• February 15, 2017

    UGH

    Feature-Image-2

    Well, it’s that time of year, I guess.  I’ve been sick with a really bad cold for a week now and I’ve gotta say… I’m so tired of this!  I am one of those people who resist illness pretty well, but once I do get sick, I get really sick.  So, yeah.  That’s where I’m at right now.

    I am fortunate, though, that the job I have offers paid sick time and I was able to stay home and let my body heal for a few days without sacrificing my paycheck and ability to cover costs at home.  I know not everyone has this option, so I’m trying to look on the bright side.

    Anyway, I hope to be back in full force next week – wish me luck!

  • September 28, 2016

    September Round Up

    Wow, you guys, September came and went in what feels like a flash!  I don’t even know how we got here!  I guess a big part of this whirlwind month is that it was so busy (which is why I don’t have any pictures!  Sorry in advance)!  Here’s a little review of all the things!

    If you missed it, I started out September with a major hair cut for charity!  You can read more here.  It was such a rewarding and relieving event – plus I love my new hair!  It’s been so much easier to get ready in the mornings  which gives me a ton more time – I actually started doing dishes before I leave for work!  *haha*

    This month was my hubby and my 8th anniversary!  We usually try to go on a trip or do something big like that, but this year we just had too many other things going on to pull it together.  We did go out for a couple of nice dinners and had a lovely picnic lunch in the park, so it was still very nice.  True to our (sort of) tradition, we didn’t get each other individual gifts… we got one big “gift” for the both of us:

    That’s right, friends, we got a new washer and dryer for our anniversary!  I should have taken a picture of the ancient, rumbly, terrifying old machines… but let’s just say they were way past their prime and we needed the new ones!  Our kitty isn’t terribly impressed and I still don’t really know how to work the darn things, but I am a happy laundress!

    rat-queens

    This wasn’t a great reading month… too many other things got in the way.  I did enjoy a new (to me) comic called The Rat Queens.  The art style is glorious and the comic itself is the perfect balance of adventure and comedy.  There is quite a bit of strong language, so be aware of that, but it’s still really fantastic!

     

    animal-vegetable-miracle

    The book club book for October is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  That’s the only book I’ve really made time for so far.  The focus is on eating well from local sources to promote health, seasonal eating, and farming.  I like it a lot, but Barbara can be a bit preachy in her writing – I often feel like she’s wagging her finger at me like I’ve done something terrible.  She also sets the bar for her cause so high that I’m less inspired than I could be just because I know I could never measure up to her standard.  Worth a read if you’re interested in her ideas, but take it with a grain of salt.

     

    outlander-starz-poster2

    Besides being too busy to read much this month, I’ve also devoted a significant amount of time to my new favorite show: Outlander.  I’ve been meaning to read the books (and I still will), but I just couldn’t wait to watch the show any longer!  This is one of the most beautiful, thrilling, emotional, and intriguing shows I’ve ever seen and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone who likes romance, Scotland, time travel, politics, history, or deep stories that make them think!

    On YouTube, I’ve gotten addicted to Carpool Karaoke.  A lovely co-worker suggested it after First Lady Michelle Obama was on and oh. my. gosh.  So fun!  I really love James Corden and he’s done a really lovely job with the series.  Michelle was my favorite guest so far, but I also really loved Adele and Elton John.

    Because I’m a multi-tasker, I’ve been planning for a short trip to Hawaii while watching all those YouTube videos.  that’s right, next month I’ll be boarding a jet plane with my BFF and enjoying the surf and sun in Hawaii!  We are super excited!  I’ve been researching and learning and planning all month and am practically packed already because I’m so excited.  *grins*  Don’t worry, you’ll hear all about it when I get back!

    Lastly, I ran a 5k this month with my husband.  The last one I did was about a year ago and I’ve been exercising a lot, so I figured it would be easy.  Guess what?  It wasn’t.  The course was very different (lots of hills and running on dirt) and I just struggled so much!  I was pretty disappointed, but I learned for sure that I am really not a runner.  I’m just not.  This realization made my hubby sad since he enjoys running, and he was so encouraging and supportive… he even tried to convince me that we’d run together at home and he’d try to help me get better.  Poor thing… so much hope was dashed that day.  I’m glad we did it, but don’t hold your breath waiting for me to try again!  *haha*

    So, that’s my big story for this month.  I hope you are enjoying this time of transition from summer into fall as much as I am!  Go play in some leaves and drink some coffee!

  • April 13, 2016

    Treat Yo’Self!

