El Dia del Padre

Back on Mothers' Day, I wrote a post about mothers. Being an egalitarian, and an appreciator of fathers, I decided to do a companion post for Fathers' Day. Again, might be a bit hackneyed, but [shrug] that's the way it goes sometimes.

I'm not sure if this is a good thing, but as I was cleaning out the basement and garage today, I thought how appropriate it is that I'm doing it on Fathers' Day. Never let it be said that my father doesn't know how to have a good time -- he does. He loves laughing and listening and telling stories with old friends and new friends alike. (We kids used to have a joke that our dad was eventually going to be friends with everyone in the world.) I learned (along with all my siblings) three things: that you must do the best job you can at whatever task you're attempting, that work is easiest done as a team - a machine in which each person is a part, working in concert, and that labors are best done sooner rather than later, or they'll collect on your back and weigh you down. Yes, that last one is the "why you should keep up with your homework" speech. (I have learned since then that sometimes when you procrastinate, it turns out that a job needn't be done at all when someone changes their mind, but -shhhh- that's not part of the current story.) So, today, on Fathers' Day, I celebrate the day by cleaning out and organizing the basement and garage. Appropriate, eh?

To Daddy:
Thank you for being there for us. Your understanding, caring, and consistent belief in our abilities to live and grow successfully - while tested often enough when we were teens - is a support system few are blessed to receive. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for being yourself. Thank you for showing us what the world might be like if we believe in ourselves. I love spending time with you, hearing about your adventures and projects, and telling you about mine. I love making you laugh. I love that you are open about your love for each of your children. I love you very much!

To My Brother-In-Law:
Happy Fathers' Day, dear brother. I love seeing what a great father you are. I love what a great team you and your wife make and I love watching your wonderful son grow and blossom under your love and care. My nephew is a very lucky little boy and so is his puppy dog. I know you will do wonderfully in the amazing/trying years ahead, but also know that we are here to support you!

And to all the other wonderful and loving fathers I know, Sam, JR, Mel, John A., Tom, Dave, Kevin, Jim, Matt, Vince, JTS, Mike, Gabe, Jason, Heath, and so many more:
Happy Fathers' Day, Dad/Pa/Father/Padre/Papi, you deserve a whole month of celebration for all that you do! Love to you all!


New Look #2

OK. How about this one?

(Interestingly enough, Aileen saw the last design in the same way I did, but as communications is partly about what people perceive, I decided to change it...)


New Look

I've been wanting to update the look of the blog for quite some time, but haven't liked any of the new Blogger templates that much.

Until today. (Well, ok, it's been debuted this week, but it sounded more dramatic...)

I'm not completely sold on one particular template, but I'm liking a lot of the options here. And it's cool to play with! :D


Trying to Catch Up to the Wagon


I've fallen off the exercise wagon and because I haven't managed to get back on the proper sleep schedule to exercise in the morning as I like to do. (I have exercised in the evening before, but I leave work later, so it feels like I'm using my entire evening for that and none for other chores like vacuuming, mowing the lawn, cleaning out the catbox, etc.)
So, because I'm off schedule, I keep accidentally staying up late. (Chores + Internet usually add up to late.)

I will get back on the wagon. (Grrr...)


World Cup Soccer BEGINS!

Englishman John Oliver from The Daily Show teases the American soccer team. The clips from the game and the American fans chasing John at the end are the highlights. Viva Futbol! Woo hoo!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
World Cup 2010: Into Africa - Two Teams, One Cup
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party


Dome Tour

Yesterday I got to go up to tour the dome of our state capitol building (this is the view from the bottom). The fun part was going up stairs like these:
And the view from the exterior levels.

My job is cool. :D


A Study in Contrasts

The Seattle Space Needle as Legos (from the UCFers)
St. Basil's Cathedral as a 3D puzzle (from Karen)

Thank you, everyone!

