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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Suddenly September - 2016

September 20 - 

"What is something you wish more people knew or believed?"

The "Butterfly Effect" is real.  According to Wiki, the Butterfly Effect is the idea that small causes can have large effects. The scientific premise is that the flapping of a butterfly's wings can, through the movement of air, cause a ripple effect which could make a tornado on the other side of the country.  Kind of impossible you may think, but it's been proven.  

We had the pleasure of listening to Andy Andrews speak at a convention a few years ago and I absolutely love his work. He has a very unique storytelling style and this is one of my favorites of his.  He explains the Butterfly Effect using people and the things they do in their lifetime to illustrate it.    

In it he says, "Your life matters and what you do today could affect generations to come."  Of course the obvious things are that we could use up all the food and water supply and pollute the air.  We know that.  

But I believe that it can be a very simple thing, like a smile, that may change the lives of other people.  Maybe it is by smiling at a person walking down the street or by making eye contact with the grocery clerk or salesperson, smiling at them and thanking them by name.  Maybe it is by writing something in one of my blogs that happens to make the reader smile.  I believe that by doing so, perhaps the smile will be passed on from the grocery clerk to the customer behind me and so on and so on.  Perhaps the smile will make someone who is feeling discouraged or upset just a little happier.

I have made it my goal to try to make at least one person smile every day.  I know I feel better when I smile.    

If you have not heard of Andy Andrews before, I would suggest that you read his books or take a listen to some of his other stories on YouTube.  Here is another favorite:  Amazing Grace:


I'll bet that one brings a smile to your face!

Hope you are following along with the Blog-tember Challenge.  10 days left!  Let me know if I made you smile :)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Suddenly September - 2016

September 19

A list of some of my favorite blog posts I've written:

1) From May last year:  "In this place..."  A post I wrote about a favorite place I used to go to that is no longer there.

2) Also from May last year:  "A love story"  The story of my husband and I on the occasion of our 31st anniversary.

3) From January of last year:  "Just a Whisper."  The story of the cat we had to put down.

4) Also from January last year:  "Planning" The story of my home made planner.

5) Finally, from April of last year:  "Thankful For..." The things I am truly thankful for.

So, there they are.  I've only been blogging sporadically for the last year or so, so I don't have a ton to choose from.  Would love to know what you think of these.


 Be sure to stop by the other participants in the Blog-tember Challenge!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Suddenly September - 2016

September 18

I've missed a few days in the Blog-tember Challenge but I'm not going to beat myself up about it.  One of them was a vlog, which I don't think I'm quite ready for, although if Bailey Jean does Blog-tember again next year, I just may go for it.

One day was to tell about the craziest adventure I've ever been on.  I think that would have to be what we lovingly call our "Vacation from Hell" when we drove from the SF Bay Area to Southern California (about a 7 to 8 hour drive) to attend my husband's family reunion.  That's definitely a blog post of its own and I want to get the pictures to go with it so that will have to wait.

One day was to tell how I de-stress and take care of myself.  That, of course, would be mostly reading and working in my scrap room.  It is my happy place and I love spending hours and hours there creating things and trying out new ideas.  I've talked about that a lot already so I won't bore you anymore just now.

Today's prompt is something that simplifies my life.  I am attempting again to lose some weight, well, a lot of weight, but we'll start with some weight and hope it continues.  I have tried many different diets and some have worked and some have not.  I was very successful with Weight Watchers several years ago but life got in the way and I gained it back plus a few more.  Then I found Hungry Girl.  Lisa Lillien also lost weight using Weight Watchers but has taken it a step further and created the Hungry Girl Diet.

The thing that makes this one so simple is that she gives you a definite meal plan to follow every day for four weeks.  It is a little stricter the first week and she gives you three choices for each meal.  There are recipes in the book and helpful swaps so if you don't like a particular vegetable or something, she tells you what to swap it for.   Look at the picture of a typical day's worth of food!  Huge portions for the meals and then snacks as well.  Chocolate chip stuffed strawberries!  It is based on about 1300 calories a day.  Almost all of the recipes are for one serving, but that works out well for me to since my husband doesn't need to follow such a regimented program.  The recipes that make two servings work as well because then I have a meal already for the next day.      

As the weeks go on, she adds more choices, but each day is just as outlined on Day 1.  I love that because it takes a lot of the guess work out of meal planning.  I can go through the choices for the week and make sure I have those foods on hand.  Once I find a recipe I like, I could eat that all 7 days that week if I want to.  

The other thing that goes along with the meal plan is having my vegetables cut up and ready for me in the fridge.  A lot of days I get so busy working that I don't stop and eat when I should, before I get so starving that I just want to eat everything in sight.  Having the vegetables already cut and my meals picked, makes it so easy for me to whip up a healthy meal instead of grabbing a burger at a drive-through.  

Cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, zucchini

Dishes done

It took about a half an hour to cut up those vegetables and clean up the knives and cutting board, and by putting them in containers that are easy to put a measuring cup or spoon into saves so much time during the busy week.  

Because I have gone through the four week course once already, I know a lot of the meals by heart.  Since I have a lot of weight to lose, I also got her diet cookbook which has additional recipes.

Yes, those are banana pancakes on the top and chocolate cake on the bottom!  Healthy versions of course but having the ability to make a healthy stack of banana pancakes makes it feel not so restrictive.  Lots of tips new things to try in these recipes.  I have even eaten tofu, which I never thought I would like.  Using tofu shiritake fettuchini style noodles with chicken and an "alfredo" cheese sauce (she calls it Chicken Hungry Girlfredo).  I might almost think I was eating the real thing if I hadn't made it myself!

The first time I did it I lost 26 pounds.  I did gain some back but not all and I am determined to finish out this year following it as closely as possible.  Lisa also believes in the 80/20 rule, which is that if you follow the plan strictly 80% of the time, you can relax 20% of the time if you need to.  For example, we are going away next week for our annual Boulder Creek Golf Tournament (I don't golf but my hubby does - I relax).  Of course we will be eating out more but we have a rented house for three days so 80% of the time I can be responsible for my own meals and eat on-plan.  When we go out, if I make the healthiest choices on the menu I can (fish, chicken, etc.) then I will use the 20% on those meals.   

That's what makes my life simpler right now.  How about you?  What's easing your day to day?  Make sure to stop by some other bloggers in the challenge.  It's so nice to get a comment or two!   


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Suddenly September - 2016

September 14:

Oh my goodness, half the month is almost gone already!  I can't believe the time is flying by so fast.

In yesterday's Blog-Tember Challenge we were to choose who we would like to be if we had the chance to be someone else for a day.  I'd have to say it would be Stevie Nicks.


I worked on an Art Journaling project taught by Sara Naumann a few years ago where I had to pick  a muse and I picked Stevie.  She and I have several things in common already and I just think it would be great to actually wear her clothes and live in her house for a day.  She is very devoted to several causes, one of which being our wounded servicemen and she has gone to Bethesda Naval Hospital to spend time with the soldiers in the hospital there.  She brought them iPods loaded with her favorite music.  I wouldn't want to get on stage and sing, I'm too introverted for that, but I think it would be great just to be her for a day.  

An alternate thought would be to go back to my younger self, before my dad and sister passed away, so that I could spend one more day with them.  I miss them a lot!

For today's prompt, we are to make a Mood Board.  This is something I do sometimes around the full moon.  I call them Full Mood Dreamboards and learned to make them from Jamie Ridler.

This is the album I keep them in.  I don't make them every month but I do believe in their power, especially if you "offer them up" on the full moon (which this month is the 16th).

If you notice, one of the first ones I did in the bottom left hand corner is a picture of the Workbox I wanted to be able to have in my craft room.  I now have that and am loving it!

This one is about focusing on my goals and it ties in perfectly with my word of the year this year, which is Focus, and also with the organization of our house.

I made this board in 2013 so obviously the things may not "come true" right away, but I really believe that if you put your heart's desires out in the Universe, magical things can happen.  This full moon is the Full Harvest Moon and it asks, "What dreams do you want to bring to life?"  The Dreamboard I have started looks like this:

I am still longing for more organization and fixing up of our little house but I am also looking for some calm serenity.  We've had a few rough years with lots of things going on with my husband's health and other family issues and I long for the days when we won't have to worry about any of that anymore.  Over the next few days I'll finish the board so that by the full moon on the 16th I'l be ready to release the intention to the Universe.  Crazy?  I don't think so.  Try it sometime! Make sure to visit the other bloggers participating in the Blog-tember Challenge and see what their boards look like. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Suddenly September - 2016

September 12 -

I missed the last two days because I was busy trying to sell some of my cards and other crafts at an outdoor vendor show.  Saturday's prompt from the Blog-Tember challenge was to document my day by taking a picture every hour.  Well, not much was happening, unfortunately, but here are a couple of pictures I took from that day.

My display

Me enjoying the sunny day.

Not a huge financial success but I count each event I go to as a learning experience.  This time I learned how to display my things when I am outside in some wind.  Since most of my things are paper oriented, wind can be kind of tricky.  I did also get some coloring done, which is relaxing.

Sunday's prompt was to talk about Instagrammers I follow.  Since I am kinda new to that, I don't have much to share.

