Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sad Day

Well, I thought the morning would be better.  Yesterday was sad.  The day before yesterday was sad.  I thought I would have put it all into perspective by this morning but not so. 

Having a bad day is one thing.  We all do it.  Sometimes they just come out of the blue.  You wake up and things are fine and then something happens and it is officially a bad day.  It doesn't even have to be something big. 

However, my cousin's daughter had to schedule her official bad day, and that is putting it so mildly it is almost insulting.  Today she gets to disconnect her husband's ventilator.  I have had to do this and it is the most gut wrenching thing that I have ever had to do.  My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family today.  Death is hard -- doing what she has to do is harder.


And then, there is Bruce.  Bruce isn't doing well.  The radiation treatment helped but the chemo has not.  The tumor has grown and spread.  They have been looking for another clinical trial but he doesn't fit the criteria.  Apparently most clinical trials require that the patient has at least 16 weeks to live and they meet certain physical ability standards.  He does neither.  Hospice has been called in and the hope is that they can just take him home to wait out the next 4 to 5 weeks that he is on this earth.

There are just no words for the overwhelming sadness.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lucy

In a few days there will be an addition to our home.  Lucy.  I can't reveal more as I don't know much about her but I will introduce you when she gets here. 

I am looking forward to her being here.

More later.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Oh Dear -- I Have Nothing to Talk About

Well, what a day -- I have nothing to blog about.  I have working on my life plan as laid out in my Simple Living Challenge posts but I have had a couple of off days.  That is normal and the goal is not to stress or just give up but get back on track and keep moving forward.  I had a great aunt named Willie who, when learning to drive couldn't back up and her mantra became "just keep going forward" and that is what I am trying to do.

I am learning a lot about things with this challenge -- mostly that I need to get up earlier and get a few things done before the day actually starts.  I get up before Hubs and I like to do the Bible study then when it is really quiet.  I can concentrate better.  I have been doing my exercises stretched out across the day which, in one way is good, but in another it seems like all I am doing is exercising! So, I need to tweak my schedule a bit and possibly just do an exercise time.  However, I think by stretching it out I have kept myself from getting sore.

I did get up and go grocery shopping -- a proper grocery shopping -- yesterday in anticipation of the horrific storms that we were predicted for last night.  I bought enough to keep us going for a week and.....the thunderstorm lasted for about 30 minutes with little fanfare.  I find it useless to watch the local weather anymore -- they are all drama queens and most times they are wrong.  Anyway, yesterday when I got home I put pork chops in the crock pot to be ready when we got home from picking up Bean and tonight I think I am going to make some taco meat.  Or maybe just make a hamburger when I get home.  I have options!

Hubs and I are involved in the Sunday School program at our church so we have been helping to build things for that.  It is great fun.  I am also thinking of something to do as a service project for me.  I am not hugely talented and I am a bit of an introvert so I am not going to go out and make waves in the world.  However, I do quilt and I was thinking that making baby quilts for charity would be good.  Our church has an alliance with the Fort Worth Pregnancy Center and I was thinking that they might appreciate some homemade quilts for their clients.  I make simple, utilitarian quilts that are meant to be snuggled and washed an dragged around and I have enough fabric to probably go around the world and I can't think of a better use to put it to.  Anyway, that is what I have been thinking about the last couple of days.

I am reading a book called "Bright Young Things".  It is the story of Letty and Cordelia in 1920's New York.  It is a fun book and it going quickly.  I have been working toward reading down the queue on my Nook.  I have resisted the urge to put anything new on it until I read some of what I have.  In fact, I have been doing a good job of not buying new books at all recently.  I think that is because all the bookstores that were near me have closed down so I have farther to go to get to one.  I have read that B&N is going to re-open some stores although they are going to a smaller footprint.  I just wish we had some independent stores left -- they are supposed to open one downtown but I haven't heard much about it.

Well, anyway, as I said, I really have nothing to blog about so I guess I will quit this rambling and go do something.  Guess I could put the meat on to cook -- crock pot taco meat is really good.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Simple Living Challenge



This has been the second week of my participation in Simple Living Challenge hosted by Jenn at adailyrhythym.com.

My went progressed at such --

The Word -- still reading each day -- have decided to alternate Old Testament and New Testament so I am half way through Matthew.  I gave up using the Nook -- it is too difficult because my Nook seems to be touchy and is giving me problems -- so back to The Book I go.  I am finding this reading to be very relaxing.  I don't know if that is an appropriate thing to say or not but it is.

