Friday, March 16, 2018

Fitbit - Some Motivation Required

On January 12th, the company I work for held their annual "State of the Company" meeting in our corporate office in Fresno.

I really love this meeting, it's informative, fun and always makes me feel like a valued member of the team.

The motto for the coming year was unveiled...

Teamwork makes the Dream Work

They're big on teamwork and the best way to make the team "work" is to keep them nice and healthy. So during a certain part of the meeting they presented each and every employee a Fitbit!

We all were pretty happy, they're not cheap. So now we had the Fitbit, but with the Fitbit, you need motivation. Well they gave us that as well with a monthly contest beginning February 1st. Each person that logged in 125,000 steps for the month would be entered into a pot to win a gift card, 4 names would be drawn.

Now...I'm just a tad bit competitive, I can't help it, I was born that way! Right then and there I made up my mind that I was going to be one of the people that did 125,000 steps!

And I was! Actually I logged in 165,000 steps! Whoo hooo! I have to say that I work with a pretty competitive group of people because there were 22 others that met the challenge! And of those 22 I was one of the four that won a gift card! I come!

They've stepped up the challenge for March to 150,000 steps, so lets see how it goes with that. 

I don't understand the power that this little computer on my wrist has over me but I'm becoming addicted to feeding it steps! It even has these adorable little notifications, one of which says "Feed me"! I know some of my fellow co-workers don't like the notifications, but I really do. I feel like he's my little friend that is concerned with my health and is just reminding me to MOVE!

Speaking of, he just asked me "wanna step out with me?" He's such a flirt! I guess I better not keep him waiting!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Long Ordeal - Final Ending...I Hope

If you've been following along then you know that my 2017 did not end very well and 2018 picked up the suckiness that was my life at that point and ran with it!

Here's PART ONE and PART TWO in case you want to catch up or refresh your memory.

Before I get started, I want to thank all of you that made a point of telling me it was not my fault mom fell. Thank you! I know in the back of my head it wasn't, but sometimes my head doesn't communicate well with my heart! Someday I will tell you of the ordeal that was my marriage and you will totally understand!

I'm in insurance, but I've never had a claim and I'm not an adjuster, so that doesn't make me an expert in claims. I figured the pipe had burst and damage was caused and I could understand that perhaps the insurance company would not cover the pipe but surely they would cover the resulting damage.

When I called the insurance company in the beginning to report the damage, they immediately told me to call a plumber, have him make sure there was no mold or asbestos and then let them know and they would send out an adjuster. 

I did that and called them again to report no mold, no asbestos. The lady I spoke to at the time understood it was the holiday's and that my mom was ill and just out of the hospital and she told me that the pipe would more than likely not be covered because it's the responsibility of the homeowner to make sure that maintenance is done on a regular basis, but that she was pretty sure the resulting damage would be covered. (I had no idea how important it would be to me that she said this.) So I gave the go ahead to the plumber to fix everything.

Remember I said in part one that they would have to tear down walls? Well they did. They completely gutted the bathroom and since the pipe was bad they knew they had to break walls in the kitchen and the laundry room and the second bathroom and replace all the pipe throughout the house. To make a long story short, it took forever and in the end they handed me a bill for $10,400!!!

Total shock!!! But, I was counting on the insurance company covering most of that minus my deductible of $1000 so I figured I would probably be out of pocket a couple of thousand dollars. I sent them the bill and photos and waited to hear.

The adjuster told me that because the leak was caused because of non-maintenance by the homeowner that in normal circumstances, they would have paid a big fat ZERO! But...because they had in the notes that the insurance representative I had spoken to had told me the pipe would not be covered, they were standing by that, it would not be covered. However, because she also told me the resulting damage would be covered they were obligated to pay that...whew!

You know how much they paid? $5,000 minus my deductible, so that means they sent me a whopping $4,000! I was crushed. make a long, long story (three blog posts long) short, I came up with the balance of the money and now have to eat beans for the rest of my life. 

So we've moved back in. Did 2018 get any easier? Any more disasters? Well yes and no, but I've always been a "look on the bright side of things" kinda person. I have a gorgeous brand new bathroom and brand new plumbing throughout the house. I eventually would have had to replace all that pipe anyway, I just hadn't planned on it being so soon. Mom is back in her home and no long term repercussions from her fall. 

Sure, there are still things going on in my life that aren't perfect, that will require time to fix, but at least it's not raining hell on my head all at once. You know the old saying...

Thanks for reading and commenting and we'll just have to see how the rest of 2018 goes.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Long Ordeal Continued...

It's been a while so you may have forgotten about my first post detailing the ordeal of the ending year 2017 and the bad beginning to my 2018 year. If you need a refresher you can click HERE.

