Gratitude Monday #63

Ugh!  I’m not feeling the gratitude this morning.  Too much accounting going on for me on this Monday.  And some more as soon as I’m done counting my blessings.  Accounting is definitely not my forte.  Or my love.  But then again, top on my list this week is:

♥  Accounting!  I have an income that I must account for.  Life sure could be a whole lot worse.

♥  A Free-lance writing job that lets me (pretty much) write what I want to write about, focus on the positive in my community, and meet tons of new people.  I always loved my in microbiology and chemistry, but this job is F-U-N.

♥  A world-famous ski-jump competition just miles away.  CoCo said “let’s go,” and I said, why not. So she, Love-One, Miss K, and Mr. C bundled up and joined the festivities.DSC06109  We had a great time, even though 35 mph winds made most of the competitors decide the conditions were too dangerous.

♥ A fire-place, a pizza, some hot chocolate and people I love to warm me up.  Okay, it took a lot more than that, but I eventually got thawed. I remind myself that some people are homeless in this frigid weather.

♥ A Women’s Day of reflection.  I didn’t really have time to give a whole day to introspection.   I should take time.  I am surrounded by such nourishing women.  I knew they were there, but I needed reminding.

♥ A daughter who joined me for a day of reflection.  A first!  Thank you CoCo.

♥ A husband who thinks he wants to learn to cook, requests cooking utensils, and relinquishes said utensil to me.  I never wanted a pressure cooker.  He did.  He I made the best split pea soup ever. Oh my! Why did I never learn to cook with a pressure cooker before?

♥ A very busy, rejuvenating, and fun weekend: A retreat, an outing, a pancake breakfast benefit, grandchildren overnight, a movie, a visit. Some together time, some alone time, some me time, some we time. My life is full and so, so good.

I believe I’ll go have lunch now.  The memory of Loved-One’s (!) soup made me hungry. Oh wait.  Accounting before lunch, and I’m free to write this afternoon.

What’s on your gratitude list this week?  Please join Laurel at Alphabet Salad for her Monday Link-up.

It’s that time of year again: Movie-Watching Marathon

Oscars!  Last year I got about 50% correct. I love movies and I love puzzles, I love numbers and I love awards. Yay!  Here we go again.

If I counted correctly, 36 different movies and 24 awards we’ll see presented. I watched a whopping 11 movies on the lists before the  nominee ( or a little more than 30%.)  I better go on a movie watching marathon.

Here’s what I already saw and my critique:

Gone Girl (nominated for Best Actress, Rosamund Pike.)

English: Rosamund Pike at the red carpet New Y...
English: Rosamund Pike at the red carpet New York premiere of Barney’s Version in January 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whaaat? That’s it?  I loved this movie. I said it was a today’s Misery.  It just made me cringe. And the ending… What a surprise.

Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2.  Yes, I saw three of the five movies nominated for best Animated Feature. I love the art and creativity of animation.  Plus, I have some delightful people to see them with. I mean, how can I resist an invitation from such sweetness.  The Boxtrolls was so clever.  How could I dislike a gentle super hero in Big Hero 6, and Dragon 2 was as good as  Dragon 1, which really surprised me.

Into the Woods and Maleficent (Best Costume Design.)  Hmmm…I see a trend here. Grandchildren requests are winning over date night. Woods is also nominated for Best Production Design.

Guardian of the Galaxy (Best Make-upand Hairstyling, Best Writing—Original Screenplay.) This could have been a grandchild request, but he went with his dad.  Loved-One requested this one.  Really fun in a quirky way.  I loved Groot.  Did he have a hairstyle and make-up?

Interstellar (Nominated for Best Music Original Score and Best Production Design and Best Sound Editing, Best Writing—Original Screenplay.) This movie made me teary-happy in a kind of Close Encounters sort of way.  I did really notice the music set the mood. Music in movies is something I pay attention too.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Best Sound Editing.) Hmmm… I detect a definite sci-fi nerdiness in many of my choices.  I almost opted out on this one.  I really didn’t like the first two.  Too much battling and not enough story. Besides, I have a hard time when the perfectly good story line gets embellished, turns left, or goes down a rabbit hole.  This time I just relaxed and pretended it was a new story and not the Hobbit at all.  I liked it.  Still a bit too much battling.

Captain America: the Winter Soldier (best writing – Original Screenplay) Loved-One and I both think we saw this, but neither of us felt sure.  I guess that says something.

