Tuesday, January 29, 2019

It's Not the Cold; It's the ICE

I walk every morning - unless it's pouring down rain or the windchill is colder than -20°.  Seriously, bundle up properly, and it's really not that cold.  But the weather is supposed to be crazy cold around here the next couple days. Schools are closing, libraries are closing, grocery stores are selling out of everything. Well, I don't actually know about the grocery store thing because, unlike all those people who apparently don't have enough food in the house to survive a couple of days, I have plenty of stuff. So I didn't run out to the store.

But it does sound like it's going to be colder than my cutoff temperature of -20° windchill, so I'll have to skip my walk for a couple of days. It'll probably be safer that way. Not because of the cold - because of the ice. It has to snow quite a bit before they do anything with the streets in our neighborhood. What that means is the snow stays until it goes away on its own. Some streets get driven on more, so some clear off sooner. Others clear off a bit during the day and then refreeze at night when the sunshine goes away and the temperatures get colder. And when I go walking in the mornings, the ice and slushy snow make every walk an adventure.

My dad Fred has made a bunch of wooden walking sticks, kinda like this Natural Wood Walking Stick, but more rustic, so I use one of those when the streets are iffy. It's really helpful to have something to hold onto when my foot hits a slippery spot. I probably could have used one of those all those years in Wisconsin, but the streets were usually a lot better. Here a walking stick is a definite need. And sometimes even that isn't good enough - like this morning when my foot hit a hidden patch of ice, and I ended up on my butt. I'm a bit sore... (and hopefully no one was watching)

I'll probably be glad to stay inside tomorrow morning and avoid that crazy cold windchill.

Crazily enough, we're supposed to have temperatures in the 50s by Sunday and Monday. That ought to clear off those streets. At least until the next snowfall. Or freezing rain.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Let's Play a Game

I found this game several years ago, on a blog that no longer exists. Well, it exists, but it's owned by someone entirely different and written in another language, so I won't be reading it any time soon.  At least I got this game.

It's called One Degree of Separation. It's fun, but only if you play along.

Here's how it works:
  • The first person (in this case me because this is my blog) picks an actor or an actress.
  • The second person (1st commenter) names a movie that actor has been in.
  • The next person names another actor from that movie.
  • and then the next person names another movie that the 2nd actor has appeared in.
Popcorn- Movie Time!
Actor, movie, actor, movie, actor, and so on. This can go on and on. (Unfortunately, that song is going through my head now. Extra points if you can guess which song I mean; I'm sure my kids know)

A note: Using IMDB is not considered cheating, but do try to come up with your own first. Grab your popcorn and play along!

First actor: Bradley Cooper

Help Your Daughter Explore Her Interests

There are plenty of studies that show how many women are missing in career fields like science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). One of the reasons might be because it's more popular for a woman to explore fields like medicine, music, and education. While these fields are absolutely amazing, it's important to have more women at the table across all fields. Whether it's politics or ballet, consider these three tips to help your daughter explore her natural talents and interests.
Princess reading
  1. Encourage reading and playtime.
    While many children might want to play with their favorite toy all the time, introduce your daughter to different options. Let her play with a pretty doll one day. The next day, encourage her to play with the train set. Give her many options so she can learn what she really likes. For story hours, introduce different subjects. You can teach her about the Spanish language in one book. In another book, you can allow her to learn more about the U.S. government. Make sure that all of these books are age-appropriate so that they don't go over her head.
  2. Cultivate an appreciation for STEM subjects. Kids Baking Class
    Take her to science museums. Practice math problems together. Don't wait until she has science projects that are assigned at school. Instead, work on science projects at home. Learn how to mix different ingredients with different measurements while you two are cooking. As you find creative ways to infuse STEM lessons into her daily life, the chances of her loving these areas might grow.
  3. Encourage exposure.
    Go out of your way to expose your daughter to as much as she can absorb. Visit the children's theater to appreciate the fine arts. Allow her to take a dance class. Sign her up for lessons to learn a particular instrument. Instead of going to the local fast food restaurant, go to a Japanese steakhouse. Get her a passport when she's really young. Travel as much as possible. Make sure to include international travel in the agenda. As she travels the world, her world view will naturally expand. 
Make the moments count with these practices. As a result, she'll be able to learn whether or not she'd like to be an engineer who can build a tray deaerator or a world-class actress who wins Oscars each year.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

25 Things Peggy Said About Me Once

I was looking for a post on my old livejournal, and I came across this fun list. It still makes me smile even (almost) 10 years later.

