Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Cheer


The week before Christmas and I'm almost ready. I have picked out all of the gifts that I'm giving (except for the Hubster). I've ordered some gifts that are supposed to be here on Tuesday.  These are for Daughter and Son In Law. They are leaving to visit his family before the weekend...so my gifts for them will get here just in time! I'm excited for these gifts.  I hope they love them. I had a fun time choosing them.

 




I've also been enjoying some hot tea in the cups that were gifts from the Dtr & Son 'N Law.  I was craving a lemony tea similar Russian Tea.  I've been drinking a lot of bottled citrus green tea lately and decided to have it hot. It was super fast and easy.

When I was growing up, my mother used to have different ideas for homemade gifts for Christmas presents.  One year it was Russian Tea Mix. I remember making the mix and packaging. We also kept a mix in our kitchen and often enjoyed a cup on cold afternoons. The warm green tea that I had this weekend reminded me of the warm and comforting citrus taste. 

Danielle, of the blog Runs With Spatulas, posted a Russian Tea on recipe.  I'm so delighted that it looks quite like the recipe Mom and I used when we made our powdered tea mixes.

I remember once trying to make the mix and improvising with non-sugar substitutes. All I can tell you was it did not work. The substitutes simply did not produce the same volume of mix.  I have wanted to find this recipe so that I can give Russian Tea gift jars. Since I just found the recipe, and I work all of next week, I think this may be a gift project for next year.

If you are not on Pinterest you totally should be. It's very fun.  It's like a virtual scrapbook of ideas.  I'd be delighted if you followed me.  And, of course, I want to see your boards and follow you as well.


Quick Poll:  Which is better:  Pumpkin Pie or Sweet Potato Pie?  For me the answer is hands down Sweet Potato Pie.  It's sweeter and creamier.

A restaurant owner in a near by city was featured in the local Indy Week paper. The name of her restaurant?  Sweet Potatoes.  I must go try this.  The article is here: A new book by N.C. chef Stephanie Tyson: Tyson shares about 100 recipes of the Winston-Salem restaurant's famous dishes in Well, Shut My Mouth! The Sweet Potatoes Restaurant Cookbook.

Ms. Tyson also shared a recipe from her new cookbook.

This weekend I saw the article, The Rise and Fall of Recipe Cards, A Brief History in the Slate Ezine website. The article has a fairly interesting point of view and is somewhat interesting. I realized that it has been forever since I've seen a real handwritten recipe card. The thought of a physical recipe card made me nostalgic. So, in honor of the not yet lost art of the Recipe Card, I put Stephanie Tyson's recipe on a Recipe Card for you.

Enjoy your week!


Kimberly's Note: Anytime I have made anything with sweet potatoes, I've used the potatoes I buy in a can from the grocery store.  It cuts out the majority of the time and I think it's just easier.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hello December!

I wonder how it can be so! A little over two weeks away is the big celebration in our family. This year it seemed to slip up on me. This may be because we seemed to have such a busy year with family festivities. 



One of my sisters plans to spend the holiday out of town with her husband's family as well.  Both daughter and sis will be in the colder northeast for the holiday. This will leave my hubby here with 2nd sister and our parents. I had so much fun at our Christmas gathering last year that I can't help but be a little disappointed that we won't all be together on Christmas day this year. --But that is me being selfish and I don't mean to be. This year will be wonderful in a different way.

Last year was the first Christmas that my Hubby and daughter were back in the town that I grew up in. Our house is less than a mile from my parents' house and about the same distance to daughter and her husband.  I love that!  Both my sisters live within 10 miles of me. This is so nice after being on opposite coasts for 7 of the past 8 years.

Hubby and I had the family to our house for lunch and presents. Hubby and I had been in the house only six months when we hosted the Christmas lunch. Hubby actually had only been here two months. We were in the midst of our home updates. All of the new paint was complete, but not the rest of our projects. And, to say that I'm not good in the kitchen is an understatement.  Lunch would have been supper if not for Sissy!  She deserved her "ta-da" moment. --But crashing the photo just had to be done.
Hubster and Daughter~~and a yummy glass of wine
Last year was a truly wonderful first Christmas "back home". 

