18 January 2019

2019 Goals

I feel exceptionally un-motivated lately. I've been working my 'regular' two-hour breakfast shift, plus subbing for lunch at a couple different buildings, adding another three or four hours or so to each work day. And (TMI) the blood pressure meds I started on last spring make me TIRED (and potentially depressed...). So I keep pushing on, but it's more of a day-by-day thing than a making-goals thing. Luckily, I work from last years list and then see what else comes to mind.

Here we have, my 2019 goal list:
  1. Establish educational savings accounts for both kids. This is the year! Thankfully, Ashley from Armadillo Bulldog left me some helpful information in a comment when I announced this as a failed goal from 2018 (and it was also a fail from 2017!). Thanks, Ashley - I'm on it!
  2. Bake regularly.
  3. Yell less.
  4. Complete a counted cross-stitch project. I've got two to choose from! I think first I need to get a good crafting light for the corner of the family room. And having my new glasses will help too.
  5. Wash my vehicle at least monthly.
  6. Drink at least four glasses of water daily, on a regular basis.
  7. Learn to french braid my hair and Maggie's.
  8. Set up my Erin Condren notebook as a recipe book.
  9. Complete at least 50 Yelp reviews.
  10. Feed birds through the winter.
  11. Put hanging flower baskets at front porch for summer.
  12. Continue unpacking office boxes from the basement.
  13. Score for Pearson.
  14. Work elections (if there are any this year?).
  15. Blog regularly.
  16. Walk regularly when it's warm outside.
  17. Read more books. 2018 saw me reading 42, so 'more' means 43! I'm well ahead of this goal so far.
  18. See at least ten movies in the theater.
  19. Do the 52 week savings challenge for holiday shopping at the end of the year.
  20. Save enough from my school-year paychecks so we can still do fun stuff this summer.
  21. Burn more candles.
  22. Update the kids' bedroom doors (currently still decorated from Valentine's Day, 2014, I think).
  23. Re-organize office with a goal of more crafty stuff I enjoy.
  24. And then do more crafty stuff (card-making or scrapbooking?).
  25. Minimize wardrobe to fit comfortably in drawers seasonally (with off-season in under-bed storage).
  26. Keep working a job outside the home.
  27. Get at least one more pair of work pants, so I can have two outfits. LOL
  28. Do something fun with my hair (cut/color) at least once this year.
  29. Do a couples painting (at like Painting with a Twist or whatever) with hubs.
  30. Get new bath towels for the whole house.
  31. Relocate the toys (except maybe the board games?) out of the family room, and into the kids' rooms and the basement.
  32. Appreciate that my life is pretty wonderful with or without these goals accomplished.
  33. Believe in my ability to complete these goals.

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. I've got to say - I'm really struggling with a list of goals for 2019. I started the post like a week ago, but I deleted so many that have gone from year to year, and I don't have much I want to add. Life seems like something I just need to get through, lately.
  2. But my reading is wayyy up! Escape, anyone? LOL I've finished six books so far in 2019. May have to make my goal a bit higher than I initially did on that. Or be prepared to excel, at this rate.
  3. So, I ran out of gas for like the second time in my life today. Maybe the third? But the time in question was during a car accident, so maybe that's where the gas went? Who knows. Today, I was on my way to the gas station straight from work, because it's payday! And I almost made it. But almost doesn't make the car any lighter. Thanks to my knight-in-shining-armor, hubs. Otherwise I'd have taken a bit of a walk in the bitter cold. With no one to thank but my own darn self.
  4. The kids have a half day of school today! So once the younger one gets home, we're headed to Patty Burger for some lunch. Yay!
  5. Adjusting our Amazon cart now (remember, payday!). Maggie is planning on a new phone (once hubs gets his new one for work), Jack needs new tennis shoes, and I have yet to get a second pair of work khakis (that I've been meaning to get for the whole year I've been working...). 
  6. My poinsettias still seem to be kicking. I've been watering them weekly or so. But now what? Hmm...
  7. I'm ready to call the season all done and take down the holiday cards. I have so many holiday cards stored away. I don't think I've ever been able to pitch them. So they keep taking up more and more room. LOL
  8. I still need to get a frame for our family picture that we did along with making our holiday cards. I should go verify what size that is while I'm still putting together this Amazon order...
  9. I just realized I've been home for about an hour, but haven't taken my coat off yet. I sure am tired of being cold. It's sort of a regular state of being for me in winter.
  10. Big plans for this weekend? Hubby and the kids want to go skiing up north. I was hoping to clean up some more of the house and catch up on some laundry. And read, of course. But I'll probably end up going with the flow. Which means sitting somewhere and reading, because I don't ski. 

