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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Technically it isn't Spring till later this week, but with the weather we have been having, I am in the mood to get some cleaning and decluttering around here.  I felt under the weather yesterday, so I didn't attack it as much as I had hoped, but made progress nonetheless.  Kids have 4H and band practice this evening so will be running them around a bit, but feel better today and need to get back at it while I have the motivation.

Hoping this week to list items that I have for sale on the local swap site and get donations to Goodwill when I get near one.  Guess it is best to start with the smallest piles and get those taken care of, then move on to the larger projects right.

We have had such a mild winter and then summer like temps for the last couple weeks, that normally the time spent indoors would have been used to go through things and weed out, give away, sell what was no longer needed.  Areas to attack:

1. Bedrooms
2. Schoolroom
3. Storage Area
4. Under the Stairs
5. Utility Room
6.  Laundry Room

If I get all that done, maybe I can get new shelving put up in my pantry and linen closet to  hold some things.

Better get going.  In less than 2 hours the kids need to be somewhere and I will be playing chauffer. :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Incredible March Weather

This entire week has had temperatures in the 70s.  It has been incredibly beautiful out, feeling much like later April, rather than early March.  With the great weather, my neighbor and I resumed our walks at least a few day a week.  The snow is all gone and the rain has washed away a lot of the dust.  The grass is greening up and it feels like spring has already arrived.  Officially, it arrives next week some time.

We actually got to sleep with the window open all night last night (March 14th).  That is unheard of!!!  It ended when the moon aligned such that it was beaming into our bedroom and woke both of us up.  Looking forward to more nights of sleeping with the fresh air flooding our room.

Amazing Book

I just finished reading the biography of Steve Jobs.  A tome to be sure, a whopping 571 pages of reading, not including notes, bibliography, appendices, etc.  I did not get it finished in the 2 weeks that I had it checked out from the library and had to renew it yesterday, but I did get it finished in 15 days which isn't too bad.

I did not care for the curse words peppered throughout (which were quotes by Steve Jobs), but other than that, the book was well written, the author's style was an easy flowing narrative and covered his entire life in a detailed manner covering his personal and professional life.  The biography really gave the essence of who Steve Jobs was and what drove his passion to create incredible products that were the intersection of art and technology (a phrase repeated throughout the book).  His insistence on pushing people to create things that they thought impossible drove them to imagine and then create things no one had ever imagined and be able to engineer them

I plan to have my kids read this book.  It is a textbook example of thinking outside the box, something that we strive to model to our children.  If you don't have the time to read that many pages, I would suggest getting the audiobook.  I think everyone can learn something from this book.

I would give the book a 5 stars out of 5.

Now on to my next book - we'll see which one I can get from the library or borrow from a friend next.  That will determine what I read next.  It sure feels good to read books for pleasure again!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Losing Sleep Over the Time Change

Given that it happens twice a year, everyone should be used to it, but we aren't.  I prefer the time change in the fall, where time falls back and I gain an extra hour of blessed sleep. In the spring, well, not so much.  Thursday I came down with a bad cold and it continued to make me miserable all day Friday.  I fell into bed at 8:30 p.m and CRASHED, waking up at 8:30 Saturday morning.  I felt a ton better and went about my day.

When Saturday night rolled around, we dutifully set our clocks forward the hour, as much as we hated it, and went to bed at a normal hour.  Low and behold, I had slept so much the night before that I could not go to sleep.  As in not fall asleep until after 1:00 p.m.

So while, I was thankful for getting much needed rest and it made me feel tons better, losing out on a couple hours sleep the next night wasn't as much fun as it could be.  Thankfully we got to church on time this morning and life continues on.  I am thankful for the time change, in that there are more hours of light finally and that means more nights and time to walk with my neighbor.  I so enjoy walking with her and our visits.  Not to mention I feel better when I get several walks in per week and it keeps me from going to the chiropractor.

I wouldn't have thought the time change would have disrupted me as much as it did, but I guess you can always learn something new.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Explaining my New Blog Header

While technically, it is spelled differently, the photo that is my blog header is the only other place where I have seen Chocolat so naturally I had to take a picture of it.  My blog name is Chocolot, which was the result of trying to find a way to spell chocolate that wasn't already taken in the blogging universe.  While we may or may not agree in the wording along the bottom, I have to say the chocolate in this chocolate shoppe in historic downtown Galena, IL was fabulous!  I treated myself to Dark Chocolate Limoncello truffle and it was divine.

With a little help from my friend Glenda, I was able to figure out how to use one of my photos for my blog's header.  I continue to spruce things up and found a different background that coordinates a lot better.  Now to clean up some of  the other things in the sidebar, etc.

Civic Involvement - Time to Make a Difference

Today we participated in the County Convention for our political party.  During County Convention, we elected delegates to the District and State Conventions.  We also adopted a few more planks to our platform.  It feels good to be involved in the political process.