Hope everyone is enjoying this part of the holiday.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Feast and Fotos

See what I did there in the title? A little alliteration. This year the Thanksgiving festivities were at my daughter's house. She had the turkey and the ham with all the fixins'! And it was way yummy.

In my last post I shared some of my blessings that I'm thankful for. In this post I'll share some photos to go along with them. Oh, and I totally forgot to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING on my last post! I hope all had a great time with family and loved ones. And, as Ellen DeGeneres tweeted the other day, hopefully, a few of those people overlap.




And, last but not least (or maybe least):  Check out those slippers!

The bottom of each shoe says something different.  One says "Very" and the other one says "Merry".

I think someone is getting into the Holiday Spirit!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Little Story About My Halloween...(before it's too late)

Sorry so long between posts.  I really should be asleep now.  I have the beginnings of a cold....the kind where it feels like my limbs are coated in wet cement.  I took some sinus medicine last night which helped clear up the congestion...but the fatigue, not so much.

I can't believe Thanksgiving is this week.  That is sure to be fun. My newlywed daughter is having the big day at her house. I can't wait to enjoy the festivities she has planned.

I haven't yet posted about my Zombie Lurch.  I figure if I don't post about it before Thanksgiving the moment will have passed.  So I'll post now. (Though, I realize the moment is sort of gone.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why I Love Willie...

Many years ago I met my husband. We were both in college and I was completely smitten. Our relationship was born out of pure enjoyment of each other's company. And  it was built on lots and lots of laughter. Hubby and I met because we both worked on the college media floor of the student union.  He was a photographer and I was not.  But I was in need of some photographs for my publication (which was not his publication).  Make sense? Anyway, I sort of stalked him. For the sake of my publication, you know?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Evening with Mary Chapin

 Click here for Image Source
This past summer I was going through the mail and pulling out catalogues to be tossed. I was actually in the car with Hubby and absent mindedly glanced through the one odd size catalogue from Carolina Performing Arts. I'd already decided that this was to go in the recycle bin when I just happened to see Mary Chapin Carpenter was scheduled to perform. What? There is a name I hadn't seen on the music scene in a while.  At least I hadn't seen her name in "my" music scene. I changed my attitude about this publication and immediately shifted into a new gear/task.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Paint Like the Artist You ARE

Saturday evening my daughter and I went to an Art Studio to learn (by doing) to create a painting on canvas.  This seems to be a new trend in hobby studios. (Back in the '90s I spent many an afternoon painting ceramics in similar studios). The artist instructor truly did give step by step instructions and we all left with paintings that looked quite similar to what we intended.

If you live in the Triangle Area of NC you should check out the Painting Studio called "Artistic Abandon". What a great name! They are said to have the Best Wine and Painting Parties in Raleigh. You bring the wine (and munchies if you want) and they provide the rest: Canvas, Paint, Brushes, Aprons and amazing instruction. --Of course wine and munchies are completely optional.

The website information is here: Artistic Abandon. They also have a Facebook Page.

Let's play a game:  Below are two paintings from this weekend's painting excursion. See if you can tell which one is mine and which one was painted by my daughter. (Answer is at the end.  --Though my discussion of our painting styles may give you all the clues you need.)




















I sat  beside my daughter and, although the teacher said several times "this is not a competition", I was completely intimidated by my daughter's talent. She has such a steady hand and is able to precisely draw and paint. Her flowers were so much more the look I was striving for. Even though I love precision in paintings, I have not been able to train myself to achieve this. So while my daughter and I were both following the exact same instructions, my piece looks much more impressionistic.

I think it's cool to see how two people can paint the exact same thing and have different results. I know that art is like that...everyone is influenced by a  different point of view. This exercise helped me see that it's not only an artist's point of view that differentiates their work. We can each see the same thing a little differently. In addition, we each have a unique way of expressing ourselves. So, even if we saw it the same way, our depiction of that "thing" will have another nuanced difference. 

