Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Change

"If nothing ever changed there'd be no butterflies." - Unknown

I mentioned in some of my earlier posts that November would be a month of change. 

As it always does time flew by very quickly and it is time for me to take the next step in my career. I have accepted a position with another company and my first day is today. Wish me luck!

I am sad to say goodbye to the amazing team of real estate agents, managers and support staff at my former company. It was an incredible 9 years.

I am proud of each of the agents and of the office and how much we have accomplished. I will miss my friends and colleagues but am looking forward to exciting opportunies.

Wendy

Monday, November 28, 2016

Microblog Monday - I Am Not Ready

Changing over to Christmas happens earlier and earlier each year. The turkey is barely digested from the Thanksgiving dinner and people are out the door shopping for Christmas.

I will be ready soon. I am just not ready yet. December 1st is Thursday and that day, to me, is the day to start getting in the Christmas spirit.

How about you? What holidays do you celebrate in the upcoming month and are you preparing already?

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Challenge of Buying Gifts For Teens

Happy day after Thanksgiving! Does the rush to get ready for Christmas start for you now? I know things start for me but I am hoping not to rush too much.

It's so hard to know what to buy for teenagers that will delight them at Christmas. Those 2 words don't even go together - delight/teen.

Here are my best finds, I hope they give you some helpful ideas:

Girls - Instant camera. Fuji makes a great little instant camera that is reminisent of the instant cameras I had growing up. www.amazon.com/Fujifilm-mini
They also have a cool little printer that prints photos from a smart phone on the same instant camer film. www.amazon.com/Fujifilm-INSTAXprinter
The selfie crazed teen girls will love both of these.
Texting gloves. If you live in a cold climate you know that the challenge of texting or using your phone in the cold is a challenge that is real. Your always connected girl will thank you for these gloves.

Boys - Drone. It is crazy how inexpensive these have become and it will be a favorite with teen boys on your gift giving list. Just imagine if they came home with this video ...
 https://www.youtube.com/watchdroneamusement
Have a boy on your list who would like to learn programming and coding? Rasberry Pi peaked my interest and I know it's on the hot list for teens again this year. Get more info here www.raspberrypi.org/help/videos/

Last but not least for both boys and girls Bean boots are back. Also known as duck boots they were also a favorite when I was a kid.

What are you thinking of for the teens on your holiday shopping list? I'd love to hear more ideas!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Thanksgiving Love Story From the Great Depression

A Wedding Day Long Ago
Once upon a time on a  Thanksgiving day a young man living away from home during the Great Depression found some luck.  The result of that is a ripple effect that I give thanks for this and every Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving 2016 I am lucky and I am thankful.

Enjoy this short story about how my grandparents started out in life as I imagine it.

mymiddletonchronicles.blogspot.com/1000beans

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, November 21, 2016

Microblog Monday

"Hit it out of the park." This saying describes the best possible outcome in a situation where a task is being performed. It's when you kill it.

Why is it that some can succeed at hitting homeruns and others cannot? The key in my mind is understanding that the homerun is not an isolated event or occurrence. That homerun is the culmination of many hours of practice, lots of swings and hard work. And high energy.

Some environments will sap your energy. Others will add to and enhance your energy. When in an environment that is an energy drain there are things you can do to change it. Music and activity enhance energy. Want things to be more upbeat? Put on some music and do something!

I am looking for, and think I have found, an environment that will motivate and inspire me. I'm on the hunt for that homerun!

Photo by Kai Oberhauser - Unsplash
My blog theme this month is change. Are you making any changes these days?
I'd love to hear about it.

Stay tuned for more from My Middleton Chronicles.

Wendy

Sunday, November 20, 2016

If We Were Having Coffee ...

Happy Sunday!

I found the hashtag #ifwewerehavingcoffee and love the concept of each weekend crafting a blog post that is made up of what I'd tell my readers (do I have readers?) if we sat down to have coffee together.

Coffee does seem to be on my mind quite a bit. I just told my husband yesterday that the next place we live needs to have a Starbucks.
To add to that a  french press is on my Christmas wish list.

