January 21, 2018

It's Sunday But It Feels Like Friday

It's Saturday night and the husband is snoring over there on the sofa, so that means it's time to have a little fun answering the Sunday Stealing questions. Thank you, Bev, for taking the time to come up with them every week. It's a tough job and you are doing wonderfully well!

Kim is a vegan architect and runner from a Chicago suburb.
She posts a question every Friday at ilaxstudio.  I collected a bunch of her Friday questions.

1. Have you ever tried to learn (or re-learn) a foreign language as an adult? Which one? What worked for you?  The last church we attended was multi-cultural, a bit of an oddity in this area. It started as a service for Filipinos started by friends of ours and took off from there. Because of that I tried to pick up a few words here and there and also some Spanish from a Mexican family that attended. I didn't seriously try to master either language, just had fun learning some words. As for what worked...wanting to know how to say something and then using it, over and over.

2. Do you donate blood? Do you know your blood type? I haven't donated in quite a few years. It takes them so long to get enough out of me that the last time I went they kind of suggested it might not be for me. Oh, I do know my blood type. It's A+.

3. Have you ever been in a play or musical?
  I've never been in a musical. Good grief, that would clear the theater! I don't have a lick of musical ability. I was in several plays in elementary school. One year my class did two plays in order to have enough parts for everyone and my teacher gave me a part in both because she thought I was the only one up to it.

4. Do you use certain text or ring tones for specific people? Who gets their own? Or do you just use the default on your phone?
  I used to do that, but one, I can't figure out how to do it on my current phone and two, hardly anyone actually lets their phone ring so when mine does I don't want it to be too obnoxious. I use the whistled theme song from the Andy Griffith show for everyone.

5. When did you get your first digital camera? Do you still shoot on actual film, or all digital now?  I guess it's been about 10 years since I got my first digital camera. No, I don't use film these days. Some days I miss that, but not too often. It's so much easier and more fun to be creative with the digital images.

6. What do you think someone else would say the most daring thing you’ve done is? Probably taking a group of teenagers from across the denomination on a mission trip to the Navajo reservation. Being responsible for a bunch of teens who are away from home and in new and unique setting is a bit of a challenge.

7. Do you talk with your hands?  Sometimes. Not as much as I used to.

8. Do you have a lucky number? What is it, and what is the story behind it?  No lucky number. I like the number 9 for some unknown reason, but I don't believe in lucky items. However...

9. What kind of milk did you drink, growing up? And now?
  Apparently I was allergic as a baby so I was on a soy formula. I think that shaped my life-long dislike of milk. I've always had to drink it flavored to get it down. When I was really little and lived with my grandparents and later was babysat by my grandmother I drank raw milk from a neighbor's farm. I can remember going with my grandfather to get it in milk cans. I even remember churning butter a few times. At home we drank regular old pasteurized whole milk. As an adult I've always bought 2% until about a year ago when I tried almond milk. I still don't like it plain, but the vanilla and chocolate are delish!

10. What is your favorite kind of pie? Not a big pie eater, but I wouldn't say no to strawberry-rhubarb or cheesecake.

11. Are you a note taker? Oh yes. I should have taken shorthand because I tend to take copious notes.

12. Do you have an eclectic mug collection, or is your stuff all matchy matchy? 
No matchy-matchy stuff here. In fact, I gave away the mugs that matched my everyday dishes. 

13. Do you have a junk drawer in your house/garage/at work/wherever?
  Do I have a junk drawer? 

I have one in every room!

14. What is the longest amount of time you’ve worked at one job – and what was/is it?  That would be my current job. I've been working for this company for 12 years. The kids who were in 1st grade when I started are now seniors. Man, now I'm sad. And old.

15. How old were you when you took your first commercial flight? To where did you fly?  Well, I flew long before my first commercial flight, which I think I took when I was 20. I would have either been flying from Pittsburgh to Orlando or from Orlando to Pittsburgh.

Have a great Sunday!

January 20, 2018

Saturday 9: Jump!

Jumping in with Sam and the gang (see what I did right there?) for a round of the Saturday 9 before getting busy on all the chores waiting for me. At least it's beginning to warm up with a high temperature in the 40's predicted and later we've got dinner with friends to look forward to. 

