Observations in October – #31Things – Watch

Watch – I have a love/hate relationship with TV.  I try not to watch too much nowadays because there are SO many other things I’d rather do.  But, there are a few shows that I really like and I could just spend the whole day watching them, one show after another.  Most of them are on Netflix, so I CAN spend the whole day watching them back to back.  I did that a couple of times when my husband was taking extended trips to take care of his mother in Oregon.  He was gone for weeks at a time so there was no question about who would control the remote.  Plus, I could watch it on my laptop and therefore work in my craft room at the same time.  That was heaven…(Hey hon, are you sure your mom is okay?  Maybe it’s time for you to go visit her again???) Just kidding (not really) – am I??

I watched:  Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.  I love that show.  You know I am a big Sherlock fan anyway but this series was done so well.  Plus, Benedict Cumberbatch is not that hard to look at if you know what I mean.  Hope they make more!

I watched:  Grace and Frankie.  What a great show.  Love the interaction between the two women and it was hard at first for me to think of either Martin Sheen or Sam Waterston as gay.  I have a few episodes to catch up on with this one.

I watched:  The Crown.  Love the history of the Queen.  I have a lot left to go on this one.  I hate getting behind but…you know, life.

I watched:  Downton Abbey.  I have loved those English series types ever since I was young.  I was able to finish this whole series in a couple of days over a weekend.  The house didn’t get cleaned but it was just me so no big deal.  It reminded me of the Upstairs Downstairs series when I was a teen.  This is the one I started with and that’s when I understood what binge watching was and why it is so dangerous. 

As far as regular TV goes, Giants baseball tops anything else.  When they are on I’m there.  Sad to say they didn’t do as well this year as we had hoped but I never stopped watching.  I’m watching the playoffs now but only to root against the Yankees and the Dodgers.  (Sorry if you are those fans).  The Yankees are out of it now and so I say GO MILWAUKEE!  I also say Joe Buck sucks, but so do a lot of other people.

I like to watch Cash Cab with Ben Bailey.  I think it is good to stretch your mind with these trivia questions.  I like to see the reaction of the people when they get in the cab too.  We’ve seen Ben Bailey in person a couple of times when he came to Cobbs Comedy Club in San Francisco. 

If I’m really lazy and bored I’ll watch Big Bang Theory reruns and sometimes Family Guy on late night but most of the time I’d rather go to bed and read.  How about you?  What’s your “watch” list?  Any other Netflix shows I should put on my queue?

31 Things is an old series from Ali Edwards but it is still available on her site if you think you might want to do something like it.  She also has a 31 More Things which I’m going to give a try in another couple of months.  Ali is really good with helping you to explore your life from all angles.  She did a class I took last year called One Little Word, where you explore your word of the year (if you choose one) in all different ways in order to keep it fresh for you. 

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Observations in October – #31Things – Nourish

I have a problem with food.  I like it.  Carbs especially.  I’m Italian and I love my pasta, and steak, and occasionally a berry pie.  I am still struggling to control those impulses and follow along with the Hungry Girl eating plan but it is a long, slow process just like everything that has to do with self-control.  I’ll keep at it but I don’t want to write about that now. 

I think instead I’d like to talk about nourishing the soul, because that is just as important, if not more important than nourishing the body.

Some things that nourish my soul:

Family and Friends – I have a great family.  We also have some really terrific friends.  The kind that you can call for any reason and they will come running.  Spending time with them is so beneficial. 

Music – You know I love my concerts but even just listening to music while I’m driving or walking is energizing for me.  Everyone has “those” songs that have certain meaning for them but I have such an eclectic taste that my favorite thing is just to put my iTunes on shuffle and see what pops up:

Water – Watching the waves in the ocean or walking along the Bay trail.  I’m a Pisces so it’s no surprise that the water is a calming thing for me. 

And watching the sunset over the ocean is icing on the cake!

Reading – A good book nourishes me too.  I really think that if I had no other commitments I could spend the whole day just reading.  I know that I used to do that when I was a teen.  I have done it once or twice if I have a cold and just need to rest. 

