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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December Reflections - 2017 - Five things about me

Today's prompt is 5 Things About Me...

I'm not really one to talk too much about myself actually, but here goes...

1983 - Before Surgery

1986 - After surgery and braces

1.  I had major surgery in my early thirties that changed the shape of my face because I was having TMJ joint issues.  Because of that surgery I now have a chin, but I also have lost some of the feeling in that chin, to the point that I can't always tell if I spill something while eating or drinking.  I had my mouth wired shut for six weeks and during that time I had to eat liquid foods only, first through a syringe with a long tube that I pushed along the inside of my mouth and down to the back of my throat.  Eventually I was able to use a straw.  I'll never forget the time I had been practicing all day and when my husband came home from work I was so excited to show him my accomplishment.  I said, "Look what I can do" and proceeded to drink through a straw.  He started laughing and said, "Very good honey" and took out his handkerchief to wipe all the dribble off my chin.  He loves me.  I also still have some of the wires in my jaw and you can feel them if you rub along my jawline.

1986 - After surgery and braces
1983 - Before surgery

2.  I am, according to the Myers-Briggs scale, an INFJ (although my psychology major daughter says that it is a less than a perfect test).  I didn't know what an INFJ was until a few years ago but it perfectly fits this "I don't like big parties and would rather sit home with a good book" woman.  I mean, I'll go to parties but I am more comfortable with smaller groups of people I know well.

3.  I have three sisters and all our names begin with the letter "J."  I wrote about that last year in the A to Z Challenge as my letter "Q" for quartet.

4.  I love the beach but don't get there nearly as often as I could.  It seems so far away but is only 20 minutes, max.

5.  I've lived near San Francisco all my life and only walked across the Golden Gate Bridge once, for my 60th birthday.  It was fun and I'd like to make time to do it again, as well as go to Alcatraz Island and see other San Francisco sites.  We have a Big City Hunt tour we can take too.

That's five things about me.  Want to share some things about you?  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December Reflections - 2017

Here are my December Reflections for the past few days:

Day 8 - Green.  This is a sun dial that sits outside the local library.  I didn't want to just take a picture of some green leaves, too easy.

Day 9 was:  Biggest Change in 2017.  I had already written a post about going to work at Michaels and that's the biggest change for me in 2017.

Day 10 - Softness:  It is getting colder here so I'm heading to the scarf hangers.  I have a bunch and all are so soft, especially the green feathery one. 

Day 11 - I discovered that...I'm not sure what I've discovered.  I mean, I'm sure there is something but nothing hits me in the face like "Oh Wow!" 

Day 12 - Reflection - At the beginning of the year I make vision cards to help me keep my major goals in mind.  Now is the time where I reflect on each area to see what I have accomplished.  Then I'll make some more cards for next year.  This year the five areas were:  Clean and Organized Home, Travel and Adventure, Self-Love and care, My Crafty Life and Financial Stability. 

Okay, caught up to now.  Maybe something will come to me about the discovery thing.  How about you?  Any big discoveries this year?  Reflections?  Love to hear about it.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

December Reflections - 2017 - Favorite photo of 2017

This is a tough one!  We've done so much stuff this year and I have taken some pretty good photos, if I do say so myself.  I'll try to narrow it down to my top 5, in no particular order:

The shot I got of the eclipse through double welder's glasses.  This was as close as we got to the total eclipse.  

The "new" drummer for Scorpions, Mikkey Dee.  This was during his solo and he really put himself into it.

I saw these legs sticking out from the window on Haight (or maybe Ashbury) Street when we went to see the Summer of Love in San Francisco.  I made my husband drive around the block so I could get a better view.  He's so good to me.

The splash of the San Francisco Bay on the rocks on one of my walks.  I'm a Pisces so I'm drawn to the water and this is an easy spot for me to get to.  It's pretty cold out now but I may get back out there.

The Fab Four.  I love the colors in their outfits.  If you have never seen them, I highly recommend it.

I know there are more photos that I love, but I am going to try my hand at a slideshow of the 365 picture project I did this year so I don't want to double up too much.

Do you have a favorite picture this year?  Tell us about it!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December Reflections - 2017 - I was challenged by...

Typewriter relic
This year I was challenged by a significant drop in my income, completely unexpectedly.  Well, I should say that I suppose I knew eventually the transcription business would dwindle, but I didn't expect it to decrease by half in one year.  I am primarily a medical transcriptionist and when I started 17 years ago I was picking up mini cassettes (and in most cases the medical records as well) and bringing them home to transcribe.  Not quite as old as this typewriter but you get the idea.

Another typewriter relic - LOL

At one point I was doing transcription for 6 doctors, four of them were orthopedics, one an ear, nose and throat doctor and one a dermatologist.  I was pretty busy.