Below is the answer to the game above:

We've all heard that point of view is shaped by our experiences. But I don't remember hearing much about artist's representation of that point of view. My weekend painting experience helped crystallize for me that the artist's "expression" may not reflect the essence of what they were trying to create.  For me, it's most likely lack of training and practice that results in a painting that is much more impressionistic than I intended.

Here is a snapshot of how my painting was accomplished:


I had a great time. And I'm pleased with my first attempt at putting a paintbrush to canvas.  I've already signed up for another class/party. There are a few paintings that I'm dying to do! Check out the Paintings Gallery website page to see the current paintings that they offer instruction on. I'd love to hear which one is your favorite.  (I have a few I plan to sign up to paint.)

And, oh....since I will be spending a lot of time at the Art Studio, friends and family shouldn't be surprised if they receive an original work of art from Yours Truly for Christmas.  --Then again, I may become too attached to give them up.   

Sunday, September 18, 2011

September Walk-a-Thon

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Danielle signed up to participate in the Ovarian Cancer Walk to raise money for research and to raise awareness. (I signed up with D.)
 
Daughter is quite good at organizing.  She organized me by sending me a schedule so that we were on time to the event. 
 
This is what she sent: 
 
Wake-up: 7am
Leave your house: 7:45am
Be at my place to pick me up at: 8am
Breakfast at Ricks: 8:20-9:20am (should be plenty of time to relax and enjoy a nice breakfast)
Leave for Raleigh (40min drive): 9:20am
Arrive: 10am
Sign in: 10:15am
Walk Starts: 10:30am
We followed her timeline to a "T" and were quite pleased to actually show up early to the event. The light drizzle did not dampen our spirits.
 
The DJ played some great music which helped keep our energy up.
 
**Awareness Raising Info**: Ovarian Cancer symptoms are easily mistaken for benign conditions. The symptoms can be a subtle as heartburn. The most universal symptom is bloating. --But as women, feeling bloated is rarely something that would cause us to raise an eyebrow. 
 
Early detection and treatment is the only way to beat this. I recommend that you know your body and pay attention to symptoms that are unusual for you or that last more than 2 weeks. 

Ovarian Cancer Alliance
My biggest recommendation: 
**Keep your annual exams with your gynecologist**
 
Talk to your doctor about:
 
1. Having an annual blood test for serum CA-125. This can be an earlier indicator of a problem.
 
2. Getting tested for the genetic mutations that increase your risks. Knowing your results gives you the opportunity to work proactively with your doctor to decide preventative measures. 
 

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Labor Day Mini Vacation

Hubby and I used this three day weekend to go to the beach! Yay! I haven't been to the beach since July 2010.  Before that, I hadn't been to the beach in years. YEARS!

In my childhood, going to the beach was at least an annual event. If we were lucky, we got to go several times in a summer.

I have so many wonderful beach memories it seems wrong to try to list them. It would be like I'm choosing one memory over another. When we were kids, Mom and Dad got my sisters and me up in the wee hours of the morning before sunrise. For Dad, the time of arrival was half the fun. If we were going to "go to the beach" we were going to be there "all day". Getting in the car before sunrise got us to the beach before lunch.

My favorite times to go the the beach were the "off season". The beaches were less crowded and the weather more breezy and comfortable. This summer was so hot I couldn't bear the thought of a visit to a place without shade. But this weekend, the weather was perfect. So Hubs and I made a spontaneous trip east.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Bouquet of Newly Sharpened Pencils

Don't you love New York in the fall?  It makes me want to buy school supplies.  I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.

One of my favorite lines in one of my favorite movies:  You've Got Mail.