Exercise -- Ok, I am doing pretty well in this department.  I have ridden my exercise bike 150 minutes - that is 30 minutes a day for five days.  It hasn't been that regular though because I missed three days instead of two and then rode more minutes twice -- I am up to 45 minutes per day.  The reason I missed a couple of days was because of doctor's appointments and such and some time dealing with my mother in law.  My goal is 30 minutes per day which is 210 minutes a week.  Since I have upped my minutes at each go I might actually surpass that but I have been advised by my doctor to take a day off -- and he is right.  I am still doing my pilates throughout the day.  It is mindless and painless if you take the few minutes you are waiting for laundry to finish or water to boil and throw in a few moves.  It adds up if you keep a talley.  And......drumroll please .... it is a stretch but I have moved up to 50 sit-ups at a time. I have done that once a day but am thinking of dividing it into two because it is straining my hips.

Peace -- Again, the tv is staying off for the most part and, when it is on in the evening, we are watching something with intent.  We ditched cable several months ago and now watch network tv with added viewing pleasure supplied by a Roku.  We subscribe to Acorn (the best!) and Netflix so there is always something to watch and I have taken to watching movies that I have missed as we no longer go to movie theaters (bummer).  No longer is the tv running just for the sake of using electricity.  I feel like this goal has been nailed -- we enjoy the quiet.


Food -- I have been tweaking my eating plan after starting the books "Thin Within" and "Intuitive Eating".   I haven't read very far in either book but I get it.  My plan for the last week has been -- eat three times a day, nothing in between, try for nothing after dinner, be mindful of sugar and eat slowly so that you recognize when you are full.  The idea of learning to recognize when you are hungry and when you are full requires you paying attention.  I have been following the suggestion of eating sitting down (I never ate standing up, anyway) and paying close attention to that fine moment -- that thin line -- between being satisfied and stuffed.  Eating this way frees you to eat whatever you want where ever you are.  I have been practicing this and it seems to work.  I haven't lost any weight, I don't think.  I look different though and I was reminded at he dr. yesterday that muscle weighs more than fat so as I am building muscle the numbers may not change as readily but they will as I go on.  I just know I have less throat  and one less chin.

Domestic issues -- still struggling here.  Kitchen clean, things are staying tidied but as far as really cleaning -- yeah - fuggidaboutit.  But, at least things are tidy.  That is one goal reached.  Maybe subconsciously I am trying to conquer that little challenge before I move on.  At any rate, I am still working on this.

Grocery shopping -- ok, still not going to the grocery store.  So, I bought a handy little check list thing for my planner.


It isn't elaborate or detailed or anything but it will give me an idea of something to eat.  It is laminated and wipes clean with a damp cloth.  There is space on the back for a grocery list.  We are still eating out a lot but that is ok -- I can still use this for that as well -- it will help decide what we are going to have when.  I can already tell you -- Wednesday is Mexican food (because we are all trained at a young age in the Texas public school system that Wednesday is Mexican food day in the school cafeteria) and Friday is going to be hamburger night -- whether it is hamburgers at home or at our favorite Chapp's.  One night will have to be fish -- that should really be Friday in keeping with religious beliefs -- but I have to find a night for Hubs to have his shrimp.  So hamburgers may be Monday night.  We will see.

So, that was my week living my simple living challenge.  I am taking this very seriously as I need direction in my life in some areas.  I thought that with retirement I could just throw caution to the wind and live wild and free but wild and free doesn't make for a clean house and a healthy body so here I am, in my dotage, relying on a planner and writing goals.  It is ok, though, I feel accomplished, stronger physically and more focused so even if I am not meeting my goals 100% I am trying and that is half the battle.

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Main St. Arts Festival, Fort Worth, TX














This is the weekend of the Main St. Arts Festival here in Fort Worth. Our daughter, son in law and Bean were going to go for a while after Bean's golf lesson so we decided to tag along.  A childhood friend of mine was going to be there with his daughter's booth so I thought I would look him up.  As luck would have it, I missed him.  My fault because he sent me his phone number and I went off and left it at home.  I did gift him with this vintage photo of us in my yard on Lee Hall Street.  I believe it was about 1959.





I did have presence of mind to take my camera with me so I thought I would share some photos of the evening.  Apparently the crowds were lighter last night, probably due to threatening weather, but it was a very good time.  I should have shopped but I didn't.  They had lovely glass items and pottery that really caught my eye and some black and white sketches.  If it wasn't pouring rain and my ankles didn't hurt so much I would venture back down there and buy one of the sketches.  The glassware and pottery was completely out of my price range.

Anyway, here is a glimpse of our evening and some architectural interest shots.  I tried to do the Don Mangus thing of doing street shots but seriously, the street wasn't that interesting.


Beenalina

Our starting point

crowds

random shot

Daughter -- I lost her in the crowd -- it was like "Where's Waldo"

Iconic Trail Drive mural

One of my favorite old buildings

The Geico Gecko and Beanie

The kiddos spot

The real reason we were there -- Sand Art!

