About Me

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I'm happy, married, and looking forward to sharing my world with you! If you're interested, that is!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

30 Days of Lists 3

I Am Looking Forward to...

  1. LEARNing how to knit (see previous post - I JUST started!)
  2. LEARNing how to cook
  3. Summer vacation (we're going on a cruise and to Florida!)
  4. Warmer weather - I'm a fan of winter, but this bitter single-digit-or-less cold is really getting to me
  5. Catching up on all my reading - for some reason my books are piling up
  6. Working on Project Life
  7. Setting up a crafting table on the second floor at the lake house, in the sitting room, so my friend and I can "art" together
  8. Seeing my new little nephew this afternoon - he just turned 3 months old!
  9. Retiring
  10. Surprising a special someone sometime soon with something special (no hints!)
  11. Volunteering at the school tomorrow - I love reading to the kids!
  12. Sticking to completing and using my planner this year
  13. Getting a dog when my husband retires
(Unlucky 13??!!)

LEARNing 5

I LEARNed how to knit last night!  I've always wanted to know, but it always just seemed too hard.  I'm uncoordinated with one hand, let alone two.  It was too confusing when I tried it last (30+ years ago!).  My hand/wrist hurts when I crochet; imagine how it would hurt if I tried to knit...

There were lots of reasons why I thought I couldn't LEARN to knit.  But recently one of my favorite bloggers, Organized Jen, rediscovered her love of knitting.  (Coincidentally that link will take you to her first knitting post!)  And I decided to give it a try.  No one says I have to knit a cozy for the Taj Mahal, first time out...

I took Mom to ACMoore the other day and I bought two large skeins of wool, a pale taupe/sand color and a cream.  She suggested the shorter needles to start, in a size 7.  I bought both a size 7 and a size 8, and later this week I'll go back for longer needles.  I picked up a laminated How To flyer, but when she looked at it, Mom said they taught it the "wrong" way, that she'd teach me an easier way.

I went home and immediately looked up knitting on the internet and found a short video from CyberSeams.  It showed how to cast on and how to knit.  That's it.

So I tried it.  And I've knitted FOUR rows!!!  I'm going to get myself a how to knit and how to crochet book, and give it the old college try!

My sister P was so proud of me, and surprised that I could already pick out where I missed a stitch or made some other error.  She also told me that I'm knitting the American way, whereas she and Mom knit the Russian (?) way.  [Or was it the European way, P?]  Apparently Mom holds her yarn the other way, and they go in from the back to pick up a stitch, not from the front...  This is all beyond me.  When I'm comfortable and not dropping stitches left and right, THEN I'll try moving the yarn to another hand, or another finger, or something...  Right now I'm just so thrilled I LEARNed how to knit!

I'm also taking some retail sales training courses online through work.  They seem sort of basic and silly, or at least they did to start, but I always seem to pick up something from each one.  I guess they really are worth my time and the company's money, if they help me LEARN a new sales tool I can use to help sell more books or more content or more services.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

30 Days of Lists 2

Okay, here's list # 2 from March 2011:

Things You Are Good At

  1. OOOH, I'm GREAT at reading!
  2. I'm good at scrapbooking
  3. I'm great at eating
  4. I'm good at my job
  5. I'm good at ignoring my alarm
  6. I'm good at ignoring clutter
  7. I'm good at getting distracted
  8. I'm good at resting and relaxing
  9. I'm good at making a positive blog post turn into a sort of negative one
  10. I'm a good daughter
This is a hard list and I'm going to stop here.  When I have some time (I'm NOT good at time management!), I'm going to read other I'm Good At... lists and see what other people are good at.  Feel free to leave your own list in the comments...

LEARNing 4

This is going to be a short post.

Yesterday I LEARNed that I need to be more observant.

I need to look, and see, and notice, and pay attention.

I need to LEARN from my surroundings, my environment, from the people, places and things around me.

Something so simple as a visit from a refrigerator repairman...

We remodeled the kitchen in our lake house.  We bought brand new appliances, including my dream refrigerator:  French doors and a pull out lower freezer drawer.

I already LEARNed that I have to be sure the top doors close all the way.  Just like I LEARNed that the garbage can cabinet does NOT have a drawer return on it; I have to manually push it closed.  Just like I LEARNed that although I have more cabinets than before, they fit the space, not the food and the way we use the kitchen.  I'll have to LEARN my kitchen all over again, where I put things, where they might fit...

Yesterday was the second time a repairman came out to the house.  The brand new refrigerator wasn't working the weekend before Christmas - it was 66 degrees in the refrigerator and the freezer motor was frozen over with ice.

