Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Every Thursday I share what I'm thankful for.  Sometimes it's a serious or big thing, and sometimes it's a goofy or small thing.  I believe that no matter what is going on in our lives, there is always something to be thankful for.  Always.

This past week, Michael and I celebrated our thirty fourth wedding anniversary.  We drove two hours to eat breakfast at the Original Pancake House, shopped for a lamp, lingered at the bookstore and had dinner before going home.  Maybe not the most romantic way to celebrate, but I'm just thankful we can celebrate!  Thankful to have an anniversary.  Thankful to be happily married.

I'm also thankful for
     *  spring like temperatures
     *  overnight UPS 
     *  days that are productive
     *  old pictures full of memories

What are you thankful for today?

Have a fabulous Thursday!

xo Annette xo

Friday, January 25, 2013

Focus On Life~Week 4~Create Art

This week's prompt from Sally is to create art.  I was excited at first but then got a little panicky when I realized I wouldn't be able to do any sewing.  You see, my art is created at the sewing machine and my sewing room is undergoing a redo.  I didn't know what to do until I remembered a book called Zentangle, I got for Christmas.

I first heard about Zentangle from my friend Kathy at her blog Kluless.  I was intrigued because it's about doodling and I can doodle.  When I quit smoking twenty years ago, I used to grab a pen and piece of paper any time I was on the phone.  Doodling took the place of smoking a cigarette.  I can't draw to save my life, but doodling is different.

With Zentangle, you start with a 3.5" square and a marker.  You draw strings to divide the square into sections and then start doodling.  It was stressful at first because I was trying to plan out each section.  When I finally stopped over thinking and analyzing, and focused on one line at a time, it became easier.  And relaxing, and calming.  I guess that's where the "Zen" comes from!

I've been looking for something I can do when I don't want to sew but need to create or just to destress.  This just might be it!

You can see the art others created this week at The Studio Sublime.

Have a wonderful weekend!

xo Annette xo

Working On Those Weighty Issues

What a difference a week makes!  Week two went so much better than week one.  Of course it helped that there was no traveling or eating out.  This was my focus this week:

1.  Eating breakfast or at least a piece of fruit or a serving of yogurt.  Something is better than nothing.
2.  Drinking more water and less diet Coke. 
3.  Cut back on sweets. 

I ate breakfast every morning.  After two weeks I can honestly say I am less hungry during the day and I didn't overeat at lunch or dinner.  I'm still not drinking more water than diet Coke, but it's probably half and half.  I'll get there.  I didn't make or buy any dessert or sweets.  I still indulged in my Hershey Kisses and Ghirardelli chocolate, but I was able to keep it to a minimum and be satisfied.  These changes led to a weight loss of 1.8 pounds!

As I mentioned in week one, I have type 2 diabetes.  My biggest accomplishment this week was keeping my blood sugar levels closer to normal.  It's always a struggle to do that.

This week I plan to begin exercising.  Back when I was going to physical therapy for my knee, they had me start each session on the stationary bike.  My knee felt so much better each time.  I had a treadmill, but I wasn't able to walk on it, so we invested in a recumbent stationary bike so I could work my knee at home.  I was using it pretty regularly until we went on vacation.  I'm sad to say, I haven't had a relationship with my bike since last August.  It's time for us to get reacquainted!  

What do you do for exercise?
xo Annette xo

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Every Thursday I share what I'm thankful for.  Sometimes it's a serious or big thing, and sometimes it's a goofy or small thing.  I believe that no matter what is going on in our lives, there is always something to be thankful for.  Always.

I am so thankful that twenty years ago on January 18, 1993, I quit smoking.  I started smoking when I was seventeen, and quit after seventeen years.  I don't know how many times I tried to quit, only to give in to the craving.  It was finally when my kids were eight and nine and told me they wouldn't hug me anymore because I smelled like an ashtray, that I was finally successful.  I think it was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

I'm also thankful for 
     *  my warm house and bed during this cold spell
     *  oranges so sweet they were like candy
     *  the start of my sewing room redo
     *  mindless TV.  don't judge!