14 January 2019

Happy Homemaker Monday {14 Jan 19}

I saw a Facebook friend from way-back post her blog today, and headed over to check it out. Today at My Life As Mama Jodi, she's joining the linky love for Happy Homemaker Monday through Diary of a Stay at Home Mom. I decided to join in! (Set aside the fact that I have a two-hour-a-day job, I'm still a mostly homemaker ;) ).

The weather: Feels chilly to me, but I am not much a fan of cold..or winter. At least there's no snow, and the sun is shining :)

Right now I am: Hanging out in the 'formal' dining room at the computer. Obvs. Hubby just got home, and we're deciding what to do about dinner.

Thinking: Still thinking about dinner. Hmm.... And trying to sort of hustle, since hubs apparently wants the computer soon. Concerned about the government shut-down. Are things as 'safe' as they should be? Probably not.

On my reading pile: On my pile? This post would be way too long! I'm currently reading For the Sake of the Game (a collection of short stories edited by Laurie R King), and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. Two TOTALLY different books, so I'm alternating between them on purpose.

On my TV: Nothing. Really. My daughter wants to watch Bird Box, so maybe we'll do that later. Or tomorrow.

Favorite blog post this week: Oh, heavens. I didn't know I was supposed to keep track. Next time, I promise.

On the menu for this week: Tonight is still up for discussion. Chicken is thawed, but it would still be thawed on Wednesday if we head somewhere else tonight. Tomorrow and Thursday are hubby's days at the ski hill, so the kids and I just sort of make-do. Dinner is a pretty casual affair this week, it seems.

On my to-do list: Tomorrow is hubby's payday, so I'll need to fund up the kids' lunch accounts and pay the bills. We're also adjusting to the first full week of activities after holiday break (not sure why several things didn't start til this week?), so my goal is to keep all the balls in the air, more or less.

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting, or creating: My counted cross-stitch project has made it back downstairs again, but not a stitch has been made since August. I think after my payday, I'll make it a priority to get a good crafting light to set up in the family room, so I can stitch in the evening, instead of reading, sometimes.

Looking around the house: The house still looks pretty nice, since we had family over last Friday.

From the camera: Oops - didn't see this one coming either. I started trying to do a photo-a-day again for 2019, but didn't make it far. One of my goals this year is to be enough. So when I get a photo, great! Today was not one of those days, but it isn't over yet. Maybe later on I'll see something I want visually preserved as a picture...

This has been fun! I love finding more of these - like the old meme days of blogs. I've been blogging a long time, and sort of miss the way we all did things like this together back in the day. Now I sound like I've been blogging a long time AND I'm old. LOL

07 January 2019

Books - December 2018

I finished SEVEN books in December (and most of another one, but it will be on January's list since I finsihed it around 2am on January 1 ;) ). I do love a good break from work and other obligations. Here's the Amazon summary of each book I read, plus a few words of what I thought of each one.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner was one of the books I read for our middle school Battle of the Books. It was a pleasant enough read. Not my favorite of the seven battle books, but not the worst either. I especially liked the ending, where we found out that some of the characters weren't who they appeared to be.
Eugenides, the queen’s thief, can steal anything—or so he says. When his boasting lands him in prison and the king’s magus invites him on a quest to steal a legendary object, he’s in no position to refuse. The magus thinks he has the right tool for the job, but Gen has plans of his own. The Queen’s Thief novels have been praised by writers, critics, reviewers, and fans, and have been honored with glowing reviews, “best of” citations, and numerous awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Newbery Honor, the Andre Norton Award shortlist, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. Discover and rediscover the stand-alone companions, The Queen of AttoliaThe King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings, all epic novels set in the world of the Queen’s Thief.