It does not feel like fall here but school is starting back and that always makes me think of fresh starts and school supplies.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

NC Waterfall Photos Available for Viewing

You remember that last month that my Hubby and I spent several days in the NC Mountains, photographing waterfalls.  I promised photos would follow...and here they are. I hope that you enjoy the photographs.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pesky Squirrel

As you have no doubt guessed, we love birds.  Love to feed them, love to hear them, love to watch them, love to have them take bird baths...love, love, love. We've been really lucky here in our "new" yard with having birds visit our bird feeder.  We have a plethora of birdies that come to our feeders. --Or at least we did. Lately, though, we are having trouble keeping the feeders full.  We thought, "Yep, those birdies like the food!"

Turns out it's not the birdies that have eaten all of the food. It is a pesky squirrel.  Or rather several pesky squirrels.  The ring leader is Pesky himself. Once on the feeder he simply sits and eats for hours.  --Maybe not hours, but certainly longer than necessary to fill his little belly.  After seeing Pesky for the first time, over the next few days we started to count the little furry fellas.  There were two then three.  Before we knew it there were five!

So, off to the Wild Birds Unlimited store we go. To purchase a baffle. Once home we add the baffle to the bird stand thinking "Okay...that'll teach ya!" Less than an hour later...dang squirrel on the feeder.   

This squirrel is brash, I tell ya, brash! He's on the feeder almost every morning now.  When I knock on the window to scare him he barely wiggles his ears. When we open the bedroom window to yell at him we actually hear him giggle! When we go to the back door to walk the dog we stick our head out and yell "Get off there squirrel!"  --No reaction. Nothing. Hubby walks down the back door steps, still nothing. Hubby has to get half way to the feeder before the squirrel takes him seriously. Hubby moves toward Pesky making cowboy "YAH!" sounds before the squirrel to leaves the premises.

(Sidebar: I love me a cowboy.) 

So when I saw the squirrel on the feeder the absolute same afternoon that we installed the squirrel BAFFLE...I couldn't believe it. How rude! I mean, let us think we've stumped you for at least a full afternoon. I was on the back porch when I saw Pesky on the feeder. I was actually sweeping the porch when I saw him. I may have looked a little crazy when I came outside. First I opened the door and yelled, "Don't make me come out there!" Nothing. Then I yelled "Don't make me come down these steps!" Still nothing. So I came out, broom waiving in the air screaming, “I mean it! I mean it!"

So we moved the bird feeder.  Or, hubby moved it. 

Next morning...Pesky is eating from the now moved birdfeeder. The feeder that has a baffle and has been moved. We are starting to feel crazy. Crazy like Carl Spackler, the greenskeeper in Caddyshack. Spackler who is tasked with getting rid of the gophers that are tearing up the golf course. Spackler will tell you that this is no easy task.

Carl Spackler:  You must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit - ever.

So, Hubby, knowing his enemy is a varmint that will never quit...sits in wait to see how Pesky is still getting on the feeder. I'm at work about mid-morning when I get the following text: "Caught in the act-squirrel jumped from lawn chair to bird feeder! Chair has been moved. Squirrel now sitting in tree and contemplating next move."

I couldn't be prouder.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Urban Chicken Keeping

Raleigh's Urban Chicken Coop Tour, took place this past Saturday.  That's right...a CHICKEN TOUR.   It turns out that the Tour D'Coop is an annual event. My Mamacita loves chickens. Both she and my Dad had chickens when they were growing up in Rural Town. When I was at their house yesterday, both Madrecita and Dad had stories of holding their "pet" chickens in their laps when they were young.  Dad's chicken was a Rhode Island Red.  I can't remember what Madre's chicken was.  Since returning to NC, I've been more aware of the whole chicken keeping idea. As an aside, a dear friend of mine that lives only about 20 minutes outside of Seattle keeps chickens.  She has little goats too. Her chickens are allowed to roam the grounds until bedtime when they are put into their roost for safety. Before knowing my friend, I was only aware of chickens being part of livestock on a farm. It was neat to see that chickens are not just for people with large tracts of land and barns and the whole early to bed early to rise lifestyle.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I'm Home...Part III


My Kitchen
Moving "back home" was not something I expected to do necessarily.  Though, I expected that we would "move back" to NC after our Seattle, WA adventure.  When we decided to go to Seattle, I thought:  "We'll go...we'll have fun and then we'll come back. And, bonus: we'll have the reverse of the housing market sticker shock when we return."

