Irresistible Movies

Irresistible Movies

I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse. Don Vito Corleone, The Godfather

It’s Tuesday and that means Carole is wondering this:

10 Movies You Have To Stop & Watch When You Come Across Them While Channel Surfing


So pull up a chair and see what we can come up with!

      • The Godfather
      • The Wizard of Oz
      • Holiday Inn
      • Any of the Harry Potter movies
      • Any of the Star Wars movies
      • Any of the Sean Connery James Bond movies
      • It’s a Wonderful Life
      • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
      • Hopscotch
      • The In-Laws

So many great movies, but if I am channel surfing, I want one of these to be on somewhere!

So tell me, what movie would you stop and watch?

May the Music Never End

May the Music Never End

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. – Bob Marley


Carole has perhaps picked the best topic ever for this 10 on Tuesday, she wants to know:

10 Albums You Love. As in, you love the entire album, not just a few select songs

Wow, how do you even start with this topic – better yet, WHERE do you start?! Who gets the number one spot? How do you pick just ten? So, in no particular order (okay, alphabetical because there has to be some logic, right?) here you go, the 10 albums I love – in their entirety!

  1. Beethoven – 6th Symphony (but really, how do you pick)
  2. Van Morrison – Moondance
  3. Dave Brubeck – The Essential Dave Brubeck
  4. Etta James – At Last!
  5. Norah Jones – Come Away With Me
  6. Diana Krall – When I Look In Your Eyes (I have every single Diana Krall album and they are all spectacular, but this is my favorite)
  7. The Manhattan Transfer Anthology – Down In Birdland (a cheat but I have all their albums and they are all in the entire category)
  8. John Mayer – Continuum
  9. Frank Sinatra – Sinatra Reprise: The Very Good Years (I am going to sound like a broken record – but this was a hard choice, I love every single thing he had ever done, but this one is so good)
  10. The Wailin’ Jennys – 40 Days

So, when I first did this list there were 19 albums on it and, sadly, this is not 19 on Tuesday! So, in thinning this out a bit I tried to pick albums that might not be on everyone’s list. Maybe I will be surprised and find that there are many duplicates! However, I thought it important note that it goes without saying that there is so much good music available today. But, more importantly is that even though a musician might be gone from this world – their music lives on (and in a way they do too) every time we listen.

If you do not see an artist on my list, it does not necessarily mean I do not love them and they are not ENTIRE ALBUM WORTHY – they are. (Hello Adele, James Taylor, Brandi Carlile, Aaron Neville, Tony Bennett, the band, Fleetwood Mac, fun., Mussorgsky, Gillian Welch, Joan Baez, Le Vent du Nord, The Lumineers, Mat Kearney, Michael Bublé, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Avett Brothers, Pearl Django, Patsy Cline, Sam Cooke, Sarah Vaughn, and Warren Zevon – I am looking at all of you!) Picking 10 was just such a difficult decision, truly!

I hope you see something new on my list, something or someone you maybe did not know, and they become something you love! Because, really, I hope the music never ends!

The Art of Planners

The Art of Planners

If you Google “planners” you will get about a zillion results almost instantly. (Actually, I got 139,000,000 in .39 seconds) There is so much information available from Pinterest boards, to blog posts, to YouTube videos all with volumes of information on what people think is successful.

Perhaps the reason that there is so much information is that there is not one perfect system for everyone and this is absolutely true for me!

So, what I have done is taken parts of things from a variety of “planning styles” to create a system that works very well for me. This took a bit of work, because when I worked in the corporate world – Outlook worked perfectly for my needs. I combined that with some other online programs and my work life was well-organized.

However, now that I am self-employed and I work from home a digital planning system did not work as well. I am not sure why – perhaps the fact that I am a team of one, and what I am doing does not need to be accessible to others.

Now, I do use some excellent online resources for my work, Trello, Slack, and Harvest are wonderful resources for working on projects – and they make working remotely seem less remote! But, for my daily, weekly, and monthly goals – I really like a paper planner.

Last year I moved to the Midori Traveler Planner. It has become the best thing I have ever used. I did a bit of modification to it (thanks to Bradley at Stuff & Things) and now it is just perfect for me. I am not an “art” planner person. You won’t find stickers, washi tape, or collages of stuff on my pages – just simple planning – daily, weekly, and monthly/yearly. I use this insert for my planner. It helps me “stay in the week” and focus on the tasks that I need to complete. It helps me know where I need to focus my hours and how many hours I am spending on a project.

I borrow a few things from the Bullet Journal System – not many, just a few.

Sometimes, I have a task that cannot be completed in a week – a little arrow shows me I need to move it to the next week. In the new week, it gets an arrow to tell me this was a carryover project. Sometimes it gets cancelled entirely. I can easily look back to see how my week’s went and can keep clear records of the work I did. I think this will make tax time next year infinitely better.

I also have a journal insert for my Midori, which I use daily for my creative writing. This year, I have been trying to work on my creative writing so I am using Spunky Eclectic’s monthly journal prompts. I look forward to expanding my writing as the year continues.

The last insert I have in my notebook is just a simple graph paper insert. I use it to keep track of inks I like, of projects I would like to make, recipe ideas, Breed School notes, and just plain doodling.

Not in my planner – my monthly calendar – this sits on my desk open and visible. I use this to remember birthdays, anniversaries, personal appointments, etc. Things that are not work related, but I need to remember.