     What are you thankful for today?

xo Annette xo

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Focus On Life~Week 3~Take Time

This week's prompt from Sally at The Studio Sublime was to take time for ourselves.  In the busyness of taking care of everyone and everything, we tend to not take time to do something just for us.  To recharge, regroup, or just relax and do something we truly enjoy.

Since I left my job at the gift shop three and a half years ago, I find that I have more time than I know what to do with.  Of course it wasn't always this way.  When the kids were growing up, my night owl tendency was used for that time to do something just for me.

This week was an extremely busy, exhausting week and I missed my daily cup of tea.  Usually, I just make a mug of tea, saving the china teacups and teapots for tea parties.

When I finally had some free time one afternoon, I decided to make a small pot of tea and have a tea party just for me.  Candlelight, flowers (albeit silk), china and cinnamon tea.  Soothing, relaxing, and just what I needed.  

Visit Sally's blog and see how others took time this week!

How do you take time?
xo Annette xo

Friday, January 18, 2013

Working On Those Weighty Issues

This was my first week on the plan and it wasn't so good.  I was going to work on three different things I wanted to change.

1.  Eating breakfast or at least a piece of fruit or a serving of yogurt.  Something is better than nothing.
2.  Drinking more water and less diet Coke. 
3.  Cut back on sweets. 

It was a hectic week with traveling in and out of town which meant eating out for several meals and grabbing food (usually junk food) on the go.  When I was at home I was too tired to even think about cooking or eating right.  Have you ever had one of those weeks?  

Instead of telling you everything I did wrong, I'll tell you what I did right.  I ate breakfast every morning.  Nothing major mind you, but a granola bar or a yogurt and I could tell a difference in how I felt throughout the day.  I still had something sweet everyday but only once or twice a day.  I really was being mindful of that.  And I did drink water...occasionally.  So while I didn't have a good result on the scale, I did have success. I knew I was starting off at a bad time, but is there really ever a good time?  

Eating out is a real challenge for me.  I know you can go to a restaurant and most menus have healthy options.  You can ask for your food to be prepared without fat, or have the sauces and dressings on the side,  and get something grilled not fried.  I know you can plan ahead by checking out the nutrition content online for most restaurants so you can make a healthy decision about your meal.   But here's the deal.  When I go out to eat, I don't want the same kind of food I fix at home.  I want the creamy crab dip, bbq ribs, loaded baked potato and chocolate lava cake kind of meal!  And giving in to that is one of the many reasons I am where I am today.  I will do better!

This coming week shouldn't involve traveling, but I will have my granddaughter for a few days which involves completely different challenges!  

TGIF y'all!!
xo Annette xo

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Every Thursday I share what I'm thankful for.  Sometimes it's a serious or big thing, and sometimes it's a goofy or small thing.  I believe that no matter what is going on in our lives, there is always something to be thankful for.  Always. 

I am so thankful for windshield wipers that work like they are supposed to!  You know, the kind that swipe back and forth without streaking, dragging, or making noises.  I think when they are bad and not working well, you just get kind of used to it.  Then when you get new ones, you wonder how you ever managed with the old ones.  

I'm also thankful for
     *  people who make me laugh
     *  sunsets
     *  cinnamon spice tea
     *  lazy mornings
     *  candlelight
What are you thankful for today?

Happy Thursday!
xo Annette xo

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Taken while sitting in the car getting warm after standing in the cold wind.

Happy Wednesday!
xo Annette xo

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sunset On The Potomac

It was quite windy and cold on the Potomac River this particular day.  I would walk around and take pictures for about five minutes and then sit in the car until I warmed up enough to get out and do it again.  I think I should invest in a pair of fingerless gloves for outside picture taking in the winter months.

I love sunsets, but then who doesn't?  A sunset over the water is incredibly breathtaking with nothing to obstruct the view.  The sparkly reflection of the sun on the water, the painted sky in shades of pinks, oranges, and purples is nothing short of spectacular.  In fact, it's downright awe inspiring.

I may have to do this more often.  I was the only one there and the uninterrupted time in that setting was a real treat.  It was a time of reflection and putting some things to rest and letting go.  It was good for the soul.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!
xo Annette xo

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Focus on Life~Week 2~Word for the Year

I'm joining Sally at The Studio Sublime for the Focusing on Life 52 photos challenge.  Each week Sally gives us a prompt and we post our photos on Saturday.