I live in a tiny town that could called a suburb as it is equal distance from it to 3 cities and the largest town in America is a 1/2 hour drive. Many would consider it the FAR suburbs. The population is approximately 6,000 and there is one stop light.
I really do love my tiny town but will be ready to live somewhere a bit more happening once my kids are out of school. Hence the Starbucks conversation with the hubs.

The Thanksgiving prep is not too stressful. We've kind of got it down to a science having hosted so many times. I am looking forward to the day. As a family (minus my oldest who will spend the holiday with her dad) we are doing a 5K in the morning,  the Gobble Wobble.
I am looking forward to having a fire in the fireplace and having an awesome meal after that.

I'm spending a lot of time thinking about and planning for the upcoming Christmas holiday and am going to shake things up a little and put the Christmas tree in the dining room. We are planning a big Christmas Eve celebration that follows the traditions my husband grew up with.
Hanging out in our big dining room will be fun and I'm going to decorate the tree with sea shells and starfish to change things up a bit.

I picked up a really cool furniture piece this past week from Facebook Marketplace. It looks great in my foyer (I think) and will be fun to decorate for Christmas. It was made from an old door, posts from a bed for the legs and is perfect for keys, etc. This is just the kind of project I wish I had the time (and talent) for.
The woman who made it has a workshop set up at her house and as she put it "plays" all day creating interesting things.

It's been a busy weekend with my daughter playing in a basketball tournament and having friends over. My son doing a college visit and my mom popping by for a quick visit.

What have you been up to this week? What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Thanks for having coffee with me and stay tuned for more from My Middleton Chronicles.

Wendy

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Throwback Thursday - What Was I Doing This Time Last Year

Unsplash - Photo by Patrick Hendry
A look back at November 2015. Seems like yesterday.

Last year at this time the 21 Day De-Clutter challenge I embarked on was in full swing. It was a great way to get ready for the holidays.

The techniques I learned were excellent and I am using them to do some major 'get ready for the holidays' work now. I am also working hard on my home office so it is a productive, inviting space.
The saying seems to be true. The more things change the more they stay the same.

You can read about the tips and tricks I learned about and used last year here -
mymiddletonchronicles.blogspot.com/2015/11/21daydeclutterchallenge

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Desk Project


I wanted to get my hands dirty and work on a project last winter. I found this Ethan Allen desk on a Facebook yardsale site. It is so heavy and was in rough shape. The lines are beautiful, the construction is sturdy so I decided it was worth tackling.
Paint and stain can be transformative.





Check out those dovetail drawers! Broken drawer handles are easy to replace and I decided to paint the bottom black and stain the top.

The project had some stops and starts and took up a good portion of the basement for several months. Finally it was ready for the start of the 2016 school year in September.
I tend to think of that time of year as a time of new beginnings and moved some furniture around to accommodate my kids doing homework in their rooms which left a spot open where we have a computer that needed a surface to rest on.
                                                                                                                                                          There was no way to make this desk look new again and I am good with that. I love the idea that the desk has been well used. Who knows what tasks have been accomplished on its top. If only furniture could talk. The guy I bought it from didn't have any info on where it came from, he was a junk dealer making a buck or two selling used items.

Time for creative projects is limited but it is something I love. I am going to change my "there's not enough time" way of thinking and make time to do some DIY over the next week or so. Here's to November and the month of change!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more My Middleton Chronicles.
Wendy
The finished project


Monday, November 14, 2016

Microblog Monday - Holiday Dessert

Looks so good!
November is moving quickly and it is time to really give some thought to the Turkey Day menu. Pinterest has some great ideas and I've been pinning away on my board titled 'Holiday Stuff' for a while now.

Apple Pie is a staple at my house and a couple of us in the family also like a nice slice of Pumpkin Pie. I am thinking about getting a French Press to step up my coffee game. Is it worth it? If you have one please let me know your thoughts.

Most years I buy cookies from a local business to dress up the table and to have a little something extra around. That's what Thanksgiving is all about. It's that day to be thankful, to spend time with family and friends and to have a great feast to celebrate it all.

What's on your holiday dessert menu?

Stay tuned for more from My Middleton Chronicles.
Wendy
Last years table 


Friday, November 11, 2016

5 TV Shows That Ended Too Soon

Since Gilmore Girls made it's return recently I've been thinking about favorite TV shows that ended too soon and that I'd like to see more of.

