Saturday, September 22, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 22 - Time

I took a picture of the clock when I laid back down to go to sleep after having to get up and clean up after Dinah, who had a hairball very early this morning. Bob is out of town, at the Lake of the Ozarks fishing with friends, so I had hoped to have a long lazy morning sleeping in without anyone's alarm clock going off.

There's nothing quite like the sound of an animal getting ready to throw up that can make you jump up, wide awake from a sound sleep. I suppose a child crying would do that also, but cats are what I have experience with.

I was able to grab a towel and put it in front of her, and for once, she didn't back away from me like she's done in the past. I'm grateful for that. :)

Photo: 9/22: Take a walk

Friday, September 21, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 21 - Alignment

I went looking for the photograph of Pyewacket where she was lying in the "kitty holder" in the window with her front legs dangling down, showing how nicely the stripes on her legs matched/aligned. But I have apparently set the header file for the whole site to automatically redirect to the new Blogspot blog address, so I need to sit down and figure that out. I'll do it one day, not today. In the meantime, I thought Jojo's legs aligned pretty well.

I'm grateful, though, that I have the skill to do that. It's interesting, when you know how to do something so well that it's part of your DNA, almost, how it's hard to understand that everyone doesn't know how to do it. HTML is one thing, knitting is another. Or sewing -- it's second nature to me to be able to understand a sewing pattern, to take something already made and figure out how to make it -- it's easy to forget that not everyone has that skill.

I'm grateful for the female lineage in my family -- my grandmother, who taught me how to crochet, and my mother, who taught me how to sew -- and the home ec classes, and Girl Scout meetings, where I learned to knit.

Photo: 9/21: Alignment

Thursday, September 20, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 20 - Take a walk

I need to start walking again, and I hope to do that now that the weather has cooled off. It's been awhile since I went out walking every night; 100+ degree temperatures don't exactly contribute to wanting to be out in the evenings. But it's the perfect weather now.

I'm grateful for the neighborhood that we live in. I know that not every place is safe. I am still aware of my surroundings and don't walk after dark, and Bob always knows basically where I am, and I have my phone, of course. But it's a nice neighborhood, with neighbors out in the yards most evenings, and while I don't actually know many of them, I do know them to speak to. I feel safe in our neighborhood, and I'm grateful for that.

Photo: 9/20: Take a walk

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 19 - Exotic

I looked at my list to see what I was supposed to take a picture of, and saw that it was "Exotic." I purposely didn't give a lot of thought to the list, I just wrote out a list of words that I would have to figure out later, so I couldn't really think of what I could photograph that would convey "exotic." But I stopped at the grocery store on the way home tonight and there were exotic pumpkins (or squash, I guess) piled up in front of the store, so I took a picture of them. Then, when I got inside, I looked at the floral department right inside the door, and there were "Exotic Black Calla Lillies." So I guess I just need to have faith that the right thing will come along.

I'm grateful for the wonderful abundance that we have available--a place to buy groceries and flowers a couple of blocks from my house. It's a little more expensive than some stores, but it's very convenient. I don't do much shopping there--I do most of my every day shopping at Super Target--but it's nice to know that it's there when I just need a couple of things, or need to run out for something in the evening.

They have a lot of gourmet stuff, a nice deli section, and a great Chinese food bar. Oh, and an exotic olive bar. Lots of fun stuff that I don't normally buy, but it's nice to have a place to get those things for special occasions.

Photo: 9/19: Exotic

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 18 - Animal Instincts

I hadn't really planned for the "photo a day" and the "30 days of gratitude" to be the same subjects, but it has kind of worked out that way.

The photo is of Connor, the German Shepherd at our office. He's one of Dave's dogs, the other being Jojo. When Jojo sees one of us coming, she'll flip over on her back, displaying her tummy for a tummy rub. It gets her lots of attention, and I think Connor has been watching that. Recently he's started doing the same thing, flopping over on his side and rolling to his back, trying to look cute. He is cute, but he's a big guy, and it's kind of funny to see him doing it. But it does, of course, get him a treat and a tummy rub, so his strategy is working.

