Sunday, March 9, 2014

Books 13 & 14

About 13 months ago, I asked my cousin (the librarian... how cool is that job?!) what he'd read lately that was good.  He recommended Gone Girl and I added it to my to-read list.  When I got it, finally, from the library, it was at some point when I was up to my eyeballs in some other book or life.  My time with the library book came/went without me cracking a page, but it remained on my to-read list.  When it popped up again on the previously referred to 'book to movie' article, I again requested it from the library.  This time I read it; it was fabulous!  Twists, turns, and an ending that leaves you wondering makes for a delicious story!  I checked when I finished reading it and I only have to wait 7 more months for the movie to come out.  I am now taking a detour from this list of books to return to a favorite author and more of her mysteries.  Janet Evanovich, I have missed you!

I have been taking an online class over 2 months, a book study.  I have been reading Don't Sweat the Small Stuff at Work and doing writings and responses to what I've been reading.  Overall, I really enjoyed the experience and I like this type of Professional Development that is not sitting and listening to someone speak all day long.  I learned some things about how I can make my experiences at work easier and how to avoid some pitfalls.  I recognized the strengths that I bring to my workplace environment and the fact that I have to embrace those, celebrate those even.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Book 12

The Monuments Men:  Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert Edsel started slow, but was an amazing read.  I guess I would say that it moved faster after I stopped going back and forth and trying to remember who everyone was and what everyone was doing.  I just hung on tight and went for the ride; what a great ride it was.  My daddy and I both read this book; then we went to see the movie.  I finished with an hour to spare!  The movie was great, too!   I'm not sure why they made some of the changes that they made, but again I let go of the book and just enjoyed the movie the way it was.  It sure helped understanding some of the movie having read the book, but my mom didn't read the book and enjoyed the movie as well.  

2014 - 6, 7, 8, 9

#6 - Clean out the papers you don't need

I moved several smallish boxes from my bedroom to my kitchen table.  They were full of papers.  School papers.  3 years worth of Christmas cards (for the record, I finally finished my Christmas cards on Super Bowl Sunday and mailed them shortly thereafter.  I've gotten lots of positive feedback, too!  I cannot count it as a resolution, however, because it was a resolution in December that I am just finishing.).  I have gone through all of the boxes and I  have whittled the group down to one with pictures that I need to do something about, one with recipes that I need to do something about, and a box of gifts to mail.  In the meantime, I've also accumulated another bag of stuff to donate, filled the paper drawer with partially used notebooks/notepads and eliminated countless piles of papers.  So satisfying.  In saying this, however, I realize that I have more to do.  Over the desk are several cubbies that I once cleared out and have now filled up and I have 2 two-drawer file cabinets in the basement and file boxes on and under the desk.  But, since February is the month of the KITCHEN, I am focused on clearing out the excess papers in the kitchen.

#7 - Do your taxes.

There are many reasons for completing these in a timely fashion.  Now that I have college students, they need me to get them done in order to fill out the FAFSA application.  We usually get a refund, so that is another reason not to put it off.

In my world, I spend more time preparing to do the taxes than actually doing them.  For example, I donate stuff throughout the year, document it in a spreadsheet, but usually only partially so I have to finish that.  Many years, I have used Quicken, which makes keeping track of my other donations easy, however, in the last couple of years that has gotten to be too complicated for me to keep up with so I have to search through my credit cards and emails to discover some of my good will.  I also spend time on the road doing deeds of a voluntary nature.  Did you know that you can deduct money on your taxes for that very thing?  I do and I do.  Right after I search through my calendar and document it all.  I am trying to put into place a system so that my prep time is less next year; my goal is to do it monthly.  Let's see next year how that all pans out.

#8 - Clean out your kitchen cabinets

Since February is the month of the kitchen, I am tackling what I truly consider to be a multi-week project of cleaning out the kitchen cabinets.  I mean, really... what do you do with those college fraternity glasses?  Sure they hold good memories... of another CENTURY!  I also have some beautiful cut crystal up there.  That I'm moving into my hutch, I think.  Maybe Teen Boy will sell it for me.  That is my goal for him for Spring Break... sell stuff on like EBAY or Craig's List.  I have the dinner plates from the last set of dishware we used.  I don't know why, but at this rate, I will have several more bags of donations.  It is a slow project that involves me climbing onto counters to reach stuff and then climbing down to put it someplace, then back up, down, up, down... you get the picture.  I might have some empty space when I am finished, but I am OKAY with that.

