So I know I know, it’s been forever since I’ve blogged. The past few weeks have been chaotic, I’ve just been drowning in work. This is the first weekend I’ve had to actually breath and relax a little for a long time.
I think winter has finally ended for us, even though we once again got jack squat in terms of snow. We had a few days in the 80s recently, but now we are back to more springlike temps in the high 50s. Hopefully we will stay with nice weather. I’m sick of cloudy rainy skies, which we’ve had way too much of as of late.
Now that spring is here I’m already thinking about my yard and garden, which of course is a mess as I let it get out of control in the fall. I’ve already sprayed weed killer, and mowed today. My entire garden area will have to be weed-whacked when everything dies out. I think I’m also going to lay mulch down in it this year to keep weeds from growing there this and next year.
The grass I so desperately tried to plant last year was a partial success. It did keep in the backyard, but in the front yard the summer heat just killed it last year. I’m going to have to start seeding now so it’s strong enough by time summer hits this year.
Perhaps this year I’ll finally get a nice looking front and backyard? That would be nice. Then one day I’ll also get those guest rooms in my house finally cleaned out and arranged too . . . Actually that should be a major priority this summer as the dresser I use is collapsing and it’s time to get new ones and throw it out. Unfortunately I have more than just clothes in it. It and the closet in that room have a lot that just need to be junked . . . I predict a lot of trips to the town dump this summer.
Last weekend John and I attended a get together with some of the people I’ve met through local paranormal investigations. It was a small, invite only party. Therefore I was thrilled I got invited.
It was a very chill and relax evening. I knew some of the people, it was nice meeting others I had heard about but never got to meet. The hosts set up a lot of fun games for us to play. We did a seance, but not much happened there. We also did smoke billets, which is holding cards over a flame to see if an image appears. That was a lot of fun. I seemed to get a lot of animals on mine, so people thought. I should have taken photos of my cards but didn’t.
It was a potluck, and we found out after arriving that there was a contest for the best dish. Oh lordy! Everyone said they would have done so much more had they known that. I made sloppy joes (from scratch!) and ended up winning. My prize was a spirit trumpet. It’s an old spiritualist tool that was used at seances. It’s supposed to move, float around, and let ghosts talk through it. In reality the old spiritualists had tricks to make it move and talk. Still, it’s a fun little prop. I plan to put it in the haunted room and see if our resident ghost moves it around.
So I’ve found myself in a social media slump as of late, though I’m not exactly sure that’s a bad thing? I had given up Twitter a long time ago because it was just too addicting. I had it linked to my Facebook and basically I was just sharing and posting too much. I actually still have a Twitter account, I just use it to read famous people and get news rather than put a million tweets out there about what I’m doing at every waking moment. But even now I find myself not checking it as much as I used to. Damn I thought I was bad, but famous people Tweet a lot! When I do finally check on it, I can’t keep up. Maybe I need to unfollow some people who like to constantly retweet their fans every single praises about them . . . and their crappy attempts at music . . .
As of late I’ve really found myself not having much fun on Facebook either. I’m beginning to think it needs to be renamed Politicsbook. Now I will admit, I have gotten on my politic high horse on Facebook numerous times. But as the election rolled around in the fall, I vowed not to do it unless I felt I had to speak about something. I figured that people would quickly get sick of politics, I knew I was at that time. Every time I saw things that pissed me off in my feed I posted silly photos of unicorns farting rainbows or something equally as silly. However since the election it’s just been non-stop politics on there, or at least in my feed. The shooting in Newtown, as tragic as it was, also has just spurned a million and one gun posts as well. I mean some people do nothing but post nasty political posts all day long . . . It must take a lot of energy to hate Obama that much! I was no fan of George W., but lord I didn’t sit around all day posting about him and sharing slanderous and hateful stories and photos. I know I should unfriend people who push my buttons like this, but that makes me feel bad. I do my best to just hide their feeds, but some post so much it still gets through! This weekend with the Oscars was another great example. My newsfeed got flooded because Michelle Obama appeared at the very end. Nobody had anything nice to say about her either mind you. I have thus for the past few weeks just stopped posting on Facebook. I actually deleted all my photos, even all my personal info, and all my wall posts from this year and even several past years. It was my plan to delete every wall post I made to give me a fresh start, but that got tiring! I only had 1 1/2 years left to delete believe it or not. Facebook doesn’t make it easy, you have to go through one by one by one to do it. The only thing I’ve done on Facebook as of late is change my cover photos to silly things. I haven’t gone as far as deleting it all together as I do have friends I have no other way to keep in touch with outside of Facebook, and I do like to still interact with others on their walls. But I’ve taken a break from posting updates of my own. Mainly because I want to post very not-nice things like “Jesus Christ I’m glad I don’t own a gun, because after having to read all these fucking posts about people thinking Obama’s coming for their guns, I’d probably shoot myself in the head with it!”
