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Monday, September 30, 2019

Last Day of September...

Yikes. Tomorrow will be October. I need to start keeping on track with things. I had planned on doing little goals each month but that seemed to have slipped by when I was away for so long this summer and busy doing other things SO it is time to get back on track.  I find it really difficult to keep to goals. Sigh. Seems like I'm the only one. I can only try my best.

* Eat from the freezer and cupboards as much as possible. I have been doing quite well with this, but both are pretty well packed and need to be used up. I find it easier if I have meals planned so I shall make that a part of this one.

* No books at all. I can borrow from the library but no buying them at all. This will be an extremely tough one for me. It's my go-to shopping thing when I get stressed.

* Get rid of at least 31 books - one for each day of the month. This really worked when Bless issued the challenge a few months ago so I'm doing it again!

* No craft purchases EXCEPT if something is needed specifically for a holiday project gift. I am going to make sure I do not have the item on hand before purchasing.

* Clean up my craft room. The above item will be easier to achieve if I can actually see what I've got!

* Start holiday projects - I *think* I have the blank calendar needed to do my Mum's (I'm pretty sure I bought two last year as sometimes they are difficult to find). I can at least get started on the calendar by having all the months/days written in and at least background paper added. It's a completely blank calendar so every date has to be filled in. I also have lots of things to make Christmas cards so those will be able to be done.

* Clear out seasonal clothes AND take the bag of stuff to the charity shop (there is still a pile waiting to go!)

It doesn't seem that much of a list, but it's all that comes to mind as I am sitting here typing. I might add more to it. These are definitely things that I want to get done AND need to be reminded of them. Perhaps if I write them down so I can see on them and have to report on progress it might help me stay on track.

Anybody have October plans? Things they want to achieve?

After all that, the smile for today is another chipmunk. Still feeling a little down (for a variety of reasons) but watching these little creatures always brings a smile to my face.




Sunday, September 29, 2019

I Feel Like I've Been Here Before....

It's Sunday. It's raining. I have the feeling that I've been here before. Sigh.

We obviously didn't go far. It's absolutely chucking it down. I think if we see more rain we'll be swimming instead of walking. We went for a drive, but didn't get out.


We did get out at a farm stand and buy some apple cider (not the alcoholic good kind from England lol) and some freshly made doughnuts - pumpkin and apple ones.


The above are phone photos I edited on my phone. I love this app - it changes things into different styles of art. It's really fun to play around with.

I did get up in my craft room yesterday (yeah!) and started on some of the die-cut toppers and decoupage die cuts that I got in England. Several of them will be Christmas cards and others ready for birthdays and other occasions. It felt nice to be up there as the weather wasn't so hot.

Hopefully tomorrow the weather will be a little brighter.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Mid-Week

Wow it's Wednesday again! I say this every week but it's really rolled around quite quickly. I did get a couple of storage cubes sorted this week. Admittedly, not too much ended up getting discarded but I have managed another bag of books to take to the library for donation when I next go.

It's chillier here today. I am actually wearing these lovely hedgehog slippers my sister gave me while I was in England. She always picks me up a couple of hedgehog things as she knows I collect them.


I did go for a little walk this morning, but the light wasn't the greatest for photo taking. At least I was done really early that I could go to a couple of shops before things got really busy.

I found these really cute 3d butterfly stickers at the dollar shop. There usually isn't a lot of crafty stuff in there but they looked like they had added to their section. I really like the colours of these.


I didn't buy a lot else. I did pick up some Autumn-y items from there and the grocery shop so that I can take some still life photos. I didn't want to spend a lot of money - the dollar shop is great for that! I wish they were more like the pound shops in England. The selection there is fantastic. Here (at least my local one) is mostly off-brand items and not a lot of food.

Here are my Autumn things. I'm not sure how they will end up looking. I'll share photos when I take some. It's a little windy out today and my leaves (real ones that I collected in the park) keep flying away lol.


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sunday

Tomorrow is middle son's 28th birthday. I'm not sure where the years have gone. It just seems like yesterday when he was a little boy with curly blond hair (hair shorter so not curly and definitely not blond anymore!). He came to visit today and we had cake and presents. He might stop over tomorrow but he has plans with some friends so we shall see.

Husband is not feeling well. He came down with something on Friday and spent most of the day hacking and generally feeling yucky. I'm hoping he won't pass anything on to any of the rest of us! I do hope he feels better soon. He probably won't take any extra time off work. It just isn't him.

I'm trying to remember to write more things down in my planner. Ha-ha. As most of you know I'm not that much of a planner, but I'm hoping that writing things down will get more things done. We shall see how that goes. It is supposed to cool down a little this week - I certainly hope so as it has been waay too hot recently. I am (not so patiently) waiting for Autumn.

