Friday, January 31, 2014

Five on Friday: January 31, 2014

Lord almighty, January is done. That was fast! A long trip like our California trip always gets me discombobulated in regard to time. It seemed like January only started when we got back which of course is far from the truth but my inner clock didn't buy it for a while.

And this cold!  I am so done with it. Me and how many others? Mostly I can just stay inside and I do. Outdoors is so overrated right now.

1. While looking at Pinterest early this am, waiting for my space heater to get a-going, I saw a bunch of wind chimes, sadly many without directions. I'm not clueless but I prefer to know how. In any case wind chimes always take me back to the cheap old glass ones from China that used to be sold in the 5 & Dime stores. I wonder if they are still made anywhere. I loved that tinkly glass sound. Delicate.

2. I started making a red lentil soup earlier in the week. Many things got in the way and all I have are some partially cooked lentils. I wonder if I'm now making fermented lentil juice. Today is a day for a recipe search and get those babies into something. Something that included coconut milk cause I'm in a coconut mood. South Indian seems good.

3. My cortisone shot for the knee is now scheduled for Feb 10th. Thank you snowstorm for delaying that for a month. I also have to go about 20 miles to another office. Pffft. I gripe because yesterday my knee hurt a lot, and strangely the pain was on the outer side of the knee, not the usual inner side. Mysteries abound.

4. Sometimes I wonder how foolish I can still be.  My ceiling fan which gets little use in the winter was appallingly dirty. The fan is over my computer, desk, and many other bits of clutter scattered hither and yon. My cleaning intentions have not come to fruition lately but one day I decided to use a little duster I got in the $ store. Well, even with the fan off, that gentle dragging across the blades gave me a dust shower over all. Yuck. Now I still have a 3/4 dirty fan and gray dust to deal with below.

5. Is this cute or what? I've marked my chargers with green nail polish but I think they are going to get an update.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

SOUP: Marilyn's Lasagne Soup

Back in my days on the Garden Web Cooking Forum, I 'met' some outstanding cooks.  They had a term I had never heard  'T&T' in regard to recipes. Tried and true.  Now your taste or mine might not be exactly like the poster's but the recipes were invariable solid and with a bit of tweaking the always fit our tastes. This soup was one of my earliest favorites, perfect for winter. Note how Marilyn apologized for the tomato soup. Those cooks in the Cooking Forum almost always stick to real ingredients, not chemicals, and the recipes are all the better for it!

Oh yes, they included photographs of the dish so you knew how it was supposed to look.

Marilyn...I love it!

Monday, January 27, 2014

AAM Monday: 2014 Project Life Begins

Since we were in California for the beginning of January 2014, these weeks are not all the standard format. That's fine. As always, NO rules in Project Life. I have noticed that a lot of digital people are cutting back on the amount of product they are using in their weekly pages. That's also fine with me. I know Creative Team members are tasked with selling products but I have a goodly stash and that's what I'm trying to use.

Hello California!

Page 2 is not here because it's private but our three day retreat was wonderful. Gotta love the locations the Jesuits have in California. Well, the locations they've had most anywhere in the US are prime. They certainly had an eye for real estate when they arrived in the 1600s or so. Location, location, location.

Next we drove down the California coast, but NOT on US 1. I knew I would be freaking out as the passenger seat is on the outside for the drive south. I've done it driving north and even that gave me the heebie jeebies as my then driver/husband kept saying ....Oh look! and I had visions of ending my life as the car went into the Pacific.  I do hope to make that drive again though but definitely going north.

We still saw a lot of great stuff on our two day drive to LA. When we have no time constraints, there's no need to rush the trip.

To me, LA means food and seeing friends/family.  We have a good friend in LA who is now facing the onset of alzheimers/dementia. It's sad but it's part of life. Learning to deal with all these losses.
I do love LA!

Hard to believe it was only so mild when it's now soooo cold in Maryland. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five on Friday: January 24, 2014

It's been a quiet week round here 'cause that's what a real snowfall will do. I was very glad I had done some serious shopping the weekend before. Plenty of all the necessities of life from toilet paper to milk to hot chocolate and many other goodies in between. The frigid temperatures also allowed me to use a big pot outside for the fridge overflow. I had planned to make cookies but wisely passed on that idea. Our waistlines are profiting from that decision!

1.  We finally saw a movie together. He has to be dragged kicking and screaming towards the tv for one but the price of Redbox is right. Up to $1.27 now, and for that sum we saw "Captain Phillips". Having just had our pizza dinner, no popcorn was involved.

2. When that snow started, I was over at my JSJ friend's house. It's always lovely to see the bay in that kind of weather. It's always lovelier to be inside seeing that kind of weather on the bay! It's also very lovely to have someone other than me do all the shoveling. That's my dh!

