Friday, November 29, 2013

Thankful

I am thankful I live in a place where I am able go for a hike in the woods at any time. We have so many beautiful places within just a short drive. THIS is how I prefer to spend my Black Friday. Or ANY day, for that matter.








More info: Clark Reservation State Park and Council of Park Friends

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just Write {4}: Pre-Game Warm-Ups

We just devoured a frying pan full of fried bananas that my husband made. We'd had them recently at a relatively new-to-the-area restaurant and both enjoyed them immensely. My husband found a recipe from the restaurant online, and while the result was delicious, it was nothing like what we were served. He has already come up with alternative methods to try on his next attempt. Hopefully, the butter, sugar, and the cinnamon don't negate the nutritional value of the banana. Ha.

I'm finally feeling better! Almost human. I remain slightly more congested than normal and with slightly swollen glands. My energy levels are still sub-par, but still, I feel fabulous compared to where I've been in the last week and a half. Just in time too, as I was not looking forward to being the sick person at Thanksgiving dinner with my husband's family.

The basketball game starts shortly. We missed the exhibitions and some early games because they weren't broadcasted. Something about the move to the ACC. Now I feel a little lost. I use the early games to learn the new players and get back into the swing of basketball season. I need to know the players in order to care about how the team plays. I'm still not thrilled about leaving the Big East. Change is hard, yo.

I am so looking forward to having a four day weekend. I am semi-regretting not having taken tomorrow off as well. It seems like many people did. Twitter and facebook are full of people bragging about their five day weekends. I am jealous. What would be super awesome is if this storm resulted in a snow day tomorrow. It'll never happen, but a girl can dream, right? I don't wish extra-complicated or dangerous travel on anyone, but I just would like to be able to stay at home. Fuzzy blankets, hot tea, couch time. Doesn't that sound better than spending the day sitting at a desk in a stuffy office?

OK, game time. Let's do this.

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This is my fourth installment of Just Write, "an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments." You can read about this project at The Extraordinary Ordinary. If you decide to participate, you can link up on Heather's post from yesterday. You can read my first three installments here, here, and here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Advice

I'm feeling particularly crappy today. Not just physically from still being sick, but mentally and emotionally as well. I'd been hoping for/counting on something happening for the last three months that didn't pan out. It was a kick in the teeth. Extremely disappointing.

Because of this I don't feel much like writing anything new, so I will share something I wrote in the past. It was written in response to other stories posted on Cowbird. 

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I actually like getting advice. When I have a problem there is nothing I would like more than for someone to tell me how to solve it. I am happy to hear any and all suggestions.

While it's nice to hear "that sucks," I would rather hear a response that shows the listener has considered my situation, reflected on it, and has thoughtful suggestions. I think giving advice can be a GENEROUS act because the person has taken the time to think it through.

Even if I am not able to put the advice into action, I want to hear it.

There are always exceptions to this, of course. I find advice given by someone who presumes to be an expert on a subject that they have no personal experience in to be a nuisance.

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This was originally posted on August 18, 2012 on Cowbird when I was trying that website on for size. I found we didn't make a good match and only posted a handful of "stories" there. Here is another one I've shared previously: Low Maintenance 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