The one social media I do still love is Instagram. I think what I like about it best is that it’s just photos!
Where am I going with all this? Well I have been trying to find some ways to revitalize my blog. I seem to often be at a loss of words when it comes to writing actual blog posts. Clearly that’s not the case with this one! I do have some fun things coming up the next few weekends that I think will make fun posts. A Broadway play, Monstermania and a party with my paranormal friends But once again I’ve been wondering about incorporating apps on my phone into the blog somehow. I opened the Tumblr Blog in part because it easily incorporated a lot of the apps. I can pull the Tumblr posts into here, but I’d prefer to keep the two blogs separate: it for funny photos and this for actual text posts (and the occasional photo blog post). Hence I’ve been wondering if I should start using Twitter again, sparingly mind you, to give some short quick updates on things since I have trouble writing long posts nowadays.
One thing I did manage to work into the side bar tonight was Instagram. I replaced the old Webcam block that I no longer used with an Instagram plug-in with whatever the latest image I’ve taken on my Instagram is. Yay! Photo sharing is fun!
So with the new year I knew I had to start working on getting back into shape, losing weight, and monitoring the blood pressure. It’s still high, I’m on two medications, and they don’t seem to be lowering it enough. I go back to the doctors at the beginning of March where I expect to be put on new medication honestly.
I know I really need to just monitor what I eat and exorcise more regularly. That will probably help more than the medicine, and even the doctor said that was the best thing I could do at my age. I went back to using an app on my phone to make a food journal so I can be more aware not only of calories, but salt/sodium. Plus it’s just a good way to know what I shouldn’t be eating to help me lose a few pounds too.
So it had been a while since I had been to the gym regularly. We are talking since before Christmas. So I plunged back in and took the worst class I could have, a kettle bell class. Oh lordy! To the left is Bob Harper (“The Biggest Loser”) doing it. They make it look so easy! I took it on a Friday, I was not able to actually walk up and down stairs, bend over, and generally sit without pain until Thursday. The weekend was particularly bad, I just wanted my legs cut off. I did NOT go back this past week, mainly because John and I had day-after-Valentine’s Day-plans. If I go back this week I will demand a lighter, easy, beginner weight and not the heavy thing the trainer stuck me with because he thought I could handle it.
In other news, the brakes on our car went out. Fortunately I didn’t get too far in the car, or had gone too fast, before realizing it. They weren’t all gone, but the pedal was to the floor and it still was slow to react. My heart did jump though when it seemed the car wasn’t stopping. We got that taken care of quickly today. The car was just serviced two weeks ago too… It’s definitely time to look for a new car after this fiasco.
For the first time in many years, John made it to see the ball drop, and then some time after. He did take a nap though after he got off work, which helped him stay awake. We also watched “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter!” It was an eventful New Years as you can tell. I did get invite to not one, but two parties. However John was being a pooper and didn’t want to go to either. I am at least happy he made it till after midnight.
