Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 30

Today, I am dually grateful. Grateful that this project is over... and grateful for being introduced to It is an amazing site where people "pin" up interesting things... be it pictures or quotes... or projects. There are DIY projects galore as well as delicious recipes.

You should definitely check it out. However - it is a time suck as you will notice time warping past you at well... warp speeds as you get sucked into the amazingness that is Pinterest.

I've got 5 emails to myself of projects and recipes to try in the near future!

Red Rose

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 29

Today, I'm grateful for my camera... because it allows me to take pictures and memories and keep them 'forever'. I think I have always had an interest in photography except my style has changed from photojournalistic to more artistic over the recent years.

I had a film camera for as long as I remember, but I didn't have a digital one until I graduated from college. That one lasted me awhile, and then I got another point-and-shoot super zoom like my parents had gotten me for graduation. That 2nd camera lasted me, I believe, into my artistic phase in Houston where I finally made the jump to a digital SLR. My wants in photography (low light, long exposures) had exceeded my camera's limits.

I have a Canon Digital Rebel XSi that has seen me through almost two 365 projects and I have a Canon G12 that accompanies me almost every single day - so I don't miss a photograph while not having the bulk of a DSLR.

Sometime soon, it'll probably be time to upgrade the lens or the body - but I'm hoping that'll be awhile. Meanwhile, I still manage to take decent pictures without having recently taken a photography course nor know every capability of my camera.

My new goal it to know my camera inside and out versus taking a million pictures to get the few great ones.

Red Rose

Monday, November 28, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 28

Today, I'm grateful that this project is almost over because I'm so tired, exhausted and so unhappy right now that I can't find anything good to write about.

It's amazing how quickly someone can ruin a good thing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 27

Today, I am thankful for mashed potatoes. I love potatoes almost any way - french fried, tater tot (though less so because they tend to be so greasy), hash brown (see tater tot) but the best way is mashed. Bonus points if there's garlic involved. And sometimes cheese (the real stuff, not plastic-y cheese like velveeta or nacho cheese)

Thanksgiving gives me the excuse to eat it more often than one normally should. Tonight, I made my garlic mashed potatoes - complete with butter, milk, garlic (whole cloves) and salt and pepper.

I could wax philosophical about mashed potatoes but that would just be silly. They're just yummy.

This won't be the last time I make this this wonderful guilty pleasure, comfort food.

How do you like YOUR potatoes?

Red Rose

Saturday, November 26, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 26

Today, I'm grateful for my ability to wake up almost immediately, when necessary. (Think zero to sixty... in a short amount of time) Sounds odd, but I'll explain.

I'm not always thankful for this particular ability but today I was. I am the type of person who wakes up when the alarm goes off... and usually can't get back to sleep. If I'm woken at the light point in my sleep cycle, forget about going back to bed. I have to be pretty exhausted to fall back asleep.

This benefited me today, as I was sleeping in a little when I got unexpectedly called into work at the last minute to cover for a colleague. From answering the phone call from my coworker, explaining the situation, to me being at work was about 20 minutes or so. I literally leapt out of bed, tossed clothes, shoes, a little makeup, and deodorant on, grabbed my keys and phone and headed out the door. My work is about 5 minutes away, and I made a detour to St Louis Bread Co (aka Panera for those out of town folks) to grab an egg and cheese sandwich and green tea to wake me up and keep me going until lunch.

I was decently alert and managed to be personable (good thing since I was sitting at the front desk) and maintained my energy through out the day. I have gone pretty non-stop since then and am finally having time to breathe.

So while I often curse this ability to wake up at the drop of a hat/pin, I am pleased that it was useful today.

Red Rose

Friday, November 25, 2011

30 days of Gratitude: Day 25

Today, I am thankful for my pedometer. Not specifically today, but it is one of the things I am thankful for in general. You're supposed to average about 10,000 steps a day, which for most, works out to be about 3 miles. I always find it interesting to see how far I've gone in a day. Sometimes it's really small and sometimes it's really large. But it's the large days that always surprise me because though I know I've been up on my feet and out and about, I don't realized that I've walked a total of 5 miles in a day. It's quite often not continuous, and the "calories burned" count can, for me, be taken with a grain of salt... but it's interesting nonetheless.

So thanks, mom, for turning me onto this. I have, in turn, piqued the curiosity of a coworker who ordered her own.

