Thursday, December 31, 2009

Say goodbye, 2009

Here we are, at the end of 2009.  Like all years, when looking back, it seems like it went by so quickly.

So, what happened?  (do I go chronologically, or in order of importance, or just follow my stream of consciousness?)  How about it just start....
  • 2009 is the year I REALLY got myself in shape... making what I hope to be a permanent change.  February - April I followed the P90X workout program, then fell off the wagon a bit, then jumped back on in October.  Since then, I've followed a 3-5 day a week workout schedule (promising myself 30-60 minutes of "good sweating" during each session - whether it's following a DVD, a hike in the woods, or intense yard-work).  I haven't lost any weight (?!?), but I feel great and clothes are fitting in more flattering ways, so I'm happy.
  • I blogged a LOT more and met some amazing other bloggers in the process.  I made a point to post comments on blogs I wandered onto (I LOVE "blondering" - blog-wandering - clicking on links on blogs to other bloggers' sites and then clicking on a link at that site and so on and so on and so on).
    • I also participated in the 12-of-12 regularly.  What's the 12-of-12? ...check out my site.
  • OH, and the home improvements of 2009... 
    • It started with the "guest" bathroom upstairs (a carry-over from late-2008).  I cannot be happier with how it turned out.  It went from vomit-pink wallpaper with green tub/toilet to "pretty in green" coordinated bathroom.  Want to see???  Click here. 
    • Next, I FINALLY turned the Room-that-holds-junk-you-don't-know-what-to-do-with Room into a Guest Room... then had GUESTS!!  Yay!  From my 8-year-old niece (who calls it her room and spent a handful of nights/weekends with us) to REAL guests - new friends from Massachusetts; the door is open now, awaiting it's next visitor.  Wanna see??  Here's the transformation gallery.
    • With the Guest Room renovations, I lost my office space.  But that's okay!  My desk is in the loft now which has an AWESOME little reading nook now that I put curtains over the closet doors and got a "new" chair.  I blogged about it here.
    • Finally (the last project of the year) was a repaint of my front hallway.  It was my first painting project when we moved here 5+ years ago and I've hated it since day 1.  I wanted a nice earth-tone mauve-brown.  I got pink.  No.  Don't like pink (on walls).  Now I have a great mango-apricot color.  MUCH BETTER!  I have a photo of it... somewhere.
  • On the "crafty" side of things... well, I knitted my first hat (then a 2nd), learned how to tie a number of ornamental knots, "refinished" an old treasure-chest looking antique chest, and cooked up a storm - from new and unique stuff to healthy stuff to jars and jars of jam.  I made venison tenderloin for Christmas Eve dinner and it was out of this world.
  • I went to the movies... TWICE!  I know, it doesn't seem like that should be a big deal.  But, for me, it is.  The closest theater is about 25 miles away and my Hubby is a complete isolationist.  Those things combined make getting to the movies virtually impossible.  Which is probably why the 1st time was with my Niece (we saw 'UP' in 3D) and the 2nd time was with my Dad (we saw 'Avatar', also in 3D).  Both were AMAZING.  I'm thinking I might need to see Avatar again before it moves to DVD... the computer graphics blew me away.
  • I kept my job!  For those of you who don't know, my company has laid off large numbers of people on the 1st of December for the last two years.  Last year was not as "easy" as this year.  Last year I got "displaced", but then was quickly scooped up by my 2009 boss and, subsequently, had a FABULOUS sales year.  I went from being ranked 57 out of 63 in Q1 to #1 in Q3!!!  Needless to say, my manager was less than thrilled when he found out the company transferred me to a new territory for 2010.  It's been a roller-coaster of a year - uncertainty combined with success, but oh well.  Change is good - and having a job in this sluggish economy is even better.
  • As for the family... 
    • The hubby and I celebrated the fact that we've been together as a couple for over 20 years.  That's over HALF our lives!  What's even better is that we have a fantastic relationship and it just keeps getting better.  We really are best friends and truly complements to each other.  
    • "The kids" have mellowed a LOT this year.  They each turned five, one in February & one in April.  Mackie still has a ton of energy and gets mad at us if we don't walk on a regular basis, but Bug just wants to "chill".  He's turned into the total couch-potato Mastiff.  Just hug him & feed him and he's happy.  I guess that could be said for all of us, tho, couldn't it.
Well, I think that's it... 2009 was a good year.  Prospects are looking up that 2010 will be, as well.  May you have good health and happiness, thanks for visiting!  See you "next year".
The End

    Saturday, December 26, 2009

    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    I'm ready for a white Christmas

    Is it really 2 days before Christmas?  Where did the time go?

