retro!

I didn’t really think that this theme would work anymore; but hey – it does!  if I’m coming back it is safe to say that I’ll find some way to dress this up because that is my nature.  but I may just stick with a standard theme until I have my own custom theme perfected :)

 

it does make me smile though

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I’ve actually been writing

just not here.  at the moment and until this august I am a graduate student at Northwestern University, this keeps me extremely busy.  I am also a student blogger for the MSC program, so I write there . . . . and in my journal app

but what I have decided is to post in both locations, here and there, the same posts, maybe a little bit different and then again maybe no.  in any case, there will soon be more frequent updates.

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and just like that

summer is over.  there are a few more technical weeks and I’m sure that my girls will begin to want to take advantage of all that they can; but this morning I walked them to school for the first day.  they are both in middle school now and wow.  I kinda miss that whole first day of school at the elementary level, the all look like babies to me; but now . . .

so yeah, the weather has cooled off, they started school today, I will be going back to school later next month to get my masters, I’ve even started knitting a cold weather hat.  it is official, summer has ended.

is it my imagination or are summers getting shorter and shorter?

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stop this train

the guitar that was playing sounded like the song by John Mayer, I really like that song a lot even though it tends to make me teary eyed. . . it’s the end of year school picnic, it’s the end of elementary school . . . I look around and there are so many cute little faces but I don’t recognize them, it’s not like it used to be when I was a regular fixture on the playground, familiar to the kids and recognized by the parents.  now I’m just looking for my daughter to give her some money to buy a hotdog, chips & pop for about $3

when she was in kindergarten I was between jobs so I was able to volunteer a lot and walk them to and from school every day, at that point in time both of my daughters were in elementary school, they were both cute and little, I still call them that but they are taller now.  anyway, I can still hear the guitar playing and in truth I’m having one of those emotional mom moments because my babies are no longer babies.  she found me, I gave her the money and confirmed what time she needs to start heading home and then I went across the street to find the other one.  I didn’t know what she had on so I didn’t see her all the way across the park, so she ran across the park to collect her cash, same drill as before.

I’m walking home and I can’t stop singing the song, and I can’t stop this train.  my baby is “graduating” from elementary school on June 1st and I’ll have two girls in middle school.  I’m no longer one of those mom’s who volunteers at the school all the time, I no longer recognize all the kids on the playground and they don’t recognize me.  they are all so cute, and so little, and this part of my life is very quickly coming to an end.  my girls are out there with their friends and to be perfectly honest I’m crying because my babies aren’t babies anymore, and for the life of me I can’t remember when this happened.

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no puddles but still I landed in some mud

a little while back I took “the big leap” and greatly downsized my cable, for a very brief moment I was going to switch internet carriers (literally less than 24 hours) but in truth my internet with Comcast is super fast and AT&T couldn’t even come close.  so less than 24 hours after ordering U-verse I canceled it.  ok, everything thing is fine no worries.  mind you I was on the phone for the better part of an hours trying to cancel because first thing in the morning there was no record of my order, later in the day they were able to find it.  hey I was the one who moved too quickly to begin with so I didn’t mind.  about a month after that I got an email confirmation about my U-verse service . . . .wtf

so I call AT&T to find out what this is all about since I have canceled my service weeks prior to that date.  they look for it, they look for it and then finally they found it.  okay, they can see where my order was canceled before so they aren’t really sure why I’m getting a confirmation email but no worries, the order is canceled.  “and I don’t see a tracking number in the system so nothing has been shipped to you”.  tracking number?  I ask what she is referring to and she said the modem that is sent out for people who self-install their internet.  so I say well, the service was supposed to be canceled and it wasn’t, even though the system acknowledges that it was, so what should I do if the package shows up at my door . . . .

later the next week I have a delivery notice, with no mention of a sender.  I ignore it.  the next day the same thing.  and on the third day my daughter comes home from sick from school and calls to tell me that I have a package – damn.  so I open the box looking for the return label that was supposed to be in the box.  it’s nowhere to be found, nor is there a number to call.  so I call the numbers that I have and spend this time more than an hour trying to get AT&T to send me a return label so that I can return equipment THAT I CLEARLY SAID THAT I DO NOT WANT, THAT I DO NOT NEED AND THAT EVEN THEY ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE SENT TO ME.  and after being transferred and spending all this time on hold what am I told, to call another number.

look.  I’ve worked customer service jobs before so I know that the person on the other line did not create my problem and I have enough faith to believe that they have done their best to help resolve my issue.  I am a patient person and I treat people with respect, I did not call ATT U-verse cursing or yelling, I did not insult the person who asked me to be on hold yet again.  but when I was asked to call ANOTHER NUMBER I lost any and all patience that was left in my body for this situation.  so for the past I don’t know, month maybe, the dial-up modem from U-verse has been sitting in my living room, adding clutter to my life.  it has been used as a platform for my daughters manicure and now has some nail polish splotches  and no doubt some lint/dust bunny embryos but for fear of this very day I have resisted the temptation to discard the damn thing that I said I didn’t want oh so long ago.  today, TODAY, I get a bill in the mail from AT&T U-verse . . . after eating my dinner I call the number and I’m sure you know how this goes, that office is closed now and I will have to call back during business hours.  there is a note in the “news you can use” section, it says that I should be advised that I must return the AT&T U-verse equipment.

