Something different, a short little meditation…

Take a moment, if you will and clear your mind. Stare at the screen blankly as you read this. Forget about work. Forget about the noise around you. Don’t think about the desktop theme on your computer, or the things your co-workers said to you today. Ignore the laundry for just a moment. Clear your mind of extraneous thoughts. Take a deep breath. Feel that breath enter your lungs and fill you up, all the way down to your abdomen. Your body is filled with the wonderful breath of life. As you exhale, breathe out all the air you can. Every ounce of air left in your body. Because with that air the leaves your body, so does all the negative thoughts, hurtful things and unkind words that were hurled at you today. As all that negative energy leaves, it is instantly filled with happiness, answers to your questions, positive thoughts, a different view, a grasp at a passing thought.

Now do something you may have not done for quite a while today. Smile. Feel it. Feel the happiness. Feel the “upside down frown” of your face. Enjoy the smile.

Now enjoy the rest of your day. And while you’re at it, enjoy tomorrow too.

Thank you for sharing this little meditation with me.

Stella’s Got Her Groove Back!

Over the past six weeks or so, I’ve been complaining that I haven’t felt quite right, that I’ve been feeling off centered, or unfocused or something.

Something snapped inside of me today. I can’t put my finger on the exact instant that it happened, but suddenly I felt like myself once again. Everything seemed so clear. The future was lying ahead of me like a clear, unfettered road. Little things aren’t bothering me anymore.

I rode my bike back and forth to work. I got a flat tire about ¾ mile from home. Surprisingly, it didn’t bother me. I just walked home. I’m going to fix the flat when I get done writing this blog entry. By the way, I’m testing my laptop from work out, and this is the first little project I’ve done on it. So far, so good.

Yep, the laptop is a new addition to the stable of computer systems at work. It’s not a beast by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a NEC Versa 6230. A Pentium 233, 192 MB RAM, 10 GB hard drive. Not the strongest computer in the stable today, but it’s a good little workhorse and I think I’m going to enjoy using it.

I went to take a shower after my bike ride (and walk) home, and found that we have no hot water. Apparently, our five year old furnace decided it didn’t want to work today. So I didn’t take a shower. I didn’t let that bother me either. Earl and I called the service guy and hopefully he’s en route. If not, tomorrow, then I go to work tomorrow all stinky. 

It’s nice to find my focus once again. I feel great. Life is wonderful.

One thing that I find surprising is how I’m becoming hooked on this “Paradise Hotel”… the latest Trash TV from FOX. I hate to admit it, but I think it’s going to slap Big Brother 4 right across the face in ratings.

Merrily, we stroll along…

You ever feel like you need to weed through your life? That’s how I’m feeling today. I woke up this morning, weighed myself, sneered at the scale and drank a SlimFast shake. (“How yummy is that”, he says dryly.)

Figuring that I’m a little heavier than I was at the beginning of the week because of excess “junk”, I’ve decided to clean out the wreck room. If you go to ebay, take a peek at the crap I’m selling. It’s sort of comical. All the things I meant to accomplish but never did. Wonderful things like “Learn French While Driving Your Car”. That lasted a day. Then France got pricky about the Iraqi war and all of a sudden it seemed rather un-American to be speaking the language.

One thing that I couldn’t bring myself to sell is my training kit for Microsoft certification. I am determined to get that certification. I dusted it off and put it in a prominent place on my dsk to remind me that I need to be studying up again.

I exercised yesterday and today for about 20 minutes each time. The weather is still not very cooperative, lots and lots of rain. At least there’s peeks of sun this afternoon. Maybe I’ll have time to go for a bike ride before the end of the night. Unfortunately, bike riding doesn’t seem to do much for my abs. I guess I’ll stick to the ab crunches.

For those with a sense of “peek a boo”, I’ve started up the webcams again. We’re running DirecPC again here at the house (broadband for rural folks via satellite), so it’s o.k. to have the webcam on again. Nothing kinky or anything like, you just get to see me working at my desk here at home, and after I set it up tomorrow, at work as well.

