Sunday, January 25, 2009

Call me Linda Blair

I admit, I've never seen The Exorcist and I do not EVER plan on it, but I am aware that there is a scene where the young Linda Blair's head spins. Tonight I feel like this might happen at anytime. I am feeling really really irritable tonight and am just waiting for some small thing to set me off. The announcer on the Winter X-Games Eric is watching and/or Eric making comments about the cooking show I was watching was getting me really close, but I resisted because I knew it was a stupid reaction to nothing.

Wheee!

One irritation point of my Sunday evening is that I made this really awesome corn bread last month and apparently didn't write it down or save the link or where ever I got the recipe. I know I adjusted it, and I recall there were reviews of the recipe which tells me it was on the net. But with all I remember about it, I can't find it. I've been looking for it for well over an hour and still nothing that seems right.

GRUMBLE!

Meanwhile I have a chili simmering away. Now I truly love a LONG simmered chili, so this time is not wasted at all. But still... it is getting too late for dinner and still NO RECIPE. Yea, maybe I'm obsessing on this whole cornbread thing, but it was that good.

I have since given up on the recipe finding and have tried out the Better Homes &Gardens recipe with some adjustments. We'll see how it tastes (it's currently enjoying it's brief cooling time before we dive into our 9:30pm Sunday dinner). At least I already have all of the various dishes cleaned and the only thing we'll have to deal with is the chili pot and the cornbread pan.

Oh SNAP! I still have a load of laundry I have to do before tomorrow morning. I have a feeling I'm going to have a really tough Monday morning.

Cornbread Update: It turned out squat, dense and greasy. I admit I did up the butter a touch, but not enough to make that much difference. Sigh. Dont' worry, I'll eat it anyway.
Oh and I put diced raw onion in my bowl of chili because usually I love it and I have brushed my teeth 4 times and I can still taste it! EWW!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Overwhelmed by Procrastination

Have you ever found yourself with a situation on your hands where it starts off very minor and could take no more then 5 minutes to clear up and be done with. And then you don't deal with it right then and it gets worse, and worse, and it becomes easier to not deal with it then to face it. And when you try to face it, starting the process is overwhelming and walking away to deal with it later just feels easier. Yes, I'm a procrastinator.

I have been feeling like this is a constant in my life. Some situations are minor, some major and some just feel like they are there all the time nagging me to get my act together. Some take physical effort, others it is mainly brain work or cooperation of multiple brains, but all take time. Perhaps this is just part of being an adult and having responsibilities. I look around me and I feel like there are so many people who seem to really have it together. But then I figure everyone has stuff they probably aren't dealing with, but it is how they cope with what goes undone.

I guess you can say I'm a perfectionist, and I have a hard time letting things go (you've probably figured that out by now). I'm working on that. Don't ask me how... but I am. I have to.

This past weekend was full of procrastination, and then on Monday both my husband and I jumped up and spun around the house taking care of lots of those little annoying things, the weekly chorey things, and some not so little and overwhelming things and we both felt so much better when we went to bed that night. Now if we can only do that with organizing our finances, setting financial goals and getting a tax person, and I'll feel WAY better.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Can't Believe I Did It!

About four years ago I started using this photo sharing site called Flickr, some of you may have heard of it. I was really getting into it. Sometimes I was trying to "compose" shots and tried to get all artsy but then most of the time I filled my account with snap shots of whatever I did that day. At one point I got really self conscious and only wanted really good photos up there (because I wanted to turn my little point and shoot hobby into something more artistic) and then I didn't really care because I wanted to just use it as a sort of photo book to share and to remember.

I had paid for a few years of a Pro account but in Nov of 2007 totally stopped updating it. I hadn't stopped taking pictures but I was no longer carrying my camera every where I went. And the time to sort and choose which ones to upload seemed to have gone away. I was bummed because I enjoyed that part of my life, plus I had already paid for the service.

I also have a Picasa photo account, but there I have an storage limit since it's free. I started using that site for photos of work events so I could keep my work and personal photos separate. I enjoy some of the features of Picasa, but since I've already paid for Flickr and it's unlimited storage I feel I should use it.

And now, we recently purchased a new camera, so I'm hoping to take my pictures to the "next level" whatever that may be. I'd still like to have a place to share them so what now?

Do I let Flickr end where it is and just use the blog as my photo sharing site which I'll then of course be limited to Picasa's limits again?
Do I research other photo hosting options? Perhaps host it myself?
Do I return to Flickr and start updating it from now on out?
Do I go back through a year of photos and upload the photos I never got around to uploading?