25 Things Peggy Said About Me - originally published in March 2009

About a month ago I was working on doing that 25 random things list on Facebook. I was having some problems coming up with my list, so my friend Peggy helped me out. Of course, I didn't open my email until after I had already finished my list, or I could have saved myself all kinds of work. Just for fun I've been meaning to post her list too - just finally getting around to it.

Peggy's 25 things about Anna: (any comments by me in RED - because Peggy hates red, and I'm just that kind of friend)
  1. does laundry on Mondays--- if I don’t do laundry on Mondays the whole week is shot! Or, Monday is the day I spend with my favorite Washer and Dryer. Monday is my workout day, 20 times up and down the stairs to do laundry.
  2. For years thousands of people have relied on my team (my friends and I) to keep their kid’s school activities straight— I have had a large part in the set up of the printed calendar that the school system sends out to the community. (this one needs work)
  3. I am addicted to blogging, I have 4 of my own and have helped ? number of my friends and family set up theirs. I just can’t help myself, they’re free! (LOL! - love that free comment)
  4. frugality is my life, I refuse to pay full price for anything!
  5. I can account for every penny earned and spent in this house since 19?? Receipts rule!! (not quite)
  6. I see no redeeming purpose in dogs, but cats are the coolest! (Well, Tillie is the sweetest, anyway)
  7. I have two amazing kids….. oh, and a husband that isn’t bad either.
  8. I have walked across America. Or , I walk 2 miles every morning, ? days a week. so I estimate that I have walked --- (pick one) across america, to austrailia and back, halfway around the world and my goal in life is to make it around the world. (LOL!)
  9. I have walked ? miles in my current pair of walking shoes. 
  10. frugality is my life, I refuse to pay full price for anything!
  11. I have made some of the coolest websites on the internet or, I love to make website/pages and have designed, or helped design many websites. Here are a few you can check out: http://www.audiorescuers.com http://webpages.charter.net/neverhere/hollis/ http://www.feastgoer.org etc
  12. I have naturally curly hair, I like it short, Jeff likes it long--- I indulge him sometimes. (I wouldn't exactly call it curly - just thick and wavy, I guess)
  13. I have a coupon for everything
  14. I am the queen of rebates
  15. I live with a man who hoards Jack Daniels and won’t share. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jchagen/sets/72157594464335174/)
  16. I see no real purpose for the existence of sugar
  17. I rarely shower alone (on the weekends)
  18. If you are going to argue with your husband, you should get naked first
  19. I often wonder why anyone would put a white plastic spoon in the spaghetti sauce
  20. if you come to visit me at my house, bring slippers
  21. Jeff is making me a pergola (I think he's making it for himself, but I'll enjoy it too)
  22. live life in the sun is my motto---air conditioning is evil
  23. I have 3 brothers and really cool parents (yes, I do!)
  24. there is my way of doing things, and the wrong way.
  25. I have this great friend who can’t remember how to do anything in Photoshop, but writes really cool things about me. (LOL!)
See, that was fun, wasn't it? It was fun for me, anyway.
Some of the things haven't changed much - I still do laundry on Mondays; I still walk every weekday; Jeffrey has even more Jack Daniel's; Peggy still needs help with Photoshop.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Growing Closer To God As Women

As a woman who attends church, you likely know that fellowship with other women is important in your walk with the Lord. If there isn't a program at your church, there are a few ways that you can start a Christian women's fellowship so that classes can be offered as well as activities that bring everyone closer together.

