“Le Fin” for September

Another month closes down and tomorrow starts new opportunities and challenges.  Today, September 30th is both the beginning and the end in my book as it is a Monday (the beginning) and the last day of September (the end)!  It has been a wonderful month of completing projects and getting things done.  The highlights for me include the Unbook Club Book Club gathering last Friday night, the progress we have made on our living trust, and getting the cats to the vet for their immunizations.  Those are three things that may not have happened if they hadn’t been on my list.

I also was challenged this month by the items I included under health.  I had a heck of a time getting in my 10,000 steps when I wasn’t on vacation since my regular schedule keeps me stuck at my desk at work.  It was a real eye opener that I could go the entire day with under 5,000 steps and that to get to 10,000 I had to plan, plan, and plan!  I also struggled somewhat with my yoga committment and although I am committed to my Bikram yoga, until I retire and have more free time I will have to really plan to get to the studio.

I tried several new recipes this month and I got rave reviews on two of the four.  That is not too bad and although I didn’t get rave review on the meatloaf or the strawberry jam, I didn’t get bad reviews either.  It just turns out that they may not be on the “keeper” list for the future.

I talked more with my parents to continue my committment to my genealogy project and continue to be amazed at what I learn.  It is fun to have the discussions and I think both my mom and dad enjoy the discussions as well.  This past weekend I found some pictures of my ancestors on the FamilySearch genealogy site that I had not seen before and when I share the pictures with my parents, they will definitely be pleased!

I’ve made my October list and modified it so it is not exactly the same as September.  I added several items to my 27 Things to do in October to include Holidays as we are getting to that time of year.  I also want to clean up my personal email account and will feel great when that is done so it ended up on my list and frankly, it will take some time to complete.

So I say goodbye to September, the wonderful memories of D.C. and the beautiful weather we had both in D.C. and home and welcome in October and the beginning of the true fall season with the turning of the leaves, the morning chill in the air and the beginning of the holiday season!


Countdown 3, 2, 1….

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I cannot believe it is already the end of September with just a couple of days left to finish off my list.  I’m staying focused with the goal of crossing off my 27 Things although this month has been a little challenging to complete my list.

Last night, Friday evening, I was able to mark off #9, as the Unbook Club Book Club gathering was held at my house and it was a wonderful gathering of friends who enjoy books and conversation.  #9 entailed the planning and coordinating of the event which was not a single effort but because it is a somewhat informal gathering, it came together quite well.  I was tired at the end of the evening but I am very glad to have held the book gathering and will be planning another for February 2014.

There were a number of books traded last night including the following titles:  Water for Elephants, Cutting for Stone, Absolute Power, Mayflower, Frederick Douglass, Daughters Fortune, Book of Air and Shadows, Washington’s Secret War, The 5th Witness, A Reliable Wife, Suite Francoise, Sarah’s Key, The Last Man, and A Secret Kept.

We did drink a good bit of wine last night and maybe in February we can combine the book gathering with an informal wine tasting as well.

What Do You Do When You Come to a Yellow Light?

yellow light

LOL….that line brings back memories from the old “Taxi” sit com.   I think you have to be a baby boomer to remember that line and if you saw the show,  you’ll never forget it.  The answer is of course, SLOW DOWN!   In a discussion on Saturday, the line came up and brought back lots of laughs and good memories.  The “slow down” part though is what really stopped me in my tracks.  I tend to get into a hyper drive and the weekends usually end up being super busy because I’m trying to accomplish so much in the two day break from my regular workweek!   This past weekend was really no different as I had a big list of things to do.

