Crucial Quotes #34

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

Winnie-the-Pooh in disguise as A.A. Milne (January 18, 1882 – January 31, 1956)

English Author

This photo is of the original toys owned by Christopher Robin Milne that inspired A.A. Milne to pen the

adventures starring Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga and a boy named Christopher Robin.

Project: Do Me #1

There was a definite Spring tinge to the air today. I noticed it first thing this morning and promptly threw open the windows and opened the slider to the deck to freshen things up in my house.

It felt renewing on multiple levels. I have been feeling particularly stagnant (much like the air in the house) and in need of a brisk breeze to blow it all away.

I neglected some of my stitching to work on my Do Me list. (If you need a reminder on what this project is about you can click the photo above.)

My “goals” tend to shift quickly so I can see numerous updates to this Project. I look at “goals” as a to-do list sometimes. I can’t have all these long-term or huge items in the mix. To be frank, I would simply lose interest.

Daily Happiness Goal:

DON’T BITE MY NAILS!

In times of stress I rip them savagely from my fingertips. I do well for a month and then something sets me off. I am already insecure about the appearance of my hands and fingers.

The joints are beginning to show dramatic changes due to the rheumatoid arthritis I’ve had since age 12. I feel more content with my hands when my nails look nice. When they are bitten and ragged I feel ashamed when people look at my hands.

Weekly Happiness Goal:

Go into work early each day.

Things are a little crazy in the workplace lately. There are many meetings and little time for desk work. Too many illness and home issues kept me from my normal schedule of getting into the office before the “crowd”. The hour of peaceful and diligent work before the madness starts should go a long way to lower my stress levels significantly.

I was tempted to say I was going to install a deli case ticket dispenser at the entrance to my office in an effort at crowd control but I felt that was too extreme. I might be scolded for yelling out “Now serving Number 1” on Monday morning. 😀

Monthly Happiness Goal:

Significantly cut down (or out) processed foods.

The waistband on my favorite jeans is tight. Enough said. I have felt more like cooking lately and I would rather eat my own cooking than a fast food meal anyways. If work goes well then I won’t be having to grab quicky meals here and there.

Yearly Happiness Goal:

My goal is to have zero unsecured debt by December 2011. I am halfway there already and if I stick to my plans I will achieve this easily. I would have really enjoyed having all debt paid off but double car payments are not in my scope!

 

Challenge update – 6 month mark

I originally started this challenge in the summer of 2009 BUT I have had a lot of changes which affected where I would be almost three years from now. Since the boyfriend is long gone there were a lot of  “goals” that were abandoned. I still have yet to come up with 101 tasks but I am more than halfway there and will be working on them some more!

The Mission:Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:Tasks must be specific (i.e., little to no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (i.e., represent some amount of work on my part).

Start Date: April 15, 2010

End Date: January 2013

Completed: 30!! as of October 24, 2010

Home: (24)

  • Refinish my 1940’s craft cabinet in a vintage black walnut tone DONE! September 2010 But in white paint with original oil rubbed brass hardware. The wood was too damaged to restore with my budget.
  • Stain headboard – Decided the headboard did not go with my new style direction so I put it in storage July 2010
  • Paint side tables DONE! July 2010 Two were painted white for the bedroom and two were painted black with walnut stained tops for the living room
  • Refinish dinette set – Status Check July 2010 primer is on
  • Sew chair back covers for chairs – Decided that I like the 1960’s charm of the chairs and have now embraced it.
  • Sew placemats DONE! September 2010
  • Repair current bookcases DONE! August 2010
  • Fix and/or discard broken holiday decorations. Donate unused decorations
  • Donate clothing and blankets no longer used DONE! October 2010
  • Go through books and donate as many as possible DONE! August 2010
  • Find an organized way to store music, load favorite music selections onto the computer for long term storage
  • Replace dinnerware and silverware with comparable quality sets DONE! February 2010
  • Invest in a quality set of hard anodized aluminum non-stick cookware
  • Fix bathroom floor and lay down new tile DONE! July 2010
  • Sew new shower curtain
  • Paint bathroom Peridot green DONE! July 2010
  • Refinish bathroom accessories to match new style (paint wicker, wood and metal items, dye rugs) DONE! July 2010
  • Steam Clean carpets DONE! July 2010
  • Paint or stain coffee table DONE! July 2010 stained dark walnut
  • Paint or stain entertainment center
  • Buy new comforter set DONE! May 2010
  • Buy 600 thread count sheets
  • Replace mattress pad/topper
  • New bathroom towels

