31 July, 2012

Soothing The Soul...

J and I are fortunate to only live approximately 30 minutes away from Lake Erie and as you know, we both LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the water and beach and spend as much time as we can there in the summer months. We usually get there at least one day on the weekends.

When we go to the beach, we don’t typically go to swim or sunbathe, but go for a long walk instead. With a wetland and biosphere bordering that portion of the lake, we are able to walk for literally hours without running into another person. It’s truly rejuvenating to just wander in nature, where the only sound we hear is the lapping of the waves on the shoreline, the wind blowing through the poplar trees, the cry of passing sea gulls or a faraway screech of a bald eagle looking for his lunch.

When we head out, we don’t have a purpose in mind. We usually walk for a couple of hours in one direction and then turn around and head back. Along our route, we pick up treasures of all kinds including beach glass, shells, rocks, driftwood and anything else that interests me. J takes his camera and I take snacks. We talk about everything and nothing at all. It’s nice.

I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s an experience that soothes the soul, calms the mind and resets your life balance (if there is such a thing). It’s how life should be – simple.

30 July, 2012

Wonderful Weekend and Then Monday Comes…

I don’t usually hate Mondays, but I do today. I would prefer to come to work and do my job without drama – especially on Mondays. Alas, it’s not meant to be.

Instead, I get to deal with internal sales people. Let’s just say, sales people and the legal department cannot possibly live cohesively. I’ve tried and failed - miserably.

All I want to do is do my job.  My job is to point out legal risks and all the sales people want to do is sell product and they could not give a rat’s-ass about legal risks. They want to make their commission.

Honestly, they’d prefer if I was not allowed in the building – it would make their job easier. Believe me, I’d prefer if I was not allowed in the building – it would keep my blood pressure lower than it is at the moment.

The worst part is - they are cowards. If they have a problem, it would be so much easier to call us and talk about it, but instead they play stupid games and call meetings to discuss the legal department behind our backs.  BUT, guess who they call and inconvenience when they are being sued for ignoring the risks we pointed out?

Well, I’m done with their crap. They’ve crossed the line and once you’re on my bad side, there is no turning back – I’ll despise you for life.  If they think legal has been difficult in the past, just wait. 
There, now that's off my chest...I hope everyone DOES have a fantastic Monday (unless you are one of the aforementioned sales people).

27 July, 2012

Clean Up Your Act...

This week’s rant is brought to you by the letter T - as is in Trash.

I am absolutely appalled by the amount of trash/garbage/refuse that I have seen lying along the sides of the roads these last few weeks. I’ve witnessed everything from an old mattress, to old shoes and a chair, but the worst thing of all has been the amount of fast food trash.

Have people really become that lazy and oblivious to the world around them? Apparently so. Do they think that by tossing their SH*T out the window, it will magically disappear? Apparently so.

I just can’t understand what these individuals can possibly be thinking. Oh wait – they aren’t! There are trash cans at every fast food outlet. Public parks, malls and almost every other public space have trash cans. Every household has at least one trash can. Use them!

I read a local news article yesterday where one town has the problem of finding whole trash bags full strewn about their rural areas because certain counties have a “pay per bag” service. So in order to avoid paying the “bag tax” of $2.00, they will spend at least $2.00 in gasoline to drive to a rural area to dispose of their trash. I guess it makes sense if you’re an IDIOT!

Unfortunately, I don’t have a miracle solution to the problem. I could blame the kids, but then I’d have to blame the parents because we know inconsideration for other’s feelings, things and places is a learned response.  It's shameful...

Too bad, I didn’t have a cure for the “idiot syndrome”, I’d be rich.

25 July, 2012

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder...

For over three weeks now, I’d see him in the morning, walking along the side of the dusty country road. I couldn’t quite figure out if he was coming or going, but he seemed to moving along with purpose.

Then on my return trip in the evenings, I would see him just sitting in the tall grass off to the side of the road – not too far from where I saw him in the morning. Once again, I’d wonder what he was up to and where he lived. I began to think that perhaps he was homeless or lost, as he didn’t seem to wander too far from the side of the road.

As the days passed, I began to worry about his safety since he was sitting so close to the passing cars, hidden in the tall grass. I also worried out his well being during the midst of the recent heat wave. Did he have enough shade? Did he have enough water? Did he have enough food?

