Friday, August 26, 2011

Week 34: Taxidermy lamps, A Kayaking Adenture and A Contest

I work in retail, and in my particular retail department we sell lamps. We sell a wide variety of lamps, but today I would like to talk about a particular kind of lamp that we have sold in the past.

At this point I can’t remember exactly what the name of the lamp was, but it was essentially a taxidermy lamp. The base was made out of a (rather large) glass jar, and inside was a diorama featuring a taxidermy bird.

I know there was one that had a Quail in it, and I want to say that there was one featuring a duck…

So anyway, the other day I had a customer who was looking for floor lamps that my store carried aside from the ones that I actually had in store. I pulled up our website, and as I was browsing for floor lamps I noted some of the rather… odd lamps that we currently have to offer.

Later in the workday I mentioned some of the lamps to a co-worker, who recounted a customer having recently come in seeking the taxidermy lamps that we used to carry. Since we can no longer get those, she offered to search Google for possible leads as to where they could potentially seek out a taxidermy lamp to complement those that they already have.

Have you ever Googled “Taxidermy Lamp”?

Probably not, because let’s be honest, why would you? But let me tell you, some of the results are truly bizarre. So I have told you all of this, so that I could show you this, because quite frankly now that I have seen it, how can I possibly keep the image to myself? That would be selfish of me.

Now that I’ve, in all likely-hood, horrified you completely I’ll tell you about today’s completely awesome adventure. Despite initial fears that the lovely Michigan weather would once more annihilate our plans, several friends from work and I finally got to go kayaking, and we had a blast.

I actually turned out to be a gorgeous day out on the river. Because none of us had been out on this particular river before, and two of us hadn’t ever been kayaking before, we took the shorts trip, which was about an hour and a half long.

Once we’d paid for the trip and signed the necessary paperwork, we loaded up in the of the parks vans and they drive us to the launch point. After having us strap into life vests the staff gave us a hand getting into our kayaks and we were off.

Not too long into the trip we were joined by a rather friendly duck who was content to float along-side us. She stayed close to Sarah for quite some time… We figure she probably thought that we had food for her.

We kept a pretty leisurely pace, chatting and taking pictures and just generally enjoying the scenery. At one point we noticed what was either a Crane or a Heron hanging out over by the bank, and near the end of out trip we spotted a swan.

The first swan sighting wasn’t too bad, since that one was a ways away from us. The second one was hanging out under a bridge that we had to go under to finish our course. It was a little close for comfort, I think for both us and the swan. But everyone (including the swan) kept cool and there were no swan incidents… so that’s a plus.

The tail-end of the trip was probably the toughest, because though the water was really fairly clean, the water near the landing dock really wasn’t. The water there was full of these plants that made it super hard to paddle. It was a real work out trying to navigate through them!

All in all it was a lot of fun, and next time we go we’ve got to take one of the longer trips because it was over way too quickly this time around!

I rounded the day off by entering a contest over at Claire Legrand's Blog to win “Steampunk”, an anthology that a lot of totally awesome authors contributed to. If you are so inclined you should definitely check it out!

I’ll talk to you soon.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 33: Vivacious Lady

My weekend was amazing, largely because I did absolutely nothing. It was nice to take a few days to just kind of relax. I didn't leave the house much, I read a few books, and I watched a movie or two. It was bliss. Pure and simple.

I spent much of Saturday reading "Eona" the sequel to "Eon" by Alison Goodman. Oh. My. Goodness. SO GOOD! There really aren't words to convey how engrossing, and just generally amazing these two books are. I was completely captivated by the first, and was hard-pressed to put the second one down. If I were to describe these two books in one word it would be Epic.

If you're looking for something new to read I definitely recommend this duology. It's absolutely fantastic!

It was near noon or so when I originally sat down to read. The house was completely quiet since the rest of the family was out and about for the morning. It's not often that I get the house to myself. So just out of curiosity I flipped on the TV and shuffled through a couple channels.

This is when I ran across the Turner Classic Movie channel. It just so happened that this month they are featuring a different star everyday, and Saturday they were featuring James(Jimmy) Stewart. When I flipped to the TCM channel the 'Vivacious Lady' was just starting, and within the first few minutes of the show I was hooked. What a cool movie!

This trailer that I found on YouTube gives you an idea of the film if you're not familiar with it:

I watched that, and then returned to my book. By the end of the day I finished reading "Eona", and once again I want you to know I was blown away. I mean, what are you doing? You need to read this book! SO GOOD!

Having finished my book, and yet too caught up in what I had just read to even think about starting another book right away, I began obsessively searching the Internet trying to find 'Vivacious Lady' on DVD, or maybe even on netflix. As it turned out this was no simple task.