Earl and I took a ride through the Adirondacks yesterday that was quite enjoyable. We took more county-line pictures, and enjoyed a great on the street supper in Lake Placid. I think we are going to go to Lake Placid for my birthday weekend – it’s a fun little tourist spot. We’ll have to see .

Monday, Monday. So Good To Me.

I think that’s how the song by the Mamas and the Papas goes. Anyways – it’s summer! Well, actually summer begins on Saturday, but the weather seems to have finally made its way to summer here in Central N.Y. Clear, sunny skies and mid 70s… perfect!

Earl and I had a busy weekend. Friday night we trekked up to Watertown to a little restaurant called Barkeaters for supper. I don’t know that it was worth 160 miles round trip, as it’s just an eatery in a mall, but then again, when do we ever do anything that makes sense. Last week was very tough for both of us work-wise, so it was a nice escape.

And then on Saturday, we decided to continue the escape. Got up at 9:00 and on the road at 9:30 a.m. I have a new project for my road-geek website. I’m going to get a picture of me standing next to a sign for all 62 counties in New York State. We knocked off ten of them on Saturday. We ended up driving out as far as Erie, Pa., where we then had dinner at Red River Roadhouse at Millcreek Mall (again) and then came straight home on the Thruway. We got home at 1:30 a.m. So that wasn’t too bad, only 16 hours. Our record is 19 hours… 🙂 And the food in Erie, Pa. was great as usual.

On Sunday, my Dad and his girlfriend Karen, and my sister came over for a little cookout for Father’s Day. It’s always nice to get together with them. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits. We’ve made plans to all go to Kingston, Ontario in July for the day which should be a good time.

Since the weather is suppose to be great straight through the whole week, I am on my bike big time commuting back and forth to work. I got a nice early start this morning and was taking a leisurely ride when something caught my tire and ripped a nice gash right through it. I was able to patch up the tube, but the tire was shot and I could feel the bump-bump of the gash for the rest of the ride to work. I made it just at 9:00 a.m. since I rode a little slower. Earl picked me up from work this afternoon and we drove the bike over to the bike shop, where it’s getting a new tire and some gear adjustments. I guess I’m going to have to face the fact that I shouldn’t be riding my road bike to work as the ride is just too rough on the bike, so I’m going to join the masses and ride my older hybrid back and forth to work. I hadn’t ridden the hybrid since last summer, so I jumped on it after work and rode up the street and back. While it does ride nice, I forgot how much extra work is involved with riding it… it needs a lot more effort to get it going! 🙂 But the tires are much sturdier and I suppose I’ll get a better workout on it. Tomorrow after work I’m going to drop off the hybrid at the bike shop for a tune-up and pick up my road bike at the same time. Then we’ll go back and pick up the hybrid after supper so I can ride it to work on Wednesday.

I’ve been having a few allergy related sniffles today, which is kind of odd because I didn’t get too sniffly this time last year. I think I’m going to have to meditate upon that a little bit tonight because I absolutely refuse to be physically ill or have allergies of any kind. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. this morning all sniffly so I downed a Claratin, which made me irritable. I wasn’t trying to be irritable mind you, I just was. I was conscious of it at work and trying to be at my best, but I suppose I was a little snappy. So no more Claritin. Maybe I need to drink more water or something. The de-tox dandelion tea is working well, but it makes my kidneys hurt. I don’t know if it’s suppose to do that.

I’m going wild and woolly for a while with a little fuzz on top and a little fuzzy beard. I’m going to let the beard grow (I’d like to let it grow until Christmas!) and keep my hair buzzed. It’s a look I feel comfortable in. Today anyways.

I haven’t had a Xena dream in a week or so. However, I did order the Xena soundtrack to the “Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire” episode which has a bunch of great music on it. I’m really looking forward to having that CD for the car. Earl and I have saved that episode on TiVo and we watch it weekly for a pick-me-up of sorts. 🙂 Actually, my dreams have been unimpressive the past few days. Maybe I’ve hit a low spot in my astrological cycle or something. Maybe I’ve eaten too much meat. Maybe my chakras need cleansing. Who knows. At least I’m feeling a little more focused.



