Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve- 1pm

Good afternoon!
For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas Eve.  :)  
On to the weekly newsletter--LOL!
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Last Monday I blogged, did laundry, and made goulash.  Tuesday and Wednesday I worked on my bullet journal.  I am doing something the bullet purists would find positively sacrilegious.  
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You may recall that I had taped in my calendars & trackers for all of 2019 a few months ago.  I penciled the general dates of the weekly spreads just so I knew how many pages to leave blank per month.  Since I am planning to do Julia Cameron's book (It's Never Too Late To Begin Again) that has a 12 week course, I want to set up January through March completely ready to go.  
Still in the process...  
...but getting closer. 
Need to put in headers, weekly spread days & dates, birthdays, and the doodle challenges (Yes, I found a couple of long lists to pick from so am going to write them down the sides of the doodle boxes for the entire year). 
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Took me a long time just to draw in all the lines I need.
I won't fill in the calendars or trackers for April through December, but I can set up the weekly spread dates, etc. 
I'm doing it this way because I developed a minimalist form of bullet journaling that has been working for me for almost two years.  If all the collections, lists, and anything extra I would have normally thrown into the bullet are moved into the inserts that I keep with my bullet in the leather cover then I was able to pare down the bullet to the basics.  I LOVE IT!  I still have enough bullet space that I can change things up a little, decorate if I want to, or add a small project list. 
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 It may take me a few more sessions to finish.  I am hoping to at least get the first three months done and ready to go before January, though.  Really close!  :)
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I made goulash and another version of bean soup--that is tasting so good on these cold, dark days.
The Girls are back.  All eight...intact! That hawk scared the heck out of them and I didn't see them for several days. 
The sparrows were quicker to return, but have remained very skittish.  Well, I think it is a sparrow hawk, after all--LOL!
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I got Christmas pictures with my McFamily card. 
Liam is at that scared of everybody but his "home-family" phase so Ian visited Santa by himself.  They are growing so fast!
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 I watched Alpha (family movie) and Fahrenheit 11/9 (DVDs/Netflix) on Wednesday night because I could hardly move after two days working on the bullet.  Worked Tuesday night till late in the evening.  I took frequent breaks, but not long enough breaks and too many sessions, I guess--LOL!
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Thursday I wrapped Christmas presents in the painted packing paper.
Wrote the names in bold black marker so Ian could hand out presents.  Also did some chair exercises following a YT video--tada!
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Has anyone else gotten an Amazon gift card tin?  I had no clue what this was when it came in the mail--LOL!
Thanks so much, Patricia!! 
I also heard a blogger say that Amazon is opening up some actual brick and mortar stores called Amazon 4 Stars.  The products inside will be ones rated 4 stars or above.  Did you all know Amazon was opening up stores?  Leah had already heard about it when I told her.  If they're the same price as online they will probably do well.  
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Friday I got the first Billions season 3 DVD in the mail.  Perfect timing to get a 3 hour DVD since I really needed to take it easy so I'd be okay for our Christmas on Saturday.  :)
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During the night we had a little bit of snow.  I was delighted.  Not quite enough to cover the grass all the way, but I was happy to have a whiter Christmas.  
Enough snow on the patio to reveal a rabbit visit.  ;) 
And for this brushing contraption to show up!  This was something new.  I've only seen them using a blade plow. 
Annie found it interesting, too.  Funny how she's terrified of the very sound of a child laughing but can sit calmly watching noisy shovel scraping and big machinery going by.  
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Saturday--McFamily Christmas!  
Was fun to actually have "our" Christmas near Christmas and not in January.  I tried to get a picture of their tree--kind of dark, but you get the idea. 
I spent the day there from after lunch till after the kids went to bed.  Normally Liam won't look at me and steers clear.  Cries if he is put in my lap, so we don't do those scary things to him.  ;)  But as the day wore on...he was on his own turf...was in a good mood after a long nap...well, he actually played near me.  I was in the recliner. 
I talked to him and he actually made eye contact and even threw ping pong balls my way.  A good sign!   
He even would forget about me being so close after while.  And...then...finally... 
...I got him to laugh!  He tentatively, temporarily decided I wasn't as scary as he thought.  At least that day.  ;)
What a nice Christmas present from Liam. 
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We ordered Chinese and after dinner we opened presents.  My phone was acting up so Leah took some pictures, but she's been way to busy to get them to me on One Drive.  Got pictures coming from when they visited my mom, too.  
Maybe next week.  :)  It's so busy this time of year.
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I think everybody liked their presents.  I know Ian was thrilled with his Lightning McQueen slippers!  They were a big hit!  He got a Cars t-shirt, too.  And Liam was so taken with the Mog and Me board book that he didn't even object to being put in my lap and having me read it to him!!!  He kept opening up pages after we had gone through it the first time to hear and see more.  Well, it's a book about a boy and his cat.  That was definitely a hit!  I think he almost forgot whose lap he was sitting on--LOL!  ;)
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Myself? 
