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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Taking A Break

I am going to be taking a break from blogging for awhile.  I recently lost my sister very  suddenly, and I have no words for how my family feels about this giant hole in our lives.  Patti was a wonderful "big" sister who was always laughing and joking.   She had such a vibrant life force that she lit up every room she walked into; she loved with a big heart and took care of everyone around her.  We will miss her terribly.

Patti Wolfe 1964-2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Good Things Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

I have to say, I'm having a hard time coming up with good stuff today!  The brain is short circuiting, and there's not enough coffee in the world to jump start the brain cells.  

1.  Pomegranates.  They're just now coming into the grocery store.  I love them!  Worth the prep time to eat those lovely little jewels of goodness.

2.  Two Fat Ladies.  I just recently watched the first two seasons of these lovely women.  Ah, I remember watching them years ago and decided they were worth a revisit.  Funny, irreverent, and great way to enjoy a chilly afternoon at home.

3.  Cranberries.  Now is the time to buy bags of them and freeze 'em.  Cranberry applesauce, cranberry muffins, cranberry everything!  Just the right amount of tart.  I know last week I gushed about dried cranberries, but the real deal, fresh ones are the bomb, too!

4.  The Rook by Daniel O'Malley.  Out now in paperback.  On my to be read list for months--finally bought one!  Sci-fi that's a bit different.  

5.  New undies and socks. Yep.  I said it.  New underwear and socks.  Am I right, ladies?  Makes me happy.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Overwhelmed With Too Much Brain Activity

I had an eye-opening experience a week or so ago when I went to a local "new age" shop in my town for a "soul reading".  It was well worth the money, and had a huge impact on me and how I feel about myself and what I should be doing with my life.  

Now to implement the plan.  Only problem is, the plan is a jumbled mess in my head, and I feel like I have no time to do anything but think about the jumbled mess in my head!  I'd like to take a 3 month sabbatical from my life if that would be ok with everyone.  I'd like to take a walking journey around Europe, find some spiritually charged places, and learn to mellow out and create some space in my head where I can hear my thoughts.  That's not too much to ask, is it?

But I can't.  Work, life, and everything else is taking up my time.  I feel breathless with anxiety over all this!  In trying to become a bit more coherent in my head, I've decided to try and read a few books on calming down and finding myself--examining myself.  I don't like to think too much about my "real" feelings, so they just sit in the back, giving me a gut ache and making me eat when I don't need to--a bit of emotional eating, perhaps?  

My friend C-Joy recommended an author:  Brene Brown, and her book The The Gifts of Imperfection

 It's about embracing who you are, and getting rid of those feelings about who you think you should be.  I've given a copy to my sister, and we plan on reading it and talking about it over chinese food at some later date.  Ms. Brown also has another book that's just out, called Daring Greatly.  She's been at the TED conference as a speaker, and I believe you can YouTube her speeches.  I will be checking them out soon.  

So I am starting somewhere.  I am exploring who I want to be, and stopping the merry-go-round and the I'm-just-fine-go-round.  I'll be talking about this a lot in the next few weeks, so beware!  My birthday is next month, and I feel that it's a great opportunity to stop, check in, and work on myself.  Quite frankly, I'm pooped from the anxiety, whether I understand that it's a regular occurrence or not.  My guts are manifesting that icky feeling.  I guess I'm looking for my happy place.  It's somewhere, I just don't know where--or how it should manifest itself in my life.

Hold onto your hats!  I'm going on a journey of exploration of all things touchy feely for me.  This includes meditation, great music to chill out to, and learning how to follow my intuition--heck--I'd like to find my intuition.  A year of feeling caught up in chaos has taken it's toll on me--now it's time to find some clarity.  I'm going to unplug that phone, shut off the computer, and do some writing.  It may all be nonsense, but I'm a nonsensical kind of gal, and I think out of all that, some gem will pop out.  2013 is the Year of Sue!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Good Things Tuesday October 9, 2012

Once again up early to get in that gym workout--almost forgot my fun Tuesday post.  I thought about this on my drive home across town; perhaps I should have been concentrating on what I was doing behind the wheel, hmmmm?

