Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I'm tired. (My normal tired is more along the lines of flu fatigue for the rest of you normal folks!) Ridiculously tired. Am I just in need of my IV? Are the meds not working as well as they were? Am I not doing enough of what I'm supposed to be doing health-wise? We're not sure.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
And that does it! Time to tighten the purse strings and begin saving as much money as we possibly can. With Hubby being out of work w/a back injury since 11/11 & no paid time off left by the time it happened, he's been without any salary since that date and his state disability payments have come in yet. We've been living off savings and my monthly social security disability. I'm trying not to panick about how much we've gone through and what our savings is down to. It couldn't be helped. He couldn't work and it didn't happen on either job. He needed the break honestly, physically & emotionally. He was so exhausted. He returns to work on 1/5 and until we get the $ from state disability, we'll just have to save as much as quickly as possible from his pay & my ssd to recoop what's gone. Thank God we had my ssd retro $ in savings or we'd have been screwed since last month! I'm so thankful for that. And I/we did spend a little more than usual on Christmas overall but my thinking was that since we can do it this year, we might as well because who knows if we'll be able to next year (and we haven't in previous years). I've no regrets.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
You press the botton by each bird and it plays each birds' calls and songs. Each card also has a tiny pic of the bird, its' name and on the back a description of its' call.
Hubby got it for me (yes, for Valentine's this year) because he got tired of me asking him "What kind of bird is that?!" when we're in our kitchen or out back. (He knows so many it's amazing really!) I'd learned the difference between Blue Jays and Crows (I'd always had them mixed up) and I thought I knew Cardnials, but we have so many different birds here I didn't know how else I'd figure them all out.
I love this clever little machine! I'm going to check out a book about the birds of this region from the library so I can copy the info about the ones right here. I also got a gorgeous 2009 calendar for Christmas which has pics of back yard birds - each month is different and gives info on all of them.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
No White Christmas in our neck of the woods, only rain & wind. Again. Well north and west of here had snow and a lot of nasty ice. Last white Christmas I remember was in 2000.
It's been a nice day at home today. Reading, tooling around on the computer, wrapping gifts, watching Christmas specials & movies. For whatever reason, I have a tradition of making pene pasta with vodka sauce for dinner on Christmas Eve & I did so this evening, browning up sausage and meatballs before adding them to the sauce. I forgot the Cheesecake for desert but that's alright I suppose! Growing up I was always allowed to open 1 gift on Christmas Eve but Vic doesn't go along with that (Grinch!) so I cracked open the foodie gift basket one of my girlfriends sent last week. (It's got all manner of cheese, crackers, cookies, candies, hot cocoa mix & holiday tea in there!) I've been waiting patiently until today to open it!
I hate sleeping on Christmas Eve. I awoke early, about 7am this morning, hopped out of bed and plugged all the Christmas lights in! All that are left on now are the ones on the Tree (which will stay on thru the night - another tradition), the outdoor lights and the string in the corner on my bedside. I'm yawning like crazy but fighting sleep. I can't explain this compulsion to stay awake but it happens from the moment I wake on Halloween morning and again when I wake on Christmas Eve morning! I think because it goes so quickly I don't want to miss any of it (by sleeping). Or I'm just wacko!
Time for me to sign off & go back to watching A Christmas Story (24 hour marathon which started at 8p tonight).
Wishing you & yours a Merry Merry Christmas & a Happy, healthy New Year! Thank you for reading, for sharing your friendship and support. I am so much better for it! Love, Jo
I was doing well with my weight until having a house full of people since the middle of November! I've gained about 5 or 6 lbs back (and feel it, let me tell ya!). I haven't started the printing out of photo's yet. I haven't started yoga yet but have started reading about it. I have finished last Autumn's scarf as well as a new one and I've been keeping up with getting our home in order. And I finished NaNoWriMo again this November. I started editing my book in October but stopped when writing for NaNo and will go back to editing after New Year's. (I needed a break!) I asked the Ladies of CoL how they've done with their Autumn Goals and I started a new thread for posting Winter Goals.
In keeping with the seasonal styled time frame, for now I can think of the following as Winter goals:
~Pick up editing my book
~Start printing out 25 pics at least twice a month
~Stay on my vitamins and journaling
~Lose more weight
~Get/be as healthy as I can be in preparation for trying to have a baby
~Get back to writing (I've been on a break since finishing NaNoWriMo this November!)
~Get thru my to be read pile by the bed
Monday, December 22, 2008
The sleeper love seat is now in the spare room, replaced by a large odiman in the living room making the spare room an actual bedroom and the living room more spacious. The coat closet in the hall has been completely cleared out & all contents moved into a closet in the spare bedroom so that the coat closet may now house the kitties litter box (since it was in the spare room). They've all found it but are rather confused as every time one would get into this particular closet, we yelled at them to get out!