‘m writing this blog entry off-line tonight becaus…

‘m writing this blog entry off-line tonight because blogger.com is upgrading their software as I type. I’m probably loading it long after I type it, but who knows.

Life has been plugging along in an odd way for me lately. This past Saturday was my cousin’s wedding… it was at Selkirk Shores State Park under the pavilion. A very nice, intimate gathering of 150 family and friends. My mother and father were both there (they’ve been seperated just short of five years), and my Mom seemed a little stressed about the situation but as I predicted everything was fine for the most part. Which was a sigh of relief. I think I was almost as stressed as they were.

Sunday we took a ride through historic Cooperstown and to the Fly Creek Cider Mill in Fly Creek. I’m scoping out day-long bike rides again, and a trip to Cooperstown seems to be in order. I’ve been itching to hop back on my bike, but the weather has not been very cooperative. I hope that summer kicks in soon. It’s been entirely too rainy.

I had another weird dream with Xena in it again. I kind of get a little wigged out, because I seem to be the “bad guy” in these dreams. Of course, being the neurotic mess that I can be, I start to psychoanalyize the whole thing and wonder if I’m being evil to other people and not realizing it. Earl just tells me to “calm down”. Then I wonder if actually it’s old “evil Xena” in the dream and I’m conquering evil. You think I’m odd on the blog, you should meet me in person!

So as I mentioned before, life seems to be just plonking along. I’m a little off focus or something. Maybe I’ll get in my groove tomorrow. Maybe Monday just didn’t agree with me.

June Is Busting Out All Over!

There’s something about writing my blog using my Palm Pilot that makes me more interested in writing in my blog. Maybe it’s the cool keyboard or something, but I really like typing on my Palm Pilot.

Earl and I have had a relaxing weekend. Friday night we went and saw “The In-laws” with Michael Douglas. Cute movie. It’s a DVD we could own.

Before the movie we went to Denny’s, where they ran out of toast and I could have a slice of bread instead. I haven’t figured out that reasoning yet either.

Earl worked most of Saturday morning, so I worked on my road website and actually got quite a bit done. UpstateNYRoads.com is actually the oldest of the sites I maintain, having created it in 1996. Earlier this year, after our trip to Arizona to be exact, I decided that it needed a complete revamping, so that’s exactly what I did. It’s been a lot of work, but I’m liking the challenge.

Saturday night we drove to Rochester just for the heck of it. We ended up going to “Tinseltown Theatres” owned by Cinemark (very nice) and seeing “The Italian Job”. We both really enjoyed this movie. It had a nice blend of suspense, action and humor. Very enjoyable. Almost forgot that you were cheering on “bad good guys”.

One of the trailers before last night’s movie was for Tomb Raider 2. Looked quite interesting. So Earl and I decided to get the DVD for the first movie and get up to speed so we’re ready for the second.

Thank goodness it looks like the rain is coming to an end for a while. It has done nothing but rain here for the past 10 days or so, save for Friday when it was actually decent. I had a chance to commute to work on my bike… I had been itching to get out there and ride. It looks like I’m going to be able to do the same Monday and Tuesday of this week. Let’s see what the rest of the week brings.

I’ve been having this theme in my dreams lately. Whenever I get irked in my dreams by someone, I give them “The Pinch” like on Xena. Heck, Xena has been in a couple of my dreams as well. This one is hard for me to figure out – maybe I need acupuncture?

So today has been sort of errands day I suppose. We went to Target and bought household essentials, and then on to grocery shopping. We’ve been going to P&C (when we stay local to grocery shop), but have become rather disenchanted with them. Plus, they’ve recently declared bankrupcy, supporting my theory that when a retail chain upgrades the registers in all their stores, they’re getting ready to go bankrupt.

Anyways, we ended up going to Hannaford instead. Surprisingly, Hannaford has added a “Nature’s Cupboard” type department with all the wonderful things we usually find at Wegman’s. So it’s going to be easy to be back on my “whole health” track again. I did pick up some dandelion tea that is suppose to cleanse my mind and body and help me regain my focus… let’s see if it works.

Tra La! It’s May! The Lusty Month of May!

