Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Snow of the Season

Kaia and Boogie this morning, trying to remember they like snow.

My only duty today was to go to Home Depot for a new mailbox, since the original was plastic and after 15 years it simply disintegrated in the mailman’s hand. I filled the bird feeders first and, in one of those strange coincidences, as I closed the truck door an alarm went off. My first thought, “What the heck is that?!”

Was it the truck? Nope … from somewhere in the house, so I went back inside to figure it out. Smoke alarm? Nope. Cell? Not even close (besides, the alarm was far too loud). Finally figured out it was the battery on my alarm system (because the panel said “Batt Low” – duh).

So I called the service and they confirmed the battery has outlived its three-year life expectancy by an additional three years, which is why it has been unable to recover from the Great Power Outage of Thanksgiving Day. I’m the dodo who never noticed the alarm board was giving me written notice of the battery’s defection, which is why it finally bellowed the message to me via the alarm.

Great, call around to five different Radio Shacks, each getting progressively both further and farther away, until one had a single battery left. But they’re closing in an hour. Pulled the dead battery (scary!!), bagged it and flew to the mall. Got my newbie, came home and installed it. Then ran the system test … completely forgetting it blasts the siren for a few seconds and I have cats. Heh heh, it was pretty funny … they rocketed through the house when that siren blew! Hah, hah, hah, ha, hee, hee, hoo!

But this reminds me of my first tornado experience in MO, when I was watching television and something kept beeping and the acoustics of the apartment made it seem as though the beeping came from the locked closet that housed the furnace and water heater, to which I had no key. I was just getting ready to call the building Super when I realized the sound was actually coming from the television.

Okay, for someone who grew up with the Emergency Broadcast System, which let the television viewer know in no uncertain terms that this was a test of the Emergency Broadcast System, it seems a little stupid to me to have MO’s weather-related EBS, home of the fast and furious tornado, be a delicate little "beep" from the same television that continues to show the regularly scheduled program. And yes, I know the EBS is no more, but I’m just saying think of another way to let people know about imminent death!

Someday I’ll tell you about my first experience with the tornado air siren (yep, I didn’t know what that sound was, either).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Holiday Playlist

Got our first snow today. Wasn't much (slushy & didn't stick), but there you have it.

Today I’ve accomplished almost nothing, except … and this is a huge exception because it took far longer than I care to admit … I added my holiday playlist to La Isla d’Lisa, and I am fair chuffed … yeah, me!

See, I’m not all that skilled at solving the technical puzzles. I do try … I Google for instructions, I ask friends in the know, I even select the “Help” option of every application I encounter. All to no avail – I don’t get it. I have, however, become the defacto Queen of the Workaround. And I luck out. A lot.

Take today … first I searched blogs until I found one with a playlist, then I clicked on the [Create Your Free Playlist] button, which brought me out to Project Playlist, where I created my initial list of Christmas songs (very fun). Relatively easy so far, but try as I might I could not get that list onto La Isla d’Lisa.

So I cheated: I added a second Christmas Tree Mini (easy-peasey from its web-page) and edited the Title and the Content to that of my playlist which, of course, was far too large, with miles of my favorite Christmas songs (I’ve hardly met one I haven’t liked) … so I had to engage in a fierce edit session to ensure it wouldn’t bog this page down.

Which got me to thinking: just what is my favorite Christmas song? Actually, that’s a no-brainer: my Dad singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, but that’s by command performance only. The best of the rest is Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, and has been as far back as I can remember. Something about that song, and the way only Andy can sing it, just encompasses Christmas for me.

As for the rest, it really depends on whether I’m in a mood for the standards, their country cousins, their rocking nieces and nephews, their crazy kids, or some mishmash family reunion of them all. Due to this, my holiday playlist will no doubt suffer multiple permutations before the end of the season (but Andy will always be one) … hope you like them!

Friday, November 28, 2008

What's Up With That?

Why is it every day the meteorologist says something to the effect that overnight temperatures may reach the lowest we've seen this year? Hello?!? It's the beginning of Winter ... of course the temps are still dropping! Sheesh.

So, I gutted-up and applied for a promotion within my company ... one that will, if I get it, include a move back East to NJ. I'm fluctuating between way-cool-junior excited and oh-my-goodness-what-have-I-done nervous. There are so many things to consider every step of the way, but ... nothing ventured, nothing gained … and it’s not like change is really anything new to me.

First step was applying; I almost didn't, until a colleague and I were talking it over. That got me thinking, and I sent my resume pretty much the day before deadline. Next step - getting the initial interview. I should find out next week.

