» Archive for January, 2009

Apologies and absence

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 by kara

Dearest Readers, I must apologise for being absent from you for so long.  I know it’s not that my words are of such intense value that your lives are lessened for doing without them for so long.  My regret is that I’ve fallen behind on my own personal vow to produce something, ANYTHING, in this space on a daily basis.

I’ve been a tad overwhelmed with current events lately, and I’ll fill you in on the whole, huge soap opera that our lives have become in the future.  Eh.  You probably wouldn’t believe me, anyway.  Suffice it to say that we’ve been scrambling, searching for jobs, buying lottery tickets, and dealing with wayward dogs and health problems in the past two weeks.

No, the sky hasn’t fallen in our world.  Yet.  :::knocking on my wooden desk thru piles of paper detritus:::

I’ll fill you in a bit later on.  Until then, hullo, how are you, sorry to have been away for so long, hang loose.

Job hunting

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 by kara

Sheesh. I’m applying for jobs now, and with my employment history, I wish I could find a way to have someone ELSE fill out all my applications. My hand hurts, for Pete’s sake!

The sticky part is that I need a job right NOW, and I don’t have time to go back to school and/or try to figure out what exactly I want to work at as a career. My employment experience is many and varied. Here’s a list of the job titles I’ve inhabited: Teaching assistant, layout artist/printing, newspaper reporter/photographer, lingerie salesperson, convenience store clerk, audio equipment operator/still store graphics generator for television news, assistant office manager, Airborn Express courier/dispatcher, inmate booking clerk (county jail), firefighter/medical first responder, police/fire dispatcher, computer salesperson, and technical support representative for a software company.

Whew. That’s quite a list. And that’s the very first time, Dear Readers, that I’ve ever compiled a list of all my employments in one place. It’s an awesome list in its wide range of careers, but it’s almost useless to me right now because it doesn’t help me market myself. Yeah, I have a lot of practical experience, doing a lot of different things, and that might make me a fascinating interview subject, but it’s not really going to earn me the big bucks. “…And that, plus fifty cents, will get you a cup of coffee.” That’s what my mother, Norma, would say.

Most likely, she’d also be disappointed in me. I was the child that “has so much potential, she can probably do whatever she wants to do when she grows up.” I wish that I’d felt the same way. Maybe if I’d been a little bit more bold, a little more decisive, I’d have a true lifetime calling by now.

I’d like to give all the young’uns out there some advice: Pick your career early in life, kids, and finish up your bachelor’s degree (at the minimum) right away. Don’t do like your Auntie Kara did, and rush through an associate’s degree just to get out into the world of work more quickly. If I could go back to my teen years and do one thing over, I would give more thought to what I wanted to be when I grew up, and then I’d take the time to finish up my bachelor’s degree right then.

I also would have more faith in my own abilities, and I’d take more chances with regard to my education, challenging myself with the more difficult classes. I didn’t think that I was able to concentrate on the difficult stuff when I was back in high school, and didn’t see how those classes were the foundation of everything that I was to learn afterward.

Now that I’m an adult, I see my own achievements and abilities so much more clearly. I also understand, too, how much of my life I’ve frittered away being an underachiever. At this point I can either give up and live out the rest of my life in unfulfilled obscurity, or I can actively take steps to continue my education into a field which interests me. Lemme think about that for a little bit…

Budget cell phones and technofear

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009 by kara

So you’ll recall that my Wonderful Pumpkin got laid off from his job last Thursday, and along with the paycheck, health insurance, and company PowerBook, he lost his cellular phones. Not just one, but two: A Crackberry and an iPhone.

Heh! I just thought about the title of my last post, “From two incomes to none” and realized that THIS post could be called “From two phones to none” as well! Aren’t I a card?

Anyway. Rick went to drop off some paperwork today and do some banking, and I realized after he left that I had no way to contact him when he was away from the homestead. No cell phone, no pager, nuttin’. And before you ask, no, we haven’t kept any of our old cell phones–we just a few months ago donated the old ones (the remaining phones that I haven’t destroyed) to charity. Isn’t that timely of us??!

