The Leonardo Challenge is coming up. I'm excited as usual and I know (in my head) what I want to do. I even have everything I need to get started... well almost everything, I forgot an ingredient but that's not a big deal.
HOWEVER, today when I decided that it was time to start, that was the time to clean house. My excuse is that a cleaning was due... more like overdue. But first I had to work on a puzzle I'd only opened a week ago after buying it about 5 years ago. My excuse for that was it'd put me in a better frame of mind to begin my creative work.
Anyhoo, I finally began the project. Worked on it for less time than cleaning and puzzle-work individually. My excuse is I need the glue to dry.
My plan for tomorrow is to finish cleaning the house, rake the leftover leaves, do some more puzzling AND work on my project.
Any bets on what's really going to happen?
Tonight, friends and I will be braving witch-tit weather to go see bands play tribute to David Bowie.
One morning last month while listening to npr before I dragged myself out of bed, I heard the news: David Bowie dies at the age of 69. I gasped. It was such a shock, who knew he could ever die??
The 3rd cassette tape I'd ever bought (that's right, I said cassette tape) was his Never Let Me Down album. I traded it in for the cd later. Of course, since I only had three tapes at the time, it was in constant rotation.
Loved Day In Day Out, Too Dizzy... Glass Spider was an acquired taste for me but good all the same. I don't have all of his music, not even close, but his music has consistently been in my life at least since that album.
I've seen him perform with Trent Reznor and while not a huge fan of Reznor it was an absolute treat to see the Bowie!
Now aside from the fact that he was an absolutely cool hottie, his music was just so good...I'm Deranged (from David Lynch's movie Lost Highway), Shake It (I often find myself singing that one on the way to work), China Girl, Fame, Criminal World, Jump... and so many more that I don't know!
Karaoke nights out with friends would nearly always have a Bowie song in our mix. My go-to favourite is Young American and last year I sang Let's Dance at a divey karaoke bar in Berlin. There were maybe 10 people there including my friend and me, the rest looked like high school kids... a couple of whom helped me figure out how to get my song in the queue.
A few days after Bowie's death, Mr. Tat showed me a video of two of my all time favourites singing one of my favourite songs: David Bowie and Pink Floyd singing Comfortably Numb, that's when the tears flowed. I surprised myself. Never did I ever expect to cry over a celebrity, Sa-weet Jaysus what was wrong with me!
I've come to accept this mourning of a person I've only known through his music. Maybe because music in general is such a great part of life and his music in particular has been ever present in my life...since that cassette tape.
We go on about our lives daily, what else can we do? But it's a sad day in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, and for most of the world, I think.
Again tragedy finds France, well, more like seeks them out, and I can't help but feel for them AND think that it will only get worse and someday it will find us on the scale it has found them.
We have certainly had terrorist attacks, even home grown (Oklahoma City bombing and the Boston Marathon bombing) and while we've had "terroristic" school shootings, this latest attack on France and other countries leads me to believe that the extremists will not stop and sooner or later another TERRORIST attack will come to us.
Now there is backlash here, against people who "look" like terrorists, on a college campus no less! Ay! Do we all have to be extremists? This latest event will certainly make it harder on legitimate Syrian refugees trying to get into Europe or anywhere else, I imagine.
And how do we distinguish friend from those who itch to hurt us? Who are intent on destroying ANY way of life that is not approved by their beliefs? And all this does is create escalation... And will that ever end?
I've always been envious of people who speak more than one language fluently. After more than 3 years of Español in high school and a semester of Français, I barely have anything to show for it. Yes, there has been dabbling, a little English (ha ha), a little Spanish, a little French, but nothing that might save my life if I get caught in the zombie apocalypse in Quebec or Madrid and need help to hide.
The major problem, of course, was not visiting these foreign countries during the time I was learning their language and so most of it flitted away from memory.
Sure, I know "el baño" if I need the bathroom in Mexico or "ich habe Hunger" if I'm desperate for food in Germany but I want more.
So as of a couple of weeks ago I've been using a little app called Duolingo. Providing it's teaching me correctly, it's absolutely wonderful! It teaches the words, then puts them in sentences for you to translate, both English to German (or language of choice) and vice versa. Then there are the speech tests where you speak a given phrase into the mic and it tells you if what you said is correct... I'm a little suspect of that part of the app because I've said things that were very wrong and was told I was correct. Ah well, still a pretty good app so far.
IF I can learn another language fluently, no longer will I be jealous of those bilinguals (never mind the multilinguals).
