Monday, September 26, 2016

Charleston Day 1

Well we made it. The trip here was long, as is anything when you head to the east coast.

Charleston....I'm in love. What a charming little town. But man it's humid. My hair is out of control. Voluminous is a word for it...

So let's see...What have we done?

We started our morning by having what we thought was a complimentary breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express here in the Historic district. 30 minutes later our bill of $52 came...we were, needless to say, floored and miffed. Every Holiday Inn Express I've ever stayed at has had the free continental breakfast. This one has it set up like one, but it isn't.  So today (which is Day 2) we'll be going to a bakery for breakfast.

After that shock, we headed off to our Carriage ride through the historic district.  Luke was our draft horse. 19 years old and ready to retire. The carriage driver told us a "story" that Luke  was about to retire and he was trying to buy him for his retirement. Before a carriage horse, Luke was owned by the Omish. They only keep them for 5 years and then sell them off. This org that rescues them has a huge farm they frolic in on their days off. The city, apparently, has very strict laws about how long a horse can work because of the heat and what not.



Anyhow, we sat, squished in a single row and off we went. We heard ghost stories, heard stories about individual houses and who they were owned by, we saw Rainbow Row, a couple of churches, the city market, the waterfront and a few other things. It was a lot of fun and one of the things I like to do in new towns I visit.

After that, we were hot and thirsty. We found a store called MoonPie and we had to go in. Inside I found a cooler that had Cheerwine in it. Since it was on my list to try, I went ahead and tried it. Um...YUM. Where has that been all my life? And why can't I get it in WA? It's a black cherry flavored cola and tastes very different than cherry coke. The MomUnit and SIL tried a Nehi (one was orange and one was peach) - also delicious.



We walked through the city market and like all markets a lot of vendors selling their hand crafted items. Once you've seen one row you've seen it all. Ended up buying some photos from a photographer there - plan to frame them. A stuffed crab with a stuffed baby crab...that'll become our mascot. (More on that later).

Ate in Lowcountry bistro: fried pickles, moonshine, chicken andwaffle, biscuits and gravy and she crab soup. Oh and sweet tea. Some delicious start to our food adventure. After this stop we figured we set the bar pretty high. We shall see.




After lunch, we drove over to Rainbow Row. A row of houses painted in bright pretty colors and worth a cool million or two. These homes have managed to survive the fires, hurricanes, and earthquake ravaged city and are said to date back to 1730 to 1750. They were hard to photograph because of all the damn trees.


We parked and walked along the waterfront for a bit to find, what else, but the Pineapple fountain. None of us could really find in any of the guide books why a pineapple fountain, but we took photos of it all the same. Mom was pooped so she sat and SIL and I went to get the car. On the way back she spotted an Italian Ice cart. Slamming on the brakes we got ourselves some Italian shaved ice that was out of this world.



Next on the list was to go see Angel Oak. Depending on which guide book, post card or website you read it's anywhere from 500 to 1500 years old. I figured it was somewhere in the middle. It's enormous though. 65 feet high and 167 feet wide.


After that SIL, wanted to go see Folly Beach - there was a lighthouse we wanted to see. Driving through the small beach town was fun and full of gorgeous beach houses. We finally got down to the end and found there was a walk to the lighthouse...we opted not to.



We did take a moment to dip our toe in the Atlantic ocean. Check another off my list.

Lastly, we were ready for dinner. Our waitress recommended a restaurant at Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant...so off we went. Drove over this amazing bridge called the Ravenel Bridge...named for some historic person...




Dinner was at Red's. Turned out to be quite a find. It was a dog friendly restaurant and we were surrounded by dogs. Everywhere you looked was another dog. We were in heaven. The food was outstanding too, so there was that.





Tomorrow we'll be doing a couple plantations. Not quite decided which ones yet...we shall see.

Some other photos of stuff...

Charleston, SC - St. Philip's Episcopal Church

Earthquake bolts...holding buildings together.

St. Philip's

St. Michael's

Really?

Sweetgrass basket weaving...an art for sure.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Life is a Highway

It sure is...if you're "highway" equals work and the "cars" equal all the sh*t you have to get done at work. Then yes, my life is a highway...a very backed up, no relief in sight kinda highway.

Three months ago I hired a new PM. My excitement around having him as a PM for me was that I'd get some of my life back. I'd stop working 50 hours a week (or more) and I'd be able to be me again.