So today we went in search of a cell phone for the Pumpkin. He’d LIKE an iPhone. Well, I’d LIKE to have a pony, and a Jeep Wrangler, and an ofume bathtub–but we can’t afford any of the above just now. We popped into a local AT&T store, because my cell phone is through them and we thought we could pick up a (free) bare-bones phone for Rick and add a line onto my account. Simple and low-cost, right?

Yeeeaaah. The guy at the store told us there really aren’t any free phones anymore. The very CHEAPEST phone we could get Rick (from the store) was $100, before tax. And it was NOT a great phone. I thought “Heck, if we’re gonna drop a hundred clams on a cell phone, why not drop two hundred clams and get him what he wants?”

I said that, and his eyes lit up, but then adulthood caught up with enthusiasm, and we agreed that we really couldn’t spend that much money on a cell phone. We decided to go home and noodle on it a bit. And search the web for cheaper alternatives.

We looked, and Rick tried to find an inexpensive phone that would also sync with his Macintosh, while I checked into pay-as-you-go phones from Target. As we looked, I commented it would be pretty ironic to get him all set up with a new phone and a new number on my account, and then for him to find a job at which they PROVIDE him a cell phone. He said “Then I could give YOU my iPhone!”

Dear Readers, you must understand that I do not need (or even really want) an iPhone that badly. I am very happy with my Motorola SLVR. I know how to enter phone numbers quickly into the address book, I can make my own ring tones and transfer them with a minimum of fuss (here’s one of my favorites) and I’ve learned the phone’s OS pretty thoroughly. My SLVR has survived several violent trips to the sidewalk/asphalt/tile as well as a dip into the (as-yet-unused) toilet, and has outlasted even a custom-made Vaja case. It has endeared me with its stoic nature. It is my electronic hero.

Plus, I fear that my reluctance to part from the familiar SLVR means that I have outgrown my nascent geekdom and become my mother. My darling mother, Norma, had a negative technological capacity–if we (her children) changed her radio from AM to FM to listen to rock & roll radio stations while we did dishes at night, she couldn’t figure out how to get it back on AM the next morning so that she could listen to the local news on WHAK (Radio 960 AM in Rogers City, MI, if you’re curious). We explained numerous times, but she never ‘remembered’ how to do it.

The clock in her car was always off, too. In order to find out what time it actually was, you had to know the algorithm that was currently in effect. One afternoon I checked the time in her car and said “No WAY is it already 10 minutes after five!” And she said “Well, of course not–it’s only 2:17.” I turned to look at her and said “Where did you get THAT from? Shadows on the ground? An invisible sundial? A little time-telling gnome that’s living in your earring??”

And she explained that the last time she tried to change the clock to the accurate time, she accidentally put the hour forward two instead of back one, and set the minutes seven too far in advance, and she didn’t feel like messing around with it any more at that point, so she just remembered how far off the time was and applied that formula with those variables every time she checked the clock. Er…wouldn’t it be easier just to figure out how to set the damn thing correctly?

Where things got cagey was when Daylight Savings Time ended or began, and she’d have to remember if she were adding or subtracting hours and if so, how many. Sometimes, in the spirit of making a fresh start for the new season, she’d try setting the clock again–and then she’d end up having to remember a new set of variables for the time formula. I’d like to think it kept her mind young, like doing crossword puzzles and word searches.

Anyhoodle. I feared I was becoming like my mother when I began to eschew technology. A few years back, when camera phones became popular, I found that I had a strong prejudice against them. Same for organisers that were supposed to do triple duty as your digital camera/videocam, and your telephone, too. NO. I want my Palm Pilot to do only planning, my telephone to be a telephone, and my digital camera to take pictures–and that’s IT. What if I were on the phone with someone and wanted to check my calendar and make an appointment? How embarrassing would it be to put someone on hold to find a telephone number or set an appointment time, and inadvertently hang up on them? And God forbid if I were driving or carrying grocery bags or doing anything else at the same time. If you have something that does everything, does it do any of those things WELL?

