Sunday, January 20, 2019

Week in Review - January 13 - 19

The week has been one of ups and downs. 

Not bad ups and downs, but lots of changes. 

One day the weather is pleasant and the next day...


It's foggy.

Or...



cold and frosty.

The birds finally discovered the bird feeder. They haven't been visiting regularly, but it has been discovered. So far I have had the following visitors...


Tufted Titmouse
Chickadee
Pair of Cardinals
Sparrow

Not a bad start. But I am hoping for more regular visitation.

I finished up the last two meals of my Home Chef delivery.



I had hopes for this dinner in getting me to eat Brussel sprouts. They were roasted with pears and walnuts. NOPE!

And my house smelled for days!

But I loved how they had me do the chicken. Seared in a pan and then popped in the oven to finish. Just like they do it on 'Chopped'.



The last dinner was fajitas. While I do fajitas often (if I can get the meat on sale), I had an assistant this time.

And instead of strips of beef, the meat was shaved, much like you would find on a Philly Steak sandwich. Which meant it was super tender. I enjoyed these. 

However, in the middle of the meal, I got a call to come into work and had to drop of Lady K at Texter's. Since she had just gotten home from work, I gave her the other three fajitas. 

But next time I am going to seek out some shaved beef rather than strips.

BUT...

the big thing this week...

No, make it the HUGE thing this week...

You see, the girls and I have been Eddie Izzard fans for years. We could do whole sections of his shows by rote. He is on a world tour which will bring him within our reach, in Durham. On May 13.
Texter's birthday!

We had texted back and forth we would save our pennies and try and go. 

Then...

I get a text from Texter.


Mr. RaceCar had bought her birthday present early. Three tickets to Eddie. For the three of us to go!

It will be a long day/night as it is about 2.5 hours to the DPAC. But we have to take Lady K to her grandfather's house before the show. And then go back and get her. I can already see us driving home at 2 a.m. and everyone asleep in the car except the driver (that's me!).

But a chance to actually see Eddie Izzard is fantastic.

Did I mention we are keeping Mr. RaceCar? 

Otherwise this week...

  • Two days over 5000 steps. Two more days came close. I really need to get up and move more.
  • Finished 7 books
  • Wrote 5 posts
  • Made bagels and a lemon-poppy seed bundt cake
  • A few stitches on 'Electra'

This coming week...

  • Crank out words on Fae Trouble
  • Make bread with Lady K (she's off on Monday)
  • Get up and watch the Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse
  • Get a few more stitches in 'Electra'
  • Max out hours on my work-from-home
  • Drink more water and walk more steps
But in the meantime, more coffee!





Saturday, January 19, 2019

Saturday Reads - The Black Tides of Heaven


The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system lets their patrons know about books added to the system in a weekly newsletter from WOWLibrary. I think that's where I 'discovered' the book. The cover looked interesting and I like fantasy worlds with an Asian flair.

At only 236 pages, I figured it would be a quick read.

I was correct. It is a correct read. But what an interesting world.

The first thing which took me a bit to get my mind around and figure out exactly what was going on were characters being referred to as 'they'. As in one person was actually two people. It turns out everyone is born genderless. At some point, usually in their teens, they decide if they want to become either male or female and go being 'confirmed'.

Another thing is the 'magic' or nature-based powers people can wield. Working within the 'Slack', people can do different things. 

What made the story a bit more interesting, is none of this was really explained. How the world in The Black Tides of Heaven is something you figure out as you read.

Mokoya and Akeha are twins born to the Protector. Raised in a monastery, both have special gifts. However, only one is of value to their mother, the Protector. In their late teens, their paths diverge.

At first, I was a bit torn about how I felt about the book. But once I got into it and figured out certain things, I had to read the whole thing.

And then I had to go reserve books 2 and 3 at the library. 

Then I read a bit about the author, Jy Yang. Then the 'they' made a lot of sense. They made the book that much more a special read.


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Posititve Focus Thursday - Flowers!

I grew up with vegetable gardens. My grandfather, my parents - they all had gardens. 

