Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ending the Year on a Positive Note - Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

I will post in the next few days what has happened to my family at the end of 2016. It's not fun or happy, but there have been bright spots. But we have a LONG way to go.

In the meantime, I have been reading an ARC of The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco.

Think geishas meet magic meet dragon-like creatures. Think a great read!

Tea raises her brother from the dead, completely by accident, thus setting in motion her journey on the road to becoming an asha. Or rather, a Dark Asha, since she can raise the dead.

Great world of Asian influence and fantasy to the max. Definitely a book I am going to get in print (and start replacing some of the books lost in the fire).

Monday, December 19, 2016

Mandala Monday

Sunflower in Snow Mandala

"The snow itself is lonely, or, if you prefer, 
self-sufficient. There is no other time 
when the whole world seems composed 
of one thing and one thing only."

- Joseph Wood Krutch

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Week In Review - December 11 - 17

This is how the week started out...

cookie exchange

cookie exchange  

Yep, tons and tons of cookies for a cookie exchange with friends. These are the platters for the exchange. Well, minus the mini-cheesecakes which didn't make it there.

But it was a good thing they didn't. If I was an over-achiever in the cookie making department, then multiply that by 5 of us, all over-achieving in the cookie department.  We completely covered a large kitchen table with trays of cookies. You got a sugar rush just walking into the house.

Savvy was banned from bringing any more cookies to work. Texter was hailed a goddess for the huge bag of baked goodies she brought to school on the last Monday before the semester ended.

I made off with a ton of baklava Ms. OK made. And a jar of the 'juice' left over. 

Wonder if this is why my step count was really down for the week? (36% of goal!)

NO! This is why...

Snow on birdhouse

Cold temperatures (can you say "negative"?) and lots of it!

snow in yard

My sunflowers look like they are wearing hats and there is easily 12 or more inches at this point in time. And can you say "negative temperatures"?

snow at the library

This was Thursday, the day we got a BUNCH of snow. Luckily, school was out for Texter and we convinced Lady K to stay at home, so I only had to make my way to/from the library. Even CJ had to resort to using my old Jade in order to get through the snow in the alley. His little sporty car drew up its wheels and said "NO" the point Texter had to help push him out of being stuck in the alley. There is a lot to be said for being old and heavy it seems!

Snow on sunflower

Despite the snow, several great things happened this week.

First, this past Friday I was suppose to work from 1-6 p.m. I wasn't looking forward to it because, (1) my vacation was starting the coming week and (2) Friday was suppose to be our coldest day.  BUT...

they closed the library at 1 p.m. in order to shut off power to facilitate the solar panel installation we have coming! Off - with pay!

I won some fabric in a giveaway which is on it's way to me. I also received some stickers I won...


From Laeta Designs, I won these through a Facebook giveaway.  I have been resisting the whole stickers thing in my planners, but...

I think this convinced me to try some more.  I love the punch they give my pages and I even used some of them to decorate the grid journal I have been keeping for December.

grid journal

This is from earlier in the week and I keep adding bits and pieces on it. I am so pleased with the outcome so far. I was just doing this as an example piece for a class coming up next year, but I think I am going to continue in 2017. But I have put in stickers, paints, pictures, drawings...a bit of everything.

two audio books

And from Blogging for Books, I received two audio CD's. Well, 'technically' I received one and Texter received the other one, but you can figure out who will be listening and doing the review. I hadn't realized I would be getting audio versions. Which is great, because I can listen while up and doing things like reorganizing my book shelves this week.

This past week was also spent...
  • finishing up a whopping 7 books! 
  • a trip to the dentist for Lady K (she was completely knocked out to do the work on her teeth, poor thing)
  • creating a 6 page 'to-do' list while on vacation this coming week
  • writing 4 posts
  • hiding from the cold!
  • moving stuff from the main floor down to the basement in order to declutter and reorganize
This coming week...
  • Lady K's Christmas party at 'school'. The song they will be singing is "Jingle Bells". Believe me, I know.
  • Crossing off 'to-do' items from my massive list to wind down 2016 and gear up for 2017
  • Figuring out how to get my exercise into my day
  • Lots of reading
  • A bit of sewing
  • Need to bite the bullet and go get my shingles shot while I am on vacation (sigh)
And before you think it's been all work (ha, ha, ha), Texter is also off, so there has been some jigsaw puzzle construction (chocolate candy picture!) and some World of Warcraft.