This and That: The Sick Version

  • My husband has been sick all week, and I started feeling poorly Thursday night. Now I am in full-blown misery. Every inch of my body hurts. Fever, chills. An elephant sitting on my chest. So excuse me while I go the route of bullets.
  • My step-mom got bad news about her health and I can't even go see her because I can't expose her to the germs responsible for the misery described above. I am just so happy that she got a six month break and that she and my father were able to take a vacation in September.
  • I ordered my first Christmas gift from the internet on Friday. Such early shopping is quite uncharacteristic, so I'm feeling rather pleased with myself.
  • I've been eating overnight oats every day for breakfast. After the early failed attempts I determined that, for me, simple is best: oats, chia seeds, maple syrup (or honey), and milk. My sick-brain forgot to mix up a batch before bed last night, which made me sad this morning. I had to eat a packet of microwavable instant oats instead, and man, it was like eating glue.
  • I had a fangirl moment recently when I tweeted about reading a book (Catalyst) and the author (Laurie Halse Anderson) replied. O. M. G. I love twitter for all the book related wonderfulness.
  • For some completely bizarre reason I keep thinking about trying to start RUNNING. I have always been a walker. Runners seem, well, a bit crazy. So either I will eventually lose interest in this idea or I will give it a whirl and after about 30 seconds I will recollect why I don't run. Either way I doubt anything will come of it, so you needn't worry about having to read race recaps or anything like that (ha!).
  • I will now retreat to the couch with my blanket and mug of tea. There is a Law & Order marathon on that clearly needs my attention.
I started this post yesterday, but the overwhelming need to NAP won out. I do feel slightly better today, after actually having slept last night. Sleeping is hugely important.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Just Write {3}: First Snows

At the moment the sun is shining, but a steady breeze has been blowing clouds across the sky. Much of the day whenever I looked out the window or walked to the cafe for a tuna fish sandwich snowflakes danced in the wind. It strikes me as funny how quickly we get used to weather changes. The first snow fell just the other day, accumulating less than two inches on cars, lawns, and fallen leaves. This morning I had walked five minutes before I even noticed there was snow on the ground. The weather around here is so changeable that it takes big doings to capture our attention for long.

The other morning I had to go back into the garage to grab my snow brush. Now it sits in its usual spot on the passenger seat floor, already all but unnoticed. The mats in my car still need to be swapped to the rubber winter mats. I keep reminding my husband, but he is always either too busy or uninterested. And I’m too lazy to do it myself. Salt season starts whether you’re ready for it or not.

I haven’t finished leaf removal yet and already the stakes for the plow company have been pounded into our yard. Maybe I’ll get lucky and all of this ferocious wind we've been having day after day will blow the leaves into someone else’s yard. More likely, snow will fall and bury the leaves and I will decide they can stay where they are. Life will continue with a thin layer of leaves rotting under the snow.

The recent time change means I can barely squeeze in a walk after work before darkness falls. The colder weather makes me want to hibernate. I suffer from the lack of sunlight. It takes convincing to climb aboard the elliptical. Thank goodness I discovered I can read my Nook while using the dreadful machine. Otherwise, I’d be curled beneath my blanket, watching TV and bemoaning my sedentary lifestyle. Every year I vow not to let winter beat me. Maybe this will be the year I figure out how to win.

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This is my third installment of Just Write, "an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments." You can read about this project at The Extraordinary Ordinary. If you decide to participate, you can link up on Heather's post from yesterday. You can read my first two installment here and here.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Libraries

I have three library books out currently. One that rides around in my backpack to read during lunch and two more sitting at home, waiting to be read. Library books, especially hardcovers, make me think of my grandparents. They were big users and supporters of public libraries. Not just for books and movies, but I can remember Gram clipping coupons from some sort of coupon sharing file. I have no idea if that sort of thing still exists. I don't tend to spend any time in the library these days.

I go online to reserve books and wait for the email to let me know they are ready for pick-up. Then I stop on my way home from work, scoot across four lanes of traffic, go directly to the hold shelf, and zip through the self-check out. I don't speak to anyone and I get in and out in under two minutes usually.

During college I worked as a work-study library assistant. At the first university I attended for one semester I worked in the basement in the microforms department: microfiche, microfilm, and oddly enough, current periodicals. I didn't spend much time with the current periodicals; mostly I filed microfilm and assisted patrons with the machines. I did not feel welcomed by the other library staff at all.

