Saturday, January 31, 2015

WAHHH BAMMM January is done

My friend BeagleBabe does these monthly updates that I think are rather entertaining and interesting.  And since, like her, life has somehow gotten crazy busy and hasn't allowed me to blog as much as I'd like. Well, being busy and nothing overly interesting happening.

Instead, I'm doing this little ditty...


Really my listening happens mostly in the car to and from work. I've decided I'm bored with my music. So at work I've started listening to Pandora and trying out some new stations. Nothing has wow'd me yet and I'm hoping it will soon.

If we're talking what am I literally listening to right now. Well that would be Linus meowing at the front door over something. 


I just finished the January book club book, How to Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran.  I plan on writing a little book report about it. It was not so great at the beginning, but it turned out to be a fantastic book. Once that was done I immediately picked up White Bird in a Blizzard by Laura Kasischke. I'm 55 pages in and am not 100% sure what this book is about.


Not nearly as healthy as I'd like. I had done well planning for a couple of weeks, then this week not so much. I still managed to bring my lunch 3 out of the 5 days. The other two days work provided the food. Thursday was our ThanksUnlimited meeting (I won again). Then Friday we had a Tail Gate pot luck.  So much food there and so much fun. I just love that most the people in this office are foody types.

Working On

I've gotta say, work is taking over the majority of my time right now. I love it. I love everything about it. I even love the mistakes I've made. They taught me a lot about what not to do.

But besides work on I'm working on working out. I still love my gym KokoFit but am finding it hard to fit it in. Life after work appears to be on a scheduling frenzy too right now. And so I'm contemplating how to either go at lunch time, or go in the morning (which I hate).  As the weather gets better I do plan on starting up the Couch to 5K again. I don't really care if I ever run a 5K at this point, rather I just love how they have the program set up. The less I have to think about how to work out correctly, the better.


These little demons. I stumbled on to them at Safeway and made the mistake of buying two bags. Now I'm addicted and can't find them at QFC. Which means I drive all the way to Safeway to find them and then I have to keep them in the kitchen so I have to get up and get more each time.


Really lately has been about contemplating weight loss and health. I've had a lot of weird thoughts bubble to the surface that I need to deal with. Trying to figure out how to deal with these little issues is the challenge. I have to first determine what it means and THEN determine if I want to deal with it. It's exhausting.

I'm also contemplating the potential Seahawks win of the Superbowl tomorrow.  Go Hawks!

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I feel I should apologize for the 10 day lag in my writing. I really have no excuse. I just guess I didn't have anything important or interesting to say. Some would argue I never do, but those who say that are currently suffering my wrath.

First a little catch up...the job rocks. I love the job. Love the company. I'm feeling like I'm hitting a stride and yet still have so far to go. I'm in the danger zone of knowing enough to be dangerous. I have to purposely slow myself down and think about whether I KNOW or whether I THINK I know. It's a dangerous area for me because this is where mistakes happen. And I loathe making mistakes.

So you may remember my little buddy Puck. He ran off with the circus a couple of years ago and hasn't been seen or heard from since.  Several of his relatives have stayed with me but none of them were like Puck and so I sent them packing.

Until now...

Meet Pucklette.

Pucklette is an East Coast distant...very distant, granola-eating, earthy cousin of Puck. She comes to us dreaming of seeing the world and hoping for adventures like her cousin Puck used to write to her about.  She arrived in a box in triplicate and almost immediately found herself involved in my life.

She's a keeper.

This weekend Pucklette, Seattle SIL and I took a road trip. It started by SIL wanting to see how far NOAH was since The Niece will be doing her externship there in April.  That plan turned into a road trip of epic fun.

On our way to Stanwood, which is where NOAH is, we stopped in Everett for a bite to eat. This place was amazing. Craving Cajun Grill was absolutely New Orleans in the NW.  The service was S-L-O-W, but we didn't care since we weren't in a hurry.

We started with deep fried pickles. DEEP FRIED PICKLES y'all!!! They were hot and delicious. The dipping sauce had a kick to it, but it added to the flavor so well.

SIL had deep fried catfish and  I had a shrimp po'boy. The sandwich was GYNORMOUS...and oh so good.

After downing this yummy food and about 4 gallons of sweet tea we hit the road.

So in addition to seeing NOAH I decided that I would check another thing off my "bucket list". I've heard that this time of year snow geese essentially take over the fields up north. Thousands of them. I've seen photos where you can't see the brown dirt and can only see the white snow geese. This, to me, is something to see.

And since we were heading north, I thought to bring along the Washington Curiosity book and hit the two up north on the list.

The snow geese adventure, it turned out was an epic fail. This was the largest amount we saw.