I couldn't find it anywhere... until I finally did late Sunday night. A copy is now on it's way to my house. I'm excited! In between searching for this DVD and beginning a new book, which I may talk about in a later post as I haven't formed too many opinions of it yet, I watched 'Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation' on netflix.

Again it's an old black and white James Stewart movie. It was a cute/funny movie and I thoroughly enjoyed it. That put's my current James Stewart movie count at four. In addition to the two that I've previously mentioned here, I've also seen 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "The Shop Around the Corner", each of which are absolutely delightful.

So that's what I've come away with this weekend, a handful of book/old movie recommendations. Have you read/watched anything particularly great lately?

I'll talk to you soon.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Week 32: Missing Flash Drives and Memory Lane Therapy

After a week of working 4am's, getting a full night's sleep last night was heavenly. I don't know how people that regularly begin their day at 4am do it. They say your body adjusts to it, but I don't know... not mine I guess. All I know for sure is that there is no way I could work that shift long term.

as you may have ascertained today was my day off, and if you didn't, well now you know I guess. It was a glorious day of doing absolutely nothing, at least nothing that I had to think too much about. Sometimes it's nice to just be able to sit back and not have to think. You know? Am I right?

It's been quite a while now since I moved back home from my year at MSU. A little over a year in fact. I distinctly remembered bringing three flash drives home with me in the move, but of course could not recall where I had stowed them upon getting home. Let me remind you, more often then I'd like to admit my memory fails me. The point here, is that I've been missing these flash drives since about the time that I moved home, but I knew that they made the move with me because I distinctly remembered packing them to make the trip home.

I have remembered them off and on over the course of the past year, vaguely noting to myself that I was sure that they were here, and also that each of them was loaded with information that I wasn't really interested in losing. You know, stories and poetry, essays, music back-ups, photos... those sorts of things. The drive I was most interested in finding was the one with all the things that I have written/am in the middle of writing.

There are YEARS worth of writing on that drive. It would be no small tragedy for me to lose it, because stupidly, that data isn't stored anywhere else.

So yeah, I cared that I hadn't been able to locate these drives, but determined that I didn't care enough to go to the trouble of really undertaking a search for them. That is, until today, because what the hay, I had the day off.

Early this afternoon I began my search.

I began by sifting through the boxes at the top of my closet, which to be honest, I should have known that would be a fruitless search because it wasn't all that long ago that I went through and organized them all. Had these drives been in any of those boxes, I would have found them a couple of months ago. But I looked anyway.

This of course led to me coming across a box full of cards that I have received over the years. Birthday cards, Christmas cards, Thank you cards, Thinking of you cards... I have a plethora of cards. Is this strange? Do you hold onto the cards that people send you?

Even though I don't often look over them, I still like to keep them, just in case I might ever like to look at them, because sometimes I do. Sometimes I like to lose myself to a moment of nostalgia, to take a moment and reflect on where I've been in relation to where I am. When I find myself feeling like I'm stuck in a stand-still it's important for me to look back to see how far I've come in order to remind myself how far I have to go. When I was younger I used to feel stuck in a stand still a lot, so when I start to feel that way now I can remember those times and remind myself that it takes time to move forward and I just have to be patient even if that hard to do, especially when that's hard to do.

So, right. The flash drives where not in my closet. So I moved on to my filing cabinet. This has a ton of stuff that I've filed away from Elementary-High school as well as the mission trips that I have participated in. Once again, it was time to take a moment to traverse memory lane. But like I said, for me, moments like this are therapeutic.

Going through my "files" also gave me an idea of what to do with all of my cards. At one point in time, for some purpose now unknown, I bought a mini binder and mini plastic sleeves. I unearthed this bind in my hunt for my flash drives and it just clicked, that binder is the perfect size for cards!

At some point in the fairly near future I plan to organize my cards into binders. A kind of card scrapbook/ memory thing. It's a step up from storage in a box at the top of my closet anyway... Searching through my closet and filing cabinet took most of my afternoon, and though I wouldn't call it completely fruitless, I did not find what I had ultimately been looking for.

Rather than search further though, I took a break, and I told you all of that, so that I could tell you this... I FOUND THEM! About a half an hour or so ago I decided it was time to sit down and blog, and that I was going to tell you all about my failure to locate these flash drives, but before I sat down to write I took a second look at a cabinet I have hanging near my door. I had looked at the tin that I have sitting in this cabinet earlier today, and considered looking in there for the drives, but then discounted that idea. Why would I have put them in there?

Indeed, why did I put them in there? I have no idea. I will never know, except that I did and that is where I found them. My advice? Never make assumptions, if you think you put something somewhere, check it out no matter how crazy you think it would be for you to have placed it there, because that's probably where it is.

Oh, and just to dispel the elephant in the room, no I did not blog last week. Yes, I was supposed to, and I have no excuse for not following through last week. I will try to do better in the coming weeks.

I'll talk to you soon.