Like I said, it's always interesting to see where the day has taken me.

Red Rose

Thursday, November 24, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 24

Today, on Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my mom's amazing apple pie.

I can't get apple pie in restaurants because they all pale in comparison to my mom's. Her pie crust is to die for. I will eat the pie filling first and save the crust for last, it's that good.

Plus, mom uses 3 types of apples and has the whole thing down to a science. She even tried something 'new' today and it tasted just as amazing as ever.

This isn't this year's pie but this is Mom's AMAZING Apple Pie:

Apple Pie

Hope you got to spend Thanksgiving with family - and if not, at least you got to spend it with friends!

I'm going to go sit on the couch because that's all I can think about - sooooo full from dinner!!

Red Rose

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 23

Today, I'm grateful for a quiet day. I have been sleeping deeply as of late and I slept hard into 8:30, which for me these days, is late. I had a slow-moving morning where I read and worked on a baby gift, and then went into work.

Work was eerily quiet - with several classes cancelled, students already on Thanskgiving break outside of St. Louis - when the halls should have been teeming with dancers, there were almost none.

It's nights like these where I wish I had a pile of work to do but my focus is off tonight anyway.

I'm also thankful for the training I've been give over the years on the ETC Expression 3 - for I successfully resurrected old cues and rewrote them. Small victories, but I'll take them when I can have them!

Red Rose

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 22

Today, I am grateful for friends. For both the friendships that are over the decade mark and still going strong to the new fledgling ones that I hope flourish into long lasting ones. I like having friendships of all depths, from light to super deep.

One of my best friends randomly was in town awhile ago and I got to spend time with her and her husband. Another best friend (the one I've known the longest) is due to be in town this week and she's going to carve time out of her busy family schedule to spend some time with me. I spent some time with another best friend tonight - trying to get her baby to kick back at us. It was really magical since I haven't spent a lot of time around my pregnant friends, even though I have many friends with children.

I treasure each and every friendship I have and I'm such a giver too. Sometimes it gets me hurt but sometimes it makes me/the friendship stronger.

So I'm thankful to have so many friends, both near and far - from weeks old to years old. Ties into Day 11 when I thanked Facebook for helping me continue some of these friendships or even pick old ones up from where they left off.

Thanks for being my friend! I'm lucky to have you in my life! And if I haven't heard from you in awhile, drop me a line here or on Facebook or via email and let me know what's new with you.

Red Rose

Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 21

Today, I'm thankful for a day off. I'm really lucky to work at a place that does its best to give me days off on a regular basis - even though I often work outside of the 9-5 M-F sphere.

I had a chance to run several errands, some of which I specifically waited to run today, when most of the public was going to be at work/school. I am not the biggest fan of crowds at places of shopping. I'm the person who wants nothing to do with Black Friday, even if the sales are tantalizing.

I was also able to catch up on finances - I keep pretty close track on receipts - which has paid off in that I have never been overdrawn and I caught fraudulent charges on one of my credit cards before the card company did.

I was still able to be lazy and relaxed... as one should be on a day off.

The day was capped off by making a really surprisingly tasty tortellini, spinach and tomato soup and an all-family viewing of the penultimate Sing Off episode where some seriously amazing music happened... and another sad elimination occurred.

I'm going to miss fun Monday nights without the Sing Off.

But today was definitely a day very well spent.

Red Rose

Sunday, November 20, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 19 and 20

Got home a little late last night and forgot to write up Day 19.

Day 19, I am thankful for a smooth running show weekend, and nights out with colleagues/friends. Two show day followed by a funny movie (Tower Heist) and a tasty dinner (Cheesecake Factory). Neither night was planned and both were enjoyable. Harkens back to Day 6 where I was thankful for good colleagues.

Day 20, I am thankful for good food and large portions. Usually I'm not a fan of large portions, but I liked the idea of having leftovers to spread over to the next day. Cheesecake Factory still has ridiculously large portions.

Red Rose

Friday, November 18, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 18

Today, I am grateful for 1 hour long shows... something that I'm not used to. I'm used to 3 hours on average.

Because of the short show, and a former colleague visiting work, we went out and had a fun Friday night out at Three Kings pub in the Loop. Fun times were had and good food and alcohol consumed with the best of company.

Not very wordy tonight, but very happy with a night well spent with colleagues/friends.

