Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Hodgepodge Vol 250

It's time for Hodgepodge. I'll admit I haven't been very interested in the questions lately I really liked these. Head on over to Joyce's blog to see what other people answered.

1. Are you ready for new? Is 2016 likely to be very different than 2015? Do you want it to be?
I'm ready for new and different. I will have to move (I hate looking for jobs and living quarters, both of which I have to do). My co-worker said I could live in her basement apartment, so I have a backup even though it's at the top of my price range, but with my anxiety of looking for a new place, I might just fall back on that. I hope it's different. I'm hoping to get more distance from my parents again. I'm not a fan of doing laundry at their place and seeing them every week.

 2. January 6th is National Technology Day. Currently, what is your single biggest struggle or frustration when it comes to technology?
I hate not knowing why something doesn't work. I want to know what the problem is and fix it so it can work again. I also hate getting stuff and not knowing how it works. I got an iPhone last August and I'm still figuring it out. I bet if I actually sat down and looked into it, it wouldn't be so bad, but I don't want to be stuck to my phone. I like the fact that I don't check email/facebook/etc on it all the time, but I also love that I can if I don't have the internet. I recently figured out how to use the flashlight on it. I think that's one of it's best features.

 3. It's that time again...time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, and general uselessness) in 2016. You can read more about the decision making process here, but this year's top vote getters are-
So (at the start of every single sentence), conversation (as in hotly debated topics where we're invited to 'join the conversation'), problematic, stakeholder, price point, secret sauce, break the Internet, walk it back, presser, manspreading (common in larger cities where some men take up the entire bus or train seat by sitting wide), vape, giving me life (refers to anything that may excite a person or make them laugh), and physicality
 Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?
I like getting rid of "so", I think it's a meaningless word, and makes you get your point across so much slower than it needs to be.
4. Share one of your current health related goals.
I don't make New Year's resolutions, but as I'm getting older, I decided to try to do some things to help with my health. I'm trying to take a multi-vitamin every day, take calcium pills every day, drink more water and eat a clementine every day. OK, it doesn't have to be a clementine, but they're easy. I know we're only 6 days into the new year, but I have drank a bit more water, I didn't buy pop today when I really wanted it (I did yesterday, but I've learned it helps me deal with stressful people, I really needed it), I've been eating clementines since I bought a bag on Saturday, I've been taking vitamins since I bought them on Sunday, and I've been taking my calcium pills every night, too (mostly because I get heartburn at night and they help). Here's hoping I continue these habits.

 5. Let's talk fifty shades of gray. As in the color. Gray is currently a popular color in home decor, paint, wardrobes, hair, wedding party attire, and more. Are you a fan? Do you have the color in some variation in your home or wardrobe?  Gray hair, the old gray mare, gray matter, gray area...which gray idiom can you most relate to right now?
I'm not a fan of the color gray. I like color, when I get my own house, I'm totally painting my walls in a color. I don't use a lot of gray in anything. I have a pair of gray leggings, and gray as a background on some of my favorite shirts.
Probably gray hair, but more of white hair. I am apparently prone to getting white hair early, I've had a few since I was in my 20's and I feel I keep finding more.

 6. Certain foods are considered 'lucky' if eaten on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. Cooked greens to bring economic fortune, black-eyed peas or lentils also symbolize money, pork which symbolizes progress, fish for good luck, and if you're in Spain 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. Did you eat any lucky foods on the first day of the year? Is that a tradition in your home? Of the foods listed, which most appeals to you?
I didn't eat any of those, unless you count shrimp, crab or lobster as fish. We went to Red Lobster for New Year's Eve and I finished my entrée for both my meals on Friday (those portions are huge!).
If I was going with which one is yummiest, probably grapes, but if we're going with what I want in the new year, cooked greens or black-eyed peas for money. I would love to have more money, but I know it takes work.

 7. What's the single biggest time waster in your life and what, if anything, will you do about it this year?
My computer and the internet. I sit down in the morning (when I don't have to work early) and get up hours later wondering where my time went. I really should just do what I do when I have to work early every morning. I know I don't have a lot of time to spend, so I just use my kindle fire which is way more limited on what I can do. Plus, I have a tendency to play Bingo on my laptop, and that takes up a lot of time. I have a lot of time, and if I spent it on other things I wouldn't complain so much. I would also return more books to the library instead of renewing them all the time.