Something that made me smile this weekend. Skype actually cooperated and I got to 'see' Mum. It's like going to visit and having a nice chat over a cup of something warm. I really like this photo I took of her this summer. I wish we could actually visit each week. It would certainly be fun!


Friday, September 20, 2019

Thank you for the kind messages on the last post. I think it's a bunch of things just all coming together at once. I have decided that I will try to look for at least something that makes me smile each day. On Instagram I follow a hashtag #101thingsthatmakemesmile. I am going to try to keep that in mind.

Anyway the rest of the week has flown by. It's Friday again. I was looking forward to going out on our usual Sunday jaunt, but it looks like rain, a soggy day all round Michigan (at least the parts we can get to in a few hours!). Perhaps I shall make sure and do something crafty - haven't done any of that for a while! We will be seeing our middle son on Sunday afternoon. His birthday is on Monday when he will turn 28. Yikes! Where did those years go?

I did go to the library today. I made sure to go before the book shop in the basement opened so that I wouldn't even be tempted to buy books. I had several books to pick up from my not-shopping-spree from the week before. I think there are three more on hold - hopefully no-one will return them for a while as I have more than enough to read.


I did return two books that I had read, but I still have two more that I picked up last week. I shall have to start reading faster!

Yesterday while I was out walking I spotted a little chipmunk in the park. It was up quite high in the bushes. I couldn't help watching as it tried to eat the little buds on the bush. I could have stood watching for ages. They are such funny little animals. The ones in my garden are coming closer and closer each day trying to get peanuts. I shared a photo of it on Instagram but thought I'd share a different one here as it certainly made me smile today when I was looking through the photos I took yesterday.


Books and funny animals - that's enough to make anyone smile! Hope you have a good weekend.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Blah

I think I would have just preferred to have slept through the start of this week. I would have rather buried my head beneath the covers and pretended it didn't happen. Sigh. Some weeks are like that, aren't they? I feel like a hamster on a wheel running and running and getting nowhere. Perhaps it's just the mood I'm in. I shall ride it out and hopefully it will pass.

That's my whinge/whine.

I am getting through books. There are several I thought I would fancy reading but started them and then decided I'd rather not so instead of being put away again they are in the to-be-donated pile. The amount of books in the house does not seem to be going down though I'm sure it is. I have some to pick up from the library (from the non-shopping spree I had the other week). I have some more to donate too but the library shop isn't accepting donations this week as they are having one of their large book bag sales this Saturday so I suppose the volunteers are busy sorting through the books they have. I think it's about $3 for a bag of books that you choose! I shall refrain from going. It's just too busy. I don't like crowds. I suppose it's a good thing as I shan't be picking up any more books lol.

I keep hoping I'll have some crafty things to show you but I really can't summon up the energy. It's been so hot recently that my room upstairs is very hot and I really don't want to turn on the air conditioning at this time of year. Things should have cooled down, but so far they haven't. The nights are cooler as are the mornings, but the days have been so hot. I sat out for a bit on the back porch this afternoon and got bit by several mosquitoes. Sigh. I am beginning to think about holiday gifts - yes I know it's early but I need to not leave it until the last minute this year (I say that every year lol).

I hope everyone is having a good week. Thanks for all the comments. I do read them. I thought about turning off the moderation thing and then got two spam comments so have kept them on.


Picture for today - this is one I was playing around with. I took it on my regular camera, sent it to my phone and then extremely edited it. I am still sorting through some of the others I took from Sunday. The waves were really wild and made me smile.


Monday, September 16, 2019

Weekend

The weekend didn't turn out too badly. We went for a quick walk Saturday morning. It was quite quiet at the place we walked - really quiet. There weren't even many animals around. We heard the loud sounds of a couple of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead and we saw a glimpse of a Pileated Woodpecker, but they both flew by too quickly to get photos. I did manage some lovely lake shots. We don't walk there often, but when the leaves start to change the trees are just beautiful so we will be going back.

I did manage to Skype with Mum on Saturday. She's been having problems with it but my sister looked at it again and managed to get it working and show mum what to do. It was nice to see her.

Sunday we took a trip to the lakeshore. There were some really wild waves. I haven't sorted through photos yet but I managed to get a few. Husband found a spot that was dry sand up between some rocks that afforded a lovely view. Really enjoyed it.

Now it's the beginning of a new week. I'm feeling a little blah. Not quite sure what is up. I know that there are things that need to get done, but I'm lacking energy and ambition. I have sorted through a few books and have started another bag to go the library bookshop. I hope to have it filled by the end of the week. There are still so many to read, but I'm managing to let go of some that I am still interested in reading, but think they are low down on the list.

Who saw the lovely moon over the weekend? I managed to catch a few glimpses Friday night/Saturday morning. My garden doesn't have the best view, but I managed to stretch on tiptoes and half hang off the porch after midnight to catch a couple of photos.