I told my sister Mary about the Jitterbug, a basic cellphone that’s aimed at senior citizens. It even offers a DIAL TONE. Isn’t that quaint? I thought it was a great idea, particularly for people like me who don’t want or need texting capability or camera phones or streaming video. She agreed. It’s official, I am a technophobe. Or at least, I don’t covet technology the way I used to just a few years ago. Or maybe I should sign up for a revival of The Golden Girls.

That’s why getting an iPhone isn’t the end-all, be-all for me. I just wanted to get Rick a PHONE, so I could call him if necessary, rather than setting a piece of furniture on fire and sending smoke signals from the front porch. I understand that he’s still in love (lust?) with technology, and I’d love for him to get an iPhone for his own self, but that will have to wait for a little while.

Fortunately, I’d sent out a plea to my Freecycle brothers and sisters here in Knoxville, and tonight a wonderful woman replied with an offer of two AT&T cell phones which she and her husband no longer use. We can just buy a SIM card for Rick and add a line to my account, and he’ll have a cellphone in case I flip out and need to hear his voice when he’s away from me. 🙂

From two incomes to none

Saturday, January 10th, 2009 by kara

Two years ago, we were a two-income family, able to make two housing payments and support two separate households. Yesterday, we went from being a one-income family to a no-income family. My husband, my Wonderful Pumpkin, got laid off from his job at a local company which I won’t name.

I know we’re not alone in this state of being. Lots of other people are either jobless, or dreading the possibility of being jobless in the near future. This jobless state of being is scary for us, as we’ve never been both of us unemployed at the same time. As so many other newly-unemployed people, we are not completely prepared for this. We have been trying to live as frugally as possible for a year now, especially since I’ve been unemployed as of our move to Knoxville. At the same time, we’re working to pay off our unsecured loans (credit cards, signature loans, etc.) so we can eventually live off of cash and not rely on credit cards to pay for things like car repairs and other emergencies. That paying-off-debt thing has been going pretty slowly, especially when we’re trying to live off just one income, but we were managing.

When we were living and working back in the Ann Arbor area, we both had full-time jobs, and my salary was roughly half of what my husband was earning. So while I wasn’t making a lot of money, we still enjoyed a healthy household income. And yeah, THAT’S the time when we SHOULD have been living frugally and trying to pay off our unsecured debts–NOT when we transitioned to being a single pay source family.

And before you say it, I know that I’m a lazyass and that I should have been working at least part-time ever since I joined my husband here in Knoxville. But I’ve been enjoying the freedom to hang with our dogs and work for local dog rescues, and since that’s a value that my husband and I share, I’ve rationalized that this worthwhile work is a fair exchange for a paycheck.

Down here, there’s no chance of me being able to earn what I was making up in Ann Arbor, when I was working as a technical support representative for a company which wrote software for newspapers that ran primarily on the Macintosh OS platform. In the first place, I’d been at my former job for almost eight years, and even though I didn’t have a degree or certificate in my field of employment, I knew my job and did it well. I was self-taught in using and troubleshooting problems with Macs, so much so that I earned a spot as one of the MacSpecialists for the August, 2002 grand opening of Michigan’s very first Apple Store, at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi.

That’s a point of pride for me, if you hadn’t noticed. There were MANY people who were interested in those positions, and I don’t recall exactly how many applicants I competed against, but I do remember there were thousands. THOUSANDS. :::grinning foolishly::: Some will say that I’m a member of the Cult of Macintosh, and that my knowledge of and devotion to the brand is obsessive and therefore not a true accomplishment, but I put a lot of brainwork into getting and keeping that job. And I’ll always look back at my time at The Apple Store with pride.

Down here, not only are the jobs paying less, but there are fewer jobs in my line of work experience–and there are certainly no Macintosh-only software houses who are looking for technical support representatives. My associate of applied science degree, completed two years after my high-school graduation, is in graphic arts technology, and almost all the printing techniques I learned then are quite literally considered antique in today’s world. So we can consider THAT pretty much useless.