I'm always surprised when animals learn something on their own, i.e., not a trick that they've been taught, but something that they figure out on their own.

I remember Pyewacket figuring out how to make the dry food in the automatic feeder come down and fill the bowl when it got stuck. Dinah still hasn't figured that one out. But Dinah has figured out that patting me on the face with her paw in the middle of the night is a sure-fire way of waking me up when she wants to be cuddled. Nothing else, except maybe throwing up, gets quite as immediate a reaction.

Of course, all the dogs at work are now conditioned to show up in the morning at each of the offices that have treats for them--or is it us that are conditioned? I think that's more likely.

I'm grateful for all of the animals in my life that give me so much joy. Our lives would be dull and boring without them, I think.

Photo: 9/18: Animal Instincts

Monday, September 17, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 17 - Memory

I know I've written about Evernote before. I jokingly said in a meeting the other day that it's my brain, but really, it is.

I discovered a long time ago that I can't keep everything in my head. I would wake up in the middle of the night with lists in my head, trying to remember everything that I needed to do. I figured out that if I write it down, I don't have to worry about it. So I started keeping a pad of paper and a pen on my bedside table so I could write things down when I woke up.

Then when I got the iPhone (and later, the iPad), I discovered Evernote. There are a lot of different apps that do similar things, and they're probably just as good, but I picked Evernote and have stuck with it.

I put lists of things that I want to remember--books I want to read, ideas about things to write. When I get a new piece of equipment, like a phone or DVD player, I find the instruction manual online and save it into Evernote. I keep my work to-do lists there. I keep lists of the medications that we take, knitting patterns, recipes. I just stick everything there so I know when I'm looking for something, it's going to be in one place.

I'm grateful for Evernote, for giving me a place to keep everything, and I'm grateful that I got in the habit of putting everything there. I'm grateful that I don't have to keep my grocery lists in my head anymore.

Photo: 9/17: Memory

Sunday, September 16, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 16 - My obsession

I guess I have a lot of obsessions. I sort of hate to admit it, but yeah, I'm a little obsessive-compulsive. Most of my obsessions are fairly harmless, I think. This photo illustrates two of them -- sock knitting and Vera Bradley.

I go through periods of sock knitting fever. I knit and knit, then I lay off for a few months. I love sock knitting because it's portable, and because of the cool self-patterning yarn. When I'm in one of my crazy sock knitting phases, I spend time at yarn shops and yarn websites and collect sock patterns (although I never use any patterns except my basic one). I love all the little accouterments--the tiny bamboo needles, the little stitch markers that I make, yarn snippers, the coilless safety pins I use as markers, the little pill box I keep them in. And the knitting bag that I keep all of it in.

Lately, I've been sock knitting with yarn that comes in 50 gram balls, enough for one sock, rather than the 100 gram balls I normally use. A 50 gram ball of yarn fits perfectly (along with all the aforementioned bits and pieces) in a Vera Bradley medium cosmetic bag.

Which leads into the Vera Bradley obsession. I don't think I've ever paid full price for any VB piece, but I do occasionally check on Ebay, and I get their email sale announcements. They've got such a great marketing technique--they change the patterns every season, so if you find one you like, you'd better buy everything you want in it, because it will be gone in a few months. Or else you haunt eBay for it. Right now I have everything I want in this pattern--one purse, one tote bag, one wallet, a lanyard, and the cosmetic case that I use for knitting. (Oh, and the backpack that I had such problems with on eBay. But we won't mention that. It resides in a plastic bin in the basement.)

I do know that it's crazy. But pretty harmless, I think. I'm grateful that my obsessions don't run to drugs, drinking or gambling, and that they are so easily fulfilled.

Photo: 9/16: My obsession

Saturday, September 15, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 15 - Artist Date

One of the main tenets of Julia Cameron's "Artist's Way" is the artist date, basically time spent by yourself in creative or inspirational pursuits. For instance, you could take a walk with your sketchbook, go to an art supply shop and buy some new supplies, or write in a journal. Extra points for doing something for your inner child, like getting new crayons or fingerpainting.

Here are some ideas.