Friday, September 13, 2019

A Long Way from Norfolk

Regarding the last post - I think they are really cute. We've just given up on them coming into the garden. One today was there at after twelve in the day, munching away on the birdseed while looking at me.

Bless: there are (of course) a stack of books by my chair, some knitting (not that it's been picked up in a while), some magazines and my diary/notebook. The pile is a little tidier than it had been but not by a lot!

I did go to the library the other day to pick up the books I had ordered during my non-shopping spree. I also managed to drop off two bags filled with books for donation to the library bookshop. I also had a look around while I was there (how could I not?) and found this book staring at me from the shelf.


How could I not pick it up? I thought at first it meant Norfolk in Virginia but when I picked it up and began to look at it I found it was a bird diary of a man who lived in Norfolk England in the beginning of the 1900s. What a great find! For those of you who aren't from England, Norfolk is the next county over from Suffolk - where I'm originally from. I couldn't believe it! How strange that a book such as that would end up in our library bookshop here in Kalamazoo, Michigan - a very long way from England. I couldn't just leave it there. I really find books like this interesting. It is in diary form and tells of the birds this man saw on his walks. There are some wonderful illustrations including along with the sightings.



On another note I finished one of the books I borrowed from the library.


I really enjoyed this book! It made me laugh and cry. This is the blurb to go along with the book.

Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancĂ© she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancĂ©, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there's her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there's Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won't let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect. 
It was a really good read. I am definitely going to look for more of books from this author. This might even be one I'll order for Mum for Christmas. 
I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend. I'm not sure what we're going to be up to - it depends a little on the weather!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

New Week

Thanks for all the comments on the photos. We had to do a set of black and white and a set of colour photos. I got through it. Apparently my experience wasn't the same as everyone else's as they all enjoyed the experience! Perhaps I was just overthinking it. However, I don't think I'll be doing it again. The rest of the group decided on Saturday night that they weren't taking anymore photos so when husband and I went out on Sunday I was able to relax and enjoy the day just taking photos of what I wanted lol. I definitely do work better alone.

On to a new week - I'm not sure what this week will bring. I really want to do some sorting and tidying but am struggling to know where to start. There is a growing pile of things by my comfy chair that need to be sorted and put...somewhere. I just have to figure out where they go. Seeing the stuff certainly helps me realise that I don't 'need' to buy anything else - it also helps stop me buying things as I stop and think about whether I really need something and where would I put it? I was tempted on Saturday to buy more books (my go-to thing to buy when I'm feeling down) and I actually had them in my cart on Amazon. I took a deep breath and decided that instead of buying them I logged onto my library website and 'shopped' on there putting a hold on several of the books in my Amazon cart. Lol. I might be doing more of that. I know that I don't need more books but at least these ones will be returned somewhere at the end of me reading them.

I think summer is having its last hoorah. It's supposed to be quite hot for the next few days. I had thought about taking out the window air conditioners, but will hold off a few more days. The mornings are definitely cooler now which is quite nice. With the cooler nights it seems the animals know that winter will be coming soon. The chipmunks are out in force trying to snag peanuts to take back to their burrows. I would love to have a peek inside and see how many they are storing! Along with the chipmunks we've been having some raccoons coming into the garden. They are supposed to be nocturnal but there are a couple that seem to wait until I've put things out in the morning before coming out to eat. I am waiting later and later - I feel quite sorry for the birds.

This is one of the raccoons.


This one isn't scared of me at all. The other runs away as soon as I get near, not this one. It just looks at me. Sigh. I'm not sure what we're going to do about them. They are really cute, but they can be pests too. Luckily they have not discovered the rubbish bins.

Hope everyone is having a good Tuesday!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Lesson Learned

I have found out - or perhaps what I thought has been confirmed - that I work better alone. I joined in with a virtual meet-up for one of the photography groups I'm in. What a disaster! We're supposed to each have a theme and a style of photo but - although there are five of us - I only know what two are. The other people don't seem to want to say. We are all supposed to take photos of one another's subject and style, but that doesn't seem to be working either. I feel like pulling out of the whole thing. It's only for Fri, Sat and Sunday but it's already stressing me out lol. I am going to suck it up, finish as best as I can and remind myself (and re-read this if needed) that I should not participate in the next one. In theory it sounded fun. Oh well, lesson learned.

Here's a couple of the black and white ones I did.




Thursday, September 5, 2019

Interesting Little Book

Mum had a lovely birthday. She spent the day with my sisters at Southwold and then they were out to eat and back to Mum's for some cake and presents. I was afraid they would be rained out, but Mum said it rained overnight and the start of the morning, but cleared up nicely in the afternoon. As usual Mum got lots of presents - enough things to keep her going until Christmas!