Then a few of the orthopedic doctors decided that it would be cheaper to outsource their work overseas.  I was affected but I picked up another client so it was not so bad.  Then I happened to get introduced to a friend of a friend who also had a secretarial business but she didn't do medical transcription.  I began a collaboration with her that has lasted about 10 years.  It is through her that I was able to start doing transcription via audio files which were sent to me through emails and I would transcribe them and send the completed reports back, also via email, all with passwords to make sure the confidentiality remained due to the strict regulations regarding medical information.

Over the last few years one of my doctors retired, another one decided to have one of his office staff do the transcribing and a couple of others just decreased the amount they were dictating.  The appearance of software programs like Dragon Dictate didn't help either because the younger doctors started doing their own transcription. 

This year, however, has been the sharpest decline.  In May one of my doctors suddenly retired due to personal issues.  At the same time I noticed a decline in the amount of work I was getting from every source, so much so that I went from logging $3000 a month to barely $1500 and I've gone from six doctors down to two and a half (one is so sporadic that I am billing them every three months).  It is hard to budget when you are not sure how much money you will have each month!

It was because of this inconsistency that I decided to go to work outside the house for the first time since 2002.  I was able to get a job at Michaels and that will hopefully help me ease into retirement.  It definitely has been a challenge!

What were you challenged by this year?  Ever have to suddenly change occupations?  Love to hear your story.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December Reflections - 2017 - Best Book of 2017

I've done pretty well with my reading challenge this year.  I follow the categories in Pop Sugar's Reading Challenge (here is next year's list). I am just starting book 21 right now.  I'm hoping to be able to finish it by the end of the year.  Since I usually only read at night before bed, sometimes it takes me a while.

I have to say that my favorite book so far this year has been We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter.

This was one of the "mystery books" that Bill brought home from one of his trips to Oregon.  They come wrapped in paper bags with just a snippet of description of the book and are actually drafts which haven't been published yet.  It was a very interesting true story about a family of survivors of the Holocaust.  It was well written and very easy to follow, even though the family was separated for most of the time.  It was nominated for a Goodreads book award this year. 

Here are some of the other ones I have crossed off my list:

Another of the "mystery books."  This one was about two sisters and a secret they unknowingly share.  I used it for my "book with a red spine" category.

This was interesting about the experiences of Frankie Presto, a musician.  I have read other Mitch Albom books and they are good.  I used this one for my "story within a story" category.

Had to read this book about Sherlock Holmes.  It filled my "book with pictures" category.

This one was interestingly told from the baseball umpire's point of view.  It filled the "book with a subtitle" category.  Now I know why they do some of the things they do.

I bought this book to use in making a junk journal but had to read it first.  I remember Al Jolson from "The Jazz Singer" but had never read about his life.  Another interesting read.  It filled the "book with a title that's a character's name" category.

This book was a tough one but I am stubborn.  It was letters and notes written by some famous people in history, going back to the beginning of America.  The first few centuries were hard going because of the style of language they used back then and the periods in history.  The last few centuries were easier going because it was something I was more familiar with.  "Book of letters" was the category I used.

Of all the courses I've taken by Susannah Conway, including this December Reflection, I figured it was about time to read her book.  I am certainly glad I did.  It takes us through her process after she lost a significant other unexpectedly.  She is a wonder.  It was a "book that's been on my to be read list for a long time."

I was a bit disappointed in this Mitch Albom book.  I thought from the cover that I would learn "life's greatest lesson" but I'm not quite sure that was true.  "Book with a month or day of the week in the title" was its category.

Andy Andrews never fails to enlighten and inspire.  Since it involves time travel, I used it for my "book involving travel" category.  Stretching it a bit maybe but I think that's okay.  If you've never read or heard Andy Andrews, you should definitely check him out.

When I saw on the Goodreads site that this book could be used as a "book with an unreliable narrator," I had to read it.  I read it so long ago that I forgot most of the story, which made it even more enjoyable.  Love my Dame Agatha.

This was another one that I was just a bit disappointed in, although there were a few of the authors that had some interesting dreams.  Some I felt just liked to talk.  It was my "book with multiple authors" entry.

I am not sure I got any real "career advice" from this book but that's the category I used it for. 

And there you have it.  I can't say anything yet about the current book:

because I haven't really started it yet although I did preview the first couple of chapters through James' website.  He is a blogger friend I have discovered through the A to Z Challenge and is a most interesting gentleman.  He is also doing a 365 challenge for himself and that is another one of the things we have in common.  I'll let you know how it is when I'm done.

Okay, how about you?  How many books did you read this year?  Take any challenges?  Any suggestions for my reading for 2018?  Love to hear about them!  

Monday, December 4, 2017

December Reflections - 2017 - Circles

What better way to answer this prompt than with a review of my 12 moon shots from this year.













This is a practice that I have really enjoyed doing for the last couple of years and I think I will continue it.  I truly believe in the magic of the Universe and the full moon seems to be just the perfect time to speak to her (in my world the Universe is a she).