Before all the amazing festivities we went to Seasons 52 for a wonderful dinner. We’d never been, but I had always wanted to check it out. The catch is that the menu changes seasonally so that everything is as local and fresh as it can be, and every dish is guaranteed to be under 475 calories. Though if you have three courses as we did that doesn’t do you much good. I guess it’s still better than 3 dishes at 1000+ calories a piece. Everything we had was amazing! I would totally go back for special occasions, though it’s a bit pricey for an every day meal. Once in a while though is definitely acceptable. In fact I just booked Valentine’s Day there now that I was thinking about it.
As for resolutions? Well I usually don’t make them, or if I do I make ones that I always fail to reach . . . you know the same ones everyone else makes. “I’m gunna lose some weight.” “I’m gunna get in shape.” “I’m gunna be healthier.” Yeah yeah, I want all of those, but I’m not gunna make them a resolution as more as just general goals for life.
I decided what I want to do this year for a resolutions should be fun and more achievable, that way I don’t get upset and stop trying when things aren’t working out. One thing I’m doing is I downloaded an app for my Mac and Phone called “One Day” which is basically a journal. It syncs across both via the iCloud, so that is what sold me. However with the phone version it can record your location, the weather and more. I liked that, especially for travels. I want to write in it every day, even if just a small blurb or a photo. I want to try and write or post something positive about that day, because I need to be more positive
Another thing I’ve chosen to do is the 365 Project. This is similar to a journal, but it’s a photo journal. You post one photo for every day of the year. It’s free to use, my first photo is up at http://365project.org/rdustinc/365. I got a new camera and some fun lenses for Christmas, so I want to learn to use them and will do my best to post photos from it. However I’m sure a lot of photos will end up coming from my iPhone as well.
Speaking of photos, Webshots, which I used to house my vacation photos for the past 10 years finally closed down. Well they are a new site now, and they imported all my photos over, but all the descriptions and albums I made got abandoned. Boo! I guess I’m going to have to finally migrate to Flicker this year.
The final thing I want to do is to learn to crochet. I actually bought yarn and needles last year, but the book that came with it confused me. The goal was to reduce stress, not make it worse! Watching youtube videos is definitely helpful. However I think I need a person to show me more complicated stuff. I’m pondering taking the needles and yarn on our upcoming cruise as there is always old ladies who meet to knit and crochet. Maybe I can get some free lessons!
So John did make it to Virginia for Christmas, but what a production it was! I drove up to Jersey on Christmas Eve to get him. The store was supposed to close at 3pm, however as usual exactly at 3 a flood of never-ending people began to stream in. Even when they were told “We closed at 3, please be quick if you need something” they weren’t! It’s one of the reasons I never shop the day of a major holiday anywhere, because those people want to go home to their families too.
We finally left around 5pm, exactly when the snow and sleet came into the area. So that made for a slow commute. We were on schedule to get in at 8:10ish according to the gps . . . until we hit a huge accident on 495. Of course this accident was 15 miles from my home in Virginia, and it apparently happened only minutes ahead of us at the exit we were coming up on. Therefore there was no way for us to get off the highway, and all 4 lanes ended up shut down for about 2 1/2 hours. We had no choice but to sit there and wait. We finally got in at about 10:30. Oy!
We got a little Christmas Eve snow, and then some day after Christmas snow, but no Christmas snow and nothing that amounted to much. Below are a few fun photos I took as well as scanned of a little me.
So given the whole end of the world thing that was supposed to be going on today, I decided to put out the entire village of Bethlehem. It’s been about two years since I dragged them all out. There are so many, and it’s such a chore. If we ever get the two downstairs guest rooms cleared out and set up (I’m making it part of John’s time off project this year) then I hope to eventually get some kind of display cabinet or shelf for them all. It can just be Christmas year round for that part of the house!
So I have traveled home to Virginia for the holidays. HOPEFULLY John will be here Christmas Eve, though the weather forecast is starting to look bad for travel. Right now they’re calling for snow/sleet on Wednesday, and Christmas Eve and Christmas are a 50/50 rain/snow shot right now. It’s too early to know, it could go either way.