I did this on Saturday; I went to JoAnn and spent as much time as I wanted (probably around an hour) wandering around, looking at everything, looking at beads and magazines and art supplies, and was particularly struck by the new Halloween items.

One of the SARK quotes that I always remember is something like, "Inspiration follows action, not the other way around." In other words, to get inspired, do something. Write something, even if it's junk (like Anne Lamott's "shitty first drafts" advice). Paint something, make something, write something. If you can't think of anything to write, make lists.

James Altucher:
Every day I write down ideas. I write down so many ideas that it hurts my head to come up with one more. Then I try to write down five more.

. . .

The “idea muscle” atrophies within days if you don’t use it. Just like walking. If you don’t use your legs for a week, they atrophy. You need to exercise the idea muscle. It takes about 3-6 months to build up once it atrophies. Trust me on this.

It's the same way with the "creative muscle." The more you create, whether it's writing or painting or sewing, the more you do, the more ideas come to you.

I'm grateful for my "creative muscles," and grateful that there are so many inspirational places for me to spend time feeding and growing them.

Photo: 9/15: Artist Date


Julia Cameron Live - Artist Dates
101 Artist's Date Ideas
James Altucher - How to be the luckiest guy on the planet

Friday, September 14, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 14

I am grateful for this beautiful world that we live in. I know that there is much suffering and unhappiness and pain in the world, and I am never able to think of the things that I'm grateful for without thinking of the people who are in terrible trouble. But I do try to remember that my happiness doesn't depend on someone else being unhappy. I can enjoy a sunset without that affecting anyone else in a negative way. It's hard sometimes, though. My empathy gets in the way.

But I try to remember to look up and around me, to see all of the beautiful things that surround us, and to be grateful for them.

Photo: 9/14: Gratitude

Thursday, September 13, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 13 - Take a note

It's really important to me to have notebooks and pens around in case I need to write something down. I remember once when Bob and I went to the State Fair, I had put my wallet in a really small bag so I wouldn't have to lug something large around, but once we got there, I started worrying because I didn't have a notebook a pen. It made me really nervous. So one of the first stops we made was the conservation hall, were I found a giveaway pencil and a brochure. So, whew. If I needed to write something down, I had a way to do that.

Now that I have the iPhone, it isn't really quite as important, since I can always write something down in that, but that isn't always convenient. So I try to always have an alternate form of note-taking supplies.

I'm really picky about notebooks and pens; Bob will attest to that. For ballpoint pens, I love Bic "Velocity," and my favorite notebooks are Miquelrius. There's just something about their paper that feels right to me. It's smooth and thick, and I just like it better than anything I've ever found.

Except for Moleskine, I guess, which is another favorite. However, the Miquelrius notebooks are spiral bound, so they open flat, and Moleskines aren't. But they are nice. Right now I'm using a purple ("Simply Violet") Vera Bradley "Hipster" bag, and at Target I found some tiny Moleskine notebooks in purple, and I already had a Pilot "Precise" pen in purple, so that's my current notebook and pen combo. It's small and light, and doesn't take up much room at all, but I have something to jot down lists and ideas when it isn't convenient to type them out on the iPhone. The notebook is actually tiny enough to fit inside my (purple) wallet when I don't carry the whole purse.

I know it's OCD, but it is what it is. I am what I am. I have my quirks, like anyone (maybe more than most), but I really do love things like this. And it's something that's fairly easy to take care of.

I'm so thankful for the wonderful variety of things like this--notebooks with beautiful paper, pens in every color, the seemingly endless array of ways to fulfill an admittedly somewhat silly "need." Again, so grateful for the abundance that I have access to, and the ability to acquire the small things that make my life easier and happier.

Photo: 9/13: Take a note

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 12 - Green

This photo symbolizes something green, and also regeneration. I bought this diffenbachia several years ago, and it was a beautiful plant. Then it got some kind of mites, and started dying, and looked awful. I tried to save it, but it got to looking so dreadful that I ended up cutting it completely off at the ground. In a few months, though, it had regrown to be more beautiful than before. I'm thankful for that, and for all the greenery in my office.