Well, crazy me spent my Sunday going through various external hard drives and camera memory cards to come up with A LOT of photos to share. I found photos from 2006 through the present which I wanted to share with family, friends and whoever. I decided to return to the way of Flickr and started the long evening of uploading. The photostream is somewhat in chronological order, but mostly the sets are where I spend my organizing time. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it more up to date from here on out. (yea right)

Go on over and check them out. There are 16 pages of new ones to peruse.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lunching with Starshine

As some of you in the blogesphere know, our lovely Starshine is moving soon. She currently lives in Southern California, but will soon be packing up her and her husband's things to start their new adventure back in her home state of Texas. She has some family up in the SF Bay Area, so she hopped on a plane and headed up north for the weekend.

While she was up here, a few of us Bay Area Blogger had the chance to meet up with her for lunch. J, Dot and I had a wonderful time chatting with her over some yummy Mexican food and Margaritas.


Starshine and Dot had never met in person before, so this was a first time reunion of sorts which was a long time coming. J and I had met up with her in 2007 at her bridal shower, but Dot was unable to attend that day. She has become a very special friend to us all so a meeting up before moving to Texas was a must.

Through blogging we have all connected in so many way. Recently, Starshine and I each received the same camera for Christmas so we did a lot of camera talk and asking each other advice on what we have learned so far. We are both beginners and are eager to learn how to use all of the new tools to express our creative sides. I'm sure we bored J and Dot when we'd suddenly start spouting off about this lens and that setting. I have a feeling you'll be seeing more and more photos on both of our blogs.

We spent the entire afternoon together and could have easily continued talking all night long. But alas, other family members would like to spend some time with her too and we had a bit of a drive back across the bay to spend time with our own families. Sigh.

We hope this will not be the last time we get to spend time with her. She is quite a gem.
Thank you Starshine for making the trek up north. We wish you and your hubby lots of luck and happiness on this next chapter of your lives.

Mental Note: I should try to get in front of the camera occasionally

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Husband Done Good!

As I've noted before, my husband considers gifts to be a big deal. He puts much thought and research into gifts for me. He's also very sneaky and pays close attention to my constant blah blah blahing to pick out the perfect gift.

Apparently he had really been listening to me talk about my on again off again knitting hobby and how I never realized how expensive it would be. Not as much for the yarn (although my yarn stash has become insane and only a year ago I didn't understand why people made such a fuss about the size of their yarn stashes... I understand now), but for the needles. I didn't realize that each knitting project/yarn combo could require a new needle size I hadn't yet acquired. And even though I was buying kinda crappy craft store needles, there costs still add up. Oh, and then I started needing different cable lengths for the same size needles I already had. Or started needing different styles of needles for more advanced projects. Each project was costing more and more.

Yes, I realize my non-knitting readers (all but 1 of you) probably aren't following my knitty babble, but I must explain this information for you to understand why my husband is so awesome.

My husband heard my absent minded grumbling when realizing I needed to go back to the store again because I needed a different needle, heard me complain about the cost, how I preferred bamboo, how knitting on the train was easiest with circular needles, and how my new love of making hats requires new needles with shorter cables and apparently heard me mention needle sets with interchangeable cable lengths.... because my Christmas present arrived on our doorstep this week (delivery delayed by a shipping blunder)
KA Bamboo Interchangeable Circular Needle set from Japan
Sizes US 5-15
Cables to create lengths ranging from 16-53"
All in a very cute and handy fabric caseAll of the sets I had seen don't go as small, contain as wide of a range of needles and cables and most were metal needles. Much research he did, and reviews look promising.

Thanks my love!
Off to knit.

P.S. Since Donna is likely the only one who is still reading this (she taught me to knit), I want to let her know that I also just made the leap from craft store yarn to the real stuff. Cascade Leisure Bulky (50%Alpaca/50%Cotton) to be made into a hat for my SIL (maybe). My first HANK and they even wound it for me. Found here. Smallish selection compared to other LYS's I've been to but VERY nice staff. And lots of sample projects to fondle and get ideas from.

Knitting Weee!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Cars and Coffee (or steamed milk for me)

Today my car is in the shop. It's there often. Not so much for fixing broken things, but more for maintenance. By sticking to the schedule my car maker so lovingly put together for me (every 10k miles) and driving a 100 mile a day commute, my car is costing me more then it should. Even though I'm trying to take the train more and more, the miles still seem to add up quickly.

Oh sure, it has never broken down, and it gets great mileage for a 9 year old car (still getting at least 33mpg), this maintenance is killing my budget (if I theoretically was organized enough to have one). I suppose the servicing may be why it has continued to run so well, but at the same time I'm probably stupid to be continuing to bring it to a dealer service center to pay their inflated prices. Maybe I'll GET it washed today too, since I'm already throwing money at it.

