Friday, December 28, 2007

The EVIL Distraction!

Here's another challenge for you all. Name the thing that recently has started sucking up all your time.

For me, it's easy. It's an insane game called Sudoku, which seems deceptively easy. All you have to do is fit the numbers 1 through 9 into little boxes.

The catch is that each digit appears only once in each row, column or 9-box group. There are 9 nine-box groups in the puzzle.

Oh, sure, they lure you in with the easy ones, where all you have to do, basically, is count the numbers in the boxes and fill in the obvious blanks! That makes you feel like a genius.

And then...

Before you know it ...

You're hooked!

You may find yourself stealing off to the break room with the newspaper and a pen -- it has the same sort of academic thrill that working the New York Times crossword puzzle in ink has.

Starting on Monday, many newspapers suck readers in with the "easy" level puzzles. And many don't realize that it progresses to "intermediate," "advanced" and "F@*@#% HARD!"

Sometimes you'll do a Google search and find the online "Web Sudoku" site. You can select the level of difficulty you'd like. I still maintain, however, that the site has a cookie which remembers which puzzles you've worked and surreptitiously jacks up the difficulty. Kind of like boiling a frog in a pot of water -- just turn up the heat a notch at a time and he'll never notice until it's too late.

Yeah. Just call me Kermit. Well done.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


It's time for a little post-Christmas game of tag! We haven't done a good meme or tag for a while and things are dull, dull, dull in much of blogdom right now. I know it is here!

So here, in an effort to liven things up a bit:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are my Five Facts:

1. It seems I can only keep one room in my house clean at one time. Currently it is my bedroom. It is spotless. However, no one could sit in my living room (again) if they dropped by. I feel like a failure.

2. I anticipate another major upheaval in my life in the coming year, probably in an effort to relocate to a larger city. I am giving this a lot of thought (e.g., obsessing). I want to consider all my options carefully.

3. There are several things I have not done since I've been in this town: Knit, cook dinner for friends, watch TV. The absence of these things has been disturbing in subtle ways.

4. I bought a front-loading washing machine and matching dryer when I moved into my house five months ago. It's not all that. I miss the simple Kenmore washer & dryer my mom bought me when I moved to my old house 11 years ago and secretly wish I had moved them.

5. I would love to set up a sewing studio if I could make room for one, somehow. I have three sewing machines that I haven't had a chance to use in a long time -- one is new and I've never used it.

The Five Suspects:

1. Tech at 51313 Harbor Street
2. Junior the Bear at Junior the Bear: At Large in the World
3. Frenzied at Life Happens When You're Planning Something Else
4. Jeannie Diane at Where the Heck is 10Buck2?
5. E.R. at Erudite Redneck

While y'all are at it, throw in a bonus answer and tell me why you named your blogs what you named them!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas, one and all!

I've got snow (for a little while, until the sun does its work); I have presents to open and lots of food in the fridge, including a ham, several pears from Harry & David, and a dozen or so oranges I bought to support the local high school band.

Last night I attended the 8 p.m. Christmas Eve communion service at my church. There was lots of beautiful music, the story from Luke and a packed house. It is nice to see every pew filled up to the point of people moving up to the balcony. A couple of weeks ago there were more people in the choir than in the congregation because of the weather. Not so last night!

This evening I may (MAY) go over to some new friends' house where a few people will congregate for supper. Until then I am going to enjoy a blessed day at home, reading, napping, opening gifts and perhaps writing out some belated Christmas cards... I'm just no good at that kind of thing, it seems, but I'm sure I have other nice qualities of some sort.

Wherever you are, and however you are spending this holy day, may God keep you firmly in the palm of His hand, today and throughout the coming new year.

Thanks for dropping by! Ho ho ho!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The snow is back

And it's here with a vengeance! We're in the midst of a blizzard with white-out conditions. Silly me -- yesterday when it was in the 40s I left the office and forgot my coat. I had to run back to get it today during the snowstorm.