Enjoy your Saturday and please, stop by the Saturday 9 site and say thanks to Sam for coming up with the questions and hosting every week...maybe you'd even want to play along. It's really easy and there really aren't any rules to speak of and it's fun with lots of nice people. C'mon....you know you want to.

Saturday 9: Jump (1984)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) David Lee Roth does a lot of jumping in this video. He credits his flashy moves to his study with marital artist Benny Urquidez. Have you ever tried karate, judo, or jiu-jitzu?  Nope. Not even back in the 70's when 

2) Dave claims to be fluent in Spanish. Say something "en espaƱol."  Taco Bell.

3) Dave appeared as himself in an episode of The Sopranos, playing poker with Tony Soprano. Are you a good poker player?  I learned to play with my parents and some of our neighbors who used to get together on Saturday nights to play "penny ante" poker. Then when our son was in high school and Texas Hold'em was the big thing we'd play with friends of ours. I've never played when there was any serious betting going on and since I just get lucky and win a hand every now and then it's not likely that I ever will.

4) Though known for his prowess on the guitar, Eddie Van Halen wrote the opening of this song at the keyboard when he was still new to the synthesizer. When do you recently venture outside your comfort zone? Was it a success?  I can't think of anything recent. I am pretty content in my winter semi-hibernation zone.

5) Eddie's older brother Alex is the Van Halen drummer and his son, Wolfie, began touring with the band in 2007. Have you ever worked with a family member?  Sure have. I met my husband at work...where my dad was my supervisor and my future sister-in-law worked there, too. I worked in a clothing store with another sister-in-law. I don't remember any of it being too bad. Would I want to do it again? No.

6) Van Halen's first manger was Marshall Berle. Mr. Berle's uncle was Milton Berle. Does the name Milton Berle mean anything to you?
Vaguely. I remember him being on the panels of a lot of game shows and making guest appearances on variety shows, but I don't really remember any of his jokes or routines.

7) In 1984, when this song was popular, AT&T/Bell Telephone was broken up into 24 separate companies. Today, who is your phone provider?  Um....it's part of my Comcast bundle, but I don't think it's actually Comcast providing the line. Maybe AT&T?  My cell phone provider is AT&T. 

Well, them, my mom, and for some reason, our daughter.

8) Also in 1984, Michael Jackson was severely burned while filming a Pepsi commercial. Would we find any Pepsi in your kitchen right now?  Nope. I used to be a Pepsi person, but a decade or so back I switched to Coke and now that I'm only drinking diet soda, I'm definitely a Diet Coke girl.  Diet Pepsi is disgusting.

9) Random question: Have you ever been so angry that you kicked or hit an inanimate object? 
I've been mad enough to want to want to kick my kids when they were teenagers. That's almost the same thing.

January 17, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge: The Wish I Was at the Beach Edition

Linking up with Joyce @ From This Side of the Pond
for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Visit to find links
to posts from other players or to join the fun.

1. What keeps you blogging? The wonderful people I get to "meet." I love that through blogging I'm able to interact with people from all over the country and even the world and that we can share information, our various views, learn from each other, and just have some fun. Also, as someone who has always felt the need to write blogging has been a great platform for that. I've tried to give it up several times over the years and always end up coming back.

2. Some people like to travel in the winter months. Do you enjoy the beach in winter? We lived in Florida for a couple of years when we were first married and we went to the beach at times that would be considered winter, but we really didn't think about it being winter in that climate. I always enjoyed it, so I guess the answer is yes. According to Southern Living the best U.S. beach towns to visit this winter are-

St Simons Island (Georgia), Hilton Head (South Carolina), Bald Head Island (North Carolina), Seaside (Florida), Bay St. Louis (Mississippi), Cape San Blas (Florida), South Padre Island (Texas), Folly Beach (South Carolina), Chincoteague (Virginia), Duck Key (Florida), Nags Head (North Carolina), and Fairhope (Alabama)

Have you been to any of the towns listed (in any season)? Which on the list appeals to you most this winter?  Chincoteague is one of my very favorite spots in the world and our family has vacationed there several times. If we can ever get everyone's schedules to line up, we hope to one day rent a large house and have the whole family go. It would be my first choice from the list, but if I had to pick one I haven't been to I would choose Duck Key. I've been hinting to my husband for a while now that I would like to visit the Florida Keys.

