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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Another flower surprise !

This afternoon as I headed out the door to meet a friend for lunch, I stopped to check out the baby fish in the large container pond in our back yard. An aquarium customer of my husband's (who has a large koi pond) gave him a water lily plant at the beginning of the summer, and to my surprise there was a beautiful bloom there today!


Gregg hadn't noticed it when he fed the fish this morning. I texted him this picture and he was surprised. Somehow in his pre-work hurry he had missed it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The lost pin-up girl

Recently some photos have resurfaced on the internet of the work of Duane Bryers, an artist in the 1950's who created the delightfully plus size, redheaded pin-up girl Hilda. These photos made me smile and I hope you enjoy them, too.























Saturday, August 20, 2016

No complaining

I'm trying something for the rest of the month of August that's pretty radical, for me. I'm trying to not complain. At all. About anything, but especially my job. It's only been a few days, but it's been tough already. I've had to catch myself and shut up at least a dozen times.

See, my job is stressful. Pretty much everyone there agrees that it's not a great working environment, and most of the people I actually liked  have moved on to better jobs. And with each disappointment I've faced in my quest for a new job of my own, my bitterness has increased. Almost as soon as I get out of my car each day, I start mentally going over all the things I hate about being there. I usually don't say much out loud to my coworkers, but in my head it's a constant stream of negativity and whining. It finally dawned on me the other day that my attitude is only increasing my stress and making a difficult job even worse. And according to a ton of self-help and New Age kind of books and articles, I might even be drawing more negativity to myself as a result.

So I'm doing my best to stop. To be in the moment, and to take deep breaths and keep my mind clear and neutral. Sometimes I try to reframe a situation in a more positive light. Right now it feels hokey and I think, "Who am I fooling?" but I persist. And when coworkers are engaged in bitch-fests, instead of listening to it I just walk away.

So that's my self improvement project at the moment. Has anyone else tried something similar to deal with a stressful situation? And if so, how did it work for you? I'd love to hear your thoughts!



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Book club food

Tomorrow I'm hosting the August book club meeting for my group for the first time. Since we'll be discussing The Japanese Lover" by Isabel Allende and the book is set in both present day and WW2 era California, I wanted to find recipes inspired by the West coast to serve.

I played around on Pinterest and combined some ideas I saw to come up with this menu:

California Chicken Salad in Wonton Cups

Summer fruit platter

Assorted cheeses and crackers

2 California wines, a red and a white

Iced Tazo Green Tea Lemonade

Fancy little shop cookies

I went ahead and assembled the fruit platter and made the chicken salad this afternoon . The crispy wonton cups that will hold the chicken salad won't be baked and filled until tomorrow afternoon. Since the chicken salad is just mixed up in a big bowl right now (and I forgot celery so I'll have to run to the store in the morning and get some to chop and add in) it doesn't look like much, but the fruit platter is pretty:


More tomorrow...

Catching up

The last couple of weeks have been difficult for me. Although I don't mention it very often, I'm a person that struggles occasionally with depression and anxiety. Last week was very stressful for me and resulted in several days where I felt so anxious that my skin was practically crawling. I hate that feeling of barely controlled anxiety; the pounding heart, the cold sweats, the tossing and turning in bed at night (I turn insomniac whenever I'm in one of my states). There's also been some depression, too, although I'm thankful I didn't even come close to feeling rock bottom as I have in the past. About three weeks ago I started taking my antidepressant medication again, and I imagine that my blood levels are readjusting to it again, hence the troubles I've had. And today I woke up feeling a little bit lighter. I think maybe everything is finally leveling back out.

As for the job I interviewed for last week, I didn't get it...but, one of my references (a teacher named Susan who's a personal friend of mine) called me on Friday to tell me that they had called her to ask about me. She gave me a wonderful recommendation, or, as she put it "I practically told them that you hung the moon and stars, all by yourself!" which was wonderfully nice of her. They told her that I was tied with one other candidate for the job, so apparently my lack of Excel skills wasn't that big of a deal after all. Yesterday they called to tell me that they had decided on the other candidate, but they wanted me to know that they were impressed with me and that it was a hard decision to make. I suppose I should have felt bad about it, but I didn't. Their little "test" had left a rather bad taste in my mouth and I had almost decided I didn't want the job anyway. I'll just continue to look for another opportunity.

As for today, I am off work. I'm off tomorrow, too, and tomorrow night I'm hosting the August book club meeting for the Welcoming Club. Since I don't have a lot of room at my house (the group is rather large) I'll be hosting at my friend Marian's house. After I finish doing some housework this morning I'll go shopping for the refreshments I'm making. This month we read The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende. It was pretty good. Certainly not the best thing I've ever read, by a long shot, but entertaining enough. I'll review it later this week on the blog. I really need to start writing book reviews again, it's been long while since I posted one here. It's not been for lack of reading, but rather, lack of time. Book review blog posts take much longer to write than the ordinary what-I've-been-up-to sort.

Speaking of time, I'm grateful I finally have some to sit here with a cup of coffee and catch up with all of you this morning! For over a week now I've barely been able to find a few extra minutes to read blogs, much less comment on them. I can't wait to see what everyone's been up to!