Friday, August 25, 2017

Prepping and the Weather

All our lives we have heard how the weather and the skies affect us.  More babies are born during a full moon because of the moon's affect on water -- all water.  Humidity messes with our hair and gives us headaches.  Cold weather causes us to want to hibernate and hot weather makes us sluggish.

In the past several days two major weather events have messed with us -- our minds and our bodies.  The first was, of course, the eclipse.  We only had a partial showing here in Fort Worth but it felt strange and looked strange -- an unusual cast on everything outside.  Supposedly wildlife could behave differently but I didn't have any wildlife around to try to judge that.  It did get very quiet and still and there was just a creepy vibe.  I was actually glad when it was over even though I harbor no superstition about such events.

The latest event is Hurricane Harvey churning around in the Gulf of Mexico threatening the Texas coast.  It has already caused mandatory evacuations and boosted the sales of plywood and duct tape.  My poor sister in law is having to move everything upstairs from a low level storage building and garage.  Fortunately they have one of those beachy houses up on stilts since they live right on the beach in Galveston.  I hope they are ok.

Now, this weather isn't going to reach us, in any big way, here in North Texas.  However, from my years of living in South Texas, in San Antonio, and having experienced a number of hurricanes, my first instinct was to go to the grocery store and stock up. 

Back in the day when I had kids and cooked a lot, I always had a fully stocked pantry.  Now, as years have passed and it is just the two of us, we eat out more than we should and I shop less than I should.  However, I decided yesterday was the day to go recreate my pantry.  The problem is, however, that I used to buy lots of canned goods and now we eat more organically so I was a bit stuck on what I would buy -- fresh doesn't last long it seems.

As I looked at my pitiful, existing pantry I realized that most of the canned goods I buy are organic, GMO-free, bpa free and there is generally a good variety.  So, I decided I could actually have my pantry of old with my new mindset.

So off I went and I am feeling very comfortable with my stash.  I figured out a long time ago not to buy stuff that I don't really use so I stuck to what I know we will eat -- I only forgot a couple of things -- and this is the final result with the new and improved pantry.

I should have wiped down the shelves but I haven't done that yet. working more toward getting stuff re-arranged.  I haven't tackled the bottom yet because that is where my husband-the-hoarder keeps every paper grocery bag that comes into this house.  I don't know what he is saving them for but he is diligent.  Grrr.

So, anyway, I have managed to purge a lot of out of date things and I realize that I really need to visit my pantry more often.  My goal is to cook more and I am doing that and maybe now it will be more enjoyable with a more concise pantry.

Thank you Mr. Hurricane Harvey.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Fitbit Charger 2 and Podcasts

I started using my new FBC2 yesterday.  I had set my step goal to 8000 and then later changed it to 5000 which was a much more rational goal.  I still didn't make it but I only missed it by a couple of hundred steps which I just couldn't make myself take before midnight.  So, I got off to a better start this morning and we will see how it goes.

I just want a badge.

I climbed the stairs at my daughter's house but it wasn't enough to register.

I am probably never going to get THAT badge.

But, I am trying.

As you know I love to read.  I love to read most anything -- books, magazines, blogs.  I just learn so much.

Today I started dabbling in the world of podcasts.

My niece is a podcaster and a contributor to Forbes Magazine.  She is a writer and has always been.  So, she started a podcast about writing.  It has been going for a good while now but I decided to listen to it today for the first time.  I am not done, I will pick it up later and finish but I am enjoying it.  If you are interested her name is Sarah Rhea Werner and her podcast is "WriteNow".

This has been a very lazy morning.  I was able to sleep a little later today -- a blessing I am sure I received in celebration of all the walking I did yesterday.  Plus, we had a rainstorm which made sleeping in all the better.

I have caught up on the laundry, thrown all the trash away and cleaned the kitchen.  So, now what time is it?

Lunch time and reading time.

Lunch will be at MiCocula's -- our go-to neighborhood, indi Tex-Mex restaurant. Reading?  "The Fifth Petal" by Brunonia Barry.  It is the sequel to "The Lace Reader" but it is scarier.  I should have waited until October to read it but that would have just been silly.

So, it is hump day.  We have had a cold front (hahaha!) come through which will keep our temps below 90.  We had a lot of rain and are expecting more from the disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico.  I doubt I will stock up on duct tape because it isn't supposed to advance this far north but I might have to stock up on toilet paper and milk just because that is what we always did when "the 'cane was coming" -- words from my three year old son.

Have a wonderful Wednesday and do whatever you love!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Starting Over -- Again!

For some reason it is impossible for me to stay on an even keel.  Whether it is cleaning my house, doing my laundry, trying to maintain a reasonable eating routine, I am generally all over the place -- a hot mess.

I was doing really, really well with all of it until I wasn't.  I don't know what turned the tide but in the blink of an eye I was all adrift again -- with five extra pounds on me. 

So, I went out yesterday and bought a Fitbit Charge 2 in teal.

 I bought it because my friend Gill has one and she earns cute little badges and, because I like cute little badges, I wanted one as well.  This tracker has more to offer than my garmin vivofit in that it doesn't fall off my wrist in unfortunate places like the parking lot at the grocery store.  It also has cute little badges.

I have signed up for a fitbit challenge -- Goal Day.  My goal is 8000 steps. Ha! This should be good.  We will see if I can meet the challenge -- even remotely.  I will let you know.

So, today I start over.  Again.