The problem is ... our sales team are awesome. Our company is doing sensationally well - which a good problem to have - but it also means, we're slammed! Always.

The new PM is up and running. He's got 27 projects. I have 33 and my other PM has 32. I have three new projects in my Inbox waiting for a PM to be assigned. I have no idea who I can assign it to. I'm been told by management to not take on anymore - in an attempt to get my work/life balance back. But the other two PMs are starting to have no work/life balance either.

Thankfully management heard my cries of exhaustion. That's what I love about this place...they aren't blind to the reality of the work load. Well, that and I'm the squeeky wheel that won't stop reminding them we're slammed.  Our company prides itself on quality and when you have PMs that are as slammed as we are, your quality goes down.  That gets to them for sure.

Enter new PM job description. Finally.

This search didn't take us quite as long. We are changing our roles, or I should say planning to, to be more Customer Success Managers - its the buzz world in the SaaS environments. It basically means we, as PMs, own a lot more of the relationship and really focus on supporting that customer for the duration of their license with us. It's checking in on a regular basis. We can't do that now because we're too busy.

At any rate, our search was for a person who had more that experience along with PM skills. And we found someone within a month. He starts on Wednesday! He's going to have to hit the ground running and will likely have 3 projects ready for him to run with.

In other non work related news. The MomUnit was here for a couple of weeks. Her being here made me realize just how much I do work at home in the evenings.  With her here I couldn't work at night...now what? So instead of worrying I just did my best and spent the time I needed to with the MomUnit. She's off to Portland now to visit the sister.

The MomUnit brought with her, her new little dog Stitch. I wasn't sure what I was going to think about her new Taco Bell dog.  Turns out he's quite the character and it's almost impossible to not love him. Why do we always have crazy dogs - pets?


Saturday, May 21, 2016

A little bit of this...

You know in movies when they show the passage of time they will show a calendar with the days ripping off? Yah...that. That's what this year has felt like. It's late May for heaven's sake!

I swear I just woke up and was January 1st. And as I sit here typing I sure wish I had more to show for the first 5 months of this year, but alas...it is was it is.

So to get you caught up...here's a list.

1. I'm so very happy for my friend The Patron Saint of the Smart Mouths today for she is getting married. She's kissed a lot of frogs to find this gentleman. And while I've never met him and really only know the Patron Saint via blog land (and one meeting in NY several years ago) I can't help but smile for the happiness she's found.

2. Work. Work. and more work. Things were looking up. For an entire week I didn't feel the need to work extra hours. Then I evoked some power by saying a client's name out loud and it must have released ALL the clients. See, I have 32 projects currently. That's a lot, I won't lie. But the reason we can handle that many projects is because a good 20 is all that is usually active. I have 28 active right now and all of them are needy. Throw in a catastrophic mistake or two and you get yourself behind and find yourself working 12 to 14 hours a day. Don't get me wrong, I still love my job, but man...I'm getting tired. Here's just a peak of one day:

This is my dashboard in Wrike...the cool new tool we use to manage ourselves.


3. The Niece and I walked the Color Run last week with some other friends. They all walk WAY faster than I do. Way faster. The next day I was so dang sore...a good sore, but man all I could think of was I shouldn't be that sore from walking. It was a much smaller Color Run than last year. In fact, sponsored by an entirely different group. Still we had a blast and the weather held out for us. Snooki the Orange Duck went with us. She only came out once...for this photo...she's shy.

The Niece and I before the walk.

After. See...we aren't as dirty as last year.
4. Last Sunday was Sunday dinner. I went Mexican this month. I really need to start pulling out more recipes and getting a bit more creative. Work makes me not have the time and I feel like my friends are suffering from the lack of new and different food at Sunday dinner (I really don't feel that bad...). At any rate, I made The MomUnit's enchiladas and tacos. I was craving the enchiladas for several weeks now. Unfortunately my local store doesn't carry the enchilada sauce that makes these out of this world. So I was just meh about them. I'm going to start searching for that enchilada sauce that I like and stock up.


5. Sometime last week as I was closing my computer after 14 hours of work I realized I need a break. I know, Dah, right? But more than that, I need to take myself somewhere and unplug for an entire day. Some place I can just sit and think. Just me and perhaps a journal. I feel like my life is very unfocused right now (well, focused on work) and I miss me. Not sure what or where or when yet, but I'm noodling it around in the noggin.