Red Rose

Thursday, November 17, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 17

Today, I'm thankful for dimmers and lights that behave.

I have been having troubles, on and off, with the lights in our theatre... you know, the one I"m in charge of.

And it always seems to act up right before a big event. However, today, aside from a slight mishap, they seem to be behaving. May they stay that way.

*knocks wood*

Good grief! Nevertheless, I'm grateful for them when they work... and I'm grateful for the resources around me when they don't! RG, I'm looking especially at you.

Red Rose

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 16

Today, I'm thankful for potlucks.

My company had an all-staff potluck today and it was supremely enjoyable. First and foremost, I have really great colleagues and it was fun to all be in at the same time and to sit and chat with everyone. Secondly, everyone brought an amazing dish -from a main course, to a salad, to a side or dessert.

We had SO MUCH FOOD! And all of it was delicious. We're having a secondary potluck tomorrow - eating the leftovers. I filled a plate with a little bite of almost each dish and I was SOOOO full it was hard not to crawl under my desk and go to sleep afterwards.

Plus, now I have a whole new batch of recipes in my arsenal!

Red Rose

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 15

Today, I'm thankful for me having patience, at least 75-85% of the time. I'm generally more patient that many of the people surrounding me. But I have my days of impatience, and I'm often most impatient with myself.

But patience serves me well in most of my endeavors - my job, my family and my hobbies. Two of my primary hobbies involve patience and lots of it. Photography requires patience to get the right shot - from composition to waiting for just the right set of circumstances to occur. My other main hobby, counted cross-stitching, also requires patience - especially when one (me) takes on a huge baby afghan with 26 different designs.

I'm very much human and I won't claim to have patience 100% of the time... but I tend to have it when and where it counts, most often.

Red Rose

Monday, November 14, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 14

Today, as I sit down to write this blog, I'm a big grumpy and very tired, so this will be short.

Today, I am grateful for the seasons and more specifically, for living in a city that experiences all four of them. I grew up here, and I have spent at least 4 of my years in life in cities that do not have what I consider a winter. And I have spent three winters in a city where winter is king.

I am looking forward to experiencing an ordinary Midwestern winter - though I do miss my Alaska friends and the great wonders to explore.

I'm hoping for fluffy snow, and warm-ish temperatures and just enough snow days... that is, if there's such a thing at my work.

At least, I'm grateful for the ability to walk to work even if my car can't get up the driveway.

But, weather gods, please be kind this winter, ok? Don't read this as a challenge.

Red Rose

Sunday, November 13, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 13

Today, I am grateful for my mentor, DG. Today is a landmark birthday for him, so why not celebrate him and thank him for what he did for me.

I can say with certainty that without him, I would not be where I am today. True, my parents kickstarted me on my way into majoring in theatre in college, but it was DG who made realize that I could actually make it a career.

He joined my theatre department midway through my time there - by then, I knew I wanted to be a stage manager... but I didn't realize I could do it 'for real'. He was the one who started me thinking that way. He found out that I could read music (I had played piano for 12 years) and encouraged me to stage manage a ballet and an opera before I left (I was working primarily on musicals and some plays at the time.)

So he got me a summer job staging managing "Die Fledermaus" at the summer opera. What an adventure that was - a fluffy operetta piece but I learned a lot and made some great friends. He also got me gigs staging managing "Giulio Cesare" and later, "Nutcracker" during the academic year... little did we know that I was hooked.

"Giulio Cesare" was the type of music that I grew up playing and I loved it. I couldn't understand a darn word they were saying (the opera was in Italian) and our score was Italian/German - no English for me... so it took years for me to fully understand what was going on. But I was hooked.

"Nutcracker" was harder than I anticipated because all of the recognizable music is in Act II where its simply lights up and lights down after every dance. But I survived it and challenged my music reading skills (and reading a piano reduction of orchestra music isn't always what its cracked up to be - especially when it doesn't have a clear melody).

But DG knew I was hooked and helped me out - he helped me to get my first professional summer gig at LGO and also with my first season of gigs at IO - having turned down a Fellowship at Arena Stage - one of the worst and best decisions of my life. It was an extreme honor to get that Fellowship, but I don't regret it one day - and even one of the stage managers I was to be working with told me that it was a wise decision - as she saw me beyond their program. He also introduced me to one of my other mentors, CS, and eventually I won an internship with her company to learn from her as well.