We/I LEARNed that the refrigerator is cooled by the movement of the air flowing over/through the freezer motor, up into the refrigerator compartment.  So when the motor is frozen, stopped, there is no cold air going up into the fridge.  The very nice repairman came out and showed that to J, and when we asked him to even out the doors (one was hanging lower than the other and scraping the freezer door), he said we need a new hinge.

We haven't been back to the lake since then, since before the New Year's holiday, so when we went up this weekend, the first thing we checked was the freezer.  And there was ice forming inside again!  We already had an appointment with the 2nd repairman to come yesterday afternoon to replace the hinge.

When he walked in J immediately mentioned the ice again, and he basically told us to shut up, we didn't know what we were talking about!  Now of course, he didn't say that in those exact words, but he took one look at the appliance and said the reason it was freezing is because the freezer door gasket wasn't sealing and the door wasn't closing.  We immediately jumped on him and said we were POSITIVE the door was shut when we left because of the previous freezing issue...

This is where the "shut up" part came in:  the freezer door had a 1/4 inch gap on one side and no gap on the other.  The door wasn't sealing all the way so outside air was getting in and of course, causing the ice.

I LEARNed to listen to someone who knows more than me.  I LEARNed that neither my handy husband nor I was observant enough to catch that, even though we both know that could have caused the issue.  I LEARNed that I need, to borrow another phrase and bastardize it a little, to "stop, see and LEARN."

I need to SEE things to LEARN them, not just look at them.  I need to pay attention to LEARN.

And this is something I thought I knew, something I thought I had LEARNed long ago.

I was wrong.

Friday, January 17, 2014

30 Days of Lists 1

Ran across 30 Days of Lists, a blog/activity you can join in twice a year.  I'm not so sure that I can do 30 days in a row, so I thought I'd do the freebie list from March 2011 that's available on the site.  Maybe it will help me post a little more often if I keep this list in my planner...

The first list is called A few things about yourself...  Here goes...

  1. Rumor has it (and it's more than rumor) that I have Lenni Lenape blood from a few generations back
  2. My mom has lived in Poland, Siberia, Africa, England and the US (yea, that's more about her than about me but she's more interesting than I am!)
  3. Hubby and I have been together (mostly) since 1990, living together since 1995, married since 1999
  4. I have two stepchildren, M who's 35 and lives 1.6 miles away from us (YAY!) with her fiance and our granddog, and J who's 33 and lives somewhere in southern NJ (he estranged himself from us 6 years ago so we haven't seen him or heard from him since then)
  5. I threw out 2 bags of bills in the past two days in an effort to declutter and clean up and organize
  6. I am addicted to reading
  7. I am addicted to HGTV but I REALLY wish they'd go back to assorted programming during the day, rather than marathons of the same shows, hour after hour
  8. I want to retire
  9. I want to retire
  10. I want to retire
  11. We're going on a cruise/vacation this year (Bahamas and Florida - Harry Potter World, here we come!)
  12. We're going on a cruise to nowhere in November
  13. I'm planning on writing out my Christmas cards over the summer, with a friend of mine, G, who claims this is her usual practice and that it takes a load off around the holidays...
  14. I've gotten a second wind and am really buckling down at my new job and all its new idiosyncrasies
  15. I got a text message at 5:15am on Tuesday that someone in the Ukraine tried to access my gmail account so I spent all day Wednesday changing sign-ons and passwords and I still have more to change
  16. I'm getting the itch to cut my hair, even though I'm in the middle of trying to grow it a bit longer
  17. I'm planning a surprise for someone and I hope it really works out
  18. I got a work iPhone a little while ago and I'm about to get a work laptop, too
  19. My nephew stopped by at 10pm last night with a Matchbox Scout for my husband!  And we're going to B&N next week to spend some time together
  20. Can't wait for the sneak preview of Heaven Is for Real in March

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

LEARNing 3

Yea, that whole resolution to try to post more often?  Well, it was meant to include "about more things," but right now, that's not happening.  It's all I can do to stay on schedule with a weekly LEARNing post...  but here you go...

Did I LEARN anything this week?

Well, I don't feel that I LEARNed anything new, but I reLEARNed that I can, indeed, LEARN!

And this is a big thing!

I really applied myself at work over the past few days (yes, I'm taking a few minutes to write this post at the office!).  I have reduced my inbox to only 16 items (at this moment) with only one of those items unread.  And I didn't just delete the old ones:  I worked them.  I read them, responded if necessary, then filed them.  I've made notes in my planner for follow up, and will hopefully stay on track with them.