But now, off for more HOT coffee...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Midweek Pick-Me-Up

This is my third winter in Montana and probably the coldest so far. We made it through November with it being one of the warmest November's and then karma bit. Friday will be a negative number as the possible high. Negative numbers should only exist when it comes to making slushies and ice cream, not weather I have to get out in.

On the other hand, I have pretty much gotten over the need to buy toilet paper, bread and milk when the flakes start flying. Well, almost pretty much. 

So I decided to repost this mandala in a tribute to the season, even if it's filled with snow!

By the way, it seems Jingle Bells is going to be the song the 'school' sings for their Christmas program. I know because I have heard it about 1,386,203 times so far....this week.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Mandala Monday

This seemed like a fitting mandala to recycle today. I spent yesterday evening with some lovely ladies and their families, laughing, eating, exchanging cookies, and having a wonderful time.

One of my goals for 2017 is to incorporate more of this into my life - not being so locked away - and enjoying those who are more than willing to love and support me and mine.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Week In Review - December 3 - 10

The week was going on relatively well until this happened...

Snow! We achieved our first 'real' snowfall here in Helena. Luckily, it was on my day off and Texter didn't have school that day, so we were all going to stay home. And I had a long list of 'stuff' I wanted to accomplish.

So about 5 a.m. I go to the car to get the sack of kitty litter out of it so I could clean the litter box and put the trash can out for the pick up that morning.

Note: When temperatures drop to below zero, the hydraulic 'thingy' which holds the back cargo door open on the station wagon, fails. Thus, when you lift the huge, heavy door and let go (like normal), it crashes down with some considerable force on top of your wee, little head. This generates stars, birds and lack of being able to breathe or cry, it hurts so bad.

I made it off my knees and back into the house, grabbing an ice pack out of the freezer on the way to my desk, where I sat, ice pack on head, trying not to cry and scream. People where still sleeping.

Needless to say, I managed to give myself a concussion (damn cats!) and spent the week with major headaches (for a couple of days), ringing ears, stiff neck, fatigue, lack of appetite, and nausea. And a doctor who is still alive despite telling me 'at your age...' it will take longer to heal. At my age, I bet I could still run over him with a car!

Therefore, most of my week was spent 'veggie' and watching 'Suspects' while crocheting a bit, starting a sock and then ripping it out because I didn't like the yellow/gold color I picked. And napping. 

Yesterday was cookie day (to be follow by cookie finish up today). So far, I have made:

Failed Peanut Butter Blossoms (don't use the recipe calling for butter, use shortening recipe)

Today will be spent remaking the Peanut Butter Blossoms and some Coconut Macaroons.  Then this afternoon, I will make up 4 trays of cookies, one for Texter to school, one for Savvy to work and two for a cookie exchange this evening with friends. 

Otherwise, this week...

  • Finished 3 books
  • Walked on 37% of my steps
  • Wrote 8 posts

Oh, and the really BIG event this past week...

Breakfast with Santa!

And what a difference a year will make. She wasn't crying and afraid to get next to Santa this year. She is all grown up!

This year Savvy was off work and could come with us for our pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast.

So off for more cookies and coffee and to finish up a "bun" hat. And I have requests for baby diapers and pants with my 'yellow fabric, not the red, yellow, because baby likes yellow...and blue' to cover the bottom half of a baby doll and frog.

Notes: On the chocolate crinkle cookies, they suggested blending some Earl Grey tea or Chai tea in the confectioners sugar. I did a dozen with Earl Grey and Savvy and her work group devoured them. Ina Garten's Lemon Curd..well, I'm sitting in the corner and eating it by the spoonful.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Presents Mandala

We have a nice selection of presents under the tree. Two more weeks of waiting!