Until next time...and God only knows when that will be. I'll leave you with this.



Sunday, May 01, 2016

A Week in the Life...

By the time Friday came around, I was so very glad to have last week past me. It quickly became one of those weeks where everything  I touched turned to crap. I speaking mostly of work things that is.

It's bound to happen really. When you manage as many projects as I have, you are going to make mistakes. And I can accept mistakes. I can. I cannot, however, except as many mistakes as I happened to unearth last week. In fact, there was a point in time on Friday where I thought about quitting and getting a job at McDoanlds or something.

But the thing about mistakes, they make you stop and pause a moment. I had to consider the process and all the reasons behind these mistakes. Was it all me? Was our process flawed in some way? Did I need to revisit how I manager certain aspects of my job and the resources involved? Once I started digging into it more, I was not the only one responsible for these mistakes. There were other players involved.

Not that I'm one to point fingers, because I'm not. If I want to avoid this feeling moving forward, there are a few adjustments that need to be made and some rather uncomfortable and difficult conversations to have.

And above all, last week is done. No need to linger on the bad.

So instead, I went to the Seattle Sounders game yesterday with the Niece and another friend of mine.


It all started with breakfast at McCoys Firehouse. We couldn't just have breakfast. No we had to start our pregame drinking early. My friend R is a big fan of whisky. He has some favorite that he orders every time we go and every time I drink it I know it's going to warm me to my toes and my lips will be numb in no time.


The Niece had never been to a Soiunders game before so we opted to do the March to the Match. Which is just a bunch of fans (hundreds of fans) meeting in a park near the stadium and with the "crazy" fans walk down the road to the stadium chanting and singing.


The sun was out and it was getting warm. We had fantastic seats. And above all, the Sounders won. Which, by the way, we weren't expecting. So there's that.




Agent Orange came out to watch with us.


And what is it with the National Anthem? I can sit on my couch and sing it without any emotion. But you put me in a crowd of 40,000 people all singing our National Anthem...it gets me all misty eyed.



Monday, April 25, 2016

There you are Jenn

You all know that I've been lost in the world of work in the last 6 months. I was working so many hours I barely had time to do think let alone do anything I wanted to.

And working 50-60 hours a week made me tired. I just didn't want to leave my house...ever.

This last couple of weeks I've rediscovered myself. One evening I was sitting on the couch, didn't have any work to do and really didn't know what to do with myself. It was bizarre.

So I picked up a book and read. It was so refreshing and so nice to do one of my favorite things.

The last two weekends I've not "worked" in that I haven't had to, and only did a few things to make Monday more enjoyable.

So here I am. I'm back.

Now, I just need to get caught up with what my life is all about.

Spring is here in the NW. We've had some beautiful, hot days and we've had some wet, wet days. Typical in the NW. The Niece and I are plotting a couple road trips this year and now we have to just wait for warm weather.

We're also planning a trip to Savannah GA and Atlanta. The girls are walking the 3Day in Atlanta this year. I figured if I'm going to Georgia, then I'm going to Savannah. It's been on my list for a bit thanks to St. Louis SIL. Then discussing with the MomUnit, we've not decided to maybe also go to Charleston, SC. It's only 2 hours away...so heck ya. Let's do it.

The rest of the life is still just too boring to mention.But beware...I'm feeling more like myself these days...so watch out!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Where the hell have I been?

I wish I had a good excuse for why I've not been blogging, but I have none. The only thing that comes to mine is that I'm not doing anything overly interesting and therefore nothing to write about.

And there in lies the issue...

I'm not doing anything.

I had breakfast with Blueberry this morning. She mentioned she feels like we never see each other anymore or do anything together. We steal a breakfast or dinner here or there to get "caught up" but we don't "DO" anything. What happened to us?

I can tell you what happened to me. I stopped being available. I stopped being the planner. I just stopped.

I didn't do it on purpose. I didn't plan it. It just happened. Work became the focus of my life, and I let it. By the time the weekend came around, I just want to sit on my couch and do nothing...or continue to work. It was all consuming.

I need to make changes. I think now that I have a new PM there to help lighten the load, I might be able to get back to living.

Summer is coming and I'd rather not have the summer go by and not have done anything. So here's the plan...I'm going to start putting stuff on the calendar with people. That way, if it's on the calendar, I won't bail. Well, I could bail, but I won't. I want to get back into life.

