Tuesday, December 31, 2013

celebrate ...

Day 31.  Last day of 2013.  Last day of the Kickin' It Old Skool blog-a-thon.  We are asked what we want to celebrate from this past month ... and there are so many things.

For starters ... I'm celebrating the fact that I'm not working seven days a week anymore.  I got burnt out ... quickly ... and have struggled hard this month as a result.  I know that the choice was mine for the most part to work that much, but it was driven by necessity ... and opportunity.  It was a struggle at times to blog ... mostly because it was so hard for me to think of something upbeat to write.  So I'm celebrating that I've been able to overcome, mostly, the depression that almost overtook me.

I'm celebrating learning more about myself ... remembering good times ... and getting back to basics.
One day at a time.
Sunrise 1 Jan 2013 ... hoping that 2014 will be much more beautiful ... and clear ... in so many ways.

Monday, December 30, 2013

cookin' ...

KIOS is asking ... this Day 30 of 31 ... for our favorite recipe.  I have several recipes for disaster ... but think that in this case, they are asking for something that might leave less of a sour taste in your mouth.

My maternal grandmother gave me a family recipe for Springerle cookies, several lifetimes ago.  Christmas always makes me think of making them, and I even bought a special Springerle roller when I was in Germany for Christmas in 2007.  Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to make them since then, but one day I will.

They are delicious dunked in hot coffee ... hot chocolate ... or peppermint tea.  They also ship well, and can be painted with food coloring.  If frozen with apple slices, they will soften.

Grandma Ruth's Christmas Springerle Cookies
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
Anise seeds

Beat eggs & sugar together.
Stir in flour until blended and stiff.
Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Roll out 1/8 inch thick on floured board.
Cut cookies with decorated board or rolling pin.
Place on cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with Anise seeds.
Let dry for 2 hours at room temperature.
Bake for 12-15 minutes at 325F.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

future selfie ...

This morning, my KIOS prompt is to share a selfie that represents the person I am becoming.

That is actually pretty difficult to even conceive right now.  Yesterday wrapped up with some discouraging news that pushed me back to my knees, and so this morning I'm still trying to stand up.

I took a call yesterday at work from a woman who also got some discouraging news, and as I waited patiently for her regain composure, I thought of how much alike our lives were right then, and how much I wanted things to be different for both of us.  When she stopped crying, I tried to offer her some encouragement, and suggestions on how she might find something that will help them.

Words I've heard from others.

I want my future self to be so different from the person I am today that I won't even be recognizable.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

word up ...

Several weeks ago I blogged about what my subconscious word was for 2013
and what it should have been and what I changed it to at that time.

In the process I started to focus on what I wanted my word to be for 2014, and I've chosen 

Not entirely for what you might think, although that would be a huge blessing ...

pros•per•i•ty (prɒˈspɛr ɪ ti) 
n. a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition, esp. in financial respects; good fortune.
[1175–1225; Middle English prosperite < Old French < Latin prosperitās. See prosperous, -ity]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

"On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of Egypt into a land I had searched out for them,
a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands."
~ Ezekiel 20:6 NIV ~

I tend to think of it as "Live long and prosper."
Prosper in all aspects of life.

Friday, December 27, 2013

kickin' this year to the past ...

The last Friday of the year 2013. Wow. How did we get here so fast? Is it just me or does it seem like this year just suddenly hit fast forward and we jumped through a worm-hole and missed most of the year?

There were days (weeks ... months) that I remember thinking were just dragging along and I was wishing (praying) that I would just hurry up and get past all that. And suddenly ... here I am. Prayers answered. Wishes granted.

Because it was such a difficult year, I'm choosing to hold onto the positives and let the negatives disappear as quickly as everyone's champagne will on New Year's Eve.

This year what I will remember most about 2013 will be all those answered prayers and miracles. Too many to list, but so many I'm grateful for.

What I am ready to leave behind is this place ~ this house, this city, this state, and most of these people. I'm ready for a fresh start, clean slate, second chances, and all the possibilities that a move offers.

In 2013 I learned that I was stronger than I thought I was, that you can do more with less, and that sometimes shutting out the world and just focusing on what is happening in your own heart is what is important.

