Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Most Unusual Garden in Denver

Today, I went to Denver to take a trolley ride. Well, being extremely navigationally challenged, I could not find the trolley station, but instead found this chain link fence at Union Station decorated by the Ladies Fancywork Society. They had "crocheted" the whole chain link fence with yarn, making it like a garden. (Maybe they used the "chain-link" stitch!) It's reasons like this that I take my camera with me everywhere! I love finding these serendipitous works of art in odd places. It's like coming across a treasure!

This is just one of many fun pieces of art I found unexpectedly this month. I tried to post the others, but I'm running into blogger issues, so it will have to wait. For now, I will just tell you to visit Union Station at the end of the 16th Street Mall to see this unusual garden!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Detective Work Needed: Help me find Joel from Superior, CO

Calling all detectives: $20 to the first person who can find "Joel from Superior, CO."

It's another one of the eHarmony "free communication" weeks. Even though I was very disappointed the last time I tried it, I couldn't resist, trying to go through the "guided communication" with "Joel from Superior, CO" since he looked like such a good match. According to his profile, he's 51, a software engineer, and is passionate about his family... all good stuff. Oh, and he went to MIT (I do have a penchant for geeks.)

We were nicely progressing through our guided communication and everything was looking good. (Well, I can't see or share photos, but based on personality, so far, so good.) Then, we hit the same stumbling block as last time... he sends me an email. I can't read or respond because I'm not a paying member.

To pay for 1 month would be $60. Just on principal, I don't want to pay that. But I have tried to do my own detective work to find Joel from Superior using Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. Unfortunately, I'm not having much luck. Even though Joel is not a very common name and Superior, CO is a small city, all the Joels I'm finding are not quite fitting the bill.

If someone out there can help me find the right Joel, I'll happily pay a $20 finder fee. Here's what I know about him:

He's 51 and lives in Superior, CO.
He's passionate about his "family, friends, career, music, art, and some sports."
He loves to travel and his favorite cities include Santa Fe and London
He's 6'0"
He's Christian
He never smokes and drinks a few times a year
He's white, non-Hispanic
He is raising a son
He's a software engineer and went to MIT

OK, detectives. Go find him! He could be my soul mate, just waiting to be found!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tour de France - Should Contador Have Waited?

About the only sports I watch on TV is the Olympics. The truth is, I don't watch much TV in general. That's all different when I'm visiting my parents, though, where the TV is on all day. So, this week, I've been watching the Tour de France and have found myself caught up in the race.

I've been especially interested (and confused) by this controversy on Monday where Alberto Contador was boo'ed because he didn't slow down or stop when Andy Schleck had a problem with his chain. I had a long discussion with my sister and father about this who tried to explain to me that etiquette would dictate that Contador should not have taken advantage of a Schleck's mechanical problem.

Now I am a person that usually roots for the underdog and hates to see anyone lose due to an accident or "mechanical failure" or anything that's outside of the control of the athlete. But this is a huge competition! Stuff happens! It seems totally foreign to me that a competitor would be expected to not perform his best because his contender was having a problem! Maybe if Schleck was in an accident and had gotten hurt... but, according to my Dad and sister, no one is expected to stop if that happens... It's only if there's a mechanical problem. This makes no sense to me at all. Contador had some mechanical problems earlier in the race and Schleck didn't stop for him.

On the other hand, apparently "niceness" does matter in this race. From what I've gathered the crowd doesn't really like Contador for his competitiveness. This just seems weird to me, since...after is a competition. So what exactly is this bicycle etiquette? Is it only the top few people that are supposed to slow down or stop if there's a mechanical problem? And why is that? Shouldn't competitors be responsible for their own equipment and their malfunctions? Why should their opponents be expected to wait if they have a problem?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What's on your bucket list?

The other day I got an email from my sister. It's one of those you pass around and mark what you've done on this "bucket list." I'm definitely into the "bucket list" mentality. That was what my "Adventure a Month" was all about in The Laptop Dancer Diaries. And if the list below doesn't give you enough ideas, check out Ian Usher's list of 100 Goals in 100 Weeks.

I'm all for "Just Do It" and living life to the fullest, but each bucket list is going to be uniquely yours. What have you always wanted to do? What's holding you back? I also think it's fun to add things to your bucket list AFTER you've done them. Start out the day thinking, "What will be on my bucket list at the end of today?" Then when you have an opportunity to do something you've never done before, do it, and add it to your list (complete with your X marking it done!) What's on your bucket list this week?

If you want, cut and paste this into an email and add an X to the things you've done............Just for fun

Shot a gun
Gone on a blind date
Skipped school

Watched someone die

Been to Canada
Been to Alaska

Been to Cuba -

Been to Europe -

Been to South America

Been to Las Vegas

Been to Mexico

Been to Florida

Been on a plane
Served on a Jury

Been lost

Been on the opposite side of the country
Gone to Washington , DC

Swam in the Ocean

Swam in the Ocean with Dolphins

Cried yourself to sleep

Played Cops and Robbers
Played Cowboys and Indians -
Recently colored with crayons - within the last 2 years
Sang Karaoke

Sang in a band

Paid for a meal with coins only
Made prank phone calls
Laughed until some beverage came out of your nose

Caught a snowflake on your tongue

Danced in the rain

Written a letter to Santa Claus

Been kissed under the mistletoe

Watched the sunrise with someone

Blown bubbles
Gone ice skating
Gone skiing

Camped out under the stars
Took a vacation alone

Seen something so beautiful that it took your breath away

Are or have been married
Have children

Have or had a pet

Been skinny dipping outdoors

Been fishing

Been boating

Been Water Skiing

Been Hiking

Been camping in a trailer/RV
Flown in a small 4-seater airplane (how about under 10 seats)

Flown in a biplane

Flown in a plane doing acrobatics

Flown in a glider
Been flying in a helicopter

Been flying in a hot air balloon

Been bungee-jumping

Gone to a drive-in movie

Done something that should have killed you

Done something that you will regret (feel sad about) for the rest of your life.

