28 February, 2012

Random Thoughts – Retirement, Yogurt and Weather Woes…

Turns out the pain I’ve been experiencing is actually a tooth infection, which when cleared up will lead to either a root canal or extraction. Extraction would be the cheaper route, but not likely the one I will choose, as it’s the very back molar on my lower right side. Without that tooth, I seriously doubt my ability to chew anything other than pudding. Regardless of the route I choose, it can’t be done before I go away, so I’m on some antibiotics and some regular pain meds. The dentist won’t guarantee that nothing will go wrong given my insistence on scuba diving, but he is hopeful that my “tooth won’t explode while on holidays”. He’s a glass half empty sort of guy….

I’ve been continuing to research the move to Ecuador and want to go now. I don’t want to wait 5 years, but moving sooner isn’t feasible since there is too much work to be done on our house in order to maximize our return on investment. I know patience is a virtue, but honestly, I don’t even know what that means…

I’m supposed to be having dinner tomorrow night with my favorite old co-worker. She’s not old, but the job was. We haven’t seen each other since October, so we have a lot of catching up to do. Now, I need to hope the weather holds out because I have to drive an hour to meet her and the weatherman is calling for freezing rain and snow tomorrow. Grrrr…

Speaking of bad weather – since putting my car into the ditch in January, I’m a little apprehensive when it comes to bad weather driving. I was always quite confident in bad weather but since that fateful night, my confidence has been slightly dashed. I know I’ll overcome my issues once again, but until then…let hope Spring arrives early.

My jewelry business has off to a great start in 2012. It seems to finally be building momentum and my website is attracting more and more traffic. Let’s hope the momentum continues on at this current pace. Hmmm, perhaps the Ecuador timeline can be bumped downward to 4.5 years.

I’m sick of blueberry yogurt. I buy a variety pack of yogurt – strawberry, raspberry, peach and blueberry. J will eat everything but the blueberry, so I’m stuck with it. I used to like it, but not so much anymore.

27 February, 2012

Tooth Ache or Ear Ache?

I’m not sure which one it is, but I’ve got something going on that isn’t pleasant.

I’m leaning towards it being a tooth issue because I’ve never had an issue with my ear before. The tooth on the other hand, has caused me problems on and off for over 10 years.

First there was a cavity, then a couple of different fillings, then a crown and then a root canal (and another crown). The problem goes away for a little while, but eventually comes back. Well, it’s back now and the pain is once again to the point where it’s time for a dental visit.

With only 3 weeks left until I leave on holidays, I want to make sure everything is in order, so I can stop eating Tylenol like candy. Tooth issues are particularly problematic for scuba divers because an improper filling or crack in the tooth can cause something called “tooth squeeze”, which is basically air trapped within the tooth cavity and upon descent and/or ascent, the trapped air has nowhere to go. Although I’ve never experienced this, I hear the pain is extreme and it’s definitely not something I want to deal with at 75 feet.

So with that said, it’s off to the dentist this afternoon. Can there be anything more exciting to do on a Monday? I think not.

24 February, 2012

Say What???

So, I feel sort of ashamed of myself and I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve just booked another vacation.

I know, I know, I haven’t even left for the one in March, so what business do I have in booking another one? Well, I don’t have any business going anywhere after my complaining about how much the March one is costing me.

Well on the topic of cost…cheap airfare is the reason I do EVERYTHING!!! I live for cheap airfare and literally receive daily updates from all of the major airlines and booking sites.

I’ve been watching flight prices since last October for my favorite place on Earth (Bonaire by the way) and airfare has been averaging $1,000 pp. Well, $1,000 airfare is just too much to pay for something in the Caribbean when I also have to consider accommodations, vehicle rental and scuba diving.

This morning, there is an e-mail in my inbox saying my watched flight to Bonaire has gone down by $250. Hmmm, that’s still a lot of money but I decide to take a peek at the flight prices on Continental’s website. WELL, WELL, WELL, the actual price was $590 pp, which includes the tax!!!

It was too good to be true – I’ve only seen prices that cheap once before, so I did the only sane thing one could do – I e-mailed J to see how he felt about it and booked it.

