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lizziebelle: (fox)
As I knew it would, winter has returned. At least this time it didn't bring more snow with it, just bitter cold. After the very mild temperatures last week, it feels even colder. I never even left the house yesterday, I just stayed cocooned in my apartment.

Earlier this week, the daffodils in front of my office gave us a tease of spring blossoms.

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We'll need a few more warm days before those buds bloom.

The most exciting thing from my week was the release of Doctor Strange on disc. It was my first Blu-Ray purchase. I have to say it was just as enjoyable the second time, and the extras were a lot of fun. Definitely my favorite Marvel flick so far.

*************

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of my dad's passing. It seems unbelievable that it's been that long. I often think about him, especially when I see a movie or TV show that I know he'd like. I wish he could've seen his granddaughter grow up. He'd be so proud of her. She was the light of his life. I wish she could've had more time with him, like I had with my grandfather. Life is so short, and it goes by so quickly.
lizziebelle: (fox)
Each winter is weirder than the last. This year, we seemed to have it all in one week, with 3 snowstorms and bitter cold, followed by unseasonably warm weather. Last weekend, I went for a walk around Gates Pond with my friend B and her dog, Puck. There was still snow in the woods and ice on the water, but the road was mostly mud, punctuated by the occasional ice patch. People were jogging in shorts and tank tops.

The past three days have been downright springlike, nearly 70°F (22°C). We ate lunch outside on our patio at work the past two days, and there were daffodils sprouting in front of the building.

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Right now, I have the doors open, and it's 75° in my apartment. The heat hasn't come on in more than three days. Thanks to Facebook's "On This Day" feature, I see that it was bitter cold at this time the past couple of years. I really don't like to complain about nice weather, but geez. This is downright weird.

Being a lifelong Northeasterner (and longtime New Englander), I know winter isn't finished with us yet. We will likely get at least one more storm, and more cold weather. I just hope the trees don't bud too early and then freeze; that happened last year, and ruined much of the peach crop.

Other than the weather strangeness, not a lot has been happening around Chez LizzieBelle. Just trying to get through each day has been as much as I can handle. I've had to cut back on my social media intake, because there is just too much anger and scariness out there. I'm doing what I can do, and that's all I can do at the moment. Still trying to seek out the beauty and the goodness, because otherwise I wouldn't be able to cope at all. I'm really proud to see the budding activists amongst the younger generation in my family, though. My generation may have dropped the ball, but they're picking it up and running with it.

This morning, I went over to mum's to help her out with some housework and shopping. She's still pretty weak from having a cold, and was recently diagnosed with COPD thanks to her asthma and the recurring pneumonia the past couple of years. I do worry about her. It's hard to see a parent decline from the strong person who raised you. But she's stubborn enough to want to fight, and that's a good thing. She's not ready to give up just yet.

We had tacos from the delightful taqueria in Canton, and called my sister to wish her a happy birthday. I was exhausted, but it was a good visit.

I wanted to stop at the Arboretum on the way home, but by then it was raining, so I settled for stopping at Trader Joe's to stock up on noms. Not as much fun, but now I have lots of yummy food in my freezer and cupboards. I wish they'd open one closer to me, but then maybe that wouldn't be a good thing. Not as special.

What are you up to this weekend? Something fun, I hope!
lizziebelle: (crow)
We didn't quite get the 12+" that were forecast, but we still got a respectable amount of snow today. Hard to tell with all the blowing and drifting, but it looked like at least 8". I know they got more out in the western part of the state (see [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume's latest post). It took me a good hour to shovel off the deck, stairs, and around my car. :::oof:::

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At least I didn't have to drive in it. My employers let everyone work from home today. I've never done that before. It was a little strange doing my job in my living room, but it was so nice not to worry about driving in the snow or missing a day of work. We use Slack (a chat app), and it was fun reading everyone's updates throughout the day. I especially enjoyed peoples' lazy pet photos that they posted.

It's been a weird winter. Pretty mild, by New England standards, but February is always the worst month, weather-wise. Yesterday, it was in the high forties after starting out coated in ice. Quite the rollercoaster. It's true what they say about the weather here: if you don't like it, just wait five minutes.

