Friday, July 29, 2011

Having Fun is Hard Work!


It's practically a foreign word to me. Oh, sure...I indulge in junk food (too much, really) and in playing time-wasting games on the computer.

For the most part, though, I indulge the other people in my life. I indulge my son by voicing his Minnie Mouse doll and digging for buried treasure in the dining room...over and over and over again.

I indulge my husband by, in many ways, being the antiquated housewife who does all the cooking and cleaning...and by listening to him ramble on about musical things that I don't really understand.

It's hard-wired into my nature to indulge the people around me, but it's not in my nature to indulge myself. It makes me feel guilty. And selfish. Two feelings that leave me with a gnawing feeling in my gut.

And it shouldn't be that way. You can't care for others when you have not cared for yourself. If you give away every piece of yourself, there is nothing left...and nothing can't care for anyone!

So I must be more me. To my needs. Not selfishly so. But I need to figure out what I need to feel full (and not just another handful of popcorn, thank you very much). I need to fill my reserve tanks for myself so that I can continue to empty my existing tanks on those I love and adore.

I think I'll start by following my friend's plan. Laura is going to set weekly creativity goals for herself and put them out there in the blogosphere for all the world to see. You can't stick to goals without accountability (and positive reinforcement and praise), so I'm going to follow her lead.

In the meantime, I'm sticking to one current goal: posting one image per day on my Flickr photostream. Here's today's image: a shot of the House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts.

Monday, July 25, 2011

We Still Have a Cat?

With the hustle and bustle of having a toddler, our first baby tends to get pushed by the wayside. Poor guy!

This is Schroeder. I should point out that he spent his first couple of days with us as a Nadia. The guy at the pet store assured us that he was a she, a fact that the vet quickly corrected.

We had initially planned on rescuing a kitty from the shelter and were merely browsing at the pet store. Schroeder was in the cage with an older cat who wanted nothing to do with the rambunctious kitten. I played with the little guy through the bars for a couple of minutes, enjoying his sweet antics. When I stood up to leave, he climbed the bars like they were a ladder, batting his paw through the top of the cage.

I couldn't get him out of my mind. In fact, two days later, I convinced (and it didn't take much) my husband to return to the store in order to see if the kitten were still there.

He was and was just as cute as I remembered him. I felt like he remembered me and was begging me to take him home. Still, I was indecisive.

Until I saw the family with two devilish looking little boys come in. They looked at my cat (for then he was mine in my heart) and said, "That one!"

They were the types of boys who tie paper bags to a cat's feet and tin cans to its tale. I just knew it.

So I raced to the guy at the counter, demanded my cat be released from the cage and turned over to my custody!

And now he's been a part of the family for eleven years. He plays second fiddle more times than he deserves, but I still love him so.


Thursday, July 21, 2011


Hubby and I stepped further into the 21st century by purchasing iPhones. I have to admit. I am a sucker for new technology. Especially when it is fun. And oh, yes....this is fun.

One of the areas that I'm enjoying exploring is all the "Apps" that you can get. I have a grocery list, a Kindle, TMZ, and even a zombie scanner (because you just never know...).

I excited to further explore the photography apps. Some of them are silly and lame, especially compared to what I can do with Photoshop. But some offer neat little processings that offer a different style and approach that I'm eager to play with.

Since I'm looking particularly human today, I decided to play with a couple of selfies in the muted, morning light of my bedroom.

My favorite is what I'm calling an "abstract self-portrait." Quite frankly, between you and me, it was a matter of hitting the photo button while I was still moving my phone into place. BUT that'll remain our little secret. Okay? Okay.


Fun, right? I have some more ideas for this fun little app. And I'm eying up that Hipstamatic app, too! I have some ideas tucked under my hat for a future series....if I can only find the notepad where I wrote the original idea down...


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Frantic and Frenetic

My husband is a crazy man. I say that with all due love and compassion, but I also say this:

I am very tired.

At the end of the school year, he found that he was being moved from his preferred position as an elementary instrumental music teacher to the open position of high school instrumental music teacher. The "elder statesman," as it were, retired this year, and with the economic crisis in Pennsylvania, the district did not hire to fill the empty job. They just rearranged all the existing music teachers.