8 years later, I find myself a Production Manager - and he was one of the first people I called after I got the job - because I owed all of it to him. He was one of my references - sure - but more importantly, he was my teacher. I was so proud to be calling him and telling him thank you for everything.

I am a DG stage manager, and now a DG production manager and proud of it!

Happy Birthday, DG! I'm thankful you were born, and that you went into teaching to share your knowledge, wisdom and humor with so many of us.

Red Rose

Saturday, November 12, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 12

Today, I am grateful for my apartment. It is virtually everything I desire in an apartment. Wood floors, large windows to let in sunlight, an open living/dining area, a suitable kitchen, two bathrooms (well, one and a half) and three bedrooms. It is gorgeous. It is a duplex and everything I really wanted when I came back to St. Louis.

Did I mention that there's ceiling fans in the bedrooms and an attic fan which is a godsend in the summer at night? And closets upon closets upon storage space (which really doesn't help this quasi-pack rat).

Plus it is in the city I grew up in and love so much - and even better, in the Metro area of one of my favorite cities to live in.

I really didn't get to spend much time here the first two years I technically 'lived' here - and life keeps me pretty busy now, but I'm looking forward to enjoying spending more time here.

So thanks to KBE, who found the apartment and SA, who is a really great landlord - in so very many ways. And made me remember why I no longer wanted corporate lease holders - individual/personal landlords are the way to go.

Red Rose

Friday, November 11, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 11

Today, for no specific reason, I am thankful for Facebook. For all of its annoyances and so-called security issues, it has allowed me to keep in touch with tons of people, and I am grateful for the ability to do so.

I have kept in touch with colleagues past and present, especially because most of them do not live near me. I can keep up on their latest everything - from where they are in the country, to the latest and greatest stage stories from the current jobs.

I have been able to keep in touch with past schoolmates as well from college to as far back as elementary school.

I was not really part of the Facebook generation - in fact, I was out of school when it first was created. I luckily still had my school email - back when it was exclusive to schools only. I do kind of miss those days, but then again, I probably wouldn't have found everyone that I have.

What I am really thankful for is the ability to reconnect with a handful of people that I would not have found without the benefit of Facebook. AST for example, or LN, or most recently, JSB. I like the ability to keep in touch with these folks and find out what's new.

I like being able to see pictures of former classmates's kids or their weddings or their latest adventures.

I like that I can usually catch up on the world's news or latest trends by simply checking my news feed. I like that the politics of my friends span the spectrum and I enjoy 'watching' both sides of the debate on issues. I like that we watch the same TV and different TV and expose each other to new things and new ideas.

There are many things that irritate me about Facebook, but I try to overlook them - for me, the good outweighs the bad. At least for now.

But I also have to be thankful for Veterans today... because they have done and do and will do so much for our country. The least we can do is celebrate them on one day specifically and everyday in general. Thank you to all Veterans, past, present and future.

Red Rose

Thursday, November 10, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 10

Tonight, I am thankful for sushi. And specifically thankful for RN and BW for introducing me to it.

I had long been suspicious of raw fish - not that I wasn't exposed to it because my dad is a very adventurous eater. Plus I'm picky about texture of foods. And had always considered it scary.

But I was convinced to try it during my internship and I did. And it wasn't so scary. True, I stayed to cooked ingredients initially, but I have strayed towards the raw. Still can't handle some of the stuff, texture-wise, but I'm getting there.

My favorite roll is the Philadelphia because of the cream cheese - and if its flash-fried (aka Deep Friend Philly or Big Cheesy), even better. I love cream cheese in sushi and with the cooked ones, it's WARM! And that makes it extra yummy! Also a big fan of avocado and/or shrimp in rolls.

Love love love ginger - but still have a hate relationship with wasabi.

One step at a time, right? Now I can't seem to get enough. At least it is a fairly healthy choice, right?

Red Rose

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 9

Today, I am thankful for my iPad. I will admit, that with this device, I was an early adopter. I had been seriously considering a Kindle for awhile and was thisclose to purchasing one when the iPad came out. It was actually my mom who kinda nudged me towards buying one. A tech consultant got his early on and she got her hands on one during a consult. She wrote me this email with the text of "omg you must try it" or something to that effect.

