her senior year of high school
- Working on finishing my MLIS degree at Syracuse University
- Enjoying a 25 hr/week job as Director of the Southworth Library
- Eat healthy and exercise
- Watch "Libraries and Autism" training video
- Take a motorcycle ride with Rich
- Check periodically with Vanessa to be sure she is still breathing and hasn't gone into anaphylactic shock
- Get milk
5 things I'd do with 1 Million Dollars:
- Become the financial backer for Golden's fly rod company
- Buy homes for Vanessa, Dustin and Rachel & Jay (and pay off Fillmore's mortgage)
- Hmmm. That might be all I could do. One million doesn't go as far these days...if there was any left, I'd bank it for a
5 Places I've lived:
- Massachusetts (5 different addresses)
- Europe (2 places: Belgium & Germany)
5 Jobs I've held:
- Quality Control at Ore-Ida Potato Factory in Burley, ID
- Custodian/Bookstore clerk (at BYU--did the bookstore thing again in MA)
- Machine operator in a plastics factory (Massachusetts)
- Administrative Assistant to a Vice Principal, Madison High School
- Computer Lab Aide at Redland Oaks Elementary School
5 years from now I will be:
- Getting ready to attend Quincy Fillmore's baptism
- Planning a trip to Disneyland (or similar destination) with 5 year old "baby" Fillmore
- Playing Five for Fighting's "100 years" flawlessly on the piano
- Running marathons
Thanks for the opportunity to do this, Carolyn! I don't know 5 other people who blog who haven't already done this to pass it on...
- Maybe Joella, I don't see that she's done it yet, and
- Veronica; and
- Annie and
- Kelly and
- Brandolyn could just send me an email with their Fives Lists
This is how I know...(by no means an exhaustive list..)
- He saves the raw broccoli stalks for me
- He kills slugs in my garden
- He put a passenger seat and sissy bar on his Harley
- He doesn't give me chocolates for Valentines' Day
- He writes poems for me (actually, a whole book of poetry!)
- He watches Pushing Daisies with me
- He records shows he thinks I'll like to surprises me (Michael Buble, Pierce Brosnan interview)
- He calls during the day just to check in and say "hi."
- He recycles and composts
- He encourages me to paint and puts up with the mess--in the kitchen
- He bought a baby grand
- He let me choose the paint colors for the house (inside and out! I went with his choice on the front door)
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
So I had a phone message at work from a manager at the Service Center. (And I think my daughter had just called prior to that...) I returned his call, and got his voice mail. I confirmed our meeting time, then closed, "love ya, bye." And hung up. And felt sick. WHAT DID I JUST DO??!! Can't take it back, it's on the voicemail. Can't call back--that would make it worse. Ignore it? Never look that person in the eye again? Hope the phone connection was garbly (which it often is at TRL...)? Laugh? I picked that one. I went in to my co-worker's office here at Tumwater and told her what I had just done-- and we both had a good laugh about it.
Thanks, Rachel--I think you started us all on this!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Rich and I were in the kitchen the other day, both lost in thought. What we didn't realize, was we were lost in the same thought! I was singing Viva la Vida in my head and then suddenly began humming the part..."I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing..."
Rich turned and stared at me. "What song are you humming?"
"Viva la Vida.."
"Not only was I singing that song in my head just now, but I had just finished the part, '...Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand' when you picked up at that moment humming the next line!"
What can I say? After 33 years, I guess we are finally getting in-sync!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I think of myself as a nice person--easy to get along with, kind...but lately, I have been annoying a lot of people...
First there was Asian Man at the treadmill. Next, my neighbor, one of the few in my neighborhood I've actually spent time cultivating a friendship with, isn't speaking to me because I painted my house red. Seems she finds the color very jarring as she looks at it from her backyard. She can't understand why I didn't consult with her before choosing this color (I didn't tell her there was no "choosing" about it--this was the only color I wanted). Then today, I was doing my morning run, jogging into my housing area, where the speed limit is 5 mph anyway, and I got angry gestures and facial expressions from a woman driver who indicated I should be up on the sidewalk. I guess she isn't much of a runner or she would know that the cement sidewalk is way worse for joints than the asphalt road...