Day four in the December Reflections with Susannah Conway.  Not too late to join us!  What are your thoughts on the power of the Universe?  See any circles around you?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

December Reflections - 2017 - Best Day of 2017

We've done a lot of things this year, seen 10 concerts, had our annual trip to Boulder Creek and been to a few baseball games but I think without a doubt the best day of 2017 (barring any extra special days the rest of the year) has to be the day my husband and I did the Big City Hunt in Reno while on vacation there in May.  I have written a blog post about it here.

That whole trip was a fun one but the Big City Hunt was the best.  When we stumbled across my word of the year, Believe, in huge metal letters in the middle of the city it was like I had been hit by an electric jolt.

Yes, there is someone sleeping on the bottom of the second "E".  If I'd been more aware I'd have had our picture taken somewhere else but I was still in a state of shock about finding my word.  It truly was like a message from the Universe. 

We have tickets for another Big City Hunt around San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf and I am hoping to get a chance to take it while the holiday decorations are up.  Maybe my word for 2018 will show itself to me there! 

How about you?  What was your best day of 2017?  

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Friday, December 1, 2017

December Reflections - 2017 - Early

Once again I am going to participate in Susannah Conway's December Reflections.  In this journey we take the prompts she gives us and take pictures, journal, blog or whatever we like to show what the prompt means to us.  The idea is to help us take a bit of a pause in this busy time to reflect on the year we've just had.  Here are the prompts:

She has a link on her site where you can add your blog address.  As with the A to Z challenge, I have "met" a lot of really lovely people through this experience and am hoping to do so again this year.  

The first prompt is "Early" and here is my take on that:  

This is what the clock said when I woke up this morning.  That's EARLY.  Fortunately I was able to get back to sleep for another couple of hours.  Added bonus for me is that I can use these pictures to finish up my 365 picture project for this year, and interestingly, this is picture #335!  

I am kind of excited to try my hand at making a slideshow from the end result and I have already found a song I think will go great with the photos.  Admittedly I have not decorated my picture book as much in the last six months as I did in the first six months and again I think I will look for another project to shoot for next year.  While the concept of taking a picture a day for a year is a nice one, it is a lot of work on those days when life gets in the way.  I've come to far to give up now though.  

Here's a bit of Robert Palmer's Early in the Morning for you:

How about you?  Any year long projects you've stuck with?  Want to join in December Reflections?  Always room for more.

Monday, November 27, 2017

No - It Can't Be November!

Here we are already at the end of November!  I am finding it harder to get my new routine under control than I thought.  I wrote last month about starting to work outside the home for the first time in 17 years and while I am enjoying it for the most part, there are things that I could do without (cleaning the restrooms and working until 11 pm to name two).  I have just adjusted my availability so that I am a little more in control of when I am scheduled and I did have to say to my children (for the first time) that they were right and I was wrong about what it is like to work in retail.  I may make it through the holidays, although I did have to work Thanksgiving day from 5 pm to 9 pm and then the following day from 6 pm to 11 pm.

I participated in two Holiday Boutiques this month.  One was a two-day affair to benefit Foster Children.  Here I am behind my table.  Another chance to wear my spiffy hat!

I did pretty well at that show, selling two of my scarves and some cards and mini albums.

The following week I was at a one-day sale.  This one I did not do too well at and I heard from a couple of the other vendors that they had done less business than last year and they attributed it to the location.  It was held in the local gym and was more difficult to get to than the Senior Center where it had been held in the past.  My setup looks similar:

But this time I had a snowman sweater to go along with my hat :)  Oddly enough, while I was there I got an order on my Etsy shop for 10 cards and I had to make sure to remove them from the table so they didn't get picked up. 

I did read two more books:  "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" by Agatha Christie and "The Final Summit" by Andy Andrews... 

and started a third, "Pure Heart" by Troy Ball, which will be #20 on my challenge this year.  Not quite the 25 that I wanted to make but pretty close.  

Some of the pictures I got for the 365 pictures include:

Our Family Thanksgiving

Really neat lighted golf ball for night golf

Pretty true and I have to start noticing more

Snowman Poop looks kinda like white rabbit pellets 

One of the new bicycles that are popping up around town.  You can rent them by getting the app on your phone and using them, then leaving them for the next person.  This one is from Spin.

One more reminder of my word of the year, Believe.

When I get in the car to go to work, my phone not only tells me how long it will take to get there but also what is on sale!

Another fun thing sold in the "drive aisle" at work.  This is the spot near the check out line so you can pick it up while you wait in line.

And of course, the full moon for November.

On Thursday I will be doing Planning Day with Jamie Ridler to try and get a handle on what I want to do for next year and in December I will be participating in Susannah Conway's December Reflections again.  Here are the prompts in case you want to play along:

I've also gone to several doctors appointments with my husband who is having some heart issues and my 94-year-old mom who had an infected toenail.  Sheesh!  It's no wonder I haven't been able to post more often!    

But blogging is one of the things I really enjoy so my goal is to post as much as I can in December and to get a schedule down for next year.  Hope you all had a terrific Thanksgiving!  Have any plans for the end of the year?