This week's prompt was, 'your word for the year'.  I'm not one to make new year resolutions.  In fact, in this post, I listed the things I won't be changing in the new year.  But even as I wrote that post, I knew I would be working on some changes that are long overdue.  In this post from last October, I talked about how my life has changed the last few years.  I was desperately ready for my life to make an about face.  So as 2012 came to a close I knew the new year would be focused on mind, body and soul.

I had not considered a word for the year.  As I thought about the changes I want to make it became clear that this is what I'm seeking.

Transformation.  A marked change usually for the better.

It's time. And I'm finally ready to face the challenges and obstacles to become the best version of me that I can be.

You can go here to see what word others have chosen.  If you would like to join in (it's not too late, you can join any time) go here.

Have a wonderful weekend!
xo Annette xo.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Working On Those Weighty Issues

Last October I wrote this post about my weight struggles.  It was one of those posts that as soon as I hit publish, I wondered if I had done the right thing.  Fortunately, I haven't regretted it.  I was quickly reminded of how supportive my blog friends are.  Thank you all for that!  I've also made some new friends from that post, so I know I did the right thing.

It's time to get serious about it now.  I've spent time thinking about what is best for me and how I want to approach this journey.  Since I've spent most of my life dealing with this issue, I've learned a thing or two.  Obviously I haven't been doing what I learned or I wouldn't be where I am now!

This is what I know for me:
1.  Diet is a negative word, is temporary and leads to failure.
2.  Changing my bad habits into good habits equals success.
3.  Trying to change all those bad habits at once leads to failure and guilt.
4.  Depriving myself of a particular food drives me to overeat when I do have it.
5.  I lose weight slowly and that's okay.  I'm not in a race.
6.  Skipping breakfast causes me to graze or grab whatever during the afternoon and then overeat at dinner.

My get healthy plan starts today and this is what I will be focusing on:
1.  Eating breakfast or at least a piece of fruit or a serving of yogurt.  Something is better than nothing.
2.  Drinking more water and less diet Coke.
3.  Cut back on sweets.

It might not sound like much but it is a big deal for me.  This is going to be a long process and I have to start where I know I can see progress.

I would like to make this a weekly Friday post.  I will update you on my progress or lack thereof, and talk about specific weight issues.  Thank you again for your support.

xo Annette xo

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thankful Thursday

With the busyness of the holidays, Shylee visiting, and losing track of what day of the week it was for the last  three weeks, I'm finally remembering when Thursday is!  I'm very happy to get back to the weekly Thankful Thursday post.

Every Thursday I share what I'm thankful for.  Sometimes it's a serious or big thing, and sometimes it's a goofy or small thing.  I believe that no matter what is going on in our lives, there is always something to be thankful for.  Always. 

I am so thankful for the time we were able to spend together during the holidays.  Between Christmas and Erin's birthday we had some great times and made wonderful memories.  My heart was a little sad that Sean couldn't be here, but I'm thankful for technology that allowed us to visit via face time with the ipads!  

I'm also thankful for:
     *  settling back into a routine
     *  my new Toyota Rav4
     *  the hopefulness of a new year
     *  my comfy warm bed to fall into at night
What are you thankful for today?

Happy Thursday!
xo Annettexo

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Are you comfortable eating out in a restaurant alone?  I'm not and never have been.  Michael does it all the time and doesn't think twice about it.  I will go without eating and let my blood sugar bottom out before I eat out alone.  Pretty pathetic, I know.  I want to get over this, so I took an afternoon to do some shopping and then treat myself to lunch.  Alone. By myself.  I went to Cheeseburger in Paradise because I love their fried pickles and grilled salmon salad.  I sat in the parking lot about ten minutes before I found the courage to get out of the car and go inside.  It wasn't too bad but it was 2:30 in the afternoon so it wasn't crowded.  I can't say I enjoyed myself.  I couldn't wait to get out of there.  But I will try it again because it's just one of those things I want to change.