When we ring out the old year, and welcome in the new ... I will be celebrating who we have become, together, in the midst of what could have destroyed us, and how it has brought us closer, made us stronger, and the faith that sustained us.

Ringing in the New Year with [KIOS] this morning.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

leftovers ...

Leftovers are the best part of holiday meals.  Waking up in the middle of the night to sneak down and grab one more sandwich ... one more slice ... one more bowl.  A refrigerator full of laughter, memories, and the stuff that nourishes the soul ... and the body.

A slow cooked pork roast, pulled and put between bread, topped with a slice of colby jack cheese, and toasted until the cheese melts just enough.

Eggs waiting to be cooked for breakfast or boiled and deviled.  Bottled water.  Tea ... sweet and unsweet.  Onions for tomorrow's chili dinner.  Potatoes ... they'll be made into a salad later.  Pickle relish ... dill and kosher cubes.  Mustard ... jalapeno, yellow, and chipotle.  Homestyle mayo.  Ketchup ... I'll use it to make some barbeque sauce this weekend.

Spillin' the contents today with [KIOS].

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

... traditions ...

Christmas traditions ... as a child in Germany, we celebrated St. Nick's by putting our shoes out on the 6th of December to be filled with candy (or coal and switches, as the case may be) ... in another life, we had pizza every Christmas Eve, and a particular themed ornament to buy every year.

And stress ... to impress, improve, or be innovative in our gift giving, present wrapping, meal making, or house decorating.

This year, we started a new tradition ... of no traditions.  Christmas was laid back and relaxed.  We did minimal decorating this year ~ just one small wire tree in the kitchen with cooking themed ornaments.  A handful of cards sent ~ not the 40-60 of years past.  We had chili dinner with friends and some incredible piano playing by my husband.  Slow cooked a barbeque pork butt in the oven overnight, and then we rolled our own fat, stuffed butts around to lie back and watch movies all day.


I think that is a tradition I like.
Kickin' out old traditions with [KIOS].

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

... but on the brighter side ...

Jamie and her sister, Shannon, who are the creative minds behind the "Kickin' It Old School" meme this month have been caught in the winter storms that have left so many without power.  They are asking today for a tip or strategy to avoid a holiday disaster, or the story of one you survived.

Holidays are always stressful.  No matter whether you spend them alone, or surrounded by family and friends, there are expectations and disappointments, words spoken that cannot be taken back, or actions that will be forever remembered ... good or bad.

I honestly can't recall any specific holiday disasters.  Weather or otherwise.  If I were to say I had a strategy, it would be to avoid family gatherings altogether.  Spend time with them at other times of the year, less traveled when there aren't 20 million other people flying or driving to see their families.  When the weather is more predictable ... and warmer ... so you won't have to lug around a ten pound winter coat in addition to all your other carry-on baggage.

My last seven Christmases have been spent either away from family and friends completely (two in Europe on river cruises), or with only very close family members (one in Alaska).  Quiet.  Calm.  Drama-free.  Relaxing.  Reflective. What I think the holidays are meant to be.

And I haven't had any regrets.

Monday, December 23, 2013

... pages and pages and pages and pages and ...

Books have always been my first and best friends.  Every time I was a "new" kid in school ... I hid out in the library until I started to make friends in class.  Because I knew the friends I found in those pages wouldn't laugh at my red hair ... or bifocal glasses ... or braces on my legs ... or teeth ... or the birthmark on my knee.  They wouldn't call me names or leave me to be the last picked for any team sports in phys ed.

Books were my friends.

As I got older, my reading selections became more ... selective.  I love history, and when my cousin sent me this book by M.M. Kaye ... I was hooked.  You can tell by how worn the cover is, held together by tape.  This was the book I would ... and could ... disappear into for days.  I sought out and bought every book she ever wrote, and her autobiographies which details seasons in her life.

Today, my favorite books still lean towards history and lands seeped in the traditions of times long past.  They are one of the reasons I love to travel and stand in awe of the masterpieces that were created so long ago.
Joining with [KIOS] today.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

wee mee....

Our prompt for today from [KIOS] was to share a picture of a smaller version of ourselves.
I thought since it was Christmas week, I would share some holiday fun.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

kickin' ... my favorite quote

"People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."
~ Mother Teresa ~

Joining with [KIOS] this morning ...