When the weather gets like this, it feels like spring is a million years away. Especially after getting a tease of it, like we did this week. It doesn't help that I see pictures of snowdrops and daffodils from friends in warmer climes. It's not that I hate winter; I just wish it didn't last so long.
lizziebelle: (sherlock)
I went out last night with some girlfriends, for the first time in ages. I really should do that more often. My typical Saturday night is spent in front of the telly or with my nose in a book.

We started out at the Rail Trail Flatbread Pizza place, which I hadn't been to yet. It's a popular spot, and is credited with beginning the revival of downtown Hudson. We ended up not getting pizza, but instead nibbled on appetizers and sipped lovely craft cocktails and cider. There was much giggling, and two of our lot explaining how to brew hard cider at home to the waitress was very entertaining. I'm pretty sure she's going to give it a try.

We then crossed the street to New City Microcreamery, which is owned by the Rail Trail folks. Instead of getting in line for ice cream, however, we headed to the back and flicked on a light switch by a door. A little door in the wall popped open, a man asked us how many, and then closed again. Then the door opened and we were ushered in, past a black velvet curtain, to an authentic-looking speakeasy. Lots of dark wood, low lighting, and U-shaped booths lined the long, narrow place. We ordered more apps and craft cocktails, and enjoyed the ambiance. I had a frozen grasshopper, half dessert and half cocktail. All delicious.

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They made it like New City makes their ice cream: with liquid nitrogen. While waiting for the restroom, I watched the bartender make another frozen drink in the KitchenAid mixer; fog billowed out of the bowl while the mixer whirled. It was really cool, both literally and figuratively. Next time, I want to try the frozen Old Fashioned.

Next Saturday, I'm planning to go into Boston for the Women's March. D.C. is not doable for me, but a bunch of local friends are planning to go, so we'll all take the train in together. I want there to be a huge turnout, everywhere there is a March happening. This is historic. We can't let the Nazis get away with it. Yes, IMO it's that dire. The stuff that the GOP is pulling is positively fascist. I cannot understand how anyone could vote for any of them. I truly fear the ending of our Union as we know it.

Before the revolution, however, I'm really looking forward to the season finale of Sherlock. OMG this season has been intense! I will likely go see it again in the theatre this week. Such an amazing show.

How was your weekend?

Thankful

Nov. 24th, 2016 11:09 am
lizziebelle: (artsy me)
golden clouds over the atrium

Despite all the awful things going on in the world, I'm spending time this week practicing gratitude. It is, after all, the original meaning behind Thanksgiving.

I have a lot to be thankful for. I have an awesome new job, a roof over my head, enough to eat, a relatively comfortable existence. What I am most thankful for, though, is my network of friends and family (this includes all of you, BTW). Sometimes I am astonished at the love they show me. It gives me hope for humanity, which is sometimes hard to come by.

So I'm trying to not dwell on the things I wish I had, and be grateful for everything I do have.
lizziebelle: (artsy me)
Sorry I haven't been posting much lately, but I have been reading all your posts!

Still not really spring (we had snow again last Monday). Mom was back in the hospital this week, this time with pneumonia, and now she's at a rehab center to make sure she's well enough to go home.

I went to a wedding last weekend, for two awesome friends who deserve all the happiness. That was fun, and it was good to see folks.

Yesterday, I went to Springfield with [livejournal.com profile] sea_dark_wine, [livejournal.com profile] justjanus, and [livejournal.com profile] leenah to check out The Student Prince restaurant. Their specialty is German food, and it was very good. I had spatzle, which had a cheesy sauce and crispy fried onions on top. My mom used to make spatzle with caramelized onions. Everyone's entrees were delicious. I lived near Springfield for ten years and had never been there, mainly because I didn't have the money for frivolous things like dinner out. Hopefully I can go back and try some other things!

After stuffing ourselves, we walked up to the museum quadrangle and admired the Dr. Seuss sculpture garden, and found this awesome metal sculpture of a dragon:

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It's made with all sorts of random metal objects like flatware, saws, garden fencing, wrenches, and the like. It was fun to identify various things, and it's a very cool sculpture.