When we moved to Seattle, we settled on the "Eastside". Which is to say the east side of Lake Washington and not actually Seattle at all.  But Seattle was just a quick ride across the bridge.  There was tremendous sticker shock, but somehow we bought a house that was a wonderful place to call home. I loved so many things about our time in WA, but that is a topic for another day. 

I've always thought that home is where the terrain is.  That the terrain you grow up with is what feels like home. I grew up with green rolling hills and dogwood trees.  When we lived in Va.Beach, the terrain was very flat (like at a beach...).  There were limited trees and absolutely no hills.  I never got used to that.  After our baby was born a homing time bomb went off. "Must return to homeland" is what my heart told me. I attribute it to wanting to see and live in the familiar while I navigated the world of the unfamiliar (motherhood). We did not move to my "home town" but moved to the same state and my eyes could rest on hills and flowering trees and my restless heart was immediately calmed.

As I've said, I'm from the South.  Our accents are sweet like our tea.  Heaven is a rocking chair on the front porch or on a screened in back porch.  Hubby and I had recently built the most spectacular screened in back porch when we got the chance to move to WA.  The porch was almost a reason for me to say "No Thanks", plan on sittin' on this porch forever.  But, then we thought:  Why not?  We loved our house. But it was still just a house.  Why not go see this place they call Seattle?  You know, the place where Bobby Sherman and his brothers claimed the bluest skies you ever saw are.  We went and I was in love.  Not once did my homing pigeon heart ache for my childhood terrain.

I made amazingly fun friends there and loved the beauty of God's Country every single day. But...my friends and family from "back home" were so far away.  That is what my heart began to ache for. A three hour time difference makes a big difference when you want to make a quick call to Sissy and tell her about the great shoes you just saw but didn't buy.  And when you need her to tell you to go back and get those shoes because you deserve them! When it's 7 p.m. my time and 10 p.m. her time, we just weren't in the same frame of mind.  Plus, there are all the moments of just being able to drop by Dad's house for a sec after work. Or meeting Sis at the Mongolian Grill restaurant after work. These were moments I was missing.  These were moments my daughter never had. We had always lived about a 3 hour drive to Grandma and Grandpa's when we were on the East Coast so, we never got to just drop by. 

When Hubby and I began to plan our return to my home town it felt so right that it felt unreal. It felt very much like when we moved to Seattle.  That feeling of "Are we really doing this?  Can we really do this?" butterfly of excitement feeling.  Moving home felt the same:  "Are we really doing this? Can we do this?"  Answer:  Yes!

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Home

The Terrace of our Bellevue Highrise
Let me begin by saying, "I'm home". And let me add, I never knew it would feel this much like home. This house, this town, this everything has turned into a fun adventure and I want to drink it up and continue exploring.

My "home" story: I grew up in the same town that my parents grew up in. In the same town that their parents either grew up in or lived in for virtually forever. I went to the same elementary school that both my Mom and Dad went to.  When they were there, it was 1-12 and they both graduated from this same school. I walked the same school halls from 5th to 7th grade.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Running Has Been Placed on Hold

RUNNING! Why is it that when I want to do something "good for me" it turns against me? Last Saturday I ran eight two minute runs, with single minute walks in between.  --My right knee began to hurt a week ago along with my left ankle.  I believe that these aches and pains are related. I think one is compensating for the other, but not quite sure which came first...the ankle or the knee.  My knee is something I need to pay attention to.  I've had knee issues in the past, but thought that I could just work through this.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Learning to Run

Last Saturday I completed my first group run. I joined the local running club: Carolina Godiva Running Club. Each Spring the club hosts a training program to help "couch potatoes" become runners.  Fittingly, the program is called "Running Start". 