Mom doesn't use OMG. Ever. So I knew this might be worth looking into. So the next time I was in a mall near an Apple Store, I wandered in and started talking with some of the employees. I said, I have an iPhone, I travel a lot and I have a Macbook Pro, why do I need an iPad. Some of them gave me the standard sales answer, but a few didn't. Then there was a free workshop on the iPad, so I decided to stay. I ended up being the only attendee and got a chance to ask a LOT of questions.

After that, I was pretty well sold. I knew I wanted one for all the reading (I'm a voracious reader) and I liked the idea that I would have access to a whole host of online bookstores (vs just Amazon's, if I had gone with the Kindle). And I knew it wasn't going to replace my laptop.

I no longer had to worry about having to re-read a book many times over because I couldn't pack enough reading material while on a gig. I could check my email on it and while on a trip to my cousin's wedding - mom and I left computers behind, and checked our email off our iPads as well as reading the NYTimes at breakfast in the mornings.

But now, I'm not traveling for work... right? So has it gone to the wayside? Oh no... I use it at my new job. We work in a Windows environment in a client called Citrix. And they have an app. That allows me to log into our Citrix environment backstage while our shows are going on and I can work on work and, god forbid, still be nearby should something go wrong.

It's incredibly useful and one of the smarter purchases I've made. Plus, I can show of my photos on there incredibly easily - a feature demonstrated to me by the Apple workshop guy.

So, I'm happy with my 1st generation Wifi only iPad. My mom got one shortly after I did, and Dad got his as a surprise for Father's Day. We are a 3 iPad family and love it! For them, it's their first "laptops" and they're loving it.

Thank you, iPad, for making life a little easier and a lot more fun!

Red Rose

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 8

Today, I am thankful for St. Louis sports. We are a die-hard sports town and we stay behind our teams whether we are on top (go Cards!) or on the bottom (what the heck, Rams?)

It was a wild ride, to watch the Cardinals post-season. I really was able to bond with my colleagues at work over the Cardinals. There are some die-hard Cards fans there. And I watched us pull the win out of our rear on that amazing Game 6 - at Cicero's with some colleagues after a technical disaster at work.

Tonight, my parents and I went to a Blues game. Dad decided the Blackhawks vs Blues game was the one to go to - and boy did he pick it right - for so many reasons. Recently, there was a plane crash and almost an entire Russian hockey team died on that plane. Of those players, two of them were former Blues players, and tonight they were honored in a pre-game ceremony. Igor Korolev and Pavol Demitra.

Blues greats like Al MacInnis, Brett Hull, Kelly Chase, Geoff Courtnall, Keith Tkachuk, Tony Twist, Curtis Joseph.... I could go on - there were several more there, as well as Korolev's wife and daughters. It was a really nice, touching ceremony. Oddly enough, both of them had worn the #38 with the Blues.

And then, the current St. Louis Blues showed Chicago who's boss and swept them 3-0 in an awesome game - including one great fight between our player and theirs... and our player POUNDED him into the ice. Halak, our goalie, made 29 amazing saves and it was a really really great game. Did I mention that the Blackhawks have one of the best records in the Western Conference... and we have one of the worst?

I screamed myself hoarse.

So thank you, St. Louis, for having sports teams worth fighting for - even when they're down and out. Go Blues! Go Cards! Go Rams!

Red Rose

Monday, November 7, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 7

Today, I am grateful for The Sing Off. It is the only reality competition show (pretty much the only reality TV show) that I watch. And I love it.

I first saw an ad for it last November - advertising the second season of a 4 or 5 week acapella song competition. I tire of so many singers who can't actually sing, who rely on auto-tune, etc to make their voices sound pretty. I wanted pure, unadulterated human voice.

I've always been fascinated and enjoyed acapella - from Rockapella on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego to having a few collegiate acapella groups visit my schools like Colgate 13. To an all acapella musical called Avenue X which captivated my attention in the first 10 seconds, and sent me running to the gift shop at intermission to buy the CD (which I have done once and only once in my theatre-going life).

I thoroughly enjoyed watching last season's Sing Off having been blown away not only by the amazing talent and music but by Mr. Ben Folds. I have always liked his music - but he FLOORED with his musical technical knowledge. He gave real, intelligent feedback unlike his other two fellow judges. Mr. Shawn Stockmann definitely balanced the modern vernacular with musical critique but the same could not be said for their fellow female judge - a member of the Pussycat Dolls... and was nicknamed by me, "The Showpiece". My favorite group, Street Corner Symphony, sadly did not win... but it was a very enjoyable December.