At my current level of (irrelevant) education, the best employment I can hope for is probably a retail sales job at which I can make $8.50 an hour–and that’s NOT gonna carry us through, so I should be worrying.

Strangely enough, though, actually hearing the news that my fabulous man was one of the people targeted for the cut was more of a relief than anything. I can say that with certainty for myself, at least. I can’t really speak for Rick, but I think he’s feeling a little bit of relief that this is finally all over.

You see, the company at which Rick worked has been suffering the effects of a tanking economy for the past year. They started making changes to employee benefits and planning personnel cuts back in July 2008 to try to head off the worst of their current financial dry spell. When those initial cuts didn’t work, they began planning more personnel cuts, and rumor has been running rampant about the company’s closing ever since then. We’ve been living in a constant state of low-level panic since summertime, and I think that’s taken its toll on our emotional and physiological well-being.

So while it was devastating to us both to hear that my husband lost his job yesterday, there was also a huge component of relief in finally receiving that news. At last, we knew for certain. No more waiting and wondering, no more “not today, but maybe next week” rumors of layoffs…

First thing Rick said to me yesterday (via instant message) when he “pulled the short straw” was “I’m sorry baby.” I don’t want him to feel like this is his fault–it’s so NOT his fault. I wish you all knew my husband. He’s scary-smart, responsible, loyal, super-dedicated, and hellishly driven to perform his job well. He’s one of the most conscientious people I know, and he feels responsible for every body and everything. So how did the two of us hook up? Heck if I know…probably the Big Guy in the Sky is sitting on his Heavenly Throne with a pen in his hand, making tics in the column titled “Kara Really Owes Me.”

So now we’re both looking for employment. I’m hoping and praying that we don’t have to relocate in order for Rick to find another job, because we’d end up taking another sizable financial loss on the sale of this house, just like we did on the sale of our home in Michigan. (That was the first time I’d ever heard of the SELLERS taking an $8,000 check to closing, but that’s another story.)

I’m still hopeful, though. I’m hoping that Rick will be able to find another job that will allow us to keep this house and buy dog food for the furkids, and maybe THIS job will be closer to what he really wants to do (be an astrophysicist) as well. Maybe I’ll find the one job in all of Knox County that requires me to be familiar with Macintosh computers as well as string words together into (semi)coherent sentences.

Maybe we’ll win the PowerBall lottery. Maybe golden monkeys wearing stocking caps will fly outta my butt. Any of those above scenarios will warrant an note here, folks, so stay tuned. And for everyone else out of work now, hang tough–it will all get better someday.

Vanilla: Where is it appropriate?

Thursday, January 8th, 2009 by kara

I love the scent and taste of vanilla, in all forms, shapes and sizes. I love vanilla-scented Little Tree air fresheners for the car, vanilla lip gloss, vanilla ice cream, vanilla custards, vanilla yogurt, vanilla-scented body spray, vanilla-mint toothpaste, vanilla-mint mints, you name it and I’ll probably choose it over any other available flavor/scent.

To me, it’s a fresh, clean, appealing scent, pretty much harmless from any vantage point. Certainly NOT in the same league as Armani Code for men and Calvin Klein’s Eternity for women, both of which can be overused to the point of discomfort in onlookers (or onsmellers?), but at the same time much less prepossessing and overpowering.

Vanilla is appealing to almost everybody. I say “almost everybody” because I once worked with a woman who apparently hated vanilla and baking. One work day I wore vanilla-scented body lotion and spray, and she commented to the entire room “Why does it smell like someone’s baking in here?”

She used the same tone of voice that one would use to ask “Who in this room is currently taking a dump on a glass plate?”

That’s the point at which I realized that my immediate supervisor was most likely removed from Satan by only a few levels of familial relationship. WHO on this planet does NOT like the scent of someone baking?! Yeah…exactly.