There you have my planning style in a very portable planner. Tell me – what is your “Planner Style”?

Stop, Drop, and Read

Stop, Drop, and Read

You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.
– C. S. Lewis

This week’s 10 on Tuesday topic is a special one in honor of Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday and Drop Everything and Read Day! Carole wants to know:

10 Books That Made YOU Want to Drop Everything and Read

Oh, man. How to choose! I am going to do a bit of a different take on this and go with my top 10 authors, which will still be almost impossible to narrow down, but I will try!

  1. E. B. White – Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan. Three fantastic books that I just devoured. More. Than. Once.
  2. Laura Ingalls Wilder – The Little House Series. I have read these books dozens of times. Really. Dozens.
  3. C. S. Lewis – The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity – books that transformed my life as a child and an adult.
  4. Mario Puzo – The Godfather, Fools Die, The Sicilian, The Last Don. Gritty novels that grab you from the very first sentence and don’t let you go even after you are done reading them!
  5. Hugh Howey – The Wool Omnibus. Science Fiction at its best.
  6. Tom Rob Smith – The Child 44 Trilogy, The Farm – a new to me writer who writes a fantastic novel!
  7. Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games Trilogy. LOVED! Such great writing. I devoured these books and could not wait to start the next one!
  8. J.K. Rowling – The Harry Potter Series. These I loved with my children. We read them together, or sometimes out loud, or sometimes impatiently waited for each other to finish them!
  9. Jussi Adler-Olsen – The Department Q Series. I simply adore Carl Morck and his imperfect but lovely manner.
  10. Dan Jones – The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England is the only book of his I have read, but it was absolutely fantastic. I read this with a boss as we drove to a conference. We did not want to stop!
  11. Diana Gabaldon – The Outlander Series. The first “romance” novels that I actually liked! I am adding this one as a bonus because season 2 of Outlander just started! If you have not read these – you should! They are so good!!

There are so many others I could add here – stories by that expert story-teller, Garrison Keillor; yarny tales shared by the Yarn Harlot; those lovely letters that EZ wrote from Schoolhouse Press; anything that Ernest Hemingway put to paper; the vivid poetry of Pablo Neruda – things that make you lose track of your day and get lost in the words of their world.

There you have my list – some timeless, some classic, some new literature – all incredible. Today is all about reading, so tell me what makes you D.E.A.R.???

In Search of Calm

In Search of Calm

If I want to calm down, I’ll buy some fabric,

get a pattern, shut myself in a room

and stay there for days, really happy.

And at the end of it, you get a bedspread

or some curtains or something to wear – it’s lovely.

– Twiggy

It’s 10 on Tuesday and this week Carole wants to know:

10 Things You Do To Calm Down

Hmmmm, calm down you say? Yes, we all need a bit of that sometimes, don’t we? Some of us (me!!) more than others.

So, what things help me regain sanity when everything around me is chaos…

  • Knitting – absolutely every single time. Even when the knitting is not good, the pattern is not easy, or it is just a simple swatch. Knitting is number one on my list.
  • Shut my mouth – stress and talking are a bad combination.
  • Meditation. A simple activity that centers me and helps me clear away the chaos from the inside – and if I am calm, what is going on around me is not so earth shattering. Even easier if you turn on Breathe, put in your ear buds, close your eyes, and listen.
  • Make bread. There is something so cathartic about the process of flour, water, yeast, and salt creating something so incredibly delicious. Stress reduction on so many levels!
  • Take a walk. A change of scenery just does a body good.
  • Work in the garden. Bonus – taking out your frustration on the weeds.
  • Read. Nothing quite like entering the world of the novel to clear your mind of what is stressing you.
  • Take a nice hot bath (even better while reading) That old Calgon commercial had it right – take me away, indeed!
  • Make a nice cup of tea to sip slowly.
  • Turn on music – it always lifts my mood, calms me, and changes my focus.

There you have my “go to” calm facilitators – what are yours?

Resolution Check-in

Resolution Check-in

And, just like that the second quarter of the year is underway – time flies when you are having fun? Way back in January, in our very first 10 on Tuesday of 2016 Carole asked us to share things we’d like to do more… and less.

I thought it would be a good thing – and to help keep me accountable – to see how I am doing with my “more or less” list. As you will see, there is some success and some failure, but I am not giving up. I am recommitting to what I want to do – where I want to go – how I want to be. Continuing is what is important and I will forge ahead on that path!

success quote

  • Moving more – some days I win, some days I’m sedentary. Perhaps the weather change and the garden will help kick this one back on track!
  • Eating healthier foods has been sustained – I think it is safe to say that this is our habit.
  • We were pretty good consumer’s this weekend – thanks to some amazing deals at Lowe’s, Bedner’s, and JoAnn’s!! However, these items will be put to use in making things (or growing things). I would like to get back to doing some daily stitching, however, I am not stressing about it.
  • Konmari continues in a room at a time and I finally got to the boxes in the garage – this is a very good thing. There was some very good sorting that happened and I am happy to report that I now have several free shelves!!
  • Finally, gratitude, for which I am giving myself a failed grade for the first quarter – there was some, but nowhere near enough. I am going to refocus myself on the little things, and see if my gratitude does not grow and I will start with the weekend, which was lovely from the Pineapple Cilantro Moscow Mules (pictured above) to the wandering through garden centers with Steve. I am grateful that weekends exist.

Here is to a New Beginning Monday where I will start as I plan to continue, I hope your day is good too!

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