I LOVED "watching" it with my dad. Mom and I "watch" a few shows from afar together like the Tonys or the Oscars... but Dad and I had never had a show that we called each other on the commercial breaks and commented about how AMAZING that piece was or how flat or bad the other piece was. We'd try to correctly predict who would get voted off and compare notes.

This year, with it being a main season attraction, on Monday nights and me being in town(!), we've turned it into a new tradition of watching it together.

If I thought last season was amazing, then this one just blows it away. I can't believe it started at 16 groups and now its down to only 5, as of tonight.

There is one group, Pentatonix, who just continuously blows us away every week. They are phenomenal. Their arrangements are, as Ben Folds and Shawn Stockmann say, sick. They are extraordinarily talented and they have not screwed up yet. And they have definitely been singing out of their comfort zone. 4 guys, 1 girl - and the girl both easily blends in with them and comes sailing out as a rockin' solo.

Groups like BYU's Vocal Point, Howard U's Afro-Blue or the Dartmouth Aires have also consistently brought some amazing pieces and arrangements to the show.

Groups like Delilah or The Collective surprise us in turn and disappoint us in the next which keep us on our toes.

And groups like Urban Method make me appreciate rap mixed in with non-rap music. Especially at this late point in the competition, almost all of the "weak links" have been voted off and from here on out, it's going to be a Very. Tough. Competition. Tonight was the first night that I had trouble ranking the groups. Usually I can pick the top two and bottom two with fairly good accuracy... but it was so ahrd to tell.

It is amazing when you consider what they go through - not only singing and performing a piece learned within a week - but they do their own arrangements.

I won't lie - I have EVERY album of The Sing Off from Seasons 2 and 3. I LOVE re-listening to the amazing work that was done and is being done on this show. Is it all 100% perfect? No... and I like that. It makes it real. I like hearing the flaws. I like hearing them grow. I like them hearing their mistakes and fixing them on the fly.

I only hope that people who never gave acapella a chance before are enjoying hearing it now and will explore acapella listening opportunities in their area.

So thank you, Sing Off and Ben Folds, for bringing great acapella music to prime time television... even if you had to turn it into a reality tv compeition.

Red Rose

Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 6

Today, I am thankful for good colleagues. This is both in general, and specific. I have been lucky over the last several years to have had good, even great, colleagues. Many are still friends and some, close friends.

But at my current job, I have some really great colleagues, if I do say so myself. Today, three of us were hanging out at the end of a full day and just laughing our butts off at the silliest things. It was so great to share stories, crack jokes, make unintended jokes brought on by tiredness and just laugh laugh laugh.

But really, it makes work more enjoyable to have great colleagues. So for those of you colleagues in the present, and in the past, I'm thankful for your companionship, friendship, etc.

Nothing is better than having work not seem like work because you are surrounded by good people!

Red Rose

Saturday, November 5, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 5

Today, I must give thanks to Nancy M, who taught me how to do counted cross-stitch way back in elementary school. I forget why or how we met up for me to learn. I stitched some horrifyingly sloppy thing onto a hand-towel, which I'm sure my parents still have.

That was way back in 4th or 5th grade, and somehow I've still maintained it as a hobby. Its a craft that I really enjoy for it makes me work hard, and think, and yields beautiful results. That being said, please don't look at the backside of my cross-stitch projects, they're a hot mess. You're supposed to tie things back neatly, and the back is supposed to look almost as good as the front. 'Fraid not with mine, but that's how you'll know its from me.

This art, which I can put down and pick up at any time; and doesn't require maintaining a certain amount of thread tension (like crochet and knitting do) has allowed me to put time and effort into gifts such as non-religious marriage announcements and most often, baby gifts.

Too often cross-stitch is associated with religious sayings, country samplers, and other stuff that doesn't catch my interest. The more complex the pattern is, the better. I tend to steer away from cheesy and often find myself stitching Asian-inspired patterns. I did a vegetable wreath for my parents, I've done countless baby records, and a few other random pieces.

