Aug 31, 2015

Miosis Monday

miosis ~ abnormal contraction of the pupil of the eye

Welcome Monday, I can use the break! I only did two things on the weekend, but they were both exhausting things.

First, I cleaned a closet. Now maybe that might not sound like a big thing, but this was the closet in the upstairs landing with the sliding mirror doors. And the reason I wanted to go through the stuff in that closet was I've lost a bit of weight and I wanted to check for clothes that fit. Sometimes it pays to refuse to part with clothing - I have a multitude of sizes.

Anyway, inside the closet is one of those metal organizing units and a chest of drawers, both filled with clothes. So hubby took the sliding doors off the closet for me (the doors are too wide for it and overlap enough that you can't open the dresser). Then I started pulling stuff off the shelves of the organizing unit, including a huge duffle bag from the top shelf. Upon investigation, it held my you-don't-have-a-prayer-of-fitting-into-these-clothes-but-miracles-do-happen stash of clothing, which made me wonder what was in the big bin on the dresser in the closet in the guest room.

Next thing you know, I'm pulling stuff out of the that dresser and checking out the bin. I think the idea at this point was to organize by size groupings. The bin held my yeah-there's-a-chance-but-you've-still-got-some-work-to-do stash. And somewhere in there I had the bright idea of cleaning out my closet and dresser as well.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I have five pairs of pants that will fit if I take them in, four pairs that are way too big and are getting donated, three pairs of pants (and an assortment of tops) that are almost there, and a single pair of jeans that actually fit. I also had two big recycling bags full of clothes to donate to charity, as well as a bag full of garbage.

All in all, quite the day's work.

The second thing I did over the weekend was go to the CNE.

Quite a while back I had the bright idea that we should take the daughter and her family to the CNE as our birthday present to the son-in-law. So we left bright and early and just to add some excitement to the day, after we left the safety of the 401 highway to make our way through the City of Toronto, the car stalled. And it did it again the next time we had to stop for a traffic light. So then the hubby had to pretty much drive the rest of the way to the fairgrounds with one foot on the gas and one on the brakes.

But we made it, and in one piece too, that's the main thing. It was a great day with lots to see and do, but I was reminded why when the daughter and I used to do this together we always went on a week day -- weekends at the CNE are insanely busy. I mean, it was busy when we arrived, but by mid-afternoon the crowds were horrendous.

When the daughter and I used to go we would stick to shopping in the various buildings - we never went on the rides and the only game we'd play would be the Birthday Game where the best we could hope for was a stuffed snake. This time we played a few games and while the daughter ended up paying an extra $5 to buy a stuffed unicorn for the granddaughter, together we won a respectably sized dragon for her playing a darts game.

We were all pretty much done in by the time we left, and the car behaved itself all the way home until we got to the first stoplight in our town.

All in all it was a good day and a weekend well spent.

Aug 24, 2015

Morphotic Monday

morphotic ~ of, like or pertaining to formation or development

Once again I came to another Sunday night whereupon it was time to start today's blog post, and once again the idea well came up dry.

So I decided to sleep on it, hoping I'd be struck with inspiration once the sun came up. Only I wasn't. Perhaps part of the reason for this was I'm still waiting for the sun to actually come up. It was so dark when I awoke I had to put the lights on. I was actually a little relieved when we got a couple of spats of rain -- it's too soon for the days to be so short!

Still no ideas were forthcoming, so I continued my morning routine, namely, I fed the cats and went to the gym.

As most of you know, I've been going to Curves for almost a year now. My optimum time is first thing in the morning, before my body is awake enough to realize what I'm doing to it. So I went to Curves this morning hoping to stumble across some inspiration there.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Curves ... it's for women only and it's a circuit gym, which means it has about 15 machines arranged in a circle with a rest station in between. You only spend about 30 seconds on a machine before moving on the a rest station where you jog in place for 30 seconds before moving onto the next machine.