At the college I transferred to and at which I spent the last three and half years of my undergrad studies, I found myself once again working in the library. This library was much smaller and the student library assistants did everything. We re-shelved books, bound periodicals, and current periodicals. We checked books in and out. We retrieved books from the hold shelf for in-library use. We answered the phones and we trouble-shot the copy machines. I developed an aching pain in my right thumb from shelving bound periodicals, which is still evident to this day some 15 years later.

Eventually another student let me in on the secret: as older students with more seniority we could chose to work the evening shifts after all the regular library staff went home. That meant we had to sit at the main desk to handle all check-outs and phone calls, etc. It meant no more re-shelving. And hours of time to read.

When I wasn't working at the library I went there to socialize (in other words: to flirt with boys). My boys had certain tables they would always occupy. If they weren't there I would go into the quiet study room and, more often than not, take a nap. Thankfully, no one ever yelled at me for snoring.

Are you a regular library user now or in the past? What do you like best about your library? I wish mine had a drive through window!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

The Bog Trail in November

On Saturday morning I met my sister and her son at Second Home Nature Center. The weather was a little touch and go: temperatures in the upper 40s with occasional sprinkles. No matter, we're almost always up for a romp in the woods. Or, as the case may be, a stroll through the bog.


For whatever reason I just cannot figure out how to dress for a walk that involves my nephew (he will be 3 years old next week). I am so used to dressing for outdoor activities that require effort. My motto has always been if you're cold, you're not walking fast enough. However, this just doesn't work with a toddler. So the last two weekends I've come home from our walks frozen solid. Please, next time, someone remind me to wear more layers!

The breeze off the lake didn't help with my lack of layers. I'm also a big fan of "there's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothes."


My nephew had a great time throwing rocks into the lake, picking up sticks and leaves, reading signs, and playing with using the telescope.



Even though the weather was a tad gloomy, beauty can be found at the nature center year round. All you have to do is look in any direction, any day.

witch hazel
the tamaracks pop with their yellow-green color
You can read about my October walk at Second Home Nature Center here and see pictures from a walk on the bog trail in August here.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Goals: October & November

First, let's see how I did with my goals for October...

1. Continue to meet &/or surpass 10,000 steps a dayCheck! According to Fitbit, I averaged 10,548 steps per day in the month of October.

2. Finish 5 books. Nope. I read 4.5 books. The last one which I am still slogging away at is pretty boring. I may abandon it altogether. 

3. Continue to post to this blog 2-3 times a week. Check! I posted 15 times in the month of October.

4. Use arm weights 4 or more times a week. Nope. I used them 3 or 4 times at the start of the month and then... nothing. Oh well.

5. Hike at least once at Great Bear Farms and walk at least once at Beaver Lake Nature Center. Check! See here and here. Plus, a bonus walk here.

6. Take one load of clothes to the Salvation Army. Check! See here.


So not bad, other than dropping the ball on the arm weights. Now on to November... Initially I had decided I wasn't going to define any goals for November because I want LESS stress in my life and striving to meet these goals feels a bit like homework. But now I've decided to just pare them down to a more manageable list, especially considering the holidays are approaching rapidly.

1. Continue to meet &/or surpass 10,000 steps a day. Always. This will become more challenging with the weather conditions, but I have to figure out a way to get it done.

2. Finish 4 books. I'm scaling this back for the reasons mentioned above and for the reason to be mentioned below in #3.
     2a. Two of the four books should be YA. Because I want to read more YA. 

3. Participate in NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. While that would be swell, my personal goal is to write anything. I'm serious. I haven't written ANY kind of fiction in years, so I want to use this event as a kick in the pants to just do it. To not aim for perfection. To just get words on the page. Move the story forward. Worry about the rest later.

4. Post 2 times per week on this blog. I don't want to let this slide, even with NaNoWriMo in progress.

5. Walk/hike somewhere in nature twice. Get out of the neighborhood and ideally on trails that are not paved.

I have some other balls in the air and thoughts in my head, but I'm going to leave it at 5 "official" goals. How many and what kinds of goals will you be working on?