I'm trying to be nice, but I just can't seem to please people these days.
(And BTW, isn't my house absolutely gorgeous this color?!!)
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Fast-forward to 2009 right before Valentines' Day. We were in the jeweler's shop getting my engagement ring repaired and I saw this fabulous onyx ring. I REALLY wanted it, but knew it was a luxury I didn't need--I already had all the luck and good fortune anyone could want! But I kept thinking about it (ok, obsessing about it) over the next few months...("This ring I'm wearing now is only a place-holder for the onyx..." "maybe we could spend 10 days instead of 2 weeks in London and get my ring with the savings...").
Unbeknownst to me, Rich had purchased it almost immediately after I first saw it, and was saving it for our 33rd anniversary trip. The dilemma for him was when to present it, so he ended up carrying it around in his pocket for almost the whole week. (I should have guessed something was up when he was burdened with luggage and asked me to get the hotel key out of his pocket, then as I went to reach in, he immediately jumped back and said, "Nevermind! I've got it!" as he remembered what else was in that same pocket...)
We actually went to the Old Mill Restaurant of family tradition, but it wasn't quite our anniversary yet...We ate in the Singapore where we got engaged, but it wasn't quite classy enough. Finally, the Longfellow's Wayside Inn was both the right date and the right tone for the romantic gesture. Perfect! I was so excited! I'm so lucky to have married my thoughtful, romantic sweetheart!
Monday, May 25, 2009
This was a real trip down Memory Lane! With some fudging (see #8) we visited 33 places on our 33rd anniversary trip to Boston and points NE.
1. Quincy, MA/John Adams’ house
2. Plimoth plantation
3. Mayflower 2
4. Walden Pond (tried to re-read Thoreau for the occasion but got bogged down...)
5. Old Mill Restaurant--a family favorite in Westminster.
6. Ft. Devens, now just Devens, where we lived when we were first married. Our 2 homes no longer exist.
7. Townsend harbour/Warren Rd.: my first childhood home. Floods of memories: my crush on the boy next door; where I was standing when I learned my grandmother had died; go-carts my dad made.
8. Townsend Center: my 2nd home on Riverbank terrace; the library--my favorite place!; secret hideouts with my detecting partner, Sara; Spaulding Memorial School, McNabb Pharmacy (traumatic story); St. John’s Catholic Church (more religious trauma that shaped my future in a profound way); Town Common: band-concerts and bazaars.
9. Fitchurg High School--we went inside--very oppressive, like a prison. No wonder I still have nightmares about being a student again and not being able to find my locker and being late for class. The only highlight was Mr. Boyle and Latin class.
10. Rollstone Hill--all the "cool" kids (the ones who went there to drink and party) climbed it each year to whitewash the hillside with FHS and their year. I never went then, so made Rich climb the hill with me now. It's a great view...
11. Marshall Rd--My Grampa "Candy Man's" home.
12. Ashby west Rd--The idyllic teen years of joining the Church, riding my horse on the (now prohibited) Crocker Trails.
13. Melansons--Long-time family friends; fun to hear stories of my parents
14. Don's garage. An entrepreneurial venture of my Dad's. Got a photo of the spot, but the garage is long-gone.
15. Memorial JR High school--met my friend, Holly here, who introduced me to the Church.
16. Leominster church--where the LDS met, and where I met Richard for the first time.
17. Singapore restaurant--where Rich and I got engaged. My fortune cookie said, "You will marry the one you love." Rich's said, "If you don't want anyone to know, don't do it."
18. Coggshall park (pictured at top). Lot's of birthday parties and picnics here. The trail around the pond seemed a lot longer (and scarier) when I was a kid!
19. Boston temple--we spend the morning of our 33rd anniversary doing family sealings here. It's our favorite temple now!