I used to have a lot of houseplants at home, but as they died, I didn't replace them. For one thing, the cats found them too interesting, and I never wanted to risk having them eat something poisonous. And even if the plants weren't poisonous, I wasn't crazy about the cats eating them anyway. So it became less of a priority.

When I got my office at work, though, with its big windows, plants became a priority again. I have the diffenbachia, a big ficus, an old corn plant that came from a previous office, the leftover greenery from some kind of a big flowering bulb that I don't remember the name of, and a couple of mixed pots of plants from funerals.

The theme of my office, if there is one, is plants and birds. I have several decorative bird houses and bird cages, and a few ceramic and metal birds. I feel like my office is an oasis, and the plants and birds (and fish) enhance that feeling. I'm thankful for that.

Photo: 9/12: Green

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 11 - Beautiful

It isn't really that beautiful now -- the rose is about four days old -- but the sentiment is. Bob came home with it on Saturday night. He said, "I realized that I hadn't brought you a flower in a long time, and that's unacceptable!" So, a single red rose in a bud vase. It has to sit in the kitchen or bathroom since Dinah would knock it over if it was on a table, but that's okay. It's fine in the kitchen.

I'm very grateful for Bob and for our marriage. I don't talk about it a lot, because I don't want to brag, but we really do have a great marriage. It takes work, of course, we don't take it for granted. We thank each other for the little things that we do every day -- I thank him for taking out the trash, and he thanks me for cooking dinner, things like that. It may sound silly, but it really does make a difference.

Going out to dinner is kind of a rare occurrence lately, given the state of the economy, but we do things like go out for ice cream, or go for a drive, or make a late-night run to the grocery store together, or just watch a movie. It's something we can do together. We don't actually spend a lot of time together at home--I'm usually either downstairs watching television or in the bedroom reading, and he spends most of his free time t home in his office on the computer or watching television (since we seldom want to watch the same things), but we've always said that that was one of the keys to the longevity of our relationship. We always say it jokingly, but it's probably true. We don't want TOO much togetherness, but I guess we have enough.

Photo: 9/11: Beautiful

Monday, September 10, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 10 - Work

I came back from a meeting this afternoon to find three dogs waiting for me. I know it wasn't for love (except maybe for Jojo), it was for treats, and the two inside the office were actually probably trapped and afraid to try to get by Jojo, but it did make a nice welcome. She doesn't ever do anything except growl, but she is the old grumpy lady of the office (like me!), and she is very intimidating, apparently.

I'm very grateful for work, for the fact that both Bob and I have good, well-paying jobs that we enjoy. It's a terrible time to be out of a job, and to be looking for work, so I'm very thankful that we have jobs to go to. And obviously, mine has the added bonus of dogs!

It also comes with the bonus of working with friends--people I actually like to spend time with, many of whom have been my friends for over a decade--and of doing work that I love. Not everyone gets that advantage, and it's one that I'm very grateful for.

Photo: 9/10 - Work. Waiting for me.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 9 - Reading

I read an entire book today, not in one sitting, but in three or four. I read for awhile in the morning, then got dressed and went to the grocery store, came home and read some more, had dinner, read through the evening until I went to sleep. The book doesn't really matter (although it was "The Survivor," by Greg Hurwitz), just the fact that I was able to spend so much time reading, and how enjoyable it was.

I had this book on my Amazon wish list, but it just came out, and was a little expensive ($12.99), so when I heard it was coming out, I got on the hold list at the library, and my number came up this weekend.

I don't get a lot of books from the library any more, since I prefer to read on the iPad--it's more comfortable, I can read in the dark with minimal light, etc., but I still do love the library. I enjoy going there on the weekends and browsing through the new books, and I love being able to reserve books that I want to read, but may not want to buy.

I'm grateful both for the library, and for the abundance of wonderful books that are available for me to read, in whatever format.

Photo: 9/9 - Lunch. (I forgot to take a photo of my lunch, so this is a picture of the view outside my office window. I'll do "lunch" later.)