But my favorite pattern of all is the one with the Dalmatian puppy who is missing a few spots and is surrounded by dark marks on the floor. The pattern's title is "Achoo!" - I've stitched one and bought the pattern again for keeps. That is exactly my style and humor.

But another thing I love is that it is an uncommon craft for someone my age. In fact, I only know a handful (single hand) of my contemporaries that know how to, and semi-regularly, cross-stitch.

So thank you, Nancy M, for teaching me this lovely art.

Now, I've got to go finish this HUGE baby animal afghan project... I'm on letter "U" and the baby is due early January! Must get cracking!

Red Rose

Friday, November 4, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 4

Today, I am thankful for my iPhone. I never was one for a smartphone up until the six months or so before I got my first one. I wasn't even a huge texter at the time (in fact, I did not become a 'texter' until about 2 or 3 years ago), so a normal phone served me well.

But it was around that time that I realized I was spending all this time in a rehearsal hall, away from a computer and away from internet. Not that I was especially popular and getting mounds of emails, but I did feel very disconnected and behind the times. Especially after watching singers check their email and respond during breaks on their Blackberries or other such smart phones at the time.

Then years later, my computer had to go into the shop. It was too difficult to solve through the Apple Store, so it had to be sent off. Therefore, my only internet access was at work. Now, unlike most of my friends and colleagues, I have a domain name email versus just having a Gmail or Hotmail or Yahoo! account. And I could check my other email accounts on my slightly intelligent phone, but checking my main email could not happen. I felt very crippled by that.

Around that time was when the first iPhone came out. But I just couldn't jump on the bandwagon - even being the Apple fan I am - and I still had some loyalty to Sprint. But I learned more and more about the iPhone, and it was around the time that the 3G came out that the pull for a smart phone really really started to eat at me. In fact, my very good friend, W, was looking at upgrading to a smart phone and was trying to figure out how to make Verizon phones sync with her computer (because she didn't want to leave Verizon at the time).

We did a lot of debating and I decided that if she made the jump, I would too, contract be damned. So she did and I did. And I haven't really looked back.

I can't honestly say how I did my job to the effectiveness I have without it. There have been places I've worked where my internet/email access on my phone and/or my photo text capability have been absolutely vital for things to get done in a timely manner. There are so many appealing features that I tend not to notice its drawbacks (no Flash, sometimes questionable signal). The benefits outweigh the others - and I'm not a heavy data user and certainly don't use it to the fullest extent of its abilities.

It was the best investment I have ever made - for the benefit of my personal and my professional life. I don't regret it for one bit.

And just the same, I love the ability to put it down and walk away from it.

So thank you, Mr. Jobs, for dreaming up the iPhone, and helping make my life a little bit better.

Red Rose

Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 3

Today, I am expressing my gratitude for apple cider. I love apple cider. It is the right balance of sweet and tart, and I could drink gallons upon gallons of it. I get excited when I see the gallon jugs in the grocery store because that tells me that fall is here! And I get sad when they dwindle away because that means winter is here.

While I tend to enjoy it chilled, it is also delicious warm, and a bonus of spiced rum to boot! I'm not quite sure what would happen if I found cider year round. This gal would be spoiled!

I shall enjoy the tart goodness while it lasts and be slightly sad when it is all gone. If this is an addiction one must have, at least it is a mostly healthy one.

Have you had a mug of apple cider lately? If not, I suggest you do! You'll thank me later. Rum optional, of course.

Red Rose

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 2

Today, I am thankful for my current job. I've had it less than 3 months (feels like longer!), but I really do love it. It's similar enough to my previous job (stage management of opera) but keeps me at home in a city I love, near my family and my dogs and still challenges me on a daily basis on one level or another.

My assignments are varied (from small to large, simple to complex) and I learn something new every day. Plus, I have really great colleagues. I really wish I could be more eloquent but its been a long day and sometimes to say it simply, says it best.

Red Rose

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 1

I've always wanted to do a gratitude project again - I did a version of it called the Happy List, which I might institute again soon, to help me see the positive side of things. And I have sorely neglected this blog as of late.

But since the month of November (how the heck is it November?!) has Thanksgiving in it, it seems like the perfect month to list/enumerate the things that I am grateful for.

So here goes, Day 1:

I am grateful for my family. Without them, I would not be who I am now in so many ways. They have influenced me, educated me, raised me, supported me in every way possible and are just the best all around.

Red Rose