Friday, February 28, 2014

What I'm Into: February 2014

Linking up with Leigh again.

I think February has lasted about six weeks!  In between snow shoveling sessions, we spent much of our time at home.


We watched a little of the Olympics coverage, but every night we sat on the couch and checked in for our new part-time job--watching Breaking Bad.

Breaking Bad
I think we have twelve episodes left.  This show has been so good.  All of the characters are flawed, and some of them are truly despicable, but I can't look away. 

Downton Abbey
I have to admit, this season didn't really live up to expectations for me.  I also probably didn't give it a fair shake.  For a few weeks, Downton was just filler until Sherlock came on.  I missed an episode--I was away and when I returned home, I learned that the DVR had failed to record it.  I also didn't get to watch the entire finale.  I will watch it all again soon.  It is the most delicious eye candy.  I also think maybe I should have been alive during the 1920's, because I just love the hats!

The Amazing Race
This show has been one of our Sunday night staples for years, and we were caught by surprise to learn that a new race has started.  We haven't yet caught up, but we will.  When this show first aired, I used to imagine that there was no way that Rob and I could run the race together.  I think that over the years, we have learned enough about how we each work--and how to communicate effectively with each other--that we could probably do it.  I would love to see a behind the scenes show about the race--how long does it really take the teams to clear customs before they can be filmed running out of the airport?

How I Met Your Mother
This has finally returned from its Olympics hiatus, and I am so happy about that.  I am not happy that the show is ending in March.  Did they cut the season short?  It feels like it's finally getting good.  I am going to miss this show.


The Avett Brothers--Magpie and the Dandelion
I found this at the library earlier this week.  I have listened to it once through so far, and I like what I hear.  I may be purchasing this one soon.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Purse Dump

I noticed yesterday that many blogs were linking up for a Purse Dump post.  This sounds like a fun idea, and I need all the post ideas I can get to make it through the 7 in 7 challenge, so here goes:

Here is the purse.  It's a Vera Bradley--I can't remember the name of the style, but I very much like it.  Its shape is similar to the hipster bag, but it has more compartments. This bag was a Christmas present, and even though it is springy-looking, I have been using it all winter.
As I moved all my stuff into this bag, I made a deliberate effort to pare down the amount of stuff I carry on a daily basis.  Years of toting a heavy purse are catching up with my neck and shoulders.

 So here it is:  the contents of my purse!  I can see that a couple of items are missing: my phone and my reading glasses.

I have my chapstick, two lipsticks, a small mirror, a hair elastic, and breath mints.  Then I have a small calendar, some lotion, several pens, some coupons from the paper, and my packet of store cards.  My leather zip bag holds ibuprofen, children's Tylenol, and tampons.  I have a cloth handkerchief and sunglasses, my wallet, my business cards, and some papers I printed out at work.  Also there is a plastic clip from my daughter's snow pants.  I took it to Joann to buy a replacement and never took the broken one out of my purse.  (I also never fixed the snow pants.)


How much money is in the wallet today?  Five dollars!  Enough singles so that the elementary school kids can buy lunch tomorrow!

 And this pink thing?  The coolest thing in my purse.  It holds all my store loyalty cards.  I found this in Target several years ago.  I think they still sell them--look in the office supplies area.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Power Hour

Recently Gretchen wrote about the concept of a Power Hour.

I love this idea--take all those small, nagging chores that need to be done and schedule them--one hour a week.  And it's so true that I feel better once the little, not-urgent-but-still-nagging things are done.

Here is my Power Hour list as of right now:

  • Start planning Caitlin's birthday party
  • Make a doctor's appointment for myself
  • Make a Goodwill donation
  • Take down the Valentine's decorations
  • Research phone upgrade costs
  • Look into opening another iTunes account
  • Upload pictures and videos from our cameras
  • Move things that don't belong in the laundry room

As you can see, some of these really are as simple as a phone call.  Some of them (the last one) will require a little more work on my part--but if I plan to spend one hour next Wednesday getting it done, it's much more likely to happen.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lessons from Winter 2014

I'm linking up with Jen this week.  She's doing a 7 posts in 7 days challenge, and I have accepted the challenge!
I think it's safe to say that most of America has had it up to here with winter.  This past weekend we saw temperatures above 50 degrees, and it was enough of a taste of spring to make me realize that I am starved for warmer weather!  However, I have spent enough winters north of the Mason-Dixon line now to know that we have many more weeks to go before we can start thinking about shedding the heavy coats and boots.
Each winter gives me the chance to relearn some lessons I should know by now.
Here are some examples:


Shovel early and often.
We don't own a snowblower.  After eight years in this house, with this driveway and this long stretch of sidewalk, we have decided to make peace with the shoveling.  Also, we make nice with our snowblower-owning neighbors who often help us out!  But even with help, we know that we have to get out there every few inches or so. 

Reward your kids who help with the shoveling.
Once they realize there's money to be had, they are much more willing to help.

And here are some new lessons that I have learned this winter:

Don't be cavalier about facing off against potholes.
Because you will eventually lose.

Pay for that road hazard coverage when you buy tires.
Because then you won't have to shell out as much when the potholes take one of your tires.

Actually plan for power outages.
Don't plan on a movie marathon in between sledding sessions; think of things you can do to stay occupied.  Think about how you will open the garage door, where you will put the refrigerated food, etc.

Stock up on batteries. 
A battery-powered radio does wonders to liven up a silent and dark house.

You can never have too many flashlights.
At least one per person.

Make sure you have matches to light the gas stovetop.
Then you can make coffee, soup, hot chocolate, chili, etc.

And remember, that even though it feels like this winter will never end, all things--even winter--eventually come to an end!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stack of Books

I'm linking up with Jen this week.  She's doing a 7 posts in 7 days challenge, and I have accepted the challenge!

Up first for me: this week's reading stack.

Some of these I found through Anne's Twitterature link up.  I just love reading through everyone's links.  I usually do it with a pen and paper nearby, and then I click over to the library website to place hold requests. 

A couple of these books were on the new release shelves.  I usually pick up at least one additional book when I'm in the library to pick up holds.  It's the best kind of shopping, really.

Today my oldest daughter has an orthodontist appointment, and for me that means a bonus reading hour!  I'm packing a couple of these books for this afternoon.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Stack of Books: February 2014

I'm linking up with Anne again. 

Here are some short reviews of what I've read so far this year:

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Epic, globe-trotting story of Alma Whittaker.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
I bought this for my son last Christmas.  He was in third grade at the time.  He loved it and passed it on to his cousin to read.  My daughter's school required all rising seventh and eighth graders to read this book over the summer.  I finally read it in January.  What a story.  I highly recommend for all ages.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Honestly?  Meh.  She had some concrete advice, but she mostly reviewed perceptions.  I didn't like her 50-50 views on marriage and parenting (because it's really 100-100).  I really bristled at the story about her friend/colleague who devised "tests" for her potential mates.

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett
I enjoy her novels very much.  I like her writing style,  I guess I like it enough to forgive her endings.  She doesn't like to wrap everything up for you.  It's like we're visiting the characters, and when we leave, they continue on with their lives.
A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

The ninth Maisie Dobbs installment, I think.  I read this out of order--I think I skipped #8 by accident, so I'll have to go back to it.  Once again, a finely written tale.  I really like Maisie Dobbs, and I really like London between the wars.  It's good for Downton fans, especially because Maisie has lived both upstairs and downstairs.