I was able to get out of the car at one point and get a bit closer. Their "honking" cracked me up. They sounded like trumpets going off. SIL made a comment that if BigBro was there he'd totally be making that sound "calling" them closer. That made me laugh.

After driving around for an hour or so not finding geese, we decided to find the Washington Curiosity Woody Wonder.

The Woody Wonder is located in a rest stop -which made me laugh all the same. And really is one of those road stop wonders that is absolutely ridiculous and wonderful.


We also tried to find this teapot espresso drive through. Ended up taking the long route, and found that it had been bull-dozed and replaced by a strip mall. Sad face.

Because we were out shooting photos, we stumbled onto this little garden that had a HUGE chair in it's front yard. We pulled off and found a little rusted garden too.

All in all it was a great day. SIL and I had a blast and while the weather was sunny and we couldn't put the top down, road trips in Sparky are always fun. And Pucklette was an excellent co-pilot too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Whatever Wednesday

I blinked on Sunday and it was Wednesday. That's what this week has felt like. The great thing, or bad thing depending on how you look at it, about having a job you love is the time flies. I no longer sit at my desk and count the minutes before I can "legally" go home. No siree...not no mo'. I knew it was just a matter of time before I felt like I 1) knew what I was doing and 2) would feel the pressure.

And the pressure did arrive this week.  All of it my doing, naturally. I made a couple of mistakes and it cost me some time.  But the best part, I made one of those mistakes TWICE. ARgh. On the bright side I learned a lot, and now know what NOT to do. And that, my friends, is what it's all about.

But let's back up, shall we?

Sunday was Sunday dinner. A wanted a small crowd this month and that's what I got...thankfully. The main peanut gallery showed up to this scrumptous Sunday dinner. The theme this month was Comfort Food. I asked each invitee to bring their favorite comfort food casserole or crock pot meal.  We had quite the combination of food.

I made curry chicken in the crock pot. Mrs. Braspir made a broccoli casserole with biscuits on top. The Pantry Goat made cream corn (from a cookbook made in Minnesota). Seattle SIL made this chicken, cheese, spinach wrapped in phyllo dough thingy. And Blueberry made hamburger casserole.  I threw together a salad so we had something green and voila a mid-west pot luck.

See that little pink Puck looking thing? Yah, that's one of the new Pucklettes. A lady I met on the cruise last year crocheted me three of these little darlings.  You will start to see one of the Pucklettes in my photos very soon.

The best part of this photo is Linus. He hopped up on the chair and Mr. Braspir told him to look at the he did.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Dear Jenn...

So a friend told me last year after BigBro died that she writes herself a letter each year on New Year's Day and then reads it the following year on New Year's day. She's been doing this for years. She said it's interesting to see the themes that come out in these letters: relationships, healthy and finances always seem to be the things she talks to her future self about.

So in Dec 2013 I wrote myself a letter.

Dear Jenn of 2015,
As I sit down to write this letter I think of all the promises this year (2014) has for you. A new year, a new slate. For some reason this year feels different. Let's hope.

My first wish for you is that as you end 2014 that there was no significant losses in your life. Losing BigBro in November was hard. I wish that you heal from that wound. Have you learned to live without him yet? Do you still miss his presence every single day and every Sunday dinner, and every time the family gathers?

If you were unfortunate to lose someone, I hope the healing process will be easier and less painful.

My second wish for you is that you were kinder to yourself. You're feeling a little less than useful these days and am hoping it has everything to do with the current job. Are you going to find a new job next year? Still contracting?

Looking at your goals for 2014 I predict:
  1. Losing weight will still elude you. You'll try hard, you'll even likely join some club to help lose weight, and yet, something will stop you from success. Will you looking into why that is?
  2. Reading will be no problem.
  3. Photography will also likely not be as frequent as you like. Life seems to get in the way. Did you take any training?
  4. You may have reached out to a few friends but not much beyond that. Maybe next year (2015) you'll be better about strengthening your relationships. 
  5. Saving and finances seem to be in the forefront of your mind today. I hope the year shows a plus in the savings column. 
  6. Scrapbooking I suspect you were a little caught up and a little behind. I also suspect you purchased randomly and spent more than you probably should have. Face it, you'll never change that habit. 
Your relationships are mostly healthy. You've grown closer to Seattle SIL and for that you're very grateful. How'd you do with Blueberry this year? Did she frustrate you over the smallest of things? Did you learn to not be such a pooper with her?

Patience is another thing you need to work on. How'd that go? Did you offer patience to people who  needed it?

So as you sit and write this know that you're mostly happy. And that 2014 you really want to heal and be more you than ever before. Be kind to yourself. Don't be too judge-ee toward yourself.