A little more sand art

and still more -- it is a family affair
deciding on which bottle to use

taking it all in

trying to be artistic but it is just wonky -- it was just beginning to get dark



Tarrant County Courthouse





Courthouse

Courthouse


Free!

Panther sculpture -- in addition to being called "Cowtown' we are also called "Panther City"-- I think it has to do with a panther sighting back in the day

Fort Worth street

On a pillar outside the restaurant

Old tile work

Looking up!

Ornate

Evening lights shining

More evening -- the trees all have fairy lights in them and sparkle year round

Again

Entrance to the kids area


We then had dinner at Cantina Laredo -- yummy chicken and lime cilantro salad -- it was so large I couldn't eat it all!






It was a wonderful evening, a lot of walking and good exercise, beautiful artwork and, if it wasn't raining I would go back but.....next year!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Simple Living Challenge

As I said last week, I am following Jenn at A Daily Rhythm adailyrhythm.com as she begins a simple living challenge of her own devise.  The goal of her plan is to designate areas of her life that she wishes to improve on or develop.  I had been thinking along the same lines so I decided to join her in her journey.  Her plan is to post every Saturday about her progress and I am following suit so here I am with my progress of the last week.

I chose to concentrate on six main concerns of mine in order of importance to me:  spirituality, exercise, peace, food, domestic issues, and grocery shopping.  My least favorite thing in the whole world is grocery shopping so you can see where it ended up on my list of importance.  LOL!

So, here is how my week went --

The Word -- this is the most important goal to me and I managed to meet it each day although it wasn't always first thing in the morning.  Most days it was as I sat in the pick up line at Bean's school.  I have started with Genesis and put a NIV study Bible on my Nook which makes the toting around a lot easier.  The reading is slow because I am trying not to just skim over the difficult names and such, I am really trying to stay focused.  However, I am on Chapter 34 so progress is being made.

Exercise -- ok, my goal was 30 minutes a day on my exercise bike and I have accomplished that 5 out of the seven days.  With that said, I am also incorporating some pilates that I used to do in college and I am finding myself doing some of that while I am waiting for the tea water to boil or the washer to stop.  It is doing wonders for the achy knees, btw -- I wish I had started this a long time ago.

Peace -- the tv has been off the entire week until noon when we watch the news and a soap opera.  Then it goes off again until late evening and I notice it has been coming on later and later.  We only watch two shows regularly and we seem to be liking the quiet.  So, I would say I have accomplished that goal. Plus, I have gotten really tired of the politics.

Food -- ok, I bought the two books that Jenn recommended -- "Thin Within" and "Intuitive Eating".  I think I have read them both in the past but need to read them again.  I haven't started yet but will probably get to that today.  As far as my eating went -- well -- improvement needs to be made.  I did ok for the most part being mindful of what I was eating and when I was eating.  I didn't snack a whole lot but there was some.  However, it wasn't mindless, it was intentional.  The thing I can't get past is sugar and that is what I desperately need to conquer.  So, this upcoming week I am going to do a better job of being cognisant of the sugar intake.  I really don't want to go back to food journaling but I will if I have to, just to get my head around things.

Domestic Issues -- ok, now things start to slide a bit.  I am behind on the laundry but catching up this morning.  I haven't done a lick of housework except to try to keep the kitchen clean and I have been doing a reasonable job of that.  My excuse?  Well, MIL was admitted to the hospital on Monday and then immediately released to a rehab and we have been doing a lot of running back and forth for that.  And, I had a doctor appointment as well.  Not a really good reason, I get it, but these things did mess up the flow of my day.

Grocery shopping -- I haven't done a good grocery shopping all week.  We have stopped for a few things along the way which was good -- we have a new Spouts just up the street and I love it -- so small, organic and great meat.  We eat out a lot which is bad but when we get home in the evening neither one of us really want to cook and we don't like the same foods so there you go.  I did cook my easy, simple steak dinner again and Hubs liked it.  I had put some potatoes to bake in the crock pot and then sauteed some asparagus as the steaks grilled on the stove.  I have been watching a lot of Jacques Pepin and love the way he makes cooking look so effortless.  I wish I could cook like him or....just hire him.  Ha!

So, that was my week of simple living.  I am going to continue on this path next week and try to get my head around the cooking a bit more.  I have a few simple meals up my sleeve (hint: tonight will probably be omelets or grilled cheese sandwiches).