Thank goodness for ramen noodles…eating them is the only way I can afford to travel.

23 February, 2012

My Horoscope Gets Me...

For the most part, I tend to read and then promptly dismiss my daily horoscope. Today however, it spoke to me.

What did it say you ask?

In my interpretation, it said…keep your mouth shut and hide from everyone because you are sure to say something stupid and get your silly ass fired.

Actual Horoscope(s) since I can’t rely on just one:

ARIES (March 21 to April 19): Much might be going on at work and also within yourself. You could become angry, but try not to act on that feeling. Sarcasm could be a whole other issue. You probably just need time to yourself. A walk might work. Close your door, if possible.

ARIES (March 21 to April 19): This can be an explosive day for you, full of unpredictable events and arguments with powerful people. My advice is to tread carefully! Look before you leap.


22 February, 2012

Today's Irritant - Indecisiveness...

I’m a decisive person.

If you present a situation, I will present you with a solution. I won’t guarantee it will be the right solution, but it’s a solution just the same.

If you ask an opinion, I’ll give it to you. It might not be what you want to hear and if it’s not, oh well - you shouldn’t have asked me in the first place.

Ask me a question. I’ll give you an answer.

Why the hell can’t people give me the same courtesy? There are numerous individuals in my life that cannot come to a decision on their own and it’s pushing me to the brink.

I simply hate wishy-washy responses like… “I don’t care. What do you want to do?” or “It doesn’t matter. Whatever you want will be fine with me.”

I could make all the decisions and never give these individuals any opportunity to make a decision, but that would be rude and uncaring. Instead, I say “Grow a spine and decide already. The earth will not stop rotating if you make the wrong decision. Trust me….I’ve made a few wrong decisions in my time and will most likely make a few more.“

Decide and then move forward. Don’t look back – that will only lead to second guessing, which of course is another irritant on my list and the list keeps growing...

21 February, 2012

Hissy Fits and Anti-Social Behavior...

For those of you that have followed along for some time, you know that I don’t like the winter months and although we haven’t experienced a rough winter, it still hasn’t changed my mood.

I tend to feel like a hibernating bear - I don’t want to go outside, I want to sleep all day, I’m happy eating excess amounts of food and generally, I’m cranky when disturbed or put out in anyway. Even the ringing of the telephone sends my crank-o-meter into the “danger” zone.

I’d been thinking that perhaps I need some socialization to make me feel better and to help me snap out of this funk. I even went so far as “throwing out” a few dates to friends to come over for dinner. Honestly, I was relieved when the dates I suggested didn’t work for the friends because the idea of planning a dinner party and socializing was starting to make me second guess my good nature (aka…it was making me cranky).

Just like the winter, I know this moodiness will pass. It always does, but until then…I need a “time-out”. Now, if I can just find a spot on the floor where no one will find me...to be alone with my misery.

17 February, 2012

To All The Golf Balls In My Life...

I received this e-mail today and thought I would share...

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls..

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed..

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life..

The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else---the small stuff .

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children.

Spend time with your parents.

Visit with grandparents.

Take time to get medical checkups..

Take your spouse out to dinner.

Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter.

Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.

The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'

The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

Happy Friday!!!

16 February, 2012

The Countdown Is On...

Only 28 more days until my journey to the Philippines begins. I can’t believe it is getting so close. To be honest, I haven’t thought much about it with everything else that’s been going on with my life at the moment.

I know it seems insane, but I’ve already started to pack. Packing for a scuba trip is a completely different form of packing and because we take all of our own gear (with the exception of tanks and weights), we need to start early to make sure everything is still in working order.

Believe me, there is no such thing as “packing light”. With all the scuba gear, including regulators, suits, boots, BCD’s, mask, fins, snorkels, underwater flashlights, batteries for the flashlights and underwater camera equipment, my “gear” suitcase is usually just shy of 40 lbs and then when the first aid kit, sunscreen, medications (decongestant, Pepto Bismol, Dramamine, Tylenol, toiletries and anything else we think we might need that won’t be readily available) is added, I’m pushing 45 lbs AND then, I have to worry about clothes. When all is said and done, I’d be well over 60 lbs and well over the allotted luggage allowance for the smaller domestic airlines. So, out comes another suitcase. PLUS, I have a carry on for snacks, books, magazines and my camera.