I was absolutely shocked!!  They got me a brand new cell phone!!  It's a Google Pixel 2XL (not that I know what that is but it's the same one Leah has).  I got this picture off the web. 
I have gotten their hand-me-down phones (laptops, etc) for many years--which I have always been just plain thrilled to get.  I still can't get over that this one is brand spankin' new--whoohoo!  I feel so spoiled!!
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After I read to Liam and he went up to bed, then I read to Ian and off he went to dreamland.  Then Leah brought me home and came in to help hook up stuff.  This was the first picture from the new phone.   Henceforth, all pics will be from this new Google phone.  :)  
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They also gave me a practically new Alexa!!  Leah wanted to do the Google version instead (can't remember the name).  In fact, Alexa is playing Christmas music for me right now as I am chatting with you...and I could tell her to play softer...right from my chair.  :)  
Because Leah knows I would always forget I could ask my old cell phone questions, she stuck up "Ask Alexa" post-it notes all over my place so I will remember to use her--LOL!  
For example...on my laptop...
 ...and on the microwave.  LOL!
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 My big old DVD player had been acting up for a long time.  Got really bad months ago and Leah picked up a new one for me...but then (with the threat of replacement?) it was acting better, so I wanted to wait till it was really bad again.  Friday night while I was watching Billions it became unwatchable--freezing and jerking.  I had to watch the last episode on my little portable player--which worked just fine so I knew it wasn't the DVD.  So, Leah hooked up the new DVD player for me, too.
The new little DVD player is sitting on top of my old VCR. 
Yes, I still have a VCR.  
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Oh, and Leah also asked me if I wanted to try a pressure cooker.  She got one as a gift a year or so ago and has never used it.  I've never had one so I know nothing about them.  I figured I'd check it out, anyways.  I don't know if it is too practical to have if you don't eat meat?
What I do remember is my mom had one when we were kids and I think she made pot roasts in it.  It was a big silver pot similar to this picture below that I found on the web--only that back pressure valve thingie I thought was more the shape of a milk can and I thought the sides and cover were a little textured.  I remember being fascinated by that little silver milk can rattling on the top with the steam shooting out from under it that made it dance around.  
Anyways, the explosion: I just remember it made a horrific sound, that milk can thingie hit the ceiling, and the cover broke right off on one side!  I remember Mom and I laughing in the kitchen...and, well, since I am somewhat famous (or annoyingly notorious) for getting people laughing in times of crisis, I may well have started it.
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  (I'd maybe make a good pressure valve, myself--hehe!)
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I can't say with absolute certainty that is how it went down, but that's what I remember...and why I have always been a little afraid of pressure cookers.  Been some 60 years ago, so that's as good a recollection as I can give you--LOL!  I will read the recipe book that came with this one and decide if I am feeling brave enough to maybe make some beans in it or something...or if we should give it away.  ;)
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Leah also helped me with some computer issues...and with all this puttering about the next thing we knew it was 2 AM!!  We didn't even get finished with all the items on my Leah list--goodness!  Can tell she hasn't been around much lately--LOL!  Was soooo nice just to spend time together, though.  
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The next morning when I woke up...I sounded like a frog!  Alexa didn't even understand me--which totally cracked me up!  So much so that I had to call Leah and tell her--so she could also hear why, too--ROFL!  Sooo funny! 
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Last night (Sunday) after the boys went to bed Dagan brought me over Christmas cookies Leah had been making all day...
...some of the leftover Chinese food we forgot to bring with Saturday night, and two boxes had arrived from Amazon with 40# bags of kitty litter that Dagan dumped into the bin for me.
(Yes, that was where part of some Christmas money went.)
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Today...I am chatting with you and doing laundry.  I've been on the laptop so long that the last load is in the dryer.  It's almost time to nuke some fried rice...and have a Christmas cookie or two for dessert...after I check the mail and remake the bed once this load is dry.  Annie is confused and a bit annoyed by me talking to the kitchen wall.  I had such a fantastic Christmas with McFamily!  Ian's been running around with his new slippers and t-shirt on, Dagan said. 
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Oh!  Oh!  And while we were chatting I got a text and a call from Leah.  Her sister, Ariel, was at IKEA in Minneapolis looking for my desk chair.  They were out of the dark grey ones I wanted but they had a kind of dark denim blue one.  Awesome.  That will probably be nicer than the dark grey--a touch of subtle color, but still dark enough for having little kids around, you know?  The very light grey would show stains more readily.  Ariel thought she could get both of them in her car, too!!  What a Christmas!!  Whoohoo!
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The Girls are outside the patio door.  The sun is going down.  Not that we had any actual sunlight today--cloudy day.  Supposed to get a little bit of snow tonight and then a pretty big snowstorm coming through the day after Christmas that could last a day or more.  If the storm comes, I'll take pictures with my new phone.  ;)   
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Well, that's it from here.  
I don't sound so much like a frog anymore.  Annie could care less, but it has improved my relationship with Alexa.
Next we chat it will be New Year's Eve!!  
Love and hugs from Fargo!
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"We are all connected: To each other, biologically.  To the earth, chemically.  And to the rest of the universe, atomically."
Neil deGrasse Tyson