See you in 2015

Sunday, January 04, 2015

People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.” - Joseph F. Newton

For a couple of years now I've put on my list of goals to "build and maintain" my relationships.  Over the years I've let many relationship slip away for many reasons. Some good. Some not so good.  Some I miss. Some I don't.

There are reasons this happens to all of us. Life. Life is the main reason. It seems when we were in our 20's keeping relationship together was easy. We were all single. We all had kinda the same goals. We all had the same values. We all had the same interests. Then one by one friends get married and then have kids. Their lives start to pull them away.

Then as we aged, life just happens. Getting together becomes more difficult for a myriad of reasons. And if you are fortunate (or unfortunate) to be the "planner" of your group, you only see some folks when YOU make the effort. That gets old, trust me.

And then you get into your 40's and realize that if you want to see some friends then you HAVE to be ok with being the planner.

And then something tragic happens to one of your friends and you realize you never told them why you love them. (this applies to family too I might add). Then you have regret for not telling them why they made you smile on a particular day, or why you turned to them when you had an issue, or why you loved to hear their laugh...regret. Not something I want in my life...ever again.

So here's my plan. I have a list of friends I see on a regular basis ("regular" is all relative).  I want them to know and understand why I love being friends with them. AND I want to document our friendship. 

The plan...
Step 1: make a list - gut instinct list. Just start jotting down the names of people you think of instantly.
Step 2: Start seeing them. Get them on the calendar to get together.
Step 3: Get a photo with them. Just me and them.
Step 4: Print the photo, make a card and SEND them the photo with a note about why you love them. Or a memory you have of them. Or why you love their laugh or smile. Or when they helped you and maybe didn't know it.
Step 5: Send the card...
Step 6: Of course, scrapbook this project by end of year

I'm not looking for people to respond with, "Oh yah, well I love you because XYZ." I am looking for people to pay it forward.

So what about you? Do you have friends or family you want to tell you love them? What are you waiting for?

Friday, January 02, 2015

2015 Goals

My 2014 goals were a bit hit and miss with the ones I succeed with and the one's I didn't. For the ones I didn't succeed at, I'm pretty ok with that. I never really punish myself for not completing a goal. Maybe if I were things would be different, but meh. Life's too short.

So drum roll please....

Here are the 2015 Goals...some will look familiar.
  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
  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
  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
  1. 52 week challenge
  2. PAY off credit cards
  3. By year end, up 401K percentage
  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?
  1. Write 3X a week
  2. Work through the blog topics on file
Give Back
  1. 1 random act of kindness a week
  2. Donate to food bank quarterly
  3. Consider volunteering
  1. Send a note to 2-3 people once a month just because and telling them how important they are to you.
  1. 2 road trips during the summer to somewhere new
  2. Philly in October
  3. Europe in April
  1. 50 new recipes tried
  2. Learn to cook dad's biscuits flawlessly
  3. Maybe try gma's cinnamon rolls
Do one scary thing.
  1. PM classes for certification
  2. Photography classes
  3. Scrapbooking classes
  4. Cooking classes
  5. Privacy training

 So there you go! Many are the same as last year and yet there are some new ones. The "Do something scary" will be a tough one for me. I've got a few ideas, but can I do them? We shall see.

What about you? Got any goals?

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Hello 2015! Whatcha got in store for me?

Happy 2015! I've got so much to say today that I think I'll just explode if I don't get it all out. But to save your time I'll only cover a few things and leave the rest for future blogs.

I gotta tell you about Christmas.

I gotta tell you about my birthday party!

I gotta tell you about how I did on my goals for 2014!

I gotta tell you about my 2015 goals!

I gotta tell you about the letter I wrote myself in Jan 2014!

I gotta tell you about what I did for NYE!

Gosh...I'm just exhausted thinking about it.

First, I want to wish you all a very happy new year. The new year, to me, represents a new beginning. A clean slate. A chance to change. A chance to stay the same. A chance to do whatever you want. You get to decide. 

2014 was good to me. By and large, it was a good year. I think every year has it's up and downs.  Sometimes the downs out-weigh the ups, but when the ups come...they are truly magical.

Christmas was rather dull. I flew to Tucson and then go a cold. The MomUnit worked a couple of days. I did some work. And then she got sick. We had family over for Christmas Eve - I made ribs.  For the first time in like forever we didn't do Frito Lollies. The ribs were usual.

Christmas day we made turkey. The MomUnit and I marveled at how long it had been since we cooked this meal together.  We had friends who are like family over to help us eat all the food. 

Now on to the birthday. I've settled into a nice tradition of having friends and family over to celebrate and have them bring their favorite appetizer. There's no fuss. No muss. Just a chance to really celebrate with people I love.

So that's all I'm going to share right now. The Rose Parade is on and it's distracting me...

Happy New Year everyone!!!