The Things We Don't Say by Ella Carey was found on my Kindle. It was probably an Amazon Prime book in the last year or so. It was a pleasant enough read last month, but I just vaguely remember it now. By the end, there was a huge drama revealed about a couple sets of parents now telling their kids some things they didn't think they should know. Lesson learned: Children, especially as they grow into adulthood, need to know truths, even the painful ones.

Nearly sixty years ago, renowned London artist Patrick Adams painted his most famous work: a portrait of his beloved Emma Temple, a fellow bohemian with whom he shared his life. Years after Patrick’s death, ninety-year-old Emma still has the painting hanging over her bed at their country home as a testament to their love.
To Emma’s granddaughter, Laura, the portrait is also a symbol of so much to come. The masterpiece is serving as collateral to pay Laura’s tuition at a prestigious music school. Then the impossible happens when an appraiser claims the painting is a fraud. For Laura, the accusation jeopardizes her future. For Emma, it casts doubt on everything she believed about her relationship with Patrick. Laura is determined to prove that Patrick did indeed paint the portrait. Both her grandmother’s and Patrick’s legacies are worth fighting for.
As the stories of two women entwine, it’s time for Emma to summon up the past—even at the risk of revealing its unspoken secrets.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson was another book read for the Battle of the Books. In all fairness, I never would have picked it on my own. It's a graphic novel, and I'm an old lady who calls those 'comic books.' One of the battle team members was asking a question about the book today, and I couldn't recognize the character in the picture. See, I remember WORDS more than illustrations. I'm grateful that each battle usually has only one graphic novel.

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel has been hailed by critics and fans alike as the arrival of a “superstar” talent (NPR.org).
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

The Secret Healer by Ellin Carsta was another book I found on my Kindle. This engaging book was about a girl training with the local midwife, who learned she had gifts that helped to calm those suffering and receiving treatment from the midwife. When a local scandal gets turned around and an abusive man tries to get the young healer to take the fall for his crimes, she goes on the run and soon establishes a happy and successful new life. What could go wrong?? This is the first book in a series, and I'd love to read more with these characters.
In the fourteenth century, opportunities for women are limited to the home. But spirited young Madlen finds her calling as assistant to the city’s trusted midwife, Clara. Working alongside Clara, Madlen develops a surprisingly soothing technique and quickly becomes a talented healer.
After Clara’s tragic death, Madlen alone rushes to assist the birth of a local nobleman’s child. But rather than the joy of birth, Madlen walks into an accusation of murder and witchcraft because of her extraordinary gifts. Forced to flee her own town, she establishes a new identity in the home of her aunt. Yet even though it endangers her life, she cannot resist the urge to help the sick patients who seek out her miraculous treatment. When she meets handsome Johannes—an investigator hired by the Church to bring her to justice for sacrilegious acts—she becomes drawn to the very man who could destroy her. 

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson was a beautiful poetry book for the Battle of the Books. I started out not liking this one as much as I did by the end. Her poetry finally got to my soul, and I loved how she told the story of her life in verse.
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

The Designer by Marius Gabriel was another book I found on my Kindle (sensing a trend here since I didn't have any books to review last month? LOL). Probably another Amazon Prime book, but the Amazon page shows this one was released in October 2017. I'm way behind! Anyway, I digress.
Apparently, I really like WWII books - this one reminded me a lot of the Beautiful Exiles story of Martha Gellhorn that I read in November 2018. In The Designer, a woman married to a press member in Paris decides to leave her rotten husband and strike out on her own, with the friends she has made in Paris. When your closest friend is Christian Dior, it makes for an interesting story. And she becomes a fashion writer. I liked it and enjoyed immersing myself in that time/culture again.

