Thursday, December 29, 2022

Happy New Year Dear Followers

Image courtesy of IMGBIN.

In my rush to get posts written and scheduled to post on time, I forgot to do a post-Christmas follow-up.

Christmas Eve with DH's family was lovely as always. A good time was had by most. Unfortunately, one sister-in-law had some weather-related issues to handle for her job, but otherwise, we all enjoyed the evening and the gifts that were given / received.
I received many wonderful things, but I was most excited for this lovely Dala Horse ornament. I'd forgotten it was on the list, but was super excited to open it and then hang it on my tree once we got home.

Other than that, there's not much to say much here but Happy New Year.
Thanks to all of you who've been following along for months or years.

Here's to a blessed and prosperous new year.

Best wishes to each one of you.

See you in 2023!

Monday, December 26, 2022

Fourth Quarter Goals Review

Image courtesy of IMGBIN. 

I probably could have written this in November or October for that matter.

My attempts at getting back on track with most of the non-writing goals were thwarted.

I struggled more with mental health (as a result of Mom's death) this quarter than I thought I would. I never felt sad, per se, but I had periods of days when I just really felt blah.

I've also been in learning mode and taking in a lot of information and processing it. It took me some time to realize that that had/has also contributed to my feelings of blah and general tiredness. 

There were some external stresses that contributed to my struggles as well, so making extra things happen took a back seat to getting the basics taken care of.

One of those external things was learning that my shadow aka Rayna had cancer. Needless to say, some of my focus turned to making sure she has a good end of life experience. As of right now, she's still with us. However, I think she's taking a turn and it's not going to be much longer before we say our final good-byes. 😢

Even before her diagnosis, I'd planned on taking some half-days off to do yard work once the weather changed. Post-diagnosis, those days became even more important. Rayna likes to be outside but often won't spend a lot of time in the yard without me. And I'm not always keen on being out there.

But after being house-locked for most of the summer when being outside was a break from the stress going on inside my house, I looked forward to fall and cooler temps. Also, once Mom passed, I'd vowed to throw open all the windows and air out my house once the weather turned. I never got to do that as fully as I had hoped. Maybe in spring.

All that to say I spent a lot of time keeping my sanity in check and very little time doing chores, exercising officially, or cooking healthy meals.

But this post is supposed to be a review, so let's review the final quarter of 2022. I'm going in order of the list on the right side...

1) Grandma continued to receive missives from me. I'm all that's left of her daughter, so yeah. I'm even getting more consistent with it. Finally.

2) No exercise other than upping my average daily step-count and doing yard work, although that tapered off after the first real cold snap. I'd hoped to get back to yoga or riding the elliptical, but I just couldn't carve out the time, and I didn't really have the energy these past couple of months.

3) Honestly, I don't know how long cooking & eating healthy lasted this year. And once Mom moved in, that fell completely by the wayside in favor of more carb/calorie heavy meals. She needed them. After that, food was a comfort. Thankfully, I only gained about five pounds. Then lost a few and gained a few. *sigh*

4) Housekeeping just never really got off the ground for me, no matter how much I wanted it to.

5) I kept up (mostly) with my writers group duties. There's a lot of improvement there to be made here, but I think a list of tasks will help.

6) My one book got published and once Mom passed, I worked consistently on the next hockey book. But consistency was mainly wrought in five-minute chunks just so I could "stay in the manuscript" (on a daily basis) as the saying in writer circles goes. That faded the farther into December we went.

7) I didn't spend a lot of time on learning the craft of writing. I spent money on virtual conferences where I can go back and watch at my leisure, but not much time doing so.

8) I added a few things to the Etsy inventory, but didn't double my stock as I'd hoped/planned.

9) The one thing I have done and will always do is READ. Reading is almost as necessary as breathing to me. In fact, I read about 80-ish books this year.

10) I got back on the Goodreads horse somewhat right after Mom passed, but then slowed down again. I don't think I solidified anything really.

This year (2022) will always be the year that everything was knocked off the rails by Mom's move to Texas, her illness, and her death, so I don't know that I can rightly grade myself. Especially for the third and fourth quarters.