Oh, yes, I almost forgot.  I ordered an Erin Condren planner -- having been sucked in by my daughter and cousin -- but I really do need to write things down.  I thought when we retired life would be one big, carefree, white fluffy cloud sort of floating existence. Boy, was I wrong.  You better have your wits well honed because before you know it here comes health issues, medicare, social security, supplementals, phone calls, notes scribbled on discarded envelopes -- yes, in other words -- something I like to call ElderChaos.  So, I decided to purchase the much recommended planner in an effort to keep all this retirement delight in some sort of order.  My husband usually handles this but lately they have been wanting to talk to me since most of the calls are about me and besides, he is the worst about the note taking so here I go -- acquainting myself with the geriatric equivalent of a college planner.  Yay!

Anyway, I thought I would share photos -- I didn't take any of the inside but let me assure you - it is roomy with lots of space to write and I am thinking it would be useful for meal planning as well if I actually resort to REALLY meal planning. I know it will be useful for keeping track of my exercise.


Even the box is pretty

classy

voila!
So, that was my Simple Living Challenge for this week.  Hopefully I will have more progress next week.


An Irish Love Story by Russ Durbin






This is the story of Patrick and Maggie.  Patrick is an American businessman in Ireland on.. well.. business.  He is married with two children.  Maggie runs an inn and is unmarried. They meet, she isn't impressed with the "Yank", she becomes impressed, things progress.  Promises are made, Patrick goes home and promises are kept.  Things aren't the same and apparently haven't been for about a year, unbeknownst to him.  Twenty years pass.  History repeats itself.  Happiness is found.

Russ Durbin's writing is wonderful.  It seems to be written by a person with a business background -- a nod, I am sure, to the main male character.  The prose flows without flourish or grandeur.  It is very matter of fact.  However, rather than reading an account of the happenings, the reader feels like he/she is watching.  It is very good writing.

It isn't a long book -- a little less than 300 pages -- and it reads so smoothly and progresses so well that it goes way too fast.  This is one of those books that you wish there was a sequel but a sequel would actually spoil it.  It is perfect as it is.

I recommend.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff




A few days ago I was scrolling through the offerings on my Nook and ran across this book.  I had started it a couple of times but somehow got distracted and never got very far.  As I am trying to read down some of the books on my device I decided to start at the top as they are arranged alphabetically and what do you know, this book was at the top so I decided to give it a go.

I guess the time was right because it grabbed me immediately and I couldn't put it down.

It is the story of Phoebe Swift and her friend Emma.  They met as children and grew up together -- their lives would be forever intertwined and the events that occurred made up the central focus of the novel.  However, there were several subplots -- all as developed as the central plot -- and all of them captivating.

It was phenomenal how this book flowed -- there were no glitches or awkward segues between the storylines, nothing was contrived.  It was lovely.

It would be too involved to go into the story itself but it is definitely one of the best books I have read in a long time.  The subject matter was gripping, there was humor and sadness and gladness and scenery.  And there was the little blue coat.

I would definitely recommend this book.  I am just not sure why it took me so long to read it.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

often go awry.  Yes, indeed.  As I sat here this morning preparing to enjoy my tea with a bit of scripture reading as I outlined in my daily plan -- the phone rang.  I knew it wasn't my daughter as I had just spoken to her so...

It was an RA from my mother in law's assisted living place.  "Has something happened?" I asked.  "Yes", the lady replied, "Mrs. B fell this morning, hit her head, we called 911 and she has been transported to the hospital".  We were there almost as quickly as she was. 

That was at 8 a.m

She was quickly assessed and it was determined she sustained no injury and didn't need to be in a hospital but she needed to be someplace so the caseworker was called in and plans were made to sign her into an aggressive rehabilitation hospital.  We left to gather her things and within two hours she had been moved.

Hubs went to deliver her belongings, I went to pick up Bean.  We met up for dinner and then went back to the Rehab to take more things and check on the MIL.

She will be there for 14 days and then reassessed. 

I am tired and no, my  today didn't exactly go as planned.  I did get my scripture reading done in the car waiting for Bean but I haven't gotten my exercise done and there was no thought to laundry.  Guess I will begin again tomorrow.

*Sigh*

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Simple Living Challenge

Today is the first day of my Simple Living Challenge hosted by Jenn at ADailyRhythm.com.  My plan is different that hers slightly but reading over hers I think she has some good ideas, mostly in the form of housekeeping.

So, my goals are:

1.  Putting spiritual things first -- the first little while of my day will be spent with tea and The Word.  I have done this this morning already and I feel good about it.  Since I have never read the Bible all the way through I decided to start at the logical start place -- Genesis.  I am reading a few chapters at a time in an easy to read format -- Women's Devotional Bible by Zondervan.  I am not striving for a goal of a certain amount per day -- just reading until it feels right.

2.  Exercise.  I am aiming for 30 minutes of dedicated exercise a day.  I have already ridden my exercise bike for 30 minutes this morning and hopefully I will feel more energized over the course of the day.