I'm going to spend a good part of today planning. There are walks I want to go on, place I want to see and people I want to spend time with.

I got a new duck..well several new ducks actually. I am hoping 1) I won't lose them and 2) I'll get out more with the ducks.

Meet:
OD (for odd duck), Snookie, Cheeto, Carrot, Clementine and Agent Orange.




Sunday, February 21, 2016

Everything is coming up roses...for a change.


As I sit and write out this blog several things have happened to make it possible.

1. We hired a new PM
I'm so excited. This gal that will be starting is so similar to me and my work ethic and background that it will either bug the shit out of me or make me very happy. When interviewing her, Queen ID and I just adored her. It was more like a chat than an interview. And to me that's a good sign. She starts March 7th and I cannot wait.

2. PM tool purchased
Yep that's right. On Thursday of last week the PM tool, Wrike, that I've been testing, testing, and testing finally got purchased. The roller coaster ride that I was on with this purchase is not one I want to repeat. It did, however, teach me a lot about a certain personality type and how I cannot seem to get along with them or even understand them..the type that cannot make a decision. I admire the person who was in the position of making this decision and do think he's quite smart, but good heavens to make a decision is painful for him. At last, he had an epiphany during a meeting and made the decision.  Now the real work begins. I'm so excited.

3. My Inbox is at zero.
And it's at zero because of the PM tool. I spent a good part of yesterday checking each of my projects and making a plan for each one of them. EVERYTHING is caught up. Now, tomorrow this will all be for naught since all the emails I sent out those people will be responding...

So yes, things are looking up for a change. I'm really excited for this next couple of weeks at work. I'm in the process of writing up Onboarding docs for the new PM and the deployment process for Wrike.

The rest of life is just casually going by. I want to get work in order so that I can get my life back in order. It's gonna happen. I swear it will.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Last day.....of JANUARY

In a blink of an eye...January is done. Whoa...slow this shit down!

So this last week was another Quarterly ThanksUnlimited at the job.  I do love that they do this monthly, but the quarterly one, for me, is even a bit better. More numbers are discussed, more is revealed and there sure seems to be a lot more people there.

But the best part of this is the unvealing of the Quarterly Star Award winner. This winner is voted on by the people. You may remember back in May I won this award...and this quarter....????

I WON IT AGAIN!

That's right! Me and our IT guy (dah, who wouldn't vote for your IT guy) won this. And again, I was stunned. I mean I know I do a good job. But that's just it...it's my job. I don't see myself as going above and beyond and what not. If I take a step out of my body and look at all that I'm doing, then yah, I'm kinda a big deal.

Truthfully though, I'm pretty happy about this. It does show that they see all my hard work and appreciate it. I'll go for months on this type of recognition.

Last time, they sang a version of California Girls to me. This year they sang a version of "Let's Dance" from David Bowie. Our HR gal is pretty clever when it comes to rewriting lyrics.

So in case you don't know the melody...

Now the lyrics...

Your Vote!
Gave us results we've never seen before

Because
We all pushed hard to make our best Q4

This Star's
IT magic topped the charts

This Star's 
PM smarts set her apart

Thanks Joe & Jenn you've earned our praise
Gave it your all with amazing grace
But what are we to do 
One parking space for two?
You've both been great, and now you rate
That single winning clap



Ok, maybe not her best, but it's pretty amusing. Oh and as to the parking spot? I told Joe I get in way earlier than him. His response was he controls my Internet connection. DOH!

Turns out he has a super secret parking spot so I get the spot.

And with that, bring on February!!! I'm ready for another month of crazy.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

All is well on the home front

As I sit here thinking about what to write about, an aroma floats into the room.  I have a roast in the crock pot and it's been cooking for 8 hours. I can barely stand it. It smells so good and reminds me of winter weekends with Mom and Dad growing up. Ahhh how smells take you back.

Work is work. It's an oddly slow week for me and thus allowed me to have a free weekend. I needed it, so it's just fine by me. Next week should get a bit busier, but nothing I can't handle. My colleague and I have been evaluating a PM tool that I absolutely just love. That tool has single-handedly changed how I manage my day. They say it helps you work more efficiently, but I doubted that. Turns out, it sure does. When we started evaluating it, I dedicated myself to working with it wholeheartedly so that I could really improve my work/live balance. We're very close to getting the approval we need to purchase it - which, in and of itself has been a roller coaster.

