Some random thoughts

I haven’t taken the time to put together a decent blog post lately, so I’ll honor that trend with the following:

PowerBars: There are way too many flavors and varieties. I can’t remember which ones I like and my latest purchase resulted in a not so palatable choice. By the time I get through the double box from Sam’s Club and go shopping for more I won’t remember what flavor to avoid.

Tostito’s Baked Scoops: Yum. Totally worth it.

My car: The TT is getting an alignment this week after completing a clutch job that stretched out over the last month. I’ve promised I’ll drive it more this summer. First two events are scheduled – April 25 our local club has a southern Indiana fun run and the end of April sees a 4 day event near Gatlinburg, Tennessee called quattro de Mayo.

Kiva.org: A great place to lend and re-lend money to entrepreneurs looking to improve themselves and their community. Trouble is – Kiva is so popular there are times when there are too many lenders and not enough loans available to fund. “Look, I got money to spend in here.”

HDMI/HDCP: Apparently, my 4 year old DLP TV is outdated. I can’t get my components to display content via HDMI cable because of HDCP issues. It needs to establish a handshake, according to the knowledge base found via Google search. Time for a new TV – awww shucks.

Accomplishment: Screens scrubbed and windows washed on a recent spring-like day. I love clean windows. (Rather, I love the instant gratification that cleaning windows provides.) I also cleaned the glass doors on the fireplace with a nice result.

Letting go: It doesn’t hurt so bad to let some things go and learn how to give. It’s like ripping off a band-aid. After resisting because of an imaginary excrucitating pain, living without that protective cover can actually speed the healing and promise renewal. (OK, so that was a stretch to say the least!)

Honesty: I guess it still exists. Tried to purchase tires for Laura’s Saturn Vue at Tire Barn and the sales guy said I don’t need tires. Well – OK.

Work: I’m trying my best to avoid that point where too much work + putting out fires + contstant distractions = mistakes and decreased quality. When do I ask for help?

And – Did you know a wooden clothes pin can be used as a chip clip?

A Snow Day To Celebrate

What’s the name of that phenomena that happens after you get up in the morning, start to get ready for work, then look outside and realize there is almost 10 inches of snow on the ground? Why do you suddenly get a burst of energy nothing like what occurs on a regular work day? Even though I worked most of the day today from home, I had a sense of excitement and energy due to the snow canceling a day-long routine.

Another oddity. Once I realized I would not be leaving the house for a good 8 hours (once the neighborhood was cleared) I had all kinds of cravings and worries for things I might need and did not have in the house. Coffee. Did I have enough coffee?

Late in the afternoon I did venture out and to my surprise the roads that had been cleared were actually dry in some places (the sun started shining about noon, which helped). I took the opportunity to take some photos with my phone (pardon the low quality).

Marty vs. Showers: Bitter Rivals Meet

fistsThis morning, bitter rivals met in a long-standing battle of will. Because of their proximity, these rivals know each other well and Showers, the perennial favorite, has done well at holding ground.

What makes Showers so indomitable? It’s the sheer drudgery, knowing that to take down this opponent requires rarely used resources. And, even though victory is so sweet, often results in utter exhaustion.

Based on past meetings, Showers was the heavy favorite, as they often force opponents to walk away in disgust. The mounting losses used to just roll off my back, but lately it’s really been scorching me. I have had enough, the daily taunting, the constant reminders – so I devised a plan of attack.

A new offensive weapon was brought in to the game and after applying constant pressure to the dirty, stained, hard- nosed defense, the force became too much to handle and finally dissolved the opponent. How did I do it? With a new, heavily recruited weapon often called “industrial strength, effective and even friendly to the environment.”sgreen The ability to tackle the tough jobs has become second nature and I couldn’t be happier. The name of this weapon? Simple Green. Some would say it comes with the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

As I bask in the glow of this win, I’m reminded that soon enough, Showers will be back at the old tricks, delivering those ugly reminders that I’ll have to endure again and again. For now, all I can do is ignore it and move on, knowing I have what it takes to clean up next time.

A Low Level of Agitation

sweaterSo I’m washing a few sweaters today in my clothes washer. It says on the tags to use cold water and the gentle cycle on the machine, which I am.

Just for giggles I thought I’d watch the action going on under the lid for awhile. I’m not real sure what is supposed to happen so I’m doing some research and found:

Agitation – the act of agitating something; causing it to move around (usually vigorously)

Agitated – troubled emotionally and usually deeply

Going by the first definition, I have to say that is not what is happening.

  • There is some movement but it’s far from vigorous and since the washer is set to gentle I’m not exactly expecting anything too violent.
  • The sweater on the top must be unable to swim since it’s determined not to be pulled under by the current.
  • After a good 5 minutes, the sweater on top still is floating with parts of it remaining dry.