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.
It's January, which means I get to work more. I love when I get to go back to the bookstore, but I found out today (OK, I already knew, but realized it more today), I need new tennis shoes. Last time I was at the bookstore (August), my feet would hurt in the arch and I couldn't figure out what it was. I don't wear my tennis shoes in my position at the library anymore, so when I wore them today and had the same pain, I figured out (sorta) what my problem is. I'm just not a fan of buying things that cost a lot of money.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

12 Days of Chirstmas Swap Reveal

As most of you all know, I participated in CG Swaps 12 Days of Christmas Swap:
Chaotic Goddess Swaps' 12 Days of Christmas Swap Show-Off
And today, is the swap reveal day.

My partner was Jacquie of My Confessions, and this is what I received from her: Some soothing lavender beads/lotion, body scrub, and a couple pine scented candles,
 a couple boxes of tea, and a package of pumpkin spice pretzels
 Pumpkin spice and gingerbread cookie mix
 snowmen decorations
 more snowmen: a baking cup set, hand wash, and mug, as well as an owl mug
 a milk chocolate orange, a Brad Paisley Christmas CD and some vintage buttons.
Once again, another great 12 Days of Christmas swap, click on the button above to see what others received this year.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Update in pictures

It looks like I haven't checked in since December 6th. Basically, I've been working and getting ready for Christmas. I was done until I remembered I had forgotten to get my brother's girlfriend a gift, and at some point I just decided I was done.
I don't have an Instagram account, but here's some pictures that would appear if I did:
Presents to my friends, with some creative wrapping.
 I signed up to be/have a festive friend at work, here's some things my friend got me>
 My aunt sent me cookies, I thought this one was the cutest:
 And another gift from my festive friend, the cup says The Nice list is overrated.
 My supper on the 22nd:
 Caramel rolls on the 23rd:
 The 5 inches of snow that was not predicted for us:

I was really excited when our forecast was for the lower 40's and no snow for Christmas, on the 23rd it rained all day and turned to great, big, beautiful flakes that evening. It dropped off and then on the 24th about mid-morning it started snowing again, and by that night we had a total of 5 inches. People forgot to drive and there was a multiple car pile-up north of town.
Today, I got up and went to my parents for Christmas. It was nice. I hope everyone had a grand Christmas.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

weekly update

So, since Wednesday, I haven't really done much, just reading and work.
Thursday, my muse finally showed up (not early enough to make anything for anyone this holiday season, but at least she's back), and I spent the afternoon piecing together a few pieces. For some reason, I decided to get out my fabric scraps and piece together a quilt like thing on a couple stocking backgrounds. One of them is mostly green pieces, the other I started with sheer pieces, but decided the stocking was too big of a canvas, so I moved to a smaller mitten. I love how they both turned out, but now I have to sew them all down. I haven't really done any sewing, not since I did my fabric book a few years ago. I do hand sewing, so I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to sew down the sheer pieces so it looks good. Anyways, I got so caught up in that, that I didn't eat lunch, and barely got to eat supper and have things ready to go before I had to leave for work. Thursday night was work.
Friday, I had the day off because I was working Saturday. I did go in to talk about decorating the library for the winter holidays, we basically spent most of our time putting together a tree and trying to make it stand up in a stand that was not made for it. I mailed my package for the 12 Days of Christmas swap, and got lost in my art project again. Friday night, I went on a home tour. My mother signed up to do a holiday home tour this weekend, so this was the tour for the people on the tour. It was really fun, but the thing I don't really like about this tour (me and mom usually go on it as one of our holiday traditions), is that everyone's house is so big, and I feel so very poor touring their houses. I mean, it's always fun to snoop in other people's houses, but these are never small houses. Of course, they probably aren't really rich, but I always feel the gap in what I make over what they (probably) make. Because I got lost in my art project (and forgot to turn the ringer back on, on my phone), I didn't eat dinner, so by the time we were done with the tours, about 9pm, I was hungry. We were right across the street from a Dairy Queen, so I asked my mom if we could pick up some food. But, for some fun reason, she decided it was faster for me to go home and warm something up than to get fast food. It wasn't, and part of the reason I wanted DQ is because there's nothing fun to eat in my house. I was just thinking that I would love someone to give me a $100 shopping spree at HyVee, then I could get some fun frozen dinners. I feel none of the food at Fareway is really exciting. I just keep thinking about Jim Gaffigan's gag about Mexian food "Look, it's all the same shit, just say a Spanish word and I'll bring you something." Sadly, I feel that way about life lately. I try to make it interesting, but nothing's really getting me in a better mood.
Saturday, I had to open at the library. This is maybe my second time opening on a Saturday, but it was crazy. We had a holiday book sale going on in the auditorium, when I went to turn on our public access computers, they weren't connecting to our private internet, and our displace monitors wouldn't connect either. Weirdly, all the computers we left on overnight didn't have any problems, so the ones in youth and upstairs were fine. And then, later in the morning our automated check-in system went down and we couldn't figure out what was wrong with it, my boss had to come in and call the company. They had it back up before I left, but there was still a lot to run through it. Also, our three tech people were away and couldn't really help with stuff. Saturday afternoon, I went to help with the home tour. I really felt like I didn't need to be there, I'm not really good at volunteering information. I can answer questions fine, but I don't give information so easily. After standing pretty much all day, I was ready to go home and sit when it was done. My mother said I should stay for a holiday party their neighbors were doing, she said she'd leave to run me home if I wanted to. So, later when I asked her to do that, she kinda ignored me. I was to a point where I was just going to go get my stuff and then leave before she said she'd take me home. Lately, I feel she thinks her time is more important than my time, and she's been pissing me off.
Today, I was supposed to help with the tour again, but my mother annoyed me so much yesterday, plus they had plenty of people to help, that I just decided not to. My plan was to work on my art project, but I basically just slacked off online and watched movies. Oh well, it was a nice relaxing day for me, and I needed that.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