On the 20th I took, and failed, the CIPP exam. I figured I would fail it first time out, so I wasn't disappointed or upset in any way. It does give me a good idea of what the test is like, and jeez-whiz is it detailed. Its one of the biggest complaints I've had in studying for it. They aren't just asking for you knowing the broad picture of privacy and the law of privacy...no they want you to know the nitty-gritty details. Of which, apparently, I did not.

No worries. I'll take it again. I want this certification, and I just need to really focus and study hard for the next round.

Because I have to wait a month before I can reschedule the exam, I decided to take this weekend off from everything.  I have had a laundry list of things I've wanted to do in the house, and finally got a chance to do just that. I de-furred the place, cleaned the kitchen, mopped, laundry, a bit of scrapbooking, and some reading not related to privacy. It feels good to be slightly free again.

oooo the crock pot buzzer just went off. Guess that means it's time to do some eating...

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Today we say farewell...

2016 isn't starting out as great as I had hoped.

Today the MomUnit had to say goodbye to her best friend and co-conspirator, Count Beau of Hershey. 

Beau was one of those dogs that every dog owner would love to have. He was mild in temperament and the best damn dog I've ever met. He loved his tennis ball and would run himself to death chasing it if you didn't stop throwing the darn thing.

He went everywhere with mom and dad. He traveled the US with them when they retired. He went to every appointment with mom, he visited the hospitals in Tucson to make others happy, and he stood by mom's side when she said goodbye to dad.

He was regal, smart, and so full of live that I would often forget he was a dog. Everyone loved him and everyone wanted to take him home. 

It's a sad day for us Wraspir's...we'll miss you Beau. Say hi to the other Wraspir animals on the other side (Sylvester, Toby, Josephine, Jose, Juanito, Babe, Pookie, etc)

In other news, I am back to focusing on my high protein/low carb eating lifestyle. I fell really hard off the wagon over the holidays. I'll weigh myself tomorrow to find out how much I gained back.  But no worries, I'm feeling motivated and have a partner in crime with me who will be eating and exercising just like me starting tomorrow. We'll hold each other accountable and hopefully that'll make us both successful.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Hello 2016!!!

Well here it is.  A new year. A new beginning. A clean slate.

I happen to love new years day. I spend a good chunk of the day thinking what this year will bring to me...the good? The bad? And the ugly? All of it part of life and part of making me who I am.

Will I be prepared for what lies ahead? Probably not. But that's part of the fun.

This year I won't be doing goals as such. I'll still have my general goals like I have for many MANY years. Things like # of books read, scrapbooking, photography, weight, etc. Those were starting to just be my general need goals.

This year I've decided to go with the ever so popular "choose a word" idea. I've had friends who have done this in the past and I've been impressed with how their year blossoms by keeping one word, or a phase in mind.

This year I've chosen the word "PURPOSE".

I really am not 100% sure what this means yet, but as the year progresses I'm sure it' will unfold. The main thing with purpose is I want to really have purpose in everything I do. To think about what I'm doing, what I'm saying, what I'm eating etc...everything with purpose.

Meriam Webster defines purpose as:
  • : the reason why something is done or used : the aim or intention of something
  • : the feeling of being determined to do or achieve something
  • : the aim or goal of a person : what a person is trying to do, become, etc.


So we shall see how this goes. I'm not even sure what I really want to get out of this other than to really be a part of my life.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Goals? How'd I do?

Well, the goals didn't do so well this year. Work got so busy and that took over my life it seems. That has got to change in 2016. I've got a plan for how that's going to happen, but more on that later.

When I review these goals I smile at how ambiteous I was in January.  I'm changing it up this next year since I've discovered my goals have stayed the same for years. So are they really goals? They just feel like what I like to do every year.

At any rate, let's look at the goals.

Goals
Scrapbooking
  1. Discontinue random purchasing. Purchasing only allowed when the item has a purpose.
  2. Quarterly, review all supplies and purge. Donate to local charity.
  3. Have photos scrapbooked within the same quarter they were taken
  4. Begin putting together planned pages for heritage photos. Have 6 pages done by march. 10 by June, 15 done by Sept and all done by Dec
Right so scrapbooking... This really took a back seat this year. I struggled with whether I want to, or should, continue to do this hobby. No one every looks at the end result. And then I remember I love it. I love the creative outlet. Not to mention all the crap I have.

