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Roomba Always on My Mind

One thing I noticed about this time of year is how a week ago, I was staring at the beautiful treasure at The Chicago Botanic Garden and now I see people tossing out their trees. Life keeps rolling on.  But I digress.

Splendid calm at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Splendid calm at the Chicago Botanic Garden

I was pretty quiet in 2015 and it was for a good reason because I was making many positive changes – the most impressive being that I am now employed at a place I love and have wanted to work for years.  I really enjoy my job and delight in my 1 mile and 1/2 jaunt to work! Not only do I get to wear purple – it is encouraged!  My quality of life in the last year has increased beyond my wildest expectations.

One of my favorite distractions has been learning how to play the guitar at my weekly guitar lesson down the street. It is quite the joy to be able to leave at 1:57 for a 2:00 lesson.  Over the past year, I have almost lost my prized purple pick more than a few times to which my teacher, Dan, can confirm.  Something happens when I leave my lesson and I think I am putting the pick in my pocket and I can never find it; but then I get home and it somehow finds it way on the floor of my walk-in closet.  While there are many more purple picks that can be purchased to replace that one, I have to have THAT one.  One week, my pick didn’t reappear before my next lesson and I showed up, dejected.  I walked in to see my smiling teacher holding my purple pick!   You would think he had given me a million dollars; it was a relief to be reunited with my pick!

My musical world kept in tune with my purple pick, tuner, and guitar, of course.

My musical world kept in tune with my purple pick, tuner, and guitar, of course.

We have worked on many songs and although I have been partial to Elvis Presley and Patsy Cline,  I am exploring other artists now because I like to do mash-ups of various songs and improvise some melody mixed in within the chords. Per Dan’s observation, a break-through moment was working on “Always On My Mind“.  It just flows for me, and I can easily connect with the song and not think when I play it. It gives me peace.

When I went to visit my brother and his family for Thanksgiving, I noticed a whirling circular object floating on the floor.  It was the robot-like vacuum cleaner Roomba.  While I had heard of it, I never thought I could afford one.  Sure enough, it was on sale at Costco so I bought it as soon as I got home.  My world has changed with Roomba!  I guess you are supposed to name it, but I haven’t gotten around to it and I digress, once again. Read the rest of this entry

Flower Power or Garden Grace

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Muse.” This is a deviation as to how I would normally begin a post but I digress.

For the past several years, gardens have dazzled me. To that end, this isn’t the first time I have written about flowers and gardens, but I think this is my first photo challenge.  Since I didn’t have my coveted guitar lesson today, I went to the local rose garden and took in some beautiful sights allowing me to decompress and embrace some peace!  Flowers are colorful and resilient, yet delicate and dear. Enjoy 🙂

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Life with a Gator

15 years ago, I bought a third floor, triple exposure, walk-up condo in the heart of a college town.  It offered a daily workout with the stairs and amazing treetop views but there was no outside space, among other things.

Flashback to the night before the move to the condo:

My brother is a Mensch. He flew into “help me move”.  When he offered his services, he thought he was helping me “settle in” my new condo. He was wrong.

The afternoon before, he arrived at my apartment to survey the situation.  I assured him that I was in good shape.

Bro: “Where are the boxes?”

Sis: “Huh?”

Bro gets on phone: “Dad, she hasn’t packed anything, there are no boxes!”

My dad, his then-girlfriend and my brother scoured the neighboring towns for crates and packing vessels to enable safe transport of my belongings. I just pointed and they packed. Really!

A few days after getting organized in the second bedroom of my new place, I saw a massive object on the floor. I thought it was a mangled car tire.  It wasn’t.  It was a condo warming present from my brother and the perfect gift for one without an outside space. Read the rest of this entry

Symphonic Sounds of Summertime

I grew up on a bustling block in the north shore of Chicago.  The location offered many conveniences such as being within three blocks of all of my schools until I entered high school (but I still walked there, too).  Very few footsteps led me to a plethora of tennis courts, a massive playfield, lagoon and bike path that ended at a floral paradise and I was within blocks of the many offerings of downtown.

However, what I remember most of my childhood on that convenient street was the cocoon of camaraderie, fun, and safety.  One could hear the symphonic sounds of summertime and see a string of smiles!

My brother always had my back, on our block, when we were growing up

My brother always had my back, on our block, when we were growing up

There were tons of kids on that street. We would play “Kick the Can” until the parents would start calling our names to go in, sibling by sibling.  We’d have block parties.  We’d jump in swimming pools made of plastic that were less than a foot deep and thought we had it made.

We could hear the bouncing of a basketball before it took aim and swooshed through the net. The woosh of the wiffle ball as it soared across a yard. Neighbors would just play in one’s yard even if the homeowner wasn’t there.  We could hear the smacking sound of the tennis ball hitting the garages and the groan as another tennis ball made its way into the gutter, resulting from an overeager groundstroke.

