Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year! and....the ugly truth

Tonight is New Year's Eve.  As a couple the most we have ever done is stay up late, at home, and watch some of the local fireworks.  We are not the party type, we don't drink, and staying up late for no better reason that to watch the clock tick just seems like a big waste of good sleep time to me.  I know, I sound like the New Year's grinch but I am not, I just like to sleep.

Tonight we will be doing something different, though.  We will be babysitting three of our four grandchildren.  It should be fun but definitely something that we don't usually do.  Their parents want to stay out past midnight which means a late night for us -- again, something we are not used to.  I am sure I will be passed out on the couch long before the kids are -- that is just how I roll.

We won't be spending the night there but rather we will either come home which is a 45 minute drive in the middle of the night with all the drunken crazies out or we will go down the road and spend the night at my daughter's house.  That is probably what is going to happen.

Yes, we need to move.

So, that is how we are ringing out 2016.  I am ringing in 2017 with a heavy dose of exercise and dieting using My Fitness Pal.  I am still going to be doing my "normal eating" approach but I am going to document what I eat so that I can show the doctor who probably doesn't believe me.  I need to exercise because I just sit here on this computer all day.  All. Day.  My first exercise is walking and I will be doing that here in my house.  My floor plan gives me a really good "track" to walk a circle through the house and it takes me about 100 steps to make one lap.  I have reactivated my Garmin fitness tracker and am wearing it -- too bad that it irritates my skin. 

What is precipitating all this?  I had my 4 month dr. appointment yesterday and as far as the cancer goes, all is well.  Apparently my numbers are good, my exam was good and it was thumbs up all around.  However, my blood pressure was off the charts --183/120/90.  I have always had low blood pressure but the medication I am on is known to raise blood pressure and make weight loss nearly impossible.  So, the bp is on the rise and the weight is as well.  I have to do something.  So, since I have already adopted this "normal eating" style -- three meals a day, a snack in between and nothing after dinner -- all normal portions -- the only thing left is exercise.  So, exercise it will be.  It is time to nip this in the bud.  I don't think getting off the medicine is an option so exercise is the best line of defense.  I do need to work on getting past "white coat syndrome" -- maybe it would help if my dr. didn't wear a white coat!

So, wish me luck in the new year.  I am not waiting until tomorrow to start -- I have already started.  I took my bp this morning and it was still high but not THAT high.  I was still a bit anxiety ridden this morning -- I have been having anxiety problems lately which I noted to the doctor but nobody addressed it.  So, I guess I am just going to have to walk or bicycle through it.  I think I can do something about this other than medication, I just need to make the effort.

So, I think I will go take a walk.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Goodreads 2016 Challenge

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve and the day that I will wind up my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge.  Last year I did well reading more books than my goal.  If you look at numbers that is a good thing.  However, I can honestly say that I don't even remember reading some of the books.  That is not such a good thing.  Granted, some of the books are may not be  memorable but seriously, I think I was just reading too fast to really enjoy the process.

This year I signed up to read 25 books.  I am not going to make that goal as I have only read 18.  I am currently reading "Christmas Bells" by Jennifer Chiaverini and am about half finished.  However, with my schedule for the next two days I seriously doubt that I am going to finish -- and it isn't a long book!

So, after giving some thought to the reading challenges I have decided to make my own reading challenge.  It won't be based on the number of books I read during 2017.   It will be based on meaningful reading and reading from my own shelves.  I can't begin to tell you how many books I have unread on my shelves.  I have even stopped going to bookstores for fun because I can't say "no" to a book calling my name and I have plenty here to read -- I probably wouldn't have to buy a new book for quite sometime.  When you factor in the number Nook books and Kindle books I have, well, the numbers grow exponentially.

With all these things in mind 2017 won't be a year of reading for quantity but rather quality.  I will start on January 1,  I will probably still be reading the Chiaverini book and it will be my first finish.  What is next?  I don't know but I do know that it will come from my personal library -- either a physical book or an e-book. 

