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November 2012
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January 2013

Cleaning Up for the New Year

I spent this past weekend cleaning out and organizing parts of my house. I started with the bathroom, and ended up with a full garbage bag of expired prescription and OTC medications, old cosmetics and beauty products, a small box of items such as gently or barely used hair curlers, straighteners, extensions, clips and bows that is being donated to Goodwill, and gave several half-empty bottles of shampoo and conditioner to my mom. Deep inside my cabinets I found six boxes of hair colour, three cans of mousse, two detangling leave-in conditioners, two cans of hairspray, an unopened bag of Hall's throat drops, three unopened boxes of wrinkle cream (2 L'Oreal and 1 Avon), four toothbrushes, small flosses and mini toothpastes from my dental visits, and numerous other miscellaneous items I had no idea were lurking under my sink.

(I think I have enough hair c0lour to last me a while!) 

It was pretty amazing - and kinda scary, too, to think of all the money I've spent on useless crap this past year (or maybe two; I can't remember the last time I did this!). Some items I'm going to use - the detanglers, mousses, and hair sprays - and if I end up not liking them (most likely the reason they ended up under the sink to begin with), then this time I'm throwing them out! Yes, I hate the thought of wasting the money, but if it doesn't do what I want it to, it's out.

After I finished the bathroom, I decided to go through my cookbooks and magazines in the kitchen. I donated to Goodwill several old cookbooks I've never used, tore recipes out of magazines like Oxygen, Sunset, and  Cooking Light, then tossed the magazines, and put the recipes in a 3-ring binder. Then, I started organizing my Clean Eating magazines. I've been subscribing to Clean Eating since it began in 2007,  and unlike the other magazines I fully intend to keep all these, so I had a few years to sort through. Most of them had post-its on the pages with recipes I have tried and liked, or want to try but haven't yet, but without taking the magazine down and thumbing through it, I had no idea what the recipes I'd tagged were. So, I went magazine by magazine,  page by page, and wrote on an index card the date of the issue, the name of the recipe (and/or the main ingredient like salmon or pork), and the page number, then taped that to the front of the magazine. So, now all I have to do is pull a magazine out and read the card to see if it's the one I want. Hopefully this will save me hours and hours looking for recipes I want to make. (Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, I did not come up with the index card idea myself. I saw it somewhere, but can't remember where now.) 

Please ignore my horrible handwriting and monstrous misspellings!

My hope is that starting off the new year all cleaned out an organized will help me stay that way for the next 12 months and beyond! Wish me luck! Cheers!

Friday Five #5

  1. Today is Friday, right? I'm pretty sure it's Friday, but after this kinda crazy week, I'm really not sure. See, I had off Tuesday (Christmas Day), and since I'm used to working either a full five-day work week, or a four-day work week with Friday as my furlough day off, having a random day off in the middle of the week threw me for a loop.
  2. The 5K training going well. I'm actually not hurting as bad as I thought I would, which I'm quite pleased with. It's also bringing back a lot of grand, old memories from when I ran track in junior high (mile run, mile relay, hurdles, and long jump, in case you care), like how much I enjoyed hitting my stride and feeling on top of the world (okay, now not so much as then, but I can see where I might get that feeling back someday), and, oh, yes, the exercise-induced asthma! I'd forgotten all about you, you uncomfortable, heinous beast! Welcome back. Except not really.
  3. Along with running a 5K and adding a day or two at the Club, another Resolution for next year will be to eat better. I generally eat pretty good - lots of veggies, fruits, fish and other lean proteins - but lately I've gotten lazy. Lately it's been a lot more convenience and packaged foods, and there's nothing really wrong with that, it's just that there's a lot of extra salt and fillers in them that I really don't need. Of course the idea of spending a whole day of my weekend cooking from scratch doesn't really appeal to me, either, so somehow I will have to find a happy middle ground.
  4. Of course before I can do any healthy eating at all, I need to get rid of all the chocolate, candy, cookies and other holiday treats that still live in my kitchen. I may just have a total sugar blowout weekend this weekend, and get rid of it all, so I can start fresh and without temptations (and by "get rid of", of course I mean "EAT ALL THE GOODIES!!"). If you don't hear from me next week, I will either be on a sugar high or a diabetic coma.
  5. And, finally, a photo for the week: my Christmas nails! I used Butter London's "Knees Up" (red) and "British Racing Green" (um, obvi the green). Cheers!


Teaser Tuesday: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week I'm reading another charming little MG book called Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. It's a wonderful gothic Victorian story with mystery, magic and some great characters. I'm really enjoying it! Here are my teasers from page 44 on my nook:

Exhausted by her tantrum, Cassandra fell asleep and did not awaken until after dark. The pain in her hand was sharper. It throbbed like a drumbeat, making her head reel. She felt like a wolf with its paw in a trap. She wished she had a wolf's courage and could bite off her hadn at the wrist, separating herself from the pain.