    Feature-Image

    Ugggh… you guys… I am so tired!  The past six weeks or so have really taken the life out of me!  So much so that I am even struggling to write this at all.  Between Dad’s surgery, family obligations, house projects, financial burdens, typical work stressors, and extra special work stressors on top of it all… I’m beat.

    During this stressful time, I’ve been thinking a lot about self care and how I can get better at it.  I brought it up with my mom and was surprised to find that she wasn’t particularly familiar with the term “self care.”  I guess it’s such a talked about concept in the mental health field that I forget not everyone learns what it means to take care of themselves and why it’s essential to successful living!

    Self care is pretty much just what it sounds like: taking care of one’s own mental, physical, and spiritual health and wellbeing.  This includes managing stress and finding balance with the different facets of one’s life.  Most importantly, self care is a continual process, not a onetime thing!  You have continually take time to find your peace and feed your soul.

    “But that sounds so selfish!  Who has time to get away from work?  The kids?  The house?  The husband?  If I don’t pour my heart and soul into everyone and everything around me, I’m a bad mom/wife/woman!”

    Feet

    I hear you, my dears, and I understand where that feeling comes from!  It’s not always easy to remember that you have value all on your own, is it?  It’s easy to martyr yourself and feel that that is what makes you a good person.  The best way I know to explain that this viewpoint is so flawed is to ask you to remember the last time you got on an airplane and the speech they give before takeoff.  If you need to put on an oxygen mask, they tell you to do yours first and then help others.  That’s not selfish!  You are completely useless to help others if you’re passed out!  The same is true of regular life stuff!

    Have you ever noticed getting grumpy with your coworkers when you slept poorly?  Or snapped at your significant other when dinner is late and you’re a little hangry?  Ever yelled at the kids after a long day at work when all you want to do is draw a bath and drink a glass of wine?  That’s why self care matters!  If you don’t do it, not only do you suffer, but so does everyone else around you!

    So, then, what do you do about it?  Consider what you naturally do to reduce stress and feel good.  From there, you can expand your positive self care strategies and incorporate these things more naturally into your life.  Once something becomes a habit, you won’t have to work as hard to do it on a regular basis.  Discuss your thoughts with your family or friends so they can help you stay on track and to help them understand any changes your self care plan will make in  how  you interact with them.

    Here’s a short list of things to help you get started.  Please add to it and mold it to fit your own, personal needs!

    • Be self aware – know your limits and make a plan to help you stick to what you can handle – it’s okay to say “no” once in a while.
    • Develop a support system – talk to family, friends, people online, and seek out professional help if needed
    • Take care of your body: exercise, eat right, sleep enough
    • Take care of your mind: take time off, read, do something relaxing, practice mindfulness
    • Take care of your spirit: laugh, meditate, attend religious services, spend time in nature or visit a spa

    When in doubt, be like a corgi!  Play outside with your favorite person, drink lots of water, and SMILE!

    Happy-Face

  • April 15, 2015

    Spring Cleaning: Closet Edition – Organize!

    Pretty

    Hello again, dear readers!  I know you’ve been waiting with baited breath to find out how to get all your Keep pile back in to your closet without spending a ton of money while still increasing the organization of it all.

    I’ll tell you right now, there are tons of gimmicky things out there designed to organize closets and storage areas and if you’re not careful, it can become very costly very quickly.  Look at the space and organizational items you already have on hand and get creative with it.  Consider different ways to store items like purses and accessories.  Once you have an idea of what you really need, go shopping.  I started with cheap stores like Marshalls and Ross where I had great success!  Then, I hit up the Target clearance isles  and for the storage boxes (pro tip: Measure where your storage boxes are going to go!  I really needed a bigger size than most boxes are made for it to look right in my built in storage spaces).

    Middle-New

    Now that you have your organizational stuff, put it in place and fill ‘er up!  When hanging clothes back up, sort at least by season or type of clothes.  I separated sweaters and long sleeve tops from short sleeve tops and sorted the short sleeve tops between work appropriate and t-shirt.  Then I sorted those types by color.

    Her-Side-Now

    His-Side-New

    Once it’s all hung up, find all those pieces from your original “Maybe Keep” pile – you know, the pile of stuff you needed to try on and think about whether or not you’d actually use it again – and turn the hangers backwards on the hanging rod.  Then, when you use the item, you can turn the hanger around to indicate you made the right choice in keeping it.  Next year when you clean again, you’ll instantly have your donate pile because you know you won’t actually use the things that are still hung backwards!  Smart, eh?