3. What's a song you're embarrassed to know all the lyrics to? The one in the video below. Are you really embarrassed or do just think you should be?  I just think I should be. I'm actually pretty tickled that a cousin of mine was one of the song writers on it.

4. When you were a kid what's something you thought would be fantastic as an adult, but now that you're an adult you realize it's not all that fantastic?  Getting to make all my own decisions about life. Some days "adulting" is just not all that fun.

5. Share a quote you hope will inspire you in 2018.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
  School is on a 2-hour delay today due to the very cold temperatures and less than great road conditions. It's possible that it may go to a cancellation, but if it doesn't I surely hope and pray it is a better day than yesterday.  We went out in the buses on time yesterday in horrible conditions when a delay should have been called. Then on top of that, a threat (that's still all the school district will say) was discovered in a restroom at the senior high and the decision was made to evacuate all the schools in the district to remote safe locations. The students were then bused home from those locations. It was a stressful, hectic, confusing (there really was no rehearsed plan for such a thing in place) day and I was in the bus from 5:45 yesterday morning until 1:00 in the afternoon with no break. At least the roads were cleared by the time we were dealing with that. Snow began again after I got home and my poor husband, who is currently working a 1.5 hour drive from home, left work at 4:30 and didn't get home until 9:30! The roads were THAT bad with accidents all over the place. Still, there's much to be thankful for, as in all those situations everyone was safe.

January 15, 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook: January 2018

I'm linking up to The Simple Woman's Daybook today. You can find the host site here as well as links to posts by other bloggers and the format and rules (just in case you'd like to join in). I like the homey feel of it and getting a peek into everyone's lives...there are some very creative ladies participating and some wonderful photographs.

For Today...

Looking out my window...It's 10 degrees, cloudy, and there's about 4 inches of snow on the ground. Pretty typical weather for southwestern PA in January.

I am thinking...That I really should get ready to go to my appointment at the doctor's office. Nothing is wrong, just a check up since I am taking the Adipex-P appetite control pill. I have to go monthly and pass with flying colors in order to get the next month's prescription.

I am thankful...for so many things right now. We have so far missed the flu and all other bugs and viruses floating around, we have been nice and warm during all this extremely cold weather, my husband is getting serious about losing weight and eating healthy (it makes it easier for me!), my new Living Well planner, lots of books waiting to be read, and my God who never tires of loving me or teaching me new things.

One of my favorite things...is the newly discovered luxury of ordering groceries online and then just having to pull up at the store and they are brought out and put in the car for me.

I am creating...goals for myself, for the day, for the week, for the month, for the year. All in that new planner. I want to get a handle on our finances this year. It's harder than you'd think.

I am wearing...the granny nightgown covered with cardinals that Mom gave me for Christmas, red plaid leggings, fuzzy socks, and warm winter slippers...an outfit I really need to change out of to go to that appointment. LOL

I am reading/watching/listening to...On the Edge by Parker Hudson. A friend brought it to my attention and I am so glad she did! It is a story about spiritual warfare, of what goes on in the spirit realm beyond what we can see. It's about the battle for our souls. It's really different in that it's two books in one. One shows what one family's lives would be like without the presence of God and the second shows what their lives would be like if they were saved by Jesus and had a relationship with God and the influence of godly friends. There's nothing new, really, but Hudson has such a talent for putting things out there plainly and really making you think. It's an older book, from 1994...I wish I had known about it and read it years ago as a young Christian. It would have maybe saved me a lot of heartache.

I am hoping...to avoid the flu (or any bug). It's beginning to hit our area hard and with me being around kids every day, it's a concern. I keep up on my vitamins, wash my hands a lot, and the bus is stocked with Lysol spray and wipes, as well as hand sanitizer.

I am learning...to live more in the moment, to reach out rather than keep to myself, and to be more bold in my faith.

In my kitchen...I'm doing more cooking from scratch. I enjoy cooking, but at the end of the day I am usually tired and don't want to put the effort into cooking. I recently signed up for a meal plan program where there are a month's worth of meals to choose from in several categories and most of them are quite easy to make. It even has shopping lists I can download. I chose several recipes this past week, ordered the needed items online from Walmart (which eliminates those impulse temptations at the store), and then just had to pick them up at the store. I tried to pick recipes with foods I know my husband will eat, but that are prepared in a new way. So far it's been a hit.