Getting Read the rest of this entry

Patriotic Toes Series 2013

Last year I introduced the patriotic toe series, my greeting card, if you will, to pay homage to the birthday celebration of America.  

I have a few vivid memories of his holiday. One is with firecrackers, bought in another state, proudly popping in the backyard of one of my honorary auntie’s. I giggled and covered my ears. I thought it was remarkable that a mom would bond with her son this way. She’d offer, “Which ones are we doing next?”

Lots of parades. I remember observing a lifelong friend march with his high school band. This was my introduction to celebrity as a young teenager. He was sweating from the intense combination of the sun, his wool suit, and that perky teenager clapping in the crowd, as music boomed from his drum. That must have been a tough gig.

I was the floatmaster when I worked at a bank. The first year I was able to rally the troops to build a float, it was a labor of love!  The next year we realized we could rent one. Our first one was much better, due to the sweat equity, no doubt. But I digress.

Riveted readers who follow my toes may recall that I don’t have an easy time finding comfortable sandals. 

Which Sandal Captures my Soul, I mean Sole of my Foot.

Which Sandal Captures my Soul, I mean Sole of my Foot?

Yes…those are red, white, and blue lights dancing on top of my feet... Read the rest of this entry

Double Dipping Debacle

Last Friday was National Pretzel Day which makes me think of white chocolate covered pretzels in the bulk food section at the grocery store. Do you ever notice those people who offer you samples at the grocery stores? They are usually crammed at the end of the aisle with no room to breathe. They appear bored, but maybe that’s because I’ve lived the dream!

When I graduated from college, (or maybe it was during college breaks), I launched into the world of being one of those spirited samplers who dressed as a future banker with a card table stowed in her dad’s wagon. One of my closest friends (still to this day), worked for a demo company. Buttons enticed me into the low-commitment gig to give me some extra cash.

Part of the delight of doing the sampling gig meant I had to go to a training seminar near the airport.  Platters of foods were passed around and we (soon-to-be-sampler specialists) watched the techniques with awe. My biting personality was allowed to thrive in this environment. I really wanted to behave for my friend, Buttons, but when I saw the destruction of the guacamole take place in front of me, I had to speak.

This older guy took a chip, chomped on it Read the rest of this entry

Promotion in Motion Commotion

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to travel back to a childhood-like state of innocence and color some eggs at a friend’s house. Given my lack of blogging over the last couple of weeks, it may not be too surprising that my creativity was clogged.

I’m not an artist so you won’t find any pretty drawings on any eggs that I concoct.  My “artwork” is all about words.  Words that have been trapped for a while. Finally, I stopped over thinking and the words flew out of me.  Thank goodness.

It was a like a free-write session on eggs.  Kind of cool. I think my fellow egg designers were a bit baffled by my artistic expression, but I had a good time and it was almost therapeutic.

Elizabeth Andrew said, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”

I’ve been investing much of my free time in Read the rest of this entry

Two Years of Laughter and Tears

My blog turns two next week!  I certainly haven’t ranted as much as I could. In fact, the one time I did, my mom said, “That wasn’t very nice.”  I reminded her what a rant was and also thought, “Were you not there in the house when I was growing up?”  But, I digress.

I have to say that I never thought I would be THAT blogger who can gain traffic when someone types, “Dental Floss Flicking“, “Baby Door Hanger“, “Lavender Tie with Blue Shirt“, or “Squirrels in My Pants 2005” – but for people who do, their dreams are fulfilled by connecting with some post written by me.

Here are snippets from three of my favorite posts.  You should probably click on the links to read the whole thing, because they may seem out of context. But maybe you expect to be confused after you leave here. Is it just me, or are you hearing Kenny Rogers sing, “Through The Years” right now?!

For reasons I don’t understand, one of my most popular posts is Read the rest of this entry

Saving Daylight

I was a little thrown off last weekend because one of my friends sent me an email saying it was time to lose an hour.  Fortunately, I totally forgot what she had said and didn’t do it.  I went to work and about two hours into the day, I screamed to my neighbor…”Was I late?!”

Fast forward, or should I say “spring forward” to last night/this morning. I still get confused between spring back/fall forward – whatever. Thankfully, my electronic gadgets tell me what time it is.

There I am, staring at my cell phone at 1:59am, glazing over email word play while telling my sinus head attack to go from where it came.

I said, this is the year, I am going to see my hour get taken right in front of me.  I realize this can probably happen if I drive through the state of Indiana but this way is much more convenient and safer than staring at my phone while driving.

In an instant, Read the rest of this entry

We’re Not Idiots…

I received a cartoon from a friend earlier today. It had a bunch of pictures of people being distracted by a smart phone while various activities occurred around them. The quote from Albert Einstein is… Read the rest of this entry

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