Travel: (11)

  • Have the Stitchy, Witchy, Bitchy Week in New Hampshire at the Condo DONE! July 2010
  • Finish the second half of the Freedom Trail in Boston
  • Have a picnic lunch at Quincy National Park in Quincy, MA
  • Visit Washington D.C.
  • Go back to ABC Stitch Therapy in Grantham, NH DONE! July 2010
  • Go back to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY
  • Visit Independence Hall in Philadelphia
  • Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and see the Boston Bruins play the Maple Leafs IN Toronto
  • Visit DisneyWorld
  • Go on a road trip
  • Take Mom to bingo

Hobbies: (28)

  • Complete my maternal ancestry documentation (paternal is already done!)
  • Adhere to regular backups of digital photos to cd-rom
  • Finish scrapbooking the past year and half of my life
  • Regularly print and scrapbook photos and/or mementos
  • See the Detroit Red Wings play the Boston Bruins in Boston. Have tickets for Feb 2011 game – Thanks Dad!
  • See the Toronto Maple Leafs play the Boston Bruins in Boston. This will complete my goal of seeing all of the Original Six hockey teams in action (All games against the Boston Bruins: Montreal Canadiens April 19, 2008, Chicago Blackhawks March 7, 2009 New York Rangers April 4, 2009)
  • Complete Marilyn Monroe cross stitch for framing
  • Start and complete Mirabilia’s Circle of Friends Started July 2010
  • Subscribe to Cross Stitch Collection magazine
  • Attend a cross stitch retreat DONE! October 2010
  • Create a better storage system for crafts DONE! September 2010
  • Paint Queen of Cups box DONE! May 2010
  • Paint The Fool tarot box DONE! May 2010
  • Attempt thread crochet again
  • Make a needlebook (TW Dragon) started March 2010
  • Design a matching bead scissor fob
  • Finish scrap granny-square blanket
  • CAL 6″ yellow scarf
  • Take a sewing class
  • Sew scrap bags for crafting DONE! October 2010
  • Go through Gramma’s craft boxes DONE! October 2010
  • Discard old paints that are not salvageable; make room for Gramma’s paints DONE! July 2010
  • Make Fortune cookie “favors”
  • Make Scissor fobs DONE! September 2010
  • New embroidery scissor investment DONE! September 2010
  • Crochet blanket for Alexander DONE! March 2010
  • Crochet blanket for Andreas DONE! March 2010
  • Crochet green car coat sweater

Health: (8)

  • Adopt the glycemic diet back into my life again
  • EA Active 3x week
  • Start Pilates cycles again
  • Begin walking regularly
  • Buy a bicycle and helmet
  • New glasses DONE! February 2010
  • New contacts DONE! February 2010
  • Buy Polarized/UV protection sunglasses

Finances/Work: (10)

  • Begin a “House Down Payment” savings account – contribute a minimum per week to it
  • Find a new place to live for July 2011
  • Learn more abut mortgages and purchasing a house and research any programs that can benefit me
  • Attend a Homebuyer Education Class
  • Convert all paper statements to paperless
  • Find an organized way to file important documents and bills; Use a ledger method to track payments and account number details for paperless items
  • Update resume
  • Follow the “Smile and cash my check” edict from my employer until I can’t take it anymore Working on it October 2010
  • Learn Crystal Reports
  • Stick to a moderate Christmas spending plan

Personal: (14)