And so Memorial Day weekend 2003 winds down to an end. For being the unofficial start of summer, I sure do feel soggy. It’s rained and rained and rained.

Rick and Helen came up on Friday night… Earl went to bed early to relieve some work-related stress, so I waited up for them. We ended up b.s.-ing until 1:30 in the morning, catching up on family happenings and whatnot.

Saturday we decided to head to Syracuse to do some shopping at Carousel Center. I picked up some stuff from CompUSA for work. Earl picked up some snazzy new sneakers at “The Finish Line”. Rick looked at quite a few shoes as well but didn’t get any. At Borders, he did pick up the cookbook and BBQ sauce kit for Dinosaur BBQ. We had taken them to Dinosaur last summer and it must have made quite an impression!

After Syracuse, we headed to Casa Too Mucha, Earl and my favorite restaurant. We had never been there on a Saturday night. Not nearly as busy as Friday’s night, but nonetheless enjoyable. Afterwards we watched “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” on DVD. Enjoyed the movie, but I thought it wasn’t quite as good as the first.

On Sunday we headed out to the Utica Zoo. I hadn’t been to the local zoo in quite a while so I was kind of intrigued to see what was going on. Unfortunately, the zoo seems to be undergoing some financial hardship or something. It’s nice enough, but it seems to have a certain feel of neglect when it comes to the grounds. The animals looked very happy and well taken care of, which is the most important part of course.

After a much needed nap, we decided to go see “Bruce Almighty”. Great movie… very funny! I’m not a big Jim Carrey fan, but I didn’t find him too unbearable in this. I thought the movie was well done, and having lived in Western N.Y. a number of years ago, it was a kick to see all the Buffalo landmarks and such (it takes place in Buffalo).

After the movie we went to Turning Stone casino. We haven’t been there in about a year. The place has grown by leaps and bounds! Sad to say that we didn’t win anything, but had a good time nonetheless. I need to get away from the machines and start playing roulette again. Maybe when we go down to Philly next month we can make a side trip to Atlantic City on Saturday night.

Today’s been a lazy day… Rick and Helen headed out this morning – Earl and I have been catching up on laundry and I’ve been messing around with the computer, getting it tweaked to the way I like it. I’m doing pretty well with Mandrake still, though I’m having a couple of issues with my web page maintenance that I’ll work through somehow, even if I have to learn how to code the blasted things by hand.

Wishy Washy

Here it is Thursday already. I have heard speculation that time has actually sped up and has sped up quite a bit since 1987. Something about the frequency of the vibration of atoms like that. It sure has felt like time has sped up.

So I’m writing this blog entry on my computer at home, and I’m using Linux again. I downloaded the latest distro from Manrdake (9.1) and so far I like what I see. Now I know I said I was “Mr. Microsoft” a couple of weeks ago, and I still am at work, but I was dying to see what this latest incarnation of Mandrake looked like. So far, so good. It seems to be meeting my needs well. I’ll let you know if I’m still on the Linux bandwagon in a week. And I have to admit, I’ll probably be running some sort of distro of Linux (probably Debian) at work before the middle of June.

I re-read yesterday’s blog entry about Ruben Studdard, the American Idol winner. I can tell I wrote it in the “heat of the moment” but I still believe everything I say. It’s funny, the American Idol messageboards have been too much fun over the past 24 hours. I have this small mean streak that likes to get people all hot and bothered by my ridiculous comments on the boards. I’m not excessively mean spirited or anything, I just tend to use these reality show message boards as my stand-up routine practice.

Earl and I have been straight out with work all week, so we’ve been eating out quite a bit. His brother Rick (and his girlfriend Helen) are coming up for a visit this weekend, which I’m looking forward to. We haven’t seen them in a very long time, it’ll be good to get together. The weatherman said rain rain rain this weekend, so we’ll be doing a lot of indoor stuff. Earl wants to go bowling during Cosmic Bowling or something, so we’ll see how that goes.