Scrapbooking – Of course there is my crafting and card making.  I’ve talked about that a lot.

Here are some of my other self-care and soul nourishing favorites. 

I know that some people like massages or mani/pedi’s and some use exercise as a way to nourish and recharge their batteries.  What do you do to nourish your soul?  


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Observations in October – #31Things – Evening

Most evenings around our house are pretty much the same.  I’m usually working in the craft room while my husband watches TV.  Sometimes we watch movies together, like last night.  We watched Hotel Artemis.  It was a pretty weird one.  Jodie Foster was very interesting as “Nurse.”  Definitely not a glamorous part. 

For this prompt, though, I’m going to talk about our Evening with Lindsey Buckingham.  I mentioned that we had VIP tickets at the Palace of Fine Arts which is a very small venue with only about 1000 seats.  We left our house early since you never know what kind of traffic you’re going to hit at 5 PM going through San Francisco.  We arrived in plenty of time and I got a chance to take a few pictures of the outside:

I wish I had stopped to take some more but not having been there before we didn’t realize we had parked on the opposite side of the venue and since we were supposed to be there at a certain time, we wanted to find the entrance.  We decided to go again another time so I could take more pictures.  I think a general sightseeing tour of San Francisco is in order! 

We finally found the front door (which we would have found sooner had we gone right instead of straight ahead).  The usher scanned our tickets to make sure that we really had VIP access and let us in.  Once inside there were about 35 or so people in line and as we checked in, we got our special goodies.

A signed poster, a photo lanyard and a Lindsey Buckingham blank journal.  It would have been nice if he’d have written a note inside it or if we had gotten to actually meet him but cool stuff nonetheless.  We also get a copy of his new CD, Anthology, that is being mailed to us.  It was most unusual that no one checked my purse.  Usually at every concert we go to now we have to go through a huge security check point, almost like TSA at the airport. 

There was neat stuff to look at inside the lobby area and I had a glass of wine and a little snack – salmon on cream cheese and bread.

Once we got inside, we took our usual selfie and as we did that, the usher came up and told us that Mr. Buckingham requested no photography or videos taken during the show.  Bummer, because we were in the fifth row slightly right of center stage!

Well, you know that I am a bit of a rebel when it comes to taking pictures at concerts so of course I had to sneak a few.  Naturally they are not of my usual quality but I’m sorry, when I pay $200 for a ticket I want to get more than just a blank journal.

The drummer was really good.

He sang a few Fleetwood Mac songs, including Big Love, which is my husband’s favorite, so all was good with him.  

He did some songs that were new to me and I really liked them so I’ll be interested in hearing the Anthology album to see what other gems I may have missed.  It was funny that while he did not specifically say anything about his parting with Fleetwood, he did seem to particularly emphasize the words “Never going back again” when he sang that song 🙂

The usher was being REALLY strict and even went up to a few people who were taking pictures and made them stop so I didn’t want to get us kicked out but when the show was over I figured I’d get a picture of them as they took their final bow:

Not the high quality type I am usually able to get but at least I have a remembrance of the evening and we did have a good time. 
I’m a day late with this one but, hey, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want to.  Yesterday I took a free Creative Live class about blogging and email and things like that.  It was VERY informative and I’ll be posting more about that.  Would you subscribe if I did a weekly newsletter?  
Also side note, if you are reading this on the WordPress site, check out the new link I put up on the right side of the page to get to my Etsy shop and tell me what you think! 

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Observations in October – 2018 #31Things – Purchase

I must admit I’ve made a lot of purchases in my life.  Our biggest purchase of course is our house and I am so glad we were able to get into it when we did.  I’d hate to have to start out now.  A couple of years ago we gave the house a face-lift so it should be good for quite a while.

I wrote about the cars we’ve had in yesterday’s post. 

A lot of my purchases include scrapbooking items.  My best purchase in that area was my Workbox.  I love it and got it on sale which is even better.  It holds so much stuff and makes it so easy to find what I want. 