Friday, December 20, 2013

... and in first place ...

  My first job was when I was in the tenth grade, as a reader to two fellow students.  They were blind, and their braille textbooks and books on tape (and we're talking reel to reel tape ~ very old school) had not arrived by the start of the school year.  Every day after school, I would take the bus that dropped off at the Florida State School for the Deaf and Blind.  I would walk quietly through the deaf section of the school ~ which wasn't as quiet as you would think ~ and spend two hours reading homework assignments.

  I don't have many memories of my early school years.  We moved a lot, and my First grade was split between Michigan and Beale AFB, California.  What I do remember was one teacher who sent me a book from Japan, and a letter written on beautiful rice paper, after she moved there with her husband.  I think that was the first book I ever remember reading.  It was a thin picture book about life in Japan, their customs and the beauty of their Geisha women.  I think that was also when I realized that I was going to like traveling and moving around a lot.

  First thing in the morning I get up and read my daily Bible chapters ... grateful for the teachers that taught me to read and gave me a love for learning.

  Sharing some of my firsts with [KIOS] today ...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

kickin' ... my bag to the curb

  Bags ... or rather "baggage."  We all carry them.  We deny we have them, but we really do.  We just sometimes forget that they are there because we've done a good job of hiding them for so long.  They can be big or small ... heavy or light ... painful or just "there."

  Five years ago, I thought I had done a good job of emptying my bags and had left them at the curb.  Much like how my second husband later told me I had done to him when I left him.  I suppose that was an appropriate comparison since for ten of our twelve years together I had felt like garbage because of the things he filled my head with.  All of the "You'll never be good enoughs."

  I remember when I was single and a friend would try to introduce me to someone ... always with the caveat  that he came with some "baggage."  A child ... an ex from Hades ... or some personality quirk.

  I spent a lot of time alone.

  This past year, a lot of my bags filled up again with all those negative thoughts and words.  Not from anyone else saying them to me ... but from my own self-doubts, fears, worries, and painful memories.

  So today, as a variation on a theme from [KIOS], I've been emptying my bag again.  Because I am intelligent; I am strong; I am beautiful; I would have been a good mother; I am a good cook; I do make a comfortable home; I am honest; I am crafty; I am fun to be around ... and I am enough.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

wishin' ...

My father used to say
"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

I understand that more now than I did as a child.

It's a week before Christmas so I suppose this could be my Dear Santa list.

~ A reliable car ~ 
Not brand new, but one that I wouldn't worry will fall apart on the way to work.

~ Enough ~
Enough finances to pay all the bills and still be able to get groceries.
Enough food to feed our friends.
Enough time to relax.
Enough furniture to sit on and have overnight guests.

~ Peace ~
In our families ~ less drama, more love.
In my mind ~ less worry, more trust.

~ A home ~ a new start ~ 
~ A do~over of the last three years. ~ 

... and a pug puppy.

This Wednesday I'm wishing with [KIOS]

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

kickin' ... free ...

The river was fresh on my mind as I sought to escape the confines of the office and enjoy a moment of peaceful relaxation in the night.

River ~ Kenai blue, green and cold; Rhine cruise and Christmas
Fresh ~ smell after the rain; new sheets on the bed; oranges in a bowl
Escape ~ to run and hide
Moment ~ this one is fleeting, never to come again
Night ~ sleep; stars in the sky; full moon lighting the way

This "word free association" post is part of the Kickin’ It Old School Blog-a-thon {Day 17/31} that is happening all month long. Come join in the fun!

Monday, December 16, 2013

sing it loud ...

Favorite songs is the prompt today from [KIOS]
I don't even know where to start with a list.
My musical preferences range from one extreme to another.
I can listen to Santana ~ especially Smooth with Rob Thomas ~ all day.
DecemberRadio's Drifter because I love to hear my husband sing it to me.
Country ~ Keith Urban is a fav.
Christian ~ Classical ~ Classic Rock
Pink Floyd ~ Susan Boyle ~ Harry Connick, Jr.
Hank Williams, Jr ~ Bach ~ Enya
Manheim Steamroller ~ Trans Siberian Orchestra
Rain on a Tin Roof
(oh, that last one wasn't a band or a song ... I just like the sound of rain)
And listening to the sound of a beagle baying with happiness....