3.  On my last foray into the joy that is Wegmans, I found some Thai flavored stock. $2.49 a quart.

I'm deciding on what to use it with, hoping that I like it and it can be a regular in my pantry. I am more likely to have the fresh Thai ingredients in the summer and this seemed like it could be a good standby.

4. That snow cancelled my appointment to get a cortisone shot in my knee and that is delaying my return to aerobics. I am going back to chair Yoga today and will probably give Pilates a go next week. That cross country airplane sitting seems to have done a good number on my body and vacation didn't involve much movement. Not good.

5. A week of some breakthroughs in my volunteer work saga. You know the one friend you have who seems to see clearly through your fog? I saw her this week and she spelled out a few things she felt I was feeling. Yep. She helped me to define what is pretty much not definable. As always, I know what I don't want...I don't want to work in a room by myself for 4 hours. Office work I can deal with but the isolation...naw. I need people.

That pushed me to contact a group that works with middle school girls and Praise the Lord! I got an email response in a few hours, an email response from the coordinator which included her title, her phone number and the organization's website link.  A proper signature. Ah... Once again, it's the small things like that that let you see that the organization is professionally run. I have hope!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Day Late and It's Ok

I just read this and ok, it's the day after Martin Luther King day but that's not important. These words are important. Yesterday, today, all days.

“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it.
Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it.
Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
I think I need to make this my February screensaver because I sure need reminding.

Monday, January 20, 2014

AAM Monday - You Eat What?

Just as I was getting ready for bed last night, after a session with the folk at Downton Abbey, I spotted a neglected Twizzler. strand.  As much as I love these candies, I really like them best when they are old and stale.  Hard.

This one strand was really tempting since it filled the bill on age but I was on my way to bed and decided that it wasn't the wisest thing to eat then. I decided that reluctantly... But then one Twizzler isn't enough, or at least it isn't enough for me. So I left it.

Amazingly enough, I totally forgot about it and didn't even think of it this morning.  However, as I worked at my computer this morning, I suddenly spotted it. (Yes, this tells you about the messy state of my computer desk, doesn't it?) Blissful sigh as I started to chew the hard goodness.  I was actually even satisfied with just one of this after-breakfast treat. But now?  Fortunately, I have to go out to do pick up a referral for my knee doctor appointment. Fortunately? oh yes, because I can also pick up a bag of Twizzlers, eat some, and then set some aside to ...mature.

Is this strange? Perhaps. But I know what I like, and stale Twizzlers fill that bill.  40 calories per strand of pure sugar bliss! Jaws get ready...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five on Friday: January 17, 2014

I really like doing the Five on Friday and while I'm not a serious list maker, I do like lists. Things to do, things to buy, things to cross of a list, etc etc   I wonder why I don't do more of them? Commitment phobia?

1. Man oh man did I eat my share of avocados in California! Now I'll have to go back to having to remember what a luscious ripe one is like. A ripe one that is 5 for a $1. Just imagine...

2. I take my own teabags (Typhoo decaf) with me on trips so my dh can make me my pot of tea each morning. However, there is nothing like getting back to your own water (for good or for bad) for the specific taste I'm used to. Anyone else notice things like that?

3. It was wonderful to see my 2nd born on that trip but all the harder in feeling how much I miss having him around. T'aint nuthin' Mama can do about that when there's a whole country between us. He's definitely a left coaster and as much as I love visiting the West, I know my heart lies in the East.

4. Do you 'decorate' your suitcases? I presume you don't have ultra expensive luggage when I ask that. I use craft puff paint to make designs on our suitcases. People smile at them but they are easy to spot!

My dh and I stick to the standard black carry on size...what is that, 21 inches?... but my most recent one is just a bit less roomy than his of the same size. wtf?  It's kind of like this one but it isn't a spinner. Those outer pockets just don't expand as much as his do, nor do they zip all the way down. I'm sure as soon as I decorate it, I'll see a better model.

5. I didn't do that well without my computer on this recent trip. I found that I just wasn't satisfied with my iPad which also was losing its charge and needed a trip to the Apple hospital. Clean it out and download all my stuff from the Cloud worked but with a slower net connection, the download didn't go very fast. I am one spoiled woman, aren't I!

Happy Weekend to you!! Have a hot chocolate for me or an iced frappuchino - depending on your climate.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ritual, Start My Day

Recently I read something about how important rituals are in our lives. I knew that but it's always good to be reminded of something we know to be true.

I remember when I consciously created some ritual in my life. It was a time when I needed stability as so many things in my life had changed. It was one of those times of massive upheavals when all my ground was new and uncertain. I was having to recreate my life with things as I wanted them. Some things have fallen by the wayside, no longer needed now but other rituals have remained. My mug of the day is one.