I try never to pay full price for anything.  If I can’t get it on sale I wait, most of the time, but especially on clothes.  I’m not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination so I can’t see spending hundreds of dollars on something that I only wear a few times, given that I work from home and don’t need to dress fancy. 

The one area where I try not to scrimp is on our concert tickets.  I really like to get as close as we can if it is not outrageous.  I’ve never gotten VIP tickets before but my husband really wanted to see Lindsey Buckingham so we splurged and got them for tonight’s show.  In addition to getting pretty good seats in a relatively small venue, we get to go in by a special entrance, a signed poster, a lanyard and a copy of his new album, Anthology.  It is at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco which I don’t think I’ve ever been in so it will be a fun experience for me. 

It will be interesting to hear him without the rest of Fleetwood Mac and to hear if he says anything about the “breakup.”  I printed the setlist of his show from the other night and he does do some Fleetwood songs but there are many that I am not familiar with.  He does (according to the list) do “Big Love” which is my husband’s favorite, so I think he’ll be happy.  You know I’ll tell you all about it!

What kind of purchases do you make?  What is your splurge item?  Share!

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Observations in October – #31Things – Transportation

I’ve always loved to be behind the wheel of a car.  This is me screeching my wheels out of our driveway, honking the horn saying “Get out of my way!”  The sidewalk was my open road and I had an aunt who lived at the corner of the block so I would “drive” down to her house all the time. 

When I was a senior in high school, I graduated to motorized vehicles, my first car was a white Plymouth Valiant.  I called him Prince.  It was so cool because it had push button gears.  My dad went with me to pick him out, but I paid for him with my library earnings.  I was so proud! 

After Prince I had a Silver Gremlin.  I went to the dealer and bought it all by myself.  I thought I made a great deal because they gave me as much for the Valiant as I had paid for it!  I called the Gremlin the “Silver Bullet.”  I really liked that car but I traded him in for a sexy Triumph TR7.  I was in love with the look of this car and felt so good behind the wheel but I think it was more car than I could handle as I had a lot of trouble with it from the very start.  Don’t I look good standing next to it though?  I loved riding with the sunroof open.  I don’t remember giving it a name.  Probably should have been called “Troublemaker.”   
I got married around that time and we sold my baby because it was costing us a lot in repairs.  We got a nondescript used brown Mustang and that lasted a few years.  When our daughter was born we bought our first brand new car together, a Honda Accord.  That was the best little car and we had that for 10 years.  When we sold it to my nephew, he had it for another long period.  I think it ended up getting maybe 300,000 miles on it!  
Our next car was a Mercury Sable wagon and we had that car for a VERY short time.  It took us on the “Vacation from Hell” which is definitely a blog post of its own.
We then got a Mercury Villager and that was a good mini-van which made it through the kids school years very nicely.  There was plenty of room to take some of the class on field trips and take the golf team that my son was on to their matches.  
After the Villager my husband let me do a really dumb thing and we bought a Dodge Journey.  It was another used vehicle and I saw it online at a local dealership.  It had been on the lot for a while so I figured we could get a good deal on it.  I wanted it because it had some really neat features but mostly because it was a Journey and it made me think of the band.  It was a terrible car.  Again, there were problems with it right from the start and there was even a factory recall on it for something to do with the electrical system.  Periodically it just wouldn’t start.  No warning, just no starting.  
Finally I got sick of dealing with it and admitted to my husband that I made a mistake by not getting one of the Hondas that we had test driven at the same time we test drove the Journey.  
We took a trip up to where our daughter was going to school at Sonoma State and went to look at new Honda CRVs because the sales tax rate is cheaper up there than where we live.  After four hours of dealership negotiations (I hate that part) we leased a white Honda CRV.  I love it.  I call it Moonglow.  
It has a sunroof and I can connect my phone for hands free talking and iTunes listening.  This year we had the option to turn it in and lease a new one or buy it but we decided to lease it one more year.  Then we’ll see if we keep it or get a newer one.  