Sunday, December 15, 2013

who do you love ...

This morning on [KIOS] the question of the day was "Who do you love?"

Before I answer that, I want to share two notes I got from Annie's new family...

"Hello...my name is Mike. my wife Erica, daughter Isabelle, son's Joey and Will and our dog muffie adopted Annie...she has adjusted very well...we are blessed to have found her and she enjoys being around my children...thank you for helping her along in journey to our home."

"Annie has been an amazing addition to our family. My two sons and daughter fight over who gets to have Annie sleep with them. She also gets along very well with our eleven year old maltipoo. She loves the dog park and enjoyed looking at Christmas lights. Thank you for taking care of Annie.
She is a beautiful dog. 
~ Erica ~"

I love happy endings for animals that have been abused or mistreated.

I love my husband.
I love my dog, Trooper, and my cat, Oreo.
But I think the most important "who" that I love ...
is myself.
It's taken a long time to get here.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

kickin' ... a line ...

[KIOS] wants us to share a line from a book.
The first sentence from the third book on our top shelf.

Now, I know this would sound like I'm throwin' out an ad (or a line as they say),
but my three books are actually on my top shelf.
 This is the first line from my third book, "Eagle Visions," which is the third book on my shelf.

~ “Auroras ~ or Northern Lights ~ are believed to be the torches held in the hands of Spirits seeking the souls of those who have just died, to lead them over the abyss terminating the edge of the world." ~

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas wishes...

This was Annie last Christmas Eve.
Probably dreaming of treats and hot dogs.

Her Christmas came early this year.
She has been adopted by a family with two kids.

My Christmas wishes have been answered...
the best present ever is just knowing that she will be loved and happy.


positive thoughts
open doors
sincere interest
scheduled times
busy days
long discussions
incredible views

kickin' a first ...

Brandy 1976-1986

[KIOS] prompts this morning for a "first."

I have a lot of firsts.
I have a lot of lasts.
But the one "first" that will always be in my heart ...
my first dog, Brandy.
She made a place in my heart that continues to be filled.
I think she was a dachshund and cocker mix.
She followed me home from school one day.
(Although I think I carried her most of the way.)

I know she is always with me in spirit.
In fact, oddly enough,
three times in the 13 years I've lived in this townhouse,
I've received a piece of mail addressed to her.
Brandy {maiden name}
She never lived at this address, 
in fact was gone for 15 years before I even bought it.
The pieces of mail stick with me because of the timing of their arrival,
and what they were.
The first was a parenting/baby magazine.
Just one.
It arrived when I realized that I was never going to be a mother.
The second was a postcard for a local restaurant, with coupons,
at a time when I was single, and maybe a little lonely.
The most recent one came just a few weeks ago.
A postcard for car title loans.
The week I paid off my car.

Yeah, weird, huh?

Annie's picture & profile no longer appear on the Humane Society's "available" page.
I hope to find out more this afternoon,
but I'm sure it means that she got her Christmas present early.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

kickin' ... for sure, man ...

Joining with [KIOS] this morning,
with a list of the 10 things I know for sure:

1.  During difficult times in life, you find out who your real friends and family are.
2.  During difficult times in life, you are stronger than you think you are ...
3.  ... and stronger than everyone else thinks you are.
4.  "Things will get better" isn't necessarily true.
5.  "Things will change" is.
6.  Change can be good ... and healthy.
7.  No matter what happens, tomorrow will come.
8.  Sometimes it is okay to take care of yourself first and let everyone else wait.
9.  Nothing feels better when you are sad, than a purring cat and the pressure of a dog against your legs.
10.  Even during difficult times, every day is a gift.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

kickin' ... n' cryin'

[KIOS] wants to know this "weepy Wednesday" what makes me cry.
What doesn't make me cry right now?
Have you seen that Kohl's commercial with the young couple decorating the old woman's apartment for Christmas to surprise her?  
Yeah ... hand me a few Kleenex.
Homecoming videos of military members surprising their kids ... and in some cases, their dogs?
Oh yeah, might as well get another box, 'cause that one box is almost gone.
Thinking of [Annie] at the Humane Society?
Oh, did I scare you with that noise I made while sobbing?  Sorry.
Happy endings?
Sad endings?
The death or injury of any animal in a movie? 
(and yes, I do know it is "just a movie")
No matter.  Tears me up.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

kickin' & braggin' ....