I have never been an athelete.  I don't mean that I never considered myself to be atheletic.  I mean I've never done anything atheletic.  Actually, I may be a little wrong about that last statement.  When I was young (5 years or so) I L.O.V.E.D. to swing on swingsets.  I could swing for hours.  --This is passive exercise, I think.  In elementary school, during recess, I was not one to play German Dodge Ball or jump rope.  Instead, I was playing jacks or a card game called "Spit". --Both games involved fairly good hand-eye coordination as well as a competitive element.  I was quite good at both. But physical exercise type play? Not really my thing. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SPRING AND BLUEBIRDS

The weather is beautiful here! Mid-March and the birds have returned to my back yard.  They are singing each morning and I feel it is Spring.  The Bradford Pear Tree is blooming and there are many chirping birds each morning signaling that Spring is here early this year...just as the Groundhog predicted.

I'm lucky that the house we bought has such a wonderful yard with flowering plants and trees. The yard has a wonderful amount of natural area that attracts the birds like a sanctuary.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Valentine's Day Clock

Don't you just love this clock?  Very retro!  My husband gave me this for Valentine's Day this year. A hotel that we stayed in recently had this clock and I was enamored. My husband, sweet thing that he is, found this same clock for me. 

Today was the first Monday back to work after Spring Forward! It was tough to get up and get to work on time. The sun was still out when I got home tonight.  That was a nice consolation for morning coming too early.

Hope everyone enjoys the longer days ahead.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kitchen Makeover

We moved into our home in phases.  It was a big move from Seattle, WA to NC.  I arrived in June of '10 to start my new job. For several weeks it was me alone in a fairly empty house.  My daughter joined me in July.  She was fresh out of college, new Associates Degree in hand and it was a good time in her life to move across the country for her new beginnings.

My husband had to stay in Seattle to finish up loose ends. He joined us in NC, bringing our much needed furniture in October.  ~ Four months was a long time to be without my hubby.  I was glad when he came so we could begin to nest. 

We wanted to make our house more "us" and put our stamp on it.  --We tried to determine what items we could change that would make a big impact without making too big of a dent in our nestegg.  Paint was the obvious answer.  Before we started our work, our kitchen had beige walls with white cabinets.  We considered changing the wall color and keeping the cabinets white, but freshening up the white with a new coat of paint.  --The problem with that idea is that the cabinet doors have a special finish that allows them to wipe clean...but also makes them impossible to paint.  We were afraid that we wouldn't be able to match the white doors with new paint on the cabinets themselves.  --So, we decided to dramatically go with black cabinets and white doors. 
 You can see we chose a very bold wall color, RED! 

The additonal kitchen change (flooring) came as a result of a project we were completing in the foyer and living room/dining room.  I wanted to change the color of the wood floor in those rooms and sand the floors down so that they no longer had a "bevel".  We initially planned on a walnut color stain.  Below is a photo of the dining room floor before we made changes with some stain samples we were considering.

When the floors were sanded, we discovered a wonderful richly beautiful wood underneath.  We decided to keep the natural color and used a clear stain to protect the floor.

When the floors in the front of the house were finished, we were too in love to stop.  We had to bring the hardwood floor into the kitchen!  While putting in the new floors, the island was taken out (with the idea that it would be put back on top of the new floor).  --Again, we unexpectedly liked what we saw when the island was removed and we decided not to bring it back.

We moved our counter height bar/table to the island position.  We like how open the the room looks with the table instead of a sold piece of cabinetry. It gives the floors even greater visibility.

You can see here how the refinished floors look in foyer, living room and dining room.  You can see we chose a bold wall color for the dining room as well.
It's not my intent to leave the eating nook in the kitchen empty.  Actually, I was planning on buying a mobile kitchen island to put where the island was, and moving the table back to the nook. The table we have came from Crate and Barrel as well. Come back and visit!  I'm sure I'll have more updates to come.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year Y'all!