So today I am working from a Starbucks a few blocks from the dealer. Sadly, there is only one non-big-name cafe in downtown Walnut Creek and they have terribly uncomfortable chairs. I sat there for 5 hours the last time, and my back just wouldn't let me do it again. I walked by it and it was dead empty. Kind of sad. They have tons of power outlets though, so if the crowded Starbucks I'm in gets too much for me to handle, I may wander down there for a few hours.

Perhaps a tour of all of the Starbucks (4 total), Barnes and Noble, Pete's, Saxby's is in order for today. There's nothing like a change of scenery to make the day go by.

Monday, January 05, 2009

First Day Back

Today is my first day back. First day back to real life. First day back to work in the office after a 2 week vacation and a week to be at home while waiting and coping. My co-workers were great to pick up my mess to get through some looming deadlines, and today I get to see what has become of it all. I did not check e-mail once in the last 2 weeks.... work email that is. And my other personal email accounts, were only checked occasionally. It was great to be unplugged for so long. I'm trying to figure out if I missed it. Any of it.

In the last 3 weeks, my life changed and yet it has also gotten back to normal. I feel "normal" and I look "normal" but I am changed none-the-less. I have dealt with our loss the only way I knew how, by ignoring it and being upbeat and all business about it. And then when I thought I was doing fine, I broke down. When the opportunity arose to start trying again I lost it. I wasn't ready. I'm not ready to go through that again. Eric had no idea what was going on because I had pushed my hurt so far down he only saw the light of the future. My grief brought up his grief and we spent the first few days of the year just being in that place.

2 weeks ago we flew out to the East Coast to be with Eric's family for Christmas. They were absolutely great about everything. We only get to see them once a year if not every other year. Eric's nieces are growing so fast (3 and 9), so it was fun to reconnect with them and to see all that has changed. As always, we had a great time with Eric's sister, brother-in-law and his mother.

We rented a cottage in New Hampshire for the week of Christmas and spent the bordering days in Massachusetts at Eric's sister's house. Lots of cooking and eating of the kinds of snack foods I don't usually buy for our house. Chips and Dip are my and my hips friend. Mugs of hot chocolate with piles of whipped cream were almost constantly in my hands. We made comfort foods, built big fires, and stayed very cozy in the cottage when we weren't out in the snow or shopping for those last minute gifts.

We had a beautiful White Christmas, and lots of fun playing in the snow. The day of our arrival at the cottage was one of the most exciting as we discovered just how much the Honda Odyssey and Accord are not equipped to go up a hill of ice to the driveway of the cottage (the Accord got much further then the Odyssey). Unloading 2 cars with enough luggage and groceries for a week AND Christmas presents for 7 people and carrying it all up an icy hill in the dark... AWESOME! Of course the boys were able to get the cars up the hill with a few bags of salt and sand, after the cars were completely empty. We were snowed in the second day which was a welcomed calm way to start the week. We got to see sunny days, snowy storms and freezing rain in that week. It really was a wonderful time where time seemed to go slowly at first and then magically the week was gone. Sigh... hopefully we'll be able to return again in a few years.

Last week my company opted to shut down the US/Canada offices for the week, so while unplanned, I got another week off (using vacation time of course). I was going to sort and purge and organize. Our house was going to feel light and chaos free. I was going to go through the last year of photos I've never sorted through or published on Flickr, and I was going to renew my Flickr account for that matter. I was going to see friends and catch up on all sorts of things. Well... I saw a few friends, and this morning I finished the last load of vacation laundry (it wasn't that much it just got easier and easier to walk around the sorted piles of clothes on the floor). Yesterday I even processed all of our photos from the vacation. Hey, getting through 1 week of photos is a dent into the 15 month and growing backlog. The drawers, freezer, closets and pantry are still a total mess, but I'll get to them someday.

Oh, I should mention that after the miscarriage, we did a little self-pity shopping and bought ourselves a camera. It was a planned purchase to get for the baby, so we decided to get good at it now for the next time. It's not super fancy, but it is my first experience with something that doesn't fit in my purse. Let's just say that I had thousands of photos to go through from our 10 day vacation and I was only in about 2% of them. I think I love it. It has an issue with the video out port, so it will be getting returned this week. But this time I know a little bit more about it and will be choosing the lenses instead of just taking whatever kit lens they packaged with it.

So that's a little update on how my Holidays played out, and how my new year began. I truly hope that yours was as full of warmth, family, fun and memories... but hopefully you got through those lofty ideas of doing stuff around the house.

Hope your first day back was smooth going and over painlessly!