Friday, March 30, 2007

I'm Back

Yes, it's true, I have returned from the motherland. Our trip was wonderful and relaxing yet hectic. We saw the usual sights of London (Big Ben [not that big really], the Tower of London [again, hardly what I would call a tower], the London Eye [I've got nothing for this one, it was pretty cool]) - and then we moved on to the North of England to take in the picturesque sights of Yorkshire (pronounced Yorksure).

Speaking of pictures, we took lots (almost 300). Alas, I've been busy with work and looking for apartments and volunteering my time making an invitation, and thus, have not had a chance to upload them. I assure you I will post the most fascinating dozen or so soon. While you're waiting for pictures, I'll just tell you a few things I learned while in England.
  1. They post their street signs on the sides of their buildings and they're not that particular about having one at every corner. I actually knew this from a previous trip to Ireland. But really got the full effect during our 13-day tour of the country. It's quaint at first, but then when you can't find the street sign as you're trying to get to the M1 in London and have no idea what street you're on, or where the street you're supposed to turn on is, it becomes slightly annoying.
  2. Cars like to park pointed in either direction on the street, regardless if it is one way or two way. This makes it difficult to know if it is one way or not, and leads to many "Oh my God, we're driving the wrong way down this street in the middle of London" moments.
  3. Google Maps UK is NOT the way to go to get directions in England. I don't think they actually have a person who lives in the UK writing these things. Best to stick with AA (the UK equivalent to AAA).
  4. Marks and Spencer's is the coolest store. It's a combination of an upscale Target and a Whole Foods.
  5. No one in London is "from around here" and has no idea how to tell you where to go. I got asked for directions two or three times while we were walking around - and once I was actually able to give them. That was one more time than anyone in London was able to give them to me.

OK, those are all negative things (well except the Marks and Spencer's thing). But really, we had a great time. I can't wait to go back and see more of the country - for such a small place, there really is a lot to see.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Melly's Musing will be taking a hiatus as I am going on a trip to England. If I have the time and ability, I will do some overseas blogging. Otherwise, I'll see you when I return.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The meaning of responsibility

When I started this blog, I didn't realize the responsibility I would have to my readers. If for some reason I skip blogging for a day or so, my in box looks worse than if I accidently clicked on a male enhancement ad. What is worse, I try to be a responsible person. Take for instance electronics. I noticed an article in the Tribune about recycling electronics. Now if you're anything like me (which - really - I hope you're not), you have a drawer of discarded electronic items that either not longer work or that you're just not using anymore. Mine contains the following: a Sony walkman circa 1999, in working condition; a no longer working Palm Pilot; a working film camera that I keep around just in case the digital goes haywire; a Zip drive - working, but really, who needs that now that I have an external hard drive?; my old cell phone with not one but two chargers and a car charger; a working Palm Pilot that I just don't use anymore; my old iPod that Mr. H. inherited and is only really used on car trips; not one but two miniature cassette recorders - well one is actually a digital recorder - one mine, one Mr. H's, that we both keep around to use for our insights and thoughts for that will aid us in our writing which, to my knowledge, have not been used for that purpose in years; a non functioning Apple laptop complete with an airport and all the other cables that go along with a computer. The reason that they are still sitting in my junk drawer (or drawers to be exact) is that I am a responsible person and can not bring myself to throw them out knowing it's not very good for the environment. I have tried on various occasions to sell the couple of items that are broken for parts (Craig's list is good for this). I think I even tried to get rid of the Zip drive on Craig's list, but no one wanted it. I did however get rid of a printer I no longer needed that way - I think I made $25 and felt good for not throwing it out. I have even taken to keeping old batteries in a box in my office and just the other day finally made it to the library for recyling. So you can see why this article would interst me. I have known for some time that there are organizations that take old cell phones and refurbish them to raise funds for the fight against dometic violence (The Wireless Foundation), but now I know that the Body Shop on State Street collects them - I'll be dropping mine off tomorrow. I also know that I can recycle my laptop at Apple, and many other places, and since it's pretty much a paper weight, the best I can hope to get for it is the good feeling of knowing I didn't just throw it in the trash. Just blogging about being a responsible recyling person has made me feel better. Alas, it hasn't solved the responsibility I have to you, my readers (well technically it did for this blog, but what about tomorrow?) So, if you promise to check out the My Green Electronics web site, I promise to blog tomorrow.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

It's understanding that makes it possible for people like us to tolerate a person like yourself.

