Observe & Report

Being Happy …

I saw this quote on Facebook the other day and thought about how perfect it was in relationship to the last post I wrote.

I need to do that. Be happy with my life and where it’s at. 

For the most part, I think I am … I’m lucky to be married to my best friend and that makes all the difference in the world. I have someone I can implicitly trust all my hopes and fears. I have someone who has been with me to h*ll and back with all the curve balls life has thrown me. And he’s still standing next to me. 

So I guess you can say I succeeded in being with someone that makes me happy. Now, what should I do to be that someone that makes me happy? 

I guess it starts with figuring out what makes me unhappy and making a change from there. 

Failure = Success?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the post I wrote last week and how failure has shaped my life over the past decade or so. Then my Hubby sent this article to me that talks about how failure can actually turn into success.

I’m not sure how I feel about the article. I mean, I get what the message is; that in order to succeed you have to allow failure into your life. That we can learn from our failures. 

So what have I learned from my failures? Losing a job taught me that nothing in life is ever “stable.” Moving back to Detroit from Chicago after my Dad passed away taught me that guilt is a strong enough motivator. Infertility taught me that not everything that you give 100% into will result in success.

Not necessarily happy things, right? Truth is, failure has taught me to be more wary of people, of situations. The once confident woman that I was in my twenties, has morphed into a 40-year old woman with more self-esteem issues than a teenager. 

What I need to do, as Hubby keeps telling me, is realize that I should let go of these failures and move on. And I need to realize that everything I do won’t necessarily fail; that even little things in life (and work) can be a success. 

I need to believe in myself.

An Apple A Day

The first computer I ever touched

The first time I ever touched a computer was as a third-grader in the small Catholic grade school I had attended. I remember being intimidated by the big machine in front of me with a keyboard that didn’t seem to have the letters “in the right order.” Or at least that’s what my 8-year old mind thought.

But what I do remember is the black screen with the green lettering. And the game that our computer teacher-slash-gym teacher would have us play.

“Open apple” to catch the falling apple in the basket, he’d tell us. “Closed apple” to close the basket from animals trying steal the apple.

It was a large bulky piece of equipment, that Apple III computer; but it was the first computer I ever touched.

And as I sit here typing away on my MacBook Pro, I can’t help but reflect on how much Apple has been a part of my life.

Open Apple, Closed Apple

Okay, so maybe for a spell of time — let’s say  back in the mid ’80’s — we owned a Texas Instrument computer. And maybe those high school days were spent working on an IBM computer. (I’m sure Steve Jobs would have forgiven us; seeing that he had left Apple during that period of time.)

But you see, I count those days in our grade school’s “computer lab” as the moment I became a “loyal” Apple fan. So loyal that, even though my university’s computer lab had rows and rows of PC’s … I would patiently wait for one of the 5 or so Apples to open up to type up my term papers. Or I’d wait to use one so that I could figure out how to work this “new technology” called “electronic mail” … a way that I could save money from my phone bill so I could communicate with future-Hubby at his university’s computer lab that had rows and rows of Apple Computers.

Macintosh SE 30

(Yes kids … what’s common, everyday technology for you today was brand-spanking new for us back in the early ’90’s!)

Even after graduating from university … the first home computer I owned was a “hand-me-down” Macintosh SE 30, loaned to me by future-Hubby when I moved into my first apartment.

Hubby, too was a big Apple fan. Of course, his started at the University of Michigan and continued afterwards as one of his first jobs after college was working for the now defunct Computer City store. And because of the nature of his career, Apple Computers were the most prevalent work-horse when it came to Graphic Design. So once he bought his first Mac, we never looked back.

Apple website home page for Oct 5, 2011

Today, our household is filled with Apple products:  from the first Mac SE 30 (that stills sits on our kitchen pass-through) to the shiniest biggest iMac that Hubby uses for work on a daily basis. Not to mention the “computer graveyard” we have in our basement (or in our home office) that contains bits and parts of Apple stuff. (There’s even two old 2nd generation iPods with the classic “click wheel” lying around somewhere … Don’t judge — one of them was a gift from a dear friend that didn’t know we already had one!)

And then there’s our iPhones (old 3G ones) and iPads … things we now feel like we can’t live without.

By now you’ve gathered that Apple has been a big part of our lives, especially over the past 20 years. And I’m positively sure that we’re not the only ones that have been loyal to the company. So yes, reading about Steve Jobs passing had really affected us … and, by seeing all the FB posts and tweets, his death has obviously affected the rest of the world.