A while back I decided to arrange my books alphabetically by author.  I even left room for new additions -- clever of me, wasn't it?  I am finding it much easier to not duplicate books that way -- something I have been known to do. Now looking at my own personal library is much like going to a bookstore.  I am also learning that not every book that comes into my house has to stay in my house.  I either take advantage of Half Price Books buy back program or I donate to charity.  Sometimes I just pass them on to others.  I only have a certain amount of space and we have several bookcases already along with a book closet so I really don't mind paring down now and again.  Some titles will never leave.

That is how I see my reading going for 2017.  I feel like I have been rushing through everything lately and that isn't how I want things to be.  I want to slow down and really enjoy what life has to offer and that includes books.  So, that is my plan!  You can see my accomplishment list here and I will take more time to review the books that I read.  They will be listed on Goodreads as well. 

Now, to finish this Christmas book and move on -- I see some Dorothea Benton Frank in my immediate future!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Haint Blue Ceilings of the South

I am from the south but the Texas south -- not the deep American south like South Carolina and Georgia.  I have an accent - or so I have been told - but a Texas accent, not an American southern accent.  However, lots of my ancestors took the usual migration routes across the country from the New England area through the southern states to Texas.  Many of them lived in North Carolina and Alabama so I have an interest in the lifestyles of those areas.

Every area has its customs and traditions peculiar unto itself.  Obviously Texas has lots of cultural and historical customs and traditions which are completely ingrained in those of us who have lived here all our lives.  However, many areas have just as interesting and compelling backgrounds and one that I have been fascinated with, since I learned of it, is the blue porch ceilings of South Carolina and Georgia.

Many people paint their porch ceiling a shade of blue or blue green referred to as "haint blue".  "Haint" is the Gullah word for haunt or spirits. 

 Here is a definition of Gullah from Wikipedia:

And here is an explanation of the painted porch tradition from the Sherwin Williams Paint website:

"Southerners, especially in the area of South Carolina, have a name for the ceiling paint used on porches – the soft blue-green is referred to as "Haint Blue." "Haints are restless spirits of the dead who, for whatever reason, have not moved on from their physical world," says Sawaya."

Now, I don't much believe in spirits that haven't moved on -- well, I do actually but I don't think any of them are living on my back patio.  However, what does live on my back patio are wasps, yellow jackets and mud daubers.  According to some, the blue ceilings will appear to be the sky to these little varmints and they will not want to build their nests in the corners of your patio or porch.  That was reason enough for me to do this --

Since we were painting the house anyway thanks to the installation of the new gutters, I asked my husband to paint the ceiling of the patio blue.  He looked at me a little concerned about my mental well being but I told him the history which didn't make much of an impression but when I told him about deterring wasps and flying things, that shed a whole new light on it and voila! we have a blue ceiling.  

It looks a bit washed out here in the early morning light but it is actually a very lovely, light turquoise blue.  It is very spa-like -- beachy actually.  It looks very relaxing from inside the house and I think it is going to be very relaxing during the summer and maybe we won't have so many flying beasts to contend with.  It is hard to maintain a relaxed summer atmosphere when you are armed with Raid to get rid of the wasps and yellow jackets -- we have mostly yellow jackets.

So, that is what we have been doing in this wonderful warm winter we are having.  It was 82 yesterday so the painting got finished, the ceiling is blue and we are quite pleased with the way it turned out.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Winding Down the Year --Reading Challenges

2016 is winding down.  It hasn't been a bad year for me personally but then I am not a celebrity or person of notoriety, thank goodness.  The year was actually pretty devoid of monumental events which is just fine with me.  I have reached the age where average, ordinary, undramatic works well for me. 

This year I have come to terms with the fact that I have lost interest in a lot of the things I used to love to do and I have figured out why.  Pressure.  I used to love to quilt but lost interest because 1) I couldn't just get creative and play without the pressure of having to make something for somebody else and there was always a deadline and 2) I can't crawl around on the floor to pin them anymore.  I used to love to do needlework like embroidery and cross stitch.  I remember when I was expecting my daughter, I went to JC Penney and bought a crewel embroidery kit.  It wasn't for anybody, it wasn't a gift, it was just for me to do.  I loved it.  Now I have gotten myself into the mindset that I MUST make Christmas ornaments or greeting cards or sell my finished cross stitch pictures on Ebay.  Somehow I have lost the ability to just do something for the sake of doing it without some sort of ulterior motive.  This is why I have lost interest.

