Friday, January 22, 2021

A Happy List

We had a mostly happy week. We ventured out on a hike. It wasn't perfect. Our first place to hike was a lake that we discovered on arrival had been drained for cleaning and smelled of rotting fish. So we followed MapQuest to another site and never could find it. We finally found a pull off on the side of the road near a river. We wandered through the flood plain next to the river for a bit. I am glad we pushed on and found some fun. We are trying to add more hikes into our weeks this year. 

I have been using a new cleaning system for a few months. It is an adapted FlyLady system that The Secret Slob on YouTube created. It is working great for me. I am even getting to cleaning things like the oven on a regular basis. This week I learned a trick to clean the racks. You soak them in the bath tub with dryer sheets for about four hours. Then you rub them with the wet dryer sheets. They are like brand new again! 

We watched television just about all day on Inauguration Day. We even had cake and tea on china. We are praying that the next four years will be filled with kindness, cooperation and honesty. We really need to come together and knock off all the mud slinging and hatefulness of the last administration. 

These three kitties are getting along pretty well. Salem and Eve are best buddies now. Rosie is struggling to come to grips with not being the only cat in the house. She is slowly adjusting and there have been no fights...just lots of hissing on her part. 

My Mother-in-Law gave me a Roomba for Christmas. I love it. It is so easy to use, "train" and clean. This little machine that we call Ramona is my new best friend. 

We are just loving board games as always. This week we played Stupid Deaths, Uno Dare, Beat That (a game filled with lots of challenges) and Sequence. There is always laughter with games. 

I had the pleasure of watching my daughter perform twice this week. She participated in a dance festival in our city. They performed in a vacant lot and in a parking garage. I watched her parking garage performance (below) from "back stage" instead of going outside to watch with the crowd. There were eight dancers, one on each level of the parking garage stairwell. They danced coordinated phrases with solos and freeze frames mixed in to their performance without any music or being able to see each other. They just used counts and a cow bell to tell them to transition to the next phrase. I decided to stay back stage in case security showed up to kick them out. I wanted to be able to whisk her away quickly. They managed to complete the 13 minute dance without incident and to great applause. (Sorry the window is so dirty).

We sat down and looked at some of our blog books this week. These books are our family's memories. We love them so much. They always bring laughter and happy memoires. I am slowly converting our blog to books using the website Blog2Print.

We had the pleasure of making a mom-to-be care basket this week. One of Anne's dance teachers just found out that she is having a medically fragile baby in a few months. She is a first time mom. I remember how scary it was being a first time mom and finding out that my baby was going to be born with life-threatening conditions. The people who gave me cute clothes and presents for him were so encouraging. Through those gifts, it was as if they were saying that he was loved, accepted and deserved to be dressed up cute and adored. I wanted to pass on the same sentiment to her.

Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Twenty-One Goals for 2021

I love goals and lists to check off. I am a planner. Last year was a hard year to be a planner. I suspect that this year is going to be as well. I came up with a few daily goals, a few long-term broad goals and  goals to improve our home. It is fine if I don't get through them all. I really treat them more as reminders. 

