Monthly Archives: February 2016

Under All That Snow…Flowers

Dafodil

We are finally seeing the last of the snow melt from the massive storm that hit the mid-Atlantic a few weeks ago. We had a few small snow events that added a couple of inches since then, but those melted off the roads and didn’t create much of a problem. You can still see the occasional pile of snow, mostly along the highways and pushed off to the sides in parking lots. It is still winter and still cold most days, although the temperature is slowly moving upwards and today we are supposed to be near 60 degrees (Fahrenheit), which isn’t too bad for February.

But as the snow slowly disappears around our house, underneath the snow, the first flowers of spring have begun to poke up through the soil. The daffodils and tulips are starting to come up and they will surely grow bigger with all the rain we have been having. Last week it rained several days in a row, very heavy at times, and what is left behind is grass that is mostly brown and puddles of mud everywhere. It is at this time of the year that you begin looking for signs of spring and the flowers are a sure sign that it will be here eventually. Of course there is snow in the forecast for the end of the week, but since the daffodils and tulips started growing underneath three feet of snow, a little bit shouldn’t make much difference. Here’s hoping we might have some pretty flowers for our Easter table.

 

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If You Have An E-Reader, Did You Stop Buying Real Books?

books

Apparently that’s what I did, although I never intended to do that. I love books. I love to read and if I had to give up reading, I would truly be miserable. For me, it was trips to the library when I was little and filling my tote bag with as many books as they would let me check out for the week. I would lose myself in the stories. If my parents wanted to punish me, taking away my books would have been the absolute worst punishment for me. I would rush through my homework in order to get to a book. I would ask for just five more minutes before bedtime so that I could get to the end of the chapter. When I went to college, reading for pleasure took a back seat to reading for school and summertime was really the only time I had for reading. After college, it was back to the library and loading up on books to take me through the week. The local pharmacy had a small section of books and I would spend a few dollars a month on a new paperback, and when I finished, I would donate it to our library.

It wasn’t until I got married that I began visiting book stores and purchasing hardback books. My husband and I would say that one day, when we settled down in one place, we would have a room in our house that would be the library. In my mind, I can see it perfectly. There will be a wall of shelves with a rolling ladder and books filling the shelves from top to bottom. And there would be a chaise and comfy chairs to curl up in with a cup of coffee or tea and just lose oneself in the story.

We would visit the bookstore and spend an hour searching for books. Sometimes I would have a list of ones that I wanted to check out while other times I just looked for books that caught my interest. The great things about bookstores are you could spend time reading the first few pages and if my interest was caught, then I might splurge, but we had a budget and sometimes, no matter how good something was, it might have to wait a month or two until I could get it.

A sad day for me was when our local book store closed. It meant that we had to travel out-of-town, so it wasn’t somewhere we could drop in on a rainy weekend. We had to plan to go there, so some of the spontaneity was gone. We would have a list of books in the car that we wanted to look for in case we ended up near a book store. My husband knew I loved to read, so he and my son gave me a Kindle for Mother’s Day in 2011 and it was a new way to buy books. Suddenly I was reading genres I never read before and exploring authors I never heard of. My go to authors seemed to take a back seat and I became cheap about buying books. Why does $6.99 for an e-book seem like a lot of money when I used to pay $19.99 for a hard cover book in the book store and didn’t think twice about it? I never thought I would stop buying books, but soon I bought less and less and now my book buying is done on my Kindle. I literally have hundreds of books on my e-reader, but I’m at least 8 books behind in JD Robb’s Death series.

A few months ago, my husband and I decided to explore one of the historical areas near us. One place that we stopped at was Boonsboro, Maryland, which is where one of my favorite authors, Nora Roberts/JD Robb, opened businesses based upon characters and settings from her books. There is an inn, pizza parlor and a book store. We were able to stop at the book store and I picked up some of the books that I’m missing. It’s a start and one that I plan on continuing. I just have to start visiting the local bookstores again.

Anniversary IOU

When we moved to the East coast several years ago, my husband and I talked about the fact that we were now closer to Vermont and possibly going to visit in the fall to see the leaves changing colors. I have always wanted to go and this was the chance to plan a trip. Our goal was to go there for our 25th Anniversary, which is this summer.