We opted not to go into the museums, feeling more like we needed a nap at that point. But it was fun to go there, and it was good to see friends and get out of the house.

Of course, that used up all my ambition for the weekend, and I haven't gone out at all today. It was a good day to catch up on reading.

How was your weekend?
lizziebelle: (fox)
It was a pretty intense week. It started out by snowing on Monday morning, which I took as an insult as it was the second day of Spring. To add insult to injury, so to speak, as I was pulling into the parking lot at work, the snow plow driver neglected to look and see if anyone was coming before plowing through right in front of me. We saw each other at the last second, but neither of us was able to get out of the way fast enough, and the front left corner of my car scraped along the side of his truck, crumpling the fender and part of the hood. I went through stages of disbelief and anger, and finally sadness every time I see the damage to my poor baby. It's driveable, and the headlight even still works, but it's a pain to deal with and I'd really rather not have to. The good things are that I can drive it until it gets fixed, nobody was hurt, and it wasn't my fault so I don't have to pay for it. I keep reminding myself that it could have been a lot worse. But still... grr. Argh.

Friday was the last day of the quarter at work, and I found out late on Thursday that I hadn't made my goal after all; they're not counting appointments that need to be rescheduled for some arcane reason, and I needed three more to make my goal and get a bonus. So I spent a frantic Friday making many calls and getting more desperate as the day went on. I scraped it out, barely, but was so totally wiped by the end of the day, I actually slept until 8:45 on Saturday. That never happens.

Also on Thursday, my mom had to go to the hospital again. She wasn't getting better from the flu, and her doctor wanted her to check in and get taken care of. Flu at her age, and with her asthma, can be dangerous. I'm still not quite back to normal after two weeks, so I can understand the concern. They're taking good care of her, and she's getting lots of calls from relatives and friends to keep her occupied.

At least today should be fun. My friend B is having her annual Easter bonfire and Peeps roast. The sun is even expected to make an appearance. It'll be good to get out of the house and spend time with friends.

Happy Easter to you if you celebrate!

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lizziebelle: (artsy me)
The days seem to drag, but the weeks fly by. Already it is March, and only a couple weeks until the equinox. It feels like spring might actually be on time this year, but it's hard to tell. We keep flipping between unseasonably warm and bitter cold. Last weekend, I saw flowers in the wild! Crocuses, and witch hazel at the park. I stopped to photograph the witch hazel, and was astonished to see a bee! That's a good sign.

bee on witch hazel flowers, 2/28/16

The red-winged blackbirds are back; they've been hanging out in the swamp near my office, and it's so cheering to hear them every morning. I'm pretty sure I saw a turkey vulture the other day, but I was driving so I couldn't get a good look. Little signs of spring all over the place.

We didn't have a particularly difficult winter, but that doesn't make me any less eager for spring. I'm tired of being cold, tired of the darkness. The light is definitely at the end of the tunnel.
lizziebelle: (fox)
Right now, just after 9:00 in the evening, it's 57 degrees outside (that's almost 14 degrees Celsius). Just to remind you, a year ago we had sub-zero temperatures and several feet of snow on the ground. The other day I went for a walk, and found this in one of the pots I'd stowed under the deck for the winter:

Blooming on 1/30!

Mind you, I'm not complaining! And we can blame El Nino this time. But it sure is weird.
lizziebelle: (george)
The big storm never quite made it this far north, for a change. We got maybe 2" of snow, which is fine by me. I'm liking this winter much better than the last one. We had feet instead of inches this time last year. Friends & family to the south got hit this time. Sorry guys, but better you than me! ;)

It was already starting to get dark by the time it started snowing, so I didn't get out to take pictures of it. I have plans with a friend downtown today, so I think I'll walk there and see what I can capture. It looks pretty from here.