updates

So, it's been about a week or so since I checked in last. What have I been up to? Shopping and holidays mostly.
I saw this cute ornament a few weeks ago when I was shopping. I didn't buy it, but I think it'd be cool to make one like it. I could've bought some round ornaments and added lace to them, they'd probably be about like this one.
 For all my button lovers, I saw this somewhere, I think it'd be cool to have a button bouquet.
 Thanksgiving turned out OK. I basically made everything. My mom decided we needed to start everything wickedly early, except the meat, so then we were waiting on the meat to finish and didn't sit down until about 2pm. It was good and filling, not too much this year, but I wanted to eat earlier. I liked the potatoes, they seemed a little bland, but it's probably because I always load a lot on top of my potatoes.
 Saturday, my mother and I shopped downtown for Small Business Saturday. I probably shouldn't have gone shopping the weekend before. I was hoping we could go shopping late morning, have lunch, and then visit a local Tree festival. My mom thought it was better to do shopping early in the morning, do lunch and then rest for a little while then go back and enjoy the trees. Oh, well it worked out fine.
I found this cute ornament at one store. Hope has been my word since my ex and I broke up in 2012.
 A few highlights from the tree festival, this is a bad picture, it's a star wars tree, it was decorated like Darth Vader and lots of Star Wars ornaments on it.
 I find these weird, but people really like to have them.
 This one was decorated by a local coffee house, I thought it was cute.
 This was a super hero tree, it had a lot of super hero ornaments on it, and comic strips instead of ribbon.
 Today, I may have splurged a bit much. I was looking for hot chocolate and chai mixes. My local grocery store had some great ones, last year. This year when I go to stock up, they didn't have them, figures. So, I went to HyVee to see what they had and made a few stops on the way there.
I'm also finishing my shopping. A mug, cute house ornament and a couple star picks.
 Found the hot chocolate, some donut puffs, and some chocolate.
 Found the chai, too, and a cute little snowman ornament.
 Also, went a little nuts at the Asian food store. A few breads, fruit chips, strawberry puffs, haw candy, and a milk drink.
I think I've decided I'm done Christmas shopping. I'm tired of it, and I don't need to spend more money on people. I don't need to spend more on myself either. I need to start saving the extra money I'm making before I have to move next year.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

