Monday, December 21, 2015

Me On Monday

I'm sitting here at the office, in the middle of the Support Center Department, listening to all the employees on the phone.  I literally can't hear myself think there is so much chatter.  Our office holiday party starts at 5 p.m., which is my reason for being in the office on a Monday.   I'll be happy to have that get underway!

Our weekend was fairly quiet. Temps a little colder, but they are going back up as the week progresses. We are expecting rain for the next several days and 70 degrees F on Christmas Eve. That is literally unheard of in these parts.  But it seems to be a similar story in lots of places this year.  So despite the weather wherever you are, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Me On... Wednesday

I approached this week with the best of intentions, but once again I'm fashionably late to the party.  I just hope everyone hasn't gone home already! Here I am waving hello to Sian and her merry band of Monday-ers from a warm Wednesday evening in the Eastern U.S.

The weekend was unseasonably warm with temperatures in the upper 60's (breaking records for three straight days) - that's roughly 20 degrees celsius for all my friends across the pond.  Jay and I got to attend an outdoor flea market for what will likely be the last time this year, but we thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm taking advantage of the good weather while we can, knowing full well we are going to pay for it come January.

Although we have had a few mornings of frost, necessitating scraping ice off windshields, this all burns off by 10:00 a.m.  In any event, there won't be any white Christmas around here!

That didn't stop us from finally getting some ornaments hung on the tree.  Even without the snow, it starting to look a lot like Christmas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

THRIVE - November

I'm trying to stay accountable to myself for the things I have set out to do. THRIVE is a big word. This is what thriving looked like in November...

1. Read A Book:  In November I finished Rising Strong by Brene Brown.  It was a good read but not (IMHO) as strong as her other books.  I'd highly recommend The Gifts of Imperfection if you haven't read Brene Brown yet but are thinking about it! 

2.  Try A New Recipe:   In November I tried a recipe for crock pot Sesame Chicken.  It was a complete and utter failure, well unless you really love the taste of soy sauce, which I don't.  I still need to find some good crock pot recipes that aren't roast or stew.

3.  Declutter:  If the van load of STUFF I took to Care & Share yesterday is any indication, November was a banner month for decluttering. Two entire Rubbermaid totes of former "guest" bedding plus a lot of miscellaneous Twin XL college bedding, a chunk of my winter wardrobe, a bunch of Jay's old computer textbooks... so glad to have that stuff out of the house!

4.  Complete An Unfinished Project:  My UFO was the long-procrastinated clean out of our basement storage room which was the source of a lot of the items being decluttered in November..

5. Improve Flexibility - um, yeah, about that....  

6. Scrapbooking - My Favorite Five - I signed up for LOAD216, so I know I'll be scrapbooking in January and February.  Not even going to try to do anything beyond my December Reflections to finish out 2015.

7.  Photography - November was a lot better. Photos of the changing leaves and fall decor actually happened, as well as Jay's annual birthday photo!

8.  Art Journaling - um, not so much.

9.  On the Wellness front - I completed physical therapy and graduated myself right  after Thanksgiving.  I'm still hanging in with the Intro to Fitness class, trying my best to keep up with the sadist instructor.   I'll be starting with a personal trainer that I like and trust in late January.  So I'm still trying.  Two steps forward, one step (or two or three) back. That's the way it goes.  

My November gratitude page.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Me On Monday

The weeks come and go and honestly my life is so busy and full, I plan my Me On Monday posts in my head. Then Monday comes and goes and the post doesn't get done and before I know it another week has flown by!

This past weekend... Saturday saw some great thrifting at a local senior center indoor flea market, followed by a lot of prepping and pricing to get everything ready to add to the booth. Then on Sunday a seriously fast-paced round of adding items and rearranging the booth ... in 20 minutes or less... so I could meet the rest of the family in downtown Allentown for this:

Can I just say that Cirque Du Soleil really puts on a FANTASTIC show?!  The lighting and costumes were phenomenal. The acrobatics weren't quite as death-defying as some of the stuff I've seen, but there was so much of it going on it was often hard to know where to look. And even though our seats were very much to the side of center stage, Cirque had it set up and choreographed to play quite nicely to all areas of the theater. If you are interested, the show is still touring throughout the U.S. and Canada through September 2016.

This week I'm hoping to get my Thrive post up and get all my Christmas prep DONE - Becca comes home for Winter break on Thursday and Rachel on Saturday, so I don't have a lot of time left to make Christmas happen!  What are you doing this week?

Waving hello to Sian and all the Mondayers.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

THRIVE - September/October

I'm trying to stay accountable to myself for the things I have set out to do. THRIVE is a big word. This is what thriving looked like in September and October...