Apparently I am the type of person that can be easily irritated. I never realized this about myself until recently. I feel that for the most part, I am fairly tolerant of people. However, I have noticed that the following things get on my nerves more and more these days:

  • My coworker who likes to whistle while she works (this would be OK if she were a dwarf - and now that I think about it, she is rather short - but she's no dwarf).

  • People who drag their feet - literally. Why can't they pick up their feet when they walk?

  • People who listen to their music too loud on their headphones (generally this annoys me while I am on the train - but also sometimes at work)

  • This morning there was a guy listening to his headphones at the appropriate volume, but he decided that since we couldn't hear his music, he would sing it for us (to make matters worse, it wasn't in English, so I have no idea what he was singing).

I realize that most of these things are generally of no consequence, and really shouldn't be bothersome. And I try to stop myself from becoming irritated. But sometimes I just can't help it. Maybe if I start shouting "Serenity Now" I'll feel better.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Help...I'm addicted to e-mail, and I can't get up.

Last week I blogged about my inbox and all of the different lists I'm not, not to mention the spam I get. Today, I read there is a woman out there touting the 12 steps to recovering from email addition. You have got to be kidding me. But, it is a little interesting to think about. Read the article in the Tribune. Meanwhile, I'll be checking my email and wasting my time.

Admitting e-mail addiction often first step to recovery

Friday, March 2, 2007

My American Life

Last night, Mr H. and I went to see a live taping of This American Life. It was lovely, funny and inspirational. I started this blog to try to spur myself to write more (which it has done) in the hopes that it increased my creativity, or at least got me back in the habit of writing most every day and thinking like a writer again. Trying to come up with something to write about each day has lead to other ideas and thoughts. After I blogged about my experiences in the theater, I started thinking about journals I could send that type of piece to. I've been meaning to get myself to a bookstore so I could pick up a copy of this year's Writer's Market, but just haven't gotten around to it. This morning, thinking about the TAL show, I went to their website (www.thisamericanlife.org/) and noticed the submitting work link. That got me to thinking that writing something for TAL would be pretty cool. So the blog is working in a way. But all this other stuff keeps happening - I guess you'd call it life. I've been sick this past week, so in no mood to do anything outside of work and sleep. Mr. H. and I are beginning our apartment search, which I can just tell is going to take all kinds of time and end badly (well, probably not badly, just not as well as I'm hoping). We are also planning for our trip to England, which is 10 days away. So much to do, so little time. How am I supposed to write? Or think about writing? It's the never ending struggle, right? Nothing no one else hasn't dealt with. Of course, that doesn't help me any. Any ideas, any motivation you guys might have would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Husband for Hire

I'm married to the funniest man alive. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "wait, you're not married to Bill Murray." No, I'm not. And yes, he's funny. But not as funny as Mr. H. Why just this morning, as we were walking to the train, treading over the odd snow pellets that were thrown down on Chicago last night, he said "What's that old saying about March - in like a snow cone, out like a waffle?" That's funny. Maybe it was a "you had to be there" moment, but I assure you, it was funny. And he's like that all the time. He pretty much keeps me in stitches. Sometimes his humor is that dry "British" type of humor - which can be hard to get as an American, but I try. He likes to do pratfalls a lot, which is more a Dick van Dyke and Three Stooges type of humor, geared towards the guys. I don't find it funny, but the fish (all of which are males) think it's hilarious. And then there's his written work. Yesterday he sent me an email because I hadn't blogged in a while. He was telling me ... well, I'll just show you:

Mrs. H. - going on a week now without a musing. What gives? You should know you are in serious jeopardy of violating your contract with the local Brown Line Rider Association. Permits have been revoked for less. Please understand, I come to you now out of friendship and admiration, but know that if this behavior persists I shall be forced to take measures ordinarily repellent to my nature. I beg of you, do not let the situation escalate to such unfortunate and irreversible conclusions. The good news is that this is entirely in your power to avoid. After all is said and done, I am certain we shall look back upon this unpleasant episode and laugh. All such mirth and merriment needs in order to come to fruition is a simple decision on your part. Do the right thing. For all concerned, and for the greater good, do what your conscious and sense of duty requires. Sincerely, Mr. H.

There are lots of inside jokes in that note that you probably don't get, but I bet you still find the overall effect comical. And I get notes like this all the time! Now, I don't mean to make you jealous. I'm sure your husband/wife/SO is funny in their own way. But not everyone can be truly hilarious. And I take it as a wonderful stroke of luck that I have landed such a witty man. However, if you are ever in need of some droll humor during your days, he's available for rental at very reasonable rates.

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