Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Intermittent Connections

In my house, the problems with technology abound.

Every day I depend on my computers for entertainment, news, weather, communication with family and friends, and overall connection with the outside world.  Currently I need access to the "Serving Schools" website because that is where all job openings in schools are posted, the only place where every teacher position is advertised and links to school websites provide access to applications.

Not to mention that my resume and cover letters are saved on my laptop and desktop.  I can't easily explain why some documents are in one place and others are in another.  It depends on where they were composed and saved and whether or not they were emailed to be saved or printed elsewhere.

It has become obvious that I need to do a bit of organizing when things are working again, I say with certainty that things will be working again.

The problems started last Wednesday when I couldn't get the laptop to connect to the Internet.  I tried everything to no avail.  On Thursday my daughter installed and ran "spybot," which found and fixed 31 of 33 malware incidents.  The problem must be in one of the two not erased because the laptop sometimes connects to the Internet...and sometimes it doesn't.

We decided that I would take it into the shop.  There was no urgency because I could use the desktop, right?  True...until Saturday morning when the desktop would not connect to the Internet.  The icons showed connection to the router but no connection to the modem, which I knew wasn't true because the laptop sometimes connects and (knock on wood) the iPad connects.  I had had a lengthy conversation with our phone company/DSL provider when the laptop stopped connecting, and everything is working on their end.

So I am limping along technologically speaking.  I took the desktop into the shop Monday morning.  Today I managed to get the laptop hooked up with the printer so I could complete a third application and get it in the mail.  I have had no response to the first two I mailed so I need to stay on top of this.  Two more applications to print out, complete, and mail tomorrow.

Tonight I am trying to make friends with the iPad, and hopefully this post will appear the way I have composed it.  I have my doubts.

I miss my regular computer routine.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Loose Ends

Feeling at loose ends.

Tying up loose ends.

In this third week of August both are true. I have no fewer than half a dozen projects in different stages of completion around the house as I spend time with family and friends and begin again to apply for teaching jobs.

Everything I go to do takes multiple steps to finish.

It took three weeks to receive both stereo speakers from Newegg. Great product but mediocre customer service and a frustrating return policy when the error is theirs.

The new dehumidifier has been timely during weeks of high humidity because it actually removes moisture from the air. It was indispensable when I had to coat with oil-based paint a rusting vent in my six year-old dryer, which I remembered after vacation when I dried a white sheet.... The directions called for 24 hours drying time between each of four coats.

Two weeks ago a storage shelf fell off our closet wall. We heard a thunderous crash and thought a tree had fallen across the deck. It wasn't that thank goodness, but a unit with two shelves and a short bar for hangers had fallen to the floor. It was amazing that nothing was broken or damaged. As I picked up the pile of clothes I realized I expected this small unit to hold too much weight. I have repaired the wall and Ken has reinforced the shelf, which we will hang up this weekend.

We had hot, dry weather in early July. Plants went dormant, and my lush flower beds from last year were nowhere to be seen. In late July the rain started and has continued on a regular basis, often in the company of thunder, lightning, and rain so heavy drivers can barely see the road ahead. Maine is one of two states in the country that have had a normal amount of rainfall this summer. The hostas recovered and bloomed, but for the first time ever deer have feasted on my hostas and left leafless stalks in their wake.

I had 276 prints made of photos taken over the past year. It was fun to look through all the photos on the computer and select representative pics. It took time to order prints online, but the reward of memories in hand was worth it. I am midway through updating albums and scrapbooks.

I have another teacher application packet ready to mail today. While I don't know what I will be doing this fall, I know I will be working somewhere.

In the past I did not like the feeling the week before school started because it felt like summer was ending too soon and there was still so much to do.

At this point in my life, I know that there will always be much to do ~ appliances break down, metal rusts, shelves fall off walls, and cars need to be replaced.

I also know that there is always time for friends and family.

Life doesn't stop when I return to work. Life happens through all my best laid plans just the way it is supposed to.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hope Springs

*I share no details that are not obvious in previews.*

On Sunday Ken and I saw the movie Hope Springs. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones look their ages in complex, adult performances that are worthy of a mature audience. There were moments when tension on screen rendered the theater you-could-hear-a-pin-drop quiet.

It is long past due time that a movie like this has been made.

Kay and Arnold have been married 31 years. She works at Coldwater Creek [I need to finally use that coupon] and he is an accountant. They have a beautiful home.

The reviews of the movie that I've seen summarize the surface premise of the movie. They call it a dramedy. There was a woman in the theater who laughed uproariously are regular intervals, often the only sound heard because the rest of us did not find the truth of the story funny. The couple on screen act out the reality of many middle-aged couples in this country. Their not knowing how to get past the apparent indifference is hard to watch. The fact that Kay is so desperate to try speaks volumes about what she has invested. The fact that Arnold goes with her to Maine illustrates that he understands how serious Kay is about this trip. The hardest thing to watch, and possibly the truest element of the movie, is that there is no guarantee that there will be a happy ending.

I think the movie should be rated R, not because of explicit language or nudity but because of the mature subject matter. The writer, the director, and the actors, including Steve Carell, honestly deal with issues of a couple who have been married three decades.

I would recommend the movie for all middle-aged married couples.