Cookies, Cookies Everywhere

Have been (and will be) making cookies for an exchange tomorrow evening. Gathering of friends and families with cookies involved. What could be better than that?

Friday, December 09, 2016

It's Winter - Everywhere!

With cold winter weather hitting most of the country, I am ssssooooo glad I am retired and not handling phone calls for cancelled flights. And I can have hot chocolate anytime I want.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Christmas Mandala Recycled - Christmas Lights

Another recycled Christmas mandala from 2014. 

My head is returning to it's more normal size. However, the ear ringing (not to be confused with the ringing of the Salvation Army donation collectors) is still there. And the fatigue. And the nausea. And when I don't feel like eating...

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Recycling Christmas Mandalas

Tuesday I hopped out of bed with a list of 'stuff' to get done on my day off.  Part of that included getting the trash can to the curb (in the 6 inches of snow which fell overnight). It also meant I needed to empty out the kitty box and refill.

The problem started with the kitty litter being in the back of the station wagon.

So I trotted outside (actually, I shuffled out at 5 a.m.) and proceeded in the sub-zero weather to fling open the back of the station wagon. Problem is - in cold weather the hydraulics don't grab like they do in warmer weather and the huge, old station wagon door crashed down on my poor fragile head.

Needless to say, if I could have, I probably would have uttered some words best left unsaid. As it was, I made it back inside (finally), tears in my eyes, kitty litter in hand (must stay focused) and grabbed an ice pack.

So one concussion later, I am tired, nauseous and headachy.

And recycling Christmas mandalas from a couple of years ago.

I did go into urgent care later in the day to be told what I already knew. But they gave me some pills for the nausea.

And when I came back home, Texter and Lady K had run me a hot bath. Lady K was set to 'clean' grandma.

So know I am taking it easy for a couple of days. Which is really what you need to do during the holidays - right!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

November Goals Review and December Goals

Can I say - just survive the holidays?

You see, I need my routine. And all these days off and 'changes' really bother me in the back of my wee brain. I feel like I can't get in step with what I need to do. But...

  • Finalizing and setting concrete steps for 2017 plans and projects - sort of/kind of...still working on it
  • Successfully complete NaNoWriMo this year made my 50,000 words despite computer issues!
  • Hosting several write-ins at the library not as successful as I would have liked, but decent
  • Submitting my proposed programs to the programing staff for consideration at the library. Did and got a list of workshops I am doing for 2017. Excited and can't wait!  
  • Decluttering my sewing areathis ties in with my 2017 plans for what I want to do - almost done, still need to get some things downstairs
  • Buying one towel, one plant and one set of sheets 
  • Plan Thanksgiving dinner 
  • Work on the TMNT afghan and get at least 4 more strips done - NOPE!
  • Finish up the little "Nemo" hat I picked up for Lady K Done and she wears it all the time
  • Finish up the Bee Hive blocks for October and November and get them in the mail Done and they have been received
  • Find a top to go with the leggings I received - Not yet, haven't been shopping for me.
  • Shopping trip to Missoula with Savvy and Texter Shopping trip was just Texter and I, Savvy had to work after all.
  • Letters written (which includes a now belated birthday card!) - NOPE!

So this is my current 'habit' I am trying to develop. Water. After my last doctor's visit, my blood pressure and blood sugar are up and I need to bring them down. So water. I figure if I put it on my desk where I am most of the day when at home, or at least near it, then it will prompt me to drink more water! And I wanted it pretty, to further inspire me.

After looking at my November goals, I realized I had actually done more than I felt like I had. So I am very pleased. December, in a way, will be a bit more relaxed. I have a week of vacation before Christmas, Lady K will be at daycare during the day, and I plan to 'veg out' and crochet and knit and read and write and nap and...

  • Get those damn letters written!
  • Buy towel and plant - actually the plant already purchased. An amaryllis for Christmas and Texter got me a little pink Christmas cactus
  • Finish getting stuff downstairs
  • Do December Bee Hive block
  • Get vision board for 2017 Word of the Year done
  • Finalize plans for "Results Not Resolutions" workshop on January 7. I need a power point and some examples made up.
  • Start working on plans for other workshops I'm leading
  • Exercise! Get a plan in place and put it on my schedule
  • Decide exactly what planners and notebooks I'm using in 2017
  • Write up project sheets for things I want to get done in 2017
  • Work on TMNT afghan
  • Enjoy Christmas vacation!