However, I did slow down in a sense, and it ended up being productive in a really good way.  On Saturday, I awoke in a leisurely, unhurried way which was really nice.  Often I am up early for yoga class but this Saturday I slept until I woke up (hence no alarm clock).    Mor had gone to play golf so I had the house to myself.  I fixed a cup of coffee and enjoyed perusing the morning paper.  This was about 7:30ish and I had an appointment for a facial at 9:00.  Of course this meant I didn’t need to put on makeup or fix my hair so right there, several stressors were eliminated!  After the paper I read the new “Health” magazine I subscribe to and right there on the cover there was mention of 7 ways to lose weight forever!  That was just what I wanted to read since weight has been on my mind and secrets to losing it forever has been something I longed to know!  I did read the article and I knew every single secret to be true.  Unfortunately you have to rigorously practice those secrets to keep the weight off.  I must say though that reading them in print was an affirmation of what I already know:  keep moving, eat breakfast, build muscle, weight regularly, eat mediterranean style (fruits/veggies), etc.

My facial, which was item #18 on September’s 27 Things list was extremely relaxing and I’m glad it is one of the things I added to my September list.   I like getting facials better than a full body massage.  When you get a facial, the esthetician also massages your arms, hands, shoulders, neck, and decolletage.  It is very relaxing and is worth the money if you have the extra to spend on yourself.  I left  feeling relaxed and energized (one of the best combinations you can imagine!)

This month I also have been challenged with getting in my 15 days of 10,000 steps (#21) so I wanted to get in the 10,000 steps each day this weekend to help me reach my September goal.  When I got home I thought about changing into my tennies and going for my walk.  Since I had to go to the store anyway, I thought I would combine the two and walk to the store, get the few items I needed, and walk back.  So that is what I did.  I expected to put on 6,000 steps for the roundtrip to the store.   While at the store I ran into my niece’s daughter and granddaughter which was a pleasant surprise and had a nice chat with the two of them.  Since I was not in a hurry I was able to relax and enjoy the impromptu visit.   I then bought my items and headed home.  Mor and I had planned on going to a volleyball tournament at the university which started at 1:00.  I walked quickly home and got in at 12:20, took a shower, and was ready to head off to the volleyball tournament.  I checked my steps and had over 10,000 steps from my morning activity!  WOW was I happy and at that point, the pressure was off.  The whole idea of what you do at a yellow light came into being and I slowed down for the rest of the day.

Just prior to our leaving for the tournament, we had a downpour of rain that was both unexpected and exciting.  That helped with the slow down too because we were not prepared for the rain.  The volleyball match was fun and we came straight home to relax and watch some T.V.  We’ve been watching a French drama and the new season is out on Netflix.  We tend to binge watch so we ended up watching several episodes of Spiral.  It was nice to just do that and not feel like I had to do anything else!

Sunday morning proved to be as relaxing and after reading the Sunday paper, I got into my tennis shoes and walked to the Sunday Farmer’s Market.  I took my backpack this time so I could load up on veggies and carry them easily back home.  My friend Kathi called when I was out walking and we decided to meet later for a bowl of soup and a good chat.  I finished the active part of Sunday working in the yard and finishing #2 on my 27 Things list in the creative gardening area.  I finished a succulent garden dish and it turned out nicely.  The lovely coleus in the strawberry pot is something I put together in August and it is really strikingly pretty.  The succulents are fairly small but will grow in and fill in the pottery dish nicely (I hope)!

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I am glad I slowed down a bit this weekend and truly relaxed and enjoyed my time off work.  The weekends lately have made me think more about retirement and how nice it will be to have more time to do the things I want to do in a leisurely way.  My goals this September have challenged me, especially the 10,000 steps which I didn’t think would be as difficult to reach as it has been.  I still have plenty of time to rack up the steps and have made good progress.

Slowing down this weekend was a really good thing and maybe should be a goal in and of itself!

Keep on Moving

I feel like I’m in a “stall” mode this week even though I have marked off several things on my list in the last few days.    I created this blog to help me accomplish things I felt were important and things I wanted to do.  I didn’t create it so that I had another stressor in my life.  I don’t seriously see it as a stressor at this point, but some of the things on my September list are challenging me, especially the 10,000 steps for 15 days!  I didn’t think it would be that hard to do.  Come on, 10,000 steps isn’t that much extra effort.  Adding it to my list though has certainly made me aware that I don’t move as much as I thought I did!