Yes, I've been working for over 30 years.  And yes, I've been doing my job and doing it well for those 30 years.  But I've always felt a bit under the gun, a bit more reactive with my time management than proactive.  And while I read almost every time management book or blog post I can get my hands on, implementation is a different thing.

But I've LEARNed this week that I can accomplish a lot in my day, if only I focus (last year's One Little Word!) and ignore the distractions.  I have to put my mind to it and just do it (thanks, Nike!).

I've ordered a new Franklin Covey refill, and just to make me feel better, a newer, nicer binder, too.  It came yesterday and I spent a small bit of time last night setting it up.  I have an unCalendar notebook that I was using for notes and To Dos at work, but I'm going to consolidate all of that into one place, my planner.  Phone calls, meeting notes, all will be in one place, easily accessible and dated, not like my notebook method.  I'll still use the highlighter to "cross off" completed tasks or returned calls; that has worked fabulously for me (thanks, Suzanne!).

Perhaps I'll take a minute here to catch you all up on a few things...

I bought myself a PictureMate photo printer.  The quality is great!  I'll be spending the next couple of nights printing out some photos for Saturday's crop.  I'll also bring it with me and print some there.  I'm debating using Costco one last time for a handful of photos, just to get a kickstart on Saturday's PL project.  I can print and let the photos dry as I need them if I have something to work on...  We'll see...

I went condo/townhouse shopping with my friend E.  She's in an apartment now, but luckily her dad has promised to help her with a generous down payment.  I love looking at other people's homes!  We looked at a wide variety of places, apartment-style condos, a single family home, a railroad style condo apartment...  The very last one, a flip, really caught her eye.  I'm not convinced about the area; it's in Hackensack, near Railroad Avenue, and the street is a bit run down.  There are some renovations going on, and rumor has it that this area is close to the downtown they're talking about revitalizing, but when you're a single woman, I don't think that's the right time to buy in an area that's not 150% safe.  It didn't look terrible, but it wasn't great...

I got a little mini cold last Friday.  I felt great yesterday but this morning, my throat's a little scratchy again.  It's almost time for me to go downstairs and get breakfast and take some Advil Cold and Sinus.  J seems to have gotten over his cold (yes, we were sick at the same time!).  I've taken Nyquil three nights in a row, and for the past two nights, I've woken up at the same time:  3:21am.  AM, people!  Really?  Why?  I took meds to help me sleep, and they always have in the past.  This time, though, not so much.  Thank goodness I was able to fall back asleep and not stay up for those two hours, waiting for the alarm to sound.

I LEARNed something cool on my computer that I think everyone should know:
     Control - Shift - T:  this will reopen a closed tab

You know, when you have multiple windows open and you, oops! forget and close one without writing down that phone number, address, email, etc.  Just hit Control - Shift - T and that window will reopen right there in front of your eyes!  It's like magic!

I actually heard my hubby mention that we might have to buy a new desktop for home.  The one he's working on is terrible - slow, a real dinosaur.  He won't touch my laptop, even though I've offered it to him.  I've recently decided that my next laptop will be a Mac, so maybe I can talk him into inheriting my laptop, and I'll get a new one...  I'm not thinking that will go over too well, but if you all keep your internet fingers crossed, who knows?!?!

I didn't go food shopping this week because I didn't feel well, so we're using what we have.  In theory, that's a great idea - use up those things that have been languishing around in your freezer, fridge or cabinets.  In reality, that means we went to Subway one day, had cold roast beef sandwiches for a snack that night, ate eggs for dinner two nights ago, with leftover mashed potatoes and boiled cabbage, and finally caved and got a rotisserie chicken from Costco last night, and opened a can of green beans and finished some pasta that was in the refrigerator.  While we're not wasting money eating out, I'm a little tired of my selection.  Tonight it will be frozen buffalo wings, mac'n'cheese, and whatever else is in the fridge.  I'm not too excited about tonight's menu (except for the mac'n'cheese, which I could eat every single day if it wouldn't make me as big as a house!).  I think I'll have to add "plan menu" to my planner and create a real shopping list, not just wander up and down the aisles until something catches my eye...

Well, gotta run and LEARN something new!  Back soon!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

LEARNing 2

So January has started - it's the 7th already, people!  Do you know what that means?  That means we're starting the SECOND week of January already!  It's unbelievable to me, absolutely unbelievable, that we have been in 2014 for a week already!  Wasn't New Year's Eve 2013 JUST the other day???

