Monday, September 16, 2019

Another Random Catch Up Post

I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be meeting my blogging goal for this quarter.  Maybe next quarter.  Anyway, nothing terribly exciting has been going on since my last post, but here are the highlights. 

It has been HOT.  I like the warmer weather, but it has been hotter than I like it.  We’ve broken a few heat records this month.  I don’t want it to be cold, but I wouldn’t mind slightly cooler temperatures.

We had to replace our lawn mower and weed eater.  We went with battery operated ones, and have been very happy with them.  I absolutely hated our last lawn mower.  It weighed about a million pounds, and was extremely hard to start.  The battery one is so light weight, and you just push a button to start it.  It’s better for the environment, my back, and definitely better for my attitude.  The weed eater is the same way.  We actually bought two since we have a lot of weed eating to do in our yard, and each battery only lasts for an hour.  One is incredibly light weight, but not quite as tough.  It’s great for edging.  The other one is a little heavier and does a better job cutting thicker vines, but still a lot lighter than the gas powered weed eater. 

My only complaint is that the batteries all take a while longer to charge than it said they would.  We’ve mostly figured out a system to make sure we’re not waiting around for a battery to charge, and any inconvenience with charging a battery is still much better than dealing with the gas mower and weed eater. 

Our yard is on the smaller side, about a quarter of an acre, so we don’t need that much mowing time.  It might be a different story if you had a huge yard, but if you have a smaller yard, I highly recommend going the battery route for your lawn mower and weed eater. 

I swam a mile last weekend.  I’ve been working on increasing my number of laps.  Last Sunday we had plenty of time, and I decided to go for it.  35.2 laps in the pool at our gym is a mile.  I swam 36.  My time was embarrassingly bad, but I did it.  My arms were pretty sore the next day, so I was glad it was a rest day.  I haven’t done it since then.  We don’t have quite as much time during the week, so my lap count is always lower during the week.  We had a lot going on this past week, so we took yesterday off.  I’m hoping to do it again this Sunday, and hopefully improve my time a little.

Howard has been diagnosed with asthma.  It isn’t severe, and we’re hoping to get it under control so it doesn’t become severe.  He sounded wheezy, and when we took him to the vet she confirmed that he has asthma.  We started Howard off on an inhaler, but he didn’t tolerate it well at all.  Getting stressed out over the inhaler can trigger an asthma attack, so we stopped using it. 

Our vet put him on a bronchodilator medication and steroids.  The steroids are temporary, just to help get it under control.  Steroids can cause weight gain (among other issues) and since Howard is a rotund fellow our vet doesn’t want him on steroids long term.  The bronchodilator will be the long term treatment.  It’s only a quarter of a pill, so Howard doesn’t even seem to notice it in his pill pockets.  He loves the tuna and cheese flavored pill pockets, so doesn’t seem to be bothered by taking his medication.  It’s still early to tell, but his breathing sounds a little better. 

It has been a little over a year since we brought Charlie and Mortimer home as our Hurricane Florence fosters.  I think we all knew how that was going to end.  And I’m so glad they’re ours.  They
were both super cuddly yesterday, and we all enjoyed a lazy Sunday at home. 

So how have things been for you?  Has it cooled off, or is it still really hot? 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

“The Little, Nameless, Unremebered Acts of Kindness and Love”

A friend recently posted this Wordsworth quote on Facebook, and talked about how she had noticed a lot of small, generous actions lately, and how they made the world a little brighter.

I wasn’t familiar with the quote, so I looked it up. 

“The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”  William Wordsworth.

The comments on the Facebook post talked about how true goodness lies in the small, selfless acts of kindness that happen every day. 

I love the quote, and some of the comments were thought provoking.  It’s so easy to get hung up on the big picture, and to feel like the small things are insignificant to the point of being meaningless. 