1. Read A Book:  In September I read The Infinite Sea, the second in the 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey.  I'm really looking forward to the third book!  I started Rising Strong by Brene Brown in October, but haven't yet finished it.

2.  Try A New Recipe:   In September I tried Chicken Marsala, and in October I did  Cinnamon Apple Porkchops.  Both very tasty!

3.  Declutter:  I've continued working on decluttering my digital scrapbooking supplies  At the end of August, I had 105 GB, 63,966 files in 3367 folders in that section of my external hard drive.  As of today,  I am at 98.3 GB, 59,364 files in 2919 folders.  I'm not done yet, but I consider this substantial progress! Another 3700 files gone even while I'm purchasing and downloading new stuff!

I also finally mailed a couple of packages to friends of things I had been meaning to mail out for months.

4.  Complete An Unfinished Project:  In September we finally opened our shop at Black Rose - that was a huge accomplishment.  No big UFO for October.

5. Improve Flexibility - I haven't even had the heart to do measurements in the past two months. I'll start working on this again soon.  

6. Scrapbooking - My Favorite Five - hasn't happened.

7.  Photography - other than a handful of photos taken on various trips, not much progress in September and October. BUT I'm trying to change that in November, so maybe I'll have better news to report by year end!

8.  Art Journaling - hasn't happened.

9.  On the Wellness front - Along with the diagnosis of cervical spondylosis (osteoarthritis - degenerative changes in the cervical spine) came physical therapy.  I'm working on improving the range of motion in my neck and loosening up the ridiculously tight musculature.  The good news is that the radiating symptoms down my left arm have virtually disappeared after causing me trouble for four solid months.  Four hours driving my offspring to college call still trigger it, but otherwise it seems to be okay.

I started back with an Intro to Fitness class.  The instructor is a complete sadist and the class is being taught well above my current fitness level.  I'm going to keep going (and modifying everything) until I've used up my pre-paid card class and then I'll be looking for something more in line with my current capabilities.  In the meantime, at least I'm moving!

I'm also thrilled that Cathy Zielski plans to teach another year long version of Move More Eat Well for 2016.  I need the accountability!

 September's One Little Word assignment was to write a letter to ourselves about our interaction with our word.  I made a pocket to slip mine into!

 Visit with Sarah to the Maryland Renaissance Faire

 My September Gratitude page

 October - LOTS of travel!  And something very daring - I took myself out to see the musical Wicked while I was in Kansas City.  All by myself! I had never seen it and I truly loved it.

My October Gratitude page.  We skipped out on Halloween this year and went to dinner and a movie just to avoid having to pass out candy. I'm such a scrooge! But honestly it was wonderful and there were a lot of other older couples doing the same thing - the theater was packed!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

What's Happening In My World

I saw this Meme on Rinda's blog and then again over at Deb's World and decided since I can't seem to settle on content, I'd play along!

1. What’s the title of the last book you read?
The last book I finished was The Infinite Sea, the second in the young adult The 5th Wave series. Great easy read and I'm now awaiting the third in the triology. Unfortunately not due out until next May.  Right now I'm reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown. Highly recommend any of her books!

2. What is the last thing you cooked at home?
Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops.  Paired with mashed sweet potatoes.  Definitely a fall meal! It's fairly quick and easy and Jay really likes it.

3. What is your favorite thing about Fall?
It's a toss up for me between the colors - I love the red, orange and yellow in the trees with the sun streaming through - and the scents. There is something to be said for the scents that are generally only around this time of year!
Layout created with Krystal Hartley's newest kit "Smells Like Fall"

4. Share one thing that challenged you at some point over the last week.
The nasty head cold that I'm fighting. I actually called in sick on Monday and spent most of the day sleeping. I'm still working on getting better!

5. List three hobbies that you actively pursue or want to pursue.
Hobbies that are being actively pursued at the moment include folded book art, upcycling furniture, and our shop at Black Rose.  Hobbies that I really want to get back to include scrapbooking, art journaling, and mixed media. Goodness I miss them!

6. What is the most recent sporting event you watched?
I think I caught a few minutes of an Eagles game last weekend. Seriously I'm not a sports fan unless my own girls are playing - and it has been awhile since they've played in anything I can watch. Sort of miss being a soccer mom!

7. Besides watching "live TV," what service do you use to watch TV or films (netflix, on demand, etc.)?
We frequently use On Demand to watch shows that aren't on until 10 p.m. (like Chicago Fire) - we see them the next day.