Saturday, September 08, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 8 - Warm

Every night when I come home, when it's 100 degrees outside and the air conditioning is keeping the house cool, I am thankful. I am thankful for clean running water to take long showers or relaxing baths, to cook with, to drink. I am thankful for electricity to power the lamps and televisions and computers and all the various things we have to make our lives easier and more comfortable, and for the natural gas that heats the water.

When the weather is a bit cooler, like it is now, I am grateful to be able to open the windows and feel the cool night air. It makes Dinah a little bit nervous, I think--there was a little bird sitting on the windowsill the other morning, chattering at her, and she didn't quite know what to think. It made us remember Doña catching a bird on the balcony of our old apartment and begging to bring it in. She did get in with one bird one time, and we chased it around the apartment until Bob was able to catch it and throw it out the window.

We remind Dinah that not every kitty gets to live a life of luxury, that some cats have to stay outside, or in the garage on an old dirty blanket and eat generic cat food. I don't think she understands, but if she did, she would be grateful.

Photo: 9/8 - Warm. Dinah basking in the heat from the lamp.

Friday, September 07, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 7 - Creativity

My mother sewed, but she didn't do any needlework--her eyesight was too bad, I think. She sewed and read using a magnifier. Both of my grandmothers crocheted, and my Grandma Scott--my mother's mother--also tatted. She taught me to crochet and tat, but the tatting didn't stick. I don't think I ever actually made anything, but she made some beautiful tatted doilies.

I learned how to knit in Girl Scouts, but when I was in high school I did a lot of crocheting. That was the height of the hippie movement, I guess, and magazines like Family Circle and Woman's Day had a lot of crochet patterns. I remember making a bunch of Irish crochet purses using rug yarn. I also went through a phase of thread crochet u sing a tiny steel hook, buying intricate doily patterns and all kinds of colors of crochet thread. During that time I made a few Barbie doll outfits from thread as well. My grandmother had crocheted a whole wardrobe for my dolls, but I must have sold it at a garage sale at some point, or at least it's all gone missing.

My knitting hobby really exploded when self-striping sock yarn came out. I've always loved variegated yarn, and although I had no idea whether I would ever be able to accomplish knitting on tiny needles with such small yarn, I wanted to try. I made my first sock in 2003, and that's really all I've been knitting since then. The photo above is the one I'm currently working on. I'm not very fast, but it doesn't really matter. I'm more of a "process" knitter, i.e., I enjoy the process as much as, or more than, the actual end product.

I learned how to sew and follow a sewing pattern in Home Ec classes at school. I remember making a suit--shorts, jacket and hat--for a fashion show that we put on at the end of the year, whatever year that was.

I'm so glad that I learned to do these things, and for the creativity that pushes me to knit and sew, and make things. It's kind of amazing, really, to create something like a pair of socks out of a ball of yarn, and I'm thankful that I can do it.

Photo: 9/7 - My hobby

Thursday, September 06, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 6 - Morning Caffeine

I love Oregon Chai. I've made the hot version in the winter for several years, but had never thought of trying it iced. I somehow had a Starbucks gift card, and tried theirs, and really liked it, so I did some looking, and found that Oregon Chai also offers a concentrated liquid version. I believe Starbucks uses Tazo, but I like Oregon better. It comes in one of those aseptic containers, and I mix it half-and-half with 2% milk, add some ice, and bring it to work with me.

It provides my necessary morning caffeine, it's cold, and it's hopefully healthier than Diet Coke. I buy the Original, although they also have caffeine-free, sugar-free, and less sweet versions. They also have a Peppermint version, although apparently only during the holiday season. I'll have to remember to try that this winter!

I'm grateful that I discovered this. The 32 oz. carton costs around $5.00, and I get about five or six uses out of it. The milk costs something, of course, but the total cost is a LOT less than buying one from Starbucks every morning, so it makes me feel thrifty while still having a tasty drink. I bought a Starbucks insulated reusable cup, which makes me happy, and saves throwing away a cup every day. I do use a throw-away straw rather than the permanent one, since I never feel like I can get those clean.

Photo: 9/6 - Hydrate

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 5 - Family

My parents are always on the list of things that I am grateful for, for the fact that they are in pretty good health, and are doing well.

