Sunday, October 23, 2011


It's Sunday....that means another week done and another one begins. So what did I learn this week?

Barnes and Noble is a great place to observe people
Yesterday morning I spent 4 hours at my local B&N churning out another chapter of the book. Now and then I'd take a break to look around, gather my thoughts, stretch my eyes, and I noticed something new each time.

  • Gentleman in salmon colored shorts - I'm not sure which disturbed me more; the pink shade of the shorts or the fact that it was about 40 degrees out.
  • Girl putting 10 sugar packets (and announcing it to her friend and the room) in her coffee. Her dentist must LOVE her.
  • Man sitting at a table by himself in the middle of the room, talking on the phone (loudly) detailing his personal life to anyone listening. Thank God for my headphones.
  • Young woman sitting at the fireplace knitting. The knitting wasn't so much what I noticed, as much as her behavior while knitting. First of all she was smiling, A LOT and would periodically look around the room and then smile more. My conclusion? Either she has elevated knitting to a form of meditation, or she was also doing some people observing and was picturing the characters in her head.....I want to read her book.

Rituals make life better
Hubby and I have number of rituals that we adhere to throughout the year.

Ice cream on the way to the lake to go jet skiing.

Wine tasting and pumpkin gathering with friends.

Watching Ghost Hunters every Wednesday night, straining to hear the voices they hear or see the things they see. 

Each Thanksgiving we pick out/cut down our Christmas tree at his Aunt and Uncle's house.

Watching Christmas Vacation and laughing like it's the first time we've seen it.....(quoting from it incessantly as well :)

Last night we completed the second half of our pumpkin gathering ritual, by actually carving them. Each year I pick the pattern, clean them out and make roasted pumpkin seeds while Hubby does the actual carving. (We always have some extra help as you can see).
                                                                                                Rituals - give me something to look forward to each season, a way for us to spend more time together and memories that will last a lifetime......

Good friends can be the best medicine...............

This week was a pretty tough one (just a lot of turmoil that added up to a lot of stress.) One of my best friends invited me to come to her house and hang out Thursday night. When I got there she made me a wonderful panini and butternut squash soup.
After dinner we had cookies and tea and sat on her couch and just talked. Four hours went by and we had not stopped talking once. We hadn't had a night like this in ages (the hustle and bustle of life can just take over sometimes), but we were right back on the same page in no time. No we didn't solve the world's problems during that time, but she helped me talk through some things and reinforced what I've always thought......a good friend can always heal what ails you. 
Thanks Bestie!

What lessons did you learn?


    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Tuesday Testimonials......

    Pretty much everyone I know is looking for ways to shed a few pounds (and if you aren't, please see me after class so you can explain this concept to me.) 

    I started on a plan this summer to not just lose some weight, but to also become healthier overall. Part of that plan is to limit the amount of sugar as well as carbs that I take in. I'm not eliminating carbs all together, just trying to be healthier in those that I choose. I had read that it's better to have your carbs in the morning because you typically need the energy earlier in the day and you'll burn it off faster. Now, those of you who know me, may be familiar with my distaste for cereal. I don't mind cereal on it's own, you know, straight out of the box? But with the milk it just gets soggy....I have flashbacks of me pushing cereal around my bowl as a child trying to figure out how to get out of eating it. :( 

    So this has been a pretty hard adjustment for me to make. In addition, most cereals, even the "healthy" ones, tend to be high in sugar. The plan I was following touted Grape Nuts as a good choice for a low sugar, cereal at 5 grams. Well it also tastes a bit like gravel.....but I digress. So I began a search for something with a little more "taste." I came across Fiber One's new cereal - Fiber One 80 Calories. A serving size is 3/4 cup, which is 80 calories and 6 grams of sugar. This is only 1 gram above Gravel Grape Nuts, so I was a little skeptical about how well it could taste. Well I must say, I was more than pleasantly surprised. It reminded me a little of the Honey Grahams cereal from our childhood. (Again, one that tastes good right out of the box) Nice right? 

    I've learned a couple of tricks too. If I mix it with a serving of Cheerios (1 gram of sugar!) I get a bigger serving size and a healthy, tasty breakfast at that. I also barely douse it with milk (no soggies and lower calories) or I mix it with plain yogurt. Either way, I'm like an adult now, learning to try new foods. :) 

    Yeah me

    Anyone else out there on the in the same boat who would like to share a healthy new food they've discovered??

    ~ Adrienne

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    This Week's Lessons....

