Saturday, February 25, 2012

First (only?) Winter Storm

We have had a couple of snow sprinkles this winter, all less than 2 inches. Yesterday we got an actual storm!
The storm was expected during the day, but didn't begin until about 8pm. By the time I finished work and got outside it was 11pm and the world was beautiful! I wanted to get photos of the perfect outlines of the tree branches, but I don't have the capability to photograph in the dark. By morning, more snow had fallen, and while it was still lovely, there was just a bit too much snow. I took photographs anyway!
These photographs were taken at about 7am. Outside, it was still and cold. I was the first set of tracks through the park. It was an easy walk. Not like last year when we got storms of 8-10 inches with regularity.
I didn't stay out long. The breeze was brisk and my nose was soon chilled. I needed Hot Liquids! Then, I went back to bed, and by the time I got up, most of the snow had fallen off the trees, the branches were bare. Today, we're back to blue skies. There may be 4 inches of snow on the ground, but tomorrow it's going to warm up, and rain is coming. The snow will be gone in a couple of days. Yes, I LOVE this winter!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Winter in Wisconsin 2011-2012

I can honestly say I haven't minded Winter this year! Which is an amazing statement, as I usually hate Winter.But this year, it's been mild. Some people worry about it, but I don't worry about things I have no control over. And I can't control the weather. I can influence the weather. I have Weather Fairy's that will help me from time to time, but I haven't bothered them much lately, as I'm rather satisfied with what's provided.

What has been Wonderful about THIS Winter is how blue the sky has been. Usually Winter is a ubiquitous grey. It makes me SAD with seasonal depression. I'd have to take Vitamin D3, sit under sun lamps, and it didn't really work, just took the edge off. This winter, with the sunshine and blue sky I've been happy, cheerful, content!
Winter this year has come in very small doses. It will be pleasant for days, then give us a brief snow (less than 3" accumulation) and a few days of real cold. Then it goes back to being pleasant. I've been able to walk to work lots of days! I've been outside more this winter than in the previous 8 Winters combined.
The whole country has had unusual weather this Winter. Is it a sign of global warming? long term trends? the end of time? I don't know. All I do know, is I'm enjoying it!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pinterest and Social Networking

My obsession with Pinterest only grows.
I used to spend my time on e-mail. I had a long list of people I corresponded with, although the correspondence was largely trading jokes and stories. I loved sitting at my computer and laughing and/or crying over the stories, jokes, and photos that came my way. I loved to be the one to share things first! (Yes, I'm competitive!) I had grasped the concept that there were "things" circulating "out there" that had a life cycle of their own. If I wasn't the one to recognize and send it on, then someone else would see it and send it to me. Childish, sure. But I've recognized this trait of mine for many years. I just try to steer it in appropriate directions.After changing my e-mail address each time we moved, or changed carriers, I was on of the first people in my circle to try g-mail. I had an invitation and everything! Now I have 6-8 accounts for different things, and rarely use any of them. I give out the address, because you HAVE to have an e-mail address to register for anything online, but I only check on the accounts to delete the e-mail. E-mail is passé!

Then I heard about Facebook. When I heard about it, only the young kids (18-22) were using it, and THEY were trying to decide whether to change from MySpace or have two accounts. Initially, I used my Facebook account to play games. I did FarmTown, and FarmVille, and ZooWorld. I spend hours on the computer, pressing the buttons to acquire gifts and place them in pleasing patterns on my farm/zoo. Many hours were spent rearranging and perfecting and acquiring.As the games grew, I acquired so much STUFF, that I couldn't keep it all in one place, so I bought another farm/zoo and expanded. This went on for nearly a year. I was addicted to pushing buttons to get things I didn't need so I could arrange them on non-existent real estate, so my friends could drop by to admire my efforts and give me more stuff I didn't have room for.