I really did see a lot of other movies.  I promise.  I guess they just weren’t Award-winning.

 

In the meantime, here’s a trailer for Boxtrolls. I bet you’ll guess right away why it tickled me so much.

 I’ll keep you posted and give you my predictions. Our local AMC theatre offers a weekend pass so I can watch all the movies I want for one price.  I hope you share your opinions and predictions with me.

Packing up the Gel-Clings

CoCo loves to decorate with Gel-Clings.  She has them for every season. Co-workers at the grocery store where she works tell her that it’s easy to keep them from year to year.

I had a lot of trouble. Gels ripped or folded.  Colors “bled:” Santa’s beard became red, the snowman greyed like a February thaw. Gels dried out, and cat hair clung to the clings. ‘

Here’s what I came up with.  Almost painless:

What you’ll need:

Gel-clings

Waxed paper

Scissors

Zip-lock storage bags

Cutting board (optional)

Step 1: Lay Gel-Clings on Wax paper.  No touching.

Use wax paper, not plastic wrap.  Plastic wrap allows the colors to migrate and bleed into other pieces.  Why?  I don’t know. But trust me. Even if the original pieces touched in the packaging, like eyes inside a face, separate them for storage.

Lay the pieces on the waxed paper. Do not let pieces touch each other.  Not even a little bit.

I try to measure the waxed paper to match the width of the Zip-lock. I’m might be a little too frugal. It’s not really necessary.  I use  a 1 gallon Zip-lock and fold one edge to match the size.

CoCo likes to put the Gel-Clings on bathroom mirrors, at the front door, and on any window. I use a cutting board to rest the waxed paper.  It provides a flat surface to work on.

hoarfrost2 1

Step 2:

Put another piece of waxed paper over the first. Line up the folded edges. Add more Gel-Clings. The color will not bleed through the paper, so no need to keep like Gels together.

Still, it’s pretty amazing how my old eyes work.  Sometimes for me to see which layer I’m working on. So if you have a lot of the same Gels, I suggest “stacking” them.  Just because it’s easier to see what I’m doing.

Keep going with more layers.  I ended up with five layers. End with a layer of waxed paper.  Remember Continue reading Packing up the Gel-Clings

Gratitude Monday #62

It’s Monday again, with all the to-do lists, appointments and commitments that come with Mondays.  I love Monday.  A clean slate, a fresh start, a promise of accomplishments and adventures.  This Monday, I’m speeding off for an interview with Marc, a pharmacist I popped in on a few weeks ago.  I only wanted to snap a quick photo for my feature article about the flu vaccine.  What a treat.  It turns out he is an expert on pulmonary disease.  I get to know more about him and his expertise later this morning.  So first on my list is:

♥  My newest writing job.  I love writing, I love meeting new people.  I love that I can focus on what I want to write about, which is what’s write, what’s positive, and what puts a smile on my face. This gig is like a gift I get paid to receive.

♥  Longer days.  Oh I do love the sunshine. Longer days remind me that the weather will soon be warmer. Before long we’ll be complaining about heat and humidity.

♥  Lost lists.  Maybe it’s the starting over that tickles me.  What was it I had to do?  Can I remember?  Or is there something even more important now?

♥  Shared books. I just love when I come across a highlighted passage or a penciled note in the margin.  I feel so connected to the person who shared her heart with me.  I am passing on a book to my sister today.  I hope she feels the same way.

♥  Ann Voskamp and her one thousand gifts. Yes, that’s the book I’m sharing.  I feel like I’m sending a friend on a trip to meet someone I love.

♥  Hoarfrost.

hoarfrost
hoarfrost (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Frozen fog. What a delight of nature! Twinkling in the sun, hazy on a cloudy day. Hoarfrost must be God’s way of warming hearts on an arctic morning. Thank you!

♥  A bookmark reminding me of a talented friend. I Laurel “tangled” it for me. I know nothing about the art of “tangling,” but the outcome is beautiful. Laurel has been marking my way as I got to know Ann and the art of thankfulness.

♥  On Demand.  Yes, it’s Oscar Time. I’ve only seen 14 of the too numerous to count nominations.  Two more thanks to On Demand. I can see the movies in my living room with friends for less than the cost of one theatre ticket.

So what makes your heart sing with gratitude this week?  Please link up with Laurel at Alphabet Salad and share with us.