Daily Goals

  • Drink more water ~ I hope to drink a minimum of 40 ounces a day. So far, I have accomplished that most days.
  • Walk 800 miles by the end of the year ~ I have walked 10 miles so far this year. That is a slow start for me. Winter is hard. The best time for me to walk is when my daughter is in dance classes downtown at night. My city is not very safe to walk around at night. There are many desperate homeless people as well as strange people exhibiting mental problems, and there are very few stores open to pop into if I get nervous. I will start making more progress when it gets lighter in the evenings. We are also trying to take more family walks on the weekends. 
  • Take care of my skin ~ This should be an easy goal. I am mostly in the habit already of putting on sunscreen and lotion daily.
  • Read 12 Books ~ I enjoy books but never seem to prioritize them. I hope to accomplish that this year. I am currently reading The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison. It is okay. I am not a huge fan, but it is an easy enough read and I am half way through. 
  • Convert the rest of my blog into book form ~ This goal will really depend on availability of money. Each book costs a bit over $100 and I am four  years behind right now. We will see how far I get.
  • Take photos for a Billion Graves ~ This combines my love of photography, doing service and graveyards.  
  • Learn to use my Dad's last professional camera that I received after his death ~ I need to buy the charger and I will be on my way.
Broad Long-Term Goals ~ I say broad goals because they are open ended. Each one has an ideal or dream plan versus a realistic plan.
  • Travel to a different city at Christmastime ~ I love visiting different cities at Christmastime. We have visited Washington, D.C., Knoxville, Tennessee, and Greenville, South Carolina at Christmastime in the last few years. We didn't visit anywhere in 2020 for obvious reasons. 
  • No Buying Month ~ I do this most years in January or February. I am not sure when I will do this in 2021. I do buy the essentials such as groceries and gas. I just don't buy any extras. 
  • Visit a new-to-us state park ~ When my husband and I were thinking about travel this year, we just stated to nervously giggle. Who knows what is to come? It isn't looking like a fantastic year to travel at the moment. However, outdoor places are possibilities. There are state parks far and near that we have never seen. I am sure we can manage to visit one of them. 
  • Visit a new-to-us national park or site ~ We have a dream one in mind, but I suspect that a more reasonable one will be our destination.
  • Take an overnight or weekend trip with the family ~ or a week long trip ~ Ha! There are some destinations that are a short distance away that we have never seen. We shall see if they can happen. 
  • Do something new every month with the family ~ This could be as simple as a new game, new hike or takeout from a new-to-us restaurant. It also could be a totally new experience such a going on a horseback ride together (most of us know how to ride a tiny bit).
Goals for the House ~ These really depend on how much money and time I can invest into them. We made a huge amount of progress in 2020. We replaced the 1970's garage door, had tons of work done on our trees and I painted the stairwell, banister, all the woodwork in the boy's bathroom, and most of the ceilings in the house. When this pandemic is over, I think my kids are going to remember me as the mom with a paint brush in her hand
  • Paint the laundry room ~ This one is a huge undertaking and makes me want to faint just to think about it. However, I know it would vastly improve the place. It is very old and dirty cinderblock that has never been painted in some areas or in other areas was painted in a sickening green.
  • Replace two or three doors in the house ~ We really could use to replace six doors so I have lots of options. 
  • Declutter 365 items from our home ~ This will be an easy goal. I have already gotten rid of 31 items this year. 
  • Replace our bedroom curtains with shades ~ Our curtains are getting pretty worn. 
  • Paint the kitchen ceiling  
  • Paint the dining room ceiling  
  • Make rec room into a useful and comfortable space ~ We are actively working on this project now. It is an underused space and an overflow area in our home where lost items get dumped. It is also where we enter the home, and it is not the nicest space to see when you get home. We are turning it into a multi-purpose room with a sewing area, the model building area for my young men, a closet area and a cat corner with comfortable seating. The cats love to chase their toys around in the big empty space, and we find ourselves sitting on the cold floor while we watch them.
  • Paint the breakfast bar ~ Accomplished this week! CHECK!
Update ~ We got to adopt our foster cat this week. She is settling in well. She is getting along well with Salem and tentatively working out a friendship with Rosie. She is new to the concept of play and thinks that play is like a gentle waltz where you circle each other and kiss noses. Salem is still a kitten and thinks play is a full pro-wrestling event. It is a riot to watch them figure it out. The shelter folk said they really believe she was dumped in our neighborhood. She had caps on her nails (so she couldn't defend herself) and hadn't been spayed. Poor thing. She is recovering from her spay surgery and adding joy into our home. We named her Eve because she ran up to me on New Year's eve. 

Blessings, Dawn

Friday, January 8, 2021

A Week to Remember

I have sat here for 10 minutes wondering what to write. This week has left me speechless. It feels a little bit like September 11 all over again, except this time our own citizens are attacking. Our country is in so much peril. Our nation had an attempted coup. I have many friends and family that live and work in the shadow of the Capitol. Washington was my hometown as a child. The things they witnessed the rioters doing while they were just trying to do their jobs and get home safely is appalling. It boggles the mind. I don't know what kind of a country we are leaving our children -- if we leave them one at all. I do know one thing ~ we need to heal the division in our country. We owe it to our children. If we learn nothing else from this week, it should be that T***p is a divider and we need a unifier. Well, that is my opinion.

Besides All of that Crazy ~ The rest of our week was fine. We had a fondue night. Anne started her first college class. She is taking Art Appreciation online. We are staying home as much as possible while COVID-19 spreads like wildfire through our area. We had our second snow. Elijah started using the sewing machine. He is making some alterations to his costumes. 