  • Visit Mom’s Knitting Group again
  • Find a Book Club
  • Find (or start) a cross stitching group to go to DONE! August 2010
  • Complete the 50 books in a year challenge
  • Get car inspected
  • Replace front tires DONE! September 2010
  • Repair front fender on car
  • Have car detailed inside and out DONE! January 2010
  • Buy myself a Coach bag
  • Invest in new crystals DONE! March 2010
  • Find a new tarot book DONE! March 2010
  • Look into hair straightener treatment DONE! June 2010 Not going to do it! Formaldehyde! yuck!
  • Try to grow out natural nails
  • Attend a class for personal or emotional development (maybe another self-hypnosis class)

Book Challenge

My friend Stacy told me about a challenge that would require reading 50 books in a year, keeping track of books read and blogging about them if you choose to. The idea sounded wonderful but I was rather curious about whether it was an organized group or not. From what I found it is indeed an actual Book Challenge!

I am not very interested in posting to a group about the books I have read but I am more than willing to participate in it on my own blog since I can always use a little help in finding blog topics!

So here is my very own Fifty book challenge, marathon, read-a-long, whatever you would like to call it.

I decided to move my start date back to July of 2009 since I have read an absolute pile of books since then. To date here are my books, starting with the ones I am currently “Reading”:

The Associate – John Grisham  – This one is very good so far. A nice, easy read with a mild thriller story line. I love legal stories so any JG novel is a pleasant escape for me.

The Other Queen – Philippa Gregory – Do Audiobooks count?? I am going to say they do because I am still comprehending the storyline and vocabulary even if I am using my eyes to cross stitch

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon – I am about half way through this densely written historical novel and must admit I have followed my Mom and become an admirer of Jamie Fraser. I’d like to be made to call him Master any day *giggle*

Celtic Goddesses – Not sure of the author on this one. I may abandon reading this one unless it begins dealing with the subject matter in a more enjoyable way

All Together Dead (Southern Vampire Series) – Charlaine Harris – The 7th Sookie Stackhouse book is still enjoyable but needs more of Eric the Vampire!

“Read”

Books 2-4 of the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyers

(1/50)New Moon LOVED this one. I enjoyed the werewolf lore immensely! Was upset at the portrayal of a teenage heroine as so wishy-washy in regards to living through her boyfriend.

(2/50)Eclipse – Nothing really stood out in this book for me. I waited a while before I even bothered to pickup Breaking Dawn. When I finished New Moon I was so jazzed about reading the next installment. This one left me kind of cold.

(3/50)Breaking Dawn – The ending was wrapped up rather quickly I thought but I enjoyed the details that went into Bella’s change. It was a thrilling section to read and did appreciate the effort to bring the reader into the minds of two of our characters.

Books 1-6 of the Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris

(4/50)Dead Until Dark – Since I had already seen Season 1 of HBO’s True Blood before reading this there were few surprises (except for my tv fav Lafayette) but I am glad I took the time to read the series from the beginning.

(5/50)Living Dead in Dallas – Season 2 was based on this book so there were few surprises as well but I enjoy being inside Sookie’s head much more than watching all the characters on the screen.

(6/50)Club Dead – Green eyed, black-haired werewolves make my day!

(7/50)Dead to the World – *fanning myself* oh my! Can’t wait for a particular shower scene in Season 4 on HBO. Can I say again how much I love Eric the Vampire?? I really do, he is cocky and arrogant and I love it! I wish we could skip Season 3 and go right for 4!!

(8/50)Dead as a Doornail *yawn*

(9/50)Definitely Dead Loved learning more about Sookie’s family and the Queen of Louisiana whom I picture more as the HBO True Blood version than the exact depiction in the novels.

(10/50)The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield This was an engaging gothic novel with some page turning surprises but I felt that the ending was very rushed and that many plot points were conveniently tied up in neat packages so they could be put away. The ending was disappointing but the story was nice while it lasted.

So I have completed 10 of the 50 books and have another 5 in the works. I hope to see some other blogs taking this up. I love books and reading and can’t wait to see what you guys are interested in!

Quick trip to Scotland

Since I have been out of school I have had little need to be a library patron. However, thanks to a seven-year-old,  I have rediscovered the joys of my local library branch.