One of these was well documented and easy to assemble.  The other?  Mmm... not so much.  The former I'll be keeping on my bookshelf.  I'll let you guess which that is...  :)


Cool Things: Stone Papers

My new composition book, in which I write my blog posts, was an impulse buy at Target.  When I picked it up, it felt different -- heavier, softer, more flexible.  I looked at the label and it read:
Stone Papers
Made from stone
tree-free, acid-free, natural paper products made from all natural stone

Cool!  I looked for them online, but their website was under construction when I visited it.  I did find another, similar (I think) product that outlines the process (I'm assuming it's a similar process.  It may not be.) pretty well.

I admit, I'm using my favorite pen, but the ink is received by the paper very smoothly, and I love how it feels!
I'm not sure if every Target has this product (online they do not) but it's worth checking out.


On Priorities, Part III: The Solutions

In Part I, I brought my much ignored readers up to speed on where the issues began.
In Part II, I outlined my priorities.

In order to work towards a life that is guided by these priorities, I've have instituted the following goals:
  • Go to bed on time (9:30ish).
  • Get up early (5::30ish).
  • Exercise for an hour or so.
  • Eat breakfast.
  • Spend less time on the computer when at home.
  • Compose blog posts on paper first.  (The three On Priority posts were done this way. I don't always follow the rough draft, but it gives me structure and a definable task.)
  • Accept invitations to friends' activities.
  • Plan my own activities/parties/camping trips/etc.
  • Don't turn on the TV while cooking.  Cook, then watch a specific program while eating.
  • Read more books, either through audiobooks (while exercising/cooking/cleaning) or a real book.
  • Read something brief and upbeat (currently my compendium of Calvin and Hobbes strips) before bed every night.
  • Try to clean incrementally, don't wait 'til it gets out of hand.
  • Keep a list of upcoming tasks and do them one at a time.  Slow and steady, like a mountain-climber.

I've developed these slowly over the past month.  Part of this realignment has been because work let up a bit to allow me some time to think, but mostly I've been making small steps towards each of these for quite a while.
I'm hoping this plan to write off-line will work to reincorporate blogging into my schedule.  So far, it has seemed to work well.  Hopefully it will be enough of a priority that you'll see posts here more often!

Thanks, as always, for your readership.  :)


On Priorities, Part II: The Reevaluation

In Part I, I brought my much ignored readers up to speed on where the issues began.  I felt like things were out of balance and I needed to reevaluate.  Here are the results:

My Priorities:
Sleep - I like about 8 hours.  I can do with less, but my day goes better with 8.
Food - Specifically healthy and flavorful food.  It's part of my interest in feeling fit and healthy, but I also enjoy healthy food more.  Granted, what I mean by that is yummy yummy vegetables, and not whole grain pasta (I still cannot get on that wagon) and tabbouleh every day.  The beautiful pasta machine given to me last year is getting a workout.  And when I am super busy at work, I eat frozen leftovers from The Hot Chick's Kitchen.  They are much healthier than processed food, very tasty, and much appreciated in stressful times.
Fitness - Besides eating healthy foods and taking care of oneself when sick, I find fitness requires exercise.  I don't get enough in my normal day and I really like to feel fit.  Unfortunately, when I'm having a time crunch, sleep often trumps exercise.
Friends - It's no secret that I enjoy spending time with friends (this includes family, who are friends), though my close friends also know that I need time to myself (there will be a future post on this).  I like to hear what people are up to and tell them my own stories as well.  To share time for attention and appreciation and connection is very restorative for me.
Creating - Sometimes this is on a big scale, like putting a bathroom in the basement, but most of the time, this is baking gluten-free cookies for my aunt or inventing a soup for dinner.
Writing/Reading (as a subset of creating) - I'm a word craftsman by nature.  I enjoy putting together a well-fashioned sentence/paragraph/letter/blogpost.  I haven't written much lately, but I think about it a lot.  Reinvigorating this blog is part of that effort.
Order -  At times, I have perfectionist tendencies (sure, go ahead, laugh) but this does not translate into a drive to do housekeeping or yardwork.  In fact, just yesterday, I got a notice about my grass being too long.  (I cut it on Monday.  The time lag on the notice is apparently a week.)  However, I like having things relatively clean and orderly.  It bothers me when things get too disorderly for too long.  Unfortunately, I don't like the work involved in accomplishing that order.