Usually I end up packing, weighing everything and repacking at least 3 times before it’s over just to make sure I won’t get charged for the extra weight at the airport. The weight issue is particularly a problem on the flight home because the gear is typically damp and with the high humidity of exotic places, our clothes end up absorbing excess moisture and what might not seem like a lot ends up costing big dollars – typically $10 for every lb overweight.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

15 February, 2012

Hot Potato and the E-mail Inbox....

I’ve never thought myself to be OCD in anyway, but lately I find myself consumed with my e-mail inbox. You see, I use my inbox as a sort of “to-do” list. If a matter needs to be dealt with, it stays in my inbox until it’s either been dealt with by me or had become someone else’s problem. Once it’s been addressed, it gets moved out of the inbox and into a customer specific folder. Out of sight, out of mind.  Life is good, but...

Around my workplace, it’s like a big ole game of “hot potato”. Something comes in and of course, it needs to be dealt with ASAP. Sending a response to the person immediately is the ideal course of action, but lately, I’ve noticed a new mentality forming around here. I like to call it a “stall tactic” and my boss is the king of such tactics. If you ask him a question, you will get at least three questions in return and at least one of them will send you off on a wild goose chase…to places unknown, where no one has gone before and no one will go again. Ever.

Why does he do this? Besides the fact that he’s bat-shit bananas, he does it to buy himself more time and I think he has commitment issues.  This drives me crazy because I can’t move anything from my inbox because nothing is ever finalized – it’s just stalled in limbo…in a realm between worlds.  Seriously folks, I have contracts that I’ve been working since I started here over 1 year ago and they were started 2 years previous that haven’t been finalized and they are still in my inbox!

If an inbox could grow dust, mine would have dust bunnies swirling about it and ghosts haunting the hallways.

14 February, 2012

Tides of Change...

Technically I was back to work yesterday after being off work for almost a week. I am fortunate that the company I work for provides for five days paid bereavement leave, which allowed me to attend the funeral of my grandfather in New Brunswick, Canada and spend a few additional days with family. Although the circumstances weren’t ideal, it was nice to spend some time with loved ones that I haven’t seen since my mother’s funeral in 2007. We also spent a fun day with my dad, just driving around the back country roads looking for moose for J to photograph. Sadly, no moose were seen, but plenty of laughs were had at my dad’s expense. He’s quite the character.

After spending time with family, J and I took off to my favorite place in Canada - St. Andrew’s, New Brunswick. This small seaside village is located on the Bay of Fundy and is absolutely deserted in the winter, but the clean, cold ocean air and sunshine was just what I needed to clear the cobwebs and stress of the previous few weeks from my mind. We spent an entire day wandering the town, beachcombing and just pretty much doing nothing. The town doesn’t get many visitors this time of year, so I’m sure we stood out as tourists – J with his camera and me just wandering aimlessly.

In case you didn’t know The Bay of Fundy is famous for its dramatic tides. Each day 100 billion tons of seawater flow in and out of the Bay during one tide cycle. This is more than the combined flow of the world’s freshwater rivers. Needless to say, the landscape changes dramatically as well. It’s awe-inspiring to me, but at the same time it’s serene.  Hopefully, photos will follow...

I wish I could say I was rejuvenated after having those days off, but that’s not the case. After the whirlwind trip to the east coast, I’ve somehow managed to pick up a cold bug along the way – probably either from all the hugs and consoling going on or the lovely plane ride in close quarters with crappy air filtration.

Anyhow, enough of my moaning – time to get back at it…

07 February, 2012

Travel Day...

I used to think every day was a good day to travel, but that is not the case today.  J and I are headed to New Brunswick, Canada to attend my grandpa's funeral tomorrow - we fly out tonight.

I think this is the first time I've had to pack sweaters for a trip - usually I travel light because I'm headed south, but it's slightly impossible when headed to the east coast in February.

Although, it's a sad occasion I'm sure they'll be some laughter.  My family is entertaining and I'm sure I'll get more than enough family antics material to fill at least a week's worth of blog posts.  If you've ever watched the show "Swamp People" - you'll understand.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words yesterday.  I appreciate it.