So, when we were in D.C. we walked way over 10,000 steps every day.  In fact some days we walked over 20,000 steps!   Hey, it is a city and that is what you do.  But in my regular everyday life I have to plan walks to get in the 10,000 steps.  Last night about 8:00 pm, I realized I was at 7,500 steps.  We were watching a really interesting bird migration program but because I was so close to 10,000 steps, I thought I would take advantage of it and so I headed out to put on the extra 2,500 steps to get me to 10,000!  It was a nice evening last night, but dark by 8:00 so my husband handed me a golf club to take out with me and I took my phone and walked around our neighborhood.  About 20 minutes later I had added the steps I needed.

I guess when I really think of it, the purpose of setting goals on my 27 Things list is to reach them and I can tell you without the list, I would not have walked last night.  The other thing that I have learned about the 10,000 steps goal is that if I add the steps early in the day it is much easier!  For example, I now take the 3 flights of stairs at work to get to my office.  That helps a lot.  Also, if at break I can take a 10 or 15 minute walk around the downtown area, that adds quite a few steps early in the day.  The point is that I have to plan it and work at it to reach the goal.  Sometimes I’m sorry I added it to the 27 Things for September, and sometimes I’m glad I added it.  Go figure.   Regardless, I’ve learned some things having it on my list.  I don’t move enough and I need to move more.  I have reached 10,000 steps or more eight days this month.  I still have seven more days to go to reach my goal and cross off #21 on my list.  I’m going to do it but it will take an effort.  Keep on moving!!

Half Way Through September

It is just about the half way mark and I’ve made progress on my September 27 Things list!  This week I made progress on #24 – researching living trusts by meeting with an attorney and making a committment to create a living trust.  There is more work involved but we are more than halfway done.

On Saturday, both Mor and I worked in the yard and I worked on weeding several of the flower beds and also moved the azalea pot so that it could dry out some (it was too close to the sprinkler).  That being done, I marked #3 off my list.

Today, Sunday,  I tackled #11 and #13 both related to new recipes.  The weekend is a great time to try out new recipes.

The new jam recipe (#13) is a strawberry jam  I found on Pinterest.  It is a Martha Stewart recipe and is very simple:  strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice.  There is no pectin in the jam recipe and it meant to be eaten within 10 days.  I thought it would be fun to try it.  The jam overall was tasty.  It did not thicken up the way I would have expected, but then, there was no added pectin.  The flavor was very fresh and bright and I think the jam would be great over vanilla or strawberry ice cream or on pancakes or waffles!


I also promised Mor I would try a new entrée today and he wanted meatloaf so I searched through Pinterest and found a new recipe to try (#11).  It is cooking right now and really smells good.  It is not too different from what I have made in the past but different enough that I would consider it a new recipe for meatloaf.  Note:  The meatloaf was okay but not one that I would make again.  It was a little too much on the sweet side for Mor so I’ll just have to keep looking for the perfect meatloaf recipe.

All in all, it was a busy week last week with our return from our vacation in Washington D.C. and work  on Thursday and Friday.  It all caught up with me by Friday night and I was pretty exhausted.  So this weekend has primarily been focused on catching up on rest and relaxation!   I picked up a new Louise Erdrich novel to read too!

Vacation Break!