3.  Less noise pollution.  The tv has yet to come on.

4.  Food -- eating intuitively.  I am going to purchase the books suggested by Jenn (for some reason I think I have one of them but can't find it -- maybe I need to KonMarie my books!)  Anyway, I am going to start studying them.  However, yesterday I said I was going to eat three meals a day with no snacks.  I am going to change that and allow a mid morning something to go with tea.  I can do fine from lunch to supper but I get up so early that I almost always need a little break -- hopefully something healthy.  I started thinking about kindergarten and we always got a snack in kindergarten -- even just half day kinder so I am thinking something small with my mid-morning cuppa will be ok if I am mindful.

5.  Domestic issues -- I have been looking at Jenn's organization of her chores and I am thinking about mine.  I will continue to do laundry on a daily basis -- I absolutely have to do that in order to keep up with it.  My husband seems to change his clothes A LOT! And the kitchen is an ever ongoing project but that is ok -- I would rather be on top of it.   The rest of it -- well, I think I am over thinking the whole thing.  I am going to pick a day to do each chore -- bathrooms, dust, and vacuum.  Vacuuming is my least favorite thing to do so I think I will do it on Friday to be ready for anybody who might drop by on the weekend. Bathrooms on Friday as well.  I live in Texas and we could dust every hour on the hour but I think I will choose to do it another day -- maybe Wednesday.

6.  Grocery shopping -- I believe I will grocery shop for the week on Monday.  I remember my mother liking to go on Monday because they were stocking fresh for the week or on Friday but I think I will try Monday on to see if it works ok for me.

Ok, so that is my new plan.  Now I have to figure out a way to be accountable without boring everybody with a post about whether I clean the bathroom or not.  Maybe a side bar.  I have purchased a new planner that will be here soon and I will probably just keep track of things there and report in here each Saturday.

Anyway, I have begun and actually, the two most important things to me have been accomplished already today so I would say I have done ok and off to a good start.  Hopefully I can keep it up!

By the way -- I had a lovely simple dinner last night and my husband actually liked it.  I grilled two little New York strip steaks on my new cast iron grill plan, made a salad and roasted some new potatoes.  It was good and didn't take long at all to do so that was a win as well.  Tonight I am off to the Girl Scout sleep over and he is on his own.  Hahah! He will be eating out I am sure.


Friday, April 08, 2016

Simple Living Challenge

For some time I have been reading a blog by Jenn (adailyrhythm.com).  She hostesses several reading memes such as Musing Mondays, Teaser Tuesday and Friday Finds.  I have participated in all of the memes at one time or another and found them to be fun, informative and intellectual.  A few months back Jenn decided she wanted to take her blog in another direction but didn't want to abandon her dedicated followers so she split the blog into two separate blogs -- A Daily Rhythm and Books and a Beat.  I still follow both.

In the last few days Jenn has been moving toward a new concentration in her blog A Daily Rhythm and has introduced a challenge called Simple Living Challenge.  When I read her post about this challenge the concept rang such a bell for me that I was immediately taken in wanted to participate.

For the last couple of years I have been looking for something different in my life.  A different way to "be".  I didn't know how to express it but Jenn has done a wonderful job of putting my thoughts into her words.  I have explored "minimalism" and while I think it is great, in a way, I can't only have 33 pieces of clothing and two plates.  I have explored all the ecological pathways to a cleaner/healthier home while saving the planet.  I do try but I am getting older and there are just some things I have to do to save my sanity and my energy -- like run the clothes dryer.  All of these ideas that I have been trying on have their good points -- great points -- actually but it isn't a one size fits all sort of thing.

Jenn's idea does work for everybody because you examine your needs and desires (not using any other parameter than your own) and you make your plan.  She lists her needs and desires and outlines her approach and has created the blog challenge to keep herself accountable.  Her approach involves faith and spirituality which I personally believe has to be the basis for everything we do.  She also embraces the teachings of Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, authors of "Intuitive Eating" and Judy and Arthur Halliday authors of "Thin Within".  She is looking at ways to attack the chores she doesn't enjoy doing and being able to have time for the things she does enjoy doing.




So, while I have learned to fold my underwear correctly and find joy in the things around me thanks to Marie Kondo, I am looking for something else and I think Jenn may have hit on it.  In a way, I feel like it is returning to life in another time -- more like my youth.  Jenn is eons younger than I am so she probably doesn't see it but her proposal is more like life was when I was growing up -- women had a simpler life back then and what Jenn is proposing is very reminiscent of that.  The difference is back then it was just life, now it is intentional.

So, I am setting my goals now for what are my immediate life needs and desires and my long term goals.