Today's prompt is to talk about three books, one I just read, one I'm reading now and one I want to read.

The book I just read was a book called Zen Pencils, Volume 2, Dream the Impossible Dream.  I read it because I needed to fill the graphic novel category in my 2016 reading challenge.  It was not bad.  I'm not really a graphic novel reader though.

The book I am reading now (it seems like forever) is called A Thousand Days by Arthur Schlesinger.  It is an interesting book, especially in this election year, but since I am reading it only at night before bed, I am generally getting only three or four pages read each night.  Since there are over 1000 pages in the book, it may take me a long time at that rate.  I am over half way through now though.

I was eight when President Kennedy was assassinated and while I don't remember much about his presidency, I do remember those last days.  My older sister was getting married and so while there was a lot of hustle and bustle, it was very somber and we watched the funeral on TV.  

As far as a book I want to read, there are a lot of those!  One I have on my shelf at the moment is called This I Know, by Susannah Conway.  I have participated in several of her photo challenges, most recently the August Break.  This is the story of how she managed to get through the grief of losing her husband suddenly.  

I'm hoping that while it may be sad, it should be an easier read than the political stuff I am going through now.  Would like to get it finished before her next photo challenge in December.   

So, those are my three books.  What about you?  Take a minute to stop by the other Blog-tember participants.  Maybe you'll pick up some recommendations for something new to read.  I'm hoping to!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Suddenly September - 2016

September 9 -

"If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?"

That's a really tough one for me.  I think I'd like to go to Italy.

We've had several friends who have gone there recently and the pictures I've seen are just stunning.  I love the ancient history of it all and I am Italian.  It would be a romantic place to visit with the gondolas and fountains.

However, I don't speak the language and that kind of bothers me.  I mean, I'm sure they have tour guides and some of the people should be able to speak a little English, right?   I could also try to learn a bit of Italian, although the only thing I know how to say now is "Mangia e Statti zitto" which means "Eat and shut up."  That's what my dad used to say if we started discussing something he didn't want to hear about at the dinner table.  Not exactly words to get me very far in Italy.

On a more comfort zone level, I also wouldn't mind hitting England.

 Lots of history there too with Buckingham Palace and London Bridge.

The language is a little closer to ours.  I'm a big Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie fan so it would be cool to try and find 221B Baker Street or some of the other locations they talk about in the books.

So those are my dream places.  Even though I love the beach, Hawaii (which is way closer and easier to get to) does not really excite me as much.  At any rate, not sure I'm getting to any of these places very soon.  How about you?  What's your dream place?  Be sure to check out the other bloggers following Bailey Jean's Blog-tember challenge.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Suddenly September - 2016

September 8 - A glimpse of my space.

My space has changed a lot over the last year.  We did a big facelift on the outside.  New roof, gutters and siding. You can read about that here and here.  After living in this house for almost 20 years and not doing a thing to it except some minor roof patching, we felt she deserved some sprucing up.     

This is the new look.  Almost doesn't look like the same house!  We had to tell our friends to make sure to write down our address because they wouldn't be able to find it otherwise!  No more describing our house as the ugly green house on the left.

This is me hard at work.  My workspace is in my kitchen.  I really love being able to work from home, but sometimes being in the center of the house can be distracting.   Not only from the family walking through but also because I can see the dishes that need to be done or hear the laundry calling me.  I resist both and work.  My desk looks neat and sometimes it is, but sometimes it looks like a cyclone hit it.

My craft room started out as a corner in the living room and worked it's way up to a room of it's own! You can see more pictures of the progression here and here.

This was my little area in the living room. 

This is one wall of my new room.  

Part of the facelift of the house was to clean off the back porch and now there is a place to sit and enjoy the summer evenings.  Now if I would just actually take the time to do that!



So, as you can see, my space has changed a lot over the last year!

(Playing along with two challenges again today.  The first is the Blog-Tember challenge with Bailey Jean.  The prompt for that was to give a glimpse of my space.  The second prompt is from the Writer's Workshop with Mama Kat.  The prompt that I chose was to "begin and end a post with the same sentence."  I think I filled both qualifications).

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Suddenly September - 2016

September 7 - Five things that give me joy:

1 - The look on the face of my husband or kids when they open the gift I got them for Christmas and it is just the right thing.  This particular year it was a jersey for my husband from his favorite Dallas Cowboys team.

2 - Sitting as close as I can to the front at a concert.  Second row for Foreigner is as close as we've gotten so far.

3 - Working in my craft room.  I get a lot of pleasure making my cards and mini-albums and putting together scrapbook albums

A mini album I made for some friends

4 - Reading - I have loved reading since I was little.  My first job was as a "page" in the local library and I was in heaven.  I still have some of the Nancy Drew series books I had when I was young.