2012 Year in Review Meme

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before? Wow, you know I can’t think of any new experience I had this year. I have the same job, live in the same house, and vacationed in the same places. Well, I guess I’ve never actually stayed in Avila Beach, though I go there a lot, so spending the night at the Avila Lighthouse Inn and Suites was different, and also I suppose visiting my grandfather at The Yellow Rose Inn (an assisted living facility) could be considered a new experience because I’ve never known anyone old enough to be in an “old folks home”.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don’t think I made any resolutions for this year, but I have already made one resolution for 2013 and that is to run a 5K. With zombies.

 3. Did anyone close to you give birth?  My cousin Tracy just had an adorable baby girl named Olive.

 4. Did anyone close to you die? No, thank God, not this year.

5. What countries did you visit?  None.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?  A little more money in my bank account would be nice.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? The Weetacon trip in March, of course, as that’s just such an amazing time with amazing people. Everything else was just, meh.

 8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Maintaining my weight and staying firmly in a size 16 jeans. (Yes, I would’ve loved to have lost a lot of weight and ended the year in a size 12 or 14, but considering I’ve briefly touched size 24 in my life, I’ll take 16. 16 is good.)  

9. What was your biggest failure? Not finishing NaNoWriMo. Again.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Aside from the usual colds, no illnesses and thankfully no injuries, either.

 11. What was the best thing you bought? The new heater/air conditioner is very, very nice.

 12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Ummm, no one I can think of.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I was pretty disappointed with both Lois Capps’ and Abel Maldonado’s ads attacking each other during this past election year rather than actually telling us what they intend to do if/when they get office.

14. Where did most of your money go? Books and music on my nook and iPod respectively.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Weetacon, as always, and my staycation to Cambria in September.

 16. What song will always remind you of 2012? “Good Time” by Owl City with Carly Rae Jepson.

 17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? A little happier.

b) thinner or fatter? A little thinner, but not much.

c) richer or poorer? Poorer. Much, much poorer (still on furloughs and making 0% interest on my bank accounts).

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Exercise.

 19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Procrastinating.

 20. How will you be spending Christmas? Quietly, at home, in my pjs, watching the Doctor Who Christmas special.

 21. Did you fall in love? No.

22. How many one-night stands? None.

 23. What was your favorite TV program? Always and forever: Doctor Who. Also loved Big Bang Theory, Last Resort, Elementary, Warehouse 13, Hawaii Five-0, The Walking Dead, and Fringe.

 24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? No.

25. What was the best book you read? The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? The Wanted, Lecrae, and Regina Spektor.

27. What did you want and get? A new phone – the iPhone 4s.

28. What did you want and not get?  A pair of size 12 jeans, because I’m still not that size.

 29. What was your favorite film of this year? The Hunger Games.

 30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 46, and had cupcakes and a little party at work.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Losing lots of weight. Of course, I’m thrilled I lost a little and didn’t gain any!

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?  Easy and comfortable.

33. What kept you sane?  Being able to go home to a quiet, relaxing house after a crazy-ass day at work.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I absolutely adore John Noble from Fringe.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Well, it was an election year, so there was a lot to get excited about, but I can’t think of any one thing that really stirred me. It was a lot of the same old thing.  

36. Who did you miss? All my friends, but especially Jewel and DeeDee because I didn’t get to visit with them this year.

37. Who was the best new person you met?  Every newbie at Weetacon.  

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012. I got nothin’.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. 

 "Good Time" by Owl City
(with Carly Rae Jepsen)
It's always a good time
It's always a good time

Woke up on the right side of the bed
What's up with this Prince song inside my head?
Hands up if you're down to get down tonight
'Cause it's always a good time

Slept in all my clothes like I didn't care
Hopped into a cab, take me anywhere
I'm in if you're down to get down tonight
'Cause it's always a good time

Good morning and good night
I'll wake up at twilight
It's gonna be alright
We don't even have to try
It's always a good time

Whoa-oh-oh-oh Whoa-oh-oh-oh
It's always a good time
Whoa-oh-oh-oh Whoa-oh-oh-oh
We don't even have to try, it's always a good time.

Freaked out, dropped my phone in the pool again
Checked out of my room, hit the ATM
Let's hang out if you're down to get down tonight
'Cause it's always a good time

Good morning and good night
I'll wake up at twilight
It's gonna be alright
We don't even have to try
It's always a good time.