20. Kimballs ice cream--a tourist destination. Pint-sized cones for $4. I'd planned on getting the Grapenut flavor for months--a real highlight!
21. Massachusetts Archives--did some genealogy research and was intrigued to learn that the family member we sought listed herself as a physician back in 1891 on her marriage registry. Warrants checking into...
22. Kennedy library
23. JFK birthplace
24. Longfellow’s Wayside Inn/Gristmill--fabulous old tavern and inn made famous by a visit from Longfellow and his subsequent book based on his visit: Tales of a Wayside Inn. (Yes, we bought a copy of the book.) Rich gave me a gorgeous onyx ring to celebrate our anniversary; it has a "33" engraved inside.
25. Mary’s Schoolhouse--Mary actually did have a little lamb and it did actually follow her to her one-room school house, in Sterling, MA. The school house is long gone, but recreated from its lumber by Henry Ford when he purchased the Wayside Inn and surrounding property. He created a tableau of the Inn, the Little Red Schoolhouse, the Grist Mill and white-steepled church on the hill. Very picturesque.
26. Boston museum of fine art--Impressionists, Rembrandts. Very fine.
27. Gardner museum--The building itself was a big part of the "collection." We came out to find we'd been parked for 2 hrs in front of a hydrant. Dodged that bullet!
We came out to find we'd been parked for 2 hrs in front of a hydrant. Dodged that bullet!
28. Harvard yard/The coop. Here they really do say, "Paak the caa in Haavid Yaad." I'm so glad I managed to rid myself of the accent!
29. Durgin park/Fanueil hall. Lunch and shopping.
30. Nichols' house--a peek inside the life of 1800s Boston Brahmins.
31. Boston Common. Bigger than we remembered. Lots of joggers, dog-walkers, families enjoying the day.
32. Paul Revere house/Freedom Trail
33. Newbery Street--wished we had more time to stop and browse this upscale shopping district. The one store I wanted to see, "Sugar Heaven" seems to have gone out of business or moved. Oh, well, with all the ice cream and elaborate meals I had on this trip, I really didn't need any candy, but the concept was intriguing.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
"I once agreed to have a first date over for dinner and found out I had to work that day. I pressed my pantsuit, got my apartment spic-and-span, and decided on a meal that I felt confident I could prepare in an hour: porterhouse steak, mashed potatoes, salad, and watermelon wedges for dessert. I also planned on serving sangria, bcause I had a pile of fuit that was beginning to turn. I put out some unshelled walnuts in a bowl to complement the sangria. When I got home from work I immediately boiled water for the potatoes, turned on the broiler and threw my steak in. I only had an hour, but because I had preplanned well, I knew I would make it just under the deadline. Unfortunately, my date showed up fifteen minutes early...with a friend that wasn't invited. They had stopped for a slice of pizza on the way so they didn't want to eat "until all that cheese settled." My date then turned on the tv so he could catch the last few minutes of the Hornets game. He and his buddy drank multiple glasses of sangria, ate fistfuls of caramels, and emptied my nut bowl as those few minutes dragged on for more than an hour and a half. By the time dinner was on the table the sangria was gone, the potatoes were cold, the salad was limp, and my steak was not only exhausted, it was humiliated. When we got around to dessert, he insisted on carving the watermelon, but dropped it on the floor. Too drunk to hail a cab, he sent his friend home, fell asleep on my bed and woke up in his own vomit. We dated for two years."