[KIOS] this morning gave the prompt to think back to our kindergarten days and do a show and tell.
I had to peek at some of those who had already linked up to get a feel for the theme.
(and I apologize for not commenting much lately ~ time has been flyin')

I had some crafty projects that I could share.
Like my [mermaids.]
Or a slumped glass plate I made.
(which I know I've posted before but can't find the link to)

But I want to go back to kindergarten,
and show off one of my [kids.]
(Who just happens to be smarter than your 5th grader, by the way.)
He is now almost 9 1/2 years old
My husband hasn't been feeling well lately, so yesterday morning when I took Trooper for a walk,
I casually mentioned that he needed to make Dad get out more often today,
since the sunlight and cool breeze would make him feel better.
I let him off leash to run like he enjoys, and then about ten minutes after he had taken care of business,
and had a good run in the field, I called to him to "leash up" so we could walk back to the house.

He refused.
Not just refused, but disobeyed.
For more than thirty minutes I tried everything I could think of to get him to come to me.
Nothing worked.  He just kept his distance.
Even sitting in the dirt, which usually makes him come see what is wrong with me, didn't work.
Finally, frustrated and running out of time, I came back to the house.
I tossed his leash to my husband and told him to get him in.
Then I got in my car and went to work.

My husband called when I was just three or four minutes gone.
Trooper had come right to him and gone into the house with no trouble.
It occured to me at that moment, that he had done just what I asked him to do.
"Make Dad get out."

I really need to watch what I say to him.

Monday, December 9, 2013

kickin' back with movies ...

This morning's prompt from the [Kickin' It Old Skool Blog-a-Thon] meme that I'm participating in 
{which by the way will forever now be referred to as KIOS because my fingers aren't usually so awake when I blog ~ I've had to go back and correct five typos already}
is to list our favorite movies.

Since we are in the holiday season, I thought I would just list my favorite holiday movies:
{all are linked to their imdb.com page so if you haven't seen them you can see who is in them}
1.  Planes, Trains, and Automobiles {that pillow scene kills me every time}
5.  Scrooged

Of course, all of the classics are a given.  I can watch "It's a Wonderful Life" every week.  Same for [the original], and [the remake], of "Miracle on 34th Street."  "Rudolph" with the voice of Burl Ives.

Romantic holiday movies like "Love Actually" and "The Holiday"are my stand-bys for a chick flick night.  
Or any of the Hallmark Channel holiday movies.
And for when I get in a "if only I had ..." mood, I like to watch and "The Family Man" or "Mr. Destiny."

But those top five ... 
they are my go-to movies when things start to feel a little overwhelming during the holiday season.

 Nothing beats sitting down to de-stress and laugh at myself with a dysfunctional family movie.
Just like being back home.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

word ...

Here it is, a few weeks from the end of the year, and I think I just realized what my word of the year should have been, and what it subconsciously was.

I've read a few blogs recently, and in the past have also participated, in finding your "word" for the year.  In the blogosphere, it is something positive ... a word to focus on to inspire you, to challenge you, or to calm you.  If you do a web search of it, it tends to be more negative in the news, almost like a public shaming.

Last night I had some time to think ... really think ... and realized that my subconscious word must have been "rigid" most of this year.  I've been rigid in my thinking of how I wanted to survive, how I wanted to turn my life around, what I wanted for myself, my marriage, and my husband.  I've not just had a tight grip on my rigidness, but a tight grip on all the things that brought me to this point.  Which sort of was defeating all my efforts to move forward ... because I have been holding onto the past.

In my thought processes and my "aha!" moments last night, I realized that I need to change my thinking, and my word, to "let go."

Let go of the past.  Let go of the hurt.  Let go of the pain.  Let go of the resentment.  Let go of the fear.  Let go of the unreasonable expectations.
Let go.  
Move forward.

kickin' ... messy ...