8. Have you started Christmas shopping yet? Yes. I actually picked up some Christmas gifts during the Summer!

9. Do you have any upcoming trips? Yes. But that is a story for another blog post - after Christmas.

10. Do you remember your dreams? Yes. But generally only for an hour or so after I wake up. After that the details get lost and become very hazy. Last night's dream involved an alien species trying to integrate with us humans. The last thing I remember before I woke up was walking around spreading carrot bits on the ground for the little alien critters. No, I have NO idea where it came from! I think lack of sleep from this cold is making me loopy.

What's happening in YOUR world???

Monday, October 19, 2015

Me On Monday - after a long absence

Monday finds me, yet again, trying to catch up with my own life. Not particularly successfully either.

It has been nearly a month since I've found the time to blog.  I've barely managed to keep up with reading what all of you have written.  But I have.  At least I have that going for me.

So what has happened in the last month?

September saw the opening day of our shop at the Black Rose in Allentown.  I was filled with excitement and couldn't wait to blog about it, but working on the projects, flea-marketing, researching, pricing, inventory list making, paperwork, and restocking that will hopefully make this little shop successful has stolen any time I might have otherwise spent blogging.

Now I'd like to tell you sales are going great and we are so excited about this business venture.  Except they aren't. We've had sales - a lot of the "smalls" that we bought just to fill up the shop. But not a single piece of the furniture that has been so lovingly restored or upcycled has sold. It's been a month. Our prices are very reasonable. But there it all sits. It's disheartening to say the least.

I suppose the good news is that we have finally had our first real cold snap. Fall is upon us, the leaves are turning, and Flea marketing season is pretty much over.  Which means more time home on the weekends.  And hopefully it means the flea market shoppers will now be looking indoors?

Early October saw me traveling to Kansas City, MO for a work conference. Only a four day trip, but it takes three days on the front end to prepare and a solid week on the back end to catch up!  I came home to 175 blog posts to read (I did).  But obviously, work travel has sucked up my blogging time.

I've also been struggling with neck pain radiating down my left arm.  Last week I saw my rheumatologist and got a diagnosis of osteoarthritis in my cervical spine. So today I start PT. But I couldn't just do that the easy way. Instead, on my way out the door to go to my PT eval last Friday, I fell on my own sidewalk. Skinned both knees and both hands and got some painful bruises at the base of both thumbs. Adding insult to injury, I felt like a total drama queen when my neighbor came running over to see if I was okay and I was laying on my sidewalk sobbing. Little kids get skinned hands & knees every day of the week and it is no big deal. So why does it hurt so much when we are old??? No worries, I'm fine. My ego may be more bruised than my hands.

The highlight of my weekend was a meet-up with Melissa on Saturday. After lunch at Perkins, and a tour of the Black Rose, and shopping for a new black blazer for me, we met up with the rest of Melissa's group and went to see "The Martian" at the theater. Great day!

Sunday was laundry, pricing a significant little pile of vintage linens, and starting another folded art book.

And here I am today, back from PT and trying, yet again, to catch up and pre-prepare for more business travel.  Off to Baltimore on Thursday. I'm actually looking forward to Winter just so I can stay home more! Not really. I hate being cold. But I do want to stay home more.

Waving to Sian and all the Monday wavers! Sorry I haven't been around in awhile to say hello!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Scavenger Hunt 5 - The Final Countdown

Here are the last of my Scavenger Hunt photos:

#4 People Playing a Board Game - well it can't get more literal than this game of Human Chess at the Maryland Renaissance Festival!

#10 - A College or University.  This is Bucks County Community College (or rather PART of it) which is literally across the street from the development I live in... which explains why it took me so long to get this photo, right?
#11 - A cellular tower.  Another one that is across a different street from my development - near the high school property.  Looks ridiculously out of place.
#14 - A traffic signal.  Also within a half mile of my house. So why did I wait until the last day of the hunt to take these photos??? Beats me.
#21 Photo of me... Well, me taking a photo of me writing out my sign!
And that's it.  I got all 21 plus a couple of the alternates. And the rocking chair is coming....

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend

So how many of you out there in blog land have been waiting with baited breath to find out if I got my 30th anniversary diamonds?   Or had you just completely forgotten about it?

Well, wait no longer - yes, I did!

 I had been telling Jay for the last year that I wanted an anniversary band for our 30th anniversary.  He really didn't get it.  Shortly before our anniversary, he was offering to buy me a $100 vintage copper pot. Silly boy!

When I went to the shore in July with my sister Deanna, we scouted the jewelry stores. I fell in love with a blue topaz ring that reminded me of the color of sea glass at an expensive store up on the boardwalk. It was a gorgeous oval cut with lots of facets that reflected the light beautifully and was surrounded by tiny diamonds. Alas, not a very practical ring - the stone sat high and would catch on everything. It was more of a dress up ring than an everyday ring. And I really wanted an everyday ring.

