Keep on Keepin’ On…

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Just minutes prior to writing this post, I read a post from Roni’s blog which really hit home with me.  Every weekend she provides a weekend quote.  You know how those go…usually you can find some way that they relate to your life.  Well, the one she had this week, which was actually from another person’s blog a while back, is so true for me right at this point in my life.

“My response is my responsibility.”

Kind of similar to, “you may not be able to control what is happening to you in your day to day life, but at least you can control your response to it” (or something like that…I’m sure I’ve heard it MANY times in the past).

But SO TRUE.  We can complain all we want that life is not to our liking, that it’s not fair, that other people seem to have life so much easier or can at least deal with stress better, but you know what, we ALL have the chance to determine how we approach anything that happens to us.  IT MAY NOT BE EASY (and often it is not), but there is that choice.  That aspect of free will.  And without even knowing it, I think I did that today.  Remember how I was saying that I was so down and depressed.  I hate it when I feel that way.  And I know that the people around me aren’t that much of a fan of me when I feel like that.  So today, I just got up and started doing stuff…keeping myself busy.  And just attacking what needed to be done.  And in the process of doing stuff, I actually felt better.  I didn’t want to think about it, lest the good feelings start to go away, but now, after being busy all day and accomplishing so much, I really feel good.   And I realized that I didn’t need anybody else to make me feel that way.  That it is MY responsibility.  Yeah, it’s great when I can have fun with other people, but I shouldn’t depend on others to make me feel happy.  So I was glad that I was able to enjoy myself today in the simple tasks that I did around the house.

So what did I do today? (although you may not be interested, or may not think what I did constitutes anything that great, for me, I like to list what I did so then I can actually see how productive I was compared to the days when I didn’t really do anything)

*THREE loads of laundry (towels and sheets)

*made up the bed with fresh sheets

*cleaned the 1/2 bath and full bath (and cleaned out the cat litter)

*did TWO sinkfuls of dishes

*made some homemade cookies (recipe to follow)–thus the extra dishes!

*cleaned off the dining room table and put out new spring-like placemats and centerpiece

100_1362

Bamboo placemats with a red and yellow painted bowl

*cleaned the area of the coffee table that was littered with my junk!–SERIOUSLY!!

*made lunch (cheesy pasta and a salad)

That’s probably about it.  But it felt good.

I started the day with a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts  Cinnamon Spice coffee and a cinnamon bun that we picked up yesterday at the store…super yum!  I have to learn to make these.

100_1360

Put it in the microwave for 30 seconds…warm and delish!

I read a bit of my book while I was relaxing at this point.  I actually had my second cup of coffee sitting outside at our picnic table.  I think the temperature was around 40 degrees.  But it felt good to me.  I love being in the fresh air and hearing the birds chirping!

Okay, so for the cookies.  I had a hankering to do some more baking today.  So I looked in a cookbook I haven’t used much yet, How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman, and found this recipe for Oatmeal Apple Cookies.  After looking at the recipe I saw that I had enough ingredients for half a batch (we really need to do some shopping again!)

So here’s the recipe (p. 839)

(this is the recipe cut in half!!!!)

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats (not instant)

3/4 cup chopped dried apple (I used one Red Delicious apple that was looking a little scary!–just chopped into small pieces)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cream the butter and sugars together.  Add the egg and beat until well blended (I did all my blending by hand today…I figured that’s the way they did it in the good ol’ days, so why not me?!).  Combine the flour, oats, apples, cinnamon, salt and baking posder in a bowl.  Alternating with the milk, add the dry ingredients to the batter by hand, a little at a time, stirring to blend.  Stir in the vanilla.  Put tablespoon-size mounds about 3 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake until lightly browned, 12-15 minutes (mine were PERFECT at 12 minutes).  Cool for about 2 minutes on the sheets before using a spatula to transfer to a rack to finish cooling.  Store in a tightly covered container at room temp for no more than a day or two.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies–half a batch made 22 cookies.  You can add any fruit that you might want–raisins, cranberries, dates, etc.  Also you can add coconut, carrot, peanut butter.  It’s really one of those recipes that you can adjust to your likes.  But this first time I wanted to make them just as the recipe stated.  I have not had one yet!  I will let you know how they are after having one for dinner!

100_1361

The finished product…

Just an interesting little fact…I will have been a vegetarian for THREE years coming up this July!

