Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Wrap-Up

Here we are at the end of the year that was suppose to contain the end of the world (at least by one interpretation of the Mayan calendar).  I've been a naughty little blogger this year.  It turns out I've only posted 31 times (this makes 32).  I still have 9 drafts sitting in my queue for 2012.  That's at least 9 times I started some thoughts and couldn't wrap it up enough to post.  Actually, there were more times that I started a post in my head and it never made its way to my fingers.

So let's review 2012 according to Peggy:

Family - Enjoyed my grandkids beyond anything I can describe.  I am so blessed!  I'm sure most of my posts in 2012 included something about them.
Work - Got a new position at work.  Perfect timing.  I was ready to be done with that last position.  
TV Downton Abbey -- LOVE it!  Looking forward to the series' return (I believe that's in January 2013).
Got hooked on The Tudors and will likely continue to watch that in 2013.
Sherlock - It's a BBC show (is there a pattern here?).  Unfortunately, I read it won't be back til 2014.
Big Bang Theory - My fave network show.  Excellent writing and acting.
Hobbies - Didn't work on any of them too much this year, and not sure why.  But I've got my bucket list going for 2013 and the hobbies play a prominent role.
Garden - I drew out plans to recreate part of my backyard into a bigger garden area.  Lots more perennials. Should be interesting and fun and will likely take up plenty of time.  I'll also include a whole lot more in the composting arena.
Photography - Ordered a book that will help me understand my camera better.  Got that tip from Ms. A over at Sarcastic Granny about the book, so I ordered it immediately.  I really want to take better pictures!
Word of the Year - My word was TRUTH.  To be truthful, I don't think I took enough time for it to develop into anything this past year.  The word came to me very strong, definitely choosing me, but I just didn't do anything with it.

And now I'm waiting for my Word of the Year - 2013 to show up.  I suspect one of my old words will resurrect itself.  It keeps showing up in ways that make me sit up and take notice.  I'll have to see if that holds true or if another word finds me.  I will keep you posted on that.

That's my mini-wrap-up for 2012.  I hope you have had a great year, and that you are looking forward to 2013 as much as I am.  With that, I leave you this picture of the funniest little girl I know.  This was a photo shoot where Mommy was trying to get a "school" picture of her just like her brother's school picture.
What a ham!!

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ava, Dirt, the Cayda...and Other Stuff

My granddaughter loves nature.  She gets that from both of her parents.  This week my daughter posted this picture on Facebook with the following information:
"Among other random sentences, C (this is my 5 year old grandson) typed this morning:  DRT IS MIY LIDOL SISDRS FAFRIT THING TO DO.  And here's a picture to prove it."

He phonetically spelled it out and, in my humble opinion, did a great job.  Can you figure out what it says??

This little girl has always embraced a curiosity about life.  And I couldn't be happier.  Here she is trying to tell me about the cicadas that come out each summer.   
Ava telling Grandma all about the "cayda" she's holding.
Subject:  Movies -
I run hot and cold with movies.  Sometimes there are tons that come out that look to be outstanding.  Other times, I couldn't care less.  Right now looks like a good time to have movie date nights with my PG.  Last night we went to see Flight.  You know how when you see the trailers on TV and you tell yourself that's going to be a good movie, and then it turns out the best parts of the movie are what they put in the trailer.  Well "Flight" isn't one of those.  "Flight" took me by surprise.  I was uncomfortable, I was shifting in my seat. But it's a good story.  And hell, it's got Denzel.  'Nuf said!!

Also want to see "Argo" and "Lincoln."  I'll report back when I get around to seeing those.  Maybe this week...on one of my vacation days!!!!

And now I'm off to an open house at my friend Leanne's from From Chaos Comes Happiness.  This girl's got talent.  And she's channeled it into some amazing Christmas gifts!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Catching Up (seems to be my Middle Name!!)

Time to catch up on things.  It's been a busy couple of months.  New position at work.  Trying to settle in with the timing of things.  Nothing specific or highlight worthy.  Just busy!!  The post previous to this was one I started six months ago and has been sitting in my drafts.  It finally had a good example to tack on to make it all come together.  That's kinda how things are going in my life right now.

So let me catch you up with things.  Halloween.  If you are a regular visitor, you might remember from last year that I don't stay home to pass out candy.  Instead, I go to my daughter's house and pass out little cans of playdoh, while she takes the kids trick or treating.  This year, when my son-in-law got home, he put on a lion costume.

Gotta love how Ava looks at her brother!
Katniss and the Lion

Ava still not sure of this big ol' silent lion!!