2014 favorite books

I keep putting off finishing this because I don't want to look up all the books on Amazon, so I decided not to. My first post of favorite books seems to be one of my most visited, so I thought I'd keep going with this one.
I've seen on other people's blogs that they're posting about the books the read in August, so I figured it was time to do my favorite books post from 2014. I read 82 reading books with an actual total of 126 books. Here are some of my favorites:
House of Evil: The Indiana Torture Slaying by John Dean. This is about a teenage girl who goes to live with some neighbors and the mother proceeds to starve and beat her to death. There were quite a few books and some movies made on this story. It's based on a true story, and is very messed up on what this lady and her kids did to this girl. I read a lot of true crime and I'm sad to say I can't believe what people do to others.
Andersonville Journey by Edward F Roberts. This is about the Confederate prison camp in the Civil War that was in Georgia. Basically, the conditions in the camp were horrible, more than 13,000 prisoners died here during the Civil War. Basically, the commander of the camp didn't have the resources to provide what was needed and the results were horrible. I had this one on my staff picks for awhile.
Chernobyl by A Villesh. It's about Chernobyl, it was written not that long after the explosion, so it's more about what happened that day and the days after it than the years after it.
On the Trail of the Assassins: My Investigation and Prosecution of the Murder of President Kennedy by Jim Garrison. I really liked this book, I have a fascination with the assassination of President Kennedy, and this book does well to cover the facts. Jim Garrison is a lawyer and felt like he needed to prosecute someone for the death of JFK, unfortunately the conspiracy was not easy to figure out and the person he did prosecute was on the outskirts of it. It's interesting to read about everyone's views on this event.
Oddball Iowa: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places by Jerome Pohlen I really like reading about interesting places to visit in Iowa.
Doctors from Hell: The Horrible Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans by Vivien Spitz This was an interesting read, maybe not for the faint of heart.
Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eicher I'm not sure this is the true story because he wrote it in 2013, and it happened in 1959, so there's a lot he doesn't know/can't find out about. I think his explanation works, but it doesn't sound like exactly what happened. I like how he basically tells their story up until the night they disappeared.
Banned Books: Literature Suppressed on Social Grounds by Dawn B. Sova I think it's interesting to see what people find offensive and what I've read. There's a week to celebrate banned books at the end of September and I've found I've read a lot of banned books. It's also sad to see what people think it so offensive that they decide other people shouldn't read it.
Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell I find Jack the Ripper very interesting, maybe because they never figured out who he was even after he stopped killing. This book does a very good job of looking at the details in the cases and making a decision on who he could have been. I don't think we'll ever really know because there's so much that we can't find out, but it's fun to speculate.
A Child Called It: One Child's Courage to Survive by Dave Pelzer I don't know why, but I really like to read about how messed up people are and how they treat others. I know truth is so much worse than fiction and you can't make some of the worst stuff up. I'm appalled someone would treat their own child like this and so happy that he got out.
Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America by Kevin Cook this one is on my staff picks at the library. One of the things you learn when studying criminal justice (maybe not so much now) is the bystander affect: that if there are a lot of people that witness something, most people assume that someone else will call the police or intervene. This concept was based on the Kitty Genovese case. I always learned that quite a few people saw her get assaulted (they greatly increased the real number of people) and just assumed that someone else would do something. This book proves that wrong. That's not how it happened. Very good book.
A Brother's Journey: Surviving a Childhood of Abuse by Richard B. Pelzer This is Dave Pelzer's brother and his story about what happened after Dave got out. Again, a very sad book.
Inside Charlie's Chocolate Factory: The Complete Story of Willy Wonka, The Golden Ticket, and Roald Dahl's Most Famous Creation by Lucy Mangan I'm stealing an review I wrote shortly after I read this book from another post. It's all about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, apparently we're celebrating the 50th anniversary this year. If you look at the pages of the book from the outside, you see there is a rainbow of colors, each one a different section in the book. There is an introduction from one of Roald's grandchildren about the wonderment of chocolate at his house. The book starts out with re...d: the background on writing Charlie and the Chocolate factory, then goes into orange: Charlie going to video and stage, next is yellow: focusing on the various illustrators of the books, and then blue: showing the effect on popular culture with various memorabilia including a LEGO Chocolate room and tiny dolls of Willy and Oompa Loompas. Purple follows focusing on chocolate, and how people tried to make Wonka bars and take chocolate to whole new levels, finally there is green: with the thoughts from critics and fans about the book. Throughout, there is illustrations from the book, movies, plays and fans creations. Very cool!
The Siege: 68 Hours Inside the Taj Hotel by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy This book stayed with me a long time after reading it. It's about the terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Toiba's attack on Mumbai in 2008 and focuses mostly on the terrorist group's attack on the Taj Hotel. It follows several of the people in the hotel and their horrible night.
Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City's Courageous Recover and the Epic Hunt for Justice by Scott Helman & Jenna Russel Have you noticed a theme in the books I read and the ones that really stick with me? I love the self-less acts of the people in this book.
My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate their Favorite Places to Browse, Read and Shop edited by Ronald Rice I also love reading about what other people love. I really liked this book with all the detail the writers put into describing some of their favorite places, it made me want to step through the book into the stores.
Cujo by Stephen King I don't read a lot of fiction books, but I saw the movie and my dad said it scared him so much, I had to see how different it was from the book. I enjoy reading Stephen King books, the detail he puts into things is great.

