Just a Riff

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere


This has been a tough week . . . 

Taxes.  (Filed.)

Heartbleed.* (Ei-yi-yi!)

Work angst.  (Retirement?)

Printer jams. (Plural)

Recalls.** (Mom-worry.)

Lost contact lens. (Pain in the ass.)

At least it's not snowing.  (There is that.)

It must be five o'clock somewhere . . .


* Check this website or this one for up-to-date lists of passwords you need to change now.   (Total hassle.  But who's counting?)

** Brian drives a Cobalt.


Adjusting: A Riff


  • I'm having a hard time.
  • I am feeling a bit . . . cranky.
  • Out of sorts.  
  • Definitely tired.  
  • Not really engaged.  With anything.
  • But I have So. Much. Work. to do.  
  • (So. Much.)
  • You know how some people indulge themselves with treats and food over the holiday season?
  • I indulged myself with . . . laziness.  Blowing off work around me.  Letting things pile up.  Going to movies.  Napping.  Reading for hours at a time.
  • And that felt pretty darn good.
  • Actually, it felt great.
  • Really great.
  • But now.  
  • Now I'm having a hard time adjusting.  
  • I don't want to have to Get Things Done right now.  I want to blow things off.  
  • All the things.  
  • Still.
  • (I also indulged myself with treats and food over the holiday season.)
  • What am I cranky about, you ask?  Let me count the ways . . .
  • January people.
  • Especially the ones cramming the locker room with their children taking swimming lessons. 
  • (It's just swimming lessons, people.  Not the Olympics.  Not . . . An Event.  Really.  Six-week session. Leave the Grandparents at home.)
  • And new running shoes that turn out to be defective.  Especially because they gave me a blister.
  • Because now I need to shop again.  And I have to do a Zappos return.  
  • (Free and easy, I know.  But hassle.)
  • Plus blister.
  • And Tabata Boot Camp.  
  • Yeah.  You get what you get when you try a fitness-related activity with the words "boot" and "camp" in the name.  
  • I know that.
  • It wasn't bad, actually. 
  • I even kind of liked it.
  • But whole new muscle groups are in agony and my legs feel like wood blocks.  
  • (It was the jumping intervals, I'm pretty sure.)
  • So now it hurts to walk.
  • And stand up.
  • And go up and down the stairs.
  • And reach over my head.  
  • (That must have been the tricep pushups.)
  • And budgets.
  • Actually, I like budgets.  
  • (It's the CPA in me.)
  • What I don't like is budgets right now.
  • And winter.
  • I generally like snow. 
  • I even like it best when it snows inches and inches (and feet).  All at once.
  • But I'm tiring of the cold.  And the ice.  And the dark.
  • What I'd really like to do . . . is curl up with a book . . . and some knitting.  Maybe a garden catalog or two.  And a drink of . . . something.
  • That would certainly help.
  • But it would probably be best if I just . . . suck it up.  
  • And adjust.

A Sunday Lament on Monday Morning: A Riff

  • Ahhhhhh.  Sunday.  The whole day lays ahead.  Unstructured.
  • (She said upon awakening.)
  • Coffee.
  • Dogs.
  • Let's make a list of all the things we want to do today.
  • (She said outloud.  To the dogs.) 
  • (Because the other human in the house was still asleep.)
  • Plan the week's menus.
  • Make a grocery list.
  • Start the laundry.
  • Shopping.
  • Get next week . . .
  • (a really busy one, she remembered)
  • Under control and planned out on the calendar.
  • (And it's not even 10:00 yet!)
  • Plan the week's blog posts.
  • Heck.  Plan the month's blog posts.
  • (Why stop there?  Let's plan out the YEAR!!!)
  • Organize the desk.
  • Catch up the filing.
  • Pay the bills.
  • (3:30?  Already?)
  • Organize the photos!
  • Plan the Thanksgiving menu!
  • (Why stop there?  Let's plan out CHRISTMAS!!!)
  • Renew the license plates.
  • Chop the vegetables.
  • Hold the ladder for Tom.
  • (Why stop there?  Let's renew our passport!)
  • Pack away the Halloween that's still sitting there on the dining room table.
  • And fill the empty spaces with turkeys and cornucopias and fresh squash.
  • (DEFINITELY toss the rotting squash in the centerpiece.  Gross.)
  • Go for a run.
  • (Hurry!  Before it gets dark!)
  • Walk the dogs.
  • (Dark now.  Don't forget the headlamp!)
  • Dinner.
  • Last of the laundry.
  • Load the dishwasher.
  • (Where did the day go????)
  • (It's dark.)
  • (It's late.)
  • (I didn't get to HALF the things on my list!!!)
  • (Maybe because I planned 48 hours worth of activity . . . for a 16 hour day?)
  • And now. 
  • Monday.
  • (Maybe next week I'll create a more realistic list.)
  • (But . . . probably not.)

