The Final Stretch

“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” ` Franklin D. Roosevelt

I love to share quotes that speak to me and this one captures how I am feeling at the moment.  My purpose in creating this blog was (and is) to help me identify and focus on some of the things I really want to do.  As I cross off the items on my list of twenty-seven things,  I definitely feel the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.

With my busy work schedule, and the demands of my job, my home time is often a blur of  activity trying to fit in the things I need to do and getting ready for the work week ahead.  My twenty-seven things has really helped me slow down and choose things that are important to me and anchor these potential accomplishments in my mind.   And the beautiful thing for me is I am getting things done on my list plus much, much more! It is true in a sense, at least I have found it to be true in my experience, that the more I do, the more I do!  I count relaxing in the list of accomplishments too.  This is partly because knowing when to stop, or when to take a break is really important and I find myself having those internal conversations and listening to them as well.

This last week in August is the final stretch for my twenty-seven things and I am almost at the finish line.   Last Wednesday I crossed #26 off my list after a great dinner out with two girlfriends!  We tried a new restaurant and had a very enjoyable evening of good food and good conversation.

This weekend I finished #4 which has hung out there for most of the month.  It was not something I looked forward to but something I knew would feel great once it was done.  #4 was the deep cleaning task on my list and I did deep clean the master bathroom.  It is a big room with two vanities, mirrors above the vanities, as well as on the sliding doors to the closet.  The vanity counters are a catch-all for makeup, creams, sunblock, rollers, brushes, and they desperately needed to be cleaned off.  So that is now done.  It is clean but the drawers are not organized and that will be a project for September.

I’ve just about completed #7 which is to read a non-fiction book.   I have been reading Shelter for the Spirit by Victoria Moran which is about making a house a home and although most of the ideas are things I have thought of or read of before, it is a nice review and fits nicely into some of the things I have tried to accomplish this month.

September 27th is the date of the next “Unbook Club Book Club” gathering at my house.  The first gathering (and the last one) was in February and the plan was to meet every other month or so.  I  anticipated getting together in May, then July, then August.  However,  I didn’t set a date and that is the key really to getting it done.  The date is set which means I can put a check next to #9 on my list.  I’ve communicated the date to the Unbook Club Book Club Facebook Group and I’ll actually set up an “event” for everyone’s convenience.

Yesterday I had a massage so I can cross of #16.  It was so good I laughed out loud when the masseuse was working on my feet.  My feet are not ticklish and it actually hurt a little.   The masseuse was somewhat startled when I started laughing and I had to explain that I do that sometimes, laugh when the masseuse finds a sore spot.   Yes, a little crazy but definitely a spontaneous reaction.   The laughter felt great and in conjunction with the massage, the endorphins were flowing.  I’m so glad I added #16 to my August list because I’m afraid if I hadn’t added it, another month would have passed without my getting a much needed (and much deserved) massage.

The cats got some extra TLC this weekend with a brush out and their flea treatment which means I can cross of #27.  Ronin is my big old 14 lb. cat and he has long hair which gets matted on his underbelly.  All of Ronin’s mats are gone now and I know we both feel better.  Humphrey, the grey cat is really our grandcat as she was a kitten who attended college with our daughter!  She came to live with us in 2008 and really rules the roost, not only in our household, but in the neighborhood.

RoninHumphrey

Overall, the weekend was very busy.  In addition to some of my 27 things, I did all the usual things like laundry, shopping, fueling the car, cooking and some routine cleaning.  I also fertilized some of my potted plants and some of our shrubs.  There was some fun stuff thrown in there too.   I put a really nice gift package together for a friend from work who is retiring.  She likes to garden and so I put together some seed packets, garden gloves, a home-made sugar scrub, a windchime, and a hummingbird feeder.  It is in a really nice hat box which I think she will like.   Mor, my husband and I took in a movie today and saw the new Woody Allen film, Blue Jasmine which turned out to be one of the saddest movies I have ever seen.  Cate Blanchett was extraordinary in her role but the character she played was tragic.  I finished up this evening with a Chocolate Zucchini Bread that was a new recipe and was intended to use up the large zucchini my husband didn’t see until it became gigantic!  The bread was pretty good actually and I’ll take what is left to the office tomorrow.