I did stop buying random crap - mostly. There were a couple of shopping trips in which unnecessary items were purchased. But truthfully, work got so busy I didn't have the time to surf the normal scrapbooking sites I used to. So less was purchased. That's progress, right?

The purging happened a lot. Not sure it was quarterly, but I found when I was feeling like I wanted to stop this hobby, I purged. Always a good thing.

Heritage pages got no where. And I'm behind with regards to scrapping the Spain trip and Philly and  - well a lot.
Read
  1. 52 books
  2. Read all 12 book club books
  3. Read 1 photography book
  4. Read 1 PM book
  5. Read 1 finance book
  6. Create a list of books sitting around the house and read those books - Done
Total books read: 28. Not quite the 52. And that 28 include the book club books. I didn't read all 12 book club books, but oh well. No photography books read. No real PM books read - though the CIPP books I read for the CIPP exams I think covers that. I started the finance book. Does that count?
Photography
  1. 6 photo trips with themes
  2. Do 80% of the monthly challenge lists on CaptureYour365
  3. Read the Orange books on your TV stand
  4. Begin using LR more
Um, yah. Photography definitely took a back seat. I don't think we got out but on one photo stroll this year. Wait, did we? Or was that last year? Oh hell. If I can't remember then I certainly didn't take enough photos.

I actually tossed the "orange books" on my TV stand. I started flipping through them and found they were pretty specific and nothing I needed, or wanted to read.
Finances
  1. 52 week challenge
  2. PAY off credit cards
  3. By year end, up 401K percentage
So 52 weeks challenge is done. Where is that $$ going? Undecided this year. I did a little charting on my budget and found WAY too much $$ going to credit card payments. Didn't pay them all off - thanks to the Spain trip and Philly. But they're better and closer to being paid off than they were last year. 
Healthy
  1. Koko Fit Gym 4-6 times a week
  2. Focus on healthy eating habits by planning weekly food
  3. Lose 50 lbs (3-4 lbs/mon or 1 lb per week)
  4. C25K - should you try to run a 5K this year?
Health was a big focus again this year. Down 22 lbs (well I was. Who knows after being in Tucson for a week.). Koko Fit was a big part of that. I think on average I only got to the gym 2 X a week - on average. Some weeks were all 7 days and some weeks none. Clearly didn't hit the 50 lbs loss. That was pretty aggressive. Next year my plan/goal is 30 lbs. 
Blog
  1. Write 3X a week
  2. Work through the blog topics on file
Hah! 3 X a week. That's funny. Three times a month is more like it. 
Give Back
  1. 1 random act of kindness a week
  2. Donate to food bank quarterly
  3. Consider volunteering
This is a harder one to track. I definitely gave to the food banks. Especially this time of year - I find the food drives easy to donate to.

Random act of kindness? Hmmmm - I'm sure I did this. I often buy the coffee for the person behind me. I've let people with fewer groceries go in front of me too. Those aren't what I was thinking though. I'll have to think about this one for sure.

I did decide this year I'd donate to five charities in December. Since I don't actually buy Christmas gifts for the family, I decided to find 5 new and different charities. So far 4 have been donated to...one to go. I'm saving that one for New Year's Eve.

Next year I'd like to donate to one new/different charity a month, but think it's more likely to be a quarter.
Relationships:
  1. Send a note to 2-3 people once a month just because and telling them how important they are to you.
This is the one I'm most sad about. I let my job get in my way of living my life. My work / life balance is way off and I've got to make a change there. I have no excuses other than well, work has me busy and when I get home I just want to rest. 
Travel
  1. 2 road trips during the summer to somewhere new
  2. Philly in October
  3. Europe in April
This was the easy one. All these were done! Check!
Cooking
  1. 50 new recipes tried
  2. Learn to cook dad's biscuits flawlessly
  3. Maybe try gma's cinnamon rolls
Another one that made me laugh at how much time I thought I'd have when I put this in the goals last January. Definitely didn't learn how to bake Dad's biscuits or the cinnamon rolls. I focused more on protein for the second half of the year, so the 50 recipes just didn't happen. 
Do one scary thing.

