Archive for the ‘FYI’ Category

a year in review – 2022

1. What did you do in 2022 that you’d never done before?
agreed to teach a Sunday School class, got to-the-porch delivery with an online order (and didn’t know I would), had my first known COVID exposure, shopped at Trader Joe’s, started taking an iron supplement, and wound up in social media jail¹

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2022, I aimed to “live loved.” Reflect on the ways God loves us — me! — and identify its handiwork in my life. Then, live securely in that love, especially in the way I respond to others. It seems I forgot about this resolution early in the year. 😦
For 2023, I want to be brave and keep sharing, keep talking, keep trusting. Sharing because I can be selfish. Talking to God in prayer, as well as continuing efforts to improve my communication with people. Trusting God “with all of it,” whatever He brings my way.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, a sweet friend from church. Also, a high school classmate; she and I and two other girls ate lunch together one year, and I smile as I recall those good times.

5. Where did you travel?
starting in May, I returned to working at the office, one day each week

6. What would you like to have in 2023 that you lacked in 2022?
a job with long-term potential

7. What event from 2022 will remain etched upon your memory?
Event #1: stepping out the front door and seeing a small snake parked mere inches from my foot
Event #2: returning to work at the office and finding the bag of baby carrots I’d left in the fridge in March of 2020(!!). I know it was mine because I had marked it with my name and the date. Needless to say, the carrots had been reduced to a pile of black mushy goo. :p

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Plenty of days, when I deeply felt as though I couldn’t take a proverbial step, I took a step. Sometimes two!

9. What was your biggest failure?
In the summer, I made a commitment to help with a certain project. When time came, out of sheer laziness, I did a poor job — basically didn’t help at all. Rightfully, people noticed, and some expressed displeasure. #Shamed

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
My worst illness in seven years, with a week of fever and stomach woes.
Also, my so-called condition must be on the bad end of whatever cycle it follows, because IIRC, much of the year was tinged with some sort of discomfort.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
a travel mug, a desk chair, and two big shelves

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Kelley, my co-teacher. (See questions 1, 31.) Her thoughtfulness and support have been a blessing.<3

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Mostly, my own. I marvel that, at “this age,” I can still take petulance to a new level.

14. Where did most of your money go?
household expenses

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
After a years-long dream drought, late this year I’ve found myself again anticipating owning a home.

16. What song will always remind you of 2022?
“Build a Boat” by Colton Dixon. The line “I will build a boat in the sand where they say it never rains” is becoming a prayer, to meet challenges with faithful resolve.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? happier
Older or wiser? wiser (just a skosh)
Thinner or fatter? thinner
Richer or poorer? poorer, having been unemployed for two months

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Nipped a potential episode of overthinking in the bud by declaring “I’m NOT going to belabor this.” I prayed for wisdom, made a choice and moved forward.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
lost perspective much too quickly

20. Did your heart break?
no, but I felt the weight of some close calls

21. How did you spend Christmas?
Trying to stay warm on the third day of a 50-year polar plunge weather event! My mother, sister and I opened our gifts around nine-thirty, after I set up our low-frills video camera. Lunch was mostly a reheat of food prepared on Christmas Eve, plus potatoes baked by my mother. Watched my church’s on-line service. Took pictures of our gifts. Ended the day watching DVDs with the fam.

22. How will you spend New Year’s Eve?
Probably with my usual Saturday activities: chores, projects, and prepping for the Sunday School lesson. The fam and I will watch DVDs, and then ring the new year in as we typically do: sleeping.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Highway to Heaven. Yes, it’s old, but new to me. 😉

24. What were your greatest food discoveries?
bone broth, bulgur wheat, pickled beets, pink lady apples, seaweed snacks

25. What was the best book you read?
The Hiding Place and its prequel In My Father’s House by Corrie ten Boom were both compelling and uplifting. (Local friends, I’d be glad to lend them to you.)

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I rediscovered my Shaun Groves Welcome Home CD.

27. What did you want and get?
I made a few suggestions to my mother, and I was pleasantly surprised that she not only agreed but was very much on-board with the plans.

28. What did you want and not get?
My birthday shopping efforts did not produce the one item I wanted most: the right replacement for my old living room chair.

29. What was your favorite film?
Maybe not “favorite films” but “films I liked.” I finally saw all of Maid in Manhattan. I watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the second time, and closed captioning helped SO much in understanding Holly’s enthusiastic rambling.