Fighting It: A Riff

  • Really. 
  • Fall is here.
  • My garden is fading.   (The parts not ravaged by puppy, that is.) It's dark earlier at night; it's dark later in the morning.  Orion is in the sky. Some leaves are turning; some are even falling. 
  • (But not many.)
  • (Yet.)
  • Lots of people are talking about football.
  • (Not me.)
  • I'm talking about planting bulbs.
  • (Fat chance, though, with Jo-Jo around.)
  • Yes.  Fall is coming.
  • I, technically, don't mind the change of seasons.
  • And, as far as seasons go, fall is one of the better seasons.
  • (Apples.  Pumpkin-flavored everything.  Winter squash.  Lovely leaves.)
  • But, still.
  • I'm a Summer Girl at heart.
  • And I fight fall. 
  • (Every year.)
  • Still wearing shorts.
  • Still wearing flip-flops.
  • Still leaving my house without a jacket.
  • Still opening the windows.
  • Still wanting my wine on the patio.
  • Still drinking iced tea.
  • Even when it's 48-friggin'-degrees.
  • And you know what?
  • Deep-in-my-bones, can't-get-warm FREEZING.
  • Guess it's time to face reality.
  • (But I don't want to.)
  • I'll drink HOT tea today!
  • (In my flip-flops.  On the patio.)
  • (Wrapped in a blanket.)

In Search of Spring

Spring is slow in coming this year. 
(Like, really slow.
But yesterday was sunny, so I put on my scarf.  And my hat.  And my gloves. 
(Really.  So Sick. Of. It.)

And went in search of spring.

Garden Buddha was basking in the sun. 
(Which had melted off his coat of frost by this time.)


And a few of my daffodils survived last weeks deluge of rain, followed by freeze and snow. 
(But, overall, they took a substantial hit.)


I found this lovely, singleton tulip in the middle of one of my newer garden beds. 
(I have no idea where it came from.  It's a welcome "volunteer" -- I know I didn't plant it.  Surprise!)


I found large swaths of wild violets in my grass. 
(Lawn purists would be horrified, I know.  But they make me smile.  As they slowly take over my lawn.  And creep into my garden beds.)


My hellebores are blooming like crazy! 
(Such dependable, sturdy harbingers of Spring.)


And I even found a little bee, hard at work, in one of them!
(Spotting this little bee was such a delight!)


I found birds trying to break through the thin coat of ice on my birdbath,
buds on most of my trees, and new growth emerging in the perennial beds.
(Even some of my hostas!)


I also discovered that I have lost my ongoing battle with invasive grass in one of my garden beds.  I'm going to have to dig it all up . . . or nuke it with Round Up. 
(But that's a story for another day.)

Spring.  It's out there.
(You just gotta know where to look.)


Plan B

Okay.  So I got my beloved computer to the Apple store in Grand Rapids yesterday.  Through a near-blizzard, just to make things even more convenient.  And , really, it's all going to be just fine.  But it is going to be several days before I get My Precious back.

I miss it.

But mostly, I am amazed at how ill-prepared I am to live without it. 

Take blogging, for example.

I had plans for the stories I wanted to tell on the blog this week.  A little baby sweater I knit.  A couple more interesting tidbits from the Flower Show.  A cute little Spring card I scanned. 

But I forgot something.

I forgot that my photos are on my Mac.  And that they are on my backup drive.  Which is only formatted for a Mac.  And that my laptop - the only computer I have at my disposal at present - is Not a Mac.