I don't think I did this one. While stepping on the scale is scary, that's not what this meant.  I'm going to have to rethink this one. I really want this to be part of my every day life, and yet my everyday life seems to be too busy to even remember this one. 
Education
  1. PM classes for certification
  2. Photography classes
  3. Scrapbooking classes
  4. Cooking classes
  5. Privacy training
Yah so, none of these but the privacy training happened. I did read several articles regarding scrapbooking things...but that's kinda lame.  I feel like I did do a scrapbooking class, but I think it was last year that I'm thinking. At any rate, education needs to be a focus. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 In Review

I was thinking about the whole It's a Wonderful Life thing and how I didn't feel like I was really impacting people's lives.  While I may be no George Bailey there are things that happen in my life that wouldn't if I wasn't around.

For instance, credit card companies wouldn't get so much of my hard earned cash...

Ok, seriously though.  When I went back and looked at my year in review, there were a couple things that stood out that wouldn't have happened if I wasn't here to instigate them.

Vines & Spines Book Club
This book club would never have been created had I not invited a bunch of my favorite girls out to dinner. And had we not started discussing books we liked. This year we read some great books, some crap book, and some books I didn't read at all.
  1. How to  Build a Girl, Caitlan Moran****
  2. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern *****
  3. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doer**
  4. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty*****
  5. A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah - hated it.
  6. The Husband's Secret, Liane Moriarty****
  7. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin*****
  8. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins *****
  9. The Weight of Water, Anita Shreve
  10. Killing Lincoln , Bill Reily *****
  11. The Pilot's Wife, Anita Shreve
  12. Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls ****
There were two I didn't read: The Weight of Water and the Pilot's Wife. Not because it was the same author, just because it was bad timing for me to actually do any reading.

My favorite of the year? Oh gosh. Probably The Night Circus and Killing Lincoln.

The one I hated was A Long Way Gone. Couldn't even get past the first hundred pages. Blech!

Side note: I read 52 books last year. This year, including privacy books, I've ready 28. Ugh.

 The other activity that wouldn't happen if I wasn't here is Dinner club. The Landlord, Blueberry and I find a new restaurant every month and try it out. The "rule" has been that you have not been there before.  We had some hits, and some misses this year. I love doing this though. Getting an opportunity to try new places seems like it's always what we want to do, but never do.

January -Sear Grill
February -Prime Steak House
March -Volterra
April -Indigo Grill
May -Best Wok in Bellevue
June -Amaro
July -Big fish Grill
August -Chanterelle
September -Hugo's
October -No dinner club...too much work
November -Bottle and Bull
December - Some Thai restaurant in Lynnwood. I missed this one too due to work.

So what else happened in 2015?

Well, I know I didn't blog as much as I wanted to. A total of 51, well 52 after this one, blogs were written. I didn't even cover big events that happened this year. Life got too busy I guess.

Travel
Whoa! It was another year of fantastic travel.
  • Spain and the Canary Islands - The big trip was the cruise around the Canary Islands. SIL and I spent 5 days in Barcelona, then hopped on the ship to cruise. I need to go back to Barcelona. Such a beautiful place. 
  • Philadelphia in October - Went to Philly for the 3 Day and spent a couple days before checking out the city. LOVED it! 
  • La Conner and those damn Snow Geese - SIL and I took TWO trips to see those damn snow geese. We saw nothing. What we saw weren't geese, but swans. Maybe this year I'll give it another shot.
  • Road Trip with the Niece - Deception Pass, Mt. Vernon area, other areas up there checking out the back roads. 
  • Tucson - Like every year. Tucson for Christmas

Sunday Dinners
Still doing these darn things. Chose to not have one in November, then ended up having an impromptu Rib Saturday Gathering. The biggest Sunday Dinner was in December. 15 people here. I had originally had 17 coming and was sure I wouldn't fit them all in the place, but alas, 15 were all we had. Two were at other folks places. Maybe this next year we'll do more traveling Ssunday dinners.

Other things:
  • Went to see Pompeii at the Pacific Science Center. LOVED it. 
  • The Niece graduated from Vet Tech School - she ultimately passed the exams too and became an official Vet Tech. So proud of her.
  • 3 day - of course
And that's pretty much it!





Friday, December 25, 2015

It IS a wonderful life...Or is it?

Last night the MomUnit and I watched the Christmas classic, "It's a Wonderful Life." You know the story. Man wishes he was never born and an angel comes down and shows him what life would have been like if he had never been born. Man realizes life is great and poof...he's back to reality.

I started thinking last night what would be different if I had never been born.

And you know what's sad? I came up with nothing.