That was the last book I read in 2014. I'm up to 101 reading books (over 200 pages or with deep content) this year. I will do a post on favorite books for three or four months soon. What are your favorite books?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Snow

I'm not excited for snow. I know it's getting to be that time, but ever since I had to help shovel, I've never been excited for it. I no longer shovel (I will have to in the future), but I still don't like it. We had our first snow storm last night. They were predicting it to be really bad. It started early yesterday afternoon with small flakes melting when they hit the ground. I think it finally started sticking about 3pm and just kept going all night. They said we were going to have quite a few inches of the wet heavy stuff, thankfully we didn't. It's all light and fluffy. Today, the sun came out, which I hate in the winter, because it's always a cold day when the sun comes out. Windchill was around 4, supposedly, I went out about 11, with my heavy coat, scarf and hat and I was sweaty by the time I got home a few hours later. I was just shopping downtown, wasn't exerting much energy. I didn't appreciate all the ice underneath the snow. Most people had their sidewalks shoveled, but because it melted so much when it started, it was ice underneath, not the best to be walking in. I was a little worried about tomorrow when I had to catch the bus for work, but then I got home and found out the game was cancelled due to the other team not being able to get here. Funny thing, the forecast predicts temperatures in the 50's on Wed and Thurs.

And now that it's colder, it's cold in my apartment. My new landlord's like it cold. I realized they had the AC on pretty much all summer. Last year, my apartment didn't get much warmer than 66. And it looks like it will be the same this year. Oh well, I have sweaters, warm socks and blankets.

Life has been interesting around here. Monday we started the week with power out for about an hour. I guess I'm happier it went out last week and will (hopefully) not go out this week when it's a little cooler. That was a great way to start the week.
Wednesday I went shopping with my friend, it was fun, but not that exciting. We went to Michael's where I picked up a gift for a swap partner, a reindeer for my brother and an owl ornament for me. Next stop was lunch at Burger King, I have been craving Burger King for so long, and I had coupons, so win win. After lunch, we went to the big Target where I picked up hangers, weirdly enough when you buy lots of new shirts you need hangers to put them on, and some wrapping paper. I got the wrapping paper because I was going to be really creative with my wrapping for my swap partner, but that didn't work out. I found I still had wrapping paper at home, so I used that up. JoAnn's was next, everything I bought was on sale. I picked up a pair of Halloween purple and black striped tights for 70% off, then a kinda ugly/cute owl pincushion/tape measure, and a cute wooden keychain. Now that I'm home, I realize the owl is pretty ugly and I probably shouldn't have bought him. Last stop was Sam's Club, my friend has a membership and they always have such good looking food. I bought a giant dot-to-dot book and some cupcake chocolates. I really shouldn't have bought either, the other day I was cleaning and realized I didn't need anymore activity books, so I bought another one. And I have way too much chocolate here already. I found that if I ate a piece of chocolate every morning, I had enough to last me through the middle of February, now I have more.
My parents would not make a decision for Thanksgiving, so I finally just made my own menu and I hope they like it. Usually my brother comes over from Chicago and cooks for us, this year he decided to go with his girlfriend to her parents' in New Orleans. Last week I picked up a pork roast, I already bought zucchini bread in October. I was looking at my Taste of Home cookbooks (can't go wrong with those) and decided on Lemon Parsley Potatoes, Caprese Salad, Veggie Dip and Rice pudding. I talked to my dad about it when I went to do my laundry this week, and he had a few additional suggestions, I don't know what my mother thinks about it. I do know we'll have to go grocery shopping again, I wasn't sure how long some things would stay fresh.
Friday was the big snowstorm. I went grocery shopping on my way home from work, it wasn't as busy as I figured it would be.
And, now it's Saturday. I decided to go downtown to do some shopping for my swap partner. I went to a lot of local stores and I think I did pretty well. I have to have 12 gifts and I believe I'm at 11. I won't have a picture of all the gifts in my reveal post this year, as I wrapped them right when I got home and didn't get around to getting a picture. I'm really happy with what I got though.

I was on Facebook tonight and on one of my groups Neighbors helping neighbors, someone was asking for Christmas decorations as she was no longer homeless this year. I have a lot of decorations and I was planning on weeding them out anyways, so I thought I'd see what she wanted. I also want to put some gifts in the stockings for her, because she's low on money. I'm really excited to do this. I don't have a ton of extra money, but it sounds like she has way less, so why not share? Isn't that what the season's all about anyway?