Friday, April 29, 2011

Happiness Is....

....a bride and groom!

This week's photo theme over at written inc. is "Happiness Is....".  Since another wedding was in the headlines this week, I thought a photo from a wedding would be appropriate.  Disclaimer:  I honestly don't know if DH took this picture or if I did.  It was a long time ago.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Car Apprehension

It finally happened.  My trusty 18+ year old car decided to spill it’s blood onto my garage floor.  Unfortunately, it is no longer worth fixing (it’s a long, expensive story).  Normally, I try to talk people out of buying another car, reasoning that it is much cheaper to fix and insure your current car than it is to buy a newer one.  But, sometimes, it’s just “time” to get something else.  That’s the point I am at.  However, I’m kind of depressed.


Getting another car is supposed to be exciting, isn’t it?  I’m not excited – I’m kind of sad and a bit nervous.  Maybe it’s because my little car and I have spent over a decade together.  We’ve gone to another country and other states.  We’ve wound our way through twisty roads and over mountain passes.  We’ve spent many a summer’s day with the wind in my hair and not a care in the world.  We’ve logged thousands of miles to and from work.   To say I’m comfortable with her would be an understatement.  But now it’s time for a change.

Change is often fraught with anxiety, especially when it is by necessity and not by choice.  When we get comfortable, we don’t like to be dragged out of our familiar boxes.  Why stir the pot when the waters are smooth?  Sometimes, we just need to.

So here I am, searching for another car.  I won’t be getting a new one, that’s for sure.  The used ones are expensive enough.  Craig’s List, Auto Trader and are being trolled through daily.  I have come to the decision that I will attempt to limp along in my current car until I find what I want.  There’s no point in paying thousands of dollars if it isn’t something I truly want.  The dang things are expensive!  That’s where my nervousness comes in.  Handing over that much money is a big step for me.  I can’t describe how incredibly thankful I am that I finally found work, even if there isn’t much job security.  However, I am still nervous.  What if they don’t like me and cut me loose?  What if I get laid off next week?  Or next month?  What if….

Maybe I just think too much.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Please Be Seated

This week's photo theme is "Please Be Seated".  Although I couldn't find a good photo, I did run across one that is applicable.  I took this photo (with the permission of the artist) almost ten years ago at an arts & crafts fair.  I thought the little chairs were really cute and had visions of making some.  Off I went, collecting branches of all sorts.  Shortly afterward,  we moved, and the branches came with us.  Did I ever use them?  No!  Oh well, at least we have a yard waste recycle bin....

BTW, if you ever go to an art fair and would like to take photos, please ask the artist first.  As we discovered, many do not want their creations photographed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Who Are the Homeless?

There’s a story I’ve been meaning to tell, but I’m not sure how to tell it.  This will be a bit disjointed and full of my usual run-on sentences, but here goes:

Long ago and far away, I was in a relationship with “B”.  It lasted about four years.  The breakup wasn’t painful or dramatic, it was just kind of sad.  We’d had a good relationship, it had just run its course.  Since the breakup wasn’t acrimonious, we stayed in touch – a Christmas card here, a birthday card there.  I would also hear about B via our mutual friends.  Another nice thing about our civil breakup was that our friends didn’t feel the need to “take sides”.  Over the years, I would hear things (from B or his friends) about normal life events:  he might get married, he took a trip, he bought a car, etc.  Over time, B and I didn’t send cards anymore, so I would just hear about him via friends.  A year or so ago, I heard something that shocked me:

B was homeless.

How could this have happened?  Well, B had lost his job and couldn’t find another.  He fell behind on rent.  He’d borrowed money from friends until they wouldn’t give him any more.  He lost his home, and then his car.  Last I heard, he was living in a homeless shelter in the city.

Out of all the people I would have thought this could happen to, it would never have occurred to me that it would be him.  He was a proud man and a hard worker.  So then I thought, “Who are the homeless?”  The answer is as varied as the people themselves.  We tend to see the stereotypes:  the mentally ill, the drug addicts, and the welfare moochers.  However, much of the homeless population is made up of people just like you and me.  The homeless population is growing.  Think about the things we see in the news every day:  a high jobless rate, companies continuing to lay off workers, bland economic outlook and sky-high foreclosure rates.  Millions of people (in almost all income brackets) live paycheck to paycheck.  When that paycheck disappears, they are in a world of hurt.

What can we do to help the homeless?  I honestly don’t know.  Since I’ve been out of work for the past couple of years, I have been focusing on myself and my job search.  Maybe I feel a little guilty (survivor’s guilt?) because I’ve been so fortunate.  Although I’ve been laid off many times, I’ve made it through every time unscathed, even through my most recent layoff.  I’ve never borrowed money or lost my home, and can’t imagine being in the position of having to do so.  I have it all:  a roof over my head, food on the table, clothes on my back, health, family, friends, and a new job.