When I arrived at my desk this morning there was a red envelope with my name on it placed on my computer keyboard. I was immediately happy!~~ Even before opening the unexpected card I was happy.  The card from a colleague and is beautiful with images of a rabbits and a wish for a Happy Chinese New Year. How cool was that?  I didn't realize that today was the first day of the Chinese New Year, much less that this is the year of the rabbit. The card made me happy, just having someone share a New Year's Wish--Chinese or otherwise was nice and the card is absolutely lovely.

I thanked my colleague for the card and he was quite gracious and explained a little about his Asian traditions.  For instance:  The Chinese New Year is a seven-day celebration.  This is a time to set the tone for the rest of the year.  Happy and peaceful thoughts are striven for during this celebration to encourage a happy peaceful year.  Sharing wishes of Good Luck to others opens yourself up for lucky blessings as well. Red is the color of luck and cards and gifts are most often given in red envelopes. 

Year of the Rabbit
I was quite charmed to receive a card and found it to be a really uplifting way to start my day.  I feel a little ashamed that I was completely oblivious to the fact that today was the official Chinese New Year.  I think I may have heard references to "Year of the Rabbit" lately, but it did not register.  Tonight I decided to learn a little more about what the "Year of the Rabbit" symbolizes. 

First of all, I found that 2010 was the year of the Tiger.  I also found out that I am the sign of the Tiger.  --So I completely missed out on knowing that 2010 was my year, so to speak.  It may be just as well that I didn't know.  Based on my reading, the Tiger year of 2010 is characterized as being "ferocious". Other adjectives used include: Dramatic, Torrid and Tumultuous.  One writer said there was hard work and "over-the-top passionate adventures". This will be countered with the Year of the Rabbit of 2011.  The Rabbit is described as being calm and peaceful.  The way to make the most of the Rabbit Year is to relax and go with it.  Don't push too hard...even if pushing typically works for you, it's recommended that this year you try to just "roll with it".  

Tiger Predictions
Curious what I missed by not knowing what 2010 had in store for me as a Tiger, I found an article written with the predictions for what Tigers could expect for 2010. (The article was published before the 2010 Chinese New Year began.)  Here is a glimpse of what was predicted:  Tigers were expected to see fun activities throughout all of 2010 with an especially active, entertaining social calendar in August and December spilling into January of 2011. The Spring of 2010 was to bring encouraging and interesting job opportunities, with the caveat that the Tiger would still have to push forward at work.

I must say that I don't typically allow myself a horoscope reading.  I am of the Christian faith and I can't help but associate astrology and horoscopes with the occult which is forbidden.  On the other hand, I want to have a balanced view. To some extent, I don't want to read a horoscope because I don't want to be influenced and either consciously or unconsciously allow a horoscope to become self-fulfilling due to powers of suggestion.  On the other-other hand, I actually believe that most horoscopes are written for entertainment value only.  I mean how can the entire populous born in my birth month have the exact same future?   

Year of the Tiger
I figured that in the interest of science I should review a previous prediction AFTER the time has elapsed to see if it was on target.  Since I didn't read the prediction until today, there was no chance that I was pre-influenced by the suggestions.  So how did the Tiger predictions fair?  First of all, the Tiger's year of the Tiger written in future tense had the elements of excitement and high energy with very positive tones.  Interestingly, the Year of the Tiger written from a historical perspective was written as being hectic and stormy.  It's as though the year were an overstimulated toddler.  --It starts out new and exciting and ends with a temper tantrum. 

I will say that my 2010 experience was exciting in very positive ways.  My husband and I decided last February to move our family from Seattle to NC (the town I grew up in).  --We lived in the Seattle area for 7 years and we were quite happy with many aspects of the life we built there.  But, we were missing opportunities to spend time with our family.  In June I was hired in a job that still excites me. We bought a house that we are making our own and it becomes more "us" every day.  I've really enjoyed time spent with Dad and Mamacita as well as Sissies and Cousins.  --Not to mention friends I've had since high school and one very special friend that was raising two young daughters at the same time that I was raising my one young daughter.  I've been braver than I've ever been, trying new adventures and loving them such as canoeing, kayaking, zip lining and hiking in Mount Rainier.

