SFJ 12/16/2018

Last week I travelled to to La Crosse, WI. Me and my work wife, Yo, spent four days explaining how the costing and billing g side of our business works. We were talking to a group of people who are charged with designing software for us. The organizer kept saying “we might stop early today” but we never did. We presented a 100+ slide deck and there was even more in questions and answers. Every single day I went back to the hotel and collapsed only to start up I again early the next day. It’s terribly complex. Even some folks in the business couldn’t believe how complex Service is Trane Commercial. It seems to be just as tiring to have a brain workout as a physical workout.

Once I got home, I planted myself in my comfy chair (which was completely covered in Vella hair). It was a relief. There didn’t seem to be a comfortable chair in any place I was All last week. Unbelievable how good it felt to have my feet up and a nice cushion under my bum. Thankful, too, for the insight to have meals cooked and available. Outside of doing bookclub on Saturday, I haven’t been worth much the rest of the weekend. I did catch up on recorded shows and started in on some new ones.

For bookclub, we read The Picture of Dorian Gray. Funny how different a book feels after 40 years. Sadly, it was one more book set in the 1800s that I can’t relate to. I just can’t seem to follow the language–like the Jane Austen books and that other one… Regardless, I’ll be reading contemporary stuff and have plenty to take my time.

Latest Binge: The Bodyguard on Netflix

No events in next week’s plans. Just work all the way through and be ready to be on vacation for the rest of the year.

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SFJ 12/9/2018

This will be short. I’ve flown, via three different flights, from Ft Lauderdale to La Crosse. Not happy about being in the north in the winter, but there’s nothing to be done. While I was packing I thought I packed well. Now that I’m here, I wish I’d brought more sweaters for over the other clothing I brought for inside cold stuff. A group from my part of the business are here to tell some corporate IT designer-types what all it takes for the costing and billing side of the business. Got a slide deck of about 115 slides that might do the trick.

I did read a good book on the flights for reminiscing about the 80s–Ready Player One.

Freezer Fill: Chicken Pilaf

SFJ 12/2/2018

It’s almost as if the gods wish me to never clean house again. Sometime between Saturday morning around 11am and bedtime, I completely lost the book I was reading. Last seen: bedside table.

Reason for the clean? I finally had my Twice As Nice this weekend. Terrible time of year to have something like this. The next time I have to postpone an event, I’ll take more consideration of all the hundreds of things going on in the same weeks before and after. Knowing all that, I was pretty sure not many people would show. I was right. Just a few came. But they put up with me insisting on teaching them to weave bookmarks. And,the sweet I made was voted “Your Guacamole”. Confused? Well, every event where there is a potluck, Karen brings guacamole. It’s simple, fresh, and wonderful and we’ve come to expect it as a staple. Now, I’ve got my guacamole. It’s the peanut butter chocolate oat bars I made that are almost as simple as Karen’s guacamole. With a number of allergies in the group (mango, dairy), it’s great to find another dish that everyone can eat.

The weaving had some mixed results. Enthusiasm, am I right? By the morning, it all looked pretty fantastic. I’ll be finishing those that were started and making a woven tapestry of some sort–crazy quilt style.

Later, I assessed what I was left with. I can say this: It will be a CRAZY quilt!!

Something is wrong with one spot on my left foot. I can no longer go barefooted without having what feels like a stone trapped under the skin when I step down. Is this what a bunion is?

Freezer Fill: Spinach-Stuffed Mushrooms with Shells, Goat Cheese Lollipops with Pecan and Cranberry, Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars, Oven-Baked Brisket.

Lost Book Update: It’s such an embarrassing result that I almost hate to relay it. I moved the donations of clothing out to the front for pickup in the morning and organized the bits for the animal shelter. I sure thought that I’d find that book somehow buried under all that stuff. I checked to see if it had fallen off the nightstand to disappear under the bed. Recycling, basket of yarn, shelved back in the bookcase. Nope. Finally, I paid attention in the bathroom and saw that I had left it there sitting on a pile of towels which were the same color as the book ends. Most embarrassing was the realization that it was a blatant of how I spent my time in the toilet while my party was going on. Thankfully, VERY good friends.

SFJ 11/25/2018 and so ends Thanksgiving

It is this time of year exactly that brings folks here. The mornings are simply glorious. The rest of the country is fighting ice and snow and I’m in my flip flops reading on the patio. Happily off work this week, I’ve been spending most of the morning hours out on that patio. Aside from some yappy dogs a couple of doors down, the air is still. It’s so still that I can hear doves changing positions in the ficus, their flight is so distinctive. I’ve been surprised that there isn’t much activity at the feeders. I’ve got sunflower seed and Niger thistle in separate feeders. The most action I see is some random visits by on one or the other male cardinal or blue jay. There has been a downy woodpecker spotted on the Island palm and a couple of ravens that I wish would spend more time closer to the house.