Been to Africa

Ever ride an elephant
Ever eaten just cookies for dinner

Ever been on T.V.
Ever steal any traffic signs

Ever been in a car accident

Bailed out of Helicopter/Plane

Friday, July 09, 2010

21 Ways to Be Happy and 14,000 Things to Be Happy About

Last month, I was blogging about chapters from Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project. As part of that project, I started watching for articles and blog posts about happiness, and I'm happy to report, there have been a lot! I came across one on BeliefNet today:

21 Simple Ways to Be Happy

Now I've modified the list a bit.. For example, #6 in the article was listed as "Expect a Miracle." I don't really like to "expect" good things, but rather "find" good thing unexpectedly! The article has a photo and little summary of each, but below is the quick list:

1. Be Your Own BFF
2. Smile, Giggle, Laugh
3. Warm socks
4. Sing out loud
5. Eat Dark Chocolate (in moderation)
6. Notice good things each day (modified from "Expect a Miracle")
7. Meditate, Pray, Chant
8. Laugh at your shortcomings
9. Sleep
10. Make gratitude a habit
11. Wake up early with happy thoughts
12. Enjoy at least 20 minutes of sunlight
13. Think, read, say, sing Positive Affirmations
14. Pat yourself on the back when you do something good
15. Surround yourself with happy, positive people
16. Watch plants grow
17. Have some "quiet time" to "just be" (No TV, magazines, or Internet!)
18. Set goals and take action!
19. Accept what you can't change
20. Take a 10-minute nap to rejuvenate
21. Love everything - yourself, your friends, your enemies

I think these are great reminders. I especially like #21 -- Love, love, love!!

But this is just a start!

I remember perusing the book 14,000 Things to Be Happy About several years ago, just FILLED with all kinds of little things! Here are some examples from a random page:

  • eight hours of sleep
  • making snow angels
  • paintboxes
  • building a bed frame
  • spinach and sour-cream omelets
  • an idyllic quiet broken only by the ripple of stirring water...
  • stickpins

As Gretchen Rubin mentions several times in her book, each of us are unique and we have different things that make us happy, so my list would be different from your list. Every day we can add to that list as we notice things that bring us happiness.

What's something that would be on your list today?

Monday, July 05, 2010

Thumbs Down on eHarmony's "Free Communication Weekend"

Dating guru that I am, I feel it's my responsibility to check out the various alternatives available to singles. I've tried many of the online dating sites and, as everything, each has it's ups and downs. I'd heard a lot about eHarmony and it's famed "29 points of compatibility" but, before spending their relatively high monthly fee, I wanted to check out one of the "Free Communication Weekends" to see how it all worked.

I filled out the VERY LONG questionnaire and after getting accepted was sent some matches. Most of the matches lived much farther from me than I wanted and most were much older than me... one was even 15 years older than me! I couldn't see photos and I couldn't search on my own.

But...this weekend is a "free communication weekend" so I wanted to take advantage of it and picked the one guy who (at least based on profile) looked closest to a match. I then spent the next 30 minutes crafting a very clever email to "Dave" (email is my specialty when it comes to online dating) and hit send, only to have eHarmony pop up an ad telling me I'd have to pay in order to send the email! Hey! What happened to "free communication weekend?"

I searched all over for some special promotional code that would let me communicate and finally figured out that the only "free communication" I'm able to do is send canned flirts and "guided communication questions." So I sent Dave a free, "Looks like we have a lot in common. Let's Chat" message along with stupid 5 canned questions with their multiple choice answers.

He responded by sending me two things. First, he sent a canned flirt reply that suggested I post my photo. Second he "skipped to email." Well, I had posted a photo, but, apparently, he's unable to see it, since I'm not a paying member. I had no way of telling him that, so I'm sure he's figuring I'm ugly, insecure, or ignoring him. And since I'm not a paying member, I wasn't even able to read his email. In fact, the ONLY thing I could do was Decline his email (unless, of course, I wanted to pay $50 and join eHarmony.) And there was no way to even let him know that I was declining his email because I wasn't a paying member! Instead, I felt like I was just being rude. Someone took the trouble to write me an email after I suggest "let's chat" and I have no option but to Decline and I can't even let him know why!

I got pretty upset about this and called eHarmony Customer Service, but they said there was nothing they could do. That's just the way the system works. Well, their "Free Communication Weekend" is absolutely NOT Free Communication! That's false advertising! We can't email people or even read or reply to people that email us. We can't even give them a canned response of "I can't reply because I'm not a paying member." They're just left to feel like we're rejecting them. These are paying clients! They should at least have a way of knowing which people are not paying members so they don't have to feel someone is rejecting them if they either ignore or decline the request to email.

So, if you're on eHarmony, or you were thinking of checking it out, be aware that the "Free Communication Weekends" are limited to "guided communication" and you are very limited in what communication you can do. If someone suggests you go to direct communication, you will have no ability to let him/her know that you aren't able to do that.

I give a BIG Thumbs Down to eHarmony! For a service that's promoting relationships and communication, I'd say their advertisements are very misleading. If eHarmony were a person, he is someone I definitely would not date. Communication should be direct, open and honest. Both their advertising and their methods are indirect and misleading. Shame on eHarmony!