We spotted this beauty at Artisan's Alcove in town.  Artisan's Alcove specializes in estate jewelry and this particular ring is from the 1920's in a vintage art deco style.  I love the filigree on the sides. The round center diamond sits low and is well protected by the setting.  I decided that if the ring was still there when our family went back to the shore in August, this would probably be the one.

Fast forward to August 16th, our first full day at the shore. Right after breakfast I dragged Jay to the shops in town.  The ring was still there! He didn't really even say much, just handed over his credit card. Luckily for both of us, this ring was very reasonably priced!
Getting a photo that really shows off the beauty of the ring was harder than I anticipated. This comes close.

It is funny, now that I have the ring, I am constantly moving it to my right hand. It just feels more comfortable and natural there. So now I'm thinking about having my original rings (engagement ring, wedding band, and wrap) resized so I can actually wear those too.  I've resized them before.  But consider this ... my ring finger was a size 4.5 when we married.  It's now an 8 or 8.25.  I guess it makes sense that I've had to resize more than once.  I don't think my fingers look fat... but numbers don't lie, right?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

THRIVE - the Summer Review

WARNING - this a LONG post and very photo heavy at the end!

I'm trying to stay accountable to myself for the things I have set out to do. THRIVE is a big word. This is what thriving looked like in June, July, and August...

1. Read A Book:  Thanks to beach reading, I've totally knocked this one out of the park!  In June I finished THRIVE by Arianna Huffington, and two novels Heaven is for Real and Silver Siren.  In July I read Mad Dash by Patricia Gaffney and, on the recommendation of a website for Outlander fans, The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley.  Both were worthy novels. I have a couple more Kearsley novels on my "want to read" list.  I miss Outlander...  In August I finished off Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin (Karen's recommendation and I totally agree that I learned a bit about myself in the reading.  I'm clearly an Obliger and need someone outside myself to hold me accountable for my goals. The downside of being a people pleaser.) and four trashy summer romance novels.  I think it's a record for me!

2.  Try A New Recipe: In June I tried a crock pot pulled pork recipe.  In July, I contented myself with trying new things at restaurants. I can't remember a specific new recipe to have tried. In August, it was OMG Chicken.  Basically bake chicken with sour cream and parmesan cheese on top.  I didn't think it was all that OMG - more like meh. :)

3.  Declutter:  Can you say OVERACHIEVER?  This is the one area where I made huge progress. But if you look around my house, you can't see a single thing that looks less cluttered or more organized. How's that?  I spent the Summer working on decluttering my digital life. What did I actually accomplish?
  • Cleared out work email - from 581 MB down to 556 MB (nearly 500 MB of that is information on a legal matter that I am required to retain).
  • Cleared out home email - from 164 MB down to 118 MB (may not sound like much, but that is a LOT of deleted emails!)
  • Went through my yahoo email account.  It had gotten so unwieldy with junk mail that I hadn't touched it since March. I deleted over 1700 emails and unsubscribed from 46 different companies that were all sending me ads to buy more stuff... I don't need that temptation!
  • My downloads folder (temporary storage for all the digital supplies I buy). I hadn't unzipped and filed these purchases in nearly a year! I started with 41 gb of information represented by 25,613 files in 1,652 folders. I filed or deleted until this folder was down to ZERO!
  • My digiscrap supplies folder started at 135 GB represented by 73,545 files in 4,653 folders.  Then I ADDED most of the stuff from my downloads folder above.   I forgot to record the total at that point. Then I started going through and deleting supplies I would never use and consolidating folders.  I am currently at 105 GB represented by 63,966 files in 3,367 folders.  Given the 25,000 files I added at the outset, this means I've deleted nearly 35,000 files!  I'm not through the entire external drive yet, so this number should continue to trend downward. This has been a real lesson in how much INVISIBLE STUFF I own that hasn't been used yet.  It has really made me think hard about buying any more digital products!

4.  Complete An Unfinished Project:  See Decluttering Above. As much of a project as I can take on right now!

5. Improve Flexibility - I'm holding steady at 5" from the touching my toes.  (I was briefly at 4" but lost that advantage once my therapeutic massage stopped.)  I'm going to have to work a LOT harder to make any progress on this one.  

6. Scrapbooking - My Favorite Five - I'm tossing in the towel on this one.  I haven't done this since March.   

7.  Photography - I've been participating in Rinda's Summer Scavenger Hunt.  And I took tons of sunrise photos while on vacation. Otherwise, I haven't been doing much in the way of improving my photography skills.  Kim Klassen's class is still simmering on the back burner. 