#9 - Strength Training

A couple months ago, I started one of those 30 day challenges.  Actually, I started two, at the same time. Why did I think I could do two?  I did well for about 2 and a half weeks and went on vacation.  This week I am starting a 30 challenge, but with a friend.  We're going to do it together and motivate the other to stick to it!  The benefits of strength training can be found here:  http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/growingstronger/why/  and here:  http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=557559&mode=2

Fabulous abs, here I come!




Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book 11

Recently, someone posted a link to an article on Facebook "14 Books to Read Before They Hit the Big Screen."  I thought it was a great source to find some novels.  
http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariellecalderon/books-to-read-before-they-hit-the-big-screen

I didn't check to see that the article was more than 6 months old primarily because one of the books/movies mentioned has been advertised all over the place for the last month as it is being released this Friday (The Monuments Men).  From that list, I decided some of them looked interesting (in the moment) and I ordered them up from the library.  One of them was The Spectacular Now and when I updated my Nook this weekend, I discovered it had almost expired.  During the last couple evenings, as the snow drifted down and we were cozy inside, I dove into this novel.

As I began reading this juvenile novel, I was wondering what on earth possessed me to choose this book.  I have nothing in common with the characters and I wasn't sure the main character was even likable.  It was like Breakfast Club for this new century of cell phones and internet.  I was compelled to finish (and have ordered the DVD from the library) yet I cannot say I enjoyed it.  My big boys grew up just a minute behind the new technology, but my LRHB is in it to his eyeballs.  Third graders with I-phones, REALLY!? Yet, this isn't about technology, but teens and rights of passage and making choices and living with them.  It is growing and learning and pain.  Did I love it?  No.  But, I didn't walk away from it either. 


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Book 10

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber was her Christmas book.  It came in at the library while I was gone for Thanksgiving.  Then I was in the middle of other stuff and missed loading it from the E-library.  Finally, the stars and planets aligned.  I started it last night, I finished it this morning  and it left me all happy inside.  I love a good romance, a good story and spending some of my anniversary in a good book. 

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

2014-5

I don't want you to think that the only thing in my life I have been changing is my bedroom.  Although, it is true that it is a much more peaceful space, I needed to make some changes for my health.  During the holidays, I had slipped into some poor habits.  Grabbing the can of soda rather than filling the glass with water.

#5 Drink Water

Ironically, what brought the fact to me being off my water the most (other than my dehydrated state at the doctors office) was my husband.  He's heard me blah blah blah about water through the years.  However, seeing his cousin at Thanksgiving and hearing him talk about how drinking water has helped HIM (lose weight, feel better, get off of medications that were necessary for his health), well it made an impact.  I'd noticed.  Since the first of the year I would hear him fill his cup with ice from the freezer and instead of the pop of the can, I'd hear the water tap being turned on.  But I didn't comment.  Finally, he said one night at bedtime (perhaps with the clutter gone, he feels better about sharing life changing habits... just sayin') that his cousin was right about drinking water.  He explained how much he'd cut back on soda during the day and how much better he felt.  He even felt that it was helping his blood pressure (we've done this dance before - it's called selective memory - less soda, lower blood pressure).  Thank you Cousin for leading my horse to water.

Now, it is time for me to get back to drinking half my body weight in water.  Mind you, that's my goal.  Your goal might just be replacing X with water at meals.

2014 - 4

#4 Clearing out the closet

I did it.  I got rid of the jeans from last century and the honeymoon outfit.  And 4 other bags of stuff.  I have one of those personalities that sometimes I get a bit uber organized:  my people all have their own color hangers.  So I went through and reorganized my husbands clothing so that all of his summer clothes are on one shade of green hanger while his pants are on another and his winter tops on a third.  Yes, I did that.  I took down sweatshirts from hangers that he hasn't worn in the last year and folded them and put them on a shelf out of the way.  There was space there because the clothing that I put there last year went into a donation bag.  It was painful for me to pass on clothing that I really like, but do not fit into.  However, those clothes can do someone else good while I'm working on or thinking about losing weight.  The good outweighs the negative thought.  It helps that Sweet LM has been purging herself and in a tougher way.  She inspires me.  Other things I found and kept are some treasures that have been delivered to us from our mothers:  my husbands baseball card collection and my china tea set.  Right back up on the shelf.  I may or may not grab it if we have to evacuate, but these are treasures we want to keep.