While I was out I was foolish enough to decide I was really hungry. So I treated myself to lunch at the Chinese buffet. I was thinking "who would do this in a blizzard?" Apparently I was not alone in my cravings because the place was full. I nearly started giggling inappropriately as I sat there eating next to a Mexican family speaking Spanish. Just seemed so odd that in a snow storm there would be Mexican people eating Chinese food. No, I know that may not be as funny to anyone else as it was to me, so never you mind. Just walk on by.

I'd take photos if I could, but my windows are covered with the windblown snow, so no can do from the warmth of my home. Might make a good macro shot... maybe later. I'm not in the mood.

The only item I'm missing right now is some Diet Coke. Otherwise I'm stocked well enough to stay holed up again this weekend. At this rate I won't be going to church tomorrow, either. Two weeks in a row is too long, but I'm not going back out in this.

Again I am glad to have a floor furnace so I can warm myself with direct heat when I need to thaw.

I have plenty of books to keep me company for as long as this isolation lasts, plus DVDs if I get around to hooking up the DVD player to the TV. Otherwise there will be no TV either since I STILL have not gotten cable.

I have to tell you though, that one of my favorite bloggers, Pioneer Woman, was featured today on CNN Headline News' program "News to Me." I couldn't watch it on TV, obviously, but there is a YouTube clip. Just type in "Pioneer Woman" in the keyword search and it will take you HERE, to the CNN HN clip It will make you laugh. GO WATCH IT!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Things I am liking tonight

1. The choral society concert is over. It started at 7 tonight and I was in my car at 7:55. Half the concert was two Bach pieces in German and several pieces from Handel's "Messiah." The other half was Christmas carols we sang from the audience, with the audience. We've worked on this performance since August, every single week. And it's over.

2. By 8:15 I had been served in my favorite neighborhood restaurant. Others from the group wandered in after I was seated, and I declined invitations to sit with them because I just wanted to eat quickly and get home.

3. I was home by 9 p.m. and already opened the mail.

4. Nothing is stopping me from going to bed early tonight. I should be on my way to Slumberland in about 10 minutes.

5. Snow's in the forecast again this weekend. And I don't have to work on Saturday. Yay!

6. I have been invited to play the piano for Sunday morning's gathering music at church, but there's no pressure if I decide not to do it. So if it snows, and I decide I can't drive the 7 blocks to church, no pressure. I'd like to play, actually, but I'd also like to be rehearsed, and I can't do that to my satisfaction without a piano. I'll let you know how it goes.

7. Tomorrow's Friday! Yay! This week is almost in the can. It has not been in the Top 10 list of great weeks.

8. I like that the library has a drive-up drop-off. I also like that my library system doesn't charge fines for overdue books. I just dropped one off after I had dinner tonight that was due back 11/26/07. I'm a little s-l-o-w.

9. I like that a calendar I ordered on the 17th arrived in today's mail. That's good!

10. I like that I have my bedroom cleaned up and I've kept it tidy for three days now. I even splurged and bought myself new pillows the other day. Yay!

11. I like that I've lost two more pounds this week, almost without effort. And I've dropped another size in pants. I do like that, yes, I do. Even if it's still my little secret.

12. I got flowers at work this week. I really liked that!

13. 2007 is almost over. I'm pretty thrilled about that. I need another chance to sweep the slate clean. I think most of us like that and need to get a clean sweep now and then. Plus I have this new calendar that I can't wait to use.

14. I like that I have friends that I miss so very, very much in my old city. Even though I sometimes come to the point of crying because I miss them, it just shows me how great it is to have people I care about that much. I hope I get to see them all again soon. I wish I could round up everyone I've ever loved and cared about and have a big old party. There would be quite a crowd. I might even dance. You've been warned.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Proof of life in a small town

You know you live in a small town when you go stand on the main street, in the dark, in freezing rain, unable to feel your fingers, unable to get the sleet off your lens, and still manage to get a photo of the city garbage truck in the Christmas parade, decked out with Christmas lights.
And you go out on the street, right along with the kids, to pick up the candy thrown by people on the floats.
That, my friends, is what makes America great!