    Turn-The-Hangers

    Another fun tip I love is to use rolled up catalogs inside your fall and winter boots to keep them standing tall!  There are all kinds of boot holders and expensive tips, tricks, and ideas for boots, but catalogs come to you in the mail for free and work perfectly!

    Boot

    You’re almost there now!  Pull together everything that is left over – accessories, purses, and so on – and find logical places for it all.  The best part of this step is that, if you have room, you can arrange beautiful bags and items on shelves to create a lovely backdrop of color.  This also helps you see what you have so you’re more likely to actually use it all!

    Now, take a step back and enjoy the progress you made!  Enjoy the beauty of a clean and organized space and do whatever you can to maintain this level of awesomeness throughout the year!

  • April 8, 2015

    Spring Cleaning: Closet Edition

    Messy-Closet

    As we established last week, it is spring!  And spring is busy!  If you’re anything like me, the improving weather makes you want to run outside and never come in again.  Being outside in the fresh air makes brings into sharp relief just how stale and dark the air inside is after being shut up all winter.  And if you’re anything like me, that creates an insatiable need to clean, sort, and renew every part of everything in your life.

    This spring, I decided to start with my messy, disgusting closet.  We’re about to get pretty personal here, so I want you to check any judgment you might have at the door.  If it helps, go look in all of your messy closets and remember that you’re not such a great housekeeper either.  And when you’ve done that, think about using the following tips to clean up your act too!

    *grin*

    First things first, assess your mess.  Take a good long look and soak it all in.

    Her-Side

    Her Side

     

    His Side

    His Side

     

    Pile of Shoes

    Pile of Shoes

    Ok, stop soaking it in and move on to the real step #1:  Pull everything out of your closet so you have a blank slate to work with in putting things back.

    Step #2:  Before putting things back, sort into 4 piles.

    Keep, Maybe Keep, Toss or Recycle, and Donate.  This probably goes without saying, but the Keep pile is for things you use and wear on a regular basis.  I also include things  you may not use often, but has sentimental value (e.g.: your wedding gown) and cannot be replaced.

    The Maybe Keep pile is for things you haven’t used or worn in a long time, but you think you might.  It’s also for things you need to try on and need to make sure you can even use it.

    The Toss or Recycle pile is for things that have holes, are broken, or actual trash that made its way into the deep, dark corners of your closet.  As you create this pile, keep in mind all the Pinterest DIY’s you have been saving up – you might not be able to wear your holy t-shirt, but maybe you can make a rug or grocery bag out of it.

    The Donate pile is for things that are still useable and in good condition, but you no longer want them.  These things will be given to charity, friends, or thrift stores.

    Keep

    Keep Pile

    Step # 3:  Execute your plans for each pile.

    Throw everything in the Toss pile away, keeping back things you have a project in mind for.  Be careful not to use the recycle ideas as an excuse to keep crap you’ll never use: be realistic about your plans and don’t hoard junk.  For the things you can Recycle, wash and put away in your craft storage place.

    Try on everything from the Maybe Keep pile and make a judgment call.  If you think you’ll use or wear it and it fits, put it with the Keep pile.  If there’s no way you’ll ever be a size 2 again, put it with the Donate pile.

    Bag or box up everything for Donation.  If you think friend might want some of it, let them sort through it before dropping it off at your favorite charity or thrift store.  This is a great time to donate the plastic grocery bags you’ve been hanging on to too – thrift stores often reuse grocery bags for their own shoppers.

    For what to do with the Keep pile, tune in next week!

     

    Happy Spring Cleaning!

  • October 15, 2014

    Computer Fix

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    Oh. My. Gosh. This has been a looooong time coming. It’s hard to replace things like computers when you can “make due” for a while. And when you are broke. Computers are expensive, ya’ll!

    Alas, it finally had to happen! The noisy fan, the jacked up mouse and keyboard, and the ridiculous Frankenstein style inner workings were just too much to bear. I never knew when my computer would start up or when it would tell me to take a hike. It’s really hard to get anything done when nothing works properly.

    I know a lot of you probably don’t give a rat’s fart about the inner workings of computers. As long as you can use Facebook and Pinterest, the rest isn’t really that important.  I get it.  However, I have a husband who really cares.  This is nice for me, because he usually takes care of the computer issues and fixes things for me.  But, then, I thought… “What if I didn’t have him to help me fix this?” and that bothered me a little. Getting computers fixed is as commonplace now as getting your car worked on and we all know how sketchy car mechanics can be when a clueless girl walks into the shop with something not working right and no idea where to start. It’s easy to get suckered into replacing things that aren’t necessary, to pay a lot extra for labor, and to get something worked on without any actual work happening when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    It doesn’t have to be that way.