Tomorrow, Part III, in which I reveal what the solutions are...


There's a Fungus Among Us

This appeared in my backyard this morning.  My first thought was WTF is that?
Not what it looks like, unless your innocent mind says "why it's a mushroom, silly!"
So, what kind of mushroom is that?  Is it dangerous?
(Those of you who want to make a joke about The Mushroom That Impregnated New York can do as you please, as usual, but this is actually a real question as well.)

Addendum #1: You are no help at all in mushroom identification, folks.  Turns out it's a "stinkhorn," with the totally obvious family name "Phallaceae."

Addendum #2: I sent the picture to the Mushroom Expert for his collection and he (very kindly!) replied:
Thanks for your e-mail. That looks like Phallus hadriani to me:


. . . but the specimen is a little bit odd, because part of the "egg shell" stuck to the cap when it expanded, which doesn't usually happen. Neat!

On Priorities, Part I: The Problem

First, my apologies on my long blogging absence. I'm not sure where it came from -- at least one of those weeks was a busy week at work, but what about the other ones? True, FB allows for quick, momentary statements of being, which satisfies the need to communicate, but it can't replace the blog for a good introspective wallow.

Part of it is the length of time it takes me to write. There's the actual writing and editing of the post itself, then there's the online procrastination - reading blogs and forums and playing FB games - that precede the writing of the post. There is also the researching of attendant links because I love the educational and interconnective aspects of internet writing. So, I've been avoiding the time sink. More specifically, I've been avoiding the computer.

I've been working on my priorities. My life's been feeling a bit out of whack since I got the new job and I know I feel happier when I'm spending time on the things that are important to me. I feel happier when I'm fit, am creating, feel connected with friends, and have mental and spiritual peace. In order to foster these, I have been correcting some imbalances. I've been weaning myself from the TV and internet at home. There are still pleasures to be had from watching a great TV show or an interesting blog event, but for the most part, I'd like to put them lower on the priority list.

Tomorrow, Part II, in which I expand on my priorities...


Blog Spin-Off

(Wow! It's been 3 weeks since my last post. Yeesh.)

I've been trying to re-establish some priorities in my life (see upcoming post - no, really, I swear), and one of those is exercising more. Sure this can include activities, such as hiking or white-water rafting, but I really need to do it on a more regular basis. Like 3-5 times a week. I like feeling trim.

Several years ago, I was observing a leggy brunette getting into her Jeep Wrangler when I thought (not for the first time) "hmm... I really think active women are more attractive to me..." followed by (for the first time) "Hey, wait a minute, I'm an active woman like that!". So, fast forward a few years, past a long (2 year?) stint of going to a gym three times a week, to the present, after a year long exercise hiatus. I quit the gym when I lost my job and had been intending to set up a cheaper (read free or nearly free) exercise routine. For a year I've been intending to do this. And now, prompted by a gradual weight creep upwards and a gradual tightening of my clothes, I am motivated to Get To It.

Last week I managed to get up early enough to do a walk/run around the lakes, but the rest of the week I was working late. Because sleep is my top priority, if I work late (which means going to bed late), I sleep through my morning exercise period (6-7 am). THIS week however, I've managed to exercise two out of the last three days, so I'm calling this good habit STARTED. Tomorrow's looking promising too.

I have posted my good progress on Facebook, but it feels a bit repetitive there, so after I looked around the web for a good exercise tracker, I decided to make my own. It's called Active Accountability and it's a pretty basic log of a few stats and a few thoughts on the activity of the day. If you want to follow along, get some inspiration, give some inspiration, suggestions, thoughts, etc. please do. There's a link in this blog's sidebar, in case you don't feel like bookmarking it.

As I have said several times in the past week... I am looking forward to being in better shape!

PS - Another priority of mine is to blog here more, somehow without spending too much more time on the computer. I have an idea of how it will work, but we'll see! :)