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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December Reflections - 2017

Winding down to the last few days of the year!  I am looking forward to this week between Christmas and New Year when I can focus on getting my planners ready and start working on some new projects.  The 365 pictures has been a struggle these last few months and I'm not ashamed to say that it will be a while before I do that again.  I am, though, kind of excited to see if I can turn it into a slideshow this time.  Here are a couple of the more recent pictures:

#350 - My December selfie 

#349 - Dinner with some very good friends at 16 Mile House in Millbrae.  Most of this group has been together since high school and I always learn some new things about my husband's escapades when they get together.  Sometimes the memories are a bit confused, but I believe there is great love at this table. 

#354 - Our Christmas tree with just the lights.  We had a real one, not the Charlie Brown tree of the past few years, but I hardly decorated it at all.  Maybe next year I'll be more in the spirit.  

#353 - Book #22 Murder on the Orient Express.  One of my favorites.  I have not seen the new movie yet but will do so when it comes to DVD.  I am having trouble picturing Kenneth Branagh as Hercule.

#346 - My husband had to have a 24 hour holter monitor to check his heart progress.  Fortunately it was okay.  Hoping that 2018 is a better year health wise than the last few months of this year has been for him.

#351 - Our minimal outside decorations, lights along the walkway to our house.  We added another two strings to make it go all the way on both sides.  So much easier than climbing ladders to put it around the roof.  

#355 - Skyline on my drive to work one afternoon.  The picture doesn't really do it justice but I was sitting at the stoplight and using my phone through the windshield.  

#356 - Michaels is almost out of everything Christmas.  There are many shelves that look like this throughout the store.  Pretty soon I expect there will be hearts all over the place for Valentines Day and planners galore for those of us who are planner addicts.

#357 - The tiny tree in our break room.    

#360 - Another new flavor!  I drop one of these in my morning coffee...yumm
#359 - Christmas dinner with the family.

#358 - Our stockings.  

Just four days left to this interesting year.  Time to make my vision cards and get my planners ready to start 2018.  Next year our daughter will graduate from college!  Looking forward to more adventures, aren't you?  

Friday, December 22, 2017

December Reflections - 2017

If you are looking for last minute gift ideas, how about a class in photography, designing, crafting, money management, music making or personal development?  Creative Live has lots of choices and once the class is purchased, you have it on your computer to watch at your leisure over and over again.  You can even watch from your smartphone or tablet on the go! 

I've taken a few of the classes and have gotten great benefit from them.

Here's the link

Great stocking stuffer because it doesn't take up much room but really opens up some possibilities!  They are having a sale right now on some of the most popular classes.  Check it out! 

My word of the year for 2018 is "Create" so I may be taking advantage of this as well!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Note:  **This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

December Reflections - 2017

I have not been posting as often as I thought I would during this month but once again, time seems to be moving so quickly!  It is crazy busy at Michaels and I stand at the cash register my whole shift.  I don't mind that.  I enjoy interacting with the customers (yes, unusual statement for an introvert like me).  Just when I think I see the end of the line, I look down for a minute and the next thing I know it is winding around the store again!  Job security, at least through the holidays, right?

Some of the prompts for the December Reflections I've already posted about or are ones I don't have an answer for.  One of them was "10 years ago..."  2007 was a "boring" year as I look back on pictures to help me remember.  We only went to a few concerts, there were no graduations or anything, both hubby and I were just working at our normal jobs...nothing spectacular.  I guess we all have years like that once in a while.

Another prompt was "best decision of 2017."  I'm not exactly sure what that would be.  Nothing I've decided to do this year has been so dramatic to make me think it was the "best" one.  I did apply for Social Security to start in March when I turn 63.  Too soon to tell if that was the "best" decision. 

"Sparkle" and "I let go of..." were two others that I just couldn't quite get into for some reason.  There is a lot of sparkle around now but I just wasn't feeling it yet.  We got our tree yesterday so maybe some sparkly magic will happen now.  I didn't really "let go" of anything, except maybe our youngest daughter who turned 21 in November.  I'm forced to accept the fact that she is an adult and I no longer have any control over her, but I don't consider that "letting go."  She'll always be our baby. 

Favorite picture of me was this one:

Even though it shows me smoking (which I gave up long ago) and drinking, thin and before the surgery on my mouth, it reminds me that deep inside there is a playful, fun loving free spirit and I know she is still in this old body of mine.  I made that outfit, so I've been crafty for a while :)

"Brings me joy" is the next prompt and this is my take on that:

Crafting brings me joy and having breakfast with my girlfriend from high school brings me great joy as well.  I made this tag banner for her to show her just how much our friendship means to me.  She lives 4 hours away now so we don't have a chance to see each other as often as we would like but we have made it a point to at least email each other once a month all year to keep in touch and have had a chance to meet for breakfast a couple of times when she comes down my way on business.

I promised her that since my word for this year is Create, I was going to try to Create some time to go visit her for a change.  

And there we are.  Less than a week to Christmas, two weeks to the end of 2017.  Are you ready?  

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?