I talked to them tonight. My mom had taken a small fall, and I got a call from the service that monitors that. I got the call while I was in the grocery store, and I didn't hear the phone ring, I only saw that I had missed the call when I checked my phone later. The message said that my dad was there, and everything was fine. I'm grateful to know that the service works, that they call to report even if everything turns out okay, that my mom is fine, and that I had the opportunity to speak to both of them.

I also talked to my sister, who I am also grateful for. She's the one who took on the task of finding the fall monitor people and equipment, testing it, and setting it up.

This wasn't what I had in mind when I put "morning routine" on the list, but I forgot to take a picture this morning. When I got to the office, Olive was right there, sitting beside my desk, wanting a treat, and I thought, yep, morning routine.

I had actually intended to take a photo of my morning smoothie, or my chai tea, but I was running late this morning and didn't make either of those things--I drove through McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin and a Diet Coke. Fortunately, not a routine, but an aberration.

Photo: 9/5 - Morning routine: Treat, please.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 4 - Canine Companionship

One of the things that I am always grateful for is the fact that we are a dog-friendly office.  There are two dogs that are always there -- Dave's two, Jojo and Connor -- and several that are there almost every day.  Clark (pictured here), Olive and Dexter, Ranger, Maggie, Sunshine, Dolly and Dixie, Jake and Elwood.  I adore the dogs, every one of them. 

I wasn't thinking specifically of the dogs when I wrote out my list of photographs for the month and wrote "Comfort" as the subject for today, but they really are a comfort to me, so I think it's appropriate.  Sometimes, when I'm having a bad day, Bob will call, and he'll say, "Go pet the dogs, you'll feel better."  And I do.  Dogs give you unconditional love, and are non-judgemental, although they can definitely tell me about it if I'm not quick enough with a treat, Olive in particular.  She has a huge personality for such a little dog.  And, I suppose, their affection is easily bought with a treat or two.

Still, there's nothing quite like the feeling of getting up to go to a meeting and having Jojo come with me, or having Olive look to me to save her from Ranger's over-enthusiastic affection, or having Clark come in and settle down in my office at the end of the day.

So many people come to our office and are delighted to meet the dogs, and say that they wish they could have dogs at their office.  I know we're lucky, and I'm grateful.

Photo: 9/4 - Comfort: Yes? Can I help you?

Monday, September 03, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 3 - Abundance

I am not immune to envy or jealousy, although I don't like to admit it. When I feel envious toward someone else, I try to remind myself of how lucky I am, and how much we have compared to most of the rest of the world.

When I walk into a grocery store, or especially Target, where I do most of my grocery shopping, I think of how amazing it is to have big, clean stores where you can buy almost anything for a pretty reasonable price. Food, toiletries, cleaning products, clothing, even basic furniture. Yes, it costs money, but even though I don't always have enough money to buy everything I might want, I do generally have enough to buy anything that I need.

And such a variety! Maybe fifty kinds of bread and bread products, a dozen or more kinds of salad dressing, crackers and cookies and ice cream, and beautiful fresh vegetables and fruits and flowers. Cheeses and frozen dinners, milk and butter, candy, and even a Starbucks right in the store. Today I bought bread, peanut butter, saltines, bagels, cream cheese and yogurt. Staples for breakfasts and lunches next week. I try not to forget to be grateful for this abundance, and to give thanks when it is consumed.

Photo: 9/3 - Home: I'll leave the light on for you.

I'm trying an experiment with ads on this site. I never done that before, but I figured it was worth a try. So far it's bringing in about two cents a day, and they don't pay out until it reaches $100, so I may give up before it reaches that point. Hopefully it's not too intrusive. Running this site isn't expensive, but it does cost, and running the ads might be a way to recoup some of that cost. We'll see, I guess.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 2 - Sleep

I'm so grateful for sleep.

I've never really had trouble sleeping until the last few years. I can fall asleep pretty easily--I usually read until I feel sleepy, then put down the book (iPad, lately), lie down and go to sleep around 10:30 or 11:00, only to wake up at 2:00 a.m. I used to try to fall asleep again, and if I can't in a half hour so, pick the iPad or iPhone up and read, but Bob said it bothered him, so without any distraction, I would just lie there and think of everything in the world that I might have to worry about.

