Daybook Entry – February 11

FOR TODAY – Saturday, 2/11/12

Outside my window. . . dawn is breaking and I hear the birds singing. It’s a rainy, gray, dreary day, but the birds are out! I’d have loved to watch more of the light breaking, but there were dogs to let out, a mess to clean up (which is why they’re locked in the kitchen at night) and of course, the morning ritual of the giving of the treats. That ritual has made a big difference in getting a beagle to come in willingly when I’m trying to get out of the house in the morning.

I am thinking. . . about all the things I need and want to do. Before starting this, I opened up a new page in Evernote and listed out everything I could think of to help clear my mind. I have some things to follow up on at work, ideas for both my blogs, things I need to order this weekend, and some photography equipment to learn.

I am thankful. . . for my husband. He’s still upstairs sleeping, so I have this time to concentrate on my writing. We’ve been going out for breakfast each day before work and I love having quality time with him before the day becomes chaotic. Love is not about flowers on Valentine’s Day. It’s about him making me supper each night, helping clean the house, and encouraging me to write even though there’s a gazillion other things that should be more urgent.

In the kitchen. . . two dirty dogs have gone back to bed in their fragrant dog beds. The beds are too big to run through our washer. We haven’t decided yet if we want to take them to a laundromat or just replace them. Otherwise, the kitchen is clean from last night’s supper and waiting for today’s meals to happen.

I am wearing. . . ratty pajamas. I’ve had them since my daughter was in high school nearly a decade ago. I love them though because they’re warm when the house is cold. I turned up the heat, but it’s still cold here by the windows.

I am creating. . . photographs using special effects filters. One of my blogging friends suggested it. I don’t do it very often. I take pictures to record my life and am not sufficiently interested in spending hours tweaking them. My favorite boy toy does that and he creates truly stunning fine art photography. If I spent several days working on a single picture, I’d never have a record of my life.

I am going. . . to have a few days off next weekend. Monday is a company holiday (President’s Day) and I’m taking off an extra day as well. I’m not sure yet what, if anything, I’ll do. I have a nice stack of books from the library so I might just lay around and read for an entire day. Of course, I might do that this afternoon too!.

I am wondering. . . what else I can remove from my schedule to have time to do the things I want to do. I’ve removed much already, but I still have too little time. We haven’t decided whether to jettison the garden or convert it to something less frustrating than vegetables, such as my herbs. Nothing has grown well or tasted very good, we’ve yet to get consistently good tomatoes from it, and to be honest, it would be less time and money to go to the Farmer’s Market than keep struggling with this.

I am reading. . . The Secret Staircase by Melanie Jackson (A Wendover House Mystery). I can’t remember if this came up on Amazon’s Daily Deal or if it was a recommendation based on my reading. I’m enjoying it quite a bit. It’s written in first person, but Louisa, the main character, does not live in her head – i.e., the word “I” does not figure overly much in the narration. Louisa observes her environment and the people around her as she solves the mystery of her grandmother’s childhood and genealogy.

I am hoping. . . that tax season goes well this year, everyone stays healthy, and we get our work done without a lot of drama or stress.

I am looking forward to. . . doing some exploring as the weather gets nicer. I really enjoyed all the pictures last year from our field trips.

I am learning. . . some new Photoshop skills. The Topaz Labs filters are really cool, but way more powerful than I currently am able to do. I’m also not sure I’m observant enough to see when a filter looks good vs when it looks faked. On the other hand, some of the stuff that comes straight out of my camera looks fake when the colors are so bright and the sharpness so defined. So maybe it doesn’t matter as long as I like it.

Around the house. . . the dog gates from last night are still up, keeping the dogs in the kitchen. The miniature pinscher is still in his crate. On cold days like this, he thinks the term “hibernate” was meant for him. Of course, if the beagle starts barking at our neighbor, just watch that sign on his crate whip from “Leave Me Alone” to “Let Me Out NOW”.

I am pondering. . . whether I want to go out for breakfast by myself. My boy toy is still upstairs sleeping and I’m getting hungry. I could fix some yogurt and granola, but what’s the fun of that?