I did what I could when I could, and I made it through the year. That, in and of itself, is a success.

As I've mentioned in a couple of previous posts, it's time to rethink writing and to decide what my plan is going forward.

As I've done for the last umpteen years, I'll post my fresh start goals at the beginning of January.

Have a great week and I'll catch you Thursday.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Merry Christmas!

 Image courtesy IMGBIN.
Just a few days hence and it'll be Christmas. Sadly the whole of the holiday falls on a weekend and we get no extra days off work. On the other hand, clients usually quiet down this time of year, so time can be spent working on projects rather than tickets.
And, as per usual, Christmas will be hosted by one of my sisters-in-laws, so, thankfully, I haven't had a whirlwind of cleaning and cooking to accomplish on top of working and the baseline of Christmas activities.

But I'm definitely looking forward to seeing everyone and, of course, seeing their reactions to the gifts I bought them. For some I have to buy straight from the Giftster list. For others I can go off book a little and buy them something based on past conversations or known interests.
I hope your Christmas is exactly what you want and/or need it to be.
Take care and...

Monday, December 19, 2022

My Failed Experiment

Image courtesy of IMGBIN.


I've been trying to be as "green" as possible for a while now. A couple of years ago, I switched to taking totes and such to the grocery store and trying to use the plastic store bags as little as possible. I'll use one if my package of meat is a little too messy, but otherwise nope. I even bought washable mesh bags for produce, which I rarely use.

These days, I am also on the hunt for food packaging--aside from the usual water bottles, aluminum cans, and paper--that is recyclable. Certain types have to be dropped at the store rather than put in your recycle bin, but those containers are usually at the front of the store. Things I've found to be recyclable: plastic bags containing bread, plastic wrapper around bottled water cases, and now toothpaste tubes! Recycle-ability may vary by brand, but look for the symbol on the packaging.

I think I mentioned in a Miscellaneous Monday post a few weeks ago that only about 10% of items that can be recycled actually are being recycled. That's a shame. There are even some states that don't have a recycling policy at all. Indiana, I believe.

There are at least two states (OR and CO in 02/23) that charge you for those plastic grocery bags, making it even more expensive to go shopping; behooving you to keep a stash of totes in your car.

My failed experiment, however, is in regards to paper. I tried to reduce my need for a physical list on my desk. About a month ago, maybe a bit longer ago, I created an electronic list. All I had to do was open it on my (computer) desktop each day and go...

But it's just not the same. It's nice to have a sheet there to jot down a random number or quick note rather than dig through the documents open on the computer--if that to-do-list doc is even opened. Unfortunately, a few things have slipped through the cracks.

So last Wednesday I dug out a stack of six to seven sheets of notebook paper and happily jotted down those things needing my attention. With the notes right there on my desk, staring at me each day, things will get done faster, I bet. That messy jumble of notes will encourage me to get that stuff accomplished sooner rather than later so that a) I can cross it off the list and b) it won't have travel to the fresh sheet of paper when I have to move/update the list.

How about you? Do you  recycle?

Have a great week!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Happy Birthday Sonshine

This Saturday marks the 27th birthday of my son ~ the one, the only... Sonshine.

He's living in the Seattle area still and doing well, according to himself. I wouldn't know otherwise with him being so far away as well as being social media averse. I have to take it on faith.

It's gonna mostly be pics in this post, so feel free to check out now.

Have a great weekend!

The above pics, while the most recent, are still a few years old... and below are just random selections from the blog over the years.


Monday, December 12, 2022

Today is National Gingerbread House Day!

 Remember this??

 My redneck gingerbread house and G.I. Snow? Over time, they became a little more elaborate than this basic version.

I really miss making the redneck gingerbread house, but it's more fun as a multi-person activity and, alas, my partner in gingerbre-- er... graham cracker crime... far far away.
How about you? Are you fan of gingerbread cookies or of decorating gingerbread houses?

Have a great week. Talk to you in a few days.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Before and After: New Chompers!


 Image courtesy of IMGBIN.

I finally have some new chompers-- er, new teeth, that is!

Just over two years ago, during the height of pandemic mask wearing, I had three teeth at the front of my mouth pulled. I figured "why not?" No one would see my smile for a while.