In college I had a roomful of houseplants, mainly due to the fact that down a back road in East Texas was this little greenhouse which sold plants cheaply.

I am now filling my house with plants. Texter has been bitten by the cactus/succulent bug. Savvy wants to bring more plants into her room at her house.

Thus, Lady K has been 'infected' with the green bug.

Actually, what has taken her fancy is buying flowers at the store. In November and December i purchased flowers for the monthly special at the Charlotte Flower Market. She took some into her teacher. Plus she wants some in her room. 


On Saturday at Trader Joe's, they had carnations very reasonably priced. We came home with pink for Lady K and red to take to her teacher.

I have found over the years a little gift of flowers can bring a lot of joy to the day. Especially at the start of another week. So red carnations went into school for Ms. Henderson to enjoy.

On the homefront, my amaryllis are doing something which has never happened to me before.



Bloom spikes!

I was expecting the leaves to come up and then I was going to repot them into a bit container during the summer so they will rebloom next summer. I have done this in the past and it's fun to see amaryllis blooming in the summer.

But no. I'm going to get more flowers! These bulbs will be monitored carefully and I will decide if I am going to attempt to get them to rebloom next Christmas or follow through with my original plans.

I love plants. There is nothing better than 'talking' to them and seeing them grow. I, and my friends, haunt the clearance shelves at Home Depot and Lowe's. 

So if you are feeling down, get a plant! Buy flowers! Or both!



Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tuesday Sundries - Two Year Love Affair

The Wheel of Time is over. It's stopped spinning.






























I have finished the 14 books in the series. At over 420 hours of audio, it was a long, long journey. And I actually miss listening to it. I have started back on some Brandson Sanderson books which are equally long and involved as these (and read by the same people). 

But I am going to miss the world in this series. And what a world it is. Magic and diverse races. An epic battle against the dark forces. As someone who is writing fantasy myself, the world created in this series is fantastic. It is so complex and rich. 

I started listening on December 1, 2016, and a little over two years later have wrapped up this journey. Granted there were wide gaps in my listening, but I always returned to see what Rand, Matt, and Perrin were up to.

Fingers crossed, Amazon will be able to pull off a series based on these books.

Now to find another series to listen to.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Week in Review - January 6 - 12

The first full week in January has passed and I think (maybe) things are coming together and starting to get into a 'routine'. 


Sitting here on Sunday morning, we are under grey skies, just missing the 'winter weather' here in Charlotte. And of course, the forecast for next week is rainy and grey....again. I had forgotten how the rain in North Carolina seems to hit on the weekends!

This past week was Texter's last week at the 'original' Lowe's where she worked. And was known as 'Cookie' because of the cookies she brought in during the holidays. Tomorrow she starts at the Lowe's by Mr. Racecar's house where she is living now. And I DON'T HAVE TO DRIVE HER TO/FROM WORK!

Yep, the store is less than a mile from the house. And on the same side of the road, so no crossing busy streets. Just zip down the sidewalk. She is planning on getting a bicycle to ride to/from work in the next couple of weeks. But that saves me anywhere from 1.5 - 2 hours a day, in each direction, depending on traffic!

My goal is to work during the day while Lady K is at school and then have my weekends free for other stuff. Or for working at GameStop.

Texter, Lady K and I did some 'errands' on Saturday. I wanted to go by Trader's Joe for some 'Everything Bagel' seasoning. And then to Fresh Market for Ramen base. A stop to check out a new-to-us store - Jazzy Cheesecakes



What a selection of cheesecakes, cakes, and cupcakes! The individual portions are very, very generous. As in 2-3 individuals can eat on 1 piece. 

I got the Pecan Pie Cheesecake...OMG!

Lady K picked out a piece of yellow cake with tons of sprinkles. I got a Snickers Cheesecake slice for Savvy and Texter got this brownie-cookie-cheesecake combination.

Otherwise, in the food department, I received my first Home Chef shipment on Wednesday and made the first dinner last night.



If anyone is interested in trying, I can supply a discount code.