Some shows, like the Brady Bunch, had movies that followed up and showed the characters years down the road. A Very Brady Christmas satisfied my 'where are they now' curiosity. 
The reunion of the Sex and The City ladies could have ended with just 2 movies but I only know that because they did go for it with a 3rd. 

A famous saying when it comes to TV shows stems from Happy Days running a little longer than perhaps it should have. Instead of leaving fans wanting more the Happy Days gang 'jumped the shark' and continued on after story lines became less entertaining and more ridiculous.

Here's my list, in descending order from least to most favorite, of 5 shows that did not 'jump the shark' and left me wanting more:

5.  Sopranos - This show was so full of complex characters it would take a full length movie or another season to really see where they are now. The Sopranos was appointment TV for me and I loved the shock factor. I'd make an appointment to see what these characters are up to now. How did Tony's kids turn out? Dr Melfi? The list of characters I wonder about could go on and on and at the top of that list is Tony himself. I loved the theme song Woke Up This Morning. So gangster, so awesome. My idea for a next step for the Sopranos would be a movie - A Very Soprano Christmas. 

4. Freaks and Geeks - I only discovered this show when it came out on Netflix. Somehow I missed it's regular TV run. When it comes to shows that left viewers wanting more this one would top the list for many. I think it only ran for 2 seasons. The struggles of high school are so vivid and the characters are people we all knew. Seeing Seth Rogan at the start of his career and Jason Segel who I most associate with his How I Met Your Mother character was great. The theme song Bad Reputation was perfection. The guidance counselor trying to get Lindsay Weir (the main characters sister) to stay on the 'Mathletes' when she would rather hang with her new burnout friends is classic.

3. Mad About You - This shows last 2 episodes did go to the future of the characters but did still leave me wondering about how things turned out for them. The time when the show ran was a time when I was in the same age group and stage in life as the characters so I very much related to them. The theme song was fitting but not iconic - Final Frontier. Shows set in NYC are intriguing. I love the idea of NYC apartment living. Everything you could want or need right on your block.
The episodes where Paul and Jamie are doing the most mundane things like getting ready for company, getting ready for the day, arguing about whether the floor slants or not are all so relatable. The list of stars who had recurring and guest roles are impressive and there are crossovers with 2 other shows on this top 5 list - Friends and Seinfeld.

2.  Friends - The comments could go on for days when it comes to Friends. Netflix is the gift that keeps on giving and my foray in to re-watching Friends from beginning to end was like visiting with old, well, old Friends. It warms my heart that my son and his group are having 'Friendsgiving' complete with touch football. The theme song I'll Be There For You by the Rembrandt's fits the show perfectly.  There was so much discussion about a Friends movie and it has not happened. I am still holding out hope for it. 10 seasons is a long time for a show to run. As I re-watched it there were very few episodes that were duds. The great episodes still make me laugh out loud. Think Ross' spray tan episode.

1. Seinfeld - Surprise, surprise. I did not get enough of Seinfeld. The Larry David Show on HBO helped my withdrawal symptoms however I don't think I am over the show being over. There is theme music and the intro is Jerry doing his stand up for many of the episodes. There are so many hysterical episodes and while the finale is not what I expected I did like it. After 9 seasons I was still left wanting more.
The episode where the Japanese businessmen stay with Kramer was a side splitter and I needed to see the re-run to hear everything in the episode. I was laughing so hard I missed some dialogue the first time around. The parents of Jerry and George were hysterical. What happened to them? They must have been so proud of their kids ending up in jail. Jerry, George, Elaine, Kramer and the long list of guests who appeared were the most entertaining characters. Bring on a Seinfeld movie! It will probably never happen but that won't keep me from hoping.

What are your favorite shows that ended too soon?
Would love to hear from you.

Wendy

Thursday, November 10, 2016

24 Hour Rule

Photo by Zara Walker - Unsplash
The 24 Hour Rule and A Lot Can Change In A Month -

When something is a lot to handle or digest I like to give it 24 hours before acting or commenting. I have given the election outcome that breathing room and now want to share my thoughts. When I said at the start of the month of November 2016 that a lot can change in a month I knew we'd elect a new President.