But the small acts do matter.  Whether it’s sharing an umbrella, giving someone a genuine compliment, or holding the elevator for someone.  We all have those days where it seems like nothing we do is right, and everything goes wrong.  Doesn’t it help when someone is unexpectedly kind?  Even if it’s a tiny little thing.  You never know who else is having one of those days, and how much a small thing that seems insignificant to you may mean to them. 

I don’t really have a picture to go with this, and you know that typically means I share a cat picture, so here’s one of Mortimer looking especially cute. 

Have you seen or benefited from any little acts lately?

Monday, July 29, 2019

We Have Blackberries!

I posted the same title a little over a year ago, when we first realized that Duke hadn’t killed the blackberry bush.  I’m happy to report that not only has the original bush survived another year, but we now have two more small blackberry bushes that we didn’t plant.


I’m not sure how the two new ones got there.  They’re spread out along the fence between us and our next door neighbors.  They’re sort of in between the fences, and growing over both fences into both yards.  Our neighbors don’t mind; they’re happy to have blackberries. 


I hope we’ll have even more surprise blackberry bushes next year.  I do love blackberries!

So what about you?  Are you growing any berries?   Do you have any surprise berries, or anything else, growing in your yard?


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Few More Random Things

My goal of blogging three times a week for the next quarter isn’t off to the best start, but there’s still time to turn that around this week.  In the meantime, here’s another post with a few random things that aren’t quite enough for their own post.

It was HOT here over the weekend.  I like the warm weather, but it was even hotter than I like it. The air conditioner wasn’t able to keep up for most of Saturday; it stayed about four degrees warmer than it was set for.  Even Duke decided it was better to be inside with the air conditioning than frolicking around the yard. 


We finally got around to watching Mary Poppins Returns on Saturday.  I know it has been out for a while, but we hadn’t seen it.  I absolutely loved it!  I think they did a great job with it.  I loved it how it’s not just a remake of the old movie, but that it also doesn’t detract from the original in any way.  And I think the songs are just as catchy.  I’ve had a few of them stuck in my head for the past few days.  If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth watching. 

We had plans to grill out for dinner on Saturday night, but it was just too hot, so we decided on cold foods (salad, wraps, and fruit) for dinner.   Sunday was supposed to be just as hot as Saturday, but we really wanted to grill out, so we decided to grill out in the morning.  We got up early, and had the grill going by 8:00 a.m.  It’s a little weird to smell grilled chicken that early, but it beats feeling like you’re being grilled along with the food later in the day. 

We also tried a new barbeque sauce from Aldi.  Being a South Carolina girl, I’m all about the mustard based barbeque sauce.  Nick hates mustard, though, and any mustard based barbeque sauce you can find in North Carolina really isn’t worth eating (please, please, trust me on this one, and don’t judge mustard based barbeque until you try it in South Carolina), and I’m not the biggest fan of tomato based barbeque sauce.  Normally we just skip barbeque sauce since it’s hard for us to agree on, but I saw this one in Aldi last week, and thought it looked good. 

It’s delicious!  No other barbeque sauce will ever be quite as good as South Carolina mustard based, but this is a fairly close second.  Nick loved it, too, so we’ve finally found a barbeque sauce we agree on.  We went back to Aldi on Sunday and bought a few more bottles of it.  I highly recommend trying it if you have the chance. 


We’ve made the happy discovery that the gym we go to is practically a ghost town on Sunday morning, so we went and spent some time in the pool.  It feels a lot more like fun than exercise when you go to the pool on a hot day.  I did 22 laps, which was a two lap improvement over my highest lap count to date. 

So what about you?  How has the past week been for you?  Have you had unusually high temperatures?

Monday, July 15, 2019

Quarterly Goals

It’s definitely safe to say that I missed the chance to write any new year or goal for the year posts this year.  I didn’t post anything until April.  It has been a weird year; not bad, just kind of different.  I like the idea of tracking things, though, and the blog is a great place to do it.  I already keep up with quite a few of my recipes here.  Why not keep up with everything else here?

