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

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Snowflakes and Stars getting started

Start of the stars I'm going to make this year.  These are crocheted using a batch of yarn I purchased to do some 'snow people' for Christmas.

Thanks to Mom who had some left over styrofoam packaging.  Of course, she saved it and now I cam begin to block them out.

These are made from acryllic yarn called Bonbons by LionBrand. mini balls of yarn - with eight different colors.  

These are blocked with only water.  I'll check to see if the water/block/iron works or I'll have to try starch.  I don't want to lose the vibrantancy of the color.  While I was traveling last week, I was able to complete more of these stars.  It's a quick and easy pattern and great to take wherever I go.

There isn't a real plan - I want to make a whole rainbow of colors and then put them together in some type of fun 3-D arrangement.  Found some great ideas and inspirations in Pintrest - you can find my boards at Patty Foley.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Living My 60th Year - Inspiration

Back on the ground from my delayed trip, hugs with KC and thanks to my neighbors Bob and Judith for taking care of her while I was away.

Again - this week needed lots of focus.  I'm missing two days due to the storm and travel delays. When it became obvious that I was not flying back, I began to reschedule my week - move appointments and prep myself for a big week.

Then I got a phone call on Tuesday, Mrs Myra Cohen passed away at the young age of 90.  I read in the paper that Rudy Remigino also passed at 87 years young.  Both were reisdents in town, Myra, still on the Town Council and Rudy was on the Friends board with me and we gave him our first Friend of the Year award.  As a community we were blessed with their volunteer work for all of in town.

Hartford Courant picture
Myra, first a watchdog and then serving 23 years on the town council.  Yes - do the math - she ran for town council and won at  67 years of age!  You couldn't be about town without running into Myra.  She was steadfast - non political - and was absolutely determined to do the right thing for the Town.   In small towns - that is tough.  At her funeral - her daughter-in-law read a beautiful poem that is listed below - "A Woman of Valor", it was as if this poem was written specifically about her.

Hartford Courtant picture

Rudy was the go-to guy on the Friends Board.  If it wasn't a fundraiser like the booksale and such, you could count on him to be available to hand our flyers and promote the Library at the drop of a hat.  We was around when the first expansion of the library was put on.  He understood the value of a good library in a town - how it educates and entertains it's citizens - the little ones, kids in school, and all the adults right through our senior years. He was such a kind man.  I had the opportunity to visit with his children (my age) and tell some stories about Rudy and to hear their stories about their Poppie.

Both of these people were inspirations in my life.  They understood giving to their community makes and keeps us all healthy.  I was brought up in a family that knew giving was part of everyday life.  We gave of our time, whether at some church functions - there were many, scouting seems to last for most of my young life, and of course, school events.

Here's the poem - I hope it will inspire you to continue the giving you do in your community.  Thank you Myra and Thank you Rudy - thank you for your efforts - you were grand citizens of Newington - we will miss you.

A Woman of Valor
Dedicated to all the women who showed me what true strength is.

A woman of valor makes the world change
Her strength is the content that guides through the days
Defined by her actions that bring light to all dreams
Valor is something that's defined by her deeds.

Her valor is golden, sparkled and gray
She stands up to the challenge no matter the way
It can't be held back or defined by her age
Yes, a woman of valor makes the world change.

For valor's not held by the young or the old
But by the deeds of the heart that give and unfold
It's merit and honor that hold no disguise
Like the creation of being in the blessed Holy One's eyes.

For valor is the color of the song of her soul
As she changes, creates and turns light into gold
Divine is Her Presence, be it joyous or sad
-- A Woman of Valor --
May offer little, but it will be all that she has.

For only her heart will know the depths of her soul
That nurtures and blossom and forever unfolds
And holds in its essence new life and new gain

A woman of valor makes the world change
A woman of valor makes the world change
A woman of valor makes the world change.

"Be as courageous as Esther, whose faith and bravery where as pleasing to G-d as that of Moses or King David."

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

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Living My 60th Year - All for Twelve Minutes

My goodness - two weeks have elapsed.  It's been a heck of two weeks.    This is Bradley Airport when I landed in the airport....  more about this later.

The first of the two weeks - I spent in the office continuing getting ready for the "season" and also clearing the backlog of items around my desk as I was preparing to leave to go out for a surprise visit to St. Louis for my niece's concert.   To set up the works, there was a "blizzard" - it was only about 18" +/- of snow.  While I don't get snow days off from work, I was feeling quite under the weather.  After a day of tending to my health, it was get ready to leave; arrange for KC's care; do and undo events about the homestead; and just say no to certain events and keep my nose to the grind stone.   Let's say, I was pleased with my focus and amount of work accomplished.

Then the surprise trip out to see my niece perform at the ICCA (regional a cappella) competition.  It was to be a quick trip - fly out on Friday and come back on Sunday a.m. The competiton was  Saturday evening at Washington University - it was a sold out event!  Glad my sister-in-law got tickets in advance.  My trip out from Hartford to Dallas to St. Louis went really well - on time, no difficulties, great seat mates on both flights.   

Got some time with my brother that afternoon, saw his place of business and a great beer/ale at the shop and then the four trips to the airport (more later).   Surprised my other niece and nephew when I arrived; completed two crochet gifts and fixed another.  I took back another crochet item that I need to make adjustments to.  I brought them their christmas gifts - one for each day I was there (according to original plans).

The concert was amazing - worth the trip out!  My niece had a solo and was first of the firsts to go on stage.  She has sung with BAR  Beyond all Reason since a freshman and now as a senior - a solo in competition.  I texted her after they all came off stage and said she did good.  That confused her and at the intermission, it was still a surprise!  The rest of the groups, all college, were amazing.   We went out after the concert - family and all and celebrated.

THEN--------- next snow storm - not a blizzard but it was to snow Sunday through Monday night.  Saturday night, 1/2 of my flight was cancelled.  After the concert I spent hours on line and on hold attempting to get another flight - which I did - second set of flights just a bit later in the day.

NOPE ---- get to the airport on Sunday, thank my brother, and I'm on my way back.  Get to the gate and between the time I arrived and got to the gate.......... cancelled again.  Go back to the desk and attempt to get another flight - not for Sunday and am booked on the third set of flights -----errrrrrrrr.  What to do, sleep the the hotel or go back to my brothers?  Yep the later as I could watch the superbowl and eat snacks all night long.

Monday - early a.m. back to the airport again.  From the time I leave the house to the airport some 40 minutes or so, the flights are cancelled.  They book me on another flight through Charlotte and said it was leaving now.  It did - though the flight to Hartford was cancelled during this flight.  Now I'm in Charlotte, nice airport, and have NO FLIGHT home.  Oh, the airline personnel said, you can go standby at 4pm.  Mind you, I'm 21st on the standby list of a sold out flight at noon.  

TIME FOR BEER -  and to talk to the "airport gods" to get me home.  Yes it is not over yet.  Time to board and we are boarding........ oh wait they stopped boarding and are going to wait another hour and a half before beginning boarding again!  

It is NOW 5:30pm --- boarding begins again.....  I'm watching the counter over the shoulder of an airline person.  As the boarding passes are scanned, and they begin to call the stand by list....countdown...  87, 55, 36, 14, 8, 7, 4, 3, 5, 4, 3, 5, 4, 3.....  and then it was 1...........  and the called me!  Yeah!  Congratulations to the pilots and to BDL for clearing the airport.  

Great flight, fantastic landing.....  though very errie, not a plane in the airport.....  And every moment of those twelve minutes of my niece singing was worth all of this!  

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