This is overseen by a coach/instructor who keeps a weather-eye on us to make sure we're using the machines properly, and instructs any newcomers on how to use the machines. If it's not busy, sometimes they'll even join in the "fun". Sometimes the fun includes gossiping about a wide range of topics, but that's not where the inspiration for this post came from today.

Each coach/instructor, there are about five different ones, has her own playlist when it comes to music. Let's face it, exercise always goes down easier with a few tunes, right? Sometimes you can tell who's working just by the music that's playing.

Well, today's instructor ... remember the disco era? When they'd take a perfectly good song and add a disco beat to it, thereby ruining the song forever? Today's instructor tapped into a playlist that was pretty much nothing but disco-fied songs.

It was like that horrifying record, Stars on 45 or even worse *shudder* Stars on Long Play. Some of the songs leant themselves very well to the disco beat, but then we segued into show tunes and I felt a chill that had nothing to do with the air conditioning in there.

They put ... I still can't believe it ... they gave The Phantom of the Opera a disco beat! Oh, the humanity!

My ears will never be the same.

Aug 17, 2015

Mizmaze Monday

mizmaze ~ labyrinth; bewilderment

Lately I've been whining complaining discussing some of the challenges of working from home, and something I haven't mentioned yet is that when you work from home you tend to work longer hours. There's no clock to punch, no one to tell you to take a break, no reason you can't use the weekends to catch up if you fall behind during the week.

I mentioned that I've begun babysitting recently. It's only about three hours a day during the week days, but it's right in the middle of my day so I need to make up the time, if possible without sacrificing things like my writing or reading time.

Well most of the reading I've been doing lately is while I ride the exercise bike, and since I'm not about to stop doing that my reading time is safe. My writing time however ... When I started the transcribing project it wasn't much of a problem because despite my best intentions I never got much writing done during the day. So I transcribed during the day and wrote in the evenings.

Now, however, I'm going back down to my office after supper at night to get another hour or two of transcribing in, and I'm also working on weekends. Which, unfortunately, means less time for writing. However, I am learning to make better use of what time I have for writing.

I have to admit that a lot of my writing in the evenings consists of checking Facebook and playing games, with the actual writing being done in a mad dash an hour or so before bed. Enter the best friend a writer can have, the Alphasmart Neo.

Back in January (I think) I treated myself to a refurbished Neo. It's basically an electronic keyboard - no games, no bells, no whistles, no internet connection. The tiny built-in screen shows up to four lines of type at one time, which encourages you to just keep going and not look back. It's lightweight and runs on three triple A batteries. I've been using mine a lot and I still have over eighty percent battery life left. It will store up to eight different documents and when you're done for the day you just plug it into your computer and watch it transfer your pearls of wisdom.

I can take it with me when I baby sit on the off chance I can get a few words in, even if it's just a letter or an email - it still saves me having to do it later. But the biggest boon is my night-time writing. I can sit in front of the TV and write during my favourite shows - no temptation to play games or surf. And as a bonus - it doesn't generate any heat, so I can have it on my lap in this weather and not melt.

But lest you think all I do is work, while I do work on Saturdays now where I didn't before, I give myself a time limit. And after a particularly stressful week I declared Sundays my day of rest. Of course it didn't work out that way last Sunday - I ended up spending the better part of my day in the kitchen doing prep work for supper, which I tend to make fancier than needs be.

But yesterday I seemed to have a better handle on things. The supper I planned had very little prep work to it leaving my day mostly free. I got a bunch of words in during the morning, surfed for pictures for the cover for Lucky Dog in the afternoon, finding the perfect picture I might add, and got some more words written in the evening. I even had supper made on time, for a change.

All in all, it was a pretty awesome day. Now I just have to get through the rest of the week. LOL

Aug 10, 2015

Magnanerie Monday

magnanerie ~ art of raising silkworms

You might have noticed I'm a little late with this post.