5 - Going to the beach.  We live close enough to the beach that I could be there in about 20 minutes but, just like walking the Golden Gate Bridge (see my memorable birthday in the post from the other day) I don't go very often.  I'm going to put that on my list of things to do.

So there are the five things that bring me joy.  The Blog-Tember challenge is 7 days old.  It's been fun so far, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Suddenly September - 2016

September 6 - Create a playlist.

Wow.  That's tough.  I think any playlist of mine would have to include the following songs, in no particular order:

  1. Faithfully - Journey (the Steve Perry version, not any other!)
  2. Leather and Lace - Stevie Nicks and Don Henley
  3. Happy - Pharrell Williams
  4. Caught Up In You - .38 Special
  5. Keep on Loving You - REO Speedwagon
  6. Maybe I'm Amazed - Paul McCartney
  7. Lady - Kenny Rogers
  8. Urgent - Foreigner  
  9. While My Guitar Gently Weeps - George Harrison
  10. Somebody Else - Glenn Frey
  11. Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You - Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
  12. Gypsy - Fleetwood Mac
  13. Always on My Mind - Elvis or Willie Nelson
  14. Spanish Eyes - Elvis
  15. Something About the Way You Look Tonight - Elton John
  16. Sway - Dean Martin
  17. With Arms Wide Open - Creed
  18. I Want You To Want Me - Chris Isaak
  19. Wherever You Will Go - The Calling
  20. Grenade - Bruno Mars
  21. Look What You've Done To Me - Boz Scaggs
  22. You Want To Make a Memory -  Bon Jovi
  23. You'll Accompany Me - Bob Seger
  24. Use Me - Bill Withers
  25. Breathe - Backstreet Boys
  26. Biggest Part of Me - Ambrosia
  27. Why Do You Love Me - Adele
  28. Play Ball - ACDC
  29. Set Fire to the Rain - Adele
  30. American Girl - Tom Petty
  31. No Ordinary Love - Sade
  32. Take My Breath Away - Jessica Simpson
  33. With You I'm Born Again - Billy Preston
  34. You and I - Crystal Gayle & Eddie Rabbitt
  35. The Game of Love - Santana 
  36. Wicked Game - Chris Isaac
  37. Paradise - Sade
  38. Caribbean Queen - Billy Ocean
  39. Stepping Out - Joe Jackson
  40. The Way I Am - Ingrid Michaelson
  41. Rock You Like a Hurricane - Scorpions
  42. California Girls - The Beach Boys
  43. You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
  44. Permanent Stain - Backstreet Boys
  45. Stop Dragging My Heart Around - Tom Petty
  46. Something - The Beatles
  47. Old Time Rock and Roll - Bob Seger
  48. Something About You - Boston
  49. Photograph - Def Leppard
  50. Stand Back - Stevie Nicks
I could go on. I'm sure I'm missing some, like Rod Stewart and Dean Martin for example.  I think I have a very eclectic taste in music and, with the exception of classical and rap, I have just about every genre there is on my iTunes.  How about you?  What's your playlist look like?  Hop on over to the Blog-Tember roll call to check out other playlists!

Suddenly September - 2016

September 5 - "What was your most memorable birthday?" asks Bailey Jean in the Blog-Tember challenge.

I actually have two birthdays that stand out.  The first was my 28th birthday when my fiance and his friends got together and threw me a surprise birthday/engagement party.

I think you can tell by the look on my face that I was not expecting a party.  We had just gotten engaged a few days before and I thought we were just going to visit some friends to tell them the exciting news.  When we got to their house, Bill took me toward the back of the house and there, behind the curtain, literally, everyone shouted "surprise!"  

No one had ever thrown a surprise party for me before and it was a lot of fun.  

Bill made a toast to me and everyone toasted us on our engagement. 

The other memorable birthday was last year for my 60th.  Even though I have lived in California, specifically the San Francisco Bay Area, my entire life, I had never walked across the Golden Gate Bridge.  For my 60th birthday I told my family that that was what I wanted to do so early on a Sunday morning a few days after my birthday we met some friends in the parking lot on the Sausalito side of the bridge.

We started with some Mimosa's and a toast to my birthday.  

Even my 91 year old mom came.  She really didn't need the walker but wanted to bring it just in case.  

 This is looking from San Francisco to Sausalito.

We stopped halfway back and one of the friendly bridge security personnel took our group picture.  

 After the walk we went in to Sausalito and had lunch at Napa Valley Burger Company.  It was a great way to celebrate my 60th I thought.  

How about you?  Have a memorable birthday or two to share?