I have now taken up coloring and it is very enjoyable because there is absolutely nothing to do with the end product but to enjoy the process.  Nobody wants a coloring sheet I have done, nobody is going to buy it and there is absolutely no worth in it except for the enjoyment that I get from doing it.  I see a lot of coloring going on in 2017.

I still read.  I love to read.  However, I have joined several reading challenges -- mostly on Goodreads -- the last several years and while it did prompt me to read more books, I think it has had a negative affect on my reading.  I feel like I have to read faster just to meet my "goal" and I don't necessarily enjoy the books as much if I am rushing.  I also don't like the feeling that I have "failed" to meet my goal -- like this year.

So, starting in 2017 I don't think I will do anymore Reading Challenges.  I think I am just going to read and keep a list -- my own reading challenge so to speak.  Some books just require more mulling over, some books aren't meant to be finished or need to be put aside for a while, some books are quick reads and maybe aren't so monumental.  I think I am just going to enjoy the books as they come to me and document it here on this blog just like I am doing with the 2016 Goodreads challenge this year but there isn't going to be a goal or a limit.  It will just be what it is.

And that is about as close to a resolution as I am going to get.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas is Over

Today is the day after Christmas.  I had a good Christmas although it didn't seem like Christmas at all.  I suspect that all the frivolity got lost in my "to - do" list.  Toward the end of summer I made a list of all the things I wanted to get accomplished before the end of the year.

My list was comprised of lots of household things as well as my own health to take care of.  It was all complicated by my mother in law falling and breaking her hip in September.  She had surgery and was in rehab for an unbelievably long time -- 'till mid-November.  In the middle of her stay there my husband had cataract surgery which, between both eyes, took six weeks.  Not complaining as his vision is much, much better which I would have expected but it is sort of amazing to see it.  Anyway, after all that was done, I had several health care appointments to keep.

We also had scheduled for our new roof to be installed.  Every roof in our neighborhood has been replaced due to hail damage from storms last spring.  While we were waiting for that to happen, our a/c decided to go out and that needed to be replaced.  Of course, with the new roof came new gutters so after the old gutters were taken down the husband decided we needed to go ahead and repaint before the new gutters were put up.  So, he has been painting the exterior of the house.  There isn't much and the way the house is built it isn't too difficult -- or so he says and since I am not the one doing it, I choose to believe him.  That is almost complete.  We are painting the patio ceiling blue like they do in South Carolina.  It is supposed to keep wasps from making nests in the corners.  Oh, and it is supposed to keep the spirits away!

So, in the middle of all this home caring and health caring and mother in law caring came Christmas.  Christmas is pretty quiet for us these days.  The children are grown and gone with children of their own and plans of their own.  We celebrate with them but it isn't the same.  My shopping has changed as the grown ups don't really need anything and they are all picky (sorry, just telling the truth) so they get money and they can go get their own present.  The kiddos, well, I try to do the four things -- something they want, something they need, something to play with, and something to read.  I guess I just didn't want to wrack my brain (is that even a word?) so the something they want turned out to be money, the something they need was pajamas, the something to play with are games and puzzles and the something to read ended up being a Barnes & Noble gift card.  I usually like buying them books but there were a lot of restrictions this year so I just opted to let them pick out their own.  So, there wasn't much shopping going on for sure.  It makes me sad that I don't shop like I used to but, with all the other stuff going on, maybe it is better.  I probably would have been a blithering idiot by now.  Also, I didn't send many cards this year.  I don't know how I feel about that -- I will revisit that next year.

I did like it that Christmas was on Sunday.  Somehow that just seemed right.  I wasn't prepared for no mail delivery today though, that seems NOT right.  But now it is business as usual which, honestly, I am ready for.

I don't know why but I  tend to get sad over the holidays and I am not sure why.  My parents have been gone a long time now.  I am used to my children being gone.  I have no idea but the melancholy just seems to set in.  I almost took the Christmas tree down today but I usually leave it up until Epiphany.  Not sure I will make it this year.