One thing I have found is the meals are generous. I opted for 3 meals for 2 people. So for me, 6 meals. Easily. 

And I found out a new way to fix peas. Not shelled, but chopped and drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in the oven for about 15 minutes. 

I am also leaning toward Miso and Ramen soups and have the broths for lunches next week. I actually have the second week of meals planned. Which was a bit of a cheat as I still have one meal of leftovers from Home Chef and then 2 more meals to prepare - thus 5 dinners.

And what about Lady K? Well, she is beyond picky. Textures and colors have to be taken into consideration. So we have lots of raw carrots, corn and chicken nuggets.

But my BIG project done for the week was this...


My wall of boxes and bins has been reduced to this neater, more manageable stack. Both the girls came over and went through their folders where I have saved items from their school years. Old pictures, papers, drawings, certificates - a great walk down memory lane for them.

All my unused notebooks and journals I have purchased are all in one box so I can find a notebook without thinking I need to buy more.

This pile is the next to work on...


This is the needlework stash I need to start ebaying. Along with two more boxes which need to be brought upstairs. Two of the bins are nothing but fabric and three are fibers. So my plan is to iron some of the fabric and make 'lots' of probably 6 or 12 pieces to sell on eBay. As I have 100's (literally) of patterns I know I don't want, I will be selling on eBay for months!

I also need to, as I get toward the end of the other patterns, go through and be more realistic about whether or not I will ever stitch them. I have two bins of 'future' projects in the closet.

After listing my free 50 items on eBay this week, I know I need to devote about 4-6 hours taking pictures, writing up descriptions and listing. Of course, I can figure more time packaging them up for mailing. Unlike when I did it ages ago, I can print out a mailing label/postage and not have to take them to the post office. Hopefully, sometime soon, I can up my limit I can list in a month. Otherwise, I will be selling until this time next year. I may try selling some boots I have which are sitting in a bin, never worn.

Otherwise this past week...

  • Finished 5 books
  • Wrote 6 posts
  • Meal planned for next week
  • Took Amani over to Savvy's for playtime with Noel

This coming week...

  • Up my exercise 
  • Max my hours for my work from home
  • Be sure my outline is ready to go
  • Start ironing and group needlework linen for future sales

But in the meantime, more coffee, toast and scrambled eggs!





Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday Reading - Love Coming Home


I just checked this book out from the library and I love it! In fact, I loved it so much, I sat up longer than I wanted to before going to bed.

Jennifer Adams, an interior designer, in Love Coming Home encourages you to create a home you love. Two things she encourages is, one, creating vision boards and two, using all five senses when you think about what you want your home to be. With Texter moving out and blending with Mr. Racecar and me wanting to buy my own home, we have both been thinking about what we want our living spaces to be.

First, vision boards. Adams says to do them, preferrably an actual physical board or file. Pinterest is another alternative. But to cut out pictures of rooms you love, furniture you like. Even if it is something like just the leg of a chair you like. That way, when you go to actually buy something for your home, you are fitting it in with what you have indicated you like. This also helps you go back and see whether you tend toward light or dark furniture, plants or no plants, what colors you gravitate toward. 

Some of her tips include opening the windows and airing out the house daily, making your bed first thing in the morning. She advocates adding sounds to your home if needed, like the sound of a water fountain or changing the alarm tone you wake up to in the morning. 

In every chapter there is an Action Item activity to think about in the context of that chapter and helping you to focus on what you want your home to reflect. 

Once you get past using all your senses and creating vision boards, she gets into the nitty gritty. Which means starting with removing the clutter, messes and incompletes from your home!

The next step is to create a Projects List. Interestingly, she states you need to make your list AFTER you do you vision board to be sure the two work together, not against each other, therefore, saving time and money. I can get on board with that! Budget - setting one and organizing it - comes next. 

Then are the 11 designer secrets. Setting intentions for the room, measuring EVERTHING and making a plan, setting a color palette, discovering furniture styles you like, lighting, window treatments (and here I sit with sheets over windows still), and more. Things I never think about like measure, measure, measure. Including the doors to get items in the house and the hallways and corners you have to turn. 