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I think I'll wait until the sun is good and high before I go out to shovel off the deck & steps, and clear off the car. For now, I am happy to be snug here in my little apartment.
lizziebelle: (moon)
Railroad tracks by Walden Pond

I was contacted on Flickr by someone from the Thoreau Society asking permission to use this photo, which was taken near the site of Thoreau's cabin at Walden. Since they asked nicely, and I fully approve of their work, I said yes. It will likely appear in their journal sometime next year, and possibly on some of their social media sites as well. I asked for credit (of course) and links to my social media.

So you never know what will come of a walk in the woods. :)
lizziebelle: (crow)
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If you love Halloween like I love Halloween, follow [livejournal.com profile] eldritchhobbit for a whole month of spooky goodness!
lizziebelle: (ganesha)
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On Saturday, I went with some friends to Salisbury Beach for a lovely afternoon/evening of grilling, cider, and saltwater therapy. I walked along the shore for quite a way, looking out at the endless water and contemplating its vastness. It was huge and mysterious. I imagined the people who had crossed it in ages past, not knowing what was on the other side, not knowing exactly where they were, not knowing how long they'd be on that tiny boat on the swelling waves. I don't know if I'd be brave enough to do that. I find the ocean overwhelming; I grew up far from its shores, with lakes and rivers my waterways. The first time I saw it was a couple days before I turned sixteen, when we took a family trip to Ocean City, NJ. It looked just like Lake Ontario, which I was familiar with, but it was bitter-tasting and the waves threatened to bowl me over. It was full of creatures like crabs and maybe sharks. It wasn't familiar Canada on the other side, it was Spain or maybe Portugal.

I live less than an hour from the ocean, but it rarely even registers on my radar. I'm not a beach person, being pale and easily sunburned. I do like walking along the beach, looking for shells and interesting rocks, but you can't really swim in the sea, so I don't bother.

The other night, I found it fascinating. Vast, unknowable, overwhelming, mysterious, and fascinating.

aha

Sep. 10th, 2015 09:07 pm
lizziebelle: (artsy me)
Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] puddleshark! Switching to a different browser did the trick. Here, have a lovely morning glory.

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Also, I had to change my Yahoo password, because I can never remember it when I have to sign in someplace new. This time, I wrote it down. Which I'll probably lose before I have to use it again.
lizziebelle: (artsy me)


We seem to be back to summer, after we had a tease of fall. 91* today. I figured if I didn't get out early, I wouldn't go out at all, so this morning I headed down to the river for a walk when it was still cool enough to do so. I saw a surprising amount of fungi, considering how little rain we've had recently. The river is pretty low, the lowest I've seen it this year.

Flickr is not behaving for me today. I can't get it to let me post a larger size; I had posted a thumbnail in a comment the other day, and now it won't let me scroll down to the larger sizes. The menu falls off the bottom of the page, and I can't scroll down anywhere. So frustrating. Why do they have to keep futzing with it? It worked just fine before!

Which is a long-winded way of saying, if you want to see the fungi (and other stuff), I guess you'll have to go to my Flickr page.

Also, grr.

flowers

Aug. 28th, 2015 07:30 am
lizziebelle: (artsy me)
After the neverending war with the woodchucks last year, I decided to plant sunflowers in a pot this year. Actually, it's a large plastic cauldron, because that's just more fun. They're not very tall, and the flowers are fairly small, but I have sunflowers! They're ever so lovely. I smile whenever I see them.

unfolding beauty

Soon I will have morning glories, too. I see several buds that promise to be flowers in a few days. Hooray for flowers.
lizziebelle: (Blue Butterfly)
flutterby

Sirius Rising 2015 was a lot of fun. There were plenty of laughs, some weather (including a flash flood watch), a fabulous bonfire (as always), good friends ('though not nearly enough; too many people missing this year), much mead and cocktails, fairies, unexpected delights, and lots more. My Nature Photography class was a success: 7 people attended, and we went on walkabout to take pictures, which we then shared. I even had one semi-famous person show up: Ben from Acrodisiac. He and his partner Jasper are amazing athletes. Not to mention adorable.

My (brand-new) air mattress didn't make it through the first night; I woke up in pain, and discovered it had deflated by about half. Good thing I kept the box and receipt. I bought a camp cot on a town trip, which worked just fine. No more air mattresses! Stupid things. I will have to get some sort of foam padding for it before next time, but someone loaned me one of those flip & fold chair thingies that lay flat, so I was able to sleep mostly comfortably.