While I love driving, I also love flying.  We don’t do it much because it is expensive but we live very close to the airport so I see the planes all the time.

We also live close to the train station and take the train to the Giants games.  It really is easier than trying to deal with parking up by the stadium.  At one time the train was at ground level but they raised it to help with traffic control.  When it was on the ground the Holiday Train used to stop at our station and it was an entertaining thing to do with the kids.  Santa and Mrs. Claus are on the train with Rudolph and the elves.  The train stops at certain stations and there is a car full of Christmas carolers.  Santa gets off the train and hands out candy to the kids.  There is a Toys For Tots donation station set up and people can donate toys for underprivileged children.  Since they raised the tracks, the train doesn’t stop at our station anymore but I can still see it from our house:

What’s your favorite mode of transportation?  Have a favorite car story?  Like trains? 

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Observations in October – 2018 #31Things – Work

Is it really work if you love it?  I have to say I have been truly blessed by being able to do what I love for most of my working career.  As I’ve mentioned, my first job was as a “Page” in our local library.  I can’t think of one time when I didn’t want to go to work.  Granted that was 45 years ago or so and memories of bad times can fade but really, who wouldn’t want to work with books all day?  Plus, as an introvert (even though I didn’t really know it then), in a library you don’t really talk to other people much.  Sometimes it was frustrating to find that the books were not put back in order and it was kind of a pain to put the book cart in the elevator to take it to the second floor because the elevator was old and small (more like a dumbwaiter) so the cart was put in the elevator and then you had to take the stairs to get to the next floor and pull the cart out of the elevator.  But I was much younger then so the stairs didn’t bother me.  We even went through a reorganization process where the books from the second floor were relocated to the first floor and vice versa.  That was kinda fun as we made a chute and one person was on top putting the books in the chute and the other was at the bottom catching them.  I even made it into our high school yearbook under the Work Experience section.  Only time I was in the book other than my yearly picture (except for that crowd shot I was in at a basketball game).  My coworker signed the yearbook with some pretty nice comments. 

After high school I went to a year of junior college and while there I continued working at the library.  I was studying to be a nurse but my older sister made a suggestion to me one day about going through the Bryman School course for Medical Assisting.  It was a six month course with a month of internship and then I’d be working in a doctor’s office.  That sounded really good to me so I quit junior college and took the course.  Sure enough seven months later I was working in a doctor’s office.  I quit the library job reluctantly because the internship was a full time position and I wanted to concentrate on that.   

True, it wasn’t nursing exactly but I did give injections and take EKG’s, blood pressures, etc.  I brought in the patients and got them ready for the doctors to examine.  I enjoyed it.  It was more interaction with people than I was used to in the library but it was helping people which is what I wanted to do.  After I had been on the job for about two years the receptionist quit to move to Lake Tahoe and the office manager asked if I wanted to take over the front desk job.  It would mean less nursing and more paperwork but she felt that my even temperament was suited to the busy reception area.  We had 6 doctors at that point.  She knew that there were occasionally irritated patients that needed delicate handling and she knew I could diffuse the situation.  She knew I didn’t stress easily.  About five years later we added another doctor to the practice and moved to a larger location.  I was promoted to Medical Office Manager and things were great.  I mean, not always perfect but really nothing to get worked up about. 

When I got married and had our first daughter I wanted to cut back my hours and work part-time.  The doctors felt that it wasn’t an ideal situation so I quit to take care of the baby.  I figured I’d go back to work after she was a little older.  Funnily enough, six months later they begged me to come back to work.  Things had gotten out of control while I was gone 🙂  I told them that I’d have to find a sitter for our daughter but that then I’d come back.  They told me they couldn’t wait so I said, “Let me bring her to work with me and I’ll come back tomorrow.”  They did!  For a year our daughter came to work with me everyday.  We set up a playpen in an unused room and that’s where she took her naps.  When she was awake she sat next to me in a file box while I worked.  Isn’t she cute?