I think I am ready for December and 2017!

Monday, December 05, 2016

Mandala Monday

It seemed right to recycle this from a previous year. Now to figure out where the rest of my other Christmas mandalas are!

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Week in Review - November 27 - December 3

The past few weeks have been 'weird'. Weird in the fact that with the holidays, my routine has been disrupted and 'off'. I can't seem to get into that groove.  And I know there are at least 3 more weeks of this unsettled feeling before things get into a pattern again.


We have a Christmas tree. We had to go to Home Depot for screws and came home with a 3.5 foot fir for the tree. I wanted to go with a Norfolk pine (so I could have it after Christmas), but Lady K and Texter went into holiday mode and picked this.  A trip to Target for ornaments and lights and we were all set.

So my sewing table is now the bearer of the tree and soon, presents. Luckily, I only have one small sewing project to do by the end of the month.

After a trip BACK to Target because the first sting of lights didn't work, Texter and Lady K were happily decorating together.

And then the final touch, the pink glitter star.

Actually, they were starting out with blue and silver, after all BLUE is the official color of Lady K, but there was no blue glitter star. Pink was acceptable, so they had to redo all the balls they picked out.

Before you ask, no we didn't have much in the way of ornaments and lights prior to this. Lady K has been out of the state for the past two Christmas seasons. This is her first one here. We didn't bother before this, except for stockings. 

So today, it's wrapping presents time and putting them under the tree. 

The other BIG thing which happened this past week was taking "MAC" (my computer) to the repair shop. My video card died. And as it happens, after Texter was my tech liaison, Apple had a free replacement video card for the year of my computer. Two months over the cut-off, but she talked them into saving a 59 year old woman time in jail, and they replaced for free. So since it was in, having it's innards exposed, I had additional memory added. So MAC is back and better than ever.

But while in Missoula getting MAC fixed (dropped off Sunday, picked up Thursday), we stopped by the new Asian market, Castle and Pony.  

It's small. This aisle and one other. And a deli case.

But the young girl running it, Xian, was more than helpful, eager to answer any questions we might have. Texter and Lady K were happy with their Yum-Yum's and Panda cookies. 

A far cry from the Asian market in Raleigh, but better than anywhere else around. A friend, who is a patron at the library, actually called her when I told him and spoke to her (in Mandarin Chinese) and was glad he could advise his girl friend they existed.  I feel, in the conversations I had and he had with her, if there is something we wanted, she would do her best to get it for us.  

Savvy has a co-worker whose wife is native Japanese and she shared her goodies with them. I have a feeling (and a great one to have) cooking lessons are in our future.

Otherwise, this week:

  • Check up with doctor (blood pressure and sugars way up, especially for someone who has always been on the low end of the spectrum) Changes are being made.
  • Rearranged my room to accommodate Lady K's bed. She is sleeping it in now! Awaiting the arrival of her Privacy Pop.  Actually, Texter and I both want one too.
  • Won at NaNoWriMo, despite not having MAC to finish up on.
  • Led the last NaNoWriMo meet up for the year (1 person was there besides me) 
  • Finished 2 books
  • Wrote 4 posts
  • Walked 39,527 steps or 59% of goal...that WILL be changing in the coming days

So, the coming week:

  • Stitch and Bitch with friends today
  • Goal setting check in on Tuesday
  • Wrapping presents
  • Writing a couple of letters
  • Library Author even Tuesday night
  • Baking cookies for a cookie exchange next Sunday afternoon
  • Breakfast with Santa on Saturday morning and then the library Christmas party Saturday night at the bowling alley
  • More planning on 2017 workshops at the library
  • Clean up my desk area (such a mess from all the rearranging done)
So now, it's time to finish up the coffee and wrap presents so I can finish cleaning up my room. And figure out what cookies I'm making next week. I do have priorities after all!