Sunday, April 19, 2009
(*Old New England saw)
Yes, I had a yard sale yesterday. I don't like to do yardsales, and I only made $15 on my "stuff," but there was a Higher Purpose to the sale, and on that count, it was a huge success. I was following a prompting of synchronistic proportions. I have a friend who has a Very Hard Life. I check on her periodically and do what I can to help out. Last Tuesday I phoned her and discovered she is moving out of her apartment and moving into a trailer to share with a friend, as she can't afford to live alone and pay the rent. She needed to get rid of tons of stuff that now won't fit in the one bedroom she will be alloted in the trailer. We're talking couches, tables, boxes of "stuff." The catch--her landlord doesn't allow yardsales where she lives. The Synchronicity? My community was holding its semi-annual yardsale in 4 days, and I would just make the deadline to register for it if I did so that very day. So I did. And I got another friend to come with his truck and haul her stuff to my place on Saturday. The heavens smiled in more ways than one, as we enjoyed a beautiful day of sunshine, good conversation with each other and the garage-salers who stopped by. She sold the bulk of her stuff, made $100+ in the bargain, and knows I really care about her. So, yea, I could have been doing tons of other things yesterday, but I followed the synchronicity to its successful conclusion.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I've discovered an interesting phenomenon. If I go more than 4 hours without eating, my stomach growls and I can only think about what and when I can eat next. But if I am fasting, and I am prayerful about it, I can go all day without thinking of food or feeling hungry at all.
I know this is just a side benefit but it helps to reinforce in my mind that there is a difference between fasting with a purpose and just going without food for a period of time.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This is a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20 year old.
The contest was titled "u @ 50", by the AARP
This video won second place. When they showed it, everyone in the
room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause.
So simple and yet so brilliant. Take a minute and watch it.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
1. If I'm on my way to a follow-up Dr. appointment (read, I've been there before...) and suddenly I can't remember where the doctor's office is located...am I having a Senior Moment, or can I blame it on the fact that I was on the cell phone with Vanessa and was distracted?
2. I ran into Walmart to pick up a black slip on my lunch break (I was having serious static cling) and grabbed the first (and only) black slip I saw and ran out (after paying, of course...). It was labeled an XL and it fit, very snugly in fact. My question is, are they not sizing things the way they used to, or was I in the children's department by mistake? (I refuse to consider the 3rd option...)
3. The guy (ahem: "geezer") next to me on the treadmill the other day got on before the stats for the previous person were reset. He "worked out" at 2 mph for about 15 minutes, continually checking the readouts with a puzzled look on his face. When he finished, he stared at the "workout summary" for a bit before shaking his head and stepping down. Question: should I have explained the phenomenon to him or is it better to remain in blissful ignorance of one's ignorance? Is that what I have to look forward to when my Senior Moments are more like Senior Way of Life?
Friday, March 6, 2009
Sometimes there are two things that you think might be related but you're not sure...There's several (8) piles of what looks like rolled oats dumped about 3 feet apart at the wooded edge of our parking lot. There's also a bunch of squirrels that are behaving very oddly on the nearby grass...
Are the oats poisoned? Did the squirrels eat it? Or do the squirrels just have "spring fever" on this unusually sunny day in Washington? And what, then, is the purpose of the oat piles?
I checked with the City and they have no knowledge of it. Checked with the group of teens that were busy videoing the squirrels with their cell phones and they didn't know anything about the oats. Hmmm. Quite the mystery. But I do know this: anytime squirrels are involved, you have got to be suspicious.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
In response, I blinked a few times, stared blankly at him, and asked, "Which machine ate your money?"
Now here's the best part: he led me to the entrance, glanced around confused, and promptly turned beet red.
I managed to get him to explain that a friend put him up to it, telling him that he'd get a free $1.50. As dishonest and mischievious as this was, I think his absolute embarassment in front of all the people coming in and out was punishment enough.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
There is nothing like Disneyland with a 5-year-old! There is a fine line though, between assuring her that the pirates and wicked witches aren't real ("They are dolls, right Gramma?") and wanting to preserve the magic of it all ("You got hugs from Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Belle and Minnie Mouse today!!") We took the Riverboat Cruise and, upon passing the Indian Village, she asked why the Indian had animal skins on his head. I told her that the Indians believed animals' spirits influenced their world. Renee said, "I believe in everything!" Which is why, in spite of a letter from the princesses saying the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion weren't real, and my constant chant in Pirates that it was all make-believe, she still was mad at me for taking her into the Haunted Mansion and on the Pirates of the Caribbean. Hopefully, all is forgiven with the many other happy memories compensating for the scary ones.