The Word  I have always been a church going believer but I have never been strong in Bible reading.  My goal is to begin my day in the Word and prayer.  I know it will set the tone for my day.

Peace  I yearn for a more peaceful existence.  I remember growing up when there was no technology and television was a novelty not a necessity.  I remember waking up to the breeze blowing through the organdy criss-cross curtains and hearing the birds chirp.  It was peaceful.  I want to feel that feeling again therefore, the television will remain off except for the couple of shows that we watch and the computer time will be limited.  I don't have a smart phone that has become like another appendage so that isn't a problem.

Food I have a weight problem.  I have had one for a very long time.  I have accepted that I come from a long line of family members who were not particularly small.  However, I believe that Americans have developed such an unhealthy attitude toward food that almost everybody could be classified as having an eating disorder.  I remember my pediatrician telling my mother that my diet should consist of all things in moderation.  He never said only eat plants or never eat eggs or anything sweet is taboo.  He said all things in moderation.  Of course, fast food wasn't readily available back then, either. The question has come up recently whether the food was better in that era than now, safer so to speak, and while my daughter thinks it was I am not so sure.  Remember, we were the generation that had DDT sprayed liberally in the streets to combat polio.  So, in all honesty, I can't say that farming practices back in the 50's were any safer.  But, my goal is to have a healthy diet that includes all things in moderation (except milk -- can't do milk anymore) with an eye to the healthiest, whole organic foods I can afford. I will eat three meals a day and try to not eat in between meals.  I will no longer try to keep a food diary.  It is boring and only makes me grumpy and I think it leads to bad eating habits.  My mother never kept a food diary but she did eat intuitively -- if she ate potatoes at a meal she never ate bread -- that sort of thing.

Exercise  I will be working toward at least 30 minutes of dedicated exercise a day and I will wear my pedometer to get an idea of how active I am in general.  I have a Jawbone fitness tracker but it gets in my way so I don't wear it anymore.  It is hard to wash dishes with it on and if I take it off I forget to put it back.  So, it is more of a liability than an asset.

Chores  I have been working on this for a while now.  I don't like housework but apparently nobody but me is going to do it so......I have developed a plan that works for me.  It is a little helter skelter so I am going to try to make a more designated plan but this is what I am doing now.  I tire easily so doing "big" things just isn't easy for me anymore. I do laundry every day.  They are small loads which I am sure is really lousy for the planet but it is better for me -- selfish thing that I am.  I have an HE machine and I make my own laundry soap so that should account for something.  I start out the day putting in a load of laundry, drying it and putting it away.  An empty laundry hamper is very gratifying to me! I try to keep the kitchen clean as I go.  I like to start out the day with a clean sink, empty dishwasher and empty dish drainer.  As the day progresses I will either wash the dishes by hand or put them in the dishwasher.  My husband hasn't gotten the hang of this yet and I am still finding bowls sitting on the counter but he is a good man so I will forgive him and put them in the dishwasher myself but it is a never ending battle since he retired.  Just sayin'.  I have found that running the swiffer over the furniture or swiffering the floors on a daily basis goes a long way to keeping the housework to a minimum and it really only takes a few minutes.  It takes longer to complain about it and avoid it than it does to actually do it.  Can you eat off my floors? I wouldn't recommend it but I am getting to the point that I don't have to go into a panic if somebody drops by for a chat that my house should be on an episode of "The Hoarders".

Meal Planning I took home economics in junior high school.  I had this dreadful little teacher named Mrs. Chappell.  I thought she had to be at least ten years older than God.  My MOTHER had her at the same school for goodness sakes! She had to be ancient.  Truth is, I have done a genealogical search for her and when I had her she wasn't old at all, in her 40's.  Whatever.  I remember that class very well and I remember her teaching us to meal plan.  She must not have ever changed her ways because what she taught was exactly how my mother did it and how I find myself thinking when I try to plan.  The idea was a meat, a starch, two veg or a veg and a salad, fruit, bread and a beverage.  This is how I still plan my meals although we don't eat nearly that much food.  Maybe we should.  If we did maybe my husband wouldn't be back in the kitchen a half hour after dinner looking for something to eat! In any event, I can't menu plan.  It doesn't work for me because whatever I plan for, say, Monday I can guarantee you that when Monday comes I won't want that.  So, I try to buy enough meat for a week, have enough starches on hand and enough vegetables to make meals for a week.  I went to the store yesterday to buy food for a week and see what I could do.  We went out to dinner, which we do on a regular basis, but I have enough food for several meals and we are going to see how it goes.  We will be eating at home tonight.  The problem I have with food is that my husband doesn't like my cooking.  I am not kidding.  He really doesn't.  I like plain food.  I don't like it messed around with.  I am not a "sauce" person and he absolutely hates casseroles.  So, I am all about boiled potatoes and steamed veg.  I love it.  He doesn't.  It is difficult.  So, I am trying this new idea that since he is the restaurant lover -- we will do his way a couple of days a week and my way the rest of the week.  Sounds fair, right?

clothing I am devising a 'uniform' -- I will get back to you on this but it reminds me of Flylady -- getting dressed to the shoes.  