As I mentioned in a previous post, LEARN is my One Little Word for 2014.

I've decided to try to post at least once a week specifically about my relationship with the word this year.  I won't promise to post once a week, but I WILL try to post once a week...  Life gets in the way, you know?

I don't feel as though I've really applied myself to LEARNing yet.  No classes, no non-fiction, just a lot of entertainment:  romance novels, mysteries, sit-coms, magazines...  (At least I'm not a reality TV buff...)

I'm sort of playing catch up at work, really trying hard to empty my inbox this week, because I have a funny feeling that next week will be busy.  People will be back from vacation, our customer service department will be active in Indianapolis (o.m.g.  They're nowhere near trained enough.) and I won't have my local warehouse to fall back on when things get messed up, weekly meetings will start up again, and I'll be losing a couple of hours at work every other week with my return to volunteering at school.

I want to start actively LEARNING next week.  Paying attention to titles, books, authors.  Opening the sample books and really paying attention to the various subject categories that fall under the AEC umbrella (Architecture/Engineering/Construction), my new specialty.  I want to be actively LEARNing how to use Salesforce.com and include it in my everyday workflow, not as an afterthought when I remember, "Oh, $hit, I forgot to enter anything into it today!"  I want to LEARN to manage my time better, at work and at home.  I want to have time to spend doing things in the house that need doing.  I want to LEARN to put my cell phone down - it interrupts time much better spent with my husband, even if all we're doing is watching bad TV together.

This is going to be a real LEARNing curve for me, and I have to remember not to punish myself or give up when I'm not perfect right out of the gate.  I'm going to open a page in my Notes app on the dreaded cell phone called "What I LEARNed This Week" and I hope each week there's something there other than "I LEARNed how to win at Level 70 in Candy Crush!"  (I've been stuck there for two weeks - if anyone has any clues...)  I hope I LEARN a new word, or a new program, or to be a better person, or how to enjoy the gym rather than hate it with every fiber of my being...  I hope I LEARN to manage my days better so I have more me/us time.

Let's see how this goes, okay?  Any helpful hints will be welcome (and not just about Candy Crush!).

Monday, January 06, 2014

Book Weather

From Shelf Awareness, Monday, January 6, 2014 - Volume 2, Issue 2158

Quotation of the Day

'Book Weather' in Minnesota

"Dear Rest of the World: In Minnesota we call this 'book weather.' Enjoy."

--Post on Facebook from Common Good Books, St. Paul, Minn., as the coldest weather in 20 years approached.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2014 - LEARN 1

Happy, merry 2014!!!  I wish you and yours nothing but the best in this new year!!!

For the past several years I've either signed up for or pretended to follow the One Little Word project that Ali Edwards created (One Little Word).  I've chosen "declutter" and focus as the last two words I chose.  I actually did "focus" two years in a row, and wasn't very successful.  (Let's not discuss the abysmal failure of my intent to "declutter" both mind and home...)

THIS year, however, my word was chosen for me.


My job has changed and while I've been able to skate through the past six months just sort of "faking it"' when it comes to learning the new things I need to know to do the job well, I have to really buckle down this first 1/2 year to ensure I still have a job on May 1st.  Skating just isn't going to cut it.  There is a lot more expected of me, a lot more I expect of myself, and the only way I'll succeed is if I declutter my mind and focus on learning.  (See where I went there?!?)

So LEARN is my new word.

My dad used to say, "Use it or lose it."  You know what, folks?  I used to be quite bright.  In fact, I was one of the smarter kids in my school.  But lately I feel as though I've forgotten how to learn, or perhaps I just haven't felt like applying myself.  I've lost it.  But I no longer have a choice.

I have an entire industry to learn, basically.  I will now be concentrating on architecture, engineering and construction, and the bulk of my accounts will fall into one of those three industries.  At my publishing company, we lump them all into one AEC category (see underlined, above).  I'm the lead for that category of books in my sales division, in my sales community.  (Team and community, by the way, are two words I'm beginning to dislike immensely.)

I have to learn the books, the authors, the accounts, industry trends, vocabulary, and personnel.  I have to learn to sell books (although I've been doing it for the past nine years, I'm going to be much more accountable).

I want to learn, too, to be a better person, a better wife, daughter, sister.  I want to cook better, read faster, think more clearly, be more creative.  And learning is involved in all of those endeavors, too.

So here I am, people, putting it out there for you all to see:  I plan on LEARNING in 2014.  And I plan on LEARNING a lot.

(I can already feel the gears grinding in my brain...)