If you haven't faced the problems that Kay and Arnold have, it will give you a look at what some couples are dealing with behind closed doors, too embarrassed to share their unhappiness with anyone, even each other.

If you recognize Kay and Arnold's situation, it helps to know that other couples have experiences similar to yours.

Ken and I enjoyed the movie. We recognize the distance apart that Kay and Arnold are feeling, and we know what it feels like to not know how the story ends. For us, for now, we are in a good place. The movie is a good reminder that it takes work to stay here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August Has Arrived

One week in and already enough has happened to call this month a success.

My youngest was home this past week. I got a surprise phone call August 1 from Travis that he was flying home from Seattle the next day. There was a job he wanted to check out in Portland [after our trip west I had to confirm that he meant Portland, Maine]. He landed at 9:30 Thursday morning for an interview at 11:00.

We had just seen him I know, but it has still been so good to have him home.

The job is not the right one, but the time was well spent visiting with us and friends and getting a chance to watch some of the Olympics.

When Trav called to say he was coming home, I was still trying to catch my breath from being gone for four days.

I met a dear friend in Boston the last weekend in July so we could celebrate our birthdays. We have been trying to plan such a trip, she from New Mexico and me from Maine, for over a year. It took some work but we did it, and it was so worth the effort. We talked and walked and talked some more. Phone calls and emails are good for what they are, but they do not replace time together in person. She and I have been friends for more than 40 years. After this visit we have made a commitment to more regular visits in interesting places around the country. Seattle is already on the list:)

More friends to catch up with this week and next. This is the month to do it, especially with friends who are teachers. This fall I may be back in the classroom, too, so I want to take advantage of what's left of August.

I feel compelled to connect with people this summer. Time goes by and it's easy to get waylaid by the day to day details of appointments, paperwork, errands, and chores. There is dust on every surface in my house and the yard has been sadly ignored for months. Those things will wait.

I would rather spend time with friends ~

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Seattle Memories

It is the everyday moments that come to mind when I remember Seattle, the reasons I like the city so much. I look forward to when I can return to room 301 at the Moore Hotel, a quiet space in the back of the building ~
Our exceptional timing Thursday evening took us to the original Starbucks store near Pike Place Market when there was not one person in line. We bought tasty frozen coffee drinks, and Ken took my picture while I was mid word ~
Downtown there is a covered walkway between Nordstrom's and William Sonoma that is somewhat of an engineering marvel. Nordstrom's would only allow the walkway to be built if it was not permanently attached to the side of their store ~
Late our first evening we had a wonderful meal of locally brewed beer and pizza, serious pie ~
Early Friday gorgeous sunflowers brightened a gray morning ~
We waited out a thunderstorm at Pike Place while rain made puddles ~
Against a backdrop of mountains, a cruise ship left the terminal. In Portland, Oregon we met a couple on their honeymoon who were taking a cruise to Alaska on a ship out of Seattle ~
Flowers growing wild at the Sculpture Park reminded me of pinks ~
The antique French cars on display at Seattle Center included a Renault like my family owned in the early 1960's ~
Hostas in bloom near the pavilion outshone similar plants at home in my garden ~
The seafood at the Queen City Grill was very good, and the sign outside caught my fancy because Lewiston is a city in Maine ~
Our last night we had dinner on Capitol Hill at B & O Espresso, which had beautiful stained glass in the window ~It's hard to know during a vacation what moments will stand out when the trip is over. Thank goodness for the photos that hold those memories ~

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Seattle In July

The skyline of Seattle was an impressive as I remembered ~
We arranged to meet Travis on the campus of University of Washington. I wanted to see the inside of the Suzzallo Library ~
Specifically the reading room, which was breath-taking ~
I wanted Ken to see the campus as a backdrop for Drumheller Fountain ~
Travis took us to see the skyline from Lake Union ~
We checked into the Moore Hotel on 2nd Avenue and spent the evening getting to know the neighborhood ~
Friday morning we started with coffee and pastries at Moore Coffee, easily accessible through the lobby of the hotel and with the best coffee we had anywhere in Seattle ~
The clouds did not hamper the view of the waterfront ~
It was early enough at Pike Place Market that we could actually see the extent of the vegetable stands ~
And the vibrant array of flowers for sale ~We walked along Elliott Bay away from the city to Olympic Sculpture Park, built on a brownfield site reclaimed, cleaned up, and developed into green space for people to enjoy ~
Sculptures are scattered on green lawn and amidst wildflowers ~Trains pass one way ~While cars pass another ~ The next morning we headed over to the Space Needle in the fog ~ Seattle Center also holds International Fountain ~A pavilion where Bastille Day was celebrated, complete with a line of antique French cars ~And a monorail terminal, from which I caught of glimpse of the new exhibit of Chihuly glass ~
Saturday afternoon we took a bus to the Chittenden Locks, one of two places in the world where boats pass safely between fresh water and salt water ~And where Bastille Day celebrations continued with music by the Greenwood Concert Band and patriotic songs sung by a local television celebrity ~We watched boats head for the open sea and marvelled at all the city of Seattle holds ~Seattle has become one of my favorite places. I have more photos to share in coming days, images that come to mind when I think of this city I am just getting to know ~