When I got pregnant with my second child a year later, I found a place to leave Amanda and brought my son to work.  Boys are different than girls though and he was not as content to sit in a box.  I worked it out so that I could decrease my hours to part time and found someone to work in the mornings.  Things went well until the practice of medicine underwent a shift due to the growing HMO insurance issues.  Our office went from a fun family practice to big business overnight and they hired a new Financial Office Manager.  When she started interfering with the Medical side of things it started to be not as fun.  I’d have to say that this was the worst period of my career, and there were a few days that I felt like staying home but it wasn’t unmanageable.  It ended with me getting fired after 18 years with the group (for which I won a wrongful termination suit).

I went through a short period of mourning and then got a job with a wonderful husband and wife eye doctor team.  I worked for them for six years, starting as a receptionist and ending as office manager.  When they decided to retire, I worked out a plan for me to continue working for them from their home office to help with medical records requests and collecting the last bits of revenue.  That led to my starting my own transcription business which I have been doing for the last 18 years.  (Yes, I am old).  Here I am in my office dressed this time but note the slippers, and no, the desk is not always that neat!

Now that the transcription business is decreasing, it’s time to set my sights on the next phase of my career, the crafty side.  I did try that job at Michaels but after six months I knew that retail was not really my thing.  Now I am really focusing on the Etsy shop, participating in craft fairs and setting my sights on supplementing my income with some kind of online presence through blogging or making videos or something in that line.  Here is my new workspace:
My husband has a hard time identifying this with work but he fully supports my goals.  He’s been proud of the fact that I’ve been able to work from home for so long and make a decent living.
So, again I say, is it really work if you love what you are doing?  How about you?  Love your job?  Been as lucky as me to have minimal hardships at work?  I’m sure I’m not the only one.     

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Observations in October – 2018 #SLS Song Lyric Sunday

Helen’s theme for this week is “Find/Found.”  She says it is a trilogy with last week’s “Search” and asks us to guess what the last one will be.  Someone guessed “Keep” and she said that wasn’t it so I’m not sure.  Ideas?

Anyway, recently my daughter and I went to see Daughtry at the Mountain Winery and he was
singing some of the songs off his new album “Cage to Rattle.”  He opened with this song:

Just Found Heaven

God of my life
Blurred out my soul
Bring storm and fire
Stories I’ve been told
Bring us all grace
Right before my eyes
As you break through these gates
Far from the sky, Lord
I hate to let you down, hate to let you down
Hate to say it now, hate to say it now
I don’t really care where I go when I die
‘Cause I just found heaven
You can tell the devil that’s he’s wasting his time
‘Cause I just found heaven
Singin’ Halle, Halle, Halle, Halle, Hallelujah
Singin’ Halle, Halle, Halle, Halle, Hallelujah
Sins washed away
Dark turns to light
If your body is a temple
So take me inside
I feel no pain
Pleasures of mine
If you give me a taste of
Eternal life
I hate to let you down, hate to let you down
Hate to say it now, hate to say it now
I don’t really care where I go when I die
‘Cause I just found heaven
You can tell the devil that’s he’s wasting his time
‘Cause I just found heaven
Singin’ Halle, Halle, Halle, Halle, Hallelujah
Singin’ Halle, Halle, Halle, Halle, Hallelujah
Hate to let you down, hate to let you down
Hate to let you down, hate to let you down
I don’t really care where I go when I die
You can tell the devil that’s he’s wasting his time
Oh, I don’t really care where I go when I die
‘Cause I just found heaven
You can tell the devil that’s he’s wasting his time
‘Cause I just found heaven
Singin’ Halle, Halle, Halle, Halle, Hallelujah
Singin’ Halle, Halle, Halle, Halle, Hallelujah
Oh, Hallelujah
‘Cause I just found heaven, Hallelujah
Hate to let you down, hate to let you down
Hate to let you down, hate to let you down
Songwriters: Christopher A. Daughtry / Dave Richard Bassett / Elvio Fernandes
Just Found Heaven lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Here’s a little video I took of the opening.  Copyright to Daughtry for the music but the video is mine.  It was a great show.  

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