I recently saw an idea for tracking goals on a quarterly basis.  I love the idea, so I’m going to give it a try.  I mostly like the categories she uses at She Picks Up Pennies, but not all of them apply to my blog, so I’m changing them up a little. 

Here are my third quarter, or July - September, 2019 goals:

 Home:

Clutter has been an ongoing battle for us.  We actually started the year off great, and made a lot of progress in getting rid of things we don’t use.  Unfortunately, though, we’ve slowed down lately in our efforts to conquer our clutter. 

I definitely need to go through my clothes again, so I plan to do that this quarter.  Beyond that, conquering the clutter is a little harder to quantify.  We’ve gotten rid of a lot of clutter and excess things, so have small, random things left.  We’ve also started to reach the point where taming the clutter doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of things, but it does mean we need to implement some better storage systems, and generally organize some things. 

Health:

I still need to lose more weight, so that’s an ongoing goal.  I’m getting somewhat close to a weight that isn’t where I need to be, but that would be a real milestone for me.  I thought about setting reaching that weight as my goal for this quarter, but I’m trying to break old/bad habits when it comes to weight loss (and gain in my case!), so I’m choosing less focus on a number (though, if I hit that number, I will be thrilled!), and more focus on some of my habits. 

My exercise of choice is the treadmill and swimming laps.  I haven’t done any strength building or weight lifting exercises, so this quarter I plan to incorporate some upper body weight lifting exercises into my weekly exercise.  I’d also like to increase my lap distance.  35.2 laps in the pool at our gym is a mile.  My personal best at one time is currently 20 laps.  I’d like to get that up to at least 30. 

Food is of course a huge part of health, and of losing weight.  My approach so far has been trying to make healthier substitutions for most things.  That seems to be mostly working, so I plan to continue that.  I also need to work on incorporating more vegetables. 

Environment:  

This will most likely be a much longer post or two at some point, but I have a lot of room for improvement here.  I’m finally beginning to realize that sudden, major changes don’t work for me with anything.  I do much better with small, consistent modifications that become habits. 

So my goals for this quarter are to switch from paper napkins and paper towels to cloth napkins and reusable cleaning rags.  Realistically I don’t expect to ever completely stop buying and using paper towels, but I think I can drastically reduce the amount.  My other goal is to compost more.  I’ve never been very consistent when it comes to composting, so I plan to become much more diligent about making sure that compostable items actually get composted rather than trashed. 

Personal/Miscellaneous:

I definitely plan to read more.  Over the years the time I spend watching TV has crept up, which automatically leads to less reading.  My goodreads goal for the year is 52 books; a book a week.  I’m a few books behind, but it’s definitely a goal I can still make, so I plan to be on schedule with number of books read this quarter. 

I also need to focus on reading some nonfiction.  I love fiction, and it will always be my first choice, but I think some nonfiction would also be beneficial.  I read a lot of historical fiction, so I think I may start to supplement that with some nonfiction related to the historical fiction.

I’m also still trying to learn to crochet.  My progress is very slow, but I’m enjoying it.  I think I finally have the single crochet figured out.  I’m currently trying to learn the half double crochet.  At the moment it feels like I will never get it, but as Nick pointed out, I said that about chaining and the single crochet, and I seem to be able to do those now.  My crochet goal for the quarter is to learn two more stitches. 

Blogging:

I’ve barely blogged at all this year, and I miss it.  It seems to always be one of the first things I let go, but I think I’m happier when I write and post on a more regular basis.  My blogging goal for this quarter is to post at least three times a week. 

In looking over my list I kind of feel like the human version of a fixer upper house!  I definitely have a lot to work on. 

As I’m sure you noticed, the pictures aren’t really related to this post.  I took them earlier this year when those flowers were blooming, but never got around to posting them before now.   They’re late, but still pretty.

So what about you?  How do you track your goals and the progress you’re making on them?  Are you working on anything in particular right now?