I promised my boyfriend’s daughter Mackenzie that I would take her to the library for her first library card. I have taken an interest in her reading skills since I met her 20 months ago. She struggled badly with reading and could barely manage more than “hi” and “cat”. I was all for dedicating time to reading aloud with her and encouraging her to read more. Let’s just say she got lots of books for Christmas last year!! She has taken to books and reading like a fish to water. She is in the second grade but her Dad told me she reads at a third grade level now! 🙂

Paul and I decided that she was old enough to have her own library card. She enjoys reading and we hoped the library card would encourage her progress in reading. Boy, did it ever! She devours her books. She practically skips through the shelves of books waiting to find the next hard covered treasured. I was thrilled because when I was little I LOVED the library too. In fact, punishments for wrong-doings included taking away my trips to the library! Oh the horror!

But, it’s been years since I have been in the library. I had little need for it. If I needed some information; I had the internet. If I was dying to read a book I would buy it or invariably receive it as a gift. My Netflix subscription kept me up to my eyeballs in movies and documentaries (which I adore!).

A couple of months ago I found a book club I was interested in. I knew little about their chosen book (The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield) so I didn’t want to spend money on it so I checked it out of the local library one day on my lunch break. As I walked into the library past the little grass area I used to play in as a child I was filled with warm, happy memories. It made me wonder if Mackenzie had gotten her library card yet.

The next time I talked to Paul I mentioned the library card and next thing I knew I was proudly standing next to Mackenzie as she carefully printed out her first and last name on her new library card.

Wandering around the library I found all sorts of treasures. Audio books, craft books (plus-sized crochet anyone?), dvds and trashy novels, oh my! I was suddenly swiping my library card instead of my debit card! It seems like every other day I walk out of the public library with an armful of mixed media!

And what does all of this have to do with Scotland?

Scotland, you remember, part of my blog title??

I found some DVD’s about the origin of the Scottish clans and the history of many Scottish castles along with a book on Celtic history. I borrowed them on Friday and today I watched the DVD’s with my mom.

The landscapes in these DVD’s were breathtaking. I felt transported to Scotland. I joked to Mom that I could picture myself stitching in a corner of a castle while flames roared in the man-sized fireplace. I said it jokingly but I really could picture it. Blame my over active imagination and too much period fiction! I am reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander (which takes place in 18th century Scotland) and listening to Philippa Gregory’s The Other Queen about Mary Queen of Scots (who was a master of needlework – that might be a future blog topic!)

As wonderful as it was to learn about the history of my Scottish Ancestors (Clan MacLeod if you must know – another future blog topic I’m sure) the best part of the DVD’s was a section of poetry read while scenes of rural Scotland flashed on the screen. Mom and I were both quite touched by one of the poems which I wouldn’t have had the pleasure to hear read to me if not for my local library.

Thanks to a quick Google we discovered that Robert Burns penned Highland Mary which I’d like to share with you here:

YE banks and braes and streams around
The castle o’ Montgomery,
Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,
Your waters never drumlie!
There simmer first unfauld her robes, 5
And there the langest tarry;
For there I took the last fareweel
O’ my sweet Highland Mary.
How sweetly bloom’d the gay green birk,
How rich the hawthorn’s blossom, 10
As underneath their fragrant shade
I clasp’d her to my bosom!
The golden hours on angel wings
Flew o’er me and my dearie;
For dear to me as light and life 15
Was my sweet Highland Mary.
Wi’ monie a vow and lock’d embrace
Our parting was fu’ tender;
And, pledging aft to meet again,
We tore oursels asunder; 20
But oh! fell Death’s untimely frost,
That nipt my flower sae early!
Now green ‘s the sod, and cauld ‘s the clay,
That wraps my Highland Mary!
O pale, pale now, those rosy lips 25
I aft hae kiss’d sae fondly!
And closed for aye the sparkling glance
That dwelt on me sae kindly!
And mouldering now in silent dust
That heart that lo’ed me dearly! 30
But still within my bosom’s core
Shall live my Highland Mary.