I follow a couple of themes on my blog and it was very fitting that yesterday was Wordless Wednesday. The country is in shock and for many there are no words. For Trump supporters it is shock that they won and for Clinton supporters it is shock that they did not.

Living in a blue state I think that shock factor is huge here. We had our finger on the pulse of our area but did not have a handle on the sentiments of the rest of the country.

There are days when you go buy copies of the newspaper as a memento from a historic day. I thought the newspaper headlines would be very different the day after election day, however it is no less momentus a day. I bought copies of several newspapers yesterday and will tuck them away.

The honor of being the first woman President is still out there for a woman to aspire to and achieve.

For me I do not have the fear that many are expressing. I am going to trust that our new POTUS will surround himself with capable advisors and that he will make America greater. I say greater because as someone who loves our country I know there are very big flaws but I also know it is a great place to live, work and raise a family.

Above all In God We Trust.

Wendy

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Fall, Elections and November The Month of Change

A google search of the definition of change yeilded this:
change
Photo by Sandis Helvigs, Unsplash
CHānj/
verb
  1. 1.
    make or become different.
    "a proposal to change the law"
  2. 2.
    take or use another instead of.
    "she decided to change her name"
noun
  1. 1.
    the act or instance of making or becoming different.
    "the change from a nomadic to an agricultural society"
  2. 2.
    coins as opposed to paper currency.
    "a handful of loose change"
    synonyms:coins, loose/small change, silver


Fall is a season of change, the leaves are just past peak color in my area. November 8th 2016 will for sure go down in the history books in a big way as a time of change. The United States is voting and the rest of the world is watching.

My 18 year old son voted in his first Presidential election this morning and he was up and out first thing to go and exercise his rights as an American to go and vote. 
He's home now and reported that it feels anti- climactic. He knew what to expect from the actual voting process, he had tagged along with my husband to vote in the past.  He also reported that he still feels anxious about the outcome.

I know I will be up late watching and waiting for the results tonight. 

And tonight we will know. Or tomorrow at the latest.

Stay tuned for more from My Middleton Chronicles. There are personal changes that are coming for me, can't wait to tell you all about it!

Wendy


Monday, November 7, 2016

Microblog Monday - The 3 Reasons I Blog

Why do I blog?

I've started a couple of streaks - Microblog Monday and Wordless Wednesday. I am also doing a blogging challenge this month which is to post each day in the month of November. My own rules for this are that I am only posting on the weekdays.

Why do I do it? What are my goals?

1. Writing down my thoughts, feelings and observations is cathartic and perhaps there are readers out there who can relate to me.

2.  I find the idea of being a writer fascinating and for sure have a romanticized view of what a writers life would be like.  If you've ever seen the movie 'Love Actually' the character Jamie writes on an actual typewriter at his retreat on an idylic pond somewhere in England.

3.  Finding my writing voice has been a goal of mine for quite a while and if I keep writing I am hoping that I find it.  Is the great American novel inside of me? Would anyone read my memoir? Who knows but I am going to keep trying just in case.

Stay tuned for more from My Middleton Chronicles and if you have any advice, constructive criticism or an idea for the direction of my blog I'd love to hear about it.
Have a great Monday!

Wendy

Friday, November 4, 2016

A Lot Can Happen In A Month - Holiday Prep

My childhood dresser turned buffet for dining room.
My theme these days is 'a lot can happen in a month' That includes getting ready for a favorite holiday. I spent some time on Pinterest and I am getting in the mood to be creative. Holiday prep is full of chores but it's also really fun to plan a great menu and decorate.

Last year at this time I embarked on a 21 Day De-Clutter which you can read about here
http://mymiddletonchronicles.blogspot.com/2015/1121daystolessclutter

It is less than 3 weeks until the bird goes in the oven and at my house we've decided that this year it will be turkey and duck on the big day. The carpet cleaner comes on Monday and I've made a list of areas I'd like to decorate.

I really like to switch gears from Thanksgiving to Christmas pretty quickly so I am thinking candles, a few white (or maybe gold) pumpkins, some greenery and berries. I can switch out pumpkins for snowmen and take away the fall berries and replace with winter berries and make the change over from one holiday to the next without spending  a fortune.

