Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon – Opening Meme

I’m a little late getting started this morning. but I want to make sure to do something now because my day is pretty full of things other than reading. I’m hoping to plan better for the next readathon in October.

Opening Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I live in a northern suburb in the Twin Cities area, Minnesota.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

This is tough! I’ve had a lot of comments about Illuminae, so that’s one I have a bit higher expectations for.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Cookie dough (don’t worry – no eggs!).

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

Reading was my first hobby and will always be my favorite. I enjoy a lot of other things, like knitting, crocheting, creating handstamped cards, genealogy, but reading is the only thing I do every single day.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

This is my first. I’m looking forward to setting aside some time for reading that I don’t normally. I just wish I could set aside more! But I will be checking in with the Facebook group as much as I can. The social aspect is an unexpected part of the fun.

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Little Lion

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I’ve really been falling down on my blogging goals, but I’m hoping to get back to it by at least posting some new cards I’m creating, and hopefully posting some older ones eventually too.

As always, I’m facing a continuing challenge in balancing all the things I want to do. This month I really wanted to finish a Tunisian crochet lace scarf I started quite a while ago, but it’s just not going to happen. But it’s okay, because I’m finding my paper mojo.

This 3″x3″ gift enclosure card was created on February 8, 2014, to enclose with a baby shower gift for a dear friend.

All supplies are Stampin’ Up!

Stamp set: Zoo Babies
Cardstock: Crushed Curry, Coastal Cabana, and Whisper White
Ink: Coastal Cabana, Crushed Curry
Retro Fresh This and That Designer Washi Tape
Tangerine Tango Candy Dot

TGFB

I’ve had a lot of things going on in my life lately. Health, family, work, home — nothing seems to be going smoothly right now on a lot of different fronts, even multiple fronts in each of those categories. You might say I’m carrying a lot of stress around. I’m trying to take time for me–you know: read a book, watch some TV, knit for a while, work on a Sudoku puzzle–but a lot of the time I haven’t had the ability to concentrate on any of that because my mind is racing too much.

There are a couple of things that are helping, though. When I can’t get to sleep, sometimes a few levels of Angry Birds will distract me enough to get my mind off unpleasant stuff and in a place where sleep is easier.

But I can’t sleep my whole life away, you know? So thank goodness for baseball.

It doesn’t require all of my attention to enjoy it, but watching a good ballgame will suck me in long enough to put aside my problems and allow me to relax for a while. Well, right up until I get nervous when suddenly the other team has a bunch of guys on base. But that kind of nerves I can handle.

When I Grow Up

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the future lately. One reason surely is because of the death of one of my uncles earlier this month.  I wasn’t particularly close to him, but there was a time when his family and mine spent a lot of time together. Most of my extended family lives in northern Minnesota, but this uncle and his family lived in the Twin Cities for a significant amount of my childhood. I’m pretty sure those two cousins are the only ones I had personal nicknames for (I have no reason to think they’ll ever read this, but I won’t take the chance of embarrassing them by telling you those nicknames).

In any case, a death, especially one of someone relatively young (my uncle was 57, but had suffered from MS for about 20 years and his death wasn’t a complete shock), sometimes makes you think about your future. My uncle was diagnosed at about the age I am now (I’m really not sure when exactly, but I vaguely recall it was around the time I finished high school); what would I do if the same happened to me now?

And then there’s that thing where my 20-year high school reunion is coming up this summer. Part of me thinks it could be really fun to catch up with people. I haven’t kept in touch with anyone I graduated with, though I’ve reconnected with a few in recent years, which has been fun. But I’m also a little freaked out by having to admit how little I’ve done with my life. I don’t think marriage and/or kids are everything, but not only do I not have either of those, I also don’t have a wonderful career or some other thing I’m super passionate about either. As I wrote in an email to one of those friends from high school I reconnected with not so long ago:

How do I explain why it took me eight years to just get my bachelor’s, and 12 years after that, I’m just figuring out I really should go back and get a master’s? That I only got my own place less than two years ago? And no, never married, no kids… Yes, in fact, I am turning into the crazy cat lady spinster… Except I can’t possibly be doing that, because I haven’t actually figured out what I want to do when I grow up yet.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that last bit: what do I want to do when I grow up? There’s nothing wrong with my job. I like it well enough, and there’s no reason I couldn’t do it until it’s time to retire. But I’m not sure I want to, and more importantly, I feel like there’s something else I’m meant to do. Is the answer to go back to school and get a master’s in something? Is there some other dream I haven’t realized that I should pursue?

I hope I can figure it out soon.