I have until next Saturday to finish those few things that are left on my list.   Since we are going to Washington D.C. soon, I definitely need to research some of the city sites.   I’m in the final stretch and already thinking of what I want my Twenty-seven Things list to look like for September!!

Weekend End!

It is Sunday night and the end of the weekend which means it is the beginning of the work week for me!  I have enjoyed the weekend and relaxed while still getting some things on my list done!  I completed #6 – House Creative project which resulted in a succulent dish garden for our dining room table and I framed a watercolor print I picked up last year in Monterey!   I am half-way through #7, my non-fiction book for the month, and I picked up all of the supplies for #14, my craft day with friends Kathi and Deb (although I still need to set the date).   The craft plan is to make decorative coasters using tiles, decorative paper, and hodge podge!

The weekend was truly a relaxing one and I spent Saturday at the movies to see “The Millers” which was pretty funny!  After the movie, we stopped and had a nice lunch at the local brewery.  Although I have listed 27 Things I want to accomplish this month, I really believe that balance is important and I so enjoyed the time I spent with my husband yesterday.   Later in the day I made a batch of plum jam (the plums from my dads 50 year old plum trees).  The jam was amazingly good and for dessert I made pancakes and slathered each with a layer of plum jam!

So even with all that relaxation, the projects I completed this weekend brings me to 19 of my 27 things either started or completed!   Not too bad for a working girl!

Here are pictures of the #6a and #6b!

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Moving Ahead on My August List!

I completed my August list and was able to identify 27 things I want to accomplish this month.  Some of the items are broad categories which gives me some flexibility.  As Sunday evening comes to a close, I can actually mark off several of the items on my August list of 27 things!  The first of course is the creation of the blog which was #1.  I also completed #3 my Garden Creative Project, #10 which was listed under cooking and was to try a new dessert recipe, #17 a facial, and I got a great start today on #19 Genealogy – Parents!    Here is a picture of my completed garden project which I think turned out really beautifully!

Garden Project August 2013

#10 resulted in a very tasty new Applesauce Cake recipe that I found on Pinterest.  I took some over to my parents house along with a pad and pen to talk with them about their growing up years so that I could get started on 19!   So I would say I’m off to a good start and feel that I can tackle the 27 things on my list for August!

Start Where You Are

We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson captures how I’m feeling about life in general.  I love the concept that the world is all gates, all opportunities.  Each day, in fact, each moment, provides a new opportunity to make the right choice, to love, to feel joy, to breath.   I have always gravitated toward the concept of new beginnings and look at each day, each new week, the start of the month as an opportunity to begin again.   In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s vernacular, it is a new gate.  From my perspective it is a new door and so I open this door to Twentyseven Things!   This blog provides an opportunity for me to make my ideas and dreams become a reality.

One of the first of the twenty-seven things I wanted to accomplish this August 2013 was to set up this blog to help capture some of the things I aspire to achieve … big and small.  My sense is the small things are just as important as the big things in the overall scheme of things.  For me, this is about looking forward and identifying things I would like to accomplish, things I want to complete and/or at least start.  Thinking about things is easy for me … it is the doing that is the challenge.  I have become much better at the doing part, but I hope to do more of the things I really want to do and this blog is my attempt to commit to those things each month.  Some things will be small and even mundane but will help set the framework for accomplishing bigger things that I find worthwhile.

This is a work in progress, and the ideas are swirling so I’m still not quite sure about my approach.   Just getting started is the key for me and creating this blog is a great first step.    Realistically I think I may identify early in the month the twenty-seven things I want to work on for the month…or I could just post the things I’m working on as the month goes on.  Hmmmm…..I think this will end up being a somewhat dynamic process with no right or wrong approach.  I do know that the basic themes that will be touched upon include home, family, relationships, health, learning, creativity, yoga, service, and open-heartedness.

I must say that I’m excited about this adventure.  I loved reading the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and was inspired by many of her ideas.  I was motivated to take action in several areas as a result of reading her book and taking action made me feel energized and creative which is the way I like to feel!