© 2012 dogear6 llc

A favorite quote for today. . . I just found this one! I’m not sure what book or diary it’s from, but I really liked it:

You must live in the present,
launch yourself on every wave,
find your eternity in each moment.
Henry David Thoreau

One of my favorite things. . . is reading. I could read all the time. I realized years ago that part of our budget for money was shopping at the bookstore each week to see what was new and that my time budget also had to allow for trips to the library.

A few plans for the rest of the week. . . we have reservations for Valentine’s Day at Maggiano’s. In past years, we stayed home and cooked a nice meal rather than go out. The last few years, I made a note of it to get reservations right after New Year’s Day and it’s been nice. Maggiano’s uses their regular menu, so we know we can have a moderately priced meal.

A peek into my workday. . . I usually am up shortly before my alarm. I shower, get dressed, let the dogs out and in (plus the giving of the treats). My favorite boy toy and I leave in separate cars for Cracker Barrel, where we have a nice breakfast together. I go to work and he heads back to his home office. At work, it’s meetings, phone calls, time spent training employees, and administrative things to be done.

The legislatures are back in session around the country, so I’m tracking new tax bills and coordinating with various industry groups to promote or defeat legislation. I enjoy that part of my job, but it takes time away from other things that need to be done. I work out during lunch on most days; if I wait until I get home, I’m usually too tired.

And that’s my day so far on this Saturday, February 11, 2012 (finished after breakfast out with  my favorite boy toy).

Over at A Daily Life is a book review on the history of the Oxford Dictionary, as well as some help manging comments and pingbacks.

My self-portrait was adjusted using different filters in Topaz, including the toy camera and a tint.  The photo below is not adjusted.  It’s my favorite oak tree in the backyard.

http://dogear6.com/

2011 Accomplishments

Over the years, I’ve evolved some formats to use around January 1 to celebrate my life and accomplishments, as well as set expectations for the New Year.

Here is the format I’m currently using:

  • List 25 Accomplishments from 2011
  • Choose my top five accomplishments from 2011
  • List three ways I have grown over the last year
  • What didn’t I do that I wanted to do or should have done
  • What I need to change
  • Contemplations & prayers as 2012 begins
  • Goal ideas for 2012

Understandably, this can take a while to work through.  I find it satisfying for several reasons and worth the work:

  • It reminds me that I did in fact accomplish a lot despite all that remains undone
  • I review it frequently for encouragement and as a reminder of what needs change
  • It helps me prioritize my time better

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share parts of this.  For today, I wanted to share my top five accomplishments from last year:

  1.   Started a blog and posted daily to it – woo hoo!
  2.   Improved my photography through practice

  3.   Evolved my relationship with my daughter

  4.   Went exploring and adventuring

  5.   Put together 5 photo albums to record family & other events

When rechecking my journals from a year ago, I was surprised to see that last year, it took two tries – TWO – to put together a list of five accomplishments that gave me satisfaction and feeling like I had a purpose in life.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t a big surprise.  I felt 2010 was a pretty lackluster year for many reasons and my first choices for the top five accomplishments were equally unimpressive.

Thankfully my second try to list the top five accomplishments gave me somewhat more satisfaction, but I knew I wasn’t about to repeat that in 2011.  And this year, my top five pretty much flew to the list.  I am satisfied with them and with the creative outlets they have given me.

As for the relationship with my daughter, it’s always been a good one.  This last year though, as she’s faced a number of disappointments and had to make hard decisions, we are relating to each more as adults than we did in the past.

I noticed this the most in August.  I’d taken a few days of vacation to visit her, then worked from her home the rest of the week so I could spend more time with her.  I’d had a really bad morning with phone conferences and a super secret project I was working on.  I met her for lunch that day and found she’d had an equally bad morning.  We spent the hour venting to each other about the problems at work.  More than once I’ve looked at her and wondered when she grew up into such a smart person.

Small Stones

My small stones entry comes from breakfast at Cracker Barrel yesterday morning:

pecan panacakes, brown and beige
butter skims the smooth surface
the syrup over all

the fork cuts left, right and across the end
to lift it to my mouth
and explode the flavors against my tongue

yum yum – sweet, salty, smooth and crunchy
do I dare pour more syrup?
and how much should I eat from such a plateful?

Blog Header & Photo

With the New Year, I changed my blog header.  This oak tree is at the end of our lot line.  I’ve taken many pictures of it throughout the year and love its stark beauty in the winter sky.

© 2012 dogear6 llc