I know that my mother takes a sleeping pill every night to sleep, but I've never wanted to do that. For one thing, I'm fairly susceptible to drugs, so they make me feel groggy in the morning. But I was feeling kind of desperate, and felt like I was getting almost no worthwhile sleep. So I started taking an ibuprofen "PM" every night (generic for Advil PM). The bottle says to take two, but I only take one. It's just enough to help me sleep through the night--if nothing wakes me, I'll usually wake up around 5:00 a.m., get up and go to the bathroom, then go back to sleep pretty quickly until my (or Bob's) alarm goes off.

It doesn't drug me enough that I don't wake up if, for example, Dinah starts to throw up--that sound will make me sit straight up in bed, turn on the light, and grab for something to put under her, or knock her off the bed if that's where she is. But even then, if I have to get up and deal with that, I can fall back asleep, no problem.

Sleep is very important. It knits up the raveled sleeve of care, etc. I'm very grateful that I've found something that helps me get a better dose of it.

Almost all of the reading I do now is of the digital variety. I follow a couple of blogs that list a few free Kindle and/or Nook ebooks every day. I don't download every free book that comes along, but I get a lot of them. If a book sounds even slightly interesting, I'll usually go ahead and download it. I have hundreds of books in my account that I haven't read, but I also have a lot of free books that I have read, and that have turned out to be great.

I also get some of the $.99 or $1.99 ones, but in those cases I always download a sample and read it to see if it's something I really want to read. Even if it's only a dollar, I don't want to throw it away.

Amazon has a "Kindle Daily Deal" where they offer one or more Kindle books at a discounted price. They are quite often tied to upcoming releases -- today's deal was "Shelter," by Harlan Coben, a YA novel starring Myron Bolitar's nephew Mickey. The second book in the series, "Seconds Away," comes out in a couple of months, so they are offering the first one to build interest. It worked for me, I bought it for $2.99.

Amazon also has a monthly list of around 100 books under $3.99. There aren't always a lot that I am interested in, but there were a couple of $1.99 ones this month that sounded good. It always pays to check the list. You can often get a book that you would have paid full price for at a significant discount.

Photo: 9/2 - Reading material: It's all digital lately.


Pixel of Ink - Free and bargain Kindle books

Books on the Knob - Bargain reads, free ebooks and book reviews for the Amazon Kindle, nook, Kobo, Sony and other ereaders

Kindle Daily Deal

What I'm Reading

Saturday, September 01, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 1 - Rain

I have a lot of things to be grateful for, but today I'm grateful for the rain. After weeks of drought, we're getting, as one of my weather apps put it, "the remnants of Isaac," and it's been raining steadily for about 24 hours now.

Two or three weeks ago someone from the gas company showed up at the front door, saying that a neighbor had reported smelling gas, and they had tracked it to our house. He said he needed to shut off the gas, and he would come back the next day, in the daylight, and run a temporary line. He said that "hopefully sometime before winter" someone would come out to bury the line. Apparently they were having problems all over the area due to the dryness of the ground.

Our house is settling to the point where it's difficult to open the door from the living room into the garage. I haven't gone out and watered the foundation like I should, but hopefully the rain will allow things to get somewhat back to normal.

Bob said this morning and we have water in the basement, maybe worse than it has ever been, but I'm not going to complain. Hopefully the slow, steady rain will soak into the ground and give us all some relief from the dry weather. I don't know whether it's going to be enough to make any difference to the farmers, or my lawn, and I am sorry that it had to come at the expense of the people near the Gulf who are experiencing flooding, but in my little corner of the world, I'm very grateful for the rain.

Photo: 9/1 - Home: Home is where the cat is.


See the list and take part: 30 Days of Gratitude

Here's a great article titled "What I Am Grateful For," by James Altucher.

Happy Tapper has several good iPhone and iPad apps, including Gratitude Journal for iPhone, and Gratitude+ for iPad.