In my garden...nothing is happening since we are once again in the deep freeze and covered by snow.

Post script...I am just beginning to explore The Spruce. It's a website with tips and advice on virtually anything home and family related.

Shared quote... 

Closing notes...A pot of soup is simmering on the stove and it is snowing again. My husband is battling icy roads to come home. On a good day he has a 2-hour drive. Bible study at my teacher's home has been cancelled for tomorrow night. Today was a day off work due to the MLK holiday. I wonder if tomorrow will be called a snow day or delayed due to the weather? 

January 13, 2018

Sunday Stealing: Let's Talk

We're hibernating again here. We went from 65 degrees on Friday to about 15 degrees on Saturday with 6 inches of snow and down to 2 degrees overnight. What better time to answer some Sunday Stealing questions. Thanks to Bev for coming up with them week after week!

Here are some conversation starters, stolen from Conversation Starters

1. What are some small things that make your day better?  Time to do devotions first thing in the morning, green lights on the way to work, seeing the sun rise over the ridge, my dog's excited greeting, mail that isn't junk or a bill, a call from a friend.

2. What shows are you into?
The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, Scorpion, Fixer Upper, House Hunters, American Pickers.

3. What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?
I can't think of anything. I really don't watch much TV. How about a channel with shows that are clever and entertaining without explicit sexual content, excessive cursing, violence, and the like. Sometimes it would be nice to not be bombarded with that stuff. And not old classics. Surely, it's possible to make new shows like that. I'm not a prude but there is more to life than that.

4. Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?  While I'm not really a fan of some of her views, I do give Oprah Winfrey credit for coming from a childhood of trauma and adversity to becoming one of the wealthiest and most powerful women on the planet.

5. What age do you wish you could permanently be?  At one time I might have said 35 - 40, but then the grandkids happened and I wouldn't want to miss out on them so I'll just say this age, which is 53, is just fine.

6. What TV show or movie do you refuse to watch?  I can't think of anything specific at the moment, but as a rule, I don't watch horror or anything with extreme violence.

7. What is something that is considered a luxury, but you don’t think you could live without?  My car, the microwave, my laptop, and the brushed fleece sheets I just bought last week (they are sooooo snuggly and warm).

8. What’s your claim to fame?
  I don't think I really have one, but I'm known in the family for my cooking and baking.

9. What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?
  I look up phone numbers in the phone book rather than use my cell phone to search for them.

10. What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?  I like mysteries, but romantic comedies run a close second.

11. How often do you people watch?
  Well, I see people everywhere I go, but to purposely people watch...not very often.

12. What have you only recently formed an opinion about?  I've been trying some new recipes and forming some definite opinions on them.

13. What are you interested in that most people haven’t heard of?
I can't think of anything. If I'm interested, I'm sure you've heard of it.

14. What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?  Arizona.

15. What is the most heartwarming thing you’ve ever seen?  Our youngest grandson's face anytime he sees his mommy or daddy after they've been apart for even a short while. He just lights up with love.

16. What is the most annoying question that people ask you?
  What are you doing?  I don't know why, but there it is.

17. What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?  I've done enough of it in the past, that I'm sure I could present something on the Bible. Other than that I could probably blather on about journaling, books, flea markets/auctions/yard sales, gardening, and cooking. Although...I loathe public speaking and usually end up a nervous wreck so my mind might go completely blank if I don't have notes.

18. If you were dictator of a small island nation, what crazy dictator stuff would you do?  Everyone would have to greet each other with hugs, manners and basic respect would be required of everyone, and everyone would be required to serve a couple hours of community service each week.

19. What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?  Take a driving trip across and around the United States. Stop at all the sights along the way...the "normal" ones and the kitschy ones.  Talk to the people along the way. Try the local foods. Do things you'd normally never do.

January 12, 2018

Saturday 9: Piano

Saturday 9: Piano (2013)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) As she sings, Ariana muses about the songs she could compose on her piano. Do you play the piano?  Nope. Not an ounce of musical talent here.

2) She compares love songs, saying there are sad ones about how hard love is, and happy ones that make you want to dance. What's your favorite love song? Is it sad or happy?  I think it's borderline sad if you take it in the context of the movie.