Women's Bible Studies Sign UpThe first thing that you should do is define the type of ministry that you want to start. It could be one where you come together to pray over other people, to go through a Bible study series, or even to learn how to do something new, such as a craft, while learning about the Lord.

Think about whether you can lead the group or whether you should ask someone who has been walking with God longer than you have or who is in a better position to lead the group. You want the women to be successful, and if they can't relate to the woman who is leading, then they likely won't get any kind of blessing from the ministry.
Try to make a calendar of events that spans the course of a few months. Arrange a few special activities that include other members of the church as well as a few activities where the women can spend time alone together. Ideas include dinners that you can prepare together or collections that involve gathering items to donate to an organization in the community.

Make a plan that you can present to the church. Although allowing women to sign up for the ministry is an option, you should keep the ministry open to all women who want to be involved and who want to grow. Listen to the advice of others, and seek the assistance of other ministry leaders so that you can be the woman who the Lord wants you to be and who the women of your church need.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Capture the People in Your Life

We live in a world of social media and selfies, but sometimes people need something a bit better. Hiring a professional photographer to take some special family pictures is always an option, but it's also nice to be able to take some nice pictures of your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Taking pictures of people is a bit different than taking pictures of inanimate objects because if you don't photograph at the right angle or with the right light, somebody's going to be unhappy with the way they look. Keep a realistic expectation in mind, and don't make promises you can't keep. While you may want pictures that look a certain way, you might not have the skills to deliver the results. Of course, the more you practice the better you'll get.

Don't try to take pictures at a straight angle. Sometimes, the best pictures are those where the people sit or kneel and you stand above them. Let your subjects smile naturally. When they are together and they relax, then their natural reactions will shine through, giving a beautiful image instead of one that looks forced.

As a people photographer, try to keep everything as simple as possible. You don't always need the most extravagant backdrops or props. Sometimes, the best pictures are taken using natural lighting and the things that are already in the background instead of adding a lot of extra details. Try to find an area that is flat if you're taking pictures outside so that the surrounding details can come into play when you take pictures. Perhaps the biggest thing is to be aware of those surrounding details. You don't want to take the perfect picture where everyone is actually looking at the camera with a nice smile on their face - and then find out there's a tree growing out of Aunt Mary's head.

When you take pictures of people, you're going to need to play around with a few of the settings on your camera. These settings will allow you to zoom in and out along with giving you a margin of error while taking the pictures. Some of the settings on your camera can allow you a bit more freedom when editing pictures at a later time before delivering them. Try to find a camera that has multiple settings that are needed for taking pictures of not only people but inanimate objects as well. Take the time to learn about some of those settings and what they do before you get the family together for that important photo.

Also, have fun and take plenty of pictures. Even the ones that aren't perfect will bring back memories in the future.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Keeping Your Child Healthy and Happy with the Right People

Your child’s health and happiness is your top priority. Achieving this begins with having the right people there to help you.  Establishing a relationship early on with a pediatrician or general practitioner, a dentist, and an eye doctor is a good idea. Not only will you have people that you can rely on in emergency situations, but you'll know where to turn for answers to all of your important questions.
  • A General Practitioner
    You will most definitely need a good doctor that you trust and your child feels comfortable with. Search for ones in your area with good reputations. Ask friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations. Set up an appointment with any potential pediatricians or family doctors so you can talk to them and discuss any concerns you may have.
  • A Dentist Pediatric Dentistry
    As soon as that first tooth pops through, you want to begin teaching your little one how to brush and care for their teeth properly. You also need to take them for regular check-ups at the dental office. A st johns county pediatric dentist can help you keep your child’s teeth healthy and attractive. They will be the person that walks you through every step of their oral care.
  • An Eye Doctor
    By the time your child starts kindergarten, you will want to take them to an eye doctor for an examination. Children often cannot tell if they are seeing properly or not. These professionals can spot problems before they become big issues as well as set them up with glasses if necessary.