The thing I’ve really been busy doing is more weaving. After doing a couple, I’m getting better at making a pattern in the weave. got some work to do to get beads attached. The beads I have don’t have a large enough opening to thread on the same needle I use to weave. Might have to sew them on with regular thread if I want beading (oh, and yes indeed I do).

I had one day that I went out to do some shopping. I had a list of things to look for and research. Some of it needed to be done at a hardware store. Maddie has been telling me to go to Ace Hardware because they are so helpful. I’d have been happy going to Home Depot, but thought I’d give Ace a shot. I needed to get some advice on several things–picture hanging on plaster instead of Sheetrock, grout for the Little Free Library mosaic project, tile nippers. I wandered. I stood at a counter. I tried to catch the eye of a red-vest. It was like I was invisible. With all the effort it takes for me to get out into the world, it seemingly confirmed how I shouldn’t even try. I started to lose it and had to walk out. It was right next door to a liquor store, but I talked myself out of getting some whiskey for sipping. I traded that for a trip to Michaels and calmed down when I was able to find some of what was on another part of my list. What this should probably tell me is that I need to get some therapy. So what’s holding me back? I don’t want to lose time at work…and I’m leery of letting things go. 2019 resolution? A target anyhow.

It was a full early week. I cancelled out of Thanksgiving at Marjorie’s. But I had done a lot of social stuff earlier. Book club, exhibit opening at the museum with Kate, Historical society lecture with Di, and Downton Abbey exhibition. I think I had had all I could stand the day of the Downton exhibit. Three of us went (me, Maddie, and Nadine) and went to lunch first. We were served our drinks. I ordered a peach Palmer and one of the gals took a straw (thankfully clean and just unwrapped or else…) and put it in my drink and tasted it without asking, getting permission, or me even getting a chance to stir it up. I told her that I didn’t like that and for her to not do it again. How is that alright in any company? We are absolutely not that close (nor might I be with anyone!). Good thing the exhibit was interesting and engaging or that could have tossed my day completely. Not sure she liked how I told her to get out of my tea but that truly pissed me off.

Freezer Fill: Chicken Enchiladas, Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars, Ham and Potato Breakfast Casserole (although I’ll be having it for dinner), Spinach Lasagna Roll, Lasagna Deli Roll (because I cooked too many lasagna noodles and didn’t have enough filling). It was a bit odd to cook for my own meals, for book club on Wednesday, and then start to make things for the Twice As Nice. Still need to make stuffed mushrooms, banana muffins, and an olive/cream cheese tree.

SFJ 11/18/2018

After a long stretch of being a hermit, this early part of November seems to be a bit of a twist. First was book club. Contrary to some opinions, I shut down the membership list and got that number to a manageable quantity. The original number was over 50 people. We can only support about a dozen for a lunch with discussion. In addition some people would RSVP early and never update leaving the true count in question. That might have been okay for another organizer but I actually like to coordinate closely with the restaurant; I want them to like our group and want us back. (Just this weekend, we went from 12 attendees on Friday to only 5 on Saturday. I got a bit combative and slashed the membership to only those who have been coming and making accurate responses timely. We have a better discussion with a small group. And the folks who have been regularly showing up agreed with the decision. I still feel a little guilt for dumping almost half of the members, but it was cathartic and a full relief.

At book club, we found out that we’ve got some pretty creative folks in the group. One gal who is already a locally well known photographer has just got a book deal and will have her book published by some time this next spring. She has been working on some positive manifestation called Postcards to the Universe. People capture a goal on a postcard and “post it to the universe”. When their dream is realized, Melisa photographs the postcard and narrates their story. http://www.postcardstotheuniverse.com/ The whole vision board thing isn’t my bag, but she is enthusiastic about it and is a talented photographer to boot, so I’m an enthusiastic supporter of her work.

The same day as book club was the member reception of a new exhibit at the museum. We are not a terrible old institution. This is the 60th anniversary and the event was celebrating 60 years of collecting works. There were some fabulous works there-Frida Kahlo , Mondrian, Tamayo, Stella. Loads! There was another exhibit upstairs with Renoir and Glackens that I didn’t even get to.

Today was a lecture hosted by the Hollywood Historical Society about the hoodlums of this area. That Florida connection list is not a small list and it was a fun afternoon. (Gonna join that group and, interesting aside, seems to be a group that IS NOT all women. Bonus.

Tomorrow Maddie and I are going to a costume exhibit from Downton Abbey.

Then I retreat into back to my own devices for the rest of the week.

11/11/2018 One day after art session and fired up

I get so much joy out of my creative day at the museum each month. No change this time. Our challenge this time was accordion books. Now, this is not something that I was familiar with up front. Once I saw a few examples, I understood. The best of the examples I saw were crazy quilts folded up flat on paper. The idea is that you have a number of panels, from 5 to a dozen or more, to tell a story with images and characters. Because there were so many ideas in my head during the class, I used my time to make somewhat of a sampler to do more later. There were more than a dozen people in the class and more than a dozen ideas about how to approach the challenge. Progressive images of chakras. Positivity over negativity. Balance of dark and light. Ancestors stories. Motion simulation. It was thrilling to think hard about something that had no impact on my career or paycheck. Yes, it is one more group that is all older women, but I am resigned to doing the things I like to do and just anticipate that there might not be men in the picture … ever.