So.  I have no good access to my pictures. 

But that's okay.  Because . . . I have no photo editor right now, either. 

What I do have is a Windows laptop that I use to access the computer network at my office.  There isn't much on it.  Just what I need for work.  

My planned blog posts will have to wait.  For now, you get . . .

Plan B!



(Thanks iPhone Hipstamatic . . . for being easy to deal with on my computer that isn't a Mac.)

Heavy Load: A Ten on Tuesday Riff


Today . . . there is a song screaming in my head.

Here.  I'll share.


Because today is a Hard Day.  And I need a little George Harrison to keep me on track.

Give me hope.

Help me cope.

Ten Random Things on My Mind . . .


  1. My computer. . . my beloved, precious iMac . . . is going in for a replacement hard drive.  (Part of an Apple Recall.)  Today.*
  2. This makes me nervous. 
  3. Really nervous.
  4. Because, well.  I depend on my computer.  I need my computer.  (I'll just say it. . . )  I love my computer.
  5. And, really, there isn't anything wrong with my iMac.  No indication of any kind of hard drive malfunction at all.  But the deadline for replacement is drawing near.
  6. So I need to do it.
  7. Just in case.
  8. Brian (who is home for Spring Break) has been helping me get through my Separation Anxiety.  He reminded me that  it's much better to replace the hard drive . . . while the current hard drive is functional (and, thus, a back-up in itself).  It would be worse (oh so much worse) if my hard drive crashed.  (I can't bear the thought.)
  9. So.  To Grand Rapids and the Apple store we go. 
  10. It's a heavy load. . .


*I have no idea how long I'll be without my computer.  Maybe a day or two; maybe a week or more.  They wouldn't say at the Apple Store (although I'm pretty sure they have a good idea).  Also, no Apple Store in Kalamazoo, so there is a distance hassle as well.  I still have a Windows laptop that I use for work, so I won't lose total touch.  But. . . if you don't hear from me for awhile, you'll know why!


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.



Just a Riff


  • It's Monday.
  • I'm sick of being sick.
  • Tom is in a charming village in Switzerland.  And I am not.
  • I am here in Michigan.  Where we used to have winter, but now have spring even in January. 
  • Sure.  It snows a bit now and again.  But it's too warm to stay on the ground. 
  • My garden is being overtaken by weeds.  In January.  A friend planted bulbs the other day.  Bulbs.  In January.
  • We had temperatures in the 60s (F) over the weekend.  The weather people called it "The January Thaw."  Can it be a "thaw" if there was nothing to thaw?  I wonder about these weather people.  Not all weather is an "event."  Get over yourselves.
  • Can you tell I'm . . . out of sorts?
  • It's because I've still got The Crud.  I'm functional, sure.  It's not totally wiping me out.  It's just. . . Still Here.  And it's settled in my eyes.  I can't wear my contacts.  I can't wear mascara.  (Not sure which of those bothers me more.)
  • I watched the Golden Globes last night.  Just to see what people were wearing.  (I'm Like That.)  I hate the Golden Globes, generally, and last night was no exception.  But I did see some pretty dresses.  And that was the point.  (More Tina Fey and Amy Poehler would have been nice, too.  After all. . . they were the HOSTS.)
  • I switched over to Downton Abbey, of course, and took a break from the Golden Globes.  Was anyone else just shocked (shocked, I tell you!) when Matthew Saved Downton???  Yeah.  Me neither.
  • I love that show.  But it is rather predictable.  (Except this plot line with Bates.  Let's wrap it up and move on, I say.)
  • Tom and I went to see Zero Dark Thirty over the weekend.  It was good, but not My Kind of Movie.  At all.  (Would a little character development be such a bad thing?)
  • It's time to get to work now.  It's snowing a little.  Maybe I'll pretend I'm in Switzerland, too.