First time cruising. It was fun hanging out with my peeps, and while I love being on the water, 7 days was too long. More than two days asea going, and about 1.5 days coming back -and a captive audience to the ship (more days to give them money).
The ship is a small city on water, but I think I had the unconscious feeling of not being able to leave (while at sea) which stunted my enjoyment of the whole experience. While it's not at the top of my vacation to-do list, I'd try it again -knowing what I know now.
I will say I enjoyed the shows I saw, Rock of Ages and The Second City...adult edition. There were food options galore. Music. And dancing: Almost every night -Loved it!!
The island itself deserved more than 2+ days to explore, but we do what we can with what we have. And I can't complain, it was a vacation.
... They are more palatable when volunteered for. But even when challenges arise that you certainly weren't looking for, they can have potential for positive (and of course negative) personal change and growth. I prefer to find the positive in such episodes and hopefully be able to realize the negatives as they arise.
Very early one morning few months ago, Mr. Tat and I, away on vakay, found ourselves face to face with 4 masked men and a gun in our hotel room...I know we both considered the possibilities of how the night could end.
In this case we were fortunate enough to have heard the intruders. To be fair, it was Mr. Tat who heard them coming up the balcony to our 2nd floor room and when I saw them, I screamed.
The ordeal seemed to take forever but it was probably less than 8 minutes. Someone had heard me scream and a few minutes later the hotel's security officer was at our door. I yelled out and the thieves ran back where they came from.
Police came and talked with us. Then a trip to the station a few sleepless hours later and it was over.
The hotel's manager and a maid there were very sympathetic to us and we are very appreciative of their support. The hotel's owner was extremely good with helping us to take our vacation back, though I have to admit it wasn't the same afterward. He also compensated us for our losses after we returned home. I know we would have had an all around great time there if not for our experience.
So what do we do now? Be a wee bit bolder. Don't take garbage from anyone. Remember to live. Try our best to not live in fear. Keep traveling. Continue to trust that most people don't want to harm us.
My latest challenge was the Leonardo Challenge. I try to participate every year because it's so damn fun. This year's theme was maps... I love maps! I don't think I rose to this challenge as well as I could have but I'm still pretty proud to have completed the vision in my head.
This business of killing over a religious offense is outrageous!
The Charlie Hebdo killings is out of hand and I applaud the French for standing up for CH against these extremists because if they/we give in and censor ourselves to avoid debate or because we're afraid of a response, it will be only the beginning of a road to less freedom of expression and eventually NO freedom.
The Sony hack and Sony's original response not long ago is a less chilling example of people who want to impose their will on others. I am glad that the company changed its response and released that movie...craptastic though it appears to have been according to reviews.
Let those who want their freedoms limited, practice what they wish, but don't kill others because you want to limit their freedoms... that is insane!
We are not slaves or robots, we are thinking, sentient beings. All of us will not agree on everything and there will certainly be opinions I find offensive, but to KILL over someone else's opinions, I think, turns us into irrational, unthinking, self-absorbed beings only focused on getting what we want, in this case, blood.
I know the first thing that comes to MY mind when I think of body fluids is blood. Of course I realize that there are a host of others I'd rather not name at the moment.
Saw this body fluid clean up kit on a bus. It was unexpected, but I suppose necessary.
Now I'm wondering what's inside.
Last month my cousin, who lived in the U.K., died. It was very unexpected. Still in her 40s, she had only gotten married 3 years ago. Some of us were there for her wedding, it was a happy time.
Now, for better or worse, another family member this year has left this world we live in.
The last time I saw her was in March when she and her two sons came for our grandmother's funeral. I appreciate now that she was here and we got a chance to be with her before her death.
This cheesylicious pic was taken at the Grand Central Market. Mmmmm.
Visited NY city for Val-day weekend and ate more cheese in one sitting than I usually eat in a week... which really isn't much but I do love cheeeeese. Thank goodness for the invention of the cheese plate, especially when the cheese is good.
I went skydiving with a friend a few days ago. I'd wanted to do it many many years ago and when this opportunity came up I couldn't pass on it. Of course, being an on again, off again sissy-pants, I needed company and only one person took me up on the offer.
The teeny weeny plane that took us and our tandem guys up could ONLY fit the four of us and the pilot. My tandem instructor, Joe, took pictures throughout.
My friend went first, the little plane door opened, she and her tandem instructor moved to the doorway for a second and then it seemed he pushed her out with his body. If she wanted to change her mind it was too late!
Whoa Nelly! When it was my turn, just as my friend, at the door there was no turning back... and out we went!