When my husband’s job came to an end last summer, it was a couple of months before he started working again. As a result, he had to start earning vacation time at his new job all over again. He also has to put in for vacation time six months in advance, and he is the last to get consideration due to seniority, so it is unlikely he will get the time we want for a vacation. I am okay with that and I told him that we will take an IOU on the Vermont trip. My husband on the other hand is a little upset that we are changing our plans because of his job. This isn’t the first time that we have had to change plans because of a job change. Usually it was due to me changing jobs or switching over from one company to another.

I think it matters more now because it was the trip we planned for our 25th, but I know that we will get there someday. I just don’t know when, so he will be getting an IOU with a date to be determined later. And as for our 25th Anniversary, anyway and anywhere we celebrate will be special because we are still together…and that is the most important thing of all!

Happy Valentine’s Day

HV Day

Let There Be Light…And a Little Laughter

Have you ever had one of those moments when you just had to laugh? My husband and I had one of those moments this weekend. We both wear glasses. I’ve worn glasses since I was 10 years old, had bifocals at 29 and was told by my optometrist two years ago that I was starting to develop glaucoma. My husband did not need glasses until several years ago and then it was only for reading. That changed last year when he was told he should wear them all the time. He has resisted that and I often remind him that he is supposed to have his glasses on. He usually replies the optometrist told him he should wear them all the time, not that he had to.

Both of us have started having problems with colors such as trying to figure out if dress pants, both his and mine, are black or dark navy or taupe or olive. My husband has always had problems distinguishing colors. After his time in the military, where he wore a uniform every day in varying shades of green and khaki, he left it to me when it came to selecting his suits, dress shirts and ties. He will give me his opinion, but he has a problem determining if some of the colors actually go together. He doesn’t see the subtle differences in some of them. He usually pulls out several shirts and tells me which pants he wants to wear and I select the one that goes with it. He will occasionally choose a tie and if it doesn’t go, I will quietly switch it out and he goes on about his day.

Lately, it has gotten harder for even me to distinguish between the colors. I take the pants to the bathroom and look at them under the light, which is a brighter LED, and I hope I have the black plants instead of the blue. I hand them off to him to select the shirt and tie. But it has gotten harder and we have even taken to labeling the item’s tag with the color. Needless to say I have gotten concerned that my eyesight may be getting worse. My husband began searching the internet and found an article about how the type of light you have in your closet can actually make your clothes look different colors. He explained, in great detail mind you, that the type of bulb (ours had a yellow hue) could actually cause the problem with telling the difference between colors. He said we should change the bulb and if that didn’t work, we might have to change out the globe because it could also make it hard to distinguish colors.

So this weekend we changed out the lightbulb in the closet. And I could tell the difference between black and navy blue pants. Success! And then we laughed because it was such a simple fix and we couldn’t help but think how long we had struggled. That had us wondering if we ever went off to work with mismatched colors. If we did, I’m sure the lighting would have made it look fine. Hmmm, okay, that’s what I hoped happened. If not, it will be something to laugh over.

Can We Keep The Super Bowl Commercials Secret Next Year?

Unless your team actually made it to the Super Bowl, the only reason a lot of us watch the game is for the commercials. I am originally from Chicago…Go Bears…so having moved around a lot since getting married, I cheer for the local team where ever we are at the time, unless they are playing the Bears…Go Bears! Since the Bears haven’t been to the Super Bowl since January of 1986, it is all about the commercials for me.

Our Super Bowl tradition is the food, wings in several different flavors, chips and dip, pizza rolls and something sweet for dessert, which was fudge brownies this year. So no, it isn’t a gourmet feast, but it is perfect for the Super Bowl. Eat, eat, eat and watch a commercial. Eat, eat, eat and watch a commercial. Past favorites are anything with the Clydesdale horses and the Doritos Pug, (probably because I have a pug).

So this year, who decided that it would be a good idea to release the commercials early? I understand trying to create a buzz about a product ahead of time, but that didn’t seem the case. Maybe when you are paying $5 million dollars for a 30 second spot, you want to have your commercial aired across the nation for free as many times as you can get it. There were numerous news articles about the ads for this year and they included the videos of the commercials. I could skip reading them, but when I watched the news, they discussed the commercials and then proceeded to show them. No, no, no. Don’t show them early. I want to see them for the first time during the game and then play Monday morning quarterback to discuss with family and co-workers which commercials were the best and which were the worst. But this year, that discussion happened during the week prior because companies decided to show their commercials early.