I don't know if it is true that a disorganized desk is an indicator of an organized mind.
To me it just says that I've been too busy lately.
I'm joining this morning with the Kickin' It Old Skool meme
and daring to share my little corner where I blog.
Not exactly a corner, just a short wall where the roof won't leak on my keyboard.
And not an office where I would like it to be, but in my bedroom.
I don't have air conditioning, 
and last summer it was just easier (and less expensive) to run fans in just one room, than every room.  
So it made sense to make the bedroom also the office ... and living room ... and dining room.  
Gotta love a room that can multi-task.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

kickin' back the end of the day ...

Today was ... a long, frustrating work day with computer issues and indecisive consumers.

Post Script...
Annie's picture and profile story just appeared on the [Humane Society's available pets page.]
I miss her terribly.
But know that there will be someone who will wake up Christmas morning and give her a hug.
She's such a sweet girl.

Friday, December 6, 2013

kickin' it ... back to the beginning ... to reflect

Oh.My.Gosh. this is a post that hits me hard right between the eyes today.  Really hard.  [This] is the first post in this blog.  It is not the very very very first post as those got lost when I was making some changes, before I realized that backing up my blog might be an idea to entertain.

The reason it hits me so hard is because less than two years later, I left all those hopes and dreams in Texas and came back to Florida.  [Because I was scared.]

And in reflection ... I've regretted that decision ever since.

I should have faced my fears. I should have stayed and fought.  I should have conquered them.

I rang in the New [2013] Year with a lot of hope.  I had been unemployed since May 2012 and wasn't getting any financial assistance from anywhere ... except for angels and the Grace of God.  Miracles.  Daily.  Kept the lights on and the water running.  Food on the table and in the dog and cat bowls.  I got a part-time job in February 2013, and finally a full-time job in September.  My marriage at the beginning of this year had big question marks around it.  We were separated for a year after everything was said and done.  Confused.  Hurting.  By the Grace of God, we worked through our issues and stayed married.   I was (and we still are) living in my townhouse where the notice of foreclosure eviction could be slapped on the door any day.  I went eight months in 2012 without a car, walking everywhere or relying on friends and angels to get me where I needed to be ... until one of those miracles put me in a car in December 2012 ... which I just made the last payment on probably right before it gasps it's last breath.  I don't know yet about the cancer ... I finally got health insurance (sort of) and will be able to see the doctor of my choice in January 2014.  We are still struggling financially trying to get back on our feet.  The car seems to know exactly how much is left after bills each pay day.  If I hadn't gotten our FSU football game tickets in August for just $15 each, that wouldn't have been a luxury we could have afforded for our [anniversary.]

As I reflect on this past year ... and the distance between Texas and Florida ... I still wish I had stayed there, but I don't think I would have been able to see how much God works in my life ... or how blessed I am if I had stayed at that time.

The last two years have changed me.  Drastically.  They've broken me.  Crushed me.

But I'm still here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

kickin' ... in ten

We are prompted to share ten things about ourselves today. I'm trying to think of things I haven't shared here before ... and things that won't get me locked up.  I also, in all honesty, don't really want to share too much.  I've found that I value my privacy more in a world where we are so globally connected.

1.  I miss the days before computers, when writing letters and putting them in the (snail)mail or picking up the phone to call someone was the only way to catch up with family and friends.  It felt more personal, and emoticons and "LOL" just don't read the same as hearing someone laugh on the phone.

2.  I loved taking cooking classes at "Somethin's Cookin'" years ago and would love to take a formal cooking course, or a series of classes around the world.  There just seems to be so much love put into cooking and baking for family and friends.  I also love reading books that have recipes built into them.  When I do travel, I like to pick up a cookbook as a souvenir.

3.  If I could figure out how to convince my big dog that flying is fun, I would move to Germany in a heartbeat.  I love the beauty of the country, the relaxed way of living, the food, the people.  I love that Germany is so central in Europe that you can go almost anywhere within a day or two's train ride.

4.  I am a closet Hallmark-oholic ... a leftover from my days of snail mail.  I love just browsing the cards, and  I love their Christmas ornaments.  I go through their ornament catalog like it is an old Sears wish book, circling ornaments I wish I could buy and ornaments wish I could send for gifts.

5.  I love walking (and dancing) in the rain, and unless it is absolutely pouring elephants and hippos, I won't use an umbrella or wear a rain hood.  Something about being in the rain makes me feel child~like.  Perhaps I am more of a land locked mermaid than I thought.

6.  I once owned an 11 foot long Burmese python that ate full grown rabbits once a month.

7.  I just recently found out that I can no longer see 3D movies or pictures because of my retinal tear.  I'm bummed.

8.  I've always wanted to play a musical instrument and my husband is going to start teaching me to play piano.

9.  Not to brag or anything, but I can still wear the earrings I wore in high school.  Just sayin'

10.  Turning 40 was easier for me to do than turning 50 was.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

kickin' ... warm weather!

Florida.  December.  The rest of the country is feeling chilly, or just downright cold.  They are getting snow and winter weather.

Today's high here will be 76 degrees.  Almost enough to turn on the a/c just to get rid of the humidity.

I wish we lived somewhere farther north, where we got real seasons.  It is hard to get into Frosty the Snowman when my beach sand snowman falls ... hmmmm ... that just gave me an idea for a photo shoot of Frosty at the beach.  Where are my carrots and coal?

Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

kickin' ... colors!

[ RED ]
  • What's the first thing you think of when you think of red? FSU Seminoles!  Go Noles!
  • Closest red thing to you? A red lamp shade.
  • What is the last thing that made you angry? Feeling that my sister is afraid to talk to me.
  • Are you a fan of romance?  HUGE fan.  I still believe in love.
  • Do you have a temper?  I'm a red-head.  Need I say more?  But honestly, I don't like being angry or showing anger.  I'm more likely to just get quiet and wait until the heat subsides before talking about it.
  • What's the first thing you think of when you think of green?  Trees in spring.
  • Closest green thing to you?  My coffee mug.
  • What's your favourite green environment?  Fields of wildflowers.
  • Are you jealous of anyone right now?  Nope.
  • Are you a lucky person?  Yes, I believe I am very blessed.
  • What's the first thing you think of when you think of purple?  One eyed purple people eaters.
  • Closest purple thing to you?  The star on a pink plastic tiara I got in a Burger King kid's meal earlier this year.
  • Do you like being treated like royalty?  No, which is probably surprising considering I just put a picture of me in a tiara here.
  • Do you like mysterious things?  Yes!
  • Are you intuitive?  Yes, very much so.
 [ BLUE ]
  • What's the first thing you think of when you think of blue?  The sky.
  • Closest blue thing to you?  The comforter on the bed right now.
  • Are you good at calming people down?  I think so.
  • What's your favourite body of water (i.e. lake, ocean, etc)?  Lakes!
  • What was the last thing that made you cry?  Giving up Annie on Saturday.
  • Are you a logical thinker?  Too much so at times.
  • What's the first thing you think of when you think of yellow?  Daffodils.
  • Closest yellow thing to you?  Sticky notes with my to-do lists on them.
  • What was one of the happiest times of your life?  Christmas 2007 Rhine River cruise
  • What's your favourite holiday?  Christmas
  • What makes you happy?  My husband and my dog.
 [ PINK ]
  • What's the first thing you think of when you think of pink?  Cotton candy
  • Closest pink thing to you?  My tiara
  • What sweet things do you like?  Gummi bears ~ the German made ones, not the ones they make for Americans
  • Are you sensitive?  I don't get my feelings hurt, but I am very much an empath to the emotions others are feeling.
  • What is your favourite flower?  Wildflowers, gardenia plants ... I like picked rather than bought.
  • Does you have a crush on someone?  My husband actually.  Every morning I love to wake up and fall in love all over again.
  • What's the first thing you think of when you think of orange?  Tangerines
  • Closest orange thing to you?  actually, since it is one of the colors of our rivals the Gators, we have nothing orange in the house unless it is fruit!
  • Do you dress up for Halloween?  I haven't in a few years, but I loved being Pippi Longstocking as a child.
  • What gives you the warm fuzzies?  puppies, especially pug puppies
  • What would your superpower be?  Being able to truly communicate with animals, to know that they really understood me.  Trooper and I have an incredible ability to communicate, but I wish I could do it with all animals.
 [ BROWN ]
  • What's the first thing you think of when you think of brown?  Coffee
  • Closest brown thing to you?  Coffee (LOL)
  • What is your favourite type of chocolate?  Dark
  • What makes you feel grounded?  My faith and my husband.
  • Paint the wood or always leave it au naturel?  Natural ~ I love seeing the grain in the wood.
 [ WHITE ]
  • What's the first thing you think of when you think of white?  Angels
  • Closest white thing to you?  A sketch I've tacked to the wall that my husband drew for me.
  • Do you always try to keep the peace?  Yes.
  • Do you like to play in the snow?  Yes!  Just wish it snowed more in Florida!  I guess I will just have to move!
  • Are you afraid of going to the doctors or dentist?  Nope.
 [ BLACK ]
  • What's the first thing you think of when you think of black?  Night
  • Closest black thing to you?  My keyboard.
  • Are you sophisticated or silly?  Seriously silly!
  • Do you have a lot of secrets?  No, they destroy people and families.
  • What's the new black?  I have no clue ... I don't usually follow the fashion trends.  I wear what is comfortable and what fits.