3) Ariana's mother always told her that they took her name from Princess Oriana in the 1988 movie Felix the Cat. Who is your favorite cartoon character?  I don't think I can pick just one. Snoopy was my first cartoon love. In the 80's I met a funny little penguin named Opus from the land of Bloom County and these days I love all the critters who populate Pearls Before Swine.

4) Ariana's favorite board game is Monopoly. What's your favorite board game? 
Not Monopoly. I hate that game. Well, the jr. version is okay since it only takes 30 minutes or so to play, but the regular version...just shoot me now. I guess my favorite board games are Life, Clue, Sequence, and Trivial Pursuit. 

5) She relaxes by baking. When you feel keyed up, what do you do to relax?  Read, listen to music, play around on the computer.

6) She is a huge Florida Panthers fan, even though once, as a little girl, she got hit by a puck. Now that the NHL season is underway, how's your favorite team doing?  I don't have a favorite hockey team. The Pittsburgh Penguins are the local team and I don't pay attention, but I would imagine they're doing okay. They usually do.

7) In 2013, when this song was popular, the NHL reached an agreement with the players union and averted a strike. Have you ever belonged to a union?
  Briefly, when I worked at a local grocery. The cashiers had to join the Food Handler's union.

8) Also in 2013, Pauline Philips died. Ms. Philips was better known to millions of readers as "Dear Abby." At its height, her advice column appeared in 1,400 newspapers across the country. Do you still read a printed copy of your newspaper?  Sort of. My husband goes into withdrawal if he doesn't get the daily papers. I skim the headlines, read the editorial page, check the ads, obits, and maybe the funnies...and not every day.

9) If you could get the answer to one question about your future, what would that one question be?  I really don't want to know anything about my future. I'm afraid I'd change things and maybe it would be for the better and maybe it wouldn't.  Kind of like the Garth Brooks song, The Dance, "I'd have missed the pain, but then I'd have missed the dance."

Thanks, Sam, for another fun edition of the Saturday 9!
Stop by the site for links to the other players
or to find the rules to play along with us.

January 10, 2018

A Trendy Hodgepodge

Are you thawing out yet? We've begun a gradual warming trend around here. A good bit of the snow melted yesterday, though quite a bit still remains. It got cold last night, much colder than predicted, and all that water from yesterday's melting snow and ice refroze. We should see more of it disappear later today as the temperature is supposed to reach the mid 40s.

I'm participating in the Wednesday Hodgepodge, hosted by Joyce @ From This Side of the Pond. Give her a visit to find links to the others who are playing along and to find the rules if you'd like to join in the fun. Thank you, Joyce, for coming up with questions for us to answer week after week!

1. January is National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?  I've never had an "official" mentor, but several people throughout my life have taken on the role unofficially by teaching me what they knew about a certain thing. I've also never been a mentor in any official way, but I think I have at least sort of filled that role for a few people, most of them teenagers when I was involved with youth ministry. I would rate having a mentor as a very positive experience. It's great to benefit from someone's shared wisdom and avoid the pitfalls of inexperience. On the other hand, I would rate being a mentor as sort of a mixed experience. It is wonderful to help someone grow and mature at something and usually it is a blessing, but sometimes the one being mentored can be very draining on you emotionally, time-wise, or even spiritually. You'd better be good at setting limits if you step into the role of mentor.

2. What current trend makes no sense to you?  I'm still scratching my head over man-buns. Ugh. I still don't get Twitter or Snap Chat. Also, the current trend of basically throwing an adult temper tantrum when you don't like something....well, whatever happened to manners, kindness, intelligence, or just dealing with the fact that we can't all have our own way all the time?

3. I saw a cartoon on facebook highlighting a few 'weird' things that make you happy as an adult. The list included-writing with a nice pen, having plans cancelled, freshly cleaned sheets, eating the corner brownie, cleaning the dryer lint screen, and sipping coffee in that brief time before anyone else wakes up. (Credit for the cartoon goes here) Of the 'weird' things listed which one makes you happiest? What is one more 'weird' thing you'd add to the list?
  It's definitely writing with a nice pen for me and along with that writing the first words in a brand new, blank journal. As for a weird thing I'd add...being the first one to dip a knife into the peanut butter (or the butter or the jelly jar).

4. What's the last good thing you ate?
  The lasagna we had for dinner Monday evening.

5. Describe life in your 20's in one sentence.
  Married and raising kids.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

For real. Except it's not really slow. If I buy yellow bananas today, they are brown tomorrow. If I buy green bananas, they are brown tomorrow. I have tried all the tricks (pull them apart, etc.) and bought the little banana tree thing for the counter and I still get brown bananas. How do you beat this????