Maybe gentle is too gentle? Before the second definition sets in, I gave the regular agitation setting a try and that setting is working, vigorously churning the sweaters from top to bottom through the water. Alas, the tags indicate a gentle setting is recommended. Nowhere does it say what the consequences are if those instructions are ignored, so I may become quite agitated (deeply troubled) when the machine is finished.

The day after this day: Carpet Cleaning

Sad to say in my over 16 years of home ownership, I have only had the carpets cleaned once. In the first house I owned, the carpets were cleaned after I sold the house and moved out, in preparation for the new owners taking possession. The place I own now has not had the carpets cleaned since I moved in when construction was complete about 7 years ago. Starting tomorrow, that is changing.

I might claim the “how was I supposed to know?” excuse but truth be told I know carpet cleaning service is supposed to be performed about every 2 years. Why do I procrastinate so?Sears Carpet Cleaning

Sears Carpet Cleaning is arriving at my home at 8:00 am tomorrow and I’m well prepared. Most of my furniture is moved aside to non-carpeted areas so the job should be pretty easy. Best thing about this is that I’m using this event as motivation to take better care of my home. Generally I’m pretty good at keeping the house clean, but in the past few months I’ve let that chore rest. So here’s to motivation in 2009. Vacuuming every week, dusting, and keeping the furniture clean will do wonders. Right?

Making My Christmas Vacation Plans

As I prepare to take a rest from my normal day-to-day, I can’t help but anticipate the next few days. Tomorrow I’ll be stopping at my brother’s house in Odon for a visit with his family before heading to my parent’s place further south near Loogootee. Plans include doing nothing and enjoying it immensely.

When I tire of that, I’ll pick up a book, a magazine, converse with my mom and dad, watch TV, browse the internet, maybe answer some email. After that, I’ll take a walk with my mom, troubleshoot the household computer ills, drink some afternoon coffee and maybe go to town for some supplies. By far what I’m looking forward to the most is sharing stories behind the photo project my mom and I have embarked upon. We’re up to over 1,400 photos scanned from the family photo albums. Many memories and indeed many emotions have resulted from the resurfacing of these pictures. In that vein, here is a Christmas memory that is strong in my mind tonight.

I always wondered what happened after I went to bed on Christmas Eve.
Bird Children Christmas 1970

Christmas Dinner with Miki and Kevin

I enjoyed a holiday dinner with my sister Miki and her beau Kevin last night in Bloomington. It’s sad to say I have not spent much time with Miki over the past few years, although when we do get together it’s always very comfortable. She knows me as an older sister would. I tend to forget that and she’ll surprise me with an insight that could only be delivered by her – like “How did you know that about me? Oh, you’re my sister!” Miki and Kevin had a Christmas tree and decorations sprinkled tastefully about so they’re showing some good holiday spirit. Excellent to see Miki and have some good brother-sister time. Here’s a pic from the wayback machine:

Marty and Miki Fall 1979
Marty and Miki Fall 1979

Snow in Seattle Now and Then

My younger sister published a post showing her girls playing in the snow in their backyard in Seattle. Snow is not a common occurrence so it is celebrated by children and adults alike with snowballs, snowmen and general wonderment at the white stuff. Just like the day shown in the photo here, except this one is from 1968, in the front yard of our Bellevue house, soon after my little sister was born! Shown is Marty, Eric, Miki and of course, my Mom.

Winter of 68-69 in Bellevue Washington
Winter of 68-69 in Bellevue Washington

My Water Filter Quest Quenched

I have one of those Brita water pitchers in my fridge that requires a filter change at a recommended 2 month interval. I really like the fresh-tasting water and having it readily available encourages me to drink more. But, I tend to procrastinate when I have extinguished my supply of water filters, so the last filter has been stretched to last about 6 months (with no ill effects – that I know of).

Why do I procrastinate? Those water filters are expensive! Think of replacement ink jet cartridge expensive – you’ve purchased an inexpensive appliance but in order to continue to use it you are required to purchase costly consumables. So, you’re stuck.

Alas, in the same vein as my earlier post about finding a great deal on a magazine subscription, I found a great price on replacement filters by doing some research on the web. I found an eBay store and clicked on “buy it now” to save more than 50% off the retail price I was finding at popular discount big-box stores. The purchase arrived quickly and safely, and the filters are great. Cheers!

Coughing, Sneezing, Runny Nose – you know the drill

Uggg! I have been just miserable with this cold the past few days. I think it’s just a run of the mill common cold, I don’t have a fever and aches associated with the flu. Wow, my nose runs and runs and I sneeze and there it goes again. I was able to venture out late today and purchase some Alka-Seltzer Plus, but that does not seem to do anything, just like the Sudafed and Zicam I’ve been taking.

Am I unique? No over the counter drug shortens or relieves my symptoms when I get a cold. Normally it starts in my throat and stays in my head and upper lungs for 3 days, accompanied by the misery of constantly stuffed head and running nose. My voice sounds terrible and I can’t sleep. I did have the sense to stay home from work today and keep my misery to myself.