In the meantime I’ve embraced all forms of vanilla, from vanilla-scented body lotion, to Diet Vanilla Coke, and VANILLA FLAVORED RUM (Cruzan is the brand, in case you’re wondering) which makes a lovely Screwdriver that tastes almost like a Creamsicle.

A week ago finally I bought a Vanilla Chai-scented Secret brand antiperspirant a week ago. If you know anything about me, you’ll recall that I sweat more than is humanly possible for any one being of average mass and surface area currently living on the face of the earth. Even though I love vanilla, I resisted trying this particular fragrance for quite a while. I’m not certain why. Maybe there was a part of me that couldn’t make the connection between my armpits and a sweet, tasty beverage. Is it that I feel my armpits can smell like anything except food?

But I really really really like vanilla, so this marriage of vanilla and antiperspirant should suit me to a ‘t’, right?

Uh…well…everytime I raise my arms I smell something like vanilla and coconut-flavored bubblegum. I’m simulatenously perplexed and enchanted. I’m trying to keep my mind straight as to when I should salivate and when I should perform a personal ‘self-check’…it’s kind of peculiar, and I think I may have discovered my own personal ‘line’ across which vanilla should never pass. But it smells really tasty…but it’s antiperspirant, SHOULD it smell edible? Arrgh.

Recesssion is hitting EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING

Monday, January 5th, 2009 by kara

My Wonderful Pumpkin just sent me this link which crushed my child-like optimism and made me sad. Forgive me, Darling Readers, I’m on my fourth (watergobletsized) glass of pinkish wine and am more than willing to wallow in despair.

But COME ON PEOPLE!!!! If NPR can lay off Ketzel Levine, then what’s the freaking point of going on??!?

My apologies, Kind Readers. I’m just very pessimistic right now. Add the litre-and-a-half of inexpensive wine to the other factors that are currently influencing my mood (sound from my PowerBook combined with sound from my Toshiba Satellite which is currently logged into World of Warcraft, combined with my iPod Shuffle which is playing tunes from Zero 7’s “The Garden” and “Taverns of Azeroth” composed by David Arkenstone) and you’ll understand my melancholy.

Here’s the definition of irony:  Ms. Levine’s project at the time of her downsizing was called “American Moxie” and in it she examined American workers who’ve been laid off, and how they’re coping with their unemployment.

Anyway.  Please add Ms. Levine’s blog to your list of items to review on a daily basis. She’s too good to just let go. 🙁

Stairs and back problems–dog and human

Sunday, January 4th, 2009 by kara

My darling Skipper-Dee-Doo-Dah has a bulging vertebral disk, and our vet tells me that he’s got to be kept as still as possible for three weeks, and hopefully the complete rest will help the painkillers, muscle relaxants and steroids he’s taking to heal his back completely. Skip can’t run or even walk a lot, and stairs are certainly out of the question.

We have a bi-level house which has 15 steps in one straight run down to the backyard. When Skip’s gotta potty, he has to be carried down the steps and then carried back up. Shouldn’t be that difficult a situation, but the little bugger is now 28 pounds. Yes, 28 pounds. He’s a tad chunky. This has undoubtedly contributed to his back problems. Cocker spaniels are what’s called a chondrodystrophic breed, which means just that they’re longer than they are tall. They share this body type with beagles, basset hounds, corgis and dachshunds, and genetically all of these breeds are predisposed toward spinal and disk problems just because of their height-to-length ratio.

To lessen the strain on a spinal column that’s already at a disadvantage, it’s vital for these breeds of dogs to stay at a healthy weight, and avoid doing a lot of jumping up and down on furniture. And even though ALL dogs should be safely restrained while riding in the car, it’s even more important to put these chondrodystrophic breeds in a crate or in a doggie seat belt, because something as mundane as a sudden stop can cause your dog to lose its footing and fall to the floor, potentially injuring its back.