The surprise for my mom that I talked about in my last post was completing our vintage chalkware nativity set. It belonged to my great grandma and was made in France. We were always missing one of the wise-men, and the Baby Jesus was some wax thing that wasn’t original. I got both, a lot of new animals that we didn’t have space for, and the weird guy all the way to the right in the photo. Ali Baba? The Inn Keeper?
My mom got a larger tree for all my sci-fi ornaments this year. They just weren’t fitting on the old little one we had, and it finally broke and fell apart this year. I was thinking we have way too many Wizard of Oz and Star Wars ornaments, and now with new sets of movies for each franchise coming out . . . it’s probably just gunna get worse!
Finally there is a shot of our regular Christmas tree in here, along with an ornament for John that my mom got this year. Awwww!
I have not been in the Christmas spirit much this year. I have a lot going on with work stuff, and once again John’s plans for the holiday are up in the air. It was so nice to have him in Virginia last year and finally spend Christmas with him (after 10 years apart!), however it seems his family (i.e. his mother) wasn’t happy about it. So this year, I don’t know what will happen. She has a daughter and grandkids here, but it seems last year was just the worst Christmas ever because John wasn’t there. I think they are trying to convince her to stay the night with the sister and the kids, which she should have done last year, but who knows! She was not alone mind you, she just went over to their house Christmas Day, and of course John wasn’t there.
We did put out tree up, and I put some of the lights up outside. I was hoping this would get me into the spirit some. However we still haven’t finished the lights outside, which I need John’s help to do that last part of. I also have got nothing else up in the house. I still have the villages to put up and nativities to put up. I have no idea when I will get to it!
I tried to get myself into the holiday season by buying some vintage Christmas stuff I found online. One piece I got was this scary Santa. My grandma used to have one exactly like it and put it on her coffee table every year. It was one of the things I looked forward to playing with when we went to her house. However after she died, my dad packed her stuff up and I don’t know what happened to it. I have some of her Christmas stuff, but forgot to ask about this. So I don’t know where it is. Therefore I was happy to get one online for fairly cheap, and in good working condition, given it’s from the 1950s.
I also scored another surprise last night, but it’s for home in Virginia
So the Thanksgiving Holiday is upon us this week. Let me try and muster up a “yay!” I’m just not a huge fan of the holiday anymore. I do like watching the parade, if I can wake up early enough to see it. But the parade isn’t even as fun as it was when I was little.
Last year John and I went to one of his employee’s homes for dinner. I wasn’t a fan of that either, but went. They had a huge family, lots of friends, so it was way too many people! If I don’t feel like celebrating Thanksgiving in my house, why would I go elsewhere? For the past few years though, John’s mom has gone to Texas to be with her daughter down there. Apparently she has declared recently that she’s not traveling anymore. I guess at her age, she’s over it. So it seems she’s cooking dinner for them here, I’m not sure.
I’m going to cook a small dinner for me and anyone who needs food (I.E. his brother who has issues with the brother-in-law too). I like cooking, but in the past I’ve made too much food and it gets tossed out. So this year I’m going to be very good. I’ve also decide to try out things from Pinterest! I found a stuffing and small turkey breast recipe in the crock pot, scalloped potatoes, and for desert I’m either doing a Japanese cheesecake (which isn’t as scary as it sounds) or donuts You can find my pinterest at http://pinterest.com/rdustinc/
I shall report back how it all came out, with photos!
So we survived the storm that was Sandy, and were very lucky. We live far enough away from the shore, which got the worst of it. We also are about 20 miles from the Delaware River, so we didn’t have to worry about it either.