30. What did you do on your birthday?
For much of the year, I planned to celebrate this milestone birthday with a home makeover. But as the day approached, I learned that my job would end in late October, due to a lack of funding. So, I downsized, opting instead to simply order a few items to assist with home organizing.
Breakfast was pancakes with kudzu jelly. (Thank you, Christy and Jerry, for the jelly.) Hiking at Rainbow Mountain, a little shopping and fish tacos were happy repeats of last year’s b-day blessings. Supper was butternut squash soup with a bread bowl, plus a strawberry-blueberry fruit cup and two dried figs — a favorite food discovery from this year. I finished the day watching DVDs of fave shows.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More enthusiasm from my Sunday School students. Honestly, they probably have the same enthusiasm for Bible study that I did at that age, and overall, they’ve behaved better than I’d hoped. But as I’m learning to navigate the uncharted waters of teaching, insecurity is a struggle, and one kid’s eye roll will replay in my mind for the day that follows.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2022?
primarily “casual housewear”

33. What kept you sane?
The unofficial theme for my 2022 was “that did NOT go as I expected…!” Picture it said in a tone of bewilderment that borders on sadness and you’ve got the idea. The sorrow is because my intentions were good. Ah, but it dissipates as, time and again, God’s better plan unmistakably triumphs² over my steps — and MIS-steps!

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
no one

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
I generally avoid politics, but this year I’ve recognized the need to be more informed about those matters.

36. Who did you miss?
my former co-workers

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Pennie and Peggy

38. What changed the most in your life this year?
My sister started to use a cane. I changed employers in May, and then lost my job in October. I began teaching 5th-6th grade Sunday School and assisting with the children’s music program at church. I re-thought several (decades-long) diet choices and made radical changes, including reducing my caffeine consumption.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2022.
I don’t have to worry because God guides as I take the next step and trust Him³. (I’ve repeated some form of this truth so many times that even my family is trending towards calmer responses. “We’ve just got to wait and see how it goes.” #WooHooTheyAreListening)

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“Joy comes, tears fall. I’m learning there is beauty in it all. It’s not hard to find it; you just have to look. Oh, God is good.” ~ Francesca Battistelli “God is Good”


My yearly review is now live, at my other blog!

a year in review – 2020

Posted: December 31, 2020 in etcetera, FYI

1. What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before?
appeared on Facebook live, attended a high school reunion, participated in a cookie decorating class, edited photos at, visited the dermatologist, ordered groceries online, streamed my church’s worship service, used the dictation feature of Microsoft’s Office 365

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2020, my theme was to simplify. The pandemic contributed to that effort, minimizing my routine and offering a crash course in taking one step at a time. With fewer schedule-related activities, I had a chance to gain ground in streamlining various areas of home storage.
For 2021, I’ve identified a need to improve communication with my family. Actually, I’ve already started. And, unlike with past relationships, I’m inviting the other person into the process. For example, I’m being transparent when I’m clueless about the next step, and asking their input.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Read the full post:

Back in late February, I outlined some points for a state-of-my-projects post:

Lingering health woes have let me
depleted of both energy and motivation
So, I’m setting the bar low for projects for this year
But I do need to do something
my unoccupied mind wanders nowhere good
and it doesn’t help that aimlessly scrolling through FB and twitter
Although I’m setting the bar very low, I’m daring to list a few plans for this year.
THE NEXT DAY, after a FEW MINUTES of concentrated thought, I had several GOOD STARTS toward an AMBITIOUS PROJECT that’s been on the backburner.

Through the years, I’ve often repeated that “the more I *have* to do, the more I get done.” As hinted at above, my claim proved true yet again. Both energy and motivation returned with a vengeance because last month, I wrote the following to a friend:

I don’t know about you guys, but if I expected a slow down to catch my breath after the “holiday rush,” wow, was I sadly mistaken. Mom’s sudden downtime derailed not only my schedule but my emotions as well. Also in January, one of my two doctor visits spurred two other trips to obtain my new glasses. Plus, my car came due for an oil change, and then I returned to the auto place one week later because it was past time for the transmission service. Doing [my sister’s] and my income taxes took longer than any year in recent memory because [our state] added a new form that I had to research/learn. Since early April, my regular grocery store is out of commission for two months due to remodeling, so I’m going out of my way to another in that chain (Aldi). And on and on…

Lately, when I’m pouting over the burden of my never-ending plans, I remind myself that I could honestly skip quite a lot of those To Do’s… but then I admit that I *want* to do them. When I reframe from have to to want to I feel better. I’m prioritizing, and after I get those priorities done, I have such a sense of accomplishment.