So, all of this culminates in Saturday being the day of accountability. Jenn intends to blog about her Simple Life Challenge on Saturdays and I intend to join her.  I doubt mine will be as wordy as this post has been -- just a brief overview of the week -- honestly abounding -- to see if I have met my goals.

If you would like to join just visit Jenn at adailyrhythm.com to see what she has going on.  She is a lovely young woman with a strong faith and a good attitude.  I enjoy her blogs and I would recommend them to anybody.

So, until tomorrow --








Wednesday, April 06, 2016

This 'n' That and a Book Review

Yesterday I completed M.C. Beaton's "Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell".








 I have read several of these little cozies and really like them.  I sort of identify with grumpy Agatha -- except for her love of high heels.  I have only read one of these books that I just didn't like but not this one.  I loved the way this one ended up -- I won't tell you - but let's just say that James Lacey's turn of events was totally unexpected.  I can't wait to start the next one but in the interim I am reading "A Vintage Affair".  I have started it several times and then got distracted but am determined to finish it this time.  It isn't that it doesn't hold my interest -- it does -- but something keeps stopping me.  I am reading it on my Nook.

I have finally given up trying to decide whether physical books are better than electronic books.  At the end of the day it just doesn't matter.  I really like reading in the car and the e-reader works better for that than traditional books so I guess I have to just adjust to the environment. 

Dealing with medicare and supplemental insurance and drug insurance is a pain.  A big one.  I have just been through the process for drug insurance yet again.  They told me I was covered. Apparently I wasn't.  I don't deal with this stuff.  My husband does.  He needs something to keep him busy, doesn't he?  So, we made a phone call but the guy at the insurance company wanted to hear my voice -- he needed to talk to me.  Blah, blah, blah.  After an hour it was determined that I was, indeed, not covered and we started the whole process over again.  Such fun.

I read lots of blogs.  One that I read from time to time stated that the lady who writes it is considering stopping.  She outlined how much time it took to write it, to answer all the comments, the deal with the people sponsoring her. She talked about how much planning goes into the writing, planning the blog sugjects, outlining, doing research.  One thing is clear -- I am doing it all wrong.  Maybe that is why nobody reads my blog.  I thought it was just a place for me to chat -- mostly to myself.  I didn't realize.  I am sorry.

And then.....I follow a group on FB about hand quilting.  They have "themes" once in a while.  This past week the theme was "pets and quilts".  People posted photos of their pets with their quilts, on their quilts, next to their quilts -- you get the picture.  Some of these quilts are gorgeous and so are some of the pets....I think....I didn't really pay too much attention to the animals.  So, after this went on for a bit one lady decided to become grumpy and made some sort of statement about stopping with the pets already and get back to quilting.  She offended a lot of people.  Then there was a fight.  Is it just me or has the world gone mad?  Who cares if somebody lets their cat get on the quilt?  Who cares if somebody posts a picture of a quilt with a dog laying tummy up on the quilt.  I mean -- ANGRY?  Really?  Isn't life a bit too short for that or do I just not have the energy or interest in things anymore.  I don't get it.  It seems like being offended has become the Great American Pastime!  If people would look at their time like it was money they could equate complaining on a social media site to throwing their money out the window of a fast moving car.  Personally, my time is really important to me and I am not going to waste it arguing with people I don't even know on an insignificant place like the internet.  Ok, the internet isn't really insignificant but you know what I mean -- if you are going to fight, at least do it face to face with somebody you know.


I feel very  O
                   L
                     D.

I made a new chicken recipe last night.  I got it from my daughter only I used a crock pot while she baked it in the oven.  I am sure hers turned out better than mine but it wasn't bad.  You take boneless chicken breasts, put them in a dish and pour balsamic salad dressing over it and top with shaved parmesan cheese.  It had a great flavor.  I served it with rice and sauteed green beans.  I enjoyed it but I was starving so who knows.  There was a lot left over so that is lunch.

We have been thinking about taking a vacation.  We don't really vacation but we were at least thinking about it.  Places that have been mentioned are Charleston, SC, Asheville, NC, Eureka Springs, AR, Oklahoma City, OK, Austin, TX, and just a staycation here -- doing things we keep saying we are going to do and never do -- you know, things that are right under our nose.  We will see.

