Saturday, October 30, 2010

Table Envy

One of the blogs that I read on a regular basis is by a NY Times best-selling British author who lives in a Connecticut seaside town and is about the same age as me. Okay, I’ll say it right at the beginning, I’d like her life (she’s an author, she’s British and she lives by the ocean!).

Anyway, she often blogs about dinner parties she hosts or ones that she goes to. It all sounds so sophisticated and lovely; it gets me to thinking, why don’t I have dinner parties? It doesn’t take me long to realize the answer to that, my table.

Here is my dining table. It can seat four people, so it’s rather small but it fits my needs. It’s big enough so that I can have family dinners for three (the extent of my family). And it’s big enough for me (and one other person) to do any crafting projects (like scrapbooking). So I don’t have a dining room per say, I have a dining area that isn’t separated from the living area and the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home. It may not be very big but it’s spacious enough to hold small parties but just not sit down dinner party.
But someday I’d like to have a nice big dining table that seats at least six (don’t want to get too carried away). And on this table would be a lovely table setting with my great square plates (because let’s be honest, food just looks better on square plates), cloth napkins and a beautiful bouquet of flowers in the center of the table. I love the idea of having friends over for good food and conversation, sitting around eating wonderful meals I created, drinking wine, talking and laughing and then eating a decedent dessert and drinking coffee (okay, I don’t drink coffee but I would make it for my guests, I do own a coffee maker). What a wonderful evening!

But I’d have to get that bigger table first.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Yes, I Sneak-A-Peak

I admit, I do sneak-a-peak. I don't know why I do it and I'm really sure when I started to do it but I do it 99% percent of the time. And here's what I'm sneaking a peak at: the last page of a book. I get somewhere around 30 pages into a book then I flip to the very last page of the story. Sometimes I read that entire page, sometimes just the last paragraph and sometimes I just skim the page.

Does this ruin the story for me? No. I admit that sometimes I become aware of who makes it to the end of the story and with whom, but I would say it doesn't really reveal the end of the story for me. For example, right now I'm ready a mystery by Tana French called The Likening. I read the last page and all I know for sure is that the main character doesn't die. Since this story is narrative in first person I already knew there was a pretty good chance she wouldn't die, so no harm.

I know a lot of people don't understanding why I do this and I'm not really sure either, it's just something I do. It's very rare that I start a book and dislike it so much that I'll read the last page to find out how it ends and then toss the book aside. But that does happen. Either way I'm compelled to sneak-a-peak almost every time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hooray for Autumn!!!!

Fall is my favorite season. The days are warm and the nights are cool and crisp allowing for great sleeping weather with the bedroom window cracked open just a little bit. But autumn in Colorado is really quite different from the autumns of my childhood in New York and Connecticut. In Colorado, autumn lasts two, maybe three weeks. It's really not a complete season. The mountain peaks already have snow on them and usually by this time in October we've had at least one snow fall (this year it hasn't happened yet).

Today was beautiful day with blue skies, temperatures in the upper 60s and the leaves starting change. It's the leaves I miss the most. The aspens here in Colorado are pretty but change to just yellow and sometimes orange. Back east it's a sunset of colors: red, yellow, orange and purple. And the sunlight seems to have some sort of mystical essences as it shines through and the leave crackle under your feet.

A co-worker just came back from a vacation in New York and showed me some photos he took of the changing leaves. It made me miss the those autumns of my childhood, racking piles of leaves just to jump into them, going to a pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin, dragging my feet through the leafy woods surrounding our house.

Yes, nostalgia is setting in.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hope Realized

I work for a mining and engineering consulting firm. Most of my co-workers are mining engineers and geologists. I am not (proof that God has a sense of humor). The company I work for is a consulting firm. We are hired by mines, mining companies and banks from all around the world to produce reports on mines (mine plans, due diligence, feasibility studies, cost analyses, reclaimation plans, etc.). Some of my co-workers have worked at or in mines. I have never set foot in a mine.

Just a few hours ago all 33 miners who had been trapped in a Chilean mine for 70 days were rescued ( It's a great thing but it makes me think that the general public doesn't realize how much of an impact the mining industry has on our daily lives and the risks that miners take to do their jobs. I know mining can have a negative impact on the environment (and our company does usually address environmental issues and plans) but I think we take for granted what our life would be like without coal, without iron, without silver, without copper or nickle or talc.

The men who go down into the mines like the one in Chile do so knowing they are risking their lives. Their work environment is dangerous, something most people will never have to experience sitting in their offices and cubicles. And there are a lot of mines out there that are not safe. It costs money to make mines safe so the companies running the mines pay for the bare minimum and take the risks. Earlier this year a mine collapsed in West Virginia and those miners weren't as lucky as the ones in Chile. Of course, after a tragedy like this occurs it's reported that the mine had a bad safety record. The penaties mining companies pay for bad safety are less expensive that paying for the improvements. Thousands of miners die in mining accidents each year. By far the worst mining safety record belongs to China. Even today, hundreds (if not thousands—the secretive Chinese government does not reveal figures) die every year in Chinese mining accidents.

But now is a joyful time because the miners in Chile were rescued and reunited with their loved ones. But take a moment today to think of all the things you use on a daily basis that came from mining and about the men who's job it is to get it for us.