Hubby's tribute to Steve Jobs

I’ve said it before … maybe not anywhere here on my blog … but I’ve always said that Steve Jobs is the Walt Disney of my generation; the greatest innovator of the latter 20th/early 21st century. While he had already cemented his place in history by being one of the co-founders of Apple Computers (along with Steve Wozniak) in 1976, he will always be remembered as the man who successfully merged high-end technology with every day life.

As I said above, I can no longer live without my iPhone or MacBook Pro … but I’ll have to learn to live without Steve Jobs.

And because this is still my favorite commercial …




Yada Yada … and Then Some

See? I don't think my niece, Kairi is ready for Fall either!

Sad but true … tonight was the first night I stepped outside my house since Labor Day.

It’s a good thing Hubby made it a Dinner & A Movie kind of night, otherwise I would have likely stayed at home in my pajamas as I had done all week long.

What can I say? I love working from home … well, at least when I’m not traveling for my job. And seeing that I’ve spent the past few months “grounded” at home, doing all web-based “virtual training” all day in my home office … sometimes I see no reason to step out of the house.

I guess it’s also a good thing it was a short week.

But seeing that the weather in Metro-Detroit has been pretty much crappy since Monday, it’s probably best I stayed away from the annoying drivers who can’t seem to figure out how to drive in the rain.

I mean … really, people. We live in the Motor City, we should all know how to drive like mail carriers: Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet — yada yada …

As if I don’t have enough to whinge about, here’s my biggest gripe for the day: Today I put on a pair of jeans for the first time since May. Although I was (very) grateful that they still fit (whew!), I was more upset that this meant we were one step further away from summer.

Can you tell I don’t want the warm weather to disappear?

I don’t know why I’ve been feeling like this lately. I mean I truly love Autumn and everything that surrounds the beautiful season … but it’s almost as if this year I’m dreading it.

I’m beginning to think that it’s not that I no longer like the coming season, but rather I don’t like thinking about what comes after the leaves fall from the trees and the bitter cold starts to settle in. After all, I’ve never been much of a Winter person.

Maybe it’s because Autumn means I’m one step closer to Thanksgiving … to the weekend when my beloved Rain passed away. To when my Dad first entered the hospital that first week in December. To when he passed away.

It doesn’t seem possible that it’ll be a year very soon. Yet it almost seems a lifetime apart. There are some days I’m perfectly okay with things; okay with getting on with my life.

But then there are those other days … days like this past week … where the emotions are still so raw; so painful to even think about. And although those moments don’t happen as frequently any more … when they do, they seem so much more intense.

In any case, I know that time doesn’t stop for grief. If there is anything that dealing with the emotions of Infertility has taught me is that life keeps moving on despite the all hurt and pain.

Too bad it only took me ten years to discover this. <smirk>

So here’s what I plan to do to keep moving on: Tomorrow I’m gonna enjoy going to the Big House for the first night-time Michigan Football game. (Woo-hoo! Go Blue!) And Sunday we’ll go watch Hubby’s younger cousin peform with his HS Marching Band at one of the small-town parades. And Monday? I go for my first guitar lessons.

So yeah … maybe getting myself (and keeping myself out of the house) will do me some good.

In the mean time … maybe this video will inspire me to embrace Autumn in Ann Arbor …

Round Peg, Square Hole

I admit … I haven’t been doing much since being back from vacation. Which I suppose is a good thing. I’ve done a lot of reading lately; definitely more than writing.

Which is a shame, because I do have some fun pictures from vacation to share with you. Unless, of course … you’ve seen it on my personal FB page! 🙂

Instead, I’ve been on a reading kick. I finished “The Castaways” while in line at Universal Orlando. And yesterday, I just finished “The Help” … a book I had wanted to read before seeing the movie. Today, I start “The Solitude of Prime Numbers“.

I’ve not felt inspired to write lately, and I’m going through one of my phases where even FB or reading other blogs doesn’t sound appealing to me right now. What I do know is that it likely has to do with those emotional peaks and valleys I’ve been experiencing lately.

I’d elaborate more but … quite frankly, it feels like I’m beating a dead horse.

So instead … to honor the “retirement” of Steve Jobs from Apple, I decided to post one of the company’s older commercials; one that I have always loved. And seeing that there are many times (especially lately) that I feel as if I see things so much more differently than others, I figure that this should be my inspiration for the day.

A Song I Want Played At My Funeral

Day Twenty-Four – A Song I Want Played At My Funeral:

It started a few years ago … probably even longer. Come to think of it, Hubby &I probably started to have discussions about what song we’d want to have at our own funerals shortly after we had seen “Love, Actually” when Liam Neeson’s character plays “Bye Bye, Baby” by the Bay City Rollers at his recently-deceased wife’s funeral service.