Here's what makes me smile this week:

1.  Pesto. So versatile, and made with my favorite herb: basil.  Making pesto chicken tonight for my sweetie:  pour pesto over chicken boobs, put in oven, and bake til done.  Easy.  Delicious.  No brainer. Roast some potatoes, add a veggie.  Oh--and a bottle of wine.  Perfect dinner for two.

2.  Gloomy days.  What can I say?  They make me feel cozy and comfy while I'm inside looking out.  And they make the Fall leaf color POP!

3.  Dried cranberries.  I went to Walmart and bought a giganto bag of them.  I will eat them in oatmeal, salads, and by the handful.  Sweet and tart.

4.  Pier-One candles.  Thank you for making Ember candles.  They smell like Fall without being sickly sweet.  

5.  The smell of freshly brewed coffee.  Ah....a childhood memory that always fills me with happiness.  One of the best smells on the planet!

6.  Kale.  I love you.  You taste good in soup and my tummy thanks you.

7.  My hair stylist, Sara.  She's awesome!  She knows my hair, is one with my hair, and controls my hair.  She is my hair guru.  

What's rocking your world this week?  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Some Things Have Occurred To Me...

I am entering my third week of regular work outs at the gym, and I am finding that I feel happy after accomplishing this task.  That happiness lasts about 4 hours, until I find myself getting tired at work before lunch--since I make myself get up early (4:30 AM) twice a week to get to the gym before my work day.  I know I won't go after work, and it's good to feel like I've done something that day right off the bat.  Takes the pressure off!

However, I have to work on the eating part now.  I can tell the weight training is helping already, since I don't feel nearly as stiff and un-bendy that I have been feeling all summer.  But, as Bud likes to tell me, I should be losing weight, not staying the same.  That's cause I'm one of those people who eats more when I work out--and I don't need to.  That darn noggin' makes me think I can keep on eating, and I can't.  That's phase two.  

I had a moment of clarity yesterday afternoon that came out of nowhere and blew my mind.  I am ready to start running again.  No great huge strides, no intense training, but I want to run!  I think I've passed through my bit of freaked out brain fart running issues, and I am in a good space head-wise to start again.  Phew.  Plus my jeans are tight and it's annoying the hell out of me.  REALLY annoying the hell out of me.  And I need to update my work wardrobe, and I can't do that until those jeans don't feel so tight.  

I've also discovered if I plan my week around my workouts, I don't feel so out of control.  One day at a time.  Not gonna get stressed.  It helps that there's a Halloween Challenge at the gym that keeps track of your cardio and weight training workouts and your goal is to accumulate 3000 points for October.  So far, I'm up to 700.  This is motivation to hit the gym for sure! I like to see these numbers.  I'm a numbers gal.  Even though I suck at math.  

And...I've been looking at half marathons in the spring.  There are two mere moments from my house--one in April, and one near the end of May.  I have plenty of time to think about them, but it would be fun to see if I could train all winter.  My treadmill time at the gym is only for 30 minutes, unless I can time it right and get there when no one is working out.  It's niggling at my brain, so who knows?  One day at a time, one week at a time, one workout at a time.  My mantra is'll get there...calm...calm.  

Have you had any "wow" moments lately?  I don't have them very often, but when they do hit, they feel like a smack upside the head.  A gentle smack.  And maybe angels singing, clouds parting, and sunbeams all around.  Just for a few seconds.  Enough for me to get a clue.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Full Weekend Ahead!

One thing about working in retail for 18+ years you quickly realize is that you cherish your weekends off, since they don't come very often.  There are benefits to having days off during the week:  easy to get appointments, eat out w/out a huge crowd, and time to myself.  But, having 2 days off in a row, and having off Saturday and Sunday are a welcome relief.  I find myself usually staying home and puttering, or visiting friends or family that I usually don't get to see very often because of my work schedule.

So I've got this weekend off, and I have a full plate.  Two books to read, a yard to attend to:  leaves are beginning to fall in droves.  Plants are definitely dead and need to be cut down.  Put away outdoor furniture.  