When I was working, I normally woke up at 6:00 am and had quite a bit of free, silent time until I had to be at work at 9. Sometimes I stayed in bed for a half hour, and just luxuriated in that time to think through the day ahead. When I went downstairs to make my tea, I enjoyed looking at my mugs while the water boiled and then the tea steeped. In a short time, I had a specific mug for each day. Those mugs have stayed fairly constant for 25+ years. My dh now makes my tea for me and I am retired. However, I still get a warm feeling when I go to the cupboard and select the mug of the day. It's stability and comfort.


For the most part, they are bone china mugs acquired at T.J. Max but others are heavier and have a special significance. For a long time, the Wednesday mug was from RISD, a school the young woman who could have been my daughter in law attended. She is no longer in my life, finally married to another man,  but I always remember her with love especially every Wednesday. Recently, that mug was replaced by a mug my grandson gave me, USC Grandparent. I felt the grieving time was over and made the switch with only a bit of regret.

Friday is another pottery mug, one that caught my eye in the $1. bin at Michaels. It shows a vintage chair and says Rest a Minute. Now that I am retired, I still need to remember to do that. Today? today is Thursday so it's an English bone china day, with a mug of autumny and harvest fruits. This mug is similar to my Evesham china but actually a bit prettier I think. In any case, it's my Thursday mug, and my feeling of comfort when I use it is complete. Sadly, it's holding the last cup of tea from my morning pot. But then again, I can always make more. After all, it's decaf!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

AAM Project Life 13 week 52

Yep, I decided to do a week 52. I want to get my prints done as soon as a have January done, so here it is.

The sooner this one is done, the more likely I'll get to 2014 soon. Right? I hope so!

Monday, January 13, 2014

AAM Project Life 13 Week 51

I was glad to get this week done before we left for California and it's my final one for 2013...I think. Maybe I'll do a short bit for those last few days but more likely they'll go in the 2014.  2014? Yes, I plan to do it again, though I may change it round a bit after a month or two. I have several ideas of what I'd like to do but my priority has to be clear up more of my physical space before I get stuck into the artsy stuff. When the clutter reaches a tipping point and I can't find something, I choke. Nothing else gets done, and my mood is not very good. I have no one to blame but myself so that bit of projection doesn't work...sniff sniff.

I'm not set on a 2014 WORD but I know the concept I'm going for. My first project in that process will be a vision board soon as I have a CLEAN & CLEAR TABLE.  And there are about 5 or more steps I need to take before that happens. One step forward, and how many back I wonder? But that's life.

So now here's that week 51 I mentioned. btw, the background paper on these two pages is the same blog background I'm using now. I'm ready for a change there too but all in good time.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Let's Tidy Up

Back Friday night from our CA trip and right away it was a cup of Tazo Rest tea that my dil gave me over Christmas. It didn't agree with her so I was trying it. I wasn't sure I liked the rose flavor - I think I had more than my share of that taste in the Middle East - but it was warm and soothing. Went to bed close to midnight and I had a good night's sleep for a rainy Saturday. I did a lot of putting away, and throwing away (junk mail) and much puttering. I also did some thinking about what I need to do before I start on the Christmas decorations.

I just didn't have it in me to start that cleanup before we left last month as it was only December 29th!  I was certainly still in the Christmas mood. But's that feeling of "I want it all gone." January is a month that makes me seriously want clean and simple. Orderly, minimal, spare.  Sadly he has no such desire for this kind of surrounding and I am far from the that kind of person myself. But it's a feeling I want. Truly. 2014 seems a good time to get back into a purging routine. We have a periodic cleaner, but one thing I certainly have learned from FlyLady is that 'you can't clean clutter.' Clutter I've got! and without some gentle encouragement I find I putter from clutter to clutter, a habit my husband calls 'shifting the dust'.  I do move my clutter often enough so I don't have much dust but he is the king of dust bunnies - which I do not touch nor do I even look in his office if I can help it.

Last year my One Little Word was less, and it didn't work into my life the way I had hoped. I did lose some weight and gained a lot more fitness, but I swear it all went to hell in a handbasket from Thanksgiving to now. Of course two trips didn't help when it's a balance of restaurant food and the difficulty of cooking in resort accommodations. I know I really miss my home and the routine of home but compromise is part of the marriage game.

These are just some of my random thoughts as I mentally and physically shift from Left Coast to Right Coast. Truthfully, as nice as it can be on the left side, and oh the food is oh so gooood, the right coast really fits me a lot better. It's good to be home!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Catching Up

When the year is new, catching up is not really an issue. Well it can be if the catching up is with yourself. I like winter a lot because it's a time to go inward and reflect on a lot of things. Time to consider what works, what doesn't and what could be.

That's what I'm going to be doing. Reflecting and catching up with me.

See you in a week or so...

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