    Oh yeah... I know.  Training for work these last 2 weeks (including a trip to Orlando, FL for "live" training).  But now I'm back and I'm 99.9999% ready.  I need one more small thing for one more person, then I'll really be ready.

    But you don't want to hear about that... you want to see my DECORATIONS!  (Don't you?)

    Okay... here they are.  It's not much (I don't try keeping up with the Joneses), but I like it.

    First to go up every year.... twinkle lights up the stairs. (It's a bit out of focus, but it's the best I could get with all the lights off in the house.)

    The stockings are hung by the chimney with care.
    The presents are by the tree.

    Now I just have to get all the food prepared for Christmas Eve at our place, and then the Hubby's parents on Christmas Day.

    See you in Two-Thousand Ten... if not before.


    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    12-of-12: December 2009

    It's Saturday!  And, it's 12-of-12 day!  What could be better?
    OH, I know - almost 2-straight days of snowfall and then a GORGEOUS sunny, snow-sparkling day to snap some photos.

    But before I get to the snaps, first I need to thank Chad Darnell for his brilliant idea of making a photo diary of the 12th day of each month using 12 photos.  Thanks, Chad!

    So, as I mentioned, it's been snowing and snowing and snowing here.  It started Thursday.  I went downstairs to work-out at 6:15am and by the time I got back upstairs, everything was covered with a thin coating of snow... and it was really coming down.  I live in "ski country" so I'm no stranger to snow.  In fact, this is one of the latest "first snows" we've had in a long time.  (We've had snow mid-October in years past).  Thursday was the first REAL snow we've had this season.

    This storm was a "lake effect storm" - the Great Lakes produce bands of snow clouds that are almost identical in shape to the lake itself.  (If I had thought about it, I would have grabbed a picture from the oh well.)  Lake effect storms tend to stay in one place, maybe "wobble" north and south a few miles, then dissipate.  This week's storm threatened to stay till today, but in actuality, fizzled last night.  All total, the weather people say we got 22.2" of snow in 48 hrs.

    So let's get to the photos already!

    6:30am - Time to sweat.  I have been faithful to the "promise" to myself back in October... weights/cardio, 3-5 days a week.  Today was day 5!
    Workout complete.  Chores complete.  Time to play!

    11:30am - 1:30pm - Wandering around Sprague Brook Park in Concord, NY
    The slopes aren't open yet... next week, they say.

    The pond is frozen, but the cattails won't give up! 

    Giant marshmallows?  Sadly, no.  Snow covered rocks.

    Not that you can tell from these photos, but the snow was really deep... 2-feet in spots... and since we are the first adventurous (crazy) souls to come out here on foot (no skis/ snowshoes/ snowmobiles) it was a tough walk.  I burned a TON more calories during the hour we were out here.

    4:00pm - The kids really enjoyed their walk, too.  Here's what they look like now.
    TaterBug & Mackie

    They are so snuggly now that the weather has turned cold.  And with our walk today, they'll just want to sleep for the rest of the night; PERFECT, since I have a "Sock Exchange Party" to go to at friends' house.  They won't miss me one bit!

    The sox I have to exchange tonight fit in quite nicely with my 12-of-12 this month... here, take a look and let me know if you agree.

    Happy Holidays!
    See you in 2010! 

    Saturday, December 5, 2009

    Super Saturday

    What a great day it's been!
    AND, it's not over!  In a little while, I'm gonna plunk myself down in between the pups and watch UP (the latest & greatest Disney-Pixar film that is simply spectacular!).

    But first, I thought I'd share my day with you...