    Writing this blog and looking for topics, has made me realize that life is one, big learning process. It can be hard to see this if you don't take a minute to reflect on things. So here's what I learned this week......
    Lesson #1 - Compatible couples are rare. Hubby and I are very lucky to have a variety of friends between the two of us. People who have been there with us through hard time and good times, who we've made numerous memories with. In some of those cases, they may be just individual friends that we've both developed over the years. However, sometimes you're lucky enough to have couples who you have a great connection with. We've been very lucky to have a number of those in our life. I realized it in particular this week when we spent 2 different days with Instigator and his girlfriend. Hubby has known Instigator since he was a kid and we've gotten to know his girlfriend over the past couple of years. We have similar interests, senses of humor and genuinely just like hanging out. Last Sunday we made our 2nd annual trip to find the perfect pumpkins, apple cider donuts, pumpkin beer and a little wine tasting thrown in. The day ended with an amazingly yummy dinner. It was such a relaxing, fun day. We commented at one point that it was just easy - no one cared if we made an unexpected stop, changed the schedule, or took forever to decide on a pumpkin.The hardest part of the day was when hubby and Instigator couldn't decide what kind of pizza to order. Friday night they joined us again for dinner and a Sabres game and it was just as fun. Good friends are a gift.....good couples are priceless. :)

    Lesson # 2 - When someone does a good job - say it!
    When someone messes up in customer service, it's very easy to complain and be angry. When someone does a good job, or better yet, goes above and beyond, you may think to yourself "that was great!", but how often do you do anything more? We have a vendor at work who we deal with on a weekly basis. It doesn't matter what our request or need is, our representative is always there for us. She doesn't just give you information on how to fix a problem, she just steps in and does it for you. She's fun and friendly, with no formal pretenses. She calls to check on us, brings us lunch and genuinely likes helping us out. So this week, after she went above and beyond (again), I sent an email to her boss, telling him how much we appreciate everything she does and how refreshing it is to work with someone who cares so much about customer service. He responded that they were indeed very lucky to have her. Now, whether she'll get anything more than a pat on the back, I can't say. But if nothing else she knows that she is appreciated and hopefully that counts for something.

    Lesson #3 - Just Drive!  
    In the past month, there have been a rash of incidents involving vehicles running into buildings in our area. Everyone is wondering what's causing the sudden increase and I have a theory.....people are doing everything in their car these days......except for just driving. One day while sitting at a red light I decided to count the number of cars going by where the driver was doing something besides just watching the road in front of them. More than half were doing something else; texting, talking on the phone, attempting to reach something in the seat beside/behind them, eating or strongly focused on the other passengers in the car. We've become such a multi tasking society that it's considered boring or weak to just simply drive. Anytime when I've had a near miss recently, I've noticed that the driver was usually on the phone or looking down, indicating they were probably texting. Just last month my car was hit from behind while I sat at a stop light. Luckily no one was injured and the damage was minimal, but when I looked up to see what had happened, I could see the driver quickly putting something down. At this point, I am truly amazed there aren't more accidents. I for one make it a point to not talk on the phone or text while driving. Even if it wasn't against the law here (which it is), I still wouldn't do it. I am just not coordinated enough to pull off such a feat and I'm pretty sure most others are not either but wouldn't admit to that. The fear of causing an accident or worse is just too much stress for me. So I'm begging you guys - please hang up the phone, wait to put the makeup on at work, eat breakfast before you leave the house and put on your seat belt!!!!

    Lesson #4 - Sometimes you just need to eat the cake.....or the doughnut.
    Recently I modified the way I eat in an effort to be more healthy and hopefully lose some weight in the process. I won't call it a diet, as this is something I hope to carry on as a way of life. One of the main changes was giving up sugar or at least cutting out as much of it as possible. This has meant saying no to A LOT of birthday cakes at work, doughnuts brought in by generous co-workers, and dessert at family dinners. Since August I've lost roughly 10 lbs and am feeling pretty good, so for the most part it's been easy to stick with. Last week we got into a discussion at work about the wonder of Fall foods like apple cider and donuts. We decided that having a celebration of cider and donuts on Friday morning would be a great way to celebrate the season. I felt guilty as I had that pumpkin spiced doughnut and later on the yummy dark chocolate cookies that someone else brought in. But the feeling faded as I laughed with my friends and just enjoyed myself. I'm sure when I do my weekly weigh in this week, that I won't have lost anything (the beer, wine and apple cider doughnut from last Sunday surely did not help), but I also don't think the 2 instances will set me back 10lbs. My new way of eating has made me look at everything I eat and consider whether it is really worth having. So giving in to weekly cake and dessert offerings may not be worth the cheat but eating the doughnuts and laughing with my friends on Friday morning was absolutely worth it.

    So, those were my life lessons for the week - what did you learn??

    ~ Adrienne

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Tuesday Testimonials.......