Whoa-oh-oh-oh Whoa-oh-oh-oh
It's always a good time
Whoa-oh-oh-oh Whoa-oh-oh-oh
We don't even have to try, it's always a good time.

Whoa-oh-oh-oh Whoa-oh-oh-oh
It's always a good time
Whoa-oh-oh-oh Whoa-oh-oh-oh
We don't even have to try, it's always a good time.

Doesn't matter when
It's always a good time then
Doesn't matter where
It's always a good time there

Doesn't matter when,
It's always a good time then

It's always a good time
Whoa-oh-oh-oh Whoa-oh-oh-oh
It's always a good time
Whoa-oh-oh-oh Whoa-oh-oh-oh
We don't even have to try, it's always a good time

Whoa-oh-oh-oh Whoa-oh-oh-oh
It's always a good time
Whoa-oh-oh-oh Whoa-oh-oh-oh
We don't even have to try, it's always a good time.


Friday Five #4

  1. It's not quite the end of 2012, but I've already made, and started working towards, one of my resolutions for 2013: to run a 5K race or fun run. I've thought about doing a 5K before, thought they sounded kinda fun, but not too hard. Still I never really felt all that motivated to actually put in the work to train for one. Then I found this: a 5K with ZOMBIES!! And, I thought, oh, yes, THIS is a 5K worth training for! So, Wednesday night since my trainer was out, I went to Kennedy and started training. Sort of. I did an alternating walk/jog/run-kinda thing on the treadmill for a little over 20 minutes. I was just going for 20 minutes to start with, but then I was so close to a mile and a half I thought, let's just go for that, but then I was really close to burning a full 100 calories, so just kept going until I had that, too.  So it was actually about 22 minutes 15 seconds, but who's counting, right? I actually expected to be in a lot of pain today, but am pleasantly surprised at how good I feel. Maybe it'll hit me later.
  2. Also before I even went to Kennedy, I got my hair cut and had a "blow out", which I know sounds really dirty, but isn't what you're thinking. Sadly. I've never had a blow out before, but I've heard about it and have often wondered, what's the point? I guess the whole idea is to use a really hot blow dryer and a big round brush to get all the dust, dirt and other crap out of your hair. I did see some clouds of what looked like grey smoke poof out, and honestly since I spend all day inside in air conditioned comfort, I'm not surprised my hair has a bunch of crap on it. In the end, my hair looked nice. REALLY nice.  I should've taken a picture, but I didn't think about it. I do feel a little guilty that the guy went to all that work, and then I went and worked out, perspired all over the place, and had to go home and wash my hair. Ah, well.
  3. Yesterday I saw my eye doctor for a check up of my broken eyeballs (chronic bilateral iritis, fyi), which are actually much, much better thankyouverymuch. I haven't had a major flare since October when I tried some new undereye wrinkle cream one night, and woke the next morning to a flurry of floaters. Some quick action with the prednisone drops for a couple days cleared it right up (as did tossing the offending eye cream!), and I haven't had any more trouble since. My doctor was very pleased (he saw no floaters or inflamed cells and was thrilled at my nice, normal eye pressure), and even gave me an exam and prescription to get glasses!! I've never had glasses for distance - only ever readers which I usually buy at the drug store - and I can. Not. Wait! My vision has gotten so bad over the past few years, and not all due to the inflammation because let's face it, I'm almost 47, that driving is becoming complicated, and sightseeing and photography is becoming a chore, if not totally impossible Now I just need some super cute, hip eyeglass frames, and I'm set.
  4. The world didn't end today. Yay! At least not yet; it's only a little before 9:30 pm, so who knows. There's still a few hours left!
  5. And finally, here is your photo for the week, a pretty flower I spotted on my way to the eye doctor. I think it's a snowdrop (?), and I was surprised because I didn't think they bloomed this time of year. Still pretty, though.  Cheers!

2012 Christmas Card

Prepare to be amazed: I actually managed to make ALL my Christmas cards AND get them mailed off beFORE Christmas!


Well, I did create a pretty easy design and only used four stamps total, but it's still an accomplishment! I used one of the new stamps I bought at Paws on Main in Cambria this past September - a cute little Christmas tree with ornaments by Hero Arts - and stamped it using Espresso ink from Adirondak on some brown, lightly corrugated paper, layered it over some dark sage green paper, then adhered it to an off-white card. The inside greeting, "have yourself a merry little christmas", is by Penny Black and was stamped using Tea Dye Distress Ink by Ranger. And, finally, I stamped a small snowflake from All Night Media and "Happy New Year" by Magenta on the back of the card, alternating between the Espress or and the Tea Dye inks. 

I think it turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself! And, so did the Christmas letter I sent off to my family! Cheers!