I spent the bulk of the weekend before preparing as everyone in the area was. I bought my water, I got my canned goods, I tried to pack my freezers as best as I could. I also had to clean up my yard. I pulled in almost all of Halloween on Saturday, but stored it in my spare bedroom on the first floor. I just didn’t have the time to get the boxes out and properly pack it away. Then of course Sunday comes along, the winds start picking up a bit, and I realized I ignored the back yard entirely . . . where all my gardening and grilling supplies were scattered. So I quickly rushed out to clean it as best as I could. Of course I also ended up making about 5 runs to the store all weekend cause I constantly was forgetting something!
Then it was preparing the house. Getting out candles, both real ones and the fake battery powered ones. Scattering flashlights and making sure they had batteries. Of course making sure the basement was prepared too. Moving things away from the walls in case of flooding and the like. That basement STILL needs to be properly cleaned, and half of what is down there hauled to the dump. Fortunately we got new gutters this year, and that has almost completely resolved any basement flooding we normally had at the slightest above average rainstorm. We only really have to worry when hurricanes or blizzards occur. We were lucky because of how the wind was blowing that we got minimal flooding down there.
Monday and the storm hit, and of course what little of Halloween I left on my porch thinking it would be okay . . . wasn’t. So I got a bit wet bringing stuff in or tying it down. Let me also say getting the dogs out and walked that day was NOT fun.
Last Christmas John bought me a small portable battery/generator after our power went out during Irene. It has a USB port, an AC port, a flashlight in it, and a hand crank to charge it. There is also some other inputs for charging like an AC adapter (not included) and solar input. However I never bothered to read the actual manual, or if I did I forgot what it said . . . . Like “to charge it once a month to keep the battery life optimal” and “before major use charge for 14 hours via an AC adapter.” Oops! I did find an adapter among the many we had and charged it. Fortunately it’s never really been used, so I don’t think the battery life was affected.
Monday we did lose power. A tree down the street took out some power lines earlier in the day. However that didn’t seem to affect us. Later thought something exploded, probably a transformer, and that did us in. Fortunately my little generator worked to charge our phones. I didn’t try it on my laptops. I have one 6 year old laptop that has a battery that only lasts 45 minutes if I’m lucky, so there was no point using it. My netbook can last a good 4 hours, but runs some applications slooooowwwwww. It might be time to get a real laptop again. Fortunately I printed off a lot of stuff to work on in anticipation of having no power.
Also having no power on Tuesday, made the house very uncomfortable. It was not only FREEZING, but with no air circulation the smells of the basement were wafting upstairs. Normally there are exhaust fans sucking that smell out of the house! We do have 5 cats for example . . . . Halloween that was in the first floor bedroom was also smelling a little musty. Since the winds and rain had calmed down, I just put it all back up. It didn’t take long, and it took less time than trying to pack it away in the dark stinky basement. Plus I had no power! I was quickly running out of things to do, and didn’t want to yet use the laptops because I didn’t know how long things would be out. Oh yeah, that generator I forgot the instructions for . . . it takes 6 hours of hand cranking to fully recharge it from 0. Oy!
We now have power, Halloween is back up, and all is good here again. We were very lucky with the storm. We had a lot of limbs come down, some fairly large, but they all missed the house. Actually something thumped on our roof Monday night, but it didn’t do damage. After 2 hurricanes we really need to look into having some of the trees around our house taken down. Two are dead or dying, one needs to be pruned, and another is just way to big to be so close to our small house in these cases. Other places all around us, even down the street from us, are still without power. One of John’s employees family had to leave their home in the middle of the night when a tree fell onto it. They are still not able to get into their house because of it and the power lines the tree also took down.
Last night was Halloween, but we had no creatures come to our door. Halloween was officially put off till Friday, but now our Governor has delayed it until Monday. Noooooo! I don’t get home till 9pm on Mondays, and John probably won’t be here till 7:30 or 8pm. If anyone comes to our house, nobody will be here I was really hoping that I’d get some lawbreakers last night. I even bought a bunch of candy to give out too after we got a record 9 or 10 kids last year I figured we might get more this year, especially since I’ve had so many people driving by to see the house or bringing their kids to see it. Anyway, here is my yearly video showing what I did this year.