I already miss Brushwood, and all my honeys. We really do have a wonderful community. But I'm glad to be back in my own bed, with a real bathroom.

You can see the rest of the pix I took here.

I tried to read all your wonderful adventures that you had while I was gone, but I only made it back through Friday. If anything important or exciting or amazing happened, let me know!
lizziebelle: (artsy me)
Tomorrow morning, very early, we leave for Sirius Rising festival. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm excited about teaching workshops, and I really need to get away. It's been a tough year. But things are getting better!

My second week on the phones was just as successful. One day, I made four appointments! I had at least one every day, for a total of ten for the week. Next month's commission will be nice.

After looking at the color for a couple of months, I finally decided to buy something called "Violet Vixen" for my hair (L'Oréal Feria brand) since I have a job now so I don't have to worry about interviews anymore. I want to have purple hair at least once in my life, you know? So I did it this morning. It's not really purple; more like plum. It looks much brighter and redder in the sun. Here it is, before I got it cut this afternoon:

image

It's shorter and spikier now. I think "Violet Vixen" is now my superhero name.

The job

Jul. 2nd, 2015 09:50 pm
lizziebelle: (Blue Butterfly)
I love when the sky is this color

I just finished my second week at the new job. So far, I like it very much. My first day, my boss and her boss took me and the other new gal out for lunch at Not Your Average Joe's, which is right next door to the office. I had shrimp tacos, because why not. I'd never eaten there before; it was quite good.

The other new gal is very young (my niece's age!), and she's a retail refugee. She's also Pagan and a writer, so we have a lot in common. We were in training all last week, with a guy who I like very much. He's funny, informal, and very good at his job. We got through the training a day early. We started on the phones Friday afternoon after spending a few hours getting to know the scripts. They let us tweak them however we thought would work best for us. Such a difference from the old job!

My job is basically calling potential customers and trying to get appointments with them for the sales reps. Most of the appointments are phone consultations. We provide trainers for all sorts of things, from software applications to business skills, as well as project management and other services. I've been calling banking & finance businesses, and academic institutions. I will also be calling training centers and staffing agencies.

On Monday, my first full day on the phones, I got two appointments. Yippee! On Tuesday, I also got two appointments. Yeehaw! On Wednesday, I got, yes, two appointments. This is not how it usually goes, I am told. I got a "great job" email from my boss, cc'd to her boss and her boss's boss. I'm getting a reputation as a Rock Star, which is gratifying and scary (will I be able to keep this up? Oh, the pressure!) (Mostly from myself, they've not indicated that they expect me to do this every day). The VP of sales told me today that I'm doing a great job, and he loves how I am on the phone. I told him that this is not my first rodeo. *g*

The owner of the company took our whole team out for lunch at a Japanese restaurant yesterday. I had sushi. A gal could get used to this sort of thing.

I really like everyone there. My desk is in a row with five guys who are sports fanatics, but they're good guys. The dude next to me is the brother of the one who trained us, and he's been very helpful. They're not into micro-managing; they treat us like professionals and adults. So refreshing!

Today I only got one appointment, but we did have a couple of meetings so I was off the phones a bit. And they let us go home at 4:00. It was a very satisfying week. And now I have a three-day weekend to enjoy (and do laundry, and pack for festival). My job's not rocket science, but it's not easy, either. But I can do it, and do it well, and it's both noticed and appreciated. It's just what I'd hoped it would be.
lizziebelle: (ganesha)
sunset at the upper pond

I got an email last night letting me know that my workshop proposal for Sirius Rising festival was accepted. This is something I've wanted to do for a long time, so I'm very excited (and nervous). The workshop I wanted to do was Nature Photography for the point & shoot camera, but we had to propose three (!) workshops so I also proposed Creative Selfies and Photo Journaling. As far as I know, all three were accepted (!) so now I have to get to work on fleshing out my ideas. Any ideas or suggestions are welcome! Wish me luck!

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