Growing up my mom dutifully served on the local election board and worked the polls each general and primary election.  However, I was never involved in politics of any sort.  I don't remember when I first voted but I don't think it was until after I was married 20 years ago.  Since getting married, to someone who is involved in politics, I have become immersed in the process.  Participating in local and state events, campaigns and even working on getting bills introduced into the state legislature.

I will not be one of those who complain about the system, then don't do anything to change it.  We get what we deserve, when we let others participate in the process and sit idly by.  The presidential election this year is far from decided.  There is still time to get involved.  Campaign for the cause you are interested in.  Help a candidate that you support and believe in his/her ideas.  If nothing else, get a yard sign, or write a letter to the editor, share your thoughts in a blog post.  If everyone got involved, we wouldn't be in the huge mess the federal government is in fiscally.  For too many years and generations, we have abdicated our responsibilities with regards to civics and we see what is coming down the pike for our children and future grandchildren.  It is time to get involved.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Not Birthday Party

A friend of mine recently hit a milestone birthday.  We decided that the group of us friends should go out to celebrate her birthday.  She informed us that it wasn't for her birthday and it should be for all of our birthdays.  So it affectionately became called NRB (not (her first name)'s birthday).  So we emailed all the gals and found a date and time that worked for everyone and that was last night.

So last night we went to a somewhat local Mexican restaurant and enjoyed our food and visiting.  Then we decided to have a little dessert (we shared fried ice cream).  We had been lingering at our table and didn't realize the large amount of people waiting to be seated, so we quickly left our table and decided to continue our evening elsewhere.  We spent probably another hour there, discussing a myriad of things (even I was amazed at the variety of things we discussed) and arrived home in time for the 10:00 news.

We need to do this more often.  It was so nice to just visit and laugh and not be in the middle of doing something while we were visiting.  We decided that we need to bring our husbands next time too and go a fancier restaurant.  That was they can't wiggle out of going (and it would be nice to do this again).  We never make time and we are all busy raising kids from preschool to college, doing our jobs, running businesses and get caught up in the daily busyness.

Thanks gals and you know who you are.  Yes I have pictures and no I won't post them anywhere.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Building a Better Mousetrap (or Learning about Steve Jobs)

Based on a recommendation by my friend Glenda and my father-in-law, I checked out the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson from the library.  The book is fascinating and takes you step by step through various things that happened in his life (which I found cumbersome to begin with, considering the book is 571 pages long).  I quickly learned, after reading a few chapters, how Isaacson, wove this all together to really tell the background of Steve Jobs quirky personality and quest to do things differently, better and more uniquely than anyone ever has.  I now, appreciate the detail that Isaacson used in the early  chapters to lay the foundation for explaining what made Steve Jobs who he was.

He set out to create a different product and company than anyone has ever seen or experienced.  Along the way, he has pushed people's creative limits to new heights, creating things that didn't seem possible.  He also created a loyal, almost cult-like following for Apple's innovative products.  The MacIntosh computer, the iPhone and the iPad have revolutionized the world in many ways.

Yes, there are people who hate Macs or feel more comfortable with their PCs.  My husband had a MacIntosh computer when we got engaged, but sold it as he began using PCs for work.  About five years ago he bought a MacBook laptop.  I wasn't ready, but eventually I came around and bought one 2 years ago.  I kick myself for waiting for so long.  Everything you do with them is intuitive.  And you avoid nearly all the virus problems you have with PCs.

Our kids have only used a Mac and have easily picked up how to do anything they need to do on it.  Our oldest daughter attended a technology workshop that the 4H Youth Council was hosting. Others were signed up to help with Mac products, so she ended up helping someone with their PC.  She was able to pick up easily what needed to be done, I believe because of the ease of learning her way around the computer on the Mac.

I still have about 400 pages of the book left and am trying to read about 50-70 pages per night if possible, in order to get it finished by the time it is due back at the library in 2 weeks.  It was a good book to start back into trying to read regularly.  It has kept my interest.  I don't think it is because I like Macs, but because the book is well written.

I see this has gotten extremely long, so I have kept you long enough (if you are still reading).

An Empty Weekend, What to Do? What to Do?

I can't remember the last time, we had a weekend with no plans, no commitments (other than church on Sunday) and no place we had to be.  That just doesn't happen for us. Well, we plan to enjoy it.  Being lazy, watching movies and getting the house back in shape (after lots of running) over the past weekend and week.

Wish I had more motivation to get my house decluttered.  I should have.  We have a confirmation in our house in 2 months.  That should be enough motivation.  Guess I better get off the computer and go work on it.  Tackling the basement because it is in transition due to a variety of projects and then the office so we can use it more than we do.  Both will require a lot of filing, so I suppose I better set up a better filing system for both the household and for our homeschooling.  I have bookmarked a lot of sites and ideas, so I need to figure out which ones work best for each system.  Unfortunately, my computer just locked up, so I will have to go find them again.  Story of my life!