Monday, February 23, 2015

Living My 60th Year - Family, Commitments

Yesterday I planned a homemade pizza party with the oldest of my three brothers and his family.  I brought down everything to make the pizzas based on their likes and dislikes, made a big pot of mac and cheese and a salad.  In a word, YUM!

He and my sister-in-law have four kids, ages 13 to 19.  It was part of their Christmas present this past year.  It was time to spend time with them, one on one time, no crowds, bite the bullet and do it.  They are the needy part of my family, thankless most of the time - though I am sure they are thankful, you would never know as you won't be thanked in any recognizable form.  

Yes - I'm sure many families have members that I call the victim part of a family.  It needs to be "all about them", they feel they didn't get opportunities, the world is unfair, yadda yadda yadda. No one knows more than them.  I'm sure you know the type.  It's like a skipping record, same ole story whining on.

Back to the pizza.  Not one of them have ever made pizza before.  It was funny as they tried to stretch the dough into a circle.  There was lots of kidding as odd shaped pizzas were formed, topping added and baked into the most tasty pizzas consumed.   Since we could only bake one or two at a time, that meant they all needed to stay around the kitchen table.  Each of the kids had to show me something they did in school.  An art and sewing projects from the two "little" ones and story about the a presentation on fire safety the oldest nephew is working on.  It was exciting to share in their projects.

Then we get to the oldest child.  This is the first time we have had a 'talk' pretty much ever.  She's in community college but wants to go away to school.  Translated into 'I want out of my parent's home and someone else should pay for it'.  She wants and wants. I tried not to say lots and listen more and even attempted a couple of suggestions of how she could get there.  So far she hasn't make a commitment to taking herself forward.  Let's hope some of the 'talk' rubbed off.

The rest of this week was learning more for me.  There are several difficult individuals on my path at this time and I am questioning my commitment to these organizations.  Many times I am the odd-man out in a group.  I attribute some of it to my 'let's get it done and no, we do not need another committee meeting' personality.  Call it looking for the goals, then backing into today to determine what we need to go forward.  My youngest brother said.... 'hey Pat, there are folks that don't commit  and there are the folks that are committed'.   

So to my current dilemma - taking time to get away from it, taking time to consider my situation, being thoughtful of other points of view, even consulted a couple of close friends for their opinion - it is coming together and I am thinking about me.  My mantra below says it all - do what makes me smile.

With that ---- hope you smile today - it will make you feel great!

Here's to a year of catching the dreams you chase,
doing what makes you smile,
and loving the life you live.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Snowflakes - More snow coming!

Let it Snow, Let it Snow and Let it Snow..we are singing that every couple of days.  As soon as we are "cleared out" another storm drops some more and we measure the feet it drops!.  It seems that we are getting more snow in the last few years - it depends where you are and how it is being measured.

This year is the snowiest winter on record for Boston.  No doubt and we are getting a storm slated for Thursday.  By the way it is only mid February!

While I'm some two hours west of Bean Town, we have over 3.5 feet on the ground.  Lots of icicles hanging from the roofs.  My neighbor called the mgmt co to remove the "big one" that is between our homes.  It measured, before they took it down, approximately 10 ft long. There is one on the the back roof hanging from the roof past the third floor deck!

Maybe I'll use the icicles for some inspiration for this Challenge!

Keeping my snowflake book organized can be a bit challenging.  All of a sudden I find a pattern, copy it and it's now laying in several places making me crazy.  Then making sure I photograph them.  I posted a Snowcatcher's Marble Snowflake on FaceBook and many seem to enjoy the picture.  Hope they click through.

I read about using building insulation for blocking - it comes in many sizes and you can pick up some at the big box store.  It is really dense and will help hold the pins when I begin blocking these flakes.  Note to do after the "season".

Update... pictured above these are #9, #10, #11, #12 - total of  12 out of 50 done!  With seven weeks of the year gone by already ---  this is good start for my 50 Snowflakes Challenge.

Starting at the top - This is Snowcatcher's  pattern called Marble Snowflake, to the right is #3 from White Christmas in Thread,  just below it is Mystery Flake that I  found it and adding it to the collection, and lastly is #4 also from White Christmas in Thread.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Living My 60th Year -

Snow Snow Snow and then more Snow!  A great week has gone by.  