06 February, 2012


Yesterday I lost my hero, my mentor, my friend – my grandpa.

It wasn’t expected, but being unexpected doesn’t make it any easier. A loss is a loss…

Being the oldest of 25 grandchildren, I spent a lot of quality time with that man. I'm sure I was his favorite. 

He was the referee of many spats and the disciplinary to many actions. He gave love freely and asked for nothing in return.

He’ll be missed by me and the many others whose lives he touched with his presence in his 84 years.

Miss you Grampy…xoxo

03 February, 2012

Distracted, So I Might As Well Ramble...

As I type this post (which won’t likely get posted for another day), I’m waiting for news from J. He’s at the hospital with his immediate family (mom, brother, sister) where his Dad is undergoing open heart surgery today. I decided to come to work instead of being with the family because I thought “one more cook” might be too much for the kitchen to handle…if you know what I mean. Needless to say, I’m distracted.   UPDATE:  The father-in-law came through his triple bypass surgery just fine and now the recovery begins.

There are times like this when I wonder about leaving for Ecuador. I realize 5 years is a long way off, but I still worry about the “what ifs” of having aging parents and The Boy still in Canada.

On the “getting ready to escape to Ecuador” front, J and I have made a list of things that need to be done around the house before we can sell it. Once again, I know 5 years is a long way off, BUT it’s a big list.

About 5 years ago we completed a major addition/complete reno project. J and I did most of the interior work ourselves, with the professional help of our electrician, plumber and contractor friends when needed – all with the exception of a redo of one bedroom. Don’t ask me why we didn’t finish it at the time. I guess we just ran out of steam (and our friends ran out of kindness). That unfinished room has haunted us ever since. It’s not like we can simply throw some paint on the wall and call it done. No sir-reee – the hydro to the stupid room was ripped out when we thought we might get to it – 5 years ago. Needless to say, we need to fix that minor detail of electricity, insulation and drywall before we can move on.

There are of course other minor things that need to be fixed up – new paint throughout, touch ups on crown molding, trim, backsplash in the kitchen, etc.

Then there are other things we would like to see changed now that we have been living in the house and have asked ourselves the question “what would we do different”. For example, we installed a shower stall in the laundry room for the sole purpose of bathing our dog – a dog we no longer have. Let me say – that was a dumb idea and I’ll take the blame for it since it was my idea. In hindsight it should have simply been a laundry tub/sink, but I despise the looks of those things – not to mention our basset hound was hard to maneuver in a laundry tub, so a shower it was. Silly me…it’s got to go since the only thing it’s good for now is holding the kitty litter scoop.

And then, we are considering whether or not to finish the basement. Right now it’s unfinished – meaning there are no electrical outlets, drywall or carpeting. First we need to determine if there would be enough of an increase in resale value to warrant the upfront expenditure. This task is last of the list – to be considered at a future moment - if time, money and the kindness of strangers permit it.

So, there you have it – my latest distractions.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

02 February, 2012

For Better Mental Health: 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself…Part 2

Part 2 from yesterday's post...
Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. Ask yourself this: “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you. You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough. But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past. You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation. So smile! Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.
Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart. You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate. Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.” It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.” Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself! And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too. If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.
Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things. The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists; it rewards people who get things done.
Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t take the easy way out. Do something extraordinary.
Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well. You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life. When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out. But making one person smile CAN change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus.
Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy. One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time? Three years? Five years?” If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen. Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story. If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.
There you have it...how to fix your mental health issues.  Ahhh, if only it was that easy...

01 February, 2012

For Better Mental Health: 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself…Part 1

This is my 500th post.  Whoo hoo for me [or sorry for you]...
This article was recently featured in our company newsletter and I felt it was worth sharing.
Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth. And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on. No, it won’t be easy. There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them. We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made. In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall. Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time. This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself. Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.
Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else. Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you. Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success. You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us. We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future. Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive. But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either. You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else.
Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place. Evaluate situations and take decisive action. You cannot change what you refuse to confront. Making progress involves risk. Period! You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely. It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company. There’s no need to rush. If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you. But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you. Concentrate on beating your own records every day. Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.