The Restorative Power of Soil: A Riff


  • The Festival continues.
  • We're in the home stretch now; I can see the end.
  • But there are still details to manage and vehicles to maintain and shuttles to run.
  • And rain in the forecast.
  • Which makes me nervous from a flights-on-time standpoint.
  • (But I'm trying to just ignore that right now.)
  • For me, the Festival is a stamina thing.
  • You see, I have a nice, neat little schedule. 
  • Normally.
  • A part-time job that has major deadlines once in a while.
  • And a micro-part-time job that doesn't.
  • And then I added this Festival gig to the mix.
  • It's tough to jump into full-time-even-weekends-and-on-call-even-when-you're-off.
  • I'm not whining or complaining.
  • (At least, not at this moment.  I've done plenty of that.  Just ask my Mom.  Or Tom.)
  • I'm just stating the facts.
  • Maybe I'm just too old for this.  I think that must be it.
  • Because I'm really tired. Physically and emotionally.
  • Despite the dark chocolate peanut M&Ms.
  • And the wine.
  • My spirits are sagging.
  • Yesterday afternoon, Tom encouraged me to get out in the garden.
  • First, he gently nudged.  I think you'd feel better if you got out in the garden.  When I just sat in the chair like a blob and whimpered, he got a bit more stern.  Get out in the garden before I strangle you!
  • Not really.
  • Not out loud, at least.
  • But he did encourage me to get out there.
  • So I did.
  • I weeded.
  • And pruned.
  • And dug out some invaders.
  • For a couple of hours.
  • I feel so much better.
  • We're in the final week of the festival. 
  • I think I can make it!
  • (Pass the dark chocolate peanut M&Ms, please!)


A Clear Desk is Totally Overrated


(Photo of my early-blooming rhododendron.  Because who really wants to see my desk right now.)

  • My desk always reflects my level of "busy."
  • If things are neat and tidy - if you can actually see the wood-grain of the surface - if means that things are at a lull and I have some extra time on my hands.
  • For the most part, though, there's a bit of chaos going on there on top of my desk.  Piles of paper and materials neatly organized for work or creative projects.  Things I'm considering.  Stuff I need to do. 
  • Not bad.  Certainly manageable.  I am a "visual" person.  I need to "see" what's up and what I need to do.
  • I am not one of those clear-surface kind of desk-people.  Never will be.  Don't care to try.  Finally just accepted it.
  • But.  There are times when . . . my desk gets totally out of control.   Times when my desk starts to look like an avalanche. . . just waiting to happen.  The piles get bigger.  The papers spread out.  The calculator gets buried under paper.  The phone gets buried under paper.  The piles get moved to the floor.  More piles emerge.
  • And then. . . there are the computers.  I use an iMac at home.  I use a Windows 7-based laptop for my work.  When I'm really busy, I have them both set up on my desk.  Side-by-side. 
  • That takes up a lot of desktop real estate.
  • Guess what's going on now?
  • Yeah.  Right now, I'm at "ORANGE" (glowing, nearly exploding "ORANGE") on the "Busy-ness Threat Scale" -- and headed straight to "RED."
  • Which means . . . I can barely get to my desk, let alone sit down to work at it. . . and soon, I'll lose sight of it altogether.
  • Seriously. 
  • I have my "system," though.  It looks bad.  It looks like disaster waiting to happen.  But it seems to work for me.  I know what's in which pile.  I can find things (amazingly) quickly.  I get things accomplished.  It's just. . . well. . . think Pig-Pen, of Charlie Brown fame.
  • Tom, by contrast, is a neat, put-everything-in-its-place kind of guy.  He thrives on efficiency.  He is streamlined.  He is one of those clear-desk people.  He does not understand "piles" as a filing "system."  He can always see the surface of his desk.
  • (But sometimes he is absent-minded and forgets his phone, or a file, or even his entire briefcase.  I love this about him.  But it never happens to me.)
  • Anyway.  He recoils in horror when he sees my desk.
  • I actually think it makes him physically ill.
  • He doesn't make eye-contact with me when he comes into my office when my desk is Like This.  Instead, I can see his eyes dart to the piles on my floor.  I can see the judgment, the absolute wonder, in his eyes.
  • How DOES she function?  I can see those thoughts roll through his mind.
  • So.
  • That's where I am right now.  Hunkered down behind stacks of files, a few piles of books, two computers, about 3 pairs of cheaters, office supplies, and the flotsam and jetsam of my life.
  • Works for me!