Ava was a bit afraid of the lion when she got home.  She didn't want to react to a lion that wouldn't talk to her.  At first, she climbed in my lap and buried her head.  (Don't think I didn't enjoy the cuddling!!)  But eventually, in the safety of mommy's arms, she was a little more willing to get a little closer!

We've started on pulling everything out of the garden.  It's bittersweet, to be sure.  But seeing things cut back  makes me look forward to the planning for next year's garden.  BIG plans...need to start with the visioning now, so that it doesn't slip away!!

We took a ride to Michigan yesterday.  A one day trip to a botanical garden.  Just a getaway that was very much needed.  And very much enjoyed!!  Including lunch at the cafe on site.  Outstanding Harvest Pumpkin soup.  Very rich!!  Oh, yeah, side trips are definitely going to be happening more often!!
Taken thru a window at the cafe, so it's a little cloudy looking!

I've already started my Christmas shopping.  Things picked up at craft fairs that I think some of my favorite people might like.  It's always a good feeling when I start Christmas shopping early.

And today, I'm jonesing for some Mariano's Chicken & Dumpling soup.  Hmmm...I'm seeing a pattern with the soup thing here!  Must be fall!  Time to get back out into the garden to finish cleaning up.

Lastly, for now, I wanted to share with you a video that my boss has been working on.  It was a challenge presented to him by a colleague in another state.  But I love that he used so many students in this video.  And some faculty.  If you like the song, and haven't heard it ad nauseum elsewhere, then you'll probably enjoy this.

I leave you for now, but have a great week.  I really will try to post more often.  In the meantime, call me...maybe.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Words - Good, Bad, Ugly, Necessary?

Many of you know that I have a few words that I consider not nice words.  Not the four-letter profanity type words.  No, these are words that some people might think convey caring.  I consider them more toxic.  Here, it's better if I just give you an example and a reason why I feel that way:

WORRY - "I worry whether he'll get home safely."  "I'm worried that I didn't turn the gas off."  You get the idea.  Not necessarily a bad thing if it propels you in the right direction to work on what you are worried about. BUT..."It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there's nothing you can do about them, and why worry about things you do control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized."  Wayne Dyer
SHOULD - "You should really go to the dinner."  "She shouldn't dress that way."  Judgement call.  Plain and simple.  If you are saying "should", that's an opinion. Specifically, YOUR opinion.  As long as you present it as your opinion that the receiver may accept or reject, that's fine.  But I'm thinking many times, it's not used like that. 

DISAPPOINT - "I'm so disappointed that he won't finish his last year in college."  "I'm disappointed that you made the choice you made."  A disappointment is failure to fulfill the hopes and expectations of someone.  To what purpose does this enrich anyone's life?  Either for the "disappointed" or the "disappointer". 

PITY - "What a pity that she doesn't realize she shouldn't wear that outfit."  Although this used to be similar to "sympathy" or "empathy", it has a condescending connotation or implies superiority of the person doing the "pitying".  

BLAME - No need to give you an example here.  Everyone knows what blame is.  Hell, we blamed the dog or cat when we were little. But it accomplishes nothing.  And usually has an effect of making a person feel that they SHOULD have done something, or that they DISAPPOINTED someone, or that they should WORRY about what the consequences will be.

I had a conversation with a local businessman this past week.  It turns out the job that I sent to him for printing came back with a huge error that made it impossible for us to mail out.  So he took back all the material and rectified it within a day.  The man is a joy to work with!!  But in our conversation, I said to him, "I'm so sorry about this."  His response was, "No need for that.  It's nothing you did wrong."  I already knew that but I was still sorry he was in this situation.  I think our society has forgotten that the word "sorry" doesn't always imply "blame."  Hmmmm.... I blame the justice system for that!!!

Wishing you a worry-free day!!

Interesting note:  I started this post exactly one year ago and it's been in my drafts this whole time.  How bizarre is that!!!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tastes Like Chicken

Sometime earlier this year, I set out to try something new each week and then blog about it.  Yeah, know how that's gone so far. But having an early dinner with friends on Saturday, I had an opportunity to try something new.  Wait...I'm getting ahead of myself.

Leanne over at From Chaos Come Happiness was participating in a craft fair at her old high school in Burbank.  This craft fair was HUGE!!  Some of it run of the mill craft stuff.  Nothing to compel us to buy.  Well, except for a couple of things.

Like this artwork by Leanne.