At the end is a "Personal Design Cheat Sheet" which lists steps to take into consideration when redoing a room.

If I have any complaints about the book it's the color of the type. The main print is a dark grey and the headings are in a pale pink. It is very hard to read for long periods of time. I think the 'design' failed for me.

But...

What it did do was make me think about how my tastes have evolved over time. At one time I so wanted the English Country look - chintz, clutter, china tea cups, pillows, the works. I think it really appealed to me because I am like Pigpen when I walk through a room...clutter follows behind me!

Now I am into more of an Ikea/Japanese minimalism look - with a touch of clutter. For me, I need a semi-tidy feel to a room. I want comfy, soft textures, mellow colors, and less clutter. My mind starts going more and more haywire as the clutter ramps up.

This is a book I would like to add to my "I-Would-Like-To-Own" shelf, to use as a reference, re-inspiring read. 




Thursday, January 10, 2019

Positive Focus Thursday - More Pictures

More pictures!

I realized I haven't been taking as many pictures as I normally have done in the past. Which tells me I have been so wrapped up in my own head and not 'observing' what goes on around me as much.

Therefore...



More pictures in 2019!

I want to try and take more pictures of my life and surroundings. I feel it means more observing and less shutting myself off to what's out there around me.



Smile! (click)

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Writing Wednesday - Fae Trouble Update



YES!

It's progressing. 

I had set a deadline of January 9 to set up files for Fae Trouble. This meant pulling together handwritten notes, what I had done for NaNoWriMo, a few pages of notes and concept which was pre-NaNoWriMo and getting it together in one place. 

Well, two places. I have my 'physical' paper file and then my computer files.

It's done!

I have a folder to dump things in on my desktop. I printed out what I had on the computer because I am basically started from word one again. 

My outline, which is due on the 16th of this month, is done! I know where I am starting. Where I want to end up at the end of the book. The ups and downs in between. 

Because of this, I now have ideas for 3, maybe 4 books to make this a series. 

So I feel INSPIRED!

And I have gotten a couple of offers for beta readers, which puts me under the gun to actually produce. In order to get my 20,000 words a month, I need to write at least 1000 words a day. I figured in a few days 'off' in that calculation to be realistic. 

I think I am going to post the first sentences of chapters as I go along as part of my Writing Wednesday, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Tuesday Sundries - Buying Food

One of my wants in 2019 is to plan my meals/food better.

There are a couple of reasons behind that goal.

The first, and I think this covers what most people want do to, is to eat healthier. Eat better. Thus, feeling better, looking better, losing weight. Easy enough. NOT!

The second reason, and one I don't think people really think about, is wasting food.

I am embarassed to even think about the amount of food which goes to waste under my roof. Part of it is because I learned to cook for 20-25 with my grandmother feeding my grandfather's railroad crew. From there, I cooked for 5 in the household growing up. 

Now I am down to cooking for 1 - me. Ok, Lady K does live here and thus, eats here. However, her eating habits are fairly defined. If you want to see an instant breakdown, tell her she has to eat green beans (one of my favorites). Of course, I feel the same way about 'smiley fries'.




I also grew up, especially in my adult years, you made one huge grocery shopping trip during the month and only went to fill-in with things like milk and bread during the rest of the month. And I have followed this thought process for decades.

And I think that is where one of my problems lie. I start out the first of the month all gung-ho and then fizzle as the month goes along. 

So I am implementing a change. I am going with what I feel is a more 'European' shopping plan. Go often, get fresh, unprocessed foods, use it up and then go again. I am going to attempt to utilize the farmer's market more. I have already promised Lady K a trip (or 2 or 3) to a strawberry patch this spring when strawberries start coming in. She also wants to do blueberries too.

Therefore...

  • Tidy up my panty (you think!)
  • Keep track of what is in the fridge/freezer
  • Meal plan a week at a time
  • Wander farmer's market
  • Learn to 'cook smaller'

But think about it. How do you eat cleaner and with less waste? Tell me your secrets!