Once you have established a relationship with a good pediatrician, dentist, and eye doctor, you will feel much better, and your child will get a wonderful start in a life filled with health and happiness.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Book List 2018

I've been reading as long as I can remember, but it wasn't until 2008 that I started putting together a list of all the books I read each year. I use Goodreads to keep track throughout the year and then list them all here once the year is over. Even though Goodreads compiles my Year in Books, it's always fun to go back through all the books I've read over the course of the year and see how many pages and how many hours of reading I have.

Also, once again I'll link to any reviews I did. As always, I have good intentions to review more of the books I read, but I don't always follow through. I feel like I did a much better job of rating and reviewing this year. Several books even earned 5 stars, which is rare for me. I usually go with 4 stars, saving that elusive 5th star for something that really makes an impression.  Let's see what 2018 looked like, shall we?

Again, all books are listed by the month I finished them. Even if I started listening or reading the previous month.

  1. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (audio) - 8 hrs
  2. The Good Liar - Catherine McKenzie - 373 pages
  3. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are - Ann Voskamp - 241 pages
  4. Hearts of Resistance - Soraya M. Lane - 324 pages
  5. Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids - Nicholson Baker - 733 pages
  6. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage - Alfred Lansing (audio)  - 10 hrs 20 min -  (5 stars)
  7. The Thief's Daughter (Kingfountain #2) - Jeff Wheeler - 368 pages
2039 pages | 18 hours and 20 minutes | I wrote a review for 6 out of 7!

  1. Turtles All the Way Down - John Green - 304 pages
  2. Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) - Rachel Caine (audio) - 10 hrs 26 min
  3. Scarred: A Journey of Restoration - Jan Levine - 162 pages
  4. The King's Traitor (Kingfountain #3) - Jeff Wheeler - 386 pages  - (5 stars) but for some reason, I didn't take the time to write a review...
  5. My Sister's Grave (Tracy Crosswhite #1) - Robert Dugoni (audio)  - 10 hrs 49 min
852 pages | 21 hours and 15 minutes | and, ummm - only 1 review

  1. The Maid's War (Kingfountain 0.5) - Jeff Wheeler - 302 pages
  2. The Zookeeper's Wife - Diane Ackerman (audio) - 10 hrs 55 min
  3. How to Stop Time - Matt Haig - 331 pages
  4. God's Love Story - Marissa Baker - 42 pages
675 pages | 10 hours 55 minutes | a review for all 4

  1. The Wretched of Muirwood (Legends of Muirwood #1) - Jeff Wheeler - 350 pages
  2. God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments - Rose Chandler Johnson - 149 pages
  3. Sunrise (Sunrise #1) - Karen Kingsbury - 301 pages
  4. The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #3) - Erika Johansen (audio) - 19 hrs 33 min
  5. Charlotte Morgan and the Great Big Math Problem (The Number Investigators Book 1) - Martin Tiller - 117 pages
  6. Jar of Hearts - Jennifer Hillier - 311 pages - (5 stars)
  7. Isaiah 53 Explained - Mitch Glaser - 164 pages
1392 pages |19 hours 33 minutes | reviews for 4 of 7

  1. Dark in Death (In Death #46) - J.D. Robb (audio) - 13 hrs 25 min
  2. The Blight of Muirwood (Legends of Muirwood #2) - Jeff Wheeler - 548 pages
  3. Bring Me Back - B.A. Paris - 384 pages
  4. The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5) - Stephen King - 309 pages
  5. Girls' Night Out - Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke - 333 pages
  6. Nick of Time (Nick McIver Adventures Through Time #1) - Ted Bell (audio) - 11 hrs 56 min
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - 324 pages - (5 stars)
1898 pages | 25 hours 21 minutes | reviews for 4 of 7

  1. After Anna - Lisa Scottoline - 352 pages
  2. A Life for God: A Rabbi’s Analysis of Life, the Cross, and Eternity - Greg Hershberg - 112 pages
  3. All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr (audio) - 16 hrs 2 min
464 pages | 16 hours 2 minutes | a review