On Friday evening of last week, I noticed he wasn’t in his usual spot and then on Monday, I noticed he wasn’t walking along like he typically is in the mornings. Same thing today, I didn’t see him. I’m hoping everything is okay and that he chose to move along and didn’t fall victim to the heat or some other unfortunate event.

Even though I may not know people individually along my commute, I find it funny how I become personally attached to seeing them, observing their routines and missing them when their gone.

I’ll keep looking for him. Maybe he’s just on summer vacation…let’s hope – I miss him.  At least I'm assuming it was a "him".

Muscovy Duck

24 July, 2012

Two Balls in the Air…

The 5 year plan is still chugging along and time is passing much slower than I would like. I’m actually quite ashamed that that I’m eagerly wishing the next five years of my life away, but when you finally have an “end goal” in sight, it’s difficult not to become consumed by it.

As mentioned previously J and I were sure Ecuador would become our future country of residence and although it wasn’t our first choice, it had everything we were looking for – warm climate, affordable day-to-day cost of living and cheap real estate.

We’ve been recently re-evaluating our future needs, wants, must-haves and nice-to-haves. Where does that bring us? Well, we’ve decided that maybe we shouldn’t give up on our first choice just yet – at least not until we’ve done a little more research and financial number crunching.

Our first choice is a place we’ve been close to 10 times over the past 14 years and from the first time we arrived on the island, we were in love. Yes, love. It’s a magical little island, home to some of the best scuba diving in the world. It has sun, warm climate, gorgeous scenery and while it’s a little rugged, it’s laid back and it’s easily a place we could call home…provided the price is right.

Where you ask is my favorite place on earth? Bonaire.

The island is a special municipality of The Netherlands, and it lies 30 miles from Curacao, 50 miles north of Venezuela, 86 miles east of Aruba, outside of the Caribbean hurricane belt. Bonaire, 24 miles long by 3-7 miles wide (112 square miles), has a mere 3 roundabouts and NO traffic lights!

Initially, we crossed Bonaire off our list because it is more costly than Ecuador, Panama or Costa Rica, but we’ve started to revisit the idea because it’s truly where we want to be. I’m a firm believer in not settling on something, unless there is no other choice. So, we’re not settling just yet.

We were already headed back to Bonaire in November for a scuba diving vacation, so it will be a perfect opportunity to do some fact finding on what the “real cost of living” will be. We already have a sense of things as tourists to the island, but I need to find out if day to day living is financially feasible. It may not be, but until I know for certain, I won’t be able to settle for second best.

17 July, 2012

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow...

Yesterday was The Boy’s 20th Birthday. I’m not sure how I feel about that little tidbit. Yesterday, it seemed like just another day, but today I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the thought of where the last 20 years of my life went.

Today would have been my mom’s 63rd birthday. As with the last 20 years, the 5 years since her passing have flashed by. I don’t know where the time has gone. So much has happened, yet so little has changed.

Tomorrow, I’m having lunch with my boss to complete my performance review. We NEVER go for lunch together until it’s performance review time and then suddenly he feels the need to take me for lunch. Maybe he feels if he feeds me first, I’m less likely to speak my mind. I’d much rather just meet in his office and get it over with. Ugh…

Day After Tomorrow is pay day! Everyone LOVES pay day – even if the money is spent before you receive it. Wait, maybe that’s just me…

And then…it’s Friday! Need I say more?

Happy Tuesday – I hope your week is fantastic!

13 July, 2012

Friday the 13th...Feeling Lucky?

For some, 13 is an unlucky number. Many believe the number 13 will bring them bad luck. If people truly believe this then 2012 has not been their year and could send some scurrying for cover because 2012 is extremely unlucky given that there are three Friday the 13th this year. The first one was in January, then April, then today. For three to occur in one year is highly unusual, but I beg to differ because it also happened in 2009.

Fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia and is one of the most common fears people have. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

In case you are one that fears the 13th, I suggest that remain in bed, not answer the phone or door because you just don't know what might be lurking about.

Happy Friday!!!

10 July, 2012

Thinking About Stuff...

For not doing much these last few weeks/weekends, I cannot seem to shut my brain off. I honestly believe I have recently developed an adult form of ADD, as I cannot seem to focus on one thing for very long and my mind easily wanders from one thing to the next. Needless to say, getting through the work day has been a huge problem for me.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by social obligations – current or pending? Like I said before, we haven’t done much this summer and we certainly haven’t been socializing, but I’m feeling overwhelmed by social obligations that haven’t even happened yet. I need to invite multiple friends over for dinner. You know the whole – “it’s my turn” fiasco. I need to visit an old co-worker – she doesn’t drive, so it leaves me to go to her. I need to RSVP to my niece’s wedding. I need to help plan my friend’s 50th birthday party. I need to make multiple appointments for not-so-social events like the dentist, doctor, eye doctor, etc. All I do is think about these things, but I haven’t felt the need to actually accomplish any of them yet.