On the literary front, I am reading "The Fifth Petal" by Brunonia Barry.

 She is the author of "The Lace Reader" which I really enjoyed and another title I didn't read, and can't recall, because it didn't get a good review from my own personal book reviewer.  So far it is really good but making me long for October, my favorite month of the year.

 I think I should still be reading beach novels because it is still very much summer here.  However, I am into this one and will continue.  I have the hard copy but had to buy the Kindle version of it because the book is so large it is hard to hold and I wasn't enjoying the hassle.  Much easier on the device.

Television watching has certainly changed for us, especially during the summer months when everything has gone on hiatus.  We are watching Acorn and Britbox almost exclusively.  We have finished these series -- "Doc Martin", "Poirot", one of the versions of "Miss Marple", "George Gently", "Mum" and we are now working on "William and Mary".  Now, these are entire series -- not just a show here and there so you can see why I need the fitbit and the challenge -- too much sitting, too many cookies -- yes, you can have too much of a good thing and then you can wind up with too much of you.

Have been doing some reading on fashion for old women.  That is a blog post in and of itself.

So, I am off to do Tuesday and walk 8000 steps on a gimpy knee.  No use waiting for it to get better -- it hasn't gotten better since I was 34 and diagnosed with arthritis.  Hopefully the walking will help.  Guess I will be dragging out the gazelle glider because walking around my kitchen island is about as boring as watching paint dry.

I will report in.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The End of Summer for All Intents and Purposes....

It is mid-August and summer is drawing to a close for all intents and purposes.  My grandchildren are back in school, my daughter is back at work, the weather seems to be a bit changed although that is really just a "feeling" (still triple digits here) and people on the innerwebs are talking about Christmas.  Yikes!

There has been a lot of stuff going on here at Maison Brinkley, mostly  pulling together loose ends and trying to go into the fall season with some idea of accomplishment.  There has been some thought given to how I want to spend my time and what I want to be doing. 

There is one thing that I was determined to accomplish this summer.  My parents passed on a LONG time ago -- my mother in 1996 and my dad in 2000.  When my mother left us my father couldn't travel back to our hometown to bury her.  So, the plan was to cremate and we would hold on to her until my father passed and then we would commit them together.  That is what we did except for one small thing -- it took me until August 4, 2017 to actually see the plan to fruition.  Now, before you decide that I was just lazy or uncaring let me explain.  They had bought burial property in 1957 in San Antonio but my mother always disliked it.  My father always wanted to be buried in the family cemetery in Harper, Tx -- the one you have to use dynamite to dig a grave. Our other option was a military cemetery since my dad was a WW2 vet.  My cousin, a pastor, was supposed to do the honors but unfortunately he was killed in a car accident about six years ago. I was very conflicted over choices -- none of them felt right -- enough so that I got stopped every time I tried to move forward. After our brief vacation to San Antonio, I had sort of decided to place them in the military cemetery in San Antonio but I couldn't get the military to answer the phone.  As I sat and waited for the military it occurred to me what my problem was.  I am an only child.  I lived all my life around my parents, they even moved to Ft.W to be with me and the kids.  I couldn't imagine burying them somewhere away from me and I will never move back to San Antonio.  So, when that light bulb came on I immediately made a call to the local, large, heavily wooded cemetery that is just down the road from my house.  Appointments were made, plans set, our dear rector agreed to do the religious honors and before I knew it, it was done.  We chose a spot in the curve of a clump of oak trees with a lovely shaded canopy.  It is in a new section so it is still being developed and it is still a little new looking but it won't stay that way for long.  The spot is at the top of a small hill with a sweeping view of the rest of the cemetery, looking one way, and town looking the other.  It is green and lush and the most peaceful place I have ever seen.  It was a private burial with just immediate family present.  It was perfect, it was just what they would have wanted.

I was surprised to discover that even though it took me seventeen years to bury my parents the feelings were the same as if it had just happened.  I didn't expect that.

Entrance to Greenwood Cemetery, Fort Worth, Texas

So, that took up some of July and August.  There was a lot of soul searching, it was gut wrenching, there were no tears, however, but great relief at finally paying my parents the respect they deserve.  We decided to also make all those decisions in regards to ourselves for our children -- everything bought, paid for and planned out.  We will be buried in the same plot as my parents, the headstone will already be there and all they will have to do is make the call. Part of the reason I had so much trouble is because my parents were not sure what they wanted even though they had purchased property.  I spent all this time trying to get into their heads.  When I finally came to the conclusion I did, I knew it was the correct decision because peace just washed over me.

On that note, I intend to move forward into the autumn of the year with my sights set on new interests, bringing back old interests and trying to be a better me.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

The Charm Bracelet by Melissa Hill

As you know, if you have read previous posts,  I have been reading this book over the last few weeks.  It was recommended to me by my daughter and she has really good taste in books.  I have to say it was a page turner from page one and I had a hard time putting it down.  It is one of those books that I am sorry to see end.

So, let's see.  What are the elements of this story --

mystery?  check.  romance?  check.  tragedy? check.  happiness?  check.  New York City? check.  Christmas?  check.  jewelry? oh yes, check.  vintage clothing?  sigh -- check.  Cute little indi boutique?  Yes, please, check.

So, see, what isn't to like? 

The only thing that was a bit odd -- and not in a bad way -- is that the author is British and even though the setting was NYC and the characters were American some of her wording was British.  It wasn't a bad thing, it didn't detract from the book, I just noticed it.

Recommend?  check.