Category: Life

Know when to break the rules.

Break the Rules

This is something that’s been bouncing around inside my head lately:

Know the standards.
Know when to follow the rules.
Know when to think outside of the box.
Know when to break the rules.

Sometimes it’s tough to know when. Sometimes you just need to go for it.

Image courtesy of: / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Looking back as we move forward.

As we begin a new decade, many people seem to be looking back at the decade past. I came across the following two images that I think are interesting and thought provoking.

Picturing the Past 10 Years

In this Op-Chart for The New York Times created by Phillip Niemeyer called “Picturing the Past 10 Years”, each row is a theme, and each column represents a year.  Shown in each cell are the trends and events that dominated the past decade in icons and buzzwords.

Op-Chart | Phillip Niemeyer | Picturing the Past 10 Years

via Picturing the Past 10 Years, December 27, 2009.

What’s Changed This Decade (1999-2009)

In “What’s Changed This Decade (1999-2009)” another perspective is given on how far we’ve come and gone, both good and bad…

Are stone cold numbers your thing?

If so, check out “A plethora of numbers traces a decade of change” – From McClatchy Newspapers and Yahoo! News. This article lists other statistics that trace the changes that took place in the last 10 years. Here’s a sample taken from that article:

Unemployment rate: 4.2 percent (1999); 10 percent ( November 2009 )

Jobless workers: 5.7 million (1999); 15.4 million ( November 2009 )

Unemployed workers not included in jobless number because they haven’t looked for work in the past month: 1.1 million (1999); 2.3 million ( November 2009 )

Median household income: $44,900 (1999); $50,303 (2008)

In 1999 constant dollars: $44,900 (1999); $38,924 (2008)

Median sales price for existing homes: $138,000 (1999); $172,700 (2009)

In constant 1999 dollars:$138,000 (1999); $133,000 (2009)

Median sales price for new homes: $161,000 (1999); $212,000 (2009)

In constant 1999 dollars: $161,000 (1999); $163,265 (2009)

Number of foreclosure proceedings: 450,000 (1999); 2 million (2009, estimate)

Banks seized by Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.: 8 (1999); 133 (through Dec. 11, 2009 )

People living below the poverty line: 32.8 million in 1999; 39.8 million in 2008

Poverty line for a family of four: $17,029 (1999); $22,025 (2008)

In constant 1999 dollars: $17,029 (1999); $17,043 (2008)

via A plethora of numbers traces a decade of change – Yahoo! News.

Food for thought.


Phillip Niemeyer | Picturing the Past 10 Years

It's Just Pancakes

Pancake frustrations.

Two weekends ago, I was up early on a Saturday morning, getting started with my regular weekend routine. After having some coffee and messing around for an hour or two, I decided it was time for breakfast. Pancakes sounded like a good option. With a box of Bisquick from the pantry at hand, I threw together the standard pancakes recipe from Betty Crocker (found on the side of the Bisquick box).

While I was cooking the pancakes, I found I was having a tough time getting them to flip without the batter getting all smeared on the cooked side. I was getting frustrated with myself and wondering what I was doing wrong. I thought I was following the recipe on the box. It calls for three things: Bisquick, water and eggs. Turns out I forgot to add one of the ingredients. What’s funny is, I didn’t realize this until today, two weeks later, after glancing at the recipe on the box again.

Looking at my pictures that documented the final steps of cooking the batch of pancakes in question, can you guess which ingredient I forget?

Eggs. I forgot the eggs. I guess getting two out of three ingredients isn’t bad, right? And guess what? Although the pancakes were dense and not as airy as I’m used to, they still tasted surprisingly good.

It’s just pancakes.

The moral of this story is there is no using getting all worked up over the little mistakes and mess ups in life. An easy thing to say, I know. For me, it’s really hard to live up to this. I always seem to be my worst critic and I can get pretty grumpy when a recipe, project or plan doesn’t come together like I expect.

Since this pancake cooking experience, if I need to remind myself of this lesson and get some perspective when things don’t go according to plan, I’ve begun using my new mantra:

It’s just pancakes.

Jonathan Coulton's "Invisible Post"

As we celebrate this beautiful First of May, here is Jonathan Coulton’s “Invisible Post”:

Invisible Post

Which is what this will be for many of you today – traffic on the First of May is always a little heavy for some reason, but my poor server is doing its best to keep up. I wish you all a happy Spring, even if you don’t know it.

This song is free even when it is not this day of the year, but it is especially free today (if you know what I mean):

First of May (<–Not At All Safe For Work)

-Jonathan Coulton, May 1st 2009 –

VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED – “First of May” is a song that celebrates the coming of spring… by doin’ it outside. This video contains adult language and situations. If you are easily offended by such things, please be forewarned.

Otherwise, watch it. It’s one of the best songs of all time!

If you’re like me, you might not recognize a certain phrase in the song the first time you hear it. If so, read this definition of “flagrante delicto”

Perhaps after this, you’ll be able to say you learned something new today.

What I learned in 2009:

It’s harder to lose a pet and companion than you think.

Goodbye Bella.

This morning I was given the ashes of my cat, Bella. Bella was my friend and companion for almost 16 years. One week ago today, on January 4th 2009, Bella’s life slipped out of his small body as I held him in my arms.

I was twenty-four when Bella, a six week-old kitten, came into my life. Since then, Bella had been by my side. He was the one constant I could always count on. Now, I am forced to learn to get used to him not being around. I’ve been struggling to talk about this and the loss I feel for the last week. All I can say at this moment is that I feel the wind has been taken out of my sails.

When someone loses a human friend, family member or other loved one, society tends to accept all the ceremony and funeral ritual around remembering the person that died and the grieving that accompanies that loss.  Although the pain and grief can be just as difficult, when losing an animal companion, there isn’t a socially acceptable way to express that grief.

As someone who has recently lost one of the best friends he’s ever had, I find myself trying to navigate through those very waters now. Bella’s death was quick and unexpected. Through the years and until he died, Bella’s personality, caring and unconditional love made my life better. In those last moments, as he struggled to breathe, I looked into his eyes and thanked him for all he brought to my life.

I’m thankful in the end that Bella wasn’t alone and his suffering was brief. Now, with a small container of ashes nearby, I am really missing him.

Bella, this one is for you…

“Why Should I Cry For You” – Sting

[audio:|titles=Why Should I Cry For You]