Well, tonight I have to go to work.  Surprisingly, I’m not even minding that I have to go.  I’m on for two days and then off for two, then on for two then off for three.  That’s as far as  my schedule goes.  I’m sure I’ll have a new schedule when I get to work tonight.  Hopefully it will be a good one!

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Published in: on March 21, 2009 at 4:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

First Day of Spring!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Today is officially the first day of spring–so that means (at least on the calendar!) NO MORE WINTER!!

We got home late last night from the concert (about 2 in the morning).  So I managed to sleep in again till about noon.

Kimm came home about 12:10 and I was surprised, because that is early for her for lunch–turns out she had a bad headache at work and her boss said she could come home after she finished her inventory.  So she’s been home all afternoon.  Which was VERY nice!  But we didn’t really do much–she took a nap (and I think I did too!)

Tonight we went out and picked up our favorite pizza–plain cheese at the Pizzaria Regina at the mall.  They have a special Monday through Friday where you can get 2 large cheese for $19.99.  So now we are all set for lunch or dinner for tomorrow.

Just a relaxing night all around.  Reading with HGTV on in the background.  Madeline is so cute, cuddling between us on the couch.

Hopefully tomorrow will be more productive.

Published in: on March 20, 2009 at 10:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just another day

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I really have been in quite a depressed mood lately.  And I’m not really sure why.  I wish I knew why that was.  Sometimes I feel so excited and happy and ready for anything that life brings me and then there are days when I just want to crawl into bed, I can’t seem to get motivated, and even the smallest chores seem momentous.

All I can hope is that this slump will end soon.  I hate it too, because I had a nice long stretch of days off and I really wanted to enjoy them to the fullest and instead I just feel so down. I think maybe a big part of why I am down is that I feel lonely??  I don’t really have anybody that I hang out with at all.  The only time I have contact with people is when I’m at work, when Kimm is home or when I make the effort to call someone.

Anyways, I did what I usually do when I feel like this…just try to do something to get myself going.  I did three loads of laundry today and will have to do more tomorrow (towels and sheets).  Also did the HUGE sink of dishes–it got away from me again.  Fixed the lunch and dinner meals.  Read some blogs.  Finished my book–which I really enjoyed and highly recommend although it probably had a little to do with my down mood–it’s not a very upbeat book.

Tonight Kimm and I are going out to a Holyoke bar to listen to the Big Bad Bollucks play again.  Maybe getting out will brighten my mood.

The good thing is that tomorrow is always a new and different day!

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 7:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hump Day for most…

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

If I was working a regular, Monday through Friday, 9-5 job, today would be my hump day.  But since I have four days off, it is the halfway point of my days off 😦

All in all, I kind of just felt blah today.  First of all, I didn’t feel very rested.  The cats had their free reign in the bedroom last night and Charlie was pretty good, just lying on the bed, although at one point he did try attacking Kimm’s feet!  Madeline was in and out, up and down on the bed.  Turns out Kimm didn’t sleep well at all and she was really tired going into work today.  I got up with her to have breakfast and I found I was really tired too.  Fortunately I was able to go back to bed, but I had a hard time sleeping except for an hour or two.

I decided to make a new recipe for lunch, to use up some of our food.  I made Vegetarian Shephard’s Pie.  The “meat” base was one Morningstar veggie burger, cooked on the George Foreman, and then cut up and mixed with a bit of sauteed onion in a pan.  The next layer was simply corn.  And then I made garlic mashed potatoes for the top–just a few red potatoes (4 small) with one bulb garlic–cook until soft–then mash, mixing with salt and pepper, celery salt and some garlic salt, Country Crock and milk to desired consistency and taste.  Was really tasty in a down-home kind of way. Oh yeah, with chocolate pudding for dessert–yum!

100_1358

Oh so good…

100_1357

Chocolate Creaminess…

I tried to make a loaf of white bread today from a new recipe and somehow the bread did NOT rise.  Very frustrating.  But I didn’t want to waste all the ingredients so I baked it anyway.  It made for a DENSE loaf, but still incredibly tasty, especially warm out of the oven.  Kimm didn’t complain!  It was wonderful paired with some homemade chili–no measuring this time.  Just some sauteed onion in olive oil, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of kidney beans, and some chili seasoning and cumin powder to taste.  Added some water to give it some bulk and then at the end, added some eggless noodles.  I love how it condenses to a thick liquid as it cooks.