I have also been exploring the world of planners.  I used to do Daytimers when my kids were young and my husband travelled and I cared for my parents but since my life has changed from all of that I haven't really felt the need.  Now, however, I am thinking I need to go back to a planner to keep up with all these ridiculous, annoying phone calls with health care professionals and insurance companies and such.  We seem to think we are going to remember or we scribble things down on scraps of paper and then lose it so I think I am going to have to re-think this aspect of my "homekeeping".  I am looking at the Erin Condren planners -- pricey but seem workable. Maybe something like one of these -








 If I buy I will share photos. 

Ok, well, time to close this incredibly boring post.  It is putting me to sleep.  Will be back soon




Tuesday, April 05, 2016

I Can't Believe --

it has been so long since my last post! I can't even tell you what I have been doing really -- nothing particularly blog worthy for sure -- but the time has just escaped me.

Let's see -- my last post was raving about technology and I am still raving about technology.  I think my computer is going to give up the ghost soon and I am not sure about a replacement.  I have a little 10" netbook and those seem to be going the way of the dinosaurs.  We don't run Windows as my husband prefers Linux so we have Ubuntu installed on everything so I will need to find a replacement that he can make the change to.  Or I can by one already loaded with Ubuntu but it is a larger laptop and I am not sure I like that.  I am very used to sitting with my little computer on my lap in front of the television -- talk about the extreme of laziness!  So, I might would have to go to my desk which is ok -- I can still see the television! Ha! I am such a sloth.  So, anyway, I am sure that computer hunting is in my future.

What else -- oh yes, Easter.  We had a very lovely Easter.  The weather was a little cool but that is the norm here in TX.  We hosted dinner on Easter evening -- ham, potato salad, beans, cole slaw and cupcakes.  We had a houseful -- mother in law, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and my four grandblessings.  My son was under the weather so he stayed home for some much needed sleep and I don't begrudge him of that at all.  Nathan busied himself on the computer with Gramps teaching him to play Sudoku.  Kathryn was busy doing some art and Emily was content to dump out the box of crayons and carefully put them all back in the box, just to do it again.  It was fun to watch her because it was such SERIOUS BUSINESS!   Bean had a wonderful time hunting eggs at church and was also involved in doing some art work before dinner.  It was a wonderful evening -- I can never get enough of the the babies even though they are ceasing to be babies at an alarming rate.

We also had to get the car repaired from the lady down the road running into us when she ran the stop sign at the entry of our neighborhood.  We live in a gated community (mixed feelings about this) and when the gate opens there is a stop sign which absolutely nobody pays any attention to.  So, she just ran it and didn't stop until she made contact with us.  She is VERY elderly and drives this BIG red cadillac that I don't think she can see over the steering wheel and she wasn't driving slowly -- she moved our whole car.  So, we had to get that fixed and we had a loaner -- a very large, very uncomfortable Tahoe.  Now my husband is on a big truck kick.  He has a small truck, one that doesn't require a step stool to get into, but he is looking and we have been roaming around car lots looking -- my favorite thing to do -- NOT.

We also had to have the insurance adjuster out to assess the damage to the roof in the big hailstorm we had a few days ago.  The hail was golf ball sized, came in two waves and pummelled us for an incredibly long time.  The verdict -- new roof, new gutters, window repair (didn't realize anything was broken but it is) all to the tune of $25,000 damage.  That is a drop in the bucket compared to the homes just a few blocks away.  At least the insurance pays for most of it but I really don't like getting a new roof -- those roofing nails all over are a pain.

So, now, here we are -- back on our usual, non-holiday routine, and I am having a bit of a problem getting back to normal.  I had been doing very well with my new routine and now, not so much.  Ihave gone all droopy (as Bean puts it) and unmotivated.  I need to work on that.

I am exercising on my new exercise bike though.  Killing, absolutely killing my knee but maybe if I do it enough it will get better.  Doubtful but...

I am reading the next Agatha Raisin in my queue -- "Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell".  I am almost done  and am really enjoying it.  I find I read faster on a device than a book so I am zipping right along.  I have really enjoyed this series and hate to get to the end even though I have a way to go.  When I am done I will start the Hamish MacBeth series.  I have listened to one audio book but think I would enjoy reading them.  I have also purchased a collection of the George Gently books so I am looking forward to those as well.

I have been working on some sewing projects but while cleaning the house for Easter I put my thimble away and can't find it.  This just reinforces my idea that to declutter your house you have to use logic.  I have looked in all the logical places and I can't find it so clearly I didn't follow my own advice when clearing up.  Bother.  I might have to go buy another.  Bother, bother.

So, yes, that is all I have been up to.  Like I said, nothing blog-worthy. And, I have no photos to share.  I think I better get my act together this week -- how boring is this.