    It started out slow - as Saturday's should - coffee, a bagel, some surfing the internet & visiting various blogs.  Then I got a little bit motivated and turned the ground venison (from my hubby's 1st deer) into some delicious goulash.  I just finished some that I had for dinner.  YUMMY!

    Back to relaxing and some knot tying!  I'm making ornaments/ wreathes to give as Christmas gifts.  I made my first about a week ago and it took me almost half an hour to finish just one.  Today, I made six in about an hour!  Guess I figured out what I I needed to do... here they are - almost done, they need to be "perfected" then tied off for hanging.

    These are Chinese Knots called 'Compound Double Coin Knot' - I have to thank Tying it All Together  for their video tutorial.
    Next, it was time to burn some calories (good thing, because I cooked a LOT today).  The pups and I headed to the park for a walk.  It wasn't anything crazy terrain-wise, but we kept moving at a good pace and put on almost 2 miles.

    Then, I had errands to run... got dog food and groceries, then off to the Library Book Sale!  After 2pm it was $5 for a bag of books - as many books as you could fit in it (and carry home).  I LOVE this book sale... here's a sampling of this visit's booty - OH, which one to read first?!?!?

    Now I'm back in front of the computer... dogs are fed and sleeping on their beds, waiting patiently for me to finish so we can watch our movie.

    I have three little cookies set aside for dessert.  I made these when I got home from the Book Sale.  They're from the Eat Better America site - they're called "Healthified" Brownie Cookies.  They're not health food by any stretch of the imagination, but if you need cookies, they're better than other recipes out there.  AND, I "healthified" them a little more by using 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose white. 

    They taste great!

    What a day! I wish every day could be this full of fun and accomplishment.  Well, maybe not, because if they were all like this I couldn't fully appreciate days like today.  Hope you had a great day, too.

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Busy, busy day! (Turn the Page... Tuesday)

    You would think a Tuesday wouldn't be jammed packed with stuff... but here I am, 11:02pm and I'm not quite ready to goto bed.  Well, that's not true.  I'm ready to goto bed, but I promised myself to post my Turn the Page... Tuesday info.  (Want more info on TTP..T or want to join in?  Visit Some of a Kind and see what's what.)

    But first...
    Happy, happy, birthday to me!  Happy, happy, birthday to me!  Happy, happy, happy, happy birthday to meeeeeee!!!!!
    Every year my sister and I buy pedicures for each other as a birthday present, so today after work we went for our joint treatments then went to dinner together.  It's nice because we're both married with families and careers, so we don't get a lot of sister-time.  This has become a truly cherished tradition for the two of us.  If I wasn't so tired I'd hunt down my camera and snap a shot of my pretty toes, they look (and feel) great.

    Now on to Turn the Page... Tuesday...

    I have 32 pages to go in my reading of A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  This is an incredibly odd story of an overweight, over-educated, "idealist" in New Orleans, LA and the variety of characters with whom he interacts.  My book club is meeting tomorrow to discuss this book, and I'm very cuious to hear what the others thought of the story.

    It's brilliantly written.  There are a number of dialects and speaking styles used - and from what I understand, this IS 1960s New Orleans.  The characters are also rather brilliant (in the sense that they are clearly distinct characters - no confusing people in this story) - from delusional neighbors & inept police offcers to overprotective mothers and flamboyant homosexuals.  You would think with a cast like this it would have to be good.

    Sadly, the story didn't hold my interest very well.  In fact, the only reason why I didn't drop the book and continue with the Sookie Stackhouse novels is because I felt I needed to finish so I could fully participate in Book Club.  Who knows, maybe after tomorrow night I'll feel differently, but at the moment I'm happy that in 32 pages I'll be done and I can put it on the bookshelf till the next time we move (hopefully many, many years from now).

    December 2nd Update:  Post Book Club Meeting
    Well, seems there were people who loved CoD and others who hated it.  I was among the 3-4 people who were in the middle.  By the end of the discussion, I had an improved appreciation for the book and the writing and a couple of the characters, but I still don't think I would recommend it to others.

    Now, I'm on to the January selection... Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury