Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 has been a bit of a bitch.  It started out at the gate loosing Mom in January, then loosing Vixen just a week before the six month mark of Mother's passing at the end of June.  There is seeing Mom's things sold off, there is turning off the telephone number that always was hers/ours, there is saying goodbye to my childhood home.  As we end the year we can't even say that everything has been completely taken care of with the estate and heaven knows there will be complications to my taxes in a few short months as a result.

I hit another big birthday which I didn't take as poorly as my previous big birthday, but it is a loud clang of how little time I have left to have a family if that is even in the cards for me. 

I've continued fighting with my weight, putting a chunk back on and needing to work to get it moving back down in the right direction.  Last year in this end of year post I even commented that this yo-yo was something I needed to change in 2015.  I can't say I've won, but at least I didn't end up at the worst end of the spectrum again before I buckled back down... and I've even managed to maintain rather than gain through the holidays (so far).

I've also watched a company dwindle down even further with a constant stream of people leaving at or against their own will, but regardless with sadness.  I've always said there are a lot of good, kind, and smart people there.

I can look at the good things though:
- Vixie did have a nice long life.  She made it will past 16 years of age.
- There was more travels both on cruise ships (Independence with my sweetie - our first long vacation just the two of us, and Grandeur with my sister) and weekend getaways also with my beloved to the PA Grand Canyon and Cherry Springs as well as to Black Water Falls.
- On the most recent cruise (Grandeur) I received my crystal block for the ship on which I've travelled with so many adored people in my life (Mom, Sister, Niecey Poo, Favorite Egg, Beff, Aunt Linda, Kirkus, Slips, Tonya, the Chics) and where we experienced the fire in 2013.
- Beff is engaged!  She's found the one - and I get to be a maid of honor for someone I'm excited to honor and celebrate with.
- I said goodbye to Autumn (the Durango), and while this isn't necessarily good, the fact that I get to see her at work periodically is nice.  I had Serafina join the family and I'm very happy with my purchase.
- I had a focused effort to tithe more consistently.  I had set a goal, which I don't think I hit, but I know I came way closer than I could have imagined.  I can however successfully say that if I count donations I am well over the line, but I'd like to get to the point where I am financially tithing properly.
- I've continued to grow in my faith.  I won't try and claim huge leaps and bounds, but I have found more peace and feel like I'm a better person than I was a few years ago, and that's saying something.
- But, perhaps most importantly - I am still enjoying time spent with my beloved.  Some of the difficult things this year were bearable in part because of the love and joy he brings me.  I also believe I have healed some of my deeper scars a little more and I can say that some of the things I didn't know if I'd ever want again - I want.

My desires for 2016:
- As I stated it last year and remain in the same place I need to restate that I need to find a way to grow my skills again.
- I've done a little bit of purging in the past couple of years, but I need to make a focused effort to clear out things that I simply do not need or use, especially now that some of my headway has been packed up with boxes that came back with me from Mom's.
- I'd like to find the confidence to make a leap.  It would be difficult to move from the area, but it is long over due.  It would set me back financially and with regard to separate me from a church family that has allowed me to grow, so it would not be without challenges - but the message I've gotten is that I need to step out.  The question of to where remains at this time and I am praying that it will become clear.

2015 has been stressful, emotional, tiring, and disheartening at times, but things are shifting in my world.  I have someone to lean on and two fuzzy girls to pet.  Life is good.  Welcome 2016.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The wind was so loud and steady it woke me around 2am. Well, it might have been Dani wanting to go out that woke me initially, but the wind definitely perked up my ears. Since it is muddy out right now I took the girls to the front on leashes and really got an ear full. It sounded enough like a big truck (not quite a train) that I turned on the tv to local stations half expecting to see tornado warnings. When the fire whistle went off seconds later I had a we bit of panic.

I'm still here, I didn't blow away, but some of my porch furniture was trying to. It does make me think a little. When I was young they sounded the whistles every day (I think it was) at 11am. We all knew if there was an issue those were to go off. So, if there are tornados in our area in the middle of the night - what happens? Do we all just get flattened without warning?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas was busy.  It's funny how a long weekend can be so jam packed and leave you completely exhausted, but it did.  I headed to my Favorite Egg's after a partial day in the office on Wednesday.  He needed to get a little time in on Thursday (Christmas eve).  What a Christmas eve it was - in the 60s and sunny down there.  The air was fresh like a spring day.  I worked out and then walked to the Lone Pine cemetery where I photographed the whole thing to add to my pile of photos to process.  After a quick shower we were gathering things up to head out for one side of the family's celebration.

We spent that night at his parents' place so we could wake to his Mum's traditional Christmas morning breakfast.  I was there for this last year as well, but had to rush out to get to Mom's.  I'm blessed that with the bustle of activity we had in front of us that I didn't feel as much of the absence as I am guaranteed I would have otherwise.  I survived my first Christmas without Mom and thanks only to my Favorite Egg's family and how they include me as one of their own.  Anyhow, we spent most of Christmas day there, heading back to his place after dark.

Saturday was an early start, so I cut up some of the goodies and he finished wrapping and preparing gifts we needed after returning on Friday night.  Off to another side of his pyramid family for lunch time and to the remaining of the triad for the dinner hour and the big gift exchange.  By the time we got home on Saturday it was nearly 10.

We lounged a bit on Sunday before putting on our traditional Sunday pancakes and before I knew it I was on my drive home.  When I left Johnstown it was rainy and foggy.  I was so glad when it broke just as I was heading down the steep portion of 30.  Well, that fog was waiting for me right where I left it - blah.  I'm back to work - I'm tired - I'm in a complete state of disbelief that it's almost the end of the year.

I started some laundry tonight while I buzzed out to visit with my Mithy while she's in town.  So much to get done for yet another long weekend.  I really need more hours in my day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Articles like this make me angry:

In particular, for statements like this:
Many cruise lines do not have lifeguards onboard so young kids are able to use the swimming pool with no supervision.

Do you think maybe parents need to make wiser decisions, perhaps that it is their responsibility to supervise their own children?!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

And tonight we have chocolate chip cookies!  My Favorite Egg spotted a bag of non-Nestle chips that sounded good to him, and he requested a 50/50 batch of regular milk chocolate and dark chocolate.  So two batches done, most of the related dishes handled.

It's almost 9 and I still need to work out.  I really wish there was a way to not need to work out every day... but given that I'm magically up a couple of pounds today (and I only ate 2 pizzelles yesterday) we know that isn't changing any time soon.
I came home last night craving sushi. Since I was able to convince Beff to join me we had a quick dinner before I headed home to get on my to do list for the evening. Working out took place while I waited for cookie dough sitting in the fridge.

I ended up with Mom's pizzelle maker, and I didn't want it just sitting in the basement unloved, so I figured I should suck it up and bring it out. I have several comments on this:

1). My kitchen just isn't the right place for this activity, it feels wrong to not have an open bar area on which to make these.
2). I can't believe my mother allowed me to make all of those on that thing, it is hotter than I remembered it to be. It has really been a long time since I've made them.
3). I looked online for a couple of days, seeking a recipe, not knowing that she had left the original paperwork inside the box, including her markings on which of the recipes that came with it were better than others. Oddly the recipes in the box all called for oil instead of butter or margarine like the recipes I was finding online. I went ahead and trusted Mom and tried the one marked "best". Now, I don't have anise, so that didn't happen. Instead I used some vanilla. They taste well enough, but they were pretty soft, even the ones I left cooking for 40 seconds instead of 30.

Tonight is chocolate chip for my Favorite Egg.

Side note - I find it entertaining that Royal Caribbean announced that Empress is returning to the fleet. This is something I heard a while back and was ASSURED was not the case back on my October cruise when I mentioned it to a RC employee. Ha!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

My Favorite Egg returned again this weekend so we could attend work's holiday party.  So much different this year with the shift in venue.  Instead of heading to Seven Springs we were downtown at the Pasquerilla Conference Center.

The food was decent - appetizers better than the main meal imho, but it was hot, no one can complain about that this year.  They also didn't steal our water the second dinner was done, so that was a plus.  I have to say - having two desserts and neither involving chocolate brought down my overall rating.  Instead of having a DJ they decided to hire a band this year.  Meh.  That meant no dancing for me, which is no loss.

I realized that if you combined the number of years at our current employer for everyone at our table... you could sprout yourself an individual more than old enough to take full retirement (at 70).  Crazy, right?

After we stopped (briefly) at Central Park to check out the light tree they put up this year.  Since this was one of the first truly cold evenings this year, I need to emphasize the word briefly.

I have a short work week, but extra things to accomplish in the evenings, so it will be a very busy one. Fingers crossed that I can keep up the pace.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I headed out quickly today so I could get to youth, and join them caroling around town.  Of course, I ended up needing to drive.  This is a huge turn off to me - it will be no wonder when I don't come to extra-curricular activities with them.  My car had dog fur, that was fine, I prefer it to the dirt marks.

The only other thing I have to say about today is this:  bad things happen to good people.  It's hard when you know some things are long overdue.  You never want to see people hurting, especially around the holidays.  But what I'll take as the clearest memory here is ... that's some interesting math.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It's been a while, but I finally forced myself back downstairs over lunch to work out. This is the first time since Kelly left the company and I gotta say I missed her. The workout was good, just too much aerobic-y and coordination stuff for my liking (it was a butts and guts class). Let's play a game... how sore and where will I be sore tomorrow?

Monday, December 14, 2015

I just crossed the 5,000 graves added mark on Find a Grave (and a little over 9,000 photos)!
I can't call it binge watching, because I only watch one episode at a time (while I'm working out), but I am already starting to ponder what I'll do after I am out of episodes even though I am only in season 3 of 4. What show you ask? American Horror Story. I gotta give it to AMC, they've been pulling me into things. I didn't know much about the show in advance but it kept showing up in the Netflix feed and I thought meh - why not. If you don't know, each season is a totally distinct story - which I didn't realize until I started season two thinking "Goodness, how much further could they possibly take what I was watching (in season 1)?"

Anyhow, that is all. Maybe I'm leaning on this moreso now to fill the Walking Dead gap in my life.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

My Favorite Egg made it in this weekend, SURPRISE, ok, maybe not a total surprise, but it was a last minute realization since he didn't get in last weekend.  As such I had to leave him to his own activities on Saturday morning to head to the Slips/Beff Christmas lunch.  Slips was kind enough to cook us lunch at her childhood home, and share a visit with her Daddy with us.  It goes without saying that I came home with some great gifts that I will enjoy through the year and some beyond.  My girls are good to me!

We then ran out to grab another 5$ gift as to make proper attendance at the Youth group Christmas party. Again this year the food was delightful and we left with nice giftage from the exchange.  I ended up with a Family Feud game that we'll try out at his family's Christmas celebrations.  After I got back, a friend swung in with a special (not so) little gift of a red velvet cake.  Between all of that dinner food and the mandatory slice of cake I thought I was going to explode.  This morning I still felt like I had drank glue.  I am feeling better right now, but I am still dreading working out.

I missed the Christmas ceremony at the cemetery in Altoona, unfortunately, but there just wasn't enough time with all of the existing running on Saturday.  I'm hoping the nice weather holds for a few more weeks as to ensure I can get down there after Christmas, both to get the ornaments that were placed for Mom and Dad, but also to visit with a couple of relatives who have extended invitations.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

I didn't work out tonight, but I did make it to youth group.  It was a good evening and I truly feel like I was in the presence.  I always enjoy the time taken to pray for one another, particularly when there are truly gifted individuals there relaying good words.

For me:  Continued messages of healing and baby steps, but something new that I need to step out in faith on.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. -Isaiah 43:19

Monday, December 07, 2015

My little bro from back in the day posted a link to a video from high school that put a smile on my face.  Fortunately, I wasn't a great sax player, so I wasn't in the first jazz ensemble or I would have been in a good chunk more of the video, but the part w/ the flute ensemble part was enough.  I can't believe how thin I look.  Amusingly, I allowed my hair to dry on its own last night, so it looks a little bit like it did in the video - but not quite as curly, heaven knows that was all perm.  Some people could have been a little more flattering in expressing their views of the video, but since I look remarkably the same (a good thing in my mind since that was quite a few years ago now) I am going to go ahead and allow myself to be female for a hot minute and interpret that as a dislike for what I look like today.  Thanks.

My local Aunt and Uncle called and asked if I wanted to go for dinner.  I can honestly say I haven't seen them most all of this year, so it was nice to get the time together.  I didn't want to, but I still worked out - an abbreviated one - but I worked out.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

The vet didn't seem to worried about Saf.  We're doing some rimadyl (anti-inflammatory- temporary I hope) and starting her on some pet power tablets (glucosamine - since we're getting older).  She took her first rimadyl here w/ dinner and is now zonked out on my left leg.  That's one way to avoid her jumping around and acting a fool - also part of our 'prescription' for healing.

After that trip I took a package and the christmas cards to the post office.  I also headed to TJ Maxx where I did some Christmas shopping FOR the girls.  Their gifts for me and my Favorite Egg are now under our tree too.

After, Beff asked about running to JoAnn's so I went to help pick out the right shade to match some of her other wedding goodies. Then we snagged Kaden and grubbed.  The weather is pretty nice again today - so I would have felt guilty if I didn't get out in it a bit.  Here we are again with the sun down... I guess that means it's time to workout (again).

Friday, December 04, 2015

I finally pulled the rest of the fruit and put the remainder of the tomato plants outside. I harvested quite a few off of the one cherry tomato plant, but only a couple off larger tomatoes off of the ones started from seed. One of those plants still didn't have a thing on it. So that's done. Of course, I had already set up the Christmas tree against the other wall, and I'm not moving it to put it in the front window. At least it's up this year, right?

My headache from earlier in the week is trying to make a reappearance. On Wednesday I had my hair cut and recolored so my scalp is also sore from the coloring. The back of my skull feels like I've been punched there repeatedly.

Speaking of sore... Saffy is still limping a little. I guess its time to call the vet. I've been putting it off, and on one hand I shouldn't put that stuff off, but on the other, she doesn't seem to be in pain other than the mild limp, and often I see her running w/o an issue at all. We've gotten way past the "just rest it" time frame (the first videos I captured of it were Oct 12 on one of our walks).

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Last night I picked up the final component for my sister's Christmas gift and I'm quite pleased with the results. I put everything together and wrapped it up last night, along with the few other straggling gifts that came in for others. Now I just need to package things up and get them shipped.

After, I stopped at Nyko's for dinner. I haven't been there in so long. I went with a steak instead of sushi, so I will be hungry to go back again soon. I was already working on a slight headache (and didn't have sushi) so I can't blame that. The tension Excedrin I took as I was heading to bed didn't touch it. I've also been fighting a bit of tightness in my chest with some coughing, so I used the inhaler too. I feel like there is stuff wrong with me, but nothing significant enough to warrant going to the doctor. Diagnosis - you're getting old.

I did work out last night, despite the headache and after 4 days of skipping. That is always the hardest workout to start. Scale is still not moving but at least I didn't gain weight over Thanksgiving.