When Hubby’s grandmother passed away in January of 2008, Hubby’s family had asked him to put together a slide show that they could take with them back to the Philippines, where his “Nanay” would finally placed at rest. But when you have a slide show, you must have accompanying music to go with the slide show, right? So Hubby & I had come up with a handful of songs to place on this DVD slide show: “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion was an obvious choice. We also threw in Boyz II Men’s “A Song For Mama” for good measure. (That song gets me every time!)

A few months after that project was completed, Hubby told me about a song that came up on digital music library. He had been missing his Nanay when Rob Thomas’ “Now Comes The Night” came on. It was a song, he said, that was perfect to play at a funeral.

A Hard Day ... Last quiet moment together as a family

Of course, I had to listen to the song right away … and when I did, I couldn’t help but think the same thing. Because, as sad as the song sounded, the lyrics were hopeful and uplifting.

In fact, it’s a song I can listen during the days when I miss my Dad the most. Because it reminds me that – even though he’s not physically here next to me – he’s still with me in spirit.

So this would be the song that I’d like to be played at my own funeral … I want those family and friends to feel comforted that I will still be with them, looking over them in the best way that I can.


What is with this 30-day song challenge?

What was yesterday‘s song?


A Song That I Listen To When I’m Sad

Day Twenty-Two – A Song That I Listen To When I’m Sad:

There’s something about music that can stir up the best and worst of emotions. Just like any INXS song can bring a smile to my face, so can another song drive me to tears.

I recently heard an episode of “Fresh Air” on NPR where Stephen Colbert talked about how he took voice lessons to help train for his one-time / one-performance role in Sondheim’s production of “The Company.”  Colbert, who graduated from Northwestern University with a Theater degree, said it was like having to retrain himself after all these years; exercising vocal cords and muscles that he hadn’t used in years. And while his vocal coach had taught him all the technical aspects of singing, he still hadn’t known how to sing with any “emotion.”

That is, until the day Colbert’s vocal coach told him to forget all he learned, to not worry so much about “breaking the rules” … he was told to sing “silly.”

And that’s when it clicked for Colbert. From that moment, he was able to use his voice – a voice that was meant for musical theater, according to Sondheim – and fill it with all the emotions that were required for his character.

There are certain recorded songs out there where you can “feel” the emotions behind the singer’s voice. Those are the songs that give you the goose bumps when you hear it … whether for the first time or the hundredth time.  Those are the songs that can make you cry; whether for joy or for sadness.

Those are the songs that can likely lift you up — even if it’s a sad song — out of the darkness.

James Blunt’s “Beautiful” does that to me. There’s something about his voice, matched with the lyrics to this song that speak to me … that make me even the slightest bit happier whenever I hear it.

Maybe it’s because Blunt talks about a chance encounter with a woman he will never know. Maybe it’s because it’s because he speaks of that moment with such reverence. But the way that Blunt sings his lyrics has a way of making me feel as if I could be that “angel” … that I could be that beautiful person who had caught some stranger’s eye and captured this stranger’s imagination.

Now realistically, I know that’s absolutely untrue. (Who would look twice at me?) But I think it’s the possibility that it could happen that captures my imagination … captures my smile long enough for the wave of sadness to dissipate.


What is with this 30-day song challenge?

What was yesterday‘s song?

A Song I Listen To When I’m Angry

Day Twenty – A Song I Listen To When I’m Angry:

Industrial Music is always great to listen to when you’re feeling angry.

Perhaps it’s the sound of the heavy guitar riffs. Or the deep beats of sequencers overlaid with the sounds from the synthesizer. Or it could, in certain songs, by the way that the vocals are screamed into the mike.

Read more »

A Song I Hear Often On The Radio

Day Seventeen – A Song I Hear Often On The Radio:

Since getting XM/Sirius Radio in our new car, I have been listening more and more to radio. That’s something to be said, given that the “regular” radiowaves have pretty much been taken over by a major media conglomerate that will remain nameless.

In fact, I hold that particular company responsible for the death of radio as I knew it, growing up in the 80’s. (Hmmm … methinks I musta watched “Pump Up The Volume” way too many times in the early 90’s.)

Read more »

A Song That Describes Me

Day Fifteen – A Song That Describes Me:

Funny; when I first heard this song on the radio … when I first saw the video, I fell in love with this song. At the time, Future Hubby had asked me why I liked it so much. I had responded that the melody was so infectious and so cheerful that I couldn’t help but smile whenever I heard it.

Read more »

Other Related Strings