Skipper has been resting and taking all his meds, and I think he’s feeling MUCH perkier now. So I was carrying him down to the backyard Thursday, and he was feeling pretty eager to get down and play, and was very WIGGLY. He wiggled so much that I was worried more about keeping a good grip on his little round butt, than I was on maintaining my footing on the slippery steps. I ALMOST fell, but luckily for both of us, I caught myself. I think I may have pulled a muscle in my back as a result, though, because even after I was adjusted by my chiropractor I’m still having a LOT of pain in my mid-back region. Feels like a muscle cramp every time I take a deep breath (which I haven’t been doing a lot of, since SOMEBODY FUZZY HAS BEEN MAKING REALLY TERRIBLE WIND) and every time I try to carry something heavy–like Skip.

My Wonderful Pumpkin has been Skipper’s valet since I got home from the chiro yesterday afternoon, but he was called away to work today. I’m hoping that this whole back thing will heal quickly–or at least stop hurting. Sitting at my computer desk is uncomfortable, not to mention that it makes the whole dog-toting situation problematic.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had issues like this with injured dogs and this house. Earlier this year, we had an English springer spaniel foster boy named Chance. Chance was a darling senior citizen who was chock full of personality. Even though he had limited mobility of his hind legs due to a growth that had been neglected for too long, Chance was still pretty adept at running up & down the back stairs with the rest of the furkids–until he developed idiopathic vestibular disease. That causes extreme dizziness. Chance couldn’t even walk across the carpeted dining room floor without falling over, so of course he couldn’t do the deck stairs thus we were carrying him up and down–and at 55 pounds, he was considerably larger than Skipper.

At this same time, Skipper himself was recovering from heartworm treatment, which requires complete “bedrest” for lack of a better term. HE was not allowed to do anything that could raise his blood pressure, including running, jumping, and going up and down stairs. So he was being carried up and down to the yard, as well. At that point, KipKip was only 20 pounds, so he wasn’t really too burdensome.

Just to add to the fun, at about that same time, Belle developed back problems, too–it turned out that she had Lyme disease, but it took a while before our vet could make that diagnosis, so just to be safe, SHE was on complete bedrest for a while at that same time.

Here’s Kipper and Belle, commiserating about their enforced confinement June 2 of this year:

img_3318You can’t really tell from this photo, but Kipper and Belle are nose-to-nose through the crates. Kip’s nosey is between his front paws, right by Belle’s paws.

So of the four dogs we had at that point, THREE were being carried up & down the stairs. In order to lessen the odds of me falling and killing myself and whichever dog I was carrying at that time, I set up shop down in our basement recreation room. The rec room has a slider which opens directly to the back yard, at ground level. Rick and I would tote everyone down to the rec room in the morning, and I’d bring my computer down there, and we’d hang out in the basement. When the Pumpkin came home, he’d check his e-mail and then he’d join us down there for dinner and evening television viewing.

It wasn’t as grim as it might sound–the rec room is quite nice, with a big-screen TV and a fireplace (which we didn’t use too much during the summer) and there’s a half-bath right around the corner in the laundry room. I had set up a hot water kettle and a canister of tea bags down there, so as long as I brought a pitcher of water down first thing in the morning, I was all set. I just didn’t get a lot of housework or cooking done, because when I would try to go upstairs or into another room the dogs would get restless and try to challenge the baby gate to come and find me. Multiple floors. Dangit.

Ironically enough, when we were looking for houses around the Ann Arbor area in 2005, we passed up a bi-level that had a STUNNING yard and a dreamy location, because at that point, we had Kacey Marie with us. Kace was completely blind in both eyes, and I knew that if we brought her home and put her upstairs, and then decided to go down to hang out in the rec room for the evening, that she’d just stay where we left her. At that point, Kacey wasn’t interested in doing stairs at all, and I didn’t think it was fair to live in a house in which Kacey didn’t have free rein. That was the right decision for that time, and I’m glad that we bought the single-level ranch house we ended up with, for all our sakes.