  1. A Gathering of Secrets (Kate Burkholder #10) - Linda Castillo - 308 pages
  2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon - 226 pages
  3. Baby Teeth - Zoje Stage - 304 pages
  4. Lies - T.M. Logan - 498 pages - (5 stars)
  5. To Be Where You Are (Mitford Years #14) - Jan Karon (audio) - 17 hrs 48 min
  6. Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure - Torben Kuhlmann - 112 pages
 1448 pages | 17 hours 48 minutes | reviews for all 6

  1. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Fly Guy (Fly Guy #4) - Tedd Arnold - 32 pages
  2. Summer (Sunrise #2) - Karen Kingsbury - 356 pages
  3. Hearts of Fire: Eight Women in the Underground Church and Their Stories of Costly Faith - The Voice of the Martyrs - 304 pages
  4. Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life - Michael Strahan (audio) - 5 hrs 38 min
  5. The Kitty Committee: A Novel of Suspense - Kathryn Berla - 234 pages
  6. Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson - 198 pages
1124 pages | 5 hours 38 minutes | 3 reviews (sort of)

  1. The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick (audio) - 9 hrs 58 min
  2. No Longer a Slumdog: Bringing Hope to Children in Crisis - K.P. Yohannan  - 156 pages
  3. The Teacher's Funeral - Richard Peck (audio) - 4 hrs 42 min - (5 stars)
156 pages | 14 hours 40 minutes | 2 reviews

  1. The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi: My Journey into the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began - Kathie Lee Gifford - 224 pages
  2. The Library Book - Susan Orlean - 336 pages - (5 stars)
  3. A Long Way From Chicago: A Novel in Stories (A Long Way from Chicago #1) - Richard Peck - 157 pages
  4. Vessel - Andrew J. Morgan (audio) - 8 hrs 46 min
  5. I'll Never Tell - Catherine McKenzie - 380 pages - (5 stars)
1097 pages | 8 hours 46 minutes | 3 reviews

  1. Adrift: A True Story of Tragedy on the Icy Atlantic and the One Who Lived to Tell about It - Brian Murphy - 257 pages
  2. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline (audio) - 15 hrs 40 min - (5 stars)
  3. Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates - Brian Kilmeade (audio) - 4 hrs 52 min
  4. Night Driving: Notes from a Prodigal Soul - Chad Bird - 160 pages
417 pages | 20 hours 32 minutes | a review for all 4

  1. Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower #5) - Stephen King - 714 pages
  2. The Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium #4) -David Lagercrantz (audio) - 13 hrs 23 min
  3. Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices - Frank Viola, George Barna - 337 pages
  4. The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas - 447 pages - (5 stars)
  5. The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris - 249 pages
  6. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence - 389 pages
2136 pages | 13 hours 23 minutes | 5 reviews
  • Total books - 63 (compare to 36 in 2017 - looks like I just flipped the digits!)
  • Total pages - 13,698 (compare to 5180 pages in 2017)
  • Total time - 192 hours 13 minutes  (compare to 178 hours 55 minutes in 2017)
Page counts courtesy of Goodreads; audio lengths courtesy of Audible. My reading goal for the year was 50 books, and I met and surpassed it. Feels pretty good, considering I failed to meet my goal last year. I'm not confident enough in my ability to repeat that, though, so I'm shooting for 50 again this year.

I did a better job of writing reviews this year - 43 reviews. Some of them were just a few words, but that's better than nothing, right? Still, there were books that I really meant to review but didn't...

  How many books did you read in 2018?  I'd love to hear some suggestions for my 2019 reading list.  Because my already crazy long and ever-growing TBR list can always use a few more.

*if you happen to click any of the book covers and buy from Amazon, they say they'll pay me a small percentage.  Every little bit helps, and I thank you for your support!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Doodle for Google

I love this! I always love seeing the artwork submitted for the Doodle for Google contest every year. There are some really talented kids out there! This video shows a bit of what it looked like when the finalists got to visit Google and interact with the Google artists. And they worked with the winner to add animation to her doodle. Visit Google today to see it.

To find out how to your student can enter this year's contest, be sure to visit Doodle for Google. The theme is "When I grow up, I hope..."  and the deadline for entries is March 18, 2019 8:00pm Pacific Time (PT).