Think good thoughts!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

This morning the electricity went out and I thought, “You’re kidding, right? No electricity?!? On Thanksgiving Day?” Unless making a meal in a crock-pot, there aren’t many worse days, cooking prep-wise, to have no power.

I called around to friends in the area, and chatted up our immediate neighbors as we turned out of our homes like ants after a heavy rain, discussing the situation in driveways and over backyard fences. Turns out there’s no power to a fair footprint of our little community, and none of us can get a live person on the phone to report the outage (although we all dutifully followed the automated prompts to tell the lords of technology we were adrift in a sea of … nothing much going on).

Then I called Dad, because he’s one of the four most knowledgeable men I know, and that’s what I do. I got his confirmation the plumbing should work fine (no electric parts), but the house may get cold, because although we have a gas furnace, the blower is electric. Sigh. No problem while the sun is up, but if this lasts any length of time, we could be entering frozen-boogers-indoors territory, and ain’t nobody likes that.

Obviously KCP&L discovered the problem and fixed it, or I’d not be writing this, but the power was out long enough for me to really miss it. We couldn’t look at the news to see what was going on, or pop in a movie, or listen to the radio, or get on the computer and pay bills or pull up the internet. I couldn’t even read a book unless I sat in the window, and it was just too cold sitting there. I couldn’t jump in the shower to get ready for the day because there was no hot water left.

And then I had to laugh, because I now have an appreciation for what my nieces and nephews mean when they whine that there’s nothing to do on those (rare) occasions we adults banish all forms of electronic tomfoolery while the grownups are talking. I believe this must be similar to how they experience being grounded, too (a condition for which I now have much greater empathy).

What this little stint of capricious boredom has reinforced is that I have many things for which to give thanks, and am generally proficient about recognizing them … even if only eventually. I like being a finds-the-silver-lining sort, because that’s just the way it is: no matter the situation, there is some good that comes of it, for some one, some how, every day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why I'm Missing 'Lil Ole Rhode Island

Having been out here in misery … er, Missouri (inside joke, never gets old … to me) … for almost a decade, and having lived in NJ for at least half a decade prior to that, people ask me what I miss most about little old Rhode Island. Well, there are thousands of things I miss, but here’s what’s on my mind right now:

  • I miss the sound of the foghorn when I’m still in bed early in the morning on a foggy warm/cool spring day
  • I miss the island humidity that smells like only humidity near the ocean can smell
  • I miss red tide at Second Beach
  • I miss Second Beach … and Purgatory Chasm
  • I miss the deep blues of Narragansett Bay, and the color of the sky
  • I miss Maple trees (oh, how I love Maple trees)
  • I miss the cloud formations native to Aquidneck Island
  • I miss Brenton Tower (e.g., the Brenton Reef Offshore Light Station)
  • I miss sailing to the Block’s New Harbor through fog so thick it feels like I’m breathing cool steam and have cotton in my ears, and talking to the people on a boat 30 feet away becomes as intimate and muffled as a whispered conversation by firelight
  • I miss Aldo (the elder) putt-putting around said New Harbor selling pastries while happily "singing" Italian opera at the top of his lungs
  • I miss riding around Aquidneck Island on the Vespa with my Dad, just the two of us
  • I miss watching Mom and Dad slow dance around the kitchen, with that disgust only a teen can muster, of 40% “ew, gross!” and 60% “I hope I’m that lucky when I’m old like them” (youth being a currency only the young can spend)
  • I miss lying on the foredeck of D'Lite with Mom, having girl talk while Dad and the boys play cribbage in the cockpit
  • I miss flying kites and having unauthorized bonfires (don’t try this at home) on Ocean Drive
  • I miss Saucy Silvia (and Charlie on the MTA) at the Sheraton Islander
  • I miss Easter and Thanksgiving at Nam’s, where work and play go hand-in-hand
  • I miss Christmas days at Nana’s and Grampa’s, and Christmas nights at Uncle Paul’s and Auntie Elaine’s
  • I miss potato wedges at Chicken City (but only sometimes)
  • I miss the world's biggest captain’s chair and Nibbles Woodaway (the big blue bug)
  • I miss having days (days!) to prepare for a possible hurricane, and that only once a decade or so (tornados are so impatient)
  • I miss soft, fluffy snow in Winter that sounds like bacon sizzling (instead of the driving ice storms of the Midwest)
  • I miss gentle rains that don’t tear up the neighborhood and rip roof tiles off houses
  • I miss the many different RI and MA accents, and the dearth of “R’s” in most of them
  • I miss being able to spend hours outdoors every day in the dead heat of summer, because no matter how hot it gets, it never gets as hot as MO, and there’s always shade, and almost always a breeze
  • Mostly I miss my family, and I thank God almost every day that no matter how far away I get, they’re always just a phone call away

But I also know how true is the adage "you can't go back", as I learned the year I returned to Aquidneck Island, between stints in NJ and MO. Change didn't measure up to What Used To Be, but What Used To Be? Well, that will live forever in my soul, and that's good enough for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, Missouri has its share of awesome things, and one of these days I’ll tell you all about some of them.