My Nephew Can Act, After All

Okay, it’s not as if I doubted the kid could act, especially since I talked to the director of the musical he’s in weeks ago and she told me how happy she was with him, but tonight was the first time I was able to see it for myself.

I hinted a few days ago about the fact that one of my nephews is currently living with me. The whys and wherefores aren’t terribly important at this point, but indeed, my 17-year-old nephew (I’ll call him D here) is here for his senior year. To say it’s been an interesting experience so far would be an understatement. I know a lot of is just what teenagers are like, and I vaguely recall being a teenager once myself, but I was so unprepared.

But we’re doing okay, and I credit in part his participation in drama. D has expressed interest in going to college for theater, and D’s high school has an excellent drama program, so it was kind of a no-brainer to let him participate in the fall musical (and hopefully the rest of the productions this year). The auditions were right after school started, and D was able to get the part of Maurice (Belle’s father) in Beauty and the Beast. He’s had rehearsal pretty much every school day since.

But tonight was opening night (it runs through Sunday), and all that rehearsal time seems to have paid off. The show was a lot of fun, and I found out for sure that the kid can act.

Making Soup

I’m pretty sure I’ve said before that I’m not really a cook. I prepare food for meals, but make things from scratch that’s more than frying fish or making a grilled cheese sandwich? It doesn’t happen often. But a few weeks ago I came across a soup recipe that not only sounded tasty, but easy enough even for me to make.

Naturally, the next time I was somewhere to buy groceries, I hadn’t put the soup ingredients on my list. I actually remembered everything, though, except that it needed three, not just two, cans of black beans. And for the life of me I couldn’t find chile paste at that store. Eventually I picked up the third can and tracked down the chile paste, but I still needed to wash the blender that had been in storage for about eleven years. Lately I’ve been lucky to remember to run the dishwasher, let alone keep up with the rest of the dishes, but on Saturday I had a little time to myself and finally got the blender ready.

Yesterday’s schedule ended up being a little crazier than planned, including that I had to buy new chicken stock because I drank what I had on hand earlier in the week when I was sick. But as soon as I got home at about 5:00 PM, I started in on the soup. Less than an hour later my nephew and I were happily eating it.

I wish I had had cooking spray (I just assumed I had some, but since I mostly use stoneware or nonstick pans for baking, I guess I haven’t needed it) because I’m pretty sure the dutch oven is going to be a chore to clean, and when I make it again I’ll probably double the corn, but otherwise, it was a rare cooking success.

 

Note: I’m going to attempt to participate in NaBloPoMo and NaKnitMo (Ravelry link) again this year. Neither worked out great last year, but I was in the middle of buying and settling into a new home, so I can’t be any busier this year than that, right? Oh, right. The nephew living with me. But that story will have to wait for another blog post.

Feeling Domestic

I am not a cook. I’ve enjoyed baking for a really long time, but cooking food for meals is a different thing, and not something I’ve done much of.

Last night I bought some frozen talapia, and put one in the refrigerator to defrost for today. I needed to make it quick because my mom was coming over to get my closet organization system started, so I just fried it. Easy, right? And it was, but right after I put it in the saute pan I realized that I’m not really sure how to tell when fish is cooked well enough. I faked it well, though, and I think it turned out just fine. I also fried up some cut-up red potatoes quickly, which I definitely should have cooked longer.

If I can find shallots tomorrow (the Super Target I do most of my shopping at was sold out), I have a recipe for lamb chops I’d like to try. I probably won’t have to cook much Thursday or Friday with Thanksgiving and all, but after the leftovers are gone I have a pork roast recipe to try in my Crock Pot.

The fact that I actually have balsamic vinegar in my house makes me feel quite a bit more domestic than I did yesterday. Oh, and I have salt now too.

Not Tonight; I Have A Headache

I am not a seasonal allergy sufferer; I suffer from them pretty much all the time. Dust, mold, whatever it is, it’s controlled quite nicely by a daily dose of Zyrtec. Somehow I managed to run out without buying more first, so last night I missed a dose.

I had this grand plan to go to Sam’s Club because they have the best price I’ve found for Zyrtec, and besides, I could use some fish and whatever to throw in the freezer. So I went to my parents’ for dinner, and Mom and I headed off to Sam’s. I got plenty of meat to put in the freezer (it’s not that big a freezer; I’m considering getting a little chest freezer to put in the garage or entryway closet or something), and I even noticed they had a spice chai mix in stock that a coworker likes so I called to see if she’d like me to pick it up, but more than an hour after I got home I realized I didn’t get the Zyrtec.