So, now he has also signed up to be the high school band director (because really, he is the only one who can and should), in addition to the million other things he does.

What does all this mean? The summer has been anything but relaxing. It has been a frenetic spree of road trips and household projects and summer lessons and phone calls and meetings and a million other things.

Granted, the man I married has no rest in his soul. He can't sit for much longer than two minutes before he's bored and antsy. I know this and accept this about him.

But I can't keep up the current pace for much longer. He's like an ant under the glare of a giant magnifying glass, his movements frantic and frenetic as he darts around with no direction and no plan other than to just go and move.

I get it. He's trying to squeeze in as much summer vacation as he can. And it's been great to get out so much and do so much (and take so many pictures).

But I need a break. I can't keep up with him and our little guy and the household chores.

And I definitely am not getting to do anything that I want to do just for myself.


(Happy place. Happy place.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Home Again, Home Again....Jiggity Jig

Our final meal? Bar food and lots of it!!

By the last day of our vacation, we could feel it. It was time to go home. You know that feeling you get? The one that says, "Well, we've had our fun, but I want my familiar back."

Yeah, that one. So it was time to head out! But not before picking up a "tankard" of coffee. The little guy loved that word and probably said it for the first half hour of the drive! The seven hour drive...

And then the ride began. Mile after mile, hour after hour, of this:

You know...There really is no place like home. Especially after a drive like that!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Misty Boston

Now...Where was I? Ah, yes...on vacation before life stepped in and piled up. (Though I suppose that's better than stepping in a pile, though I digress...)

Our second full day in New England was partially spent in Boston. We took the train in, which the little guy and Minnie Mouse just loved:

Yes, I had to make sure Minnie could see...

As soon as we arrived in Boston, we could see what kind of day it was going to be. But although sugar does dissolve when it gets wet, we trusted that we would survive a little dampness and would still have a good time!

I really need to process these pictures...

Our plan was to walk the Freedom Trail, which picks up not far from the train station (maybe two blocks away). Following the trail will take you past many sites that were important during the Revolutionary War.

We are here...or here...where are we?

So, let's start our tour, shall we?

Old North Church and the Paul Revere statue
(Seriously...I have to process these pics!)

Paul Revere's house (I have a funny story about that...for a later post)

The marketplace at Fenuil Hall. Soggy, huh?

Old meets new

Um...I don't remember what this is! LOL! But it's cool, right?

The furthest point in our travels: Boston Commons

By this point, we were chilly and damp. Our feet were tired. So we returned to the station, headed back to Salem, and enjoyed a nice New England steamed dinner before hitting the hay. Sigh....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Another Day in Soggy Salem

We really tried not to let the constant mist and rain stop us from getting around Salem at least a little bit. There was no way we were just going to sit in the hotel for the second half of our vacation!

Like I said in the previous post, before the witchcraft trials, Salem Town was known for its active maritime trade. Buildings from that history are scattered all over Salem.

Witch Trials Memorial

Most of Salem's history is mired in the witch trials of 1692. A memorial park is set up next to the town's old cemetery, a place where accused witches could not be buried. The memorial park is packed with so much meaning. There are benches inscribed with the names of those who lost their lives due to the trials.

At the entrance are inscribed the vows of innocence from the accused. Each quote is cut their protests were cut off in life.

Rain, rain, go away...

The House of the Seven Gables
(I really need to process all these images...)

The rain seemed to be determined to ruin our day, so we decided to drive out to the Salem Willows Park. It's a free little amusement park just a couple of miles from the House of the Seven Gables. It's kind of like a mini-Coney Island: park food, arcades, etc. It's set right on the bay, so there's a beach, too. And you can look over at the multi-million dollar homes in Beverly.

"I thought YOU had the GPS."

Normally, the little guy wants little to do with these contraptions, but that suddenly changed on this trip and we could barely get him out of them...except when he was learning how to play Skeeball!

"Just like dat!"

And then we drove back to Salem and stayed indoors the rest of the day because there was nothing else we could do in that awful weather. Sheesh!

No, seriously. Rain, rain, go away.