Before starting all this I threw a pot of Kapusta together to simmer on the stove all day. Vic said it turned out better than last time (my first time making it) & said it was really good. I wasn't hungry for dinner so I may try it today.
And as you can see, Vic was setting up his train last night, but he was a little too tired & didn't have the patience to get it just right so the cars won't hop off the tracks so he gave up!
Nephew had a life long friend & his fiance visit last night - they both seem like great people! I wasn't expecting company & could've boxed Nephew's ears given how I looked after a day of cleaning but got to talking w/her about books & health (she has immune problems too).
I closed up my Autumn journal last night too - I only journaled 3 & a half pages in 3 months, how truly pathetic. (I also haven't taken my vitamins for 3 months and I wonder why I'm feeling like crap?!) I started writing in my Winter journal last night & continued this morning. (I also got back on the vitamins this am too!)
Today I've got to tackle our bedroom (Lordy where to begin?) and do laundry. Tomorrow it's Christmas w/G from Chicago! I can't wait to see her. Giftin', knittin', eatin' and laughin' is what that's all about!
Right now Vic's on his way to the Veteran's hospital in North Brunswick with some of our Post Members to give out presents for Christmas. We gave our Toys for Tots donations last weekend - 1 toy each for a boy & a girl. (Vic picked them both out & they're great, I'll have to post that pic later).
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
It's very raw outside so it was home made potato soup and griddled cheeses for lunch. (When ever I make soups or stews, I freeze the leftovers in seperate 'soup' size tupper ware containers that can be popped into the microwave for a few minutes on defrost & then dumped into a large sauce pan on the stove).
I finally finished decorating last night. I did a little more online shopping today and will probably finish up tomorrow when I'm out & about with Mom. I'm also going to stop at the library on the way home & pick up some books about Christmas in Germany, Ireland, Poland, England & France - something I always mean to do well in advance of Christmas but never do.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I'm not an artificial Christmas Tree kind of gal - a small one or two is fine on a bookshelf or end table, but for THE Christmas Tree, I love a fresh tree.
Christmas is next week! Sigh. The most wonderful time of the year goes so fast.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
I'm frustrated with my friend K though. For the past few years, I've asked her to limit her gift purchases for me for Christmas to 1 or 2 and to not spend more than $20 or $25 each. She doesn't listen. And now that we don't see one another even a fraction as much as we used to, I haven't the foggiest idea what to get for her! I saw one thing and bought it today online. What frustrates me is that I know she's gone overboard again and I feel bad so I'm always looking for extra stuff to get her. I know she doesn't expect me to go overboard in return, but it's annoying. I've tried talking to her about this for the past 4 Christmases.
Last night I made out the cards for our tenant's plus 3 more, so that's 40 cards down and I don't even know how many more to go!
(Sorry the pciture isn't good - the spotlight was terribly bright).
That was completely interesting & entertaining and I'm glad I decided to come afterall. Feeling exhausted, queasy & down right crappy since last week, especially the last few days, the rain today & the 1981 movie Tron nearly made me stay snuggly warm in bed with Vic this afternoon! (And when the thought "She speaks all around North/Western NJ all the time" popped into my head, I shooed it away & started getting ready!)
And the $45 admission was so worth it being that the proceeds were being split between the Hunterdon County Library and the Hunterdon County Cancer Center. The first 3 rows were reserved for cancer survivors from the Center who now donate their time to help others thru this horrible disease - as the Director said when someone is crying, she could say she understands, but it wouldn't be true. She can kind of imagine but these Survivors know first hand and can offer empathy which helps & means more than sympathy a lot of the time.
That's when I thought of C from the online book club I belong to, to whom I sent my "Happy Surprises" care package to day before yesterday, who is fighting Cancer now. I hope she has wonderful people like these where she is.
I felt like a spy or imposter as most of the women who attended are from Hunterdon County and/or the Library or Cancer Center, all of which is local for Ms. Gilbert since she lives there as well. (She and Felipe, her husband, own a business in Frenchtown NJ! I do believe we went there in September & I had no idea!)
I know I'm not remembering everything (I didn't think to borrow Mom's little tape recorder until today - lol!) but I hope you'll get the gist of the evening.
Elizabeth is funny and eloquent. She began with how a woman walked into the business she and her husband own (Two Buttons), right up to Felipe and said, "Do you know this business is owned by a very famous author?!" Amused, he replied, "No I didn't! Who might this very famous author be?" The woman answered, "Barbara Kingslover!" and walked away from him, shaking her head. Liz said she wasn't sure how this rumor got started (it wasn't the first time she'd heard it) but for anyone who was expecting Barbara Kingslover to be speaking this evening, she was sorry to disappoint them but that Barbara was in Arizona (she thought) and if anyone wanted to leave, she wouldn't be the least bit upset.