The weather is fierce here. I had forgotten how much difference 100 miles and a smaller city can make when it comes to weather.
For the past *mumblemumble30yearsmumblemumble* I've lived in the large metropolis in the center of my state. This is my first taste of cold weather since I've moved back "home" up north. The hometown is just a drop in the proverbial bucket in size.
I'm fully convinced that the metropolis absorbs and holds much more heat. It also acts as a wind break, what with all those buildings and cars. Up here we're surrounded on all sides by open prairie with nary a building over four stories tall, I'd guess. And that's pushing it.
Somehow 49 degrees here is much colder than 30 degrees in the big city. I don't understand all the physics involved in the theory of "small town weather anomalies" but I'm sure there is some such scientific study out there.
This blasted cold weather has ruined my plans for the weekend. I was going to head to the big city tonight after work and stay with my best friends and then go to a "new life party" in the Bricktown area tomorrow evening for a newly divorced male friend. Our circle of friends has supported him through a two-year struggle to resolve the issues with his ex and work out details of the child custody arrangement and the like. He NEEDS this party and we needed to cheer him into the next chapter of his life's story.
It's annoying when icy weather puts the brakes on that kind of landmark.
So... it looks like I'll mosey down a couple of blocks after work to the hometown lighted holiday parade, stand in the cold until I cry and watch the nighttime WITH lights version of the other four parades I've seen since I've been back.
Oh! Oh!! The big news is that SANTA will be in this parade! I can't wait!! He'll be all the way at the end of the parade after the mayor, the city commissioners and the city manager go by.
One thing that never changes -- the city is still using the very same Santa house that they had when I was a kid. Right now it is parked at the end of the parade route in front of the public library across the street from City Hall.
I have to go down that way this afternoon. I wonder if he'll take early appointments.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Two Weeks Until Our Concert

Off the top of my head I cannot recall what, if anything, I have told you about the com-
munity choir I belong to. I joined it in August, and since that time (what is that, four months now?) we have been working on Handel'sMessiah and a couple of short Bach pieces. We will perform in two weeks at this theater. There will also be a community Christmas carol sing-along and we will have a six-piece professional orchestra playing with us. Will Rogers performed at this theater. Ethyl Barrymore performed here as well. It was built in 1928 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Alas, I have decided to forego my experience of singing at Carnegie Hall in January. Since I was diagnosed with diabetes I have had a series of unexpected expenses which have cut my budget to the thin side, too squeaky close for my comfort. In case I didn't explain that opportunity fully, I was invited to sing at Carnegie Hall as part of a mass choir made up of people from across the country. We were to sing a mass for peace on Martin Luther King's birthday.

I just got the music about a week ago. The full score is about 100 pages. That was a lot of music to learn in a very short time -- just over a month -- on top of what we've already spent months learning for this local concert.

I am sad at passing up this opportunity, but the practical side of me knows I have made the correct decision for now. Other opportunities will present themselves in the future. What makes me saddest is that one of my lifelong friends and her daughter, both from the Austin area in Texas, were going to meet me in New York to come to the performance and we were going to share a room and hang out in our free time. However, we can make plans to do something similar for a lot less money at a time when we won't be sloshing snow in our shoes.

It would have been great, though!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


What I want to be doing: I want to be knitting -- comforting prayer shawls, little sweaters for children, lacy patterns for the art of it.
What I'm really doing: Looking for: My knitting needles; a project I started in June; a place to store my yarn stash.
What I want to be doing: Cooking dinner for a family, urging my teens to eat their salad and veggies, planning healthy menus to keep their energy up.
What I'm really doing: Eating alone, checking my blood sugar every day, trying to keep a watch on the number of carbs I eat, making sure I take my diabetes medication and trying to get in a walk every day.
What I want to be doing: Running kids around to piano lessons, recitals and choir rehearsals for Christmas plays.
What I'm really doing: Spending the day with a group of 120 high school students, learning about the realities of their lives, the sexual abuse by family members, the torture visited upon classmates, the addictions and neglect in their families, the pressures they feel to use drugs and alcohol, the obsessions with cutting and burning themselves to escape the very real pain of not being noticed or believed.