In 1944, newly married Copper Reilly arrives in Paris soon after the liberation. While the city celebrates its freedom, she’s stuck in the prison of an unhappy marriage. When her husband commits one betrayal too many, Copper demands a separation.
Alone in Paris, she finds an unlikely new friend: an obscure, middle-aged designer from the back rooms of a decaying fashion house whose timid nature and reluctance for fame clash with the bold brilliance of his designs. His name is Christian Dior.
Realising his genius, Copper urges Dior to strike out on his own, helping to pull him away from his insecurities and towards stardom. With just a camera and a typewriter, she takes her own advice and ventures into the wild and colourful world of fashion journalism.
Soon Copper finds herself torn between two very different suitors, questioning who she is and what she truly wants. As the city rebuilds and opulence returns, can Copper make a new, love-filled life for herself?

Wild Man Island by Will Hobbs was another Battle book. I enjoyed this book more than I expected to, especially with what I considered a bit of a surprise at the ending. I picked it up just expecting a short read - good or bad, just getting it done. I was soon interested in finding out the rest of Andy Galloway's castaway story. While this was not a true story, it read like it could have been, thanks to the author's extensive experiences kayaking in the area.
On the last day of a sea kayaking trip in southeast Alaska, fourteen-year-old Andy Galloway paddles away from his group to visit the nearby site where his archaeologist father died trying to solve the mystery of the first Americans. A sudden, violent storm blows Andy's kayak off course and washes him ashore on Admiralty Island, an immense wilderness known as the Fortress of the Bears. Struggling to survive, Andy encounters a dog running with wolves and then a man toting a stone-tipped spear. The wild man vanishes into the forest, but the dog reappears and leads Andy to a cave filled with Stone Age tools and weapons. Running for his life, Andy retreats deep into the cave, where danger, suspense, and discovery await.

Woo-hoo! Seven books! And I'm on track to read at least as many in January, but that pesky job thing started again today. What have your favorite reads been lately?

04 January 2019

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. A very un-Friday, Friday, granted. Since school hasn't gone back yet, I'm still a little fuzzy on the whole day-of-the-week concept.
  2. Our family is super-excited for a trip tonight! We're headed to Zehnder's Splash Village for the night. That means waterpark this afternoon AND tomorrow, chicken dinner tonight, and sleeping in a hotel! Woo-hoo!!
  3. I had an expensive morning (on purpose). Our health spending account ends TODAY and we had a lot of money left that was suddenly 'use it or lose it.' Hubby tried to clarify the situation with his employer, and they were not very responsive. I tried contacting the company who administers the account via email, and it bounced back (??). I finally called and confirmed that yes, the money needs to be used by today, and submitted within 90 days, or it's sent back to the employer. So I had a fun morning shopping for glasses with like, NO spending limit. LOL Grateful to the nice person on the phone through the plan, and the nice ladies at the eyeglass place :)
  4. Have you had Zehnder's family-style chicken dinner? I may skip the water park this afternoon to catch up on some reading and be ready to eat, eat, eat!
  5. Speaking of reading - woo-hoo!! I just got nine more books to review, still have 1 1/2 to finish for the middle school battle of the books, and Amazon gave TWO free Kindle books to Prime accounts for January. Having too much to read is a GREAT problem in my life. It's like two Christmas weeks in a row!
  6. We have thankfully already de-Christmased the house. I'm always so excited to get it all up, and then so ready to put it all back away. So confusing.
  7. While I am happy to go back to work next week, I'm getting a little worried about actually getting up on time. I did not hear hubby's alarm for the last three days at all. It's the same alarm that's supposed to wake me up. Hmmm....
  8. We still have not gone through our enormous cookie stash. Next week is unfortunately going to be when I start pitching them. We have our last holiday gathering next Friday, and then I want my kitchen back. 
  9. Sunday when we get back from the water park adventure is going to have to be laundry day. I am not very diligent about the rest of house cleaning/vacuuming/dusting, but my dishes and laundry games are on-point.
  10. What are you happiest about going in to the new year? As I've said before, the year feels newer to me in September, but here I am, trying to remember to write 2019 instead of 2018..... One successful check written so far! Hahaha...