I must be in red phase, because I seem to gravitate to red lately.  (I'll bet a shrink would have an answer for that!!).  Actually, my PG saw it as soon as we walked in and asked me about it.  So I think he fell in love with it first. And, of course, I needed more altered journals!  For me and for gifts.  And the cutest picture frame!  Also a I can't show you here.  But take a side trip to Leanne's Etsy shop to see what she has.  You're sure to find something!!

And then there's this glass necklace/earring set made by Liesa Davis at Jewels2U.

PG loves when I have jewelry that makes me happy.  And I walked past it three times, but kept coming back to it.  If I find the right outfit, I might accessorize with this for a wedding I'm attending in December.

So after the craft fair PG and I went to an early dinner with Leanne's sister, LT and her husband, CT (a.k.a. SB during our Scrap Cellar days).  We had to check out Chuck's Southern Comforts Cafe, which was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. And this is where I tried something new...Fried Alligator.

Yep, I tried it.  And here's proof that I tried it.

And because they bread tastes like chicken.  Only chewier.  Worth it?  No.  But at least I can say I tried something new!  


Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Christine

She's a mom, 
a daughter, 
a runner,
a teacher, 

a sister, 

a wife, a niece, a cousin, a rebel, a friend, and a source of a whole lot of pride in her mother.

Happy Birthday, Christine!!  

I'm so proud of the woman you've become!  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Honoring Angels - 9/11/12

Just some mixed media art
on an inspired day.
Sometimes, even I am impressed with the words that I am able to get from my heart to my hands.  I don't believe I can convey my feelings any better than I did on this day two years ago.  So I share that post with you again.

As I sit here thinking about what I want to say in today's post, I'm overwhelmed.  How do I say something unique to honor those who lost their lives nine years ago?  What I want to say has been said so many times, by so many people.  It feels trite.  But to not say it seems disrespectful.  
You see, I feel the way to honor each of those lives ended on 9/11/01 is to allow each of those angels the opportunity to create the peace in this world that we so desperately need.  
This may seem simplistic but if you don't mind, follow with me for a short journey.  Imagine you lost a loved one that day.  (I know this is not such a stretch of the imagination for many of you).  Think about the things you did, the fun you had, the way they made you feel when they walked into the room.  When you think of that, are you filled with peace or anger?  Chances are you feel the joy of that relationship.  You feel the peace in your life that your guardian angel would want for you.  You feel the peace that this world needs. 
The news media these days certainly throws a lot at us to stir up anger.  Whether it's about building a mosque at Ground Zero, or burning Qurans in Florida, it seems they want to keep those fires burning.  Sometimes, the best way to extinguish those fires is to turn off the news.
Today, I choose to honor those angels who are working double time to combat all the anger in our world.  Today, I choose to live a peaceful life.  Today, I choose to thank those whose lives were given involutarily so that they can be the angels that remind us that peace in our world starts with each of us individually.  Today, I choose joy and peace.  And today, as always, I will not forget.
May you live in joy and peace and gratitude today.  God bless us all.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Party time!!

Birthday party today.
Guess how old the birthday boy is...

The call this morning went like this:  
Grandma:  So, today is your birthday party!
Mr. C:  Yes!  Are you coming to my party?
G:  You bet I am.
C:  Did you buy a present?
G:  Yes I did.
C:  Did you wrap it yet?
G:  Yes I did.  But I'm not going to tell you what it is.
C:  I know, Grandma.  That's what makes it a present.  

I love that kid!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Last Minute Dinner Invitation

Got a call near the end of my work day yesterday.

My grandson wanted to know if it was raining by me (it wasn't).

"Oh, Grandma, it's been raining here a lot today.  We were outside, playing in the rain.

"Can you come over?"  Oh, sweetie, Grandpa and I are going out to dinner.

"Grandma, I know a better place you can eat" (proceeds to give me his address).

Honey, I said, I'll go pick up Grandpa and we'll be right over!!

I love that kid!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Playing with Food

You know how you were raised to never play with food.  Well, my little sister invited me over to play with food yesterday.  Well, it was more like, "create" with food.  Her friend was having a camping themed party and my sister thought it would be fun to put together some candies that remind you of camping.
So, we had hot dogs,
Circus peanuts, caramel candies,
yellow icing and green gummies.
and hamburgers,
Vanilla wafers, Keebler grasshopper
cookies (like Girl Scout Thin Mints)
yellow, red and green icing.
and bacon and eggs.  
Pretzel sticks, white chocolate, yellow M&M

All for the sweet tooth!!  Oh, and of course, mini tootsie rolls for the campfire logs. Didn't take long, and it made a cute tray.