She then told a story of how she was at the San Francisco airport waiting for her flight to Santa Barbara where she was going to speak to 2,000 people and she began thinking about her nephew asking for a nerf gun and if she should buy it for him since her sister is Quaker... A lot of time passes and when she suddenly realizes where she is and why, the plane has left and there were no more flights that day to Santa Barbara.
After much panick on her, her publicists and the organizer's part, she took a plane to Los Angeles where the organizer had to fly up the coast to pick her up & take her to the event. Along the way, she lost her notes for the speach and her comb. They arrived 5 minutes before the start, she was an absolute mess and was supposed to give a talk on getting ones life together!
She said she tells this humiliating story to illustrate a point: That just because you settle or "figure out" a specific area (or a tiny aspect of your life) doesn't mean you have solved the big picture or that you won't ever have another problem or other area of yourself/your life to improve. You still have to work at yourself and your life every day, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little.
She talked about how easy and unfortunate it is that once we feel as though we've achieved some sense of calm about something, we see someone whom we think has done it better and it throws our entire being into swirling doubt, about how we as women are constantly comaring themselves with others we think have it all or have it better (and who most of the times don't) which lead her to make an incredible point that I had never considered much less thought of before:
Women now, especially in the United States, have so many options (and we're so over-connected to the world and un-connected to ourselves - that's just my 2 cents, not Liz's), we are the first women in history, meaning women of the last hundred years, to be in this position and we have no "role models" as it were, so there's no one for us to look to for true guidance and while that aspect is daunting, we are fortunate. In the past, women (and even men to an extent) lived life as they were told and expected to, regardless of their feelings. (Women in Asia and the Middle East still go through this now).
I'm still thinking about the impact that point had on me!
Liz is still pleasantly surprised that the "best place in the world" where she's settled (now with Felipe) is NJ, unexpected to say the least. She said she still loves when she tells people this and they've no idea how to react. It's the first time in her life where she feels as though she fits it and it part of a community. She knows she's fortunate because without the monetary success of EPL, she wouldn't be able to live where she does.
This made me so sad - Vic & I were both born & raised here and unless we hit the lottery (or I write a very successful novel), we have to find our "best place in the world" elsewhere. Even in this economy, NJ is for the wealthy.
Anyway, after talking a bit about how people ask her all the time, "Did you ever think EPL would be SO successful?!" (To which she always has the desire to answer, "Why yes, of course!")...
And this is for all of you Richard from Texas fans:
Liz and Richard from Texas were talking on the phone the other day and he asked her, "How are you going to top this Groceries?" She said she's ok if she never "tops" EPL because it's incredible journey since publication in 2006 has been beyond anything she could've ever imagined and she doesn't think there's any way she could intentionally set out to "top" this experience.
Then Liz said she'd talked enough and wanted the audience talk, so she'd take questions. I was a bit startled by this, I hadn't thought of any "questions" prior to arriving.
One of the few men who attended asked if she was surprised at how the book has been received in other countries given that we are the society which is constantly trying to improve itself because we never think we're good enough (because other cultures tend to be more spiritual and less materialistic than ours).
A couple of women thanked her for sharing so honestly about what she's been through. Another asked what is was like for her to come back to the Country after being away for a year.
A woman asked for advice on going on a journey without physically going anywhere and another woman, one of the few younger women in the crowd, gushed. Oh my how she gushed! And cried. I do believe she referred to EPL as her new "Bible" but she also thanked Liz for writing it and how much it spoke to her. She said her sister, seated next to her, gave her the book and she was thankful for that too. She asked Liz for advice on how to handle her perfectionist tendencies.
My first thought was that you have to accept who you are, regardless of the flaws and work on what drives others crazy about you (because that's generally what you don't realize is driving you crazy about yourself!)
Liz said someone once told her "Your responsibility is to be the least annoying person you can be" and then basically told her the same thing I had just thought only moments before! (Nice! I've come a LONG way!)
She also said that one of the best pieces of "advice" she can give everyone is to make a commitment of 5 minutes to up to a half hour, any time of the day and any way you can, to sit in silence. No tv, no cell phone, no computers or lap tops, no music, no phones, no nothing.
A lovely older woman told Liz about her writing, more specifically how she writes - does she set out each days to write for a specific amount of time/pages/words or just when inspiration hits. Liz used a saying I've heard many times before, "If you wait to write until inspiration hits, you'll be waiting a VERY LONG TIME!" She goes to bed early, wakes early and write from about 6:30am until around noon, 1pm. That's when she's working on a specific project. If she's not, she may not write for a considerable amount of time unless the mood strikes. But she feels that if you put the effort into it, you'll be rewarded. (She likens herself to a plow and inspiration to an angel - it's her job to plow a field every day as as she does her work, the angel watches over her & guides her).