no shit

 

 

 

 

(even if you don’t want it)

 

 

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challenging

so last month I “participated” in the brown bag challenge, brought about by food network. . . I think that I took my lunch 7 times in the month of September.  on the one hand that is horrible since there are an average of 20 working days in a month, take away the holiday, a few sick days and a couple of lunch meetings and I could have stood to brought my lunch at least twice as often.  but I’m not beating myself up about it.  7 times last month I brought my lunch, I saved money and most likely ate a more balanced healthy meal and in all honesty that is 7 times more than I have done in probably as many months.

there are a few things that I can do to improve this process moving forward.  1) I need to embrace or at least come to terms with menu planning, preferably by way of making larger dinners so that I can take left-overs.  a sandwich every day gets old really fast, even when it is a tasty sandwich with fancy condiments.  2) also related to the whole menu planning, I need to be more organized with my shopping so that I have what I need when I need it.  3) and I really do think that this will help tremendously, I need to prepare what I can the night before.  I don’t care for sandwiches that have been sitting in the fridge over night, they get a softness to them that is very unappealing to my palate; but I’m thinking that if my fruit and snacks are ready to go then I’ll feel some obligation to finish the lunch and take it with me.  this may be a stretch but then again it may not be.  I don’t like leaving things undone and that would be a prime example of doing just that.  of course I could always go back to the old standby of taking a frozen dinner to work with me but I grow tired of them extremely quickly and they are LOADED with salt.  cheap yes; healthy and satisfying, no.

so that’s where it is.  the brown bag challenge was challenging for me but I have not thrown in the towel.  I have successfully embraced the fact that the way I go about eating needs to change and while I have not yet worked out all of the details I will.  eventually this will all be second nature to me and when someone comments that I’m so “good” about bringing my lunch every day I’ll have more than a story to tell about the journey, even if it is (most likely will be) a story that I choose to keep to myself and simply smile and say yeah, “I found I just like it better this way”.

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a big leap

well maybe for a lot of people it’s just a matter of embracing technology or cutting costs; but for me it feels like a leap of faith.  this weekend I bought a roku box with the intention of phasing out cable tv.  my favorite HBO shows have ended and in truth I really don’t watch very much television, so this didn’t feel like so much of a big deal until I realized that it was time to make the call to comcast and say adieu to cable, for the record the call center was closed today but now that I’ve done it once I won’t have a problem doing it again tomorrow.  the process was sped up by the fact that I also rearranged the furniture and would need to purchase a 12′ piece of cable to reach the tv . . . kinda doesn’t make sense if you’re looking to let it go anyway so um yeah.  time to say goodbye.

and that brings me to the exciting part, new electronic toys (I’m a Daddy’s girl, don’t know what else to say).  as it turns out I have extremely fast internet, fast enough that streaming really is an option, so I’m up for it!  roku makes a number of channels available and streaming tv is like having nothing but on demand.  netflix’s is a given and it’s $8/month price tag is far more budget friendly than cable; we are also looking into hulu+ but I just don’t know if it is right for us, the trail period is a week which may or may not be enough time to decide but it too have an $8/month fee if we decide to keep it.  since I’m not a big tv person this will affect the girls more than it will me and if you know me well at all you know that I’d love to cut back on their tv time as it is since I just feel like it’s a huge distraction.

I have to tell you that I’m pretty psyched that my old school tv works with this much newer box.  eventually I will upgrade to a digital television but for now I have a 12?? year old crt and it is getting along just well with roku.  so as far as I’m concerned roku rocks!  I did give some thought to apple tv since it is likely that I’m slowly becoming an apple enthusiast (budget restraints keep it at a logical pace).  what I was looking for in a streaming device is something that would work with my old tv (an above mentioned necessity) and that would allow the most channel flexibility.  my biggest surprise is that roku cannot stream youtube which I guess just happened this year.  I’m a little disappointed about that but there is a good chance that my future tv will be able to and there is always the computer.  that was something else that I gave thought to, my future tv and blue-ray devices will most likely be able to do some streaming of their own so did I really need to get roku?  well, from what I can tell many devices can stream but the user interface for these various devices is not always that easy.  I have only seen the screen shots of the others; but roku’s UI is pretty user-friendly, I’ve pretty much let the 10 & 12 year old’s handle it with little supervision and we are all good.  for a brief moment I also gave some thought to boxee but for the extra cost I really didn’t see extra service that I would be getting so roku was the winner.