Following up on my website plans from the previous post (February of last year), I accomplished all of the numbered items… at least to some degree. 😉 In a week or two, I plan to watch the next episode of The Young Riders and type up my comments, but most of my website work for the near future will be focused on a certain layout redo.

For the Real-Life items, I continue to work on this:

* assessing my belongings, decluttering, and rearranging to optimize storage options

…and it seems like I do this every two months:

* restructuring my computer files to better outline upcoming projects

On some level, I must believe that if I can put my computer files in order, organizing my thoughts will surely follow. XD

Alas, between — frequently unexpected! — new undertakings and my so-called recurring To Do’s (described on the page below), my thoughts rarely remain “in order” for very long!


After abandoning broadcast television in favor of re-watching DVDs of beloved shows from the past, spoilers became a non-issue for many years.

When I began to want variety and branched out to DVDs of series I hadn’t seen, I found myself in uncharted territory. My previous experience following a new show on the Internet involved waiting after each airing for some industrious fan to write and post recaps, reviews, etc. Now, extensive episode guides are already available online… and I need them more than ever, because I usually watch with my family, and we tend to miss critical exposition because one of us is talking.

The big disadvantage — as you may have guessed from the theme of this entry — is spoilers. Of course, I know to avoid common sources, such as summaries and commentary for episodes I haven’t seen. But I’ve found spoilers lurking where I never suspected, to the extent that viewing an entire series unspoiled is proving to be quite a challenge.

If you, too, are discovering a show after its original run, be aware that spoilers can pop up in seemingly innocuous places:

  • Fanfiction. When I’m concerned about spoilage, I diligently avoid fanfiction for the topic in question. Fanfic writers are often inspired by key events, and synopses of the fics can be very revealing: “This scene takes place after Jojo’s death at the hands of Zulu.”
  • Fan videos. The montage could contain pivotal scenes, such as the main guy character proposing to the main girl character.
  • Facebook. A double threat, not only from friends’ comments, but also since Facebook might recognize the series as one of my interests and supply commercials for the current season — even though I’m several seasons behind.
  • Overambitious “wiki” episode recaps. In an effort to be thorough, they cross reference to future events: “We see Susie again in season four when we learn she has a long-lost sister.” Even their link designations can share too much. For example, I knew a character’s amnesia wouldn’t last long when my options included, “For the character briefly known as Jezebel, click here.”
  • Google image search. I was looking for a screencap of a fight between three characters, and displayed among the search results was a fan-made graphic of one of them, captioned with “R.I.P.” and the year.
  • Actor biographies. The dossier could reveal the character’s exit or return by providing appearances by year, season, or specific episodes.
  • Articles about the stars. A photo of a smiling couple is captioned “Sylvia out on the town with her TV husband.” But — d’oh! — their characters’ marriage is a very recent development. Hope all of that website’s viewers are caught up on their TiVo!
  • The main page of major news websites. If I watched Game of Thrones, it would be maddening that so many “news headlines” rehash the happenings of the latest episode. (No doubt those sites aim to up their link count using GoT‘s popularity.) Even if they warn of plot talk, very often there’s a telling screencap with the headline.
  • Amazon product reviews. I was about to place an order, and the featured review began with, “This was my least favorite of all the seasons.” Maybe that’s not a true spoiler, but such a verdict might predispose me to dislike it before even I’ve seen the first episode.
  • DVD covers for later seasons. When a would-be cliffhanger has a main character in jeopardy, I’m anything but on edge: “No worries. They’re still pictured with the cast for the final season.” (Okay, I confess. I actually like this bit of foreknowledge. My life’s hard enough without having to fear for the safety of my fave characters!)
  • Episode descriptions on DVD packages. Having written similar summaries myself, I understand how tough it can be to strike a balance between providing details for those who are looking for a specific scene, and ruining key surprises for the rest of us. As a public service to DVD Blurb Writers, here are two examples that, IMHO, land solidly in the latter category:
    (1) “After a failed battle with Xolor…” If the opening scene is a battle, we know how that will end. :thumbsdown:
    (2) “The team falls victim to a smooth-talking con man, and Sam must save the day.” … manages to give away the entire episode in one sentence! :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown:
  • Forums about other shows. Curious to know what fans of Program A had to say, I ventured to read one short thread, and I spent the next several seasons dreading the series finale of Program B because of one of the comments. Happily, in said finale, the plot twist that commenter condemned played out extremely well, in my opinion. Even more happily, I learned that exposure to TMI doesn’t necessarily negate any future enjoyment… although I’d still prefer not to take any chances.