So now that is it all over, what is my opinion? I didn’t really enjoy them like I usually do. And my Super Bowl watching experience was just that. I watched the Super Bowl. I didn’t care who won, and because I saw most of the commercials ahead of time, there was no anticipation or excitement. I did like a few though. The Mt. Dew Puppy Monkey Baby one was rather funny (probably because the puppy face was a pug) and they did have the Clydesdale horses. The one for Jeep’s 75th was very moving, while Steve Harvey for T-Mobile made me laugh. But it just wasn’t the same.

So next year, please keep the commercials a secret. My Super Bowl watching experience could use some excitement…unless the Bears make it…one can only hope…and dream…and keep fingers crossed…and say prayers…lots and lots of prayers. Hey, it can happen.

A Wonderful Cause…Love Your Melon

Melon

Every once in a while you come across something on the web that touches your heart. Recently I learned about Love Your Melon, which is an organization that provides children with cancer with hats to keep their heads warm. The organization was started several years ago by two college students from Minnesota. The website sells items with the Love Your Melon logo, such as knit caps, scarfs, baseball caps, t-shirts and coffee mugs. When you purchase an item, you are donating money to provide hats to children. The hats are then presented to the children by Super Heroes, which are usually local college students in full costumes. The children have a blast and so do the heroes that deliver the hats. If you know of a child that is undergoing cancer treatment, you can request a hat for them from the site as well.

If you get a chance, stop by the website to see pictures of hats being presented to children around the country. You can also see what else the organization is doing for the children. They also donate a portion of each item purchased to the Pinky Swear Foundation and Cure Search for Children’s Cancer. When you purchase an item, it asks you to select the crew that you would like to receive your donation. There are crews around the country, so chances are you can find one near you. Items on the site sell out quickly, so you may see a countdown display to let you know when the next batch of items will be released. Spread the word and tell your friends to “Love Your Melon.”

Does It Relieve Stress If It Causes Stress?

Pencils

 

Before the holidays, I was discussing with my husband that I wanted to find things that I could do that would help to get rid of stress. I have been getting headaches and normally do not get them, so no matter how much I tried to say they were caused by the weather, I knew they were actually caused by stress. I tried some stress relieving tea, but I have never tasted anything as awful as that. I like to read, but sometimes reading doesn’t help get rid of stress, and depending what I’m reading, it may actually stress me out more. I read about the popularity of coloring books for adults as stress relievers and I told my husband that I used to love coloring when I was younger.

So for Christmas, he and my son bought me a couple of coloring books and several different sets of colored pencils. Pick a picture and color your stress away. It should be instant stress relief right? Uh, hmm, not so much. I couldn’t decide what picture to color first. And then when I finally decided on a picture, I hesitated over how to start. Do I want to do bright colors? Or dark colors? Do I want to stay within a color family, such as all blues or all pinks? Or do I want to use many different colors? What if I choose the wrong color and I end up not liking it? I can’t just erase it and start again. So it seems like my coloring books for adults are actually stressing me out. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.

My son keeps asking me if I’ve colored anything yet and I keep saying no. But I may have found a solution. I found an Adult Coloring App for my Kindle that lets me pick what picture I want to color and then, if I don’t like a color, I just click the back arrow and it erases the color. Yea!!! I’m not stressing over the colors, and if something doesn’t look good, I just start over. Little steps, but it works for me.

So today, when my son asked me if I colored anything yet, I not only said yes, I emailed him one of my completed pictures. He just laughed and saved the picture to his phone. I told him that was only fitting since I have storage boxes filled with pictures he colored for me when he was younger. He wasn’t sure how to take it when I asked him how big his memory card was in his phone. I’m thinking I have a lot of catching up to do.

Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month

Kelly Green

 

 

Cancer Awareness for the Month of February is on Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer. The Kelly Green Ribbon is used to represent the two cancer types, which are considered to be rare, affecting an average of 11,000 people in the United States each year. To learn more about them, please visit one of the links below.

American Cancer Society
Choose Hope

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