20 comments:

  1. Comment to get comments. :) :)
    Merry Christmas!!

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  2. Wow, Rita - a new cell phone, an Alexa, and even some snow! That's great! And that goulash looks really good. I hope you (and Annie) and your family have a wonderful Christmas.

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  3. Hi Rita - good to check in and see what is going on with you. Nice phone! Looks like you are having a wonderful holiday season! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

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  4. Merry Christmas Rita. It looks like it is going to be a GOOD one from this post. Hugs-Erika

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  5. My mother once redecorated our kitchen with a pressure cooker!! Well, not intentionally; she was making split pea soup & had to leave the house because of an emergency & when she returned the kitchen ceiling had been thoroughly split pea souped!! It had blown the gauge off & shot up through the steam vent. I don't remember what we had for dinner that night, but it sure wasn't split pea soup!! (I've used one & it's perfectly safe as long as you keep an eye on the pressure gauge.)

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  6. Merry Christmas Rita. How sweet that Liam loved the book so much he sat on your lap and let you read to him, and Ian loved his new Cars/McQueen gear. Taking pictures with you new phone - life got easier. All the setting up/cookies/snow/birds returning/lots of work on the journals and more - you did have a great week. Rest a bit too!
    Hugs
    Joy
    Hugs.
    Joy

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  7. It sounds like you had a wonderful time with your family! I love that smiling picture of Liam! Enjoy the new phone - it takes great pictures. I'll be interested in hearing how you like Alexa and in what ways you find her most helpful. Merry Christmas Rita!

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  8. Wow - you got some amazing presents! Wishing you much joy.

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  9. I'm a tad late, but Merry Christmas, dear Rita. Sounds like your Christmas has been one of the best around. I'm so happy for you. You even sound happy, even though you have had some pain. I love your Alexa. I want one (grin). She looks like so much fun, too.

    Merry Christmas, dear Rita. Enjoy your day, enjoy your new phone, and enjoy your DVDs. I also have a vcr I still watch.