We had a new riding mower delivered today. This thing is a kick. We had one we bought when we bought the house back in ’97, but it was a cheap one and seems to be made of mostly plastic and is starting to show it’s age. I did get the old one running again and have resurrected it, so Earl and I can mow the lawn together now – he on the new mower, and me on the old. It’ll be nice to have assistance with the lawn. We did the childish thing tonight and raced lawn mowers a couple of times. Surprisingly, the old one won both times, no matter who was driving it. I think it’s because it’s lighter.

Well I better catch up on this pile of e-mail I have.

Whatever

Earl and I just finished watching the finale of “American Idol”. First of all, I’m surprised that I followed it, what with me being all anti-reality TV and all. But, once upon a time I had hopes of being a music teacher and I was the Program Director of a Top 40 radio station for five years, so I kind of get a kick to hear these people sing.

You’ve probably heard. Ruben Studdard won American Idol. Big deal. He wasn’t the best vocalist of the finalists, and he’s a lousy interview. Clay Aiken was clearly the better of the two but as we all know, you don’t really need talent to be a “pop star” these days. If anything, Clay was overqualified for the job. Now he can move onto something good.

Do I sound bitter? I’m not. I’m sure Ruben will have a great career, and with enough computer enhancement he’ll sound like the best of them. Hell, he could even sound like Cher with enough CPU power behind his voice. But when it comes to the basics, the boy can’t hold a note longer than four beats. He’s under the misguided perception that he has to “slide” all over a note. He has to add extra words. The spinning sound you heard earlier in the evening was Karen Carpenter in her grave in reaction to his rendition of “Superstar”. Last night, he sang John Lennon’s “Imagine”. Yoko Ono could have done better than Ruben. (And we all know what she sounds like). But the judges and crowd acted like he just walked across a lake. I must be missing something. Maybe I’m getting old.

Another problem I see… I perceive this boy to be terribly lazy. There’s no way he’ll ever keep up with the mental stress and physical demands of the job. Mark this down – Clay’s CD will outsell Ruben’s 2 to 1. Mark my words. Ruben Studdard will be “Ruben who?” by the year 2005. Clay Aiken will still be Clay Aiken, “Superstar” by 2007.


Mission Accomplished

I did it. I successfully rode “The Ride For Missing Children” yesterday. I rode every mile without incident. My bike held up great and I held up even better.

The day started at 4:00 a.m. – we had to be on school buses to be taken to the starting point at 5 a.m. (We had loaded our bikes on tractor trailers the night before). We were taken out to the N.Y. State Police Troop D headquarters in Oneida. Everyone spent a couple of hours getting organized and such. I had everything together and was sort of just standing there since I don’t know a lot of people in the ride and a guy came up to me as and asked if I had a riding partner. I told him that I didn’t, and he responded that he didn’t either and wanted to know if I’d mind partnering up with him. I didn’t mind at all (in fact I welcomed the company!) so my new friend Paul and I rode the ride together. It was great to make a new friend.

We hit the road a little after 8 a.m., and the ride took us about 105 miles through various communities in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley, stopping by elementary and junior high schools for a quick break and to share the importance of safety with the kids – keeping away from strangers, etc. After hearing abduction stories yesterday, it is still unfathomable to me that an adult human being could be so cruel to a child (or to anyone for that matter).

The kids were so full of energy you couldn’t help but get pumped up for the next leg of the ride. We’d hand out pencils and give high-fives as were passing the huge “walls” of kids. Then we’d mingle about, showing them the equipment on our bikes and such I was even signing autographs! They were treating us like olympiads!

Coming up the home stretch around 7:30 last night there were hundreds of people lining the streets of Utica’s “main street” – Genesee Street, with sirens and horns blaring, lights flashing and a state police helicopter doing fly-bys. I rounded the corner for the New Hartford Rec. Center and saw a smiling face (albeit a little teary) – Earl was there cheering us on and taking pictures. All told, the ride was 105.66 miles. And I rode every single inch. I still can’t believe it.

I’m a little sore today (nothing that a few Advil can’t fix), but I’m so happy that I was able to give to something so worthwhile. I’m already looking forward to the ride next year. I’m joining the Mohawk Valley Bicycling Club and am going to start riding on the Wednesday night rides – getting to know people and all. And I’m going to start doing some volunteering with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

It’s good to contribute to the well-being of the world.