So far my sinuses haven’t been too bad, so I think I’ll be fine until I can pick up some at Target tomorrow, but I do have a bit of a headache forming.

Around the time I was moving into my new place, I stocked up on a lot of baking supplies: regular flour, better for bread flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, brown sugar, chocolate chips…you get the idea. I’ve really been looking forward to using my bread machine more often, but I hadn’t located the book that tells me what order to put everything in. While I was at my parents’ this evening, I found it mixed in with a bunch of my mom’s cookbooks and started checking out the ingredients to make sure I have everything I need for plain old whole wheat bread. All set! Except salt. How do I forget to buy a staple like salt? It’s also on my list for Target for tomorrow.

Projects in Progress

I’m just worn out today after only really getting about five hours of sleep last night. I had to pretty much drag myself out of bed so I could let Barb in to work on my master closet while I finished the last little bit of prepping for my workshop. I actually did do some sanding in the closet before she arrived. She wasn’t here long, just doing the last stuff before my parents primed and painted this afternoon while I was gone for the workshop.

After the workshop I had one of those things happen that might be kind of an amusing story. I wanted to pick up Leeann Chin for my parents and myself for dinner, so the friend at whose house we had the workshop directed me to the nearest one. When I got there I had a fleeting thought about how another friend lived really close to there, but I had no idea if he even liked Leeann Chin, but wouldn’t it be funny if he was there? I figured it was pretty unlikely since it wasn’t even 5 PM at the time, and forgot all about it until I was picking up my bag and there he was next to me, waiting to make his purchase.

While I was gone, my parents got a lot of work done. The master closet might need another coat, at least where the holes were patched, but otherwise it’s done. Mom touched up the living room walls we painted over a week ago so they’re done before the sofas arrive tomorrow afternoon, plus did one of the smaller walls we hadn’t gotten to yet.

My project this evening, which I’m sort of doing in spurts while also trying to watch some TV and get some knitting done (I’m not anywhere close to where I need to be for NaKnitMo, plus I’d love to have my bath mat completed), is to clear out the clutter in the second bedroom so Mom and I can rearrange the furniture in it tomorrow morning so there’s room for the couch that’s now in the living room but will need to be in its real home before the sofas arrive. Most of it’s going into the master bedroom rather than the second bedroom closet because I’m hoping to paint that closet soon before putting stuff like my yarn and paper crafting supplies in it. Of course I’d also like to get that bedroom painted in the nearish future, but I need to decide on a color.

For the time being, the cats’ litter box has been in the second bedroom closet, but I’m not at all sure I like it there. I just can’t for the life of me come up with somewhere better. The best other option I’ve come up with so far is to see if I could put in a different kind of door (it’s currently a door that folds out, so it’s in the way when open) on the bathroom closet so it could be open just wide enough for them to get in, since its footprint is plenty big for the box, and there’s plenty of height before the shelves start. But do I want it in the same place as my towels?

Another Unexciting Day

Is “unexciting” even a word? It doesn’t sound right, but spell-check doesn’t mind it, and I’m too tired to care at this exact moment.

I did get a bit of exciting news today, but it won’t really be exciting until Sunday, when my new sofas will be delivered. The last I heard they wouldn’t be in until November 30, and I wasn’t planning to have them delivered until the following weekend so I don’t have to take off more time right now, but they came in exactly when I was originally told they would, yesterday. There’s some work to do before they arrive (like touching up the paint that is behind where the sofas will sit, and fitting the temporary furniture into their permanent homes in the bedrooms), but I’m so looking forward to my comfy new sofas with power recliners.

I bought something else this evening that will eventually be exciting, the closet organization for my master bedroom closet. Like with the sofas, there’s a fair amount of work that to be done before I can actually start putting away my clothes (not the least of which is just painting the closet), but perhaps within a few days that will start coming together.

I finally remembered to grab my older TiVo from my parents’ house after running errands. I don’t record much on it, just a small number of shows where I too many in the timeslot, but now that I have time to catch up with a little TV, it’ll be nice to get those shows too. After I got it connected to the TV in the second bedroom I discovered that it hadn’t connected successfully to TiVo since last Friday, so it had nearly run out of guide data. Oops!

The rest of my evening was spent catching up with some of the previously mentioned TV and setting up for tomorrow’s Stampin’ Up! workshop. Getting together with a few friends will be fun, but preparing for this is also making me look forward to when I’m a little more settled and can finally try to have classes at my home. I received the January-April mini catalog and Sale-A-Bration brochure today in the mail, and there are so many new things I’m looking forward to playing with!