Tomorrow I am going to continue de-cluttering my closet and making a bag of items to be donated.  I also need to go through the magazine basket and start recycling those things.  I guess you could say I am starting an early spring cleaning.  The weather has been so warm here that you would think it was spring -- I wonder if this is going to be another winter-less year.  Bad for us -- good for a bumper crop of disease ridden mosquitoes.  We need several days of freezing weather to get rid of those.

We had two snakes on the patio today.  That is all I can say about that.  I only saw one of them -- very small little grass snake.  I went back in the house.  I don't do snakes.

So, that is all that is going on here at Maison Brinkley (haha -- that cracks me up).  Hopefully the paint will be done tomorrow and then we can start on the inside.  That I am not looking forward to at all.  Hate the smell of paint.  And we are going to replace carpet.  It is all exhausting and I am not even the one doing it.

Ok, enough of this, I must go get the cedar pollen off of me and try to continue reading the book I have been stuck on for over a month now.  Slow going, very slow going.

Be back soon!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Today is WHAT?

Oh dear.  I am behind, it seems.  I can't believe it is already December 15th! Where has the month gone?  Actually, where has the autumn gone? 

September, October and November were ridiculously busy.  My planner had something on each and every day.  I hadn't been that busy since I had kids at home.  I put a lot of things off because of the priority of other things and I have spent the last two weeks playing catch up.  It is going well and all I have left is to get a crown scheduled and a doctor appointment at the end of the month.

So, I don't guess I need to tell  you that Christmas has sort of taken a backseat to all the catching up.  I haven't mailed any Christmas cards out yet.  I have a couple of gifts left to buy which I will try to do tonight.  I have to make a list of food to buy and order a ham -- yay! for Honeybaked Ham Company. I haven't wrapped a thing although I did buy paper.  I don't really like buying Christmas wrap so I try to buy something that I can use for other things.  The Container Store is good for that. 

I have a quilt project that I have been working on and that I was hoping to get finished today but it wasn't meant to be.  I need to work on it tonight and maybe, just maybe I can get it done by the weekend.  That would be phenomenal. 

So, yeah, it is ten days until Christmas and I am so far from being ready it isn't even funny.  Guess I should go get read.  Ta!

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Slothy Sort of Day

Yesterday was a very nice, albeit busy, day.  The weather was great but a bit too windy for my liking (itchy eyes today).  It started out with church at 9 a.m. followed by coffee hour where we sit at our usual table with our friend Jorge and chat while the kids are in Sunday School and the other adults are in Bible Class -- yes, we are a little lax in the Sunday School area.  Our bad.

After church we headed to our favorite Mexican food restaurant, MiCocula's Grill, for a bit of lunch.  It is so nice having a great, family owned, neighborhood restaurant to go to.   It reminds me of a cafe called Micheli's in San Antonio that we used to frequent when I was a kid. 

After lunch we headed to the Will Rogers Coliseum to see "The Nutcracker" performed by North Texas Ballet Company.  It was a special day for the girl scouts and our Daisies love it.  Everybody was dressed up and it was so festive.

After that, since we carpooled with DearDaughter, we headed back to our house for Bean to help set up the Christmas village.  She had never helped before and she wanted to so that is what she did.  Dinner was rolling around so I fished around in the freezer and found a lasagne which I heated up for a quick dinner.

After that, DD and the Bean went on their way and I crashed.  It was a lovely, sunny, busy day!

I will have to say, though, that all that activity has rendered today just a slothy sort of day -- not doing much and not feeling the least bit bad about it either!  Everybody needs a slothy day and today is mine.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Too Old For Addictions!

Hi! My name is Melissa and I am an addict.

I am addicted to Facebook.

I need to break this addiction.

It seems that the more I try to break the sugar addiction the more I am on Facebook.  I would assume that is in an effort to avoid eating.  I used to shop a lot to get me out of the house and away from food.  Now I hate shopping.

The natural progression of thought is that eventually I would hate Facebook.  I am getting there.

 I wish I could channel all this addictive behavior toward exercising.

Maybe I should think about trying to make that happen.

Hmmm......can you pick and choose your addictions?  That would be nice.

Yes, my name is Melissa and I have an eating disorder and I am addicted to Facebook.