The plan then was to get implants. A bone graft was done to support the posts for said implants. But as time went along, I felt less and less comfortable spending $10+K on three or fourth teeth. And, no, I am not kidding. Implants are not cheap.

But I finally reached a point where I was done being without teeth. I considered pulling all my teeth and going with full dentures, but at, say conservatively, $250 each for pulling teeth, plus the cost of a full denture, that was still a pricey prospect. And my teeth are in decent shape, so no real need to pull them all out.

I went to see a denture specialist and for 1/10 the cost of the original plan, I now have a partial denture filling out the gap on my lower jaw. And no more insecurities about my gap-toothed smile.

Forgive the awful pictures--selfies are not my strong suit...especially not at 4:30am when the after pic was taken.



What do you think?

Just in time for my writers group holiday party in person. I don't have to take them out to eat as I have had to do with my little spacer appliance. Won't that be nice?

Now if only I'd bought that box of hair color...

Have a great weekend.

Monday, December 5, 2022

There's Nothing Like A Seasoned Cuppa...

Cuppa Tea...

Image courtesy of IMGBIN. 


Cuppa Joe...

 Image courtesy of IMGBIN.

There was a time when I was non-believer in this phenomena, but not anymore. You know, where the cup or mug that you consistently drink from gets stained and seasoned by your beverage of choice.

Yeah, it's thing.

I had a small, handled Tervis cup that I drank my morning tea out of for years. The inside was stained and the plastic had soaked in the essence of my favorite tea flavor. That first morning cuppa was the most delightful, most comforting, most satisfying.

I also had a tall Tervis cup out of which I drank a lot of tea. It too got stained. And seasoned.

And then one day I washed it. Like scrubbed it out and put a drop of bleach in the soak water.

And the next time I drank tea out of it? Not the same satisfaction, folks!

Then I got a new small, handled Tervis cup for Christmas last year because the old one was full of stress fractures and water had seeped into the inner part of it. And it took a while to get that new cup stained and seasoned. But after a year, it's just right. :0)

Now I no longer wash the inside of a handful of cups. I wash the outside and I wash the rims, inside and out, but from a half inch down, that inside is cleaned by nothing but the sanitizing properties of the boiling water I pour into it several times a day.

I have three cups: one that always stays home, two for travel, and one at the office.

And you know how, when you stay at hotels, they tell you that you can heat up water in those mini-coffee pots they have. Well, as a non-coffee drinker...let me say--

Oh no you can't.

Not for tea anyway. Because...that filter bin--which is made of plastic and without which you cannot make coffee or water--is stained by the flavor of the coffee and taints the water. Yes, it does. I had too many morning cups of tea ruined that way.

When I go on longer trips now, I have an electric kettle I drag along for making tea in the room because I drink a lot of it and it's a pain in the rear to trek to the lobby for hot water that often.

So tell me, do you know what I'm talking about here? Do you have a favorite cup that no one will touch without gloves? Do share.

Hope you're well! Catch you Thursday!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

National Cookie Day is Coming!


Image courtesy of IMGBIN.

Break out the chocolate chip, the snickerdoodles, the shortbread--Sunday December 4th is National Cookie Day.

I do love me a cookie and I'm not that picky. Do I love some varieties more than others? Of course. I even like a raisin cookie. Warm and soft are the best. Room temp and soft are fine. Room temp & crunchy are fine. Eating them with a cold glass of milk or mild-flavored protein shake is even better.

While I love sugar cookies in general, I'm not a fan of those super soft, super thick sugar cookies with the super sweet icing you get from stores.

I used to bake a lot more, when the kids were younger and when I wasn't watching my calorie intake quite so closely.

Shout out to La Madeleine who make a delicious jumbo sized Linzer cookie in a heart shape that I can't resist purchasing any time I go there and to Panera Bread who makes a lovely kitchen sink type chocolate chip with pretzel bits in it that are usually sold out, thereby saving me from my bad choices.

Can I actually name my favorite?


>>insert thinky face<<

No. I don't think I can.

What about you?

Stock up and enjoy some cookies this coming Sunday.

Cheers! See you Monday.