    Blogs, Blogs and More Blogs!
    One of the great things about jumping into the Blogging world, is that I've been able to connect with some fabulously talented ladies. Last month, one of those ladies, Ruthie from The Chronicles of Ruthie Hart, offered up the chance to highlight some of our blogs through her own blog page. I thought this was a pretty cool idea. I for one am all for helping other women out. I've never subscribed to the idea that you have to work against others in order to succeed....there's plenty of room at the top. Instead of pushing someone out of the way to get there, why not extend a hand and pull someone else up with you?

    That being said, I'd like to introduce you to some of my favorite bloggers.......

    Howdy! My name is Ruthie and I am a southern newlywed wife, mama to a cute chunky French bulldog and love of all things crafty. My blog chronicles my life, everything from my relationship with Jesus, the ridiculous costume parties my husband plans and trying to become Suzie Homemaker while balancing a full time job in software marketing. In my house, we love, we hug, we live out loud, we make mistakes and make fools of ourselves. Oh, and I blog all about it!
    Twitter: @ruthiehart1

    Barbara - My blog is Zero to 60 and beyond which I started 5 months before my 60th birthday to come to grips with the fact that I still felt 30 (and probably always will) but now I was on the other side of middle aged?!?  I refuse to accept that.  
    While kvetching about the birthday I began to realize I've had a pretty interesting life.  Then I learned that sharing my stories, especially the childhood stories, were helping others who had abusive childhoods.  That was amazing.  The blog has now become the prelude to the memoir.  
    Hey, it’s me Catherine from Jotter Girl.  I’m constantly writing in my jotter aka notebook, coming up with stories and observations to share on my blog.  Stop over for a visit and find one of my “30 Second Stories” which is usually good for a quick giggle or read an “Open Letter to...” where I write to recipients ranging from Abercrombie & Fitch to the country of Italy.  Getting things off my chest with a letter is a great way to vent…. even if I tend to be a bit tongue in cheek. 

    You won’t find recipes, diaper stories or comments about hubby over at my place because…
    1- I can’t cook
    2- My kids are tweens
    3- I’m divorced *

    With those three things out of the way, I have plenty of time to write!  Hope to see you over at Jotter Girl soon.  Please feel free to bring a casserole.

    *I cannot confirm or deny if #1 has anything to do with #3.

    I'm Dee - I run a blog for women and moms called Mommy's Idea, where I highlight unique products and services with reviews, guest bloggers, and giveaways.  I've learned so much and met so many interesting people along the way.  I also write a blog called I Write for Apples, which is a mix of tidbits for parents, teachers, and writers- three of my favorite roles in life.  I'd love for you to join me! 

    So now, what are you waiting for? Hop on over, check out their blogs, leave a comment, and tell them I sent you! 
    ~ Adrienne

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Desperately seeking....Inspiration!

         I procrastinate....always have and probably always will. I've found that I can deal with it in most areas of my life, but when it comes to writing, I'm having some issues with it. As I've stated before, until I'm lucky enough to call writing my full time job, I'm going to have to deal with snippets of time.
          Unfortunately, when it comes to writing, snippets are tough to deal with. They're pressure filled minutes, in which I stare at the paper/screen and attempt to string together coherent thoughts. Writing under pressure does not equal quality work. Part of the issue comes from inspiration, as in being inspired to write at any given moment. There can be hundreds of times during the day when I'm struck with the inspiration to write, but not necessarily the time. So it probably makes sense that when you do have the time to to write, you don't always have the inspiration.
          Maybe what I need is a ritual/process/lucky charm, that signals to my brain that it's time to write. Something that says, "It's Showtime! Let's put words to paper." Perhaps the spell ritual would trigger inspiration from within. An essay from Sarah Ban Breathnach's book Simple Abundance, called "Priming the Pump for Inspiration", speaks of this idea. Every time she sat down to write she went through the exact same steps. She chose the same pens, notebooks, location, and background music. She prepared a pot of tea and made sure to drink it from the same mug. She also would read something from her collection of books by women writers, prior to beginning to write. She felt that her brain recognized each of these things as a signal to begin writing and her mind would just take over from there.
          Another famous author (whose name escapes me) is said to have ended each writing session in the middle of a sentence. This way he always knew exactly where to begin the next time, and already had something to work with. Even, Stephenie Meyer (author of the Twilight Series) credits the music of the band Muse (ironic no?) with being her inspiration during writing sessions, as well as helping her through times of writers block.
         So maybe I need my own muse....all of my writers out there - any rituals you'd like to share? Do you have a lucky sweater you wear, food you eat, or music, that puts you into a writing state of mind?                                          

                             ~ Adrienne