Monday, December 2, 2013

kickin' it ... into time ...

Today's Kickin' it Old Skool: Time Capsule prompt makes me think of one of those notebooks we passed around in junior high (really dating myself here) that had page after page of "do you like ..." and "what is your favorite ..." questions.  We would pass it around to all of our friends, and then everyone would oooohhhh and aaaahhhhh and laugh at what we wrote.

What are you reading?

I've managed to download 62 (free!) books in the last few months into my Kindle (for PC app) and haven't found time to read any of them.  I probably would if I had a handheld Kindle or a laptop ... but those are on my Dear Santa Christmas 2020 Wish List.  Yesterday I reached for a good old hardback that I think will help me get my focus back.  "Facing Your Giants" by Max Lucado.

What are you watching?

I've been trying to watch more comedies lately, and the other night my husband and I laughed until our sides hurt watching "Our Idiot Brother."   I'm definitely going to look for more movies with Paul Rudd in them!

What are you listening to?

My car radio is always set to WAY-FM, but we both like a little of this and a little of that.  Santana & Rob Thomas's "Smooth" has found its way into the house and car more than a few times lately...

What are you loving?

I'm really loving my marriage and my husband ... this life with him and spending time with him.  I'm loving our communication, this honesty, this being with him ... I'm loving him.

What are you wearing?

Hmmm ... I think that is the same thing I said earlier today when I called my husband on a break from work [laughing].  Since I just got off work less than two hours ago, and have been home for not even a full hour yet, I'm still wearing my work comfies ... jeans, tennies, and a blue striped linen shirt.

What are you creating?

Last week I made some cinnamon clove ornaments and today at work my brain was designing a project I hope to make next week to decorate my little cube corner at work ... a yarn wrapped Christmas tree made from a floral cone with pom pom ornaments.

What are you looking forward to?

Life.  Love.  Happiness.  Contentment.  Pug puppies.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

kickin' & healin' ...

Yesterday I blogged about feeling that something in me cracked a long time ago and I'd been struggling with the feeling that I lost my ability to write ... that somehow all the words had escaped.

Later that night I stumbled on a new blog meme that Jamie (Jamie Ridler Studios) and her sister, Shannon (Planet Shannon) are doing ... the Kickin' It Old Skool Blog-a-Thon.

It occurred to me that what I really needed was to stand up and kick this feeling in the behind.  To not let it continue to hold me back or hold me down.  To fight it ... kickin' and screamin' and healin'.

Last night I shared with my husband some of my deepest fears that have been controlling me, and I remembered a time in my life when I said that the only way to stop being afraid was to face that fear head on.

This is me ... facing my fears head on ... with the first assignment of the Kickin' It meme ... a selfie.
Late summer 2010.
That was my first fall in Texas.  A time when I thought I was doing something that would change my life for the better ... and it could have ... would have ... if I hadn't let my fears control me just two years later.

December 2007 in Koln, Germany
(not really a selfie ~ I have short arms)
That was a time when I faced my fears of traveling alone and had the best Christmas ever ... on a Rhine River cruise.

I want to be that "me" again.  Brave.  Fearless.  Strong.  World traveler.  Confident.