 

Photo Friday #16: Hoarfrost

Yesterday I woke to a wintry fairyland:

hoarfrost2

I used my iPhone with my wide angle lens from Restoration Hardware and Tungsten light filter. Mother Nature provided the hoarfrost, which results from fog freezing on vegetation on a clear and still night.

What’s in your lens this week.  Please link-up and give me a peak.

A Janus Look-Forward at 2015

Yesterday I posted on my goals progress for 2014, a final re-cap, with a final grade of “success.”  To tell the truth, those goals kinda gave me a back-to-the-corporate world.  Yes, it’s great to have a future in site and to plan concert mileposts to measure that success. Still, my life is no longer as scheduled as it should be.

campingI took a look back at my journal and found my days filled with To-Dos and TaDas.  I chroniclef Calories, Exercise, and Weight.  What I accomplished and what I left behind. Always coming up short, I reaffirmed my core belief that I’m never quite enough. Always a bit further to go, a little more to achieve.

 

I returned to my old friend, Stephen Covey.  What’s most important? How do I people to remember me? What do I want to leave behind? How do I “sharpen my saw.” Continue reading A Janus Look-Forward at 2015

A Janus Look-Back at 2014

January!  Janus is the Roman god of new beginnings. So here’s a look back at my progress.  Tomorrow, I will share my plan for the new year.

Looking Back on Game Plan 2014:

  • Get my novel published:  I will get editors, a cover designer, and a publisher.  I will.
    Progress:  The final, final draft is complete. Yes! Still, as Anne Lamont warned, my baby keeps getting out of bed.  Did I include the bandy-leggedness of Mr. Moore?  What about scalawags and lallygagging?  Did I get the right phrases in?
    I have a FaceBook friend looking for an agent.  We plan to keep each other motivated. Artisanal publishing looks more and more inviting. 2015 will see me finish this. Good Enough.
  • Make enough money writing to pay property taxes: 
    Progress:     If I leave out expenses. A new (paying!) internet offer. Success!  
  • Knit or crochet yarn stash into hats for charity: I have a lot of yarn stash.Progress:   I got Loved-One’s sweater finished.  I knit about 10 hats. But…my yarn stash is bigger!  Why? I got to the end of some remnants and needed more yarn to finish the projects.  Grandchildren needed specific colors, which I did not have.  Hmmm… That backfired. Good Enough.

    A beret a knitted (one of the more difficult projects.)
    A beret a knitted (one of the more difficult projects.)
  • Expand my platform:
    Progress:  A key to successful selling of a published book, I’m told. Twitter 875, FB 297, FBPage 299, Google+ 201, Instagram, a growing e-mail list from my newspaper connections, Actively participating in writers Facebook groups, BlogHer, SheWrites, and ChicagoWrites. Okay, far from  a Kim Kardashian competitor.  I’m happy. Success!

Continue reading A Janus Look-Back at 2014

Gratitude Monday #61

This week friends and strangers reminder me just how wonderful my life is and how much I take little things for granted.

My friend M raised her eyes in surprise when CoCo told her about CeCi taking her and her friend to Dolphin Cove. M raised her eyes in amazement and said to me, “You are so lucky your children step up to the plate the way they do.”  I never thought of it that way.  I am. I am grateful.

Cover of "Million Dollar Quartet"
Cover of Million Dollar Quartet

Last night we saw Million Dollar Quartet in Chicago.  What a great evening with Loved-One.  So many things to be happy about:

♥   Such a wonderful life partner and friend.  We’re so lucky to literally bump into each other in the concession line at a play.  We began talking and it was as if we’d known each other for years.  And now we actually have.

♥   The abundance of great food in Chicago.  We visited a German restaurant right across the street from the theatre.  Delightful.

♥   The snow removal equipment and crew that leave the warmth of home to make sure we can get home safely. Yes, it began snowing while we sang along to Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins.  It continued to snow the whole way home.

♥  Our micro-climate that we call home.  Just a dusting of snow in our drive.  Thank you, thank you thank you.

♥   Gold Star ticketing that got to the theatre at half-price.

I got Loved-One My Pillow for Christmas and one for me came along as a bonus.  Voila, my neck remains pain-free since I started using it. (He loves his My Pillow, too.)

Photo-stream shared photos from my children.  I love getting the notifications of new pictures added.  I get to share a slice of their life as it unfolds.

Laurel at Alphabet Salad who got me into counting my blessings every Monday morning.  I know I’ve said it before, but hop on over to Alphabet Salad and sample some more Gratitude Lists.  You won’t be sorry.

 

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