After lunch, I went for a drive with the intention of taking pictures.  I love taking pictures but am uncomfortable stopping the car on the side of the road or standing in a parking lot to get a shot.  I'm afraid someone will get mad or tell me to stop.  Again, pretty pathetic.  I WILL get over this!  The first picture was a tree I parked next to at the restaurant.  I've wanted to take pictures of the little white church since the first time I saw it a few years ago.  I took several pics but this is the only one I liked.  Since no one came out and told me I couldn't take pictures, I'm slightly less afraid to go back!  The rest of the pictures are from tourist sites so it didn't bother me to stop there.  I would like to go back when the lighting is better.  From there I went to the Potomac River to watch the sun set.  I'll show you those pictures another day.

Is there a fear or something that makes you uncomfortable that you would like to overcome?

xo Annette xo

Monday, January 7, 2013

From The Sewing Room

Before Christmas, I showed you some fabric I was going to use to make gifts.  Now that everyone has their gift I'm excited to show you what I created.

I took plain, solid color dish towels and prettied them up a bit using coordinating fabric and rick rack.

They were so simple to make and took less than an hour from start to finish for a pair.  Just the kind of project to give you that instant gratification that's sometimes needed.  It kind of makes me wish I still had my Etsy shop open.  Only kind of though!

Are you working on any new projects?  

xo Annette xo

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Focusing on Life~Week 1~Self Portrait

Sally, from The Studio Sublime, came up with a plan to complete 52 weeks of photos focusing on life.  She put the plan out there and invited everyone to join her.  She sends the prompt for the week and we post it on Saturday.  I thought this was a good idea as I wanted to play more with my camera this year.

The first prompt and assignment almost made me change my mind.  Self-Portrait.  I loathe being in front of the camera.  People tend to judge each other based on looks and I like blogging because I'm behind the computer screen and no one can see me.  I like taking pictures so I don't have to be IN the pictures.

I seriously thought about not doing the challenge.  After all, in my last post, I said I wanted to do more of what makes me feel good about myself, and taking a self portrait didn't fit in with that plan.  But, I also want to get out of my comfort zone.  Do things that aren't comfortable and don't come naturally.  Stretch myself, grow, rediscover who I am.  So, I'm in this, and this is me.

Not completely out from behind the camera (or the computer screen), but it's a step.  Maybe just a baby step, but the stretching and growing won't happen when you're standing still.

Click here if you would like to see more self portraits from the challenge.

xo Annette xo

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Non Resolutions for 2013

It's a new year and time to think about all the things we want to accomplish, change, and focus on for the next twelve months.  I wasn't going to write a resolutions post.  I don't do resolutions, because I think I set myself up for failure when I do.  But, in reading some great blog posts about resolutions, I came across two that inspired me.

This one from Eyelah is about anti-resolutions.  Bad habits she has and doesn't plan to change.  I love this kind of resolution because I have lots of bad habits and no matter how many times I resolve to change them, I know I won't change.  I resolve NOT to change the following.
     *  I don't make my bed every day and it doesn't bother me.  It drives Michael nuts, so I pull up the covers, sort of, and leave it at that.
     *  I stay up way too late.  I'm a night owl, it's how I'm wired, and it's not going to change.
     *  During the cold weather months I don't hang up my coat or jacket.  I throw it across the back of a kitchen chair.  It will probably get hung up in the coat closet after summer starts.

This post from Lori at Studio Waterstone is about doing more of what you already love doing.  So I resolve to
     *  create more
     *  spend more time getting to know my camera
     *  read more
     *  do more that makes me feel good about myself
     *  have more tea parties even if it's just me.

  What are your feelings about new year resolutions?

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

xo Annette xo

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year


At the sound of the tolling midnight bell

a brand new year will begin.

Let’s raise our hopes in a confidant toast,

to the promise it ushers in.

May your battles be few, your pleasure many,

your wishes and dreams fulfilled.

May your confidence stand in the face of loss

and give you the strength to rebuild.

May peace of heart fill all your days

may serenity grace your soul.

May tranquil moments bless your life

and keep your spirit whole.

~ Author Unknown ~
Hoping the new year is good to you in every way!
Happy New Year!
xo Annette xo