yes, it’s working with all the old tech that I currently have but I will most likely be purchasing a wireless router to keep things running smoothly and eventually I will also be buying my own modem instead of renting.  that last act will save me $84/year, currently I could buy my modem for $60.  I’m not going to get upset about how much I have spent renting this same modem for the last 6 years . . . I’m just going to buy my own and reduce my comcast bill even further.  so what started all this?

well, I’ve been complaining about my comcast bill for a while but doing nothing, and then in one month I got hit with an ordered pay-per-view and for the first time in two years I am being charged for HBO, so my cable bill is about the same as the cell phone bill that I am going after next.  I just can’t stay calm at the thought of having two bills that are almost $200/month, it feels like a huge waste of money and to put it mildly it makes me rather irritated, almost angry.  clearly not that angry because I have been complaining about it for a long time and doing nothing.  I know that I am going to miss the convenience of cable, and when “game of thrones” comes back on I am going to really miss it.  BUT  I’ll be $aving more than a hundred dollars a month, not about but more than.  that’s enough to make me okay with getting used to not having cable and it’s not like I don’t have tv, I/we will just be finding new things to watch.

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challenging

despite how it may look I really am participating in the “Healthy Eats Brown Bag Challenge” but I will admit that at the moment I don’t seem to be doing my best.  twice this week I took my lunch and just as many times I had to pick something up, so tomorrow will be the tie breaker that will hopefully put me over the top, tomorrow I will take my lunch to work.  all things considered, three times in one week is far more than I have done in a long time so I’m not beating myself up over here . . I’m just aware of the fact that I can do better and that I want to.  so I’m still committed, now I just really need to find a way to make things interesting because a turkey sandwich, some baby carrots and a cheese stick are already getting old.  hopefully I will find a few good recipes through this challenge, I’m even considering making a really good lunch that I eat all 5 days and then doing something equally cool the following week.  this would definitely help with prep time since and shopping, I’m just wondering what I would want to eat that often (hint, it’s not a turkey sandwich, carrots and cheese ;)

I’ll keep you posted

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brown baggin it!

I am officially one of those people who prefers to have things in order before proceeding and will take the necessary time and steps to get it that way; this has become more apparent to me lately first with my meditation practice (topic for a later post) and now with taking a lunch to work.  I have been wanting to take my lunch to work for months now but for the longest time I couldn’t find the right lunch box, and I will still looking for containers that would accommodate my menu . . . and then what exactly would my menu be????

literally I have been thinking (over thinking) about this for months.  and then came back to school time and ,since I was already spending a ton of money, and when I saw this, I not only saw the neoprene lunchbox that I had decided would work best for me I also saw a design that was good enough.and when I got home and read that it was called the “lady bug” I thought it only fitting that I color them read, and then I began to see the potential.  two at a time (no need for it to take this long except for my denial of my own process) and six sharpie markers later I had this

  and then with a quick trip to Filed’s (Macy’s) I found what seemed to be the ideal container (compact, integral cooling agent and smaller containers) and today was the day that I actually took my lunch to work.   if course it desperately needed baby carrots but I can correct that the next go round.  and to make today even more economical, I made my own tea instead of getting something very yummy from argo  :(  I’m a little sad about that but I have a feeling that my budget will be much happier when that little habit is officially broken and the tea shop returns to it’s “occasional treat” status.  I almost forgot the whole accountability factor: food network is having a brown bag challenge for the month of September.  personally I’m feeling like this is one of those times that it all comes together.  I have the bag, the container, the culinary inspiration as well as the virtual support of other people trying to do just the same thing as me.

:)

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this years line up!

the seeds that I ordered arrived yesterday and last night the weather allowed me to get them into the ground :)  the only thing that I have left to plant are my tomato plants (have not yet acquired them) and basil seeds.  this year I am growing bordeaux spinach, blushed butter-head lettuce, blue lake bush beans, trionfo violetto pole beans, lemon cucumbers, chioggia beets, yaya carrots, chives, garlic, shallots, queen red lim zinnia, pineapple tomatillo, sage, pineapple sage, oregano, rosemary, sweet marjoram, winter savory.  if I can find some orange and lemon thyme plants I will add them to the mix.

 

in a few weeks the local nursery’s will have more heirloom tomato’s to pick from; I know that I will be planting purple cherokee but the other three are to be determined.  as for basil varieties I’ll have: lemon, italian genovese and thai siam queen.

it just occurred to me, on July 18th (originally written on May 7th), that I never posted this. . . my bad.  the garden is growing wonderfully well and is ver lush.  my goal to have a less dense garden did not come to be as everything just filled in the space that it has and yes, once again there is a small colony of mice living in my garden bed (sucks) only this year I don’t feel like taking on that fight so we are just going to have to co-exist.  already there have been carrots, beets, spinach, lettuce, shallots, garlic, beans, a cucumber and one cherry tomato harvested :)  wow, when I write it out the list is pretty big.  it’s not exactly the garden that I had planned but I love the garden that it is and the birds love my trellis which is apparent by the droppings that I find on my cucumber vines :\

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