There's a few haunted houses around town that I'd love to go to--do you think I could get Bud to take me?  He has to hold my hand, since I am blind as a bat in these things and walk into the walls.  I am not scared, merely annoyed that my "night blindness" kicks in ruthlessly.  I can't see anything to be scared about!  We haven't been to any for years, so I think it's time.  
This is the house next door.

I have laundry, baking, and cooking to do this weekend so I've got lunches for next week.  It's gotten much much cooler here in the past few days, so finally I can make some dishes in the oven!  So long, summer!  Bring out the flannel sheets!

I've got a get together on Sunday, and I have to bring something to nosh on; I think this recipe for an apple cake is right on the money (plus it gives me an excuse to buy a bundt pan):  Iowa Girl Eats Apple Cake Recipe.  I can't wait to eat a slice of this!  Plus, since I cannot take just one thing, I'll probably make a hot dip to take.  Sweet and Savory are great twins to know and love. I am best friends with them.

I have decided that the only way Christmas will be any fun at all for me is if I ask for a new crockpot from Bud.  One with a programmable time and options galore.  I think it's time for me to let go of the crock pot I purchased in 1985.  It has done a remarkable job over the years, but fills me with fear that it will burn my house down.  And the only options on it are "high" and "low".  Turn it on when I go to work in the morning, and the food is overdone by the time Bud comes over hours and hours later.  I need something with a bit more wiggle room!

So my weekend will be filled with apples, leaves, and books.  Oh--and I have to buy some fall candles.  I went into a frenzy of searching last night all around my house and basement for a pumpkin candle to light for dinner.  I was horrified to find nothing.  Zippo. That will be rectified today after work when I immediately go shopping and purchase a few to last the next few months, before I transition to my piney scented candles for Christmas.  Just isn't October without candles burning at night!

This is a bit excessive, but you get the point!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Good Things Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

I had such a full day today I almost forgot my good things post!  Here's what puts a smile on my face and an off-tune song in my heart:

1.  Iced Tea.  Love it.  Drink it all year round.  

2.  Black Beans.  I could eat them every day.  

3.  Driving through a leaf storm in the middle of the day.  

4.  Getting a good night's sleep and feeling awake in the morning.

5.  October.  My favorite month.  Love the weather, the falling leaves, the cool nights, and the ghost shows on tv all month.  

6.  Talking books with fellow book loving employees.  It is so much fun, and a way to recharge my book lovin' batteries.  I don't need to explain why I love books and reading, cause they get it.  

7.  Going to the gym in the morning between the early birds and the late morning crowd.  No one is there and I can work out without rushing or waiting for machines.  It is peaceful.

8.  Italian sausage.  I have rediscovered my love for the hot stuff.  Soups, here we come!  

What makes you happy this week?  C'mon, there's always something--big or small that picks us up!

Monday, October 1, 2012

I Am Ignoring The Weather And Pretending It's Fall

My God, will this summer never end?!  I am ready for it to be gone.  Seriously. Now.  While the nights have been dipping into the 40's, the days are still in the upper 70's.  This is completely ruining my plans to make comfort food suitable for Fall.  Eating lasagna, soups, and casseroles just cannot be done when it's still grilling weather.  

I have given up on checking the weather forecast, since we have had the same exact weather every day for 2 weeks.  I feel like I've been transplanted to another state and no longer live in Iowa.  

Fingers crossed the temps dip later this week.  I have plans to make some "stoups" I found on this blog: Kalyn's Kitchen.  Sausage, kale, and bean stew?  Yum.  Red beans and rice?  Oh yes.  And neither are things Bud will eat, so my plans to package and freeze portions for lunch will come to fruition.  If only I can cook in my kitchen without breaking out in a sweat from having the stove and oven on.  And let's not forget, I'm still wanting to make more muffins!  It's just so much easier to make these things when it's gloomy, cool, and damp outside.  It makes the nesting feeling that much more "nestier".  

I haven't talked about my garden much at all.  That's because it tanked this summer, and not much happened.  Now I'm in the process of cutting things back and so looking forward to leaves all over the yard (not!).  Time to take down the patio furniture, put away the yard ornaments, and hang up those Halloween skeletons!  

Are you looking forward to Fall?  What's your favorite Fall dish to make?