    Today, I want to share with you the basics of what makes your computer run and what the parts do. I know it may not seem super fun, but its good information to know! After all, you don’t want to be like Jen:

    (Also, please watch The IT Crowd. It is amazing. *grin*)

    First, to be completely clear about what you’re going to read: this is not meant to be a tutorial or “how-to” for fixing or building your own computer. There is a lot more that goes into it than what I can share in one post! Not all pieces and parts are compatible with each other and it is easy to make mistakes and/or damage things if you don’t know what you’re doing.  Okay?

    Okay!

    I think it is safe to say that most people will have heard most of these terms, but don’t necessarily have any idea what each part actually does.  So, let’s start your computer education there:

    RAM

    This is RAM. RAM is your computers short term memory. Basically, it stores information while it is being processed or being used. A lot of times people will suggest that you get more RAM to speed up your computer. Sometimes this works – sometimes not so much – It just depends on what the bottleneck of your speed problem is.

     

    CPU

    Next up is the CPU (aka. Processor). The CPU handles all of the processes you ask your computer to complete – it runs your programs so that you can see and understand the code on the back end that makes it work.

     

    Power-Supply

    The PSU (aka. Power Supply) is just that… POWER. This is the piece that connects the other components to the electricity coming from whatever wall you plugged your computer into.

     

    Hard-DriveHard-Drive-(2)

    This next piece is the hard drive. Basically, this is the long term memory that stores your files and program information.

     

    Motherboard

    The motherboard is the piece of this puzzle that all the other parts plug into and communicate through. It is also the piece that you typically plug your audio, Ethernet, and USB devices into from the back.

     

    Video-Card

    Last but not least is the video card. Video cards are not always required – some motherboards have on board video to run monitors, so a separate part is not necessary. However, if you are a gamer, you’ll want a separate video card to support the heavy graphics and design of most newer games. Mine is an older model, but for what I do, it works fine.

    Put them all together aaaaaand…

    After

    Voila!  A beautiful, working computer!

  • October 1, 2014

    Back in the Groove!

    Do you ever feel like life is in control of you instead of the other way around?  August and September ganged up on me this year and kicked me around.  They took my lunch money and left me crying on the ground in the fetal position.

    But then October came along and she was so sweet.  She picked me up off the ground and told me everything will be ok.  I think I love October even more now.

    *grin*

    So, I’m back!  I’m feeling rejuvenated, energetic, and creative again!

    To catch you up a little, though, I want to share a little about the past few weeks and where I am as far as moving forward.  Summer is hectic, always, but this time around felt even crazier:

    My computer finally bit the dust.  There is no more jerry-rigging it to limp along like we have been.  My hubby is actually ordering replacement parts as we speak.  Hopefully it will be back up and running soon so I can get back to posting pictures and everything else this month!  I might even work in a post about the process to fix it and give a glimpse into the inner-workings of computers.  Because I can.

    We planned our first real vacation.  In the 6 years hubby and I have been married, we’ve done a lot of short trips and long visits to see family… but never really a vacation for just the two of us.  So, we’re super smart and decided to plan a trip to Canada.  ZOMG…. So much work!  Leaving the country, even if it is only Canada, is really hard!  Plus, we’re not great at navigating cities, so that was super fun.  Not complaining… it was just a lot of work!  :)  I will share more about our experiences with that soon, so keep an eye out for it!

    My work life went a little haywire in September as well.  I think I mentioned that I’ve been training a new girl in the office, so that was sort of wrapping up before I left.  Training does, however, take a tremendous amount of energy no matter what stage you’re in.  Especially for in introvert perfectionist who prefers to work solo 100% more than with groups.  Add to that the processes of planning ahead for being gone a week and then coming back to catch up on whatever didn’t get done ahead of time.  My job is not one where someone else can just take over when I’m gone… the work has to be done by me; unless the whole thing gets reassigned to someone else, which isn’t practical at all for one week.

    Also in preparation for our trip, we had to practice camping.  I know, it sounds ridiculous, right?  Hubby and I grew up camping with our families, but we’ve never gone on our own.  For the trip, we planned to camp a few nights, but we really had to try it a few times first a little closer to home.  Definitely not complaining about this!  I love camping!  The only drawback was the pressure to do it right now and in the middle of other things we had to do.  Honestly, it was really good for us to take the time away from the crazy to force some relaxing time and I’m so glad we did!  If we hadn’t, I probably would have had a total breakdown and given up on everything altogether.