For the first few seconds I couldn't breathe with the air rushing at my face. It felt like that for a long minute but it was probably a lot shorter. Then I forgot the instructions I'd gotten on the ground to do the banana (arch back, legs up and back, head back, arms raised up at right angles). To be fair I arched the back and raised the legs but held firmly to the straps I was hanging on to before we jumped.
In any case, instructor Joe opened the chute and all was well.
I cannot fully explain the feeling of being up in the air, floating to the ground, nothing between me and the atmosphere and seeing all around, the green of trees and bodies of water. So beautiful!
Mr Tat whom I dragged out to see me jump (and who was safely on the ground, where he's happy to be) was there taking pictures and probably breathing a sigh of relief that nothing negative happened.
Eaaaarly the next morning on the highway going home from the big city with two other friends, we had a very near miss with a car stalled in our lane around a curve and a man behind it waving a flashlight. My friend swerved to miss him and his car but apparently the driver behind us wasn't so lucky, we heard a crash right after we moved out of the way. I didn't hear cries of pain so I HOPE the man is OK, as well as anyone who was involved in that accident.
That event did make me think how ironic it would have been if in less than 24 hours of jumping from a plane I'd then be hurt or dead from a car accident. Life seems very random.
Mr Tat and I recently stayed at an inn by a harbour in Maine. Our room had a great view of the harbour, oh my, I could live there... in that room that is, the town itself didn't thrill me too much though the restaurants we visited had some gooood food.
Right on the water is where I like to be, generally preferring tropical but I wouldn't discount a harbour, bay, lake, pond, puddle...
Alas, it was for a short time and I'm back now to regular life. Where's my fairy godmother dammit!?
It's here again, so I think I'll find a ladder to walk under, an umbrella to open indoors, and a black cat to cross my path. A friend reminded me to step on cracks and spill salt willy-nilly. Have I missed anything? Probably a lot but this is good enough to start with.
I saw this smiling, shining family in a store window today and the creep factor was all over it. Maybe it's all the years of watching scary movies... Chucky comes to mind, and for some reason, Children of the Corn.
Yesterday's fog is a distant memory. The blooms are out, today is Friday, and I'm getting on the happy train!
FINALLY! I'm seeing buds on trees and people in shorts. That's going too far. But I didn't wear a hat today, though I brought it just in case...Did wear the scarf though. I took a chance and left home without my usual extra padding (52 degrees is still a bit chilly in my book) and a brisk walk to work gave me some warmth. It wasn't bad at all.
It's supposedly in the 60s now, I'm looking forward to a walk downtown. Real joy will come beyond the 70 degree mark but I can definitely live with this.
Kids are tough! I'm babysitting my little niece and she is BOSS-E! She'd be a dictator in her own little world. I suppose many kids are like that though.
But just when you think you've won a battle, you realize you've been brought down anyway... I woke up this morning with a horrible sore throat.
The little lady was sick to begin with, I knew that, but I thought I was invincible. That'll teach me!!
On the edge of March, with April knocking on the door, I was hit with chunks of snow on the way to work this morning. It kept coming down and did not look like it would stop. I know at the beginning of winter I said something about appreciating the snow but Ay! I've had it up to five feet!
I'm glad it didn't last. The sun appeared and it's supposed to have gotten to the 50s today. In any case it's mostly gone now -YaY!
We buried my grandmother three days ago. She was 92. She enjoyed getting attention and she certainly got a lot with two services, one where she lived, and one in her hometown. I'm glad we could only bury her once, and I'm sure she would have loved her sendoff.
It's so interesting to hear what people you don't know have to say about your loved one. Some people from her church had lots to say about her and in my mind some were spot on! It made us all laugh or nod in agreement. One or two comments made me think "you're talking about my grandma!!?" but regardless, each had their own perspective of and experiences with her. She was here and she made an impact.
More businesses need to ICE their sidewalks never mind letting the snow pile up and turning into solid ice. And heaven forbid I meet someone walking in the opposite direction! That's when we do the ice dancing, ungracefully skating around each other. Ah well, it's supposed to be in the 40s today so by the time work is done I'll only have to swim home.
Passing by a fence, I noticed this written on it:
I don't know what to make of it. Is the author too happy? So sad? Being poetic? Just playing with whomever decides to stop and read? I'm going with teenage angst.
I absolutely LOVE to see when ice wraps itself around tree branches and such
Went to the Liffey's with friends last night to see a band I've never heard of. I don't have enough experience photographing indoors with low light so I figured I'd work my camera a little. No flash. Most of my shots stunk. These I liked.
I dig the sewing machine tables
the light surrounded by the dark
a bit of movement