January 8, 2018

Coming Out of Hibernation

Hello and welcome back....or did you not just spend the last three days in hibernation like I did?  It's true.  With the mercury dipping a good bit below zero and the wind making it feel like that was possibly absolute zero (remember back to your high school science class for that reference), I stayed inside and mostly huddled under a snuggly throw with Daisy. This morning has been rather ugly weather-wise, a mix of snow, rain and freezing rain, but the temperature has remained above freezing (barely) and it feels all most like a heatwave! That is definitely a welcome change.

Some good came out of my seclusion. 

I got lots of napping done, which I rarely, if ever do. 

I signed up for a menu planning service and downloaded my first batch of menus and shopping lists.

I ordered groceries online from Walmart for the first time. I picked them up after work this morning. This is a great service. I didn't have to spend time walking around the store...just pull in, call the number to let them know you are there, and they bring it out and put it in the car. And it's free! (Not the groceries, just the service.) I wish I had known how yucky today's weather was going to be, though, as I still had to carry it all in the house when I got home. I really love this. Once I get familiar with the site I'll be able to place an order quickly and if I don't have to go in, then I won't be tempted by all those strategically placed items Walmart sets out to spur your impulse shopping.

I moved my great-grandma's dough box out of my office/library and moved the Total Gym in. I'm trying to rearrange a few things so that I can have it open and set up all the time so I will be more inclined to use it. Maybe it will inspire my husband, too.

I finally chose my word for the year. I had a tough time narrowing it down. There were several contenders: mindful, kind, present, focused, etc. I finally chose "Love." I don't mean the mooshy, gooshy kind of love. I mean Biblical love. 1 Corinthians 13 spells out all the things that comprise God's kind of love: patience; kindness; rejoices with the truth; always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres; bears all things; believes all things; and endures all things. It also spells out all the things God's kind of love is not: it doesn't envy; it doesn't boast; it isn't prideful; it isn't rude; it isn't self-seeking; it isn't easily angered; it doesn't keep score; it doesn't delight in wrongdoing; it never gives up; it never loses faith; it never fails. That's who I want to work toward being in 2018, a woman who loves like the Lord.

I read. A lot. I finished book number 2 for the year already. At this rate I won't have any problem reaching my goal of 45...which is sort of a moderate goal. I didn't want to be discouraged and feel bad if I wasn't reading enough, but if I can read more....well, go me!

The book I read was James Rollins' Demon Crown. It is the 13th book in the Sigma Force series. Rollins is a master at combining science fact with science possibility and throwing in some a lot of buckle-up-and-hang-on action and adventure. The tales he weaves are fiction, but the science in them, which he documents and points out as being true in each book, lend them an edge of possibility. 

Demon Crown did not disappoint at all. It had all the heart-stopping action I've come to expect while being led all over the world and introduced to rare and amazing people, places, and things. 

All the members of Sigma Force were back, plus a couple of new faces, and my emotions were all over the place at the dangers they faced and wondering if some of them would live on in the next book. It was an intense look at what might be possible with those insect specimens we've all seen that have been trapped in amber since prehistoric times. Recall that they got DNA from a specimen in amber in Jurassic Park....and multiply that by...a lot!...to come up with the how horrible it would be factor.

I can't tell you anything else because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who might want to read it. Just let me express the thought I have after reading every single Sigma Force book. Why? Why, why, why, are these books not being made into movies? They are perfect for it.

If you love a good, action-filled adventure and are interested in new technologies and how they could impact our world...you need to start reading this series!

It looks like the wet stuff has gone completely to rain so I guess I'd better get ready and head back to work before it changes its mind again.

Have a great week!

January 7, 2018

Sunday Stealing: A Lot of Really Hard Questions

Hello! I hope you are keeping warm this weekend since it seems most of the country is suffering through ridiculously cold temperatures. I've spent most of the last two days cuddled up with my pup, a cozy blanket, and a fire blazing in the pellet stove. It gives me plenty of time to answer meme questions. So, since I'm here and you're here, let's get on with the first Sunday Stealing of 2018.