And I got to spend a little time with my little sis.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sunshine and Gratitude

Met one of my bestest friends for breakfast this morning.  It's been two months since we've seen each other.  Way too long.  We typically take a couple hours to catch up before we head our separate ways.  And I think we both feel more fulfilled when we part.  It's like that with good friends. 

I was almost moved to tears of gratitude this morning on my way to meet her. I looked up and saw a plane landing (I live near O'Hare International Airport) and its path crossed in front of the sun. It was a beautiful sight; one that I wasn't able to capture in a photo, but the image made me realize how blessed my life is.  Not sure what that has to do with a plane.  I just know that I was near tears.  I love this life. 

I captured this just shortly after seeing
the plane cross in front of it.
We had a family barbeque last weekend.  Most of my sibs and their families were there.  My sister-in-law's aunt also came and I just love this picture of Ava and my daughter talking to Auntie Josie. 

And then my absolute favorite human subjects when it comes to taking pictures are my three grandkids.  Such a happy bunch!

No fear in this little one! 
(I need to learn a lesson from her!)

Always one clown in the bunch! 
At 4 1/2 years old, he's chosen to take on that role!
(Maybe I should learn a lesson from this one, too!!)
 I've been reading a book authored by one of my blogging buddies.  Tracy Spaine over at My Thoughtful Spot wrote a book called Life through the Eyes of a Hurricane Doggie-Dog.  My favorite part is that each chapter ends with "I love this life."  Haven't finished the book yet, but I'm liking what I read so far. 

So that's a little bit of what was going on in my life this week.  Oh, and the new food thing...I tried two different dips.  Couldn't bring myself to try the avocado dip my son made (yeah, that's a visual thing about putting that color green in my mouth).  But of the dips I tried, I liked one, not the other.  Hey cut me some slack, people.  I'm trying!!  And I tried some German Potato Salad that my sister made and loved it.  Not too vinegary. 

Okay, that's all for now.  Hope your weekend has some sunshine in it!! And a little bit of cool weather.  And that you can wrap up this weekend by thinking, "I love this life."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  Thomas Jefferson

"Life without liberty is like a body without spirit."  Kahlil Gibran

"Liberty, taking the word in its concrete sense, consists in the ability to choose."  Simone Weil

"We believe, as our founders did, that the 'pursuit of happiness' depends upon individual liberty; and individual liberty requires limited government." Paul Ryan

Have a wonderfully safe Independence Day!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Bunch o' Random Thoughts

I can't remember if I ever mentioned this before, but I am a fussy eater.  It mostly has to do with texture.  And here's the real shocker for most people.  I don't eat fruit.  The closest I get is drinking orange juice.  No, I won't eat an orange (texture).  I like the smell of ripe bananas (they remind me of circus peanut candies) but I won't eat the bananas as they are.  I DO eat banana bread

Now that I'm in the 2nd half of my life, I've decided that it's time I challenge the fussy eater in me.  So I have vowed to try a new food every week. And I'm going to try to post it here so that I can commit to at least ONE blog post every week.  Yes, I know I'm exposing myself to "You've GOT to be kidding?  You've never tried that?" responses, but hey, it's a commitment!!  So you're not allowed to laugh at me!!!

Last weekend, I had back-to-back days of babysitting my granddaughter.  Her favorite activity?  Playing in the dirt.  The result? 

I love that she doesn't mind getting dirty!

I don't go on Facebook as much as I used to and, frankly, I'm not missing it.  Maybe it's just a summer thing.  But I'm okay with it!

I start my new position at work on Monday.  Looking forward to that.  Got a glowing review from my boss on the position I am currently in.  Nice to know he notices the little things!!

We finally got some rain in the area, amid the high temps.  I'm always amazed that at my daughter & son-in-law's place, who live 25 mins. away, the temps can sometimes be 20 degrees cooler than where I live.  And sometimes they get a downpour and we get nothing.  I guess that's what happens to weather patterns near Lake Michigan. 

But now that we got the rain, the weeds remember what their job is.  So I've got a weekend of weeding to do. 

My plan is to transform my backyard into a perennial garden over the next couple of years.  I am in awe of the garden that Leslie over at Goldens and Garden has and decided that I can take the back third of my yard and create a garden that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds and most likely rabbits.  So I'm on mission.  These are a start...


Oriental Lily
(Doesn't this look like a Stargazer Lily?)

My daughter and I took a class on getting comfortable with our DSL cameras (moving to manual shooting).  So I've been practicing with that.  Not sure I have any pics that stand out.  But it's been fun trying out all the settings.