I wanted to share a lovely little book I found while we were in Dorset. It was in a charity shop and just called my name as I passed by it. I found it quite interesting.


Does anyone else find books like this interesting?

I thought I'd share her entry from September 3rd, Wednesday 1800

Coleridge, William and John went home, to go upon Helvellyn with Mr Simpson. They set out after breakfast. I accompanied them up near the Blacksmith's. A fine coolish morning. I ironed till 1/2 past 3 - now very hot - I then went to a funeral at John Dawson's. About 10 men and 4 women. Bread, cheese and ale. They talked sensibly and cheerfully about common things. The dead person, 56 years of age, buried by the parish. The coffin was neatly lettered and pained black, and covered with a decent cloth. They set the corpse down at the door; and, while we stood within the threshold, the men with their hats off sang with decent and solemn countenances a verse of a funeral psalm. The corpse was then borne down the hill, and they sang till they had got past the Town-End. I was affected to tears while we stood in the house, the coffin lying before me. There were no near kindred, no children. When we got out of the dark house the sun was shining, and the prospect looked so divinely beautiful as I never saw it. It seemed more sacred than I had ever seen it, and yet more allied to human life. The green fields, neighbours of the churchyard, were as green as possible; and, with the brightness of the sunshine, looked quite gay. I thought she was going to a quiet spot, and I could not help weeping very much. When we came to the bridge, they began to sing again, and stopped during four lines before they entered the churchyard. The priest met us - he did not look as a man ought to do on such an occasion - I had seen him half-drunk the day before in a pot-house. Before we came with the corpse one of the company observed he wondered what sort of cue our Parson would be in! N.B. It was the day after the Fair. I had not finished ironing until 7 o'clock. The wind was now high and I did not walk - writing my journal now at 8 o'clock. William and John came home at 10 o'clock. 

I'm looking forward to reading more! Apparently Dorothy was the sister of poet William Wordworth.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

It was a holiday weekend here in the states this week which throws my whole week off. I kept thinking Monday was Sunday and I keep thinking today is Monday. Sigh. I have to remember that it is Wednesday tomorrow - Mum's birthday. I shall be ringing her later at night as she is going out with my sisters during the day.

I have most of my holiday stuff put away. I bought more than I thought. Now I have to get back on the no-spending wagon. I really need to start saving some more money as the holiday funds are all but depleted. We have one more mini-trip coming up mid-November - a autumn colour trip in the U.P.

Today I thought I'd share a few photos of my travel journal before I put it up in my craft room ready to use when I do Mum's photo album. I had this book at my Mum's from last year so I ended up using it. I got through more tape than I imagined, so I ended up buying some at my favourite shop The Works. It was only one pound! It looks to be the same stuff I buy here and easily pay 3 pounds for!

I really love making these. It's such a good way to hold onto memories and store all those bits I used to hold onto and never do anything with. I kept all my tickets, bought some postcards and picked up brochures.





Sunday, September 1, 2019

September

I can't believe it's already September! The summer went by just too quickly!  I am caught up with my washing and unpacking but I'm taking the weekend to just relax before trying to get back into the groove again. It's always a job to get back into the swing of things especially as I've been away for so long!

It's back to the usual with Mum again - Skype on Saturdays, phone call on Wednesdays. It's her birthday on Wednesday. I gave her presents before I left. It's always difficult to know what to get her - she gets so many smellies from my sisters - but I know that she loves to read just as much as me so I got her a couple of books that she wanted (a hardback and a paperback) and then got her a GC from a bookshop. She really enjoys buying some of the news books that the shop sometimes have at half off. With the colder weather coming she'll spend more time indoors reading so I know she'll be putting it to good use! This coming Wednesday is her birthday. She'll be going out for the day with my sisters and for a meal. I'll ring her later in the night.

I have a few September goals :-

* continue to sort some books. I did bring some back with me so I need to continue to purge. I know that I'm not the only one that struggles with this. Even my mother, who doesn't hold on to many things, tends to hold onto books as though they are old friends.

* spend little/wisely

* cook down foods in freezer. I'll have to take a good look at what they used while I was gone and use up some of what they didn't use. The cupboards do seem quite full!

* do some tidying/sorting. I want to let go of some more things. Also bring less in.

* sort through England photos. I'd like to get an album of Dorset done for Mum for Christmas (yikes!)

My photo share for today. Punch and Judy show. When we were on our holiday in Dorset (Weymouth) we saw a Punch and Judy show on the beach. It brought back so many memories. I actually persuaded Mum to sit and watch a while. I remember it was a treat to watch when we were kids. The one seaside place we used to go to the Punch and Judy was set up on the part of the beach where (obviously) the tide didn't come up, but on the rest of the beach we would move up and up as the tide came in!


Hope everyone is having a good weekend.