This from Bev:

This is a questionnaire that I answer every year, because most answers change every year.  You can find it all over the Internet.  Now it's here.

End of Year Questions

1. What did you do last year that you had not done before?
  I raised vegetables in the raised beds my husband built for me. I grew up always having a garden, but had never tried raised beds before. It was a learning year with both successes and failures, but I'm a fan. We hope to build one or two more this year.

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions/goals for the year and will you make/set more for next year?  What are they? What are your new ones?  I don't think I made any last year, so the keeping of them is a moot point. As for this year, I have made some resolutions promises to myself.  I will live more intentionally in the moment. Weather permitting, I will walk the dog. I will use the Total Gym I bought for a ridiculous amount of money at least 3 times per week. I will cook at home more. I will get a grip on our finances. I will use the new planner I ordered to be more organized.

3. Did anyone you know give birth? Or become pregnant?  Or adopt?
  One of our nieces had a boy in September. He has the most ridiculous amount of hair. Think Elvis in a Onesie!

4. Did anyone you know die? Or have a serious illness/injury?  Some acquaintances, but no one close.

5. What places have you visited? We didn't get away this year until after the wedding and then it was just for a long weekend in Erie, PA. We visited with some of the family we have up there, did some shopping, did some antiquing, and visited a whole lot of wineries.

6. Any new pets? Lost a pet?  I lost my sweet Beagle/Basset mix on December 4 and the house still feels empty without him in it. I've always had dogs, but he was really special with the ability to bring comfort when anyone was hurting. Our daughter relied heavily on him during tough times and is having a hard time dealing with the loss. I had a canvas photo collage made and gave it to her earlier this week. I'm not ready for a new pet yet.

7. What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year (doesn't have to be a physical thing i.e. love, job security, peace of mind...)?
Financial peace of mind.

8. What date from last year will remain etched in your memory and why?
September 23 because it was our daughter's wedding day and December 4 because of losing my dog.

9. What was your biggest achievement last year?
  Not strangling our daughter during the planning of her wedding. She had some serious "Bridezilla" moments.

10. Did you get sick or injured?
I got the flu January 2 and it took months of treatment and testing to ditch the cough, I sprained my neck coughing,  I was diagnosed with degenerative disk disease in June, and got heat exhaustion during the wedding. Honestly, none of that seemed too bad except for the cough.

11. What was the best thing you bought? A sweet little writing desk for $5 at an auction. It was pretty scuffed up, but my husband cleaned it up and stained it and it looks really nice. I use it every day.

12. Where did most of your disposable income go (money leftover after you pay for food, medical care, basic clothing, transportation and shelter)?
The wedding!

13. What song will always remind you of last year?
  Doesn't have to be a song released last year.  The Barney Song, If You're Happy and You Know It, and Itsy Bitsy Spider...all of which I have sung to our grandson about a million times.

14. What do you wish you would have done more of?  Getting away with my husband for a day or a weekend.

15. What do you wish you would have done less of?  Facebook. It's rarely very much fun these days, but I still feel like I have to check in daily and then I get sucked into reading a bunch of stupid stuff.

16. What was your favorite new TV program? Movie? Album/Songs? Or if you didn't pick up any new ones, what are you still watching/listening to? Any recommendations?
  I haven't watched many of the new shows, but I do like Young Sheldon. My favorites remain The Big Bang Theory and Scorpion. As for movies, I just read through a list of all the movies released in 2017 and I haven't seen any of them and there are only a handful that I'd even want to see. When it comes to music, I've been on a 70s and 80s kick, so nothing new on my radar.

17. What was the best book you read this year?  How many did you read?
  I've mentioned it before, but the best book I read was easily, Driven by Eternity by John Bevere. I didn't keep up with my book list, but I'd guess at the very least, I read 30, but it was probably more.

18. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? Did you feel differently?
  I turned 53 this year, we didn't do anything that day, but did go out for dinner that weekend, and nope...53 feels pretty much like 52.

19. What political or social issue stirred you the most? The horrible divide between us all and the tolerance that was lacking on both "sides" even though everyone was demanding it.

20. Who was the most interesting new person you met? I can't think of anyone new that was all that interesting.

21. Describe how a relationship changed.
  I'm not sure what caused the change, but I am so very thankful that the relationship with my son and his wife is a lot easier now. We actually joke without worrying about upsetting anyone, have conversations, and I feel a lot freer in my interactions with their kids.