Tonight we paid the remaining bills for the month.  Ugh!  I hate paying out money.  Even though I ultimately feel good, knowing that everything is paid, I hate to see my balance go down.  The good thing is that I still have two more paychecks for this month so it should build up again by the end of the month.

I’ve been reading my Jodi Picoult book (Handle with Care) and am more than halfway done!  It’s addicting.  I love how she can make you both love and hate characters at different times in the book.  Her characters feel so real–they have feelings that you may often have, but don’t think that others do.  Which makes you think that if she has characters that think this way, what you think is probably pretty darn normal.

I can’t believe how fast the night goes when Kimm comes home at night.  I sometimes feel pretty bored by myself during the day, and the time sometimes drags, but at night, it always seems to go by in a flash.

Tomorrow I really need to attack the laundry.

100_13592

I leave you with my “voodoo” doll sitting atop of Kimm’s hat (I had received this doll as a gift from one of my friends…you place it in water and then it grows…well it got about 3 inches tall, then I took it out of the water, and now it has shrunk back down…I think it’s really cute…it’s a permanent part of our kitchen now!)

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 10:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

St. Paddy’s Day Stash!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hope everyone is having a WONDERFUL St. Patrick’s Day!

I had a lovely evening as Kimm and I decided to hit the library since we both had a few books that came in.  Of course I caught up on my People magazine 🙂

Then I picked up a bunch of books that I’m excited to read…

First a couple of gardening books:

Reader’s Digest Beginner’s Guide to Gardening

The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch

Hopefully these books will give me some good pointers and inspiration for our future garden!

Then some cookbooks of course (I feel the need to try out some new recipes)…

500 Treasured Country Recipes by Martha Storey and Friends (Mouth Watering, Time-Honored, Tried and True, Handed-Down, Soul-Satisfying Dishes–Whew! What a title!!)

Mr. Food’s Meals in Minutes

I also had two cookbooks I got last time I was at the library that I still haven’t had a chance to look at…

What Can I Bring ? Cookbook (Over 200 great-tasting, easy-to-tote dishes for parties, picnics, potlucks, backyard barbecues, holiday dinners, and any get-together) by Anne Byrn (“The Cake-Mix Doctor”)

Easy Everyday Favorites (recipes from allrecipes.com, the world’s #1 cooking website)

And then my new fiction–a few of these I only have 2 WEEKS to read so I better get going since they are all very thick–good thing I like to read!

Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult (love her!) *2 weeks

Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy *2 weeks

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond

The Girls by Lori Lansens

And last (but not least!)…

Object Lessons by Anna Quindlen

So…as you can see, I have a lot cut out for me.  But I have the next four days off so I will make quite a dent I’m sure.  I’ve just ALWAYS loved to read.  If I don’t have a fiction book I’m currently reading I feel like something is wrong.  My dad was a librarian and some of the best times of my life I can recall was when we would head over to the library and I could lose myself in the shelves, looking for new books to read.  I still remember when I would check out the librarians would say, “Are you going to read all of those?”  And I would.  When we went on summer vacations I would generally bring at least 15-20 books! Yep, I was the dork on the beach reading 🙂

What is your all time favorite book? (or one of your favorites)

I think this is very difficult question…I love so many books!  But a few that just come to mind right now are…Memoirs of a Geisha, Summer Sisters, The Laura Ingalls Wilder series, My Sister’s Keeper, Anne of Green Gables, The Kite Runner, Where the Heart Is…oh and I’m sure there are SO many more!

I have to say we didn’t do anything for St. Patrick’s Day today!  But we are going to have a bit of ice cream tonight 🙂 — NOT green (fortunately!)  But can I say again how much I love the warmer weather!  Which will bring GREEN all around us–green grass…green leaves…green plants…

Published in: on March 17, 2009 at 9:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gray Day/Gray Mood

Monday, March 16, 2009

Last night at work was BUSY!  I had two admissions within three hours which kept me on my toes.  And lots of people with pain management, which will always keep you hopping.  But I can’t really complain because I was tired and when I’m busy, the night definitely goes by much quicker.

When I was driving home the sun was out in full force, but now the sky is a gray and it kind of looks like rain.  My mood is also gray (or maybe I should say BLACK).  I try not to complain too much, but I just have to say, I really wish I had a boss who was just plain NICER.  Why do people have to be so unpleasant?