    Beyond that was the normal summer stuff like yard work, keeping up the garden, and so on.  Remember when I said I’m a perfectionist?  Well, that carries over to home too!  The yard, house, and everything else have to be as close to perfect as possible.

    So, when all of this gets to be too much and too overwhelming, it’s the blog that usually ends up as the first casualty.  It’s the first thing to be compromised on and pushed to the side.  Lame, I know, but that’s how it has been.  With the help of a new computer and my supportive husband, though, I believe things are going to get back to normal and maybe even get better here pretty soon!

    Thank you for your patience and understanding about my absence and sporadic-ness!

  • July 31, 2014

    Weird Quirk of Mine

    So… I have always recognized that I can be a little particular about things… but I am starting to think that I might just have some real OCD going on inside my head.  You see, I’ve been training a new girl at work the past couple of weeks and I’m realizing that little, crazy things make me really, truly crazy.

    For instance, little things like writing the date wrong (7-31-14 is wrong.  Its 7/31/14.) and inconsistent capitalization when naming folders and documents.  Or, this one time, she was copying a list of directions for something and made an ink dot on my directions.  I actually wanted to rewrite the whole page of directions, but due to time constraints I decided it would be better to chop the portion of the note with the dot off.  Yup.  Threw that crap in the trash.

    I think that was when I realized how nuts I actually am.  I couldn’t handle a dot of ink on my sticky note.

    So then, the really crazy part, is that now that I see the crazy, I am trying SO HARD to hide it!  I can’t let it go, but I can’t let anyone else see the crazy.

    It will be really nice when I can go back to writing the date the right way, capitalizing words, and keeping my stuff free of ink and messiness!  Then, I can go back to my obsessiveness with less of an audience.

    Yup.

  • July 16, 2014

    Dream Job

    What is my dream job?  Oh gosh… I don’t know!  You’d think I would; most people do, right?

    When I was a little kid, I wanted to be an astronaut.  Or a ballerina.  Once I realized that I am a clumsy girl who has no sense of rhythm and is scared of even the smallest rollercoaster, my dreams changed a little.

    As I matured, I decided that I wanted to be a teacher.  Then I realized that teaching doesn’t pay very well and you have to deal with grumpy, troublesome children.

    At this point in my life, I am pretty happy with my job as a social worker (yea, I know, social work doesn’t pay any better than teaching).  I like working with people, but it does have a tendency to drain me emotionally and mentally.  I don’t know that I’ll keep at what I am doing forever, but it is good for now.

    I guess the biggest thing for me, as far as jobs go, is that I want to help people.  I want my work to have meaning and to make the lives of others better.  I am not terribly interested in selling products or anything like that.

    That’s the best thing about dreams, they can change and develop along with you.  I still love science and space, but I know I would never make it in space.  Especially not after seeing the movie Gravity.  *shudders*  I could totally be a teacher, but I’m not sure that’s right for me at this time.  Maybe when I’m older and wiser and have kids of my own and want to be home in the summer?

  • July 16, 2014

    Timeline of my Day

    Oooooh boy… I missed a couple of days here.  Don’t worry, you’ll still get all the posts from the challenge!  And I’ll be getting a new computer!  We still aren’t super sure what is going on with it, but it’ll start sometimes and not other times and there aren’t any  patterns to speak of, so that’s helpful.

    *sigh*

    Anyway…

    My Day!  My regular, normal, boring day!

    So, during the work week, I wake up at 6:00 to get ready.  Nothing special here, just a shower, breakfast, and fighting with my hair to do what I tell it.  I usually lose that battle.

    Once at work I… work.  A lot.  Usually in an office, sometimes in the homes of people I work with.

    I almost always take my own lunch.  Going out all the time is difficult because of my Celiac disease and strict diet.  It’s also a huge waste of money.

    After work, my routine varies a lot.  Sometimes I go grocery shopping or run other errands.  Usually I head home.  Once home, I get dinner going and do what I can to tidy the house.

    Then, I write, read, go to Bible study, or just relax.  Throughout all of this, I play with the pets (Ollie is so obsessed with his tennis ball, I spend half my life throwing it for him).

    Weekends, of course are different.  We usually have plans with friends or plan a date night.  In the summer, we spend tons of time working on the garden and keeping our yard under control.  I almost always spend time making a weekly meal plan and grocery shopping over the weekend.

    Not too exciting, but it’s mine, I guess.