03 January 2019

2018 - Goals Recap

I feel like I've been down more than up lately, so this could be depressing! LOL But I read something the other day about turning negative self-talk into positive, and it was as simple as ending a statement like that with, "...and that's okay!" So I don't think I accomplished many of my goals for last year, and that's okay!

Here we have, my 2018 goal list, with up-to-date commentary:

  1. Establish educational savings accounts for both kids. Hahaha... got really close in 2017. This is the year! Or, you know, not. Again, I found something that wasn't quite right. It wanted at least $50 per deposit (better than the one I found in 2017...). I'll continue depositing 5% of what I make directly to their savings til I get this right..
  2. Bake regularly. Ha. I say this every year at the holidays, when I'm enjoying baking. 
  3. Yell less. I think my yelling is pretty consistent.
  4. Clean and organize Maggie's and Jack's rooms.  Their rooms are actually looking pretty decent right now.
  5. Do a counted cross-stitch project. I think I got maybe 10 rows donw of a new project while on vacation in New York in August.
  6. Make more cards. Definitely not more.
  7. Redo master bathroom shower. Finally one done! Hubby did it, but...done!
  8. Wash my vehicle at least monthly. Meh. Maybe I thought of it monthly?
  9. Drink at least four glasses of water daily, on a regular basis. Hard pass here. In part because my blood pressure meds make me SO tired that I grab for caffeine constantly. Staying awake is a priority.
  10. Learn to french braid my hair and Maggie's. Not even close.
  11. Set up my Erin Condren notebook as a recipe book. I can honestly say... I forgot all about this.
  12. Complete at least 50 Yelp reviews. Well, I did get 31. More than halfway! Looks like a near-win in my life!
  13. Get new deck finished. Yes! Yes, yes, yes!!!
  14. Feed birds through the winter. And another one checked off! I've got very happy birds around here.
  15. Put hanging flower baskets at front porch for summer. Absolutely!
  16. Continue unpacking office boxes from the basement. Oops.
  17. Score for Pearson. Yes!
  18. Work elections. Yes!
  19. Blog regularly. Yes!
  20. Walk regularly when it's warm outside. Nope.
  21. Read more books. A big win! I tracked 20+ for 2017. My list shows 42 for 2018!
  22. See at least ten movies in the theater. Whoa - so close! I show reviews for nine movies on the big screen.
  23. Do the 52 week savings challenge for holiday shopping at the end of the year. Nope.
  24. Burn more candles. Nope.
  25. Update the kids' bedroom doors (currently still decorated from Valentine's Day, 2014, I think). I don't think I touched them. Better yet, I'm pretty sure Jack's door still has the hearts from V-Day 2014.
  26. Use up all the box mixes of foods and desserts that I have from several different direct sales businesses. I love going to the parties, but then forget why I bought stuff! Hahaha... I wish! I think I made progress, but certainly didn't finish.
  27. Re-organize office with a goal of more crafty stuff I enjoy. Not so far.
  28. Have lunch with a friend at least twice a month (weather-permitting, since I'm currently snowed in.  LOL). Nope. And work isn't helping since school started. I've worked through lunch for all school days since Labor Day.
  29. Minimize wardrobe to fit comfortably in drawers seasonally (with off-season in under-bed storage).  Not really.
  30. Keep working a job outside the home. Finally a win!
  31. Get some new tennis shoes. I don't think so.
  32. Get at least one more pair of work pants, so I can have two outfits. LOL Still haven't done this! Yay for extra jeans days lately...
  33. Do something fun with my hair (cut/color) at least once this year. Nope.
  34. Do a couples painting (at like Painting with a Twist or whatever) with hubs. Nope.
  35. Continue keeping fish - maintain my healthy aquarium. Grr.... lost them all a couple months back.
  36. Get new bath towels for the whole house. Nope.
  37. Attend Twirlmania in Florida with Maggie. Made it!! And she got to take the floor for awards and march in the front row of the Main Street parade!
  38. Relocate the toys (except maybe the board games?) out of the family room, and into the kids' rooms and the basement. Really? Huh. Didn't even remember this one. The board games are now back into the family room, and the toys are minimized, but not gone.
  39. Pick a mantra and make it prominent - in my office, on my phone, in my truck... Nope.
  40. Appreciate that my life is pretty wonderful with or without these goals accomplished. Sure.
  41. Believe in my ability to complete these goals. Meh. Ability, sure! Motivation? Notsomuch.
Well, well, well. Last year was 12 out of 50. This year was 13 out of 41! Apparently my expectations were correctly adjusted? Hahaha.... Watch for a new list of goals for 2019 coming soon :)