22. Do you think you are still the same person that you were at the beginning of the year?  How so?
  No, I know I'm different because God and I hashed out a lot of things over the summer. I hope what I learned has made me kinder and therefore closer to living by the description of love given in 1 Corinthians 13.

23. Summarize the year in three words or less. Bonus points for doing it in one word. Explain. Reflective, focused, busy.

24. How have people around you changed?
As she has dealt with having a baby and being a wife, my daughter has gained maturity and respect for all we've done for her. She now seeks me out for advice or to listen to her rants.

25. What have you learned throughout the year? (Other than crafts) That I like who I am and how to be comfortable in my own skin.

26. Did you learn any new crafts or techniques? What was your favorite thing you made? I went with a bunch of "girls" I graduated from high school with to a painting class at a local craft venue. I painted a cute Christmas sign on pallet wood and gave it to our daughter for Christmas.

27. What changed about your physical appearance? (Hair? Wrinkles? New makeup style? Etc)
My hair is shorter and I lost 35 lbs.

28. What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?  (Some suggestions-family, travel, work, lifestyle, hobbies, pets, appearance)
I hope to continue losing weight, see more of my son's family, take a shower in the newly remodeled bathroom, spend more time doing fun things with my husband, and see everyone treat each other with respect and kindness.

January 5, 2018

Saturday 9: I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm

Well....we certainly need something to keep us warm this weekend with temperatures falling below zero and the windchill at dangerous levels.  I don't know that love will do the job, but at least the Saturday 9 gives us something to do while we're stuck inside.  

Be sure to head over and thank Sam for thinking up the questions week after week at the Saturday 9 site. You'll find the rules to play along and links to the other players there.

Saturday 9: I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (2006)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Bette Midler sings about the storm that's raging outside. How's the weather where you are today?  Cold. Frostbite inducing cold. I'm doing this a bit before midnight on Friday evening and tomorrow will not be any better. It was so cold that ALL of the public schools in most of the western half of Pennsylvania closed today (the eastern half closed due to the storm that moved up the coast). It's been cold all week. I am over winter already...and there's still a lot of winter to go. Not good.

2) She mentions her gloves. Tell us about your favorite pair of gloves or mittens.
I've always liked my Isotoner driving gloves, but I got a pair of Isotoner mittens in my Christmas stocking. They have a fleece lining and have a layer in the middle that makes them water resistant. They are so warm and toasty! I've really appreciated that this week.

3) Does your home have a fireplace to keep you warm?
  We have a pellet stove and it has been burning nonstop whenever I am home. It makes a huge difference as it is a constant heat, rather than the off and on of a furnace. Ours also has a thermostat so I can set it for a heat and it adjusts the intensity of the fire automatically to keep it steady.

4) Bette's father, Fred, supported his family as a house painter. Have you ever held a job that kept you outdoors a great deal of the time?
  Only a summer job back in high school. I worked in the Pocono Mountains as part of the Youth Conservation Corps the summer before my senior year. It was hard work, but I loved it.

5) Her mother, Ruth, was a talented seamstress. How about you? Can you sew on a button? Raise a hem? Darn a hole?
No. I still take such things to my mom. When she is gone I'm going to have to throw things away and buy new ones. Or pay someone else.

6) 2017 was a big year for Bette. At the age of 72, she opened on Broadway in the revival of Hello, Dolly! and won a Tony. As we kick off 2018, what would you like to accomplish this year?
  I want to continue to lose weight...this is the year the bathroom remodel will get done (or the you-know-what is going to hit the fan)...and I'd really like to go through the kitchen and do a big purge.

7) Bette and her husband Martin have been married for nearly 34 years. Their wedding was officiated by an Elvis impersonator. Are you looking forward to any weddings in 2018? No, both of our kids are now married as are all of our nieces and nephews.

8) Bette and Martin are very proud of their daughter, Sophie, now 30, who graduated from Yale in 2008. Do you expect to attend any graduation ceremonies in 2018? No.

9) Random question: Yesterday, who did you spend the most time with?  Me, myself and I. My husband worked, and the rest of the world was holed up inside trying to stay warm. I did run some groceries over to our daughter late in the day because they have all had the flu or some such nasty virus all week. I took our grandson a stuffed camel I saw at the store and he loved it!