With my eyes now opened to the plight of the “spoiler-phobic,” I realize that I need to post warnings with the episode information at my various websites. In the meantime, remember that, when it comes to having your viewing surprises spoiled, the only safe search is NO search!

website plans for 2017

Posted: February 4, 2017 in FYI, review, siteupdates

Another February, another so-called maintenance weekend!

Actually, since I accomplished the re-do of the eclectic website layout last year, I’ve already been doing a bit of “maintenance,” such as:
* assessing my real-life belongings, decluttering, and rearranging to optimize storage options
* restructuring my computer files to better outline upcoming projects
* going through the contents of my work computer, purging my personal items in anticipation of finding another job 😉

As part of the aforementioned restructuring, I tried to realistically plan and prioritize my ever-growing list of to do’s, including defining my website goals for this year:
1) Add photos from missing years (2014 thru 2016) to the photolog.

2) Write and then add information for the next episode (“Gunz ‘N Boyz”) to the MacGyver episode guide.

3) Continue to watch and then type my comments about season two of The Young Riders episodes. Although I generally keep these write-ups simple (a list of points instead of working my thoughts into whole paragraphs), I’m still not specifying a number of episodes to complete this year. I don’t need that kind of pressure. 😛

4) Do links checks at the fan websites. Usually I do this as part of changing the layout, but since each layout is now years in the making, with many links checks long overdue, my aim is to put a dent in that this year.

That may seem like a short list for a year’s worth of projects, but as I said, I’m being realistic. My free time is very limited, plus there are always other distractions, as I’ve described here:

P.S. As of this year, my on-going maintenance has been made slightly easier, because I no longer run the “official” Jack Bristow fanlisting. In late 2016, while I was involved in finishing the eclectic redo, I neglected to update the JB fl, and happened to check and found “inactivity.” I’m sure they emailed to warn me, but the address they have for me is one I no longer use (whoopsie!), and so I never got the message. Ah, well. :shrug: The last fan joined in July of 2012; for that reason, I did not reapply to be reinstated. Plus, while I have been glad for it to be the Jack Bristow fanlisting … for the last 15(!) years…  it will *awesome* to not have to update that site every two months to keep some “signs of life.”

how to play all music on your computer

Posted: January 21, 2017 in FYI, Music

Previously, while using Windows Media Player, I’ve noticed that after I play a CD, it gives me the option to play all music.

I have a lot of music, and so this has proven to be a nice feature: it keeps playing (instead of me having to select a new set when the current set finishes), and since it picks from different folders, I get to hear an assortment of genres. It’s kind of like commercial-free radio that plays songs I know like. 😀

But recently, when my CD drive was broken, I searched on-line for a way to replicate this Play All feature. Alas, I couldn’t find one that didn’t involve categorizing each song, etc.

Also, in the search results, I didn’t see the Play-a-CD option, so I thought I’d post this FYI here:

1) I play a CD.
2) I have Windows Media Player on “Now Playing” (not “Library”).
3) I leave that WMP box open as the CD finishes. When I eject the CD, WMP offers the Play All Music option.

And I usually take it. 😉

new layout for eclectic – done!

Posted: November 26, 2016 in FYI, siteupdates

The website re-do that I mentioned way back in April is – finally – done!

new layout for eclectic

Posted: April 16, 2016 in FYI, siteupdates

I have accomplished much on the new eclectic layout, but applying it to the site will not be finished (or, um, started) by April 18, as I ambitiously planned. However, if I am correctly estimating the amount of work left to be done, I believe a more realistic goal is to finalize and post the layout by the end of this year.

Barring any sudden need/inspiration to redesign, the layout is 95% complete. Below is a sneak peek, with the banner I started with plus the final (?) result.



a “normal” plot bunny

Posted: July 11, 2015 in etcetera, FYI

In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Normal Again,” Buffy wakes up in a mental institution. All of the monsters and fighting the undead? It was all in her head, merely part of a delusion she was trapped in for months, while she was really just a normal young woman with a normal life. Of course, the delusion was a delusion orchestrated by her enemies in an effort to defeat her.

For a while, I’ve been thinking this premise would make a great fanfiction, and it would work for fics based on a variety of TV shows, especially for a spy or an action-adventurer.

I’ve thought of it specifically for MacGyver: on some sort of mission, he is knocked unconscious, wakes up in the hospital. After the preliminary letting-him-know-what-happened, someone says, “Your wife has been waiting for you.” Of course, he’s all, “My wha…?” They proceed to fill in all the details of his so-called Real Life, but – as with Buffy – it’s just a ruse by his enemies to try to trick him into revealing some information.