Normally I write these posts on Sunday night. But I had a busy day Sunday, and in the evening I started searching for stock photos for the cover for Lucky Dog. Have you ever tried searching for stock photos? And it wasn't just one photo, I was looking for three of them.

There are hundreds of places from which you can buy stock photos, and each of these places has thousands of photos. Like doing a Google search, doing a stock photo search requires careful wording, otherwise you don't know what you might end up with.

Anyway, I got so caught up in the search that time got away from me and before I knew it, it was time for bed. Now I could have stayed up to write the post, but sleep has been a real issue for me lately and I figured I could just do it in the morning.

What I hadn't counted on was the day from hell. One disaster after another but I'll spare you the gruesome details. You can thank me later. ;-) All I'll say is that today is just about over and tomorrow is a new day. And that it goes hand in hand with all the changes going on lately.

I don't like change.

There, I said it.

I once worked at a place where the motto was, "The only thing constant is change." I hated it. It didn't start out that way, the company was actually a great place to work. But then the owner got greedy and started making these deals and the company changed hands, and the HR woman came up with that cutesy little phrase, which didn't endear her to anyone - of course no one liked her anyway, but that's beside the point. And I think I'm getting a little off track here.

I believe I mentioned before that I like my little routines, and how much I dislike anything that upsets them, and lately life has been one big disruption after another.

Every time I just get settled into a new routine, something comes along to disrupt it and it throws me into a tail spin. And every time it happens it takes me longer to settle in again. And it's really starting to tick me off.

All I ask for is a handful of uneventful days so I can figure out my latest new routine.

C'mon, universe. Time to cut me some slack!

Aug 3, 2015

Microphytology Monday

microphytology ~ study of very small plant life

Happy Simcoe Day. Or Civic Holiday. Or, as some of the locals have been lobbying for it to be, Happy James Cockburn Day. It's not a statutory holiday, but people generally have the day off ... unless you're unfortunate enough to work in retail because while the Post Office and other government agencies are closed, stores are open.

To celebrate the long weekend, our town closes off the main street for a huge, three day sidewalk sale. It's pretty much like a two-block, over priced yard sale. The stores put out all the stuff they couldn't sell over the last few years, but don't lower their prices enough to encourage people to buy.

There's also music and a sand sculpture competition down on the beach. The competition is pretty cool and attracts people from all over. I'm sure there's other stuff going on as well, but I wouldn't know. I tend to keep to my cave during these public displays of madness. ;-)

The competition ended on Sunday afternoon, and Sunday night we had some torrential rain storms sweep through, so I don't imagine there's much of the sand sculptures left. If the rain didn't get them, I'm sure the extremely high winds did.

Last week was a bit of a scorcher. Okay, it was a lot of a scorcher. I have to chuckle at the weather network. They can never make up their mind as to whether or not it's going to rain, and they seriously underestimate the temperature. They did declare an excessive heat warning for our area, but their temperatures were in the high 20s C (high 70s, low 80s F). Someone local on Facebook put a thermometer outside in the sun on one of those days, and the temperature registered 45 C (115 F). I think the truth lies somewhere in between.

I don't handle excessive heat any better than I do too much overcast/grey weather, so last week was not particularly productive. Again. But I decided on the weekend that I'm just going to have to suck it up. August is just starting and I'm sure the heat is going to extend into September, and I can't afford to keep wasting time like I've been doing. Life is too short.

The week ahead is going to be ... challenging. After much searching, the daughter finally found a job. That's the good news. The bad news is, her hours and her husband's hours over lap so they need someone to baby sit during the day. Namely, me.

On the one hand, I get to spend time with the granddaughter every day. On the other hand, I've already fallen behind in the transcribing and a three hour chunk out of my day isn't going to help matters. So again, no more wasting time, and I'll have to re-arrange my schedule to fit all the other stuff I do around the baby sitting. Easy peasy.

Bye, bye, mindless games. ;-)