BTW: Johnny Dare cracked me up this morning, talking about how people decorate for Christmas earlier every year, and how he usually has the best in his neighborhood until (gasp!) the new folk moved in. Apparently they gave him a run for his money last year, so all he had to say about his plans for this year was, “I don’t care if my electric meter looks like a fan. Oh! It’s on!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Elementary, my dear [...]

So this is blogging. Hmm. Pretty tame so far. What to say, what to say? In the words of an old friend, from those halcyon days of autograph books and summer Girl Scout Camp (the two-week sleep-away kind, thankyouverymuch), "Can't think, brain dumb, inspiration won't come; no ink, bum pen, best of wishes, Amen".

But then again, I don't need ink for a blog, so it doesn't quite fit, does it? Methinks I shall have to dwell on this a bit more.

[Who am I kidding? We all know this is just a test while I set up my page!]

This is actually an older tale, from April 25th (before the blog). I was cleaning out my e-mails and found it, so figured I'd share (again, for some of you). My local friends were checking up on me the afternoon I had a wisdom tooth removed:

You guys are silly ... and sweet ... I knew I had the best friends ever! I'm doing totally swell. I have my drugs ... mmmm ... darvocet ... and my bed ... mmmm ... pillow ... and my freakin' job calling me 8 times already this morning!
  • "Lisa, we need a clock on the 2nd floor." (Really? Now? Just can't wait 'til Monday, huh?)
  • "Lisa, how do I dial into that conference call?" (With the exact same number we use for all of them!)
  • "Lisa, do you have a copy of the dashboard on your hard drive? Because I overwrote the one on the shared drive, and now it's only one page." (Oh, man ... sigh)
  • "Lisa, do I have to dial a 9 for an outside line?" (Um, if you can't get an outside line from your desk phone, but can call me on your cell to ask why, perhaps ... and this is just a maybe here … but it's quite possible you can use your freakin' cell for the other call as well!)
  • "Lisa, do I have to go to headquarters today?" (I don't know ... do you? Do you need a secretary while we're at it?)
  • "Lisa, was yesterday's accident where Guy sliced open his hand and required stitches, pain meds, and time off an OSHA recordable?" (Now WTF do you think?!?! YES!!! YES, IT WAS!!! He went to the hospital and was treated and needs time off and pain meds!! YEEEEEEES!!)
  • And finally, "Lisa, do I need to make labels for these five items?" (Um, do we want to sell them? Then YES!)

But I'm really enjoying the darvocet, and the fact that now only one section of my mouth hurts, as opposed to the entire right side. This little gem of a tooth was vertically impacted (which is really no big deal) but also imbedded in the nerve and had a giant cavity that was making it feel like five of the bottom teeth and three of the top all had cavities at the same time, and I knew that was wrong because three of them have had root canals and shouldn’t “feel” anything. My teeth must be made of chalk or something.

Oh yeah, and this is how my “ordeal” went: they put the blood pressure cuff and finger heart-rate-beep thingy on and left me for about 20 minutes, but I made them have to keep checking on me because I quickly realized I could make the finger heart-rate-beep thingy do whatever I wanted … got it down to the 40’s, people, and up to 103. Yay, me! They finally just asked me to stop playing with it.

So the doctor comes to do the procedure, starting with knocking me out, and he’s telling me it’s goat milk, to promote calcium growth, and I’m like, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” So he sticks the syringe in my face and, sure enough, the stuff they knock you out with is white. I’m like, “Oh! Funny.” But, you know, not really.

So then he shoots it into the back of my hand, and the stuff BURNS halfway up my arm. So I tell him and he says, “Well, it shouldn’t … does it really?” Duh. So I traced the line up my arm to where it stopped burning, then I’m like, “Wow, I’m already starting to feel this.” And I’m wondering how long it’s going to take and whether I’ll snore (or pee) and, you know, typical Lisa stuff, when the tech says, “Lisa? Wake up.”

And I’m freakin’ done! WAY COOL! And I’m not sitting in a puddle, or slipped to the floor, or drooling all over. Well, I am drooling, but I’ve got a huge hunk of gauze in my mouth, so no worries. It was a strange feeling … like I was in the middle of a dream and got woken up … I couldn’t remember anything.

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