I was so inspired yesterday that today, instead of going to the grocery store and cooking most of the day, I cleared the table for crafts. I dragged out almost every craft supply I own. Spread out, it was inspirational. Probably more than I should have done on a Sunday when I actually have to go back to work on Monday.

I worked on a shaped book of doors that makes me think of home. I couldn’t finish that project for lack of pictures and stamps. I need more stuff! I did have enough stuff to finish some leather strap necklaces though.

With all this inspiration, why didn’t I get started on Saturday right after the class? I have other plans. For some reason (okay, it’s because I love to be invited), I accepted a plan t9 go see the traveling show of So You Think You Can Dance. I am not a fan of the show and have seen it one or two times. And it was way out of my entertainment price range for something where I wasn’t even sure I’d like the music (about 80 bucks all fees included). Thankfully,we met for a nice dinner at a craft pizza place before the show or it would have been mostly a wash for the night. During the dances, kept seeing my stage husband, Doug, in the lead or as choreographer. Most of the women were less than impressive, but most of the guys were pretty good. (Fabulous extension on kicks and lifts!)

Freezer Fill: I got nothin’, nothin’ more than what’s there. I even ordered takeout to last several meals (lamb kabobs and grape leaves and hummus). Okay, it’ll last me one more meal and a snack probably.

Next week I’m attending a big meeting in Charlotte, but am not traveling. No travel until early December when the organizers have decided we have to have a meeting in Wisconsin. Lord have mercy. North? In winter? Let me warm up fully before I get cold again!!

11/4/2018 Lets get this election over with

I am going to be glad to see this election in our back window. Things are so contentious in my voting jurisdiction that I get calls on my cell and land line all day long for the last couple of weeks. I’ve not answered if I don’t know the caller and the ringing has interrupted a few conference calls this last week.

It took me a while, but I finally broke down and got me one of those air fryers. Luni had one. Marjorie has one. Now I’ve got one. It seems that it might get more use than my toaster oven as I don’t even cook toast in it anymore (and haven’t for a while). It only takes a few minutes for taquitos or shrimp for salads. It’s very convenient, but I can’t tell yet if it’s just a new toy. I haven’t fried anything at home in over 30 years. Wonder if there are actually things that I might make given the opportunity.

In my family, we just don’t do gift exchanges. It’s been this way for years and years. There are also no exchanges between friends–not for birthdays and not for Christmas. So, the only times I trade gifts is when the book club does Secret Santa and the White Elephant party in January. (That White Elephant is tricky because supposedly it’s gifts you’ve received that you don’t want. I tend to bring things I bought that I just didn’t want to return.) Now that I’ve been on the Litsy app, there are other chances to trade. Because it’s Litsy, it’s mostly about books. There were three of them in October that I participated in, perhaps too many, but fun. (Okay, definitely too many, but now I know.) I get a chance to find a home for some spare volumes and get some recommendations to read more stuff I’d have never chosen.

Just about the minute that I mention that I want to get a tiny pool, my company decides to make some changes to the organization. Thankfully, I’ve still got my job…well, a job. But, for Yo and me, just what we will be doing is not clear. We are both moving to the same group, but that group has a terrible reputation with the people in the offices that we have historically supported. Both our old boss and new boss say that we still do what we’ve been doing. However, the new boss says, ” I’m not making any changes…yet.” Imagine how confident that makes us, just imagine. If it means that we will be taking support calls on rotation with those folks in La Crosse, we’ve got some talking to do. On the other hand, if it means that we can continue to support our folks through long-term progressive change, I can make that work. There are at least two franchises we will be buying in the very near future. To bring this topic back around to my personal life, I’m going to research the pool, but I won’t be Planning or thinking about releasing any funds until I see just what is going on at work. Like I said, at least I’ve still got a job.

As much as I love the proliferation of plants down here in the tropics, there is one plant that is making me a bit twitchy. it’s an invasive vine that is settled in the bed with the big scarlet hibiscus and the light pink gingers. Unchecked, this vine completely covers the plants sucking the life out of them and keeping them away from the sun. When I finally get to removing it, there is a lot of plant t9 remove. The upside to this is that when the hibiscus recovers a week, the flower bud out like crazy. Just removed a big lot of it this week and have seen a ton of buds. (Film at 11.) The thing about the vine is the it’s kinda cool. The vine is delicate looking and it has a tiny pumpkin-looking fruit and tiny yellow flowers. If it didn’t kill my other good stuff, I’d want to protect and cultivate it. Also, supposedly in some cultures, there’s something beneficial about the fruit. I’ll be doing more research.

Freezer Fill: Buffalo Alfredo Chicken Spaghetti, Cajun Rotini Salad. I needed more spice. I guess my trip to Texas reminded me.