We also had a surprise. I didn't mention her last week, because I thought we would find her family. However, on New Year's Eve this little lady met me at the door as I was coming home and proceeded to  walk into our house and hearts. She had no tags and was a very scared, thirsty and hungry little cat. We took her to a vet to learn that she also had no microchip. Now we have taken her to the Humane Society for tests, shots, and photos. We filled out foster parent paperwork. They have posted her photo on the Internet; and if no one claims her after a week, she will be ours! For now we are enjoying fostering her. She is making good progress with our other cats. I can't believe we have three now! 

Personal Goals ~ I am trying to drink more water (40 ounces a day) and walk 700 miles this year. 
Water goal ~ accomplished 5 days 
Walking goal ~ 4 miles for week one

May you all find peace in kindness in your days. 

Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Staycation 2020 ~ The Week of Christmas


We had a lovely Christmas. Not only did we wake up to snow, but everyone got just what they wanted. Anne pretty much asked for socks, a Nutribullet (for her smoothies) and some stretching equipment. I think she was even more excited for my impulse buy of the 15 Days of The Nightmare Before Christmas Socks then she was for the socks she requested ~ lol. A little pleasant surprise here and there is always nice. 

Speaking of surprises. Elijah asked for a Steam gift card, a modeling kit and a watermelon. Yep, you heard me right. Okay, there is a story to this one. Every year since he was a little boy, he has begged me to tell him what he was getting for Christmas. I always told him that he was getting a watermelon. It just became a joke between us and a way for him to know that I wasn't going to continue this conversation... he would just have to wait. This year, he changed it up and asked for a watermelon on his Christmas list. He really couldn't think of much that he wanted. I decided to fulfill his wish and got him a watermelon. There was so much laughter when he opened it up and he proclaimed this the best Christmas ever. (I think I mentioned in an earlier post that the kids didn't ask for very much this year. It looked like there was lots under the tree because my gift wrapping girl extraordinaire [Anne] wrapped everything in sizable boxes; including socks, lotion, gift cards and bath bombs.)

Rosie's favorite gift was a catnip snowman.

We spent about an hour sledding on Christmas. That was so cool. Here are my three sweeties sharing one sled. 

My husband got in on the action, too.

My husband had the week off for Christmas this year. We decided to make it a socially distant staycation. We did some home projects and a few fun outings.

One of my Christmas gift's was getting this gallery wall put up. I collected all of the frames from thrift stores. I am glad to have many photos of our ancestors up on the wall.

We did confetti cannons for New Year's Eve. We also played games and watched online our fourth Nutcracker of the season. Yes...fourth. Each one was different and took a unique angle on the Nutcracker. It was fun to see dance companies for which we would not have been able to afford the in-person ticket price in normal years. Since they were live streamed or pre-recorded films, they were available for free or for a small fee for the link. I liked the UNCSA performance the best.

We decided to do take-out with our local ceramics shop. They have a cool program going on where you can pick out ceramics to paint at home. They let you pick about four colors per ceramic. Once they are painted, you return them to the store for firing in a kiln. It was lots of fun and honestly more relaxing to do at home, because we were not on a time crunch like you would be in the studio. We could come and go from the project if we wished. Elijah decided to put together one of his models instead of making a ceramic. He can't stand the feel of unglazed ceramics. His sensory issues make him feel that his skin is crawling when he touches them. 

These are ready to go back for firing in a kiln.

We went on our third drive-thru light show. This was the Shadrock show and was about an hour from our home. It was very modern and like a rock concert. The lights were synchronized to the music on our radio. It was pretty spectacular. However, I still liked the classic and beautiful lights at the arboretum  the best. 

We only managed one hike this week. I loved getting these photos of my lovelies. 

These two love their new scratching house. One of them always seems to be in it. 

We also got the regular version of the Catan game. We had the family version. It is just as much fun and keeping us entertained. 

Our daughter, Katie, turned 20 and was diagnosed with COVID this week. She is doing okay. She pretty much sleeps all the time. Hopefully, she will make a full recovery without incident. She does have some special needs (such as chronic anemia), but they aren't high risk factors that I hear about making COVID worse. 

I hope you all have a blessed 2021 and that we can start to heal as a nation.

Blessings, Dawn