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  10. Wow, what a fine Christmas you had with family, Rita. And those little boys are both so precious. And what a haul! That new phone takes the best pictures, I've heard. I enjoyed this post very much. Merry Christmas! :-)

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  11. Rita i'am so glad you are having a nice Christmas. i so enjoyed catching up with you!! Alvin and i have the day off together and will be spending it at home. Everyone else lives too far away. Thats okay with us both working we are hardly ever at home together anymore. Alvin is walking around with his elf hat on...cracks me up.. Mr. Scrooge in a elf hat..lol The birds and squirrels are fed and we are enjoying watching them out the window.. Jinx is talking to them lol .. Can't wait to hear how everyone liked their presents we sent.. :) Take care Rita... letter on its way to you if you haven't received it already!! Hugs! deb

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  12. Merry Holidays! What a lovely post. So much family and love. You with Liam makes me think of coaxing a cat or dog to trust you - I know my husband wooed Gracie when we first got her. She was so skitish and scared to death of men. He would have none of it. Eased her into understanding she was loved and safe. Sounds like you've been having a lovely holiday. Great! Also - that bullet journel thing. Sounds like more work than actually doing it! I still do lists in my calendar because I have 10 slots and I can't go over that so I can't over plan (10 is a lot - I try for no more than 5). Here's to the best new year ever!

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  13. Merry Christmas! That's a good way to handle the Santa skittishness. Nothing is gained by forcing it. I'm glad your birds are back. There's not all that much cover for them there as protection so I'm glad the hawk found a meal elsewhere ;) I do love bean soup during the wintertime. I have several kinds I rotate. I've never heard of an Amazon gift card. I've only gotten a gift card for a present a couple of times, and they were for restaurants. A White Christmas! Delightful! So much fun to see the rabbit tracks. Your new phone looks fancy and sounds exciting. It'll be fun figuring out all its tricks :) I'd be up for Chinese food and Christmas cookies. It sounds like you and your family are having a wonderful Christmastime :)

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  14. Merry Christmas from Kansas!

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  15. So glad your CHristmas was beautiful. And Liam's smile was worth waiting for - so merry and happy! The card of the pair of them was precious. And your first picture really set the scene, it was such a beautiful sky. Your painted paper is really gorgeous. Seeing how nice it looked I'm thinking I might do some next year. I could see if I can buy some sheets of sugar paper. I love the texture and colours of it. There are lots of birthdays coming up with us in February so I don't have to wait a whole year to get painting! Happy happy season for you Rita!

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  16. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

    We had a lovely Christmas Day too....full-on and exhausting but it was nice all the same.

    I love that Bullet Journals are so flexible to meet each user's needs perfectly.

    Soup looks delicious!

    Great that the girls are back and the sparrows too.

    Wonderful Christmas pictures! Unlike with all my other kids, I never did get a photo of Aaron with Santa. He wouldn't have a bar of it. He even steered clear of the Easter Bunny in shopping centres at Easter time. I never forced him...not much sense in having a pic of a crying Aaron on Santa's knee.

    The wrapped presents looked really good with the painted wrapping paper!

    I'm glad you managed to get Liam to laugh...and some time on your lap too! He will come around eventually.

    I'm sure you will enjoy the new phone. Lovely gift and it takes great pics too!

    I still have an old VCR but it's currently packed away because it was just collecting dust.

    I've been thinking of getting a Google Home myself. My nephew relies on his for lots of things. He will let GH know where he is putting his car keys when he gets home...and later, if he forgets where he put them which he often does, he will ask GH. It's all about developing a habit of talking to the device regularly. Enjoy! Too funny that Alexa didn't recognise your croaky voice the next day.

    OH, I have a fear of pressure cookers too! I vaguely remember a time when something similar happened with Mum and there were bits of food on the ceiling! I know a lot of vegans who loved their pressure cookers....great for cooking dried beans apparently.

    I'm sure you will love your new desk chair.

    I'm looking to have a restful day today after a busy Christmas day yesterday.

    Love and hugs xo

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  17. Just dropped by to say Merry Christmas and let you know your post as usual made me feel happy, you have such a lovely family

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  18. Merry Christmas! Sounds like you were blessed with wonderful gifts! The storm is something else.

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  19. I love the home made gift wrap!!

    I hope the Hawk finds dinner somewhere else!

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  20. What a wonderful post with so much in it! Your bullet journaling is inspiring. That's such a good idea to get the entire year set up. Congratulations on getting a new phone. That IS exciting! Love seeing the photos of the birds and your grandchildren.

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Have a really great day! :) :)