Speaking of my friend’s upcoming birthday party – well, she’s much, much older than me and happens to be turning 50 and is NOT happy about it. I think if any event will trigger an emotional meltdown, this just might do it. So to say we have to “handle her with care” would be an understatement. She insists she doesn’t want anyone to know she’s turning 50, but in the next breath, she keeps telling me to make sure her husband does something nice for her. That’s where I come in. Her husband has asked me to help him plan something special. He is the least imaginative person there is going, so I’ve had to put a stop to his “just dinner plans” at a local restaurant. In case he forgot, she’s turning 50 and the restaurant he wants to go to is really nice – if you’re turning 70 and want to eat at 4:00 pm. It’s not the place you go to have fun with a bunch of your scuba friends.

What are my birthday bash ideas? Well, there is local “eco-adventure” venue near us which features a 2 hour, multi-level zip-lining course. I think she would love it once she got used to the idea of hurtling herself off a platform. If anyone else wishes to participate, they can and then we simply have a potluck barbeque onsite. They also offer some cool “glamping” opportunities (i.e. glamorous camping), so if her husband wanted to make it extra special, he could.

My other idea is a “twilight” cruise on Lake Erie. We have acquaintances that run these cruises, so we could rent the entire boat and load it with her friends, food and drink and then off we go – to dance, eat, swim, drink and dance some more. We have done this about 10 years ago and it was a HUGE hit. I think we’re ready for a repeat. I think I’m ready for a repeat.

Birthdays should be about fun, not dwelling on how many years have passed, but instead how many are yet to come and things you plan to do. How would you prefer to celebrate your birthday – geezer dinner, zip-lining or a 3 hour cruise?

08 July, 2012

Driftwood Dreams and Sea Glass Treasures...

Nothing new here.  The weekend was uneventful, which is always a nice change.

J and I went for another loooong walk on the beach yesterday.  I think with all the fresh air and exercise, we need Sundays to recover.

I've been working away on a couple of new jewelry pieces, which I thought I'd share.

Sea Glass Treasures

This one contains pieces of sea and beach glass from Long Point, Lake Erie; Rincon, Puerto Rico; Negros Islands, Philippines; Oahu, Hawaii.  The large pendant piece is the bottom of an old Coke bottle.

Driftwood Dreams

The pendant on this piece is a piece of old tree bark I found on the beach in Rincon, Puerto Rico.  I love the way the worm holes make the piece look.

03 July, 2012

This and That...

Happy Belated Canada Day to my Canadian readers; and

Happy Independence Day (Tomorrow) to my American readers; and

Happy Battle of the Boyne Day (on Thursday) to my Nothern Ireland readers. I’m not even sure that I have any Irish followers or what the holiday is even about, but I see it’s on my calendar, so it must be worth celebrating. Enjoy!

Today is my first day back to work after an extra long four day weekend. I’m struggling to say the least and while I love the extra days off, sometimes it’s just not worth the punishment of having to get back into the work groove.

J and I spent a good portion of the day on Friday, taking an extra, extra long stroll on the beach. There just something about sunshine, water and sand that makes all your worries disappear. Even if the feeling was short-lived, at least the cobwebs were temporarily removed from my brain.

As with much of North America, we are in the midst of a heat wave. I’m not complaining about the heat, but I am complaining about the fact that our central air conditioning unit stopped working on Saturday. Of course with it being a holiday weekend, there wasn’t a soul around with a part to fix it, so we struggled through and will hopefully pick up the part to have it repaired today. I think the HVAC guy was a little taken aback when I told him I just needed the part and that we didn’t require him to install it for us because I was well versed in the repair required… all thanks to You Tube.

Ooooh, I did get a bit of good news last week. It appears I haven’t managed to totally tick my boss off because apparently he has approved my performance bonus for this year. Thank goodness for small wonders. Now, I just have to make it through the formal review to see if a raise is also forthcoming. I’m not holding my breath…

Time to get back to work…I have people to impress and 3 days left to do it. Good thing I work well under pressure.

02 July, 2012

Soooo Me...