Thursday, October 30, 2008

Scrounge Up Cash With Used Gadgets
courtesy of The Boston Globe

Last week, we looked at ways to save money during tough times by refurbishing old computers. Since then, unemployment claims have spiked, companies have announced thousands of layoffs, and consumer confidence fell to its lowest level on record. Still worried about money? I thought so.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

No Voice

I am unable to talk.  I was sick from Wednesday of last week through Friday of this week (yes, about 10 days) -- it was one hell of a nasty cold!  Unfortunately, laryngitis was a layer of the virus that I came down with, and I am currently unable to talk without damaging my vocal chords and causing sharp, descernable pain.  I don't like this.  I'm ready to see people, I really am, except that I can't talk.  The worst part of it is that it just plain on takes a long time to communicate, and it's hard.  I'll get better eventually.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I hadn't fallen off the face of the planet, I was just hiding...

No, I wasn't hiding.  It's just been really busy, and I haven't been up to writing at night as much.  Also, no offense meant to any of you who find computers relaxing, I realized that, as stressed out as I've been lately, I need to do things in the evening like relax -- write in my journal, spend more time reading and taking walks, and not being plugged in.  Ultimately, I do not find being plugged in to be terribly relaxing.  

Why am I trying to relax so much?  I think it should be fairly obvious to anyone who reads this blog with any regularity at all: my body absorbs every last bit of the stress to which I am exposed.  Last year, it took the form of tachycardia and palpitations.  This year, it's taken the form of a much longer-term and more daily-life-changing issue, gastritis.  Incidentally, I'm slowly on the up and up, but I saw my GI person this morning, and she said that it's still going to be a few months before I can eat regular food again because the inflammation in my stomach is chronic -- and will take longer to subside.  This gastritis looks like an episode, but is ulimately an expression of long-term damage.

So I've been trying acupuncture!  Try it, guys!  I'm serious!  It's the most relaxing thing in the world.  I love it.  And it also helps my stomach directly while I'm lying there on the table with the needles in me.  First and foremost, I'd just like to tell any of you who have not had acupuncture that it doesn't hurt.  You probably don't believe me, but it doesn't.  Actually, the first session I had was euphoric and spiritually profound.  It is physically amazing -- you're just pumped full of endorphins.  When I walked back into work that afternoon after having my acupuncture, everyone said I looked more relaxed than anyone they'd seen in their life, and/or high.  Yep, it's that good, folks.  Go try it.  It's not cheap, but it's worth it.

This fall has been good so far.  I love the autumn.  It's my favorite season, hands down.  No one can try to talk me into anything else, because my mind isn't changing.  The temperature tends to be lovely, and in New England, the perfect place to be during the fall, the trees reflect light that brighten the sky even on dismal days.  In fact, on our block here in JP, and especially in the Forest Hills Cemetary, some of the trees are actually fluorescing!  It's amazing!

We spent the past two weekends in Maine, and both of them were lovely.  Dan's mother got married, and we sang in the wedding.  The whole thing was so quaint in a Dan's Mom sort of way, and that made it wonderful.  She made all the dresses, too!  I love going to weddings where you really get the taste for the people who are getting married.  It's so much fun.  The weather was gorgeous, and fall was in full swing there.  

This past weekend, we went to Monhegan Island.  Now, this time was different, because we went out a day ahead of the Bogs, who were en route up from New York City.  When we arrived at their place, we settled in nicely...and then noticed that the refridgerator wasn't functioning.  So, we decided we'd gear up to go for a hike on the lovely sunny afternoon that it was, but we'd stop at the Shining Sails, where the caretakers reside.  The caretakers' receptionist took a note for us, mentioned they'd be back later that afternoon, and also said that we should check to see if anything else worked.  If not, that meant the gas was out.  We went back to the house, and sure enough, the tanks were as dry as can be.  That meant no fridge, no hot water, no light (the house runs off gas lamps, which, in addition to being charming, also keep the place  warm at night), and no stove.  So we walked back down the Shining Sails, left that note about the gas being out, and went for a beautiful hike.  

I can't say enough about the beauty that is Monhegan Island.  There's something so raw about rocky cliff-faces dropping off into the violent ocean -- where trees grow - literally! - out of the rocks.  I'll have pictures up on Picasa soon. 

We got back from our hike to find that there was still no gas.  So we walked back down to Shining Sails, where I found out from John that I needed to go to the Fish House around 5:00 and look for Sherm Stanley.  So we did.  And Sherm was just as kind as could be, but he couldn't deliver it that night.  He said he'd be down first thing in the morning.  

Now, that's all fine and dandy, and we were glad we had gas coming in, but everything we brought for food needed to be cooked.  Fortunately, we'd run into some old friends earlier that day who happened to be out on the island.  One of them actually works at the Trailing Yew Inn, and they totally hooked us up with lots of boiling water so we could at least make oatmeal and tea.  Needless to say, we went to bed early that night.  But everything we did that day was conducted by actually speaking with human beings.  Taking a walk down into the village, bumping into people, and talking with fellow humans.  It felt so civilized.  Even though we were alone in our unlit house, there were people around who helped us out.  If we'd picked up the phone and called the Shining Sails, we might never have bumped into the folks who ended up giving us the boiling water!  Boy, I love real communities!

The next day, gas was delivered, and we could cook and shower again, and that night we had gas lamps, and it was so cozy!  The Bogs arrived, and we had a lovely hike followed by a tasty dinner.  I've been craving potatoes, bananas, and parsley lately like nobody's business, so those elements were involved.  Also, for the record, kale with asparagus is damned tasty.  Jon Bog made a big ole' apple crisp, and it was frightfully good.  

What a nice weekend.  See, autumn is wonderful.  This weekend, Dan and I plan on hanging around the Boston area to take in autumn here.  I believe we're going to attempt do to World's End in Hingham AND Lexington Corcord National Park followed by some apple-picking, but I'm not sure how that will all pan out.  I'm on call Sunday afternoon for work -- we've got a big two day meeting-complete-with-workshops we've all been working on together.  

Work, as a side note, has been amazingly ___ lately.  I could fill in the blank with a lot of things, good and sad, but suffice it to say that work has been intense.  We've all been really busy and have taken turns getting sick, so we've been taking turns taking over one another's responsibilities.  Simultaneously, we're undergoing some restructuring and reformatting of what we are going to be spending most of our time doing, so that's been intense, too.  

...and I think I want to be a math teacher.  As I've been studying for the GMAT to apply for business school, I've remembered how much fun I always have doing math.  And I did in high school, too.  And I've always wanted to teach.  Let's face it: an MBA is practical, but I have never seen myself as a high-powered executive.  My body couldn't take it anyway.  But I could really see myself teaching, and it's always been that way.  It had been so long since I'd done math that I'd forgotten how much I sincerely enjoy it.  Let's not also joke around: it would involve some major relearning for me.  I don't remember a large percentage of what math teachers are required to teach.  However, I think that I'd be able to learn and relearn it, and I know I'd have fun doing it.  And it would be a hell of a lot easier to learn it in a classroom setting than it is when I painstakingly re-teach myself using the insufficient GMAT book.  I don't feel bad about spending the $250 to register for the GMAT, because I'm quite certain that I'd never have come to this conclusion otherwise.  

And life goes on.