There are some cool DIY kitchen and bathroom accessories I'd like to give a try too. We'll see if I get that far.

I'll post some pictures here as the month moves along. For now I'll share the buffet in my dining room.

It's a favorite for a couple of reasons. The #1 reason it's a fav is that it is the dresser from my childhood bedroom. The dresser and glass were things I was handed down, add the table cloth from Christmas Tree Shop and just like that it's a buffet. I've been thinking about putting distressed, painted shutters on either side of the picture that hangs over it. It would be a get your hands dirty project to paint them and I think it would add some depth.

Stay tuned for more from My Middleton Chronicles.
Wendy



Thursday, November 3, 2016

When Was The Last Time You Were Brave

When I think of bravery I don't necessarily think of myself. Don't get me wrong, I believe I am a strong person but when I think of a brave person I think of soldiers, great world leaders, inventors, artists...

The more I thought about it one thing that came to me is something I say to myself often: "get up, dress up and show up."  I do put on a brave face on many days but not to the extent that others do. Soldiers put themselves at risk to protect others. 
World leaders make hard decisions on a daily basis. Artists put their work out for the world to see. Inventors often fail over and over before perfecting their invention. That, in my mind is real bravery.

People who go after what they want most in life are brave. I have things I'm going after and don't plan on giving up. When I get there I'll let you know and share my brave tale.
Until then stay tuned for more from My Middleton Chronicles.



Here's what came up when I googled the definition of brave:
adjective
  1. 1.
    ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
    "a brave soldier"
    synonyms:courageousvaliant, valorous, intrepidheroiclionheartedbold,
    fearlessgallant,daringpluckyaudaciousMore
noun
  1. 1.
    people who are ready to face and endure danger or pain.
  2. 2.
    dated
    an American Indian warrior.
    synonyms:warriorsoldierfighter
    "an Indian brave"
verb
  1. 1.
    endure or face (unpleasant conditions or behavior) without showing fear.
    "we had to brave the full heat of the sun"
    synonyms:endure, put up with, bearwithstandweathersuffer





Tuesday, November 1, 2016

NaBloPoMo - A Lot Can Happen In A Month

One of the last times I did a full month of posting daily on my blog was a month of change for me. It was September a few years ago and the start of the school year feels like a time of new beginnings even if you are not starting school.

This month I am participating in NaBloPoMo which stands for National Blog Post Month. Bloggers commit to posting to their blogs each day and can either follow prompts or write what they would like to write. Following the prompts is my plan and to add to the prompts I am also going to track and report on the changes from the start of the month to the end.

November is a favorite month of mine. I love the Thanksgiving holiday and it is a nice way to end this month of change that is coming up. A time to exhale and relax a little. To me it's such an easy, stress free holiday.

For Christmas this year there is discussion about a new location for our celebration. I've hosted Christmas for large and small groups of merry makers over the last decade or so with maybe the exception of one year. This year we may mix things up a little and be the guests. That's still in the works, stay tuned ... change may be in the air.

This is a Presidential election year so this November will be an interesting one on the political front. Our country is holding its collective breath in anticipation of the outcome and the passion on both sides is palpable.
So by next week around this time we'll know who the next President will be. A new beggininig.

Change can be for the good. Change can be not so good.

Today reminded me of a children's book I love - Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Vioirst.

It was one of those days when there was bad news and junky stuff going on all around me. Lost sports equipment, cold showers, broken down cars, spilled coffee, back problems, migraines and other drudgery were the order of the day. This is all true life stuff from the people I came across during the course of one of my usual days.
Add to that all the tired parents (myself included) and children from yesterdays Halloween festivities plus all the crazy election stuff and it's no wonder people were grouchy today (again myself included).

"I hate my life." is an actual text I recieved. Of course that is a bit dramatic when you look at the big picture. A lost piece of sports equipment and a spilled coffee are small blips on the radar but are a burr in the side of the person dealing with it. The stuff of a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

What to do, what to do to make a bad day better? Jokes can really lighten the mood. Support from friends and family help too. Just hearing from someone "that sucks" goes a long way.
So does upbeat music.

Here's to not wallowing in The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and to tomorrow changing for the better!

Stay tuned for more from My Middleton Chronicles. I think it's going to be an interesting month.

Wendy