One day, one of my friends quit. Cold Turkey. She erased her game, unfriended the people she didn't know except for the game and started gardening in the Real World. I was shocked, amazed, and uncomfortable. It made me wonder and speculate about whether or not I was addicted to my game(s). Once the thought had been placed in my brain I began worrying.I'd started playing FarmVille because someone had posted a plea to help her acquire the latest prize. I kept telling myself I wasn't going to play seriously, since I was already spending too much time playing FarmTown. But one thing led to another and next thing I knew, I had a BIG farm with all these animals that needed tending and crops to look after. FarmTown was my REAL farm. FarmVille was just a hobby that had gotten out of control!In FarmTown, I'd progressed to the point I knew how to play the game successfully. My farm was Large and I was RICH, and could buy anything I wanted from their store. I could plant crops in elaborate patterns and hire people to come harvest my crops and earn big money.I waited weeks, working hard on the farm every day, to be able to afford the water features. While I had them, I rearranged them several times. It was Time Consuming, but I did it because I'm a perfectionist and wanted to to look just so. Eventually I sold the water for dimes on the dollars, because I was tired of it and had no place to store it. Still, I was playing every day, sometimes several times a day. Hooked? Oh yeah.

Then I got pulled into ZooWorld trying to help a friend save a baby animal in her zoo.Very quickly I fell in with a group of people that had figured out how to make the game give them the prizes they wanted, and they shared this information and these prizes so that I was moving up and acquiring a really fabulous zoo full of exotic animals. So now I had 2 farms and a zoo that required daily, sometimes hourly attention. It was taking up ALL my spare time. My days off were spent rearranging plants, animals and stuff into ever more pleasing patterns. OMG. Writing about it makes me laugh and cry, to see what a pathetic person I had become.

One day, I realized that my friend had been right. The only way to give this up was to pull the plug, erase the programs, and go cold turkey into the withdrawl. For a couple of weeks, I vacillated. Swore I'd cut back, cut out one of the games, limit the time I was playing. But my virtual world was too big. It couldn't be done in little bits. It had to be played or erased. So I erased it.

It was not easy to get rid of. The stuff sat there, in the virtual reality, calling me to come back. So, I had to click on each thing, and sell it off to be rid of it. That is a LOT of clicking. My hands had been having problems for awhile, and this made me realize just what a toll these games were taking on my wrists and fingers and arm. Still, like any junkie, I missed my fix. I would think about my farm(s) and the animals in my zoo. Then I started reading again, and the games faded from my mind and eventually I quit wondering about them at all.

Now, I'm exchanging e-mail with less than 10 people, and it's sporadic. Mostly I e-mail people that aren't on Facebook. It's so much easier to post something and let anyone interested read it. For awhile, I posted regularly, and read my Facebook page daily. Now, I check in every couple of days to see that no one has posted anything interesting. We've all gotten bored.

Which brings us back to my latest addiction, Pinterest. I could spend lots of time pinning. Except I can't. Once again, my hands, wrists and shoulder suffer when I spend more than 30 minutes pinning. So I've learned to go to my account and just look at all the wonderful pins. I pin the most interesting, and quit when I feel the first twinge of pain. Because I know it will be worse later, and I'm tired of the discomfort. I'm amazed that I've learned to be content with just looking. Me, competitive me, is good with not being Numero Uno. Guess I am getting older, maybe wiser. It feels good.

Meanwhile, please visit my Pinterest page and enjoy the pins. I can look at the pins for hours! And I do :)
As of today, I have 104 boards, and just under 14,000 pins.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


When I chose 02/02/02 as our wedding date, it wasn't because it was Groundhog Day! I chose that day because of the symmetry of the numbers. Plus, it would be easy to remember! The fact that our Anniversary always occurs on Groundhog Day has become a excuse to watch "Groundhog Day" and reflect on what it means to love and be in love. Sort of like watching "It's A Wonderful Life" every year at Christmastime. Makes you feel good about being alive!

So, this was our 10 Year Anniversary! I remind my husband every year that we were handfast as well as married. To me, that means that we renew the commitment each year. He always tells me that he is in this for the long haul and has no intention of reneging on his promise. I figure that I'll give him, and me, a loophole every year, in case one of us change our minds.This year, celebrating a decade of married commitment, we did an actual ceremony, repeated our updated vows to one another, wound our hand together in his favorite turquoise necklace, and drank champagne to celebrate our new lease. It WAS special. There were tears and smiles, kisses and hugs. It was really special and I'm glad that we have signed up for another year!

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