8.  Art Journaling - The closest I've come to art of any kind in the last three months is making the Altered Art Bottles during the Summer of Color challenge.

9.  On the Wellness front - I started this year with such high hopes. This was going to be the year I would finally lose weight and kick my sugar addiction.  Instead I've struggled with a sudden and unexplained weight GAIN of twelve pounds over three months earlier in the year, constant hunger, erratic periods (which frankly I am too old to be dealing with!), and a lot of illness this year.  I joined a fitness class in June. In August, before my vacation, the teacher retired.  I'm still waiting for them to start a new class at a time I can actually attend.  My chiropractor just advised me that my insurance will no longer pay for my visits since I am on "maintenance."  Not sure how that works since my plan is supposed to have unlimited visits.   To say I am discouraged with my progress on the Wellness front would be an understatement.  But I'm not giving up. 

June documentation.

The OLW assignment was to write out answers to a progress questionnaire. I did it, scanned it, and added little photos of it in my planner.

July's OLW assignment was to add cards about songs that are speaking to us right now. I placed this in the June section because I had the space and they fit better than than in the July pockets.

June Gratitude Page

July documentation

Totally forgot I had completely cleaned up my craft space in July! :)

Shots from my trip to the shore with Deanna.

July Gratitude page.

August documentation.   What a month!!! That little bit of turquoise leather is from a new purse.

I had a banner week for steps while at the shore!

The OLW assignment for August was to document things we are grateful for.  Couldn't have picked a better month for this one!  Since I don't have a fancy cutting machine, I printed the Thankful title on regular printer paper and did some old fashioned fussy cutting.

August gratitude page.  And oh yeah - I cleaned out the freezer after the girls went back to school! Lots of really OLD stuff went in the trash.  Another project where the decluttering is pretty much hidden.

And there is my summer in a nutshell! I can't believe we are already halfway through September and it is already starting to feel like Autumn around here. I'm so not ready.   Are you???

Monday, August 31, 2015

Scavenger Hunt 4 - the Monday Wave Edition

I've been home from our family trip to the shore for nine days now... and I'm still catching up with my life!

Here are a few more scavenger hunt photos I managed during the month of August:

#6 A Metal Bridge.  This is the bridge connecting New Hope PA to Lambertville NJ. We cross it almost every week on our way to the Golden Nugget Flea Market.  The entire bridge is metal - even the road surface that you drive on. Which means it hums and vibrates as you are driving over it.  I hate it!

#18 - overloaded trash truck on the Boardwalk

#3 - A person walking a dog. 

Alternative A - People Eating Outside - my family at the Baia Restaurant (bayside in Somers Point NJ).  This was a covered deck with an open side and a great view of the bay (you can see the reflection of it in the windows behind them) 

#8 Someone "plugged in" to social media.  All three girls on their cell phones posting to Instagram and Snap Chat.  They are pretty good about leaving the phones alone during the meal. This was after dessert and we were just waiting for the check to be processed.

#13 A Carousel.  This one is at the Cape May County Zoo. No horses on this carousel - it is all zoo animals.

#18 Overloaded Car.  This is the back of my van loaded up with Becca's stuff for back to college.  It would have been far worse, but she was able to leave a lot of her stuff at Rachel's room over the Summer AND we took two cars, so the stuff Rachel was taking back (mostly clothing and toiletries) was in the other vehicle.  There was stuff in both middle seats and on the floor as well - Only the front driver and passenger seat left room for people!

So now the girls are all back at their respective homes away from home and I'm settling back into life here. Linking up with Rinda's Scavenger Hunt and waving hello to Sian and all the Monday wavers!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Me On Monday - the Anniversary Edition

THIRTY YEARS AGO TODAY... I married this man...
I was young, in love, naive, but pretty sure of myself...

Today we celebrate thirty years together...
(Okay this photo was two years ago, but I don't have anything more recent that is fit to be posted)

We usually don't make a big deal out of anniversaries, but I think after the disaster of our 25th, this one had to go better!
Yesterday he brought home a dozen red roses.

This morning he gave me a beautiful card.

I separated the flowers into two vases so I could have some in the kitchen and some in the office. I almost never get to enjoy flowers in my office!

(This counts as #1 A Bouquet of Flowers for Rinda's Scavenger Hunt).

Tonight we are going out to dinner. Trying out Bonefish Grill which is new to us.

My real "gift" will be purchased shortly.  The contemporary gift for a 30th wedding anniversary is diamonds. And I had an opportunity while in Ocean City with Deanna last month to do a little advance scouting... [to be continued]...

Waiving Hi to Sian and all the other Monday waivers.