I've done nothing "amazing" enough in my life that would seem it would change anything if I wasn't born.

So I started thinking about the people in my life and what their lives would be like without me.

And I really couldn't imagine it. Not that I think I'm such a fantastic person, but I couldn't, literally, think about what life would be like for them. I mean, I wouldn't be around to know anything about their lives...and would their lives be any worse or better without me? Hard to say. I'm not always a ray of sunshine, you know?

By the time I was dosing off I came to a conclusion...perhaps the world would be different without me. Maybe a better place. Maybe a worse place. But the truth is, I'm glad I'm here. And I really don't want to go anywhere anytime soon.


Saturday, December 05, 2015

Happy December

I was sitting at my desk on Tuesday and couldn't believe it was December 1st already. I know time flies when you get older, but good heavens this year went by fast!!! I'll be 47 before I know it.

There feels like there's a lot going on lately, but nothing overly exciting to really discuss. So instead I thought I'd fall back to this little list.

Listening:
Its anyone's guess these days. I bought myself an Amazon Echo. And oh boy do I love it!!! Because I have Amazon Prime the list of music playlists and stations I can listen to is pretty extensive. I find that I now have A.D.D. over music though. As soon as a playlist plays something I don't like I say, "Alexa - play 80's One Hit Wonders." or something similar. Yes her name is Alexa. 

She also does things like tells you the weather, will find a recipe for you, tell you jokes, and she'll put things in your Amazon shopping cart - scary, I know.

Alexa! Play Classic Christmas Songs!

Reading:
I didn't read last month's book club book (The Pilot's Wife) I was reading instead a plethora of study books for the CIPP exam I was scheduled to take on the 15th of December. But alas, I moved the date out to January 15th. I was getting too stressed and it just wasn't worth it. So I moved the date.

In addition I'm reading the December Book Club book called The Glass Castle.  I'm about a third through it and am hoping it gets moving pretty soon. So far I don't like any of the characters and am going to do my best to stick with it so I can at least participate in book club this month. Well, besides drinking wine during book club.

Eating:
You may remember that I've moved my eating plan into a high protein / low carb eating plan through a local clinic that specializes in overweight people. According to my scale I've lost 22 lbs. According to there's I've lost 18. But I weigh at the end of the day and fully clothed on their scale, so I figure I'm somewhere in the middle.

When I started this I went to sit in a BOD POD to get my body composition. It wasn't great, but we knew that. This last week I went back - 3.5 months in. We expected all the right numbers to go down. And they did. My % of fat is down 5%, which don't be impressed by that, it's not a lot - it's something but there's a lot to go. My fat weight was down. But my muscle mass was also down! Not the right idea. Turns out I'm not eating enough protein. While the working out and eating relatively good has been a benefit - I'm not getting the 109 g of protein that I need to keep the muscle I'm creating when working out. It's only down slightly and completely recoverable. It was good to see that because now I can adjust and know exactly where my issues are. So I went out and bought some protein powder. My goal is to have at least one meal a day of protein powder - essentially I'll be having this for breakfast. In 4 months we'll go back and check again. 

Loving:
My holiday decorations. The Friday after Thanksgiving is my tradition to put up the Christmas tree. This year it was also the Apple Cup. So I had a bunch of friends over to watch the Cougs totally blow the game and then decorate the Christmas tree.  The demons cats love it. It's like I put up a big sparkle-ly toy for them. The first night I had 5 ornaments brought to me in bed. Those ornaments have been moved up. I bought some spray that is supposed to be gross to cats so they won't chew on the tree, instead it's like it had cat nip in it. All they want to do is chew on the tree.

Contemplating:
This time of year it's all about thinking about next year and what lies ahead. I recently had my one year anniversary at work and was disappointed in myself that I hadn't gotten around to writing myself a letter after I started. See each year I write a letter to the future Jenn. I read that letter on New Year's Day and think about what I accomplished, and what I didn't expect etc. Then I sit down and write my future self another letter. I wanted to do that for work to see just where I think I would have been and where I am. I'm pretty sure I would not have anticipated being the value to the company that I feel I am now (and that I'm told I am - which I love). So I started a letter to my future work self and am looking forward to getting out a letter to my future personal self.

And with that I'm going to go study for the CIPP.  Heading to the Winter Beer Festival today with some friends and then tomorrow is the company Holiday Party...oh goody. So I need to get some studying in while I can.