Last week I took my middle brother and his wife out to dinner.  A prior Christmas present that was to go out to dinner - actually I did this four years in a row. They were suppose to call with a date.... that never happened.  So I told them this year what the date was and when I was picking them up.  

Actually he needed to reschedule from January to February, no fuss.  We met at a cute little place cal Amici in Shelton and had a great dinner at the beginning of yet another snow storm.  One down and three to go!

 My sister-in-law handed me over a large shopping bag with some yarn in it over the holiday as she was frustrated attempting to use the yarn and make a crochet blanket.  She chose a dark purple yarn - same brand as pictured here - and was running into difficulty.  I worked up a sample of a pattern I used for several blankets in a light color and explained how to do the stitch.   It is a simple double crochet in the back loop only and is worked with two strands at the same time with at least a N hook.  Result is that a row is over an inch tall, double strands make it very comfy, and it goes very quickly.  She seemed satisfied and I hope she begins her project soon. 

Then I received a phone call from the Library about the Town requesting to reduce their Zero increase budget by over 3% or $50,000 plus.  So we scrambled, came up with a plan, and we submitted that we close the Library all Sundays - and close on Thursday at 5pm.  That's right - lock up all those resources!!!  Close down additional meeting rooms, study rooms, the free wifi, the books, videos, cd, and other items in the collection, and shut down children and adult programing.   Our Library is the fifth busiest library in Connecticut.  More than 800 people (on average) enter our Library every day it is open.  Our work is cut out for us!  We need to rally the troops  - await to hear the response from the Town Manager - and it is tic toc tic toc.

I leave you with yellow roses that I purchased at the Volunteer Fire Department Valentines sale.  Just lovely  and and extra bunch of white ones - just because.......

Here's to a year of catching the dreams you chase,
doing what makes you smile,
and loving the life you live.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Minimalism - January

This past November and December I did a Minimalism Challenge.  It was a thirty day challenge to look around your home and at yourself of how you lived.  Remove, re-organize, recycle and re-purpose the items in many of the places in which we live.  Now it is time to get out the list, and setup what to accomplish during the balance of the winter months.

Most of us know that we could live without lots of the "wants" in our life.  I was amazed to complete the challenge and found that I needed to complete more of the days challenges.  As I went along, I made up a list of items that I needed to revisit and get them done!

In January I held a big dinner party in my home.  So it was logical to go back to Day21 - Only the necessities in the Kitchen. I completed one cabinet for the challenge - that was a pretty big effort on my part.  It's been over a month, and I'm finding that the cabinet works so much better.  If one could say the cabinet is a  joy - then it is a joy!

In preparation of the dinner party - I found that "I forgot" I had certain items around and/or I couldn't find others.  Borrowing items was better than owning those items you need infrequently.  I came across an article on 8 Things You DON'T Need in Your Kitchen .  How about those small appliances, the extra dishes, and items stored on the top of the counter?  Great article and more food for thought.

I put the Day 21's List on my Monthly challenge.  It has 15 areas of the kitchen and related areas.   What I found important in cleaning out an area is to keep it simple, break it down and then live with it for awhile to insure that the "new" is overall better for daily life.

So here's the January accomplishments for Day 21's list.  I was able to put items in the Donate Box - yes it is in it's established place. I can see what's in the drawers and cabinets so far - it is very good.  I found silverware that need to be reorganized, the office drawer with those misc items in it, and two drawers one with some linens, and the other with leftover containers.  It's pretty good so far - no struggling with where items are, and each of them are looking about the same.

Onward to February!!!

Day 21 - kitchen cabinets - only the necessities  - Take one cabinet/drawer a day
0.  Cabinet to the right of microwave -----  December
1.  cabinet left of microwave
2.  drawer below #1 January
3.  Drawer below #2 January
4.  Drawer below #3 January
5.  drawer to right of stove January
6. cabinet below #5
7.  drawer on left side of island
8.  cabinet below #7 February
9.  drawer on right side of island
10.  cabinet below #9
11.  cabinet to left of sink
12.  cabinet above sink
13.  cabinet to right of sink
14.  Pantry closet
15.  storage in garage.
16.  storage cube in dining room
17.  Cabinet in dinning room January