She's been working on her next book, Meditations on Marriage (I don't recall the specific title), diligently for the last 3 to 4 months and is nearly finished. It's not a 'pick up where she left off' from EPL, but it is the next chapter of her life.
And for CoL: She and Felipe were together for 2 1/2 years before it was firmly suggested to them by a border patrol agent that they marry (after a "tense" border crossing). She lived here in NJ, he lived in Brazil, so it was a long distance relationship for much of its' beginning, giving her plenty of time to continue her journey and accept herself. They were both terrified of marriage given the monumentous mistakes they both made in their first marriages and neither realized they were ready to make that step until they "were proposed to by the border patrol officer" that day & that came after much panick at home.
Now they have their lives, seperately and together. (She has step children!) They are both happy.
Liz said there's nothing she'd rather do with her life than write. She said if it's not working out for you, step away from it, try anything & everything else and if there's nothing you love more, than stick with it. (This goes for any "career" choice).
With that, she ended and thanked everyone for coming out in such nasty weather to see her (it was raining & windy). She spoke with a few people, took a couple of pictures and discretely left.
I am so glad I went and feel more validated that I can too make something good come of all my craziness. And next time we're in Frenchtown, we're stopping by Two Buttons again!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I'm quite surprised that most of the women around me are older, late 50's through 60's, many with pens & paper at the ready or reading "Eat Pray Love.". I don't see many 30 or 40 somethings.
It's odd being here by myself, me so quiet and so much chatter all around me.
The spot light is now shining on the podium, we have begun!
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
-Plain ornaments of any kind (these are unfinished wood ornaments from AC Moore)
-White or craft glue
-Glitter (colors are up to you)
Dip the paint brush into the glue bottle then cover the surface of the ornament by dabbing the glue onto the ornament (this ensures better coverage than brushing the glue on).
See next post...
I wasn't able to send anything until now because of so much going on here and waiting for the Eat Pray Love audio cd book to arrive as it's been on back order for some time.
All in the picture are on my "All time favorites" list. I've written a message in each one (as well as a post it indicating if it's en exceptionally emotional read, just for her fyi) and included a cute reindeer card with a message as well. My friend Bren will send it out UPS either tomorrow or Wednesday. (She's able to send things for me for free, something I don't do often but am so thankful for!) I wanted to be sure it gets to her before Christmas as she's mentioned she's physically alone throughout this. (We're all with her in Spirit, every step of the way).
I wanted to include an audio book because I know sometimes you just physically can't read during illness for one reason or another, so she can listen while she rests and hopefully it helps her fall asleep at night too. (Liz Gilbert's voice is wonderfully calming).
I hope these help her thru, give her joy when she needs them and remind her that we're all pulling for her.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
He looks great all gussied up (in my humble, unbiased opinion)! Funny this pic makes him look shorter than the 6'3" he actually is! He really needs a longer tie. (As do most of the other AL members!)
Each year, I buy presents with my daughter in mind, instead of just picking random items, and give those to Toys for Tots. It's my hope that by doing it this way, they bring much joy to whomever receives them and perhaps that joy makes it way up to Heaven to Brianna as well.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
She's leaving an abusive husband, who supposedly doesn't know where she & the kids have moved to and when her police escort arrived at their house today, they saw bruises on her and instead of just removing him from the house as planned so her things could be moved & she could get here without him following, the police pressed charges against him (battery & assault and making verbal threats - he's threatened to kill her) AND They Took His Guns Away. Fucking GREAT.
The police told her she could get a temporary restraining order tomorrow before going to court this week to get a permanent one - I told her bull shit! If they can call a judge on a Sunday to get a temp, they could've called today for one & she shouldn't have left until she had it.
I've got chest pains right now. The people who lived upstairs before had domestic violence problems and every time he beat the shit out of her, cowered in a corner while I called the cops (or Vic did) and I'd sob, hearing the same screams come from her that came from me in the past. I'd become terrified out of my mind. It was horrible, like it was happening to me all over again.
Now this girl has a psycho husband who's definately on the war path. She only moved 1 town away to here from her house for crissakes!
I don't want to have to worry that this @##$%&^ is going to find out she & their kids live here and then shows up here - innocent people get hurt OR WORSE by ending up involved in others' domestic violence.
I've lived so much of my life in fear and paranoia - it's so hard to come out of that. I've done well but there's always progress to be made. Something like this makes me feel as though I haven't made any progress at all.