For me 2010 was a Tiger Year!  Looking forward to seeing what a Rabbit future holds.  So, I say: Happy Chinese New Year...Y'all!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Redmond House (Seattle Area)

This is the house we bought when we moved to the Seattle area. It is in Redmond and was a great house for us. Once Danielle finished with high school, though, it started to seem to be too big. The house needs a young family...so we sold it to one. Here are photos to document what was a really pretty house.

We lived in the house for 5 years while Danielle was going to Middle School until she started College.  She was a student at Bellevue College, so she lived with us for the majority of the time.  As I said though, we did sell the house and spent the last two years in the Puget Sound in an apartment.  D got her own apartment as well.  Apartment living was fun as well....but that is another topic.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I had lunch with my sister today.  We met at the restaurant in my work complex.  I had fried shrimp and garlic fries. It was the first time my sis and I met for lunch during a work day.  She had the day off and came to me, which made it easier.  My point?  Garlic Fries!? I had garlic fries on the first Monday, the first work day for that matter, after New Year's Day!

Our waiter was fun and asked how we were doing on our resolutions. He said he had resolved to start smoking! Then he said he had quit smoking six years ago and it was one of the hardest things he had ever done.  But since he never keeps his New Year's resolutions, every year he resolves to start smoking.  So far, he said, it's helped him stay an ex-smoker.  ~ ~ Funny!

I enjoyed Max sharing his resolution so much that I shared mine:  To Gain More Weight!  And as I told him (and my sister) I've made great progress in this goal because I AM A DOER!

I decided not to beat myself up over the garlic fries because I drank like 24 ounces of water today.  --I don't like water.  I prefer diet coke.  But I know water should be on my Resolutions List.

Whenever I start to write my list I realize why I haven't written it yet:  I. Don't. Want. To! New Year's Resolutions are either "Do More" lists or "Don't Do" lists.  The "More" category is always things like: "Do More Exercise", "Lose More Weight" "Do. Do. Do. More. More. More."  The "Don't Do" category:  "Don't eat cake"; "Don't spend money"; "Don't drink Diet Coke".

Of course these resolutions just make me feel bad about myself.  Bad that I need to lose weight to begin with. Bad that I can't go a full day without Diet Coke (I like Diet Coke).  Bad that I don't want to give up diet coke.

Several years ago I saw the Jim Carey movie "Yes Man"...loved it! The movie came out in 2008, so I don't think I need to do a spoiler alert. Anyway, Jim's character ends up embracing the philosophy of saying yes to all opportunities that come his way.  --Literally saying yes to everything: "Do you want fries with that? ..."YES";  "Will you loan me ten bucks?" "Yes" "How about a hundred bucks?" "Yes".  Jim Carey found that by saying yes, even when it hurt, he was rewarded and enriched with new experiences. After seeing that movie I was inspired.  So, I decided to try it.  Before my "Yes Experiment", I found that I often said "I can't make it" when invited out to parties with friends.  Or I would say "maybe"...but never commit.  If I did say yes, I usually changed my mind (or got a headache) on the day of the party.  Why was I like this?  Truly I don't know.  The friends that invited me are people I truly enjoy.  And I usually think of myself as an extrovert.  So why not actually go to these parties?

I think I didn't see myself as the person that goes to parties.  I had defined myself as the mother of a teenager for the more recent years.  The person who is either too busy with family activities or too tired from work and mothering to have the energy to go out.  But I made a conscious decision to say yes to each and every party.  And, ZING! I had a ball.  Each one was as fun as the last.  I had fun. I shared many many laughs with friends and found pieces of me that I hadn't let out to play for a while. That was a good year for resolutions!  Until I became so exhausted I had to stop.

I think I may be onto something though.