01 January 2019

Welcome 2019!


Here's how Jack and Baxter (the black lab we're sitting for this week) brought in the new year. Hubs and Maggie are still at a party a few doors down, but Jack decided he was done around 11pm. He wanted to watch Wreck It Ralph and stay up til midnight. While he almost made it, I looked over at about quarter to 12 and saw them both sawing logs. Good night, and happy new year <3 <3

28 December 2018

10 Random Things for Friday

The last Friday of 2018, and the least Friday of the year (since we've already been off of school and work for a full week...).

  1. I have to admit, I'm not complaining about the weather in Michigan today. 52 degrees?!? Hubs is pretty bummed that the ski hill is closed, but I'm not cold (mostly).
  2. I keep meaning to do a Christmas re-cap post. I may get to it yet. We're all happy and healthy, in a nutshell.
  3. We're dog-sitting til just after New Years. Hub's sister has left us their nervous black lab while they travel for the new year. The kids are thrilled, and I can do anything for a week, right?
  4. What do people do with their poinsettias after Christmas? I bought two from my daughter's choir fundraiser. We literally haven't had any company to see them displayed in our home, and now I'm supposed to get rid of them, right? No one keeps poinsettias year-round, do they?
  5. Have you watched The Marvelous Mrs Maisel? Hubby and I finished the second season last night. She's such a likeable character. Until I think about some of her choices. Why can't she just stop gabbing about other people? It seems to have caused her trouble at every turn. And I don't think I'm gonna agree with her next major choice either. But now I'll have to wait til season three is released to find out. It looks like that will be next winter (speculations say December 2019?).
  6. I'm really trying to pick up the pace on my reading to wrap up 2018. I'm more than 60% through The Designer (which I started on my old kindle and am finishing up on my new Kindle Paperwhite :D). If the rest of my family is really cooperative, I'd love to finish up one more book for the 6th grade battle of the books too.
  7. I need just a few groceries, but I'm dreading heading to the store. Everything just feels so frantic and confused, still. I hate the crowds, but don't have the extra cash right now to have someone else do the shopping for me. I may just wait and head out after bedtime again tonight. I do know today (Friday) will be way better than going tomorrow (Saturday). Wish me luck!
  8. My nails sure do look nice polished. I'm wearing a great dark shade called Twill Seeker from the Essie gel line. I tried a different Essie at the beginning of break, but it chipped in less than a day. That's not acceptable.
  9. We still have so. many. cookies left!! Please, come over and eat cookies. We've got decorated cut-out cookies, some spritz snowflakes, snickerdoodles, chocolate crinkle cookies, stained glass windows, lemon cookies, and caramel chocolate drizzle cookies. Plus a few fancy ones I got as gifts from co-workers to kick-off out holiday break. So. Many. Cookies.
  10. Hope you've got a few days away from work, and are enjoying them with friends and family who make you feel like 'enough.' You're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!