Take for example, this morning.  I stopped in her office to ask her if my vacation had been approved.  She said, “Well everyone’s requests have been put into the mailboxes already–you did fill out a request form right.”  Me…I’m like, out loud–“We have mailboxes?  And we have to fill out a request form?  Not just mark the week we wanted on the master chart?”  She responded in so many more words that yes there was an email sent out and you should check them often…they are by where you pick up your checks.  Okay, so I did not know this even though I do vaguely remember reading the email.  And then she said something along the lines of “the vacation policy about putting in the request was posted by where the sign up chart was because there was an issue last year of people being confused…you should always read the bulletin board because there are lots of important things there…however, if you submit the request now you probably can get it.”

First of all, if there is confusion about a way to ask for vacation–DON’T post it on the bulletin board–SEND a FREAKING email.  So everyone gets it and the memo on the board doesn’t get torn down or get lost.  SOOOOO frustrating.  REALLY.  So I filled out the request form and now I must wait.  And hopefully get approved.  Which I should, but STILL.  This is when my parents are coming to visit and really, what kind of work place makes it so you have to not only request the week you want off on a check off sheet but also submit another written request??

It’s just plain silly to me.  And irritating.  And frustrating.

Next year dear boss, please send an email reminder.

And in the meantime, I’m going to be looking in the classifieds on my days off.  It’s about time I experienced another niche of nursing.  Somewhere where the boss is nice and it’s much easier to request your vacation.

And now, since I can barely keep my eyes open to type this post, it’s off to bed for me.  Adios!

Published in: on March 16, 2009 at 9:09 am  Leave a Comment  

A Spring Walk…

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Even though this is my weekend off, I switched a day with a co-worker so she could spend the day with her son before he leaves (he just graduated from Boot Camp and is a full-fledged Marine–I guess he got about a week off to visit his family before having to report for duty).  So, unfortunately, I have to go in tonight.  Which means that in about 1/2 hour I’ll need to get into the shower and then eat something. Oh, and just as a short recap–we had a GREAT time at the Big Bad Bollucks concert and found out that they are playing again in Holyoke on Thursday so we are planning on seeing them again.  It was just nice to hang out with friends again! (darn that winter for keeping everyone in their houses!)

But, back to today–I’m glad to say that Kimm and I got out and enjoyed the GORGEOUS spring day.  It is currently 58 degrees!  With balmy breezes.  Honestly, my favorite kind of day.  We had gone out to pick up a few things from the grocery store (which was packed by the way…I hate shopping when there are a lot of people around!)  This was only the second time we have gone shopping this month so I think we are doing fairly well on using what we have and cutting down our grocery bill.  We had the windows down and the music playing while we were driving around.  When we came back I said, “How do you feel about going for a walk?” and Kimm said, “Sure.”  This is kind of so unlike us.  We basically tend to stay in the house, but I knew that I would regret it if I didn’t get out and BE in the day.

So we went down our street and came to a dead end, but then there was a path in the woods and so we were adventurous and decided to follow it.  Turns out there is a little stream and a couple paths in the woods.

100_1343

Kimm on the path–notice the shorts?–that’s how you KNOW it’s nice out!

100_1347

Me, looking over the stream–some of it’s still icy

Of course one of the paths led to a drinking spot–a bunch of beer cans thrown around, probably by underage kids–I HATE it when people leave things a mess like that.  I mean, if you’re going to drink, at least pick up your mess.

We couldn’t go as far as we wanted to explore on the path because it became quite wet and would have been messy (we didn’t have the best foot gear on for that!).

100_1349

LOTS of water!

And we didn’t feel like crossing this either 🙂

100_1350

Imagine if we fell–then we would have been REALLY wet!

So we headed back and took a street that runs parallel with the street that we drive down to get to our house.  It was a good walk–probably about 30 minutes or so.

Then we did a little perusal of our yard when we were done and decided that we pretty much want to take out all the bushes and stuff running around our back fence.  It really is a mess.  We’d like to start from fresh and just put in what we like.  There is going to be a home show coming up in two weeks, on my weekend off.  Hopefully we’ll be able to get some ideas there for the yard–maybe having a landscaper come in and take out some of the “harder to remove” tree/plant stuff.  And we’ll have to get some new grass going where the pool was in the backyard–the grass is pretty much dead there.   It will be a project that may not all get completed this summer, but then, we do have time 🙂  But if we can get the old bushes/trees out that will be a great first step.  Because we are also thinking of replacing the fence to give a little more privacy–as much as we like the white picket fence, ALL of our neighbors can see into a good portion of the yard…mostly because there are two large portions of the yard that are on the side of the house, and a smaller portion that is in back of the house.