Fast-forward to October 2007, and we’re looking for our new house. We see our current house, on a dead-end street in a quiet subdivision not too far away from everything but not too close, either, and it’s got a huge, beautiful, fenced yard. It’s a bi-level, but at that point, we were all able-bodied and we thought it might be nice to have a rec room suitable for entertaining friends. Didn’t think ahead to the possibility of dogs with mobility problems, or potential mobility problems of our own.

I guess the moral of this story is “don’t buy a bi-level house unless you have an elevator installed for when your knees go bad and your dogs have back problems.” As for us, this is one more lesson learned in home traits that we find desirable.

I gotta go ice my back now. I wonder if Skipper would mind sharing his muscle relaxants with his mummah…

Now THIS is the way to ‘do’ a New Year’s resolution!

Friday, January 2nd, 2009 by kara

Trent Hamm really has some great posts over on his blog The Simple Dollar, but this entry is so exceptional that it’s going to be printed out and posted above my computer. It’s worth looking at and applying to every single day.

The important, key idea in this ‘plan’ is consistent practise, at which I’m extraordinarily bad. I have the attention span of a goldfish and am a right-brained, scattershot thinker, traits which I have derailed many trains of thought for me throughout the years. Oh, add to that the laziness I’ve been cultivating my entire life and you’ve got a great recipe for underachievement.

You’d think that by the age of 40, that I’d have conquered these foibles. But no! I am just now becoming aware of them and how to overcome them. Hopefully this will add to my motivation to achieve SOMETHING during my pitiful life. *sigh* What will YOU learn this year? Good luck with that!

MinuteRant: Why won’t recyclables manage themselves?

Friday, January 2nd, 2009 by kara

We’re now recycling so much that our weekly garbage output rarely exceeds two 13-gallon garbage bags. More often, it’s more like 1 1/2 bags, as long as we don’t have something like “gutting the garage” going on.

This is great! I love the idea of recycling, putting materials back into the stream rather than putting them into a hold in the ground, but please remember that I’m very lazy and even though my recycling is sorted by type, it’s still not smart enough to drive itself to the recycling station. I’ve got bags and bags and bags of newspapers and pizza boxes and cardboard from packaging, as well as glass applesauce jars and plastic laundry detergent jugs stacked up in the garage. It’s a little better since the Pumpkin and I quit drinking soda (Tennessee doesn’t have a bottle deposit–BOOOOO), but I’m best at ignoring the piles needing transport to the recycling center.

I know, I have to do it more regularly, then it wouldn’t be such a chore. But that goes against my identity as a procrastinator. I’ll try to do better.

MinuteRant: New Year’s Resolutions

Thursday, January 1st, 2009 by kara

I’m pretty opinionated, judgmental, and outspoken. At least, I am in my own mind. Most of the time when I encounter something irritating I just stew about it quietly, in my own mind. I lack the mental agility and verbal capacity to speak up right at the moment of my greatest irritation, but never fail to formulate a witty, biting remark–forty-five minutes later, when it’s no longer relevant.

During an average day I encounter lots of things that bother me, and I just came up with an effective way to address these little peeves: Introducing Kara’s MinuteRant (trademarked and copyrighted)!

In a MinuteRant, I should be able to express my frustration in a very brief format, allowing me to purge myself of pique while not boring you, Gentle Reader.

Hooray! And now, for my first-ever MinuteRant: New Year’s Resolutions. Please. Why let a date on the calendar be your only motivation to improve your life? Most people who make New Year’s resolutions discard them after only a few days. My point is, if you’re going to truly change your life, you’ve got to back that resolution up with more motivation than a holiday.

So if you need to lose weight/quit smoking/volunteer more/be a better person, then go for it! But don’t let the passing of New Year’s Day deplete your resolve. Keep resolving, even though the champagne has been drank and the party crackers have been popped. Oh, and here’s a novel thought: Make a resolution to do better sometime other than New Year’s Day. You don’t need to limit your decision to change your behavior for the better to just that one day.

That being said, I hope everyone had a Happy New Year’s Eve, and that the upcoming year brings only joy and peace to all.