We left last week for Washington D.C. for a sightseeing vacation and we definitely got our fill of wonderful sights.  It was my first trip to D.C. and I left D.C. feeling very proud of the monuments, memorials, and museums we have in our nation’s capitol.  We spend 4 full days and 2 half days (arrived about 5:00 pm on Thursday and left at 2:00 pm on Tuesday).  We made the most of each day, including the day we arrived and the day we left!    There were several things on my 27 Things list related to this vacation break.  One was to research the trip which I did before we left but in reality I continued to learn and research while we were there (that is #15).  I also committed to keep a travel journal (#16) which I did keep, but I will say that it was a challenging task.   At the end of each day I was tired and didn’t really feel much like writing.  If I had had a computer it would have been easier because I don’t like the effort it takes to write with pen and paper!  This is mostly because I cannot write as quickly as I think and I really like to type for that reason.  However, I did keep the travel journal and I know I will be glad that I did.  With so much activity packed into a small timeframe it is hard to keep the details of the trip intact, and I do like to recall the chronology of my vacation activities!

Monuments IMG_6021

One of my 27 Things this month is related to health and steps!  Wow (said with a Christopher Walken intonation) did I ever get the steps in on this vacation.  My goal is 10,000 steps a day and I find it challenging to get those steps in on a regular day at home and work.  We arrived in D.C. about 5:00 on Tuesday and by the end of Tuesday evening, I had 10,383 steps!  On day 2 of our D.C. trip, I logged in 22,448 steps (or 10.18 miles) or 224% of my daily goal!  Wow!  I was tired, but inspired with the amount of walking exercise I got!  Over the next several days I continued to exceed my goal and so at this point, I have 6 of my 15 days of 10,000 steps down!  The challenge will be to get that remaining 9 days and I will have to work at that.

I also finished reading “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich.  I did most of my reading on the flight to D.C. and the return flight home.  The flight was about 5 hours each way and the book was perfect for making the flight enjoyable.  Finishing this work of fiction means I can cross off #8 on my list of 27 Things.

Vacation is over and it is back to my regular schedule and routines!  I’m looking forward to the remainder of September and truly enjoyed the vacation break in Washington D.C.  I need to begin planning another vacation!  Maybe that task will be placed on my October list of 27 Things!

Healthful Start to September

September has started slowly in a nice way and with a three-day weekend!  I have already completed #4 on my list with a complete car trunk clean-out, sorely needed and almost embarrassing when I started taking out item after item.  A car trunk can become almost like a closet and when it is crammed full of stuff, it ceases to really serve its purpose of transporting items, etc.  So, that was an easy one to cross of my list and now, each time I open the trunk,  I’m pleasantly surprised!

The focus the past few days has been on the health items on my list – #19, #20, and #21.   My yoga committment, #19,  is a very important one and I have gone to class five days in a row!  That is really a big accomplishment because I took a break of almost 8 weeks this summer.  I missed the entire month of July and most of August although I did squeeze a weekend in during the middle of August.  The break was really not a bad thing and it did free my time up to do some other things, so I’m not holding on to any guilt for the break.  I think the important thing is that I can easily get back into it and after having some time away, I realize how much yoga helps me cope with stress.  The 90 minute workout in 105 degrees can’t help but provide a detox that helps mind and body.  Each class also just makes me feel better physically too.  Stronger, more flexible, lighter, and energetic!   So this month I have a personal committment to my yoga practice and I’m on a roll so far!

I also committed to making smoothies at least 12 days this month, which is #20.   Yesterday morning, and this morning, I whipped up Mor’s favorite which is my mango, pineapple and orange smoothie concoction with a dollop or two of greek yogurt thrown in.  It is very tasty, and very healthy and provides a couple of fruit servings to start off the day, lots of fiber,  and no added sugar except what naturally occurs in the fruit!

Finally, #21 is a committment to 10,000 steps for 15 days this month.  I was a little worried about this commitment because on Saturday, my Jawbone Up stopped functioning.  This is the tool I use to track steps.  I emailed customer service and they emailed me information on rebooting it.  I followed the directions and although I was hopeful, my jawbone was dead and there was no bringing it back.  They said they would exchange it and would ship one out right away.  That was on Sunday and today, Wednesday, I have a new jawbone.  Spectacular customer service!  So tracking both sleep and steps will continue as I go through this month.