Although there isn’t really anything I can do to help B, I don’t know that I would if I could.  It hurts to say that, but it’s true.  You see, B would be mortified if he knew that I knew he was homeless.  He’s a proud man, and would presumably be embarrassed to accept any charity from me.  Every time I go to the city, I am scared that I am going to run into him.  What would I say?  What would I do?  It would certainly be uncomfortable for both of us.  Well, I will just have to deal with it if it happens.  In the meantime, I just hope to hear that he finds somewhere to live instead of the shelter.  One of these days, I will probably hear that he is dead.  Hopefully that day is a long time from now.

Update:  Just today, I received an email from one of our mutual friends.  B has moved to the state his elderly parents live in.  Although he is not living with them, he has found a menial job in exchange for room and board.  May he find the peace that has eluded him.

Who are the homeless?  They’re me.  They’re you.  They’re us.

Friday, April 15, 2011

April Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

It's time for "Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day" again! Although I am not a garden blogger, I'm going to share plant photos every month anyway. I may get creative during the winter, though. Anyway, first up is a plant I think everyone should have in their yard: the Nishiki Willow aka Dappled Willow.  The catkins are here and the leaves are just starting to come out.

Here is some smelly variegated Lamium.  This picture is much better than last month's.

Myrtle aka Vinca

These blooms are on a tree in my yard.  I have no idea what kind it is.  It was one of the few plants in the yard when we bought the house.  It doesn't produce fruit or turn pretty colors in the fall, but I like it anyway.

This is a pygmy Barberry.  The flowers will be tiny and yellow.  They don't last long, so I figured I should at least get a picture of the buds.  Make sure you wear long sleeves when dealing with barberries - they have thorns!  This makes them perfect for keeping bratty kids out of your flowerbed.

Here's a blue Forget-Me-Not aka myosotis....
....and a pink one and....
....a blue and pink one!

These are what will be a sea of Sea Pinks aka Sea Thrift.  I am obviously too lazy to divide them.

White Primula aka slug food

More slug food, this time in yellow

Finally, forsythia!


This week's photo theme is trees. Yay! I love trees. :-)

This tree is an Arizona Sycamore (Platanus wrightii). Even though this tree is known for it's colorful bark, I decided to do this one in black & white.

Krissy, my dear, this photo is for you! It was taken earlier this week on my vacation. The photo didn't turn out as "deep" as I had hoped, but I do like the crazy branches. The person I was with said these were oak trees, but they don't look like oak trees to me. Hmmm....

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm Baaaaack

I'm back!  Although I missed all of you, my bloggy friends, it sure was great to visit my family.  Our flight there was nice, and we even got to lay over in Seattle.  The central hub of the airport had huge windows and a nice view of the mountains (wish I would have taken pictures).  The weather on our trip was a bit chilly, but it sure beat snow!  My family is doing well, and it was fun to see how much the wee ones have grown.  Anyway, it will take me a bit to get caught up on things in bloggy land and here at home.  There are still thank you notes and gifts to send, plus some friends from out-of-state will be coming this weekend for a visit.  I'm looking forward to catching up with you all!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Hols!

Hello, all my bloggy friends!

DH and I will be going on hols in a few hours!  That means that I will be offline for about ten days.  I will miss stalking reading your blogs and making silly posts, but will eventually catch up with you again.  Keep the sunny side up!

 - OMS aka "Soapy" (thanks, Bruce ;-) )

P.S.  I will NOT miss the snow!


This week's photo theme at written inc. is "windows".  Immediately, I thought of this photo that DH took.  The cat was looking into the window, and looks possessed!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ode to My Closet

Oh, my dear closet
you are so deep
You hold many treasures
which I cannot keep

Today I went through you
And saw many things
Will I ever wear
that dress with the bling?

And then there’s that skirt
I see now and then
I’ve had it for years
Has it been ten?

Some clothes don’t fit
They must have shrunk
It couldn’t possibly be
The extra junk in my trunk

I hemmed and I hawed
But came to realize
That never again
Would I be that size

That sparkly gold top
What did I expect?
I tried it on
and looked like an 80’s reject

I have never worn
The clothes with the tags
Now I will put them
Into large bags

Out of my house!
Out and away!
May my clothes find new homes
to live another day.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

By Land, Sea or Air

This week's photo theme (courtesy of written inc.) is "By Land, Sea or Air". Although DH seems to have taken a lot of photos of me "in action" (driving, etc.), I finally found one that I took. Up on a bridge were me and my little pocket camera. It was cold but sunny, late in the afternoon of a late November day. The bridge itself is scenic, but this time I was more interested in what was under the bridge: some crazy kayakers, whom I assume were warm-blooded! The were practicing rollovers in an area known for dangerous currents. It's not something I'd like to try (brrrrr!), but it was fun to take photos of them. I like this photo because of the kayak colors, the seaweed, and the "texture" the patterns in the water make.