Golden Finch
(Daughter's house is like a bird sanctuary)

A mother rabbit in my backyard
When I look at how she and her little ones
are dining on my veggies,
I'm thinking she's not so cute!
 And one more to share with you.

Have you ever seen a more angelic face??
(Yeah, I know I'm biased.  But it's my blog!!)

So, I can't remember what I ate this week that was new (damn memory!!), but the week before it was bamboo shoots.  And I'm still living (as one of my co-workers observed!!!).  Edit - Okay, the love of my life just reminded me what I ate last week.  Goat cheese.  Opinion:  I can take it or leave it. 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.  Stay cool and hydrated. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Path to Your Destination

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook. (Thanks, Leslie)  I think she got it from Lesser Evil Snacks' Facebook page.

I love this thought...

Hope your path is an interesting one today.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

A great man.
A smart man.
A family man.
A gentle soul.
Loved a corny joke.
Loved his cup of coffee in the a.m.
Loved to read.
Loved to eat Fritos while he read.
Awesome smile.
Twinkle in his eye.
I'd like you to meet my Dad.

To those who are, and to those who play a part in raising a kid or grandkid,

Happy Father's Day!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Thomas Campbell said, "A patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree." 

In memory of those who fought for the freedom that we all enjoy, thank you!   

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Start of the Three-Day Weekend

Ahhhh!!!  Saturday!! The beginning of a three-day weekend!  I got an early start in the garden (was it before 7 a.m.??) and my PG came out to help after he got up.  All we got done so today (so far) is weeding.  Because we had a warm spell in March this year, I think my garden decided to take off way early in providing the kinds of growth I don't want.  But now we're ready to dump the compost material on the ground and help make the soil easier to work with. 

So I can't say I have a whole lot of gardeny type pics to show you.  Well, except for the ginormous Mr. Lincoln roses.  They have never opened this big before.  Hmmmm...might it be the up side to last year's garage fire at the neighbor's? 

And I have this rosebush that seems to have all different shades of pink in its roses.  If I keep up with deadheading the old flowers, it will bloom all summer. 

This little guy is one of a whole family living under my hostas.  I usually see them in the morning as I leave for work.  But today, I think the weedless dirt was enticing.  He rolled around in the dirt before making a meal of my azalea that no longer has beautiful pink flowers. 

But most of my entertainment today came from our winged visitors.  Saw these house finches.  She was incredibly vocal with him.  Almost scolding him.

 Next thing you know, he's feeding her.  I guess nagging does work sometimes.

Then I caught these sparrows.  Hehehe...I know what they're doing!!! 

And Mr. Robin decided it was time to get ready for his Saturday night date.  Bathing, primping.  Oh, yeah!!

Amazing how we can take our human behavior and superimpose it on the animal world, don't you think?  Well, at least it's fun to imagine!!

Now, what is not lost on me this weekend is the reason for the extra day off.  No matter how you feel about the current state of our nation and the politics that seem to invade every inch of our lives, we are still a nation that celebrates freedom.  And that would not be possible without the sacrifices made by those who defend us.  Because freedom isn't free.  There's been a huge price paid.  And this weekend is set aside for us to remember those who paid that price. 

Say a prayer of gratitude for a soldier.  And one for his/her family. 
Before you bite into that burger!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

TGITW (Thank God It's The Weekend)

What a week!!  I had a wonderful Mother's Day!  Spent some time with the kids and grandkids at my daughter's house.  And realized something...that it doesn't matter whether my kids are 3 or 33, when they are in a good mood I am in a good mood.  It was so much fun

to watch my son play with his nephew. 

And to listen to this little girl declare at the top of her lungs, "I LUB YOU". 

And to look over and see my PG taking it all in. 

And to watch as he showed Ava how to prepare corn for the grill.

And to look at this beautiful daughter of mine basking in this life she has.

It was a great Mother's Day.

And then came work!  1700+ manila envelopes stuffed with registration material for the 2012-2013 school year.  Yes, we start preparing for the next school year as early as February.  And these envelopes are the culmination of that work.  So it would be a true statement to say that if I never see another manila envelope for a long time, it would make my day/week/month. 

Oh, except the Pick Your Plum envelopes.  But they're padded.  So that's different.  Have you heard of Pick Your Plum?  Each weekday they have an offer that lasts til they sell out.  I've gotten a number of deals on that site.  Shipping prices are phenomenal when you buy more than one of an item.

Looking forward to a shorter workday starting later this week. Gotta love summer hours!!  Gonna make the most of that additional hour at home by getting my garden in shape.  All I've got so far is:

Lots o'work to do.  I'll take pics of the progress!!

Do you have any garden plans?