It’s nice to have all these plans!

100_1353

BUDS!! (on the trees in our yard…we still don’t know what kind of tree this is!)notice the BRILLIANT BLUE sky!

Hope everyone had a wonderful day!

Published in: on March 15, 2009 at 4:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Say Hello!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It’s a lazy Saturday for which I’m grateful.  Kimm and I were able to sleep in until 11 am!  Thankfully, because the kitties were in the bathroom for the night…Feels SO good to be rested.  Tonight we are going out to hear the Big Bad Bollucks (basically Irish drinking music!) play their annual St. Paddy Day show at the Ironhorse in Northampton.  There are a bunch of us going and it should be a lot of fun–we’re meeting up first for drinks and snacks so we are properly ready before the show!

So for today, I thought…wouldn’t it be nice to get to know some of my readers?  I think so. So, if you feel inclined, which I hope you do (!), please leave a comment today, to say hello!  And also, just for fun, answer the following questions to reveal a bit about yourself…nothing too personal (I don’t think) so don’t worry.

Questions…

Are you a homebody? Or do you prefer a night on the town?

Do you like a home-cooked meal?  Or going out to your favorite restaurant?

Which is best–winter or summer?

Reading a book or watching a movie?

What is your FAVORITE food?

Also, if you have your own blog, please let me know and I’ll check it out!

Hope everyone has a SUPER fun Saturday!

Published in: on March 14, 2009 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Another Friday the 13th

Friday, March 13, 2009

In case you didn’t notice, this is the second month in a row with a Friday the 13th (last month was the day before Valentine’s Day).  Not a very exciting day thus far.  I pretty much slept all day except for getting up and having lunch with Kimm.  Charlie was so cute–he slept with me on the bed all day!

I don’t know what it is, but lately I really haven’t had any real “cravings” for what to eat.  Nothing is really appealing.  Makes it difficult to figure out what to have to eat for lunch and dinner.  As much as I love food, sometimes I get frustrated about mixing it up or eating the same old thing.  So it was a nice SURPRISE when Kimm brought home our favorite grilled veggie grinder from Paramount Pizza.  So yummy–onions, green peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and American cheese on a toasted roll.  We share a 16 inch, with steak fries on the side.

I believe tonight we are going to go over to Kimm’s brothers and first go to BJs to look for a NEW dvd player and then watch some Friday the 13th movies–can you believe I have never watched any of these???  I hope I don’t have any scary dreams.  I used to have nightmares just from watching The Incredible Hulk!  I know, I’m a dork 🙂

Published in: on March 13, 2009 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bye Bye Ellen…(at least for now)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

That’s code for “our dvd player bit the dust.”

When I called Kimm last night from work she informed me that the dvd player stopped working.

This was actually very strange because I had just used it to watch an episode of “Ellen” (Christmas gift!) while I was eating before work–with NO problems!

But I think, in hindsight, we could see that this was soon to happen.  We’ve noticed a strange humming several times when we put in a dvd.  There were several times with Netflix movies where the picture kind of froze up for a while–we kept blaming the Netflix discs 🙂  And then there was the every once in a while “disc error…loading…loading” issue where the disc would not be “read” and begin playing.

So now at the top of our “to do” list for the weekend includes looking around and buying a new dvd player.  Thankfully they are not as expensive as they once were.

In other exciting news…both our gas and our electric bills went down drastically this month–both by about $60.  YEAH!!!  I know that the weather has been getting warmer, which makes a big difference in the gas bill–but we were utilizing the digital thermostat more, turning it down when I was sleeping during the day on my days of working.  And as far as the electric bill–we haven’t used the dishwasher ONCE since our last bill and try to only turn on lights when absolutely needed.

It was nice to see our efforts so nicely and monetarily rewarded 🙂

One more day of work and then three off!  Actually last night at work was not bad.  I actually didn’t mind being a nurse last night.  Sure, there were issues, but I KNEW how to handle everything and the night was busy, but not mind-blowing FRUSTRATINGLY busy.  I can’t wait to get my paycheck tomorrow because I had 8 hours of overtime on my last check.

And another good thing–Kimm did my taxes and it seems like I will be getting back approximately $2500.  NICE.  I’m thinking that some of that might go to a nice patio set for the three season porch!

Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 9:11 am  Leave a Comment