Quote for the day

September 23rd, 2008

Not being able to govern events, I govern myself. – Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)

I love this quote. Its basic premise is something I’ve been trying very hard to incorporate into my life for the past 9 months or so, after living 32 years basically angry at a world that I thought was persecuting me. I realized about two years ago that if I stubbornly insist on a particular acquisition (like a MINI Cooper) or achievement (like a loss of 10 pounds) or event (like receiving an apology) before I’ll let go of anger or allow myself to be happy, well, I’ll never be happy. It’s still difficult sometimes to be OK even if things aren’t perfect, but I’ve been striving to accept “life on life’s terms” (as they say in AA and Al-Anon).

As part of this attitude, I’ve also learned to examine stressful situations to see the ways I’m contributing to them instead of automatically playing the victim. Even if I’m resentful at someone for a legitimate reason, I’m part of the problem if I just sit there and seethe instead of expressing my thoughts or actively working to improve the situation. If I’ve taken on too much, I have to learn to say no instead of complaining about how busy I am. Oftentimes I find that I’m a crazymaker in my own life, and that things I think are vitally important, well, aren’t.

Which leads me to another point: I probably won’t be posting very much over the next couple of weeks or so because I have another project that absolutely has to take priority. I’ve been afraid of a hiatus because, among other things, I’ve worried about losing readers – or worse, being one of those boring writers who never posts anything. Well, that’s just a chance I’ll have to take. If you love me, you’ll come back when I do. And if you don’t love me, why are you reading this?

Wonders of technology

September 13th, 2008

So my roommate and I just discovered that we have a talking smoke alarm*! In addition to three ear-piercing skull-splitting beeps every few seconds, the alarm features a female voice that says “Fire. Fire.” (It’s not an overly excited voice; I assume she’s trying to help victims stay calm.) I had no idea such things even existed.  I’m wondering about the reason for the additional information (Fire. Fire.) – do some people have multiple appliances that emit ear-piercing skull-splitting beeps, so they’re not sure which alarm is going off?

*I am not the reason for this discovery. For once.

Pictures!

September 11th, 2008

So I spent quite a bit of time last night trying to upload pictures from Iceland into my weblog here, but that didn’t work out (aargh). So, instead, I created a Picasa album, complete with (somewhat limited) commentary, for you to enjoy.

For those of you who read Monday’s post and are concerned about my well-being (because I’m sure you did and are), I can report that things have been better since my doctor changed my allergy medication. I’m about 75% back to normal (ahem) and don’t spend half my time torturedly rubbing my eyes and the other half lying down with a cold compress on them. This is happy progress indeed. Woo-hoo!

(Four-)seasonal allergies

September 8th, 2008

This will be a quick post, one dashed off (insofar as any part of me is at all capable of dashing) right before I drag my beleaguered and allergy-ridden self into bed. It’s a bit odd – I have awful allergies in the spring, but I’ve never had allergies in late summer before this year. The past couple of days (especially today) have been terrible. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself and my itchy, swollen, runny, red, sore eyes and itchy throat and whiplash-inducing sneezes and constantly runny nose all day; a photograph of me right now would be a perfect representation of true and pitiful misery. I’m going to bed and I’m not going to think about how long it will take me to open my crusty, glued-shut eyes tomorrow morning (’tis an unpleasant process; I shan’t elaborate).

Sigh.

Ísland!

September 5th, 2008

(That’s “ees-land,” not “eye-land.” Ísland is the Icelandic spelling, and I like to be authentic.)

Well, I’m back – I actually got home Tuesday night but I spent the day yesterday in a pretty much catatonic/useless state. Something about not sleeping much for four days made me somewhat non-functional. But the trip was fantastic:

Saturday we spent exploring Reykjavík (some of these details are kind of fuzzy, since the plane landed at 6:00 AM Iceland time/2:00 AM Boston time and we didn’t take naps), taking in a few museums (there are very few and they’re all very small [and one, unfortunately, featured contemporary installation “art”]) and wandering around the cute downtown area. The weather wasn’t too cooperative – chilly and spitting rain – but that made the couple of hours we spent in the geothermally heated swimming pools that much more fun.

Sunday we got hooked up with an AWESOME family in Hveragerði (took me a while to learn to pronounce that; I now say it “OK – for an American”) who took us to the area where boiling water and steam come right out of the ground, fed us, and then took us out to a black sand beach where I got much wetter than anticipated while doing a cartwheel. (They’re tricky in shifty sand.)

Monday the AWESOME family who fed and entertained us on Sunday took us on a Golden Circle tour, where we got to see Geysír (from which all geysers everywhere take their name), Strokkur (a geyser that erupts every 5-6 minutes), Gulfoss (awesome waterfalls), and Þingvellir, site of the first parliament in all of Europe in 930 CE.  When we got back to Reykjavík we went back to the geothermally heated swimming pools (not at all the family-friendly crowd we enjoyed on Saturday) (holy meat market Batman! Who wears earrings, full makeup, and sophisticated hairstyles in a swimming pool?! Other than Icelandic teenaged girls, that is?) with yet another AWESOME friend we had made at church, who then gave us a better tour of downtown than we’d had Saturday (three cheers for JES, our native guide!).

Our last day was Tuesday, and we headed out to the Blue Lagoon (every bit as wonderful as it looks in the brochures) for a few hours of finger-and-toe-wrinkling relaxation before leaving for the airport. (In case you’re keeping track, we wore our swimsuits on three out of four days. Not bad a-tall.) It’s kind of a bummer that we paid for the bus from the Blue Lagoon to the airport, since we missed it – thus experiencing a few minutes of anxiety until ARB found us a ride with some other people whose flight left shortly before ours. (Traveling with an extrovert came in very handy a number of times.) So, we made it to the airport without any further complications, hopped on a plane, and landed in Boston again late Tuesday evening. The walk home from the T was slow and heavy – ARB and I were both pretty well worn out – but the trip was worth every sore muscle and foot-dragging step. We’re already thinking of all the things we’ll do next time we go. And, of course, I’m now thinking that since I’ve visited Finland and Iceland, the rest of Scandinavia deserves investigation as well. I wonder how cold it is in Denmark around Thanksgiving?

(P. S.: Pictures to come. ARB and I are consolidating our photographs. And I need to go to bed.)