When last we met I was telling you about having a plumber come out the check the leak and check for mold and asbestos. Luckily there was none...whew!!! Finally caught a break there, but unluckily we would have to move out while they made the repairs. I have a mother that is ill and trying to recover from pneumonia. She's coughing morning, noon and night and she needs her oxygen machine 24/7 and a warm dry place to sleep and somewhere to spend the day. Of course my sister Lisa and her husband would not hear of us staying in a hotel, we had to stay with them and they gave up their bedroom and moved into the spare bedroom. They were troopers and I can never repay them their generosity and patience with us.

You would think that this would be the end of my story, but unfortunately not. That first night it was difficult to get to sleep, my mom was coughing constantly and we were sharing a bed. Finally in exhaustion I fell asleep only to be awakened in the wee hours of the morning by my mom taking a fall!

She had gotten up to go to the bathroom and I believe she was disoriented and weak (she refuses to use her walker) and as she was walking towards the bathroom she felt dizzy and tried to come back to bed and fell, hitting her head and face on the nightstand. My sister came running and we got her back up and safely into the bathroom but there was no more sleep to be had that night, we were all to wound up and scared!

By the end of that day mom had a black eye and scrapes on her face and I felt so awful that I had not heard her get up, it still haunts me. I was right there, a foot away from her and I let her fall. Luckily the fall was not too bad but she could have been seriously hurt! Mom took it hard too, it scared her (she started using her walker by the way!) and I could see that she was realizing that she may not get better and that she may end up needing more help from us than she was comfortable with.

For two weeks it was a whirlwind of working eight hours, texting back and forth with the contractor, rushing home to feed the dog and mom and helping Lisa with whatever she needed around the house. Finally most of the work was done and I submitted all the photos and the contractors invoice to the insurance company.

and again...To Be Continued

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Long Ordeal. A Bad Ending to 2017 - A Bad Beginning to 2018

The long ordeal is almost over and I’m so glad it is because I don’t think I could have taken one more day!

Photo Credit - Tucson Daily Photo
Let me backtrack and provide some history. On Nov 11th my sister Lisa and I drove our mother to Arizona to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with her Arizona family. She had a wonderful time but somewhere along the way she picked up what we think was a “flu bug”.

When Lisa and I went to go pick her up in Arizona on Nov 25th, poor mom was coughing and miserable and she continued to be miserable the whole way home. She went to the doctor and got some medication and inhalers and a Nebulizer, we thought this would be the end of it. Unfortunately by her birthday on Dec 19th she was still miserable but she put on a brave face for her children and grandchildren as we celebrated her 81st birthday.

On Dec 21 at about 11 pm she asked me to take her to the ER room. She was in pain and having a hard time breathing. I called Lisa and we took off with her and stayed there throughout the night until around 5 am when we both went home to get a few hours of sleep and a change of clothes. I was back at the hospital about 9 am and mom was still in the ER room as there were no rooms available.

Unfortunately there was a horrible Flu Bug going around and because of our bad air there were lots of elderly folks and kids with respiratory issues. It was a tough couple of days for mom, she hates hospitals and especially hospital food but on Dec 23rd at about 8 pm they finally released her and I was able to bring her home. 
We had planned a Christmas Eve family get together, but we had already discussed it and decided to postpone it until the following weekend. So it was a sad Christmas Eve; where we had expected everyone to come over now it was just a quiet day. Mom did cheer up because she got to open the present I gave her and it was a Google Home system and we had fun setting it up and teaching her how to use it.

Life decided to throw another monkey wrench into our lives as on Dec 23rd when I got back home from the hospital with mom, my daughter took me into one of the bathrooms and showed me the walls that appeared to be bubbling…I knew right away there was a leak. 

So here I have a sick mom, it’s Christmas holiday time and I have a leak somewhere! I tried to call my insurance and left a voice mail and called a plumber who said he would send someone on Dec 26th.The assistant plumber came in on the 26th as promised and went into the attic and said there appeared to be a small leak, the insulation was barely wet to the touch and said he could come back on Dec 30th to make the repairs.

Dec 30th the actual plumber came in, went in through the attic, said it appeared to be much more serious than his assistant had stated and because of the extent of the damage and the condition of the existing pipe he would have to make major repairs and there was no way they could make the repairs in the small crawlspace attic so they would have to tear down walls!!! 

He told me he believed it would be covered by my homeowners policy but to call them and get approval to start.I still had not heard back from my agent, so I went to her office and of course it was closed so I called the 800# and just asked to speak to anyone, I set up the claim, this was on Dec 30th

To make a long story a bit shorter I had to keep calling my insurance company and could never get in touch with the adjuster but kept speaking to whoever answered the phone so who told me to have the plumber start immediately by making sure there was no mold or asbestos issues.

To Be Continued... 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Being An Example to One's Peers

I was reading a post on a blog that I follow called Eco Cat Lady Speaks, and she did a yearly wrap up on how many miles she put on her bike vs. how many miles she put on her car.  By bike I mean a real bike, not a motorcycle, but one you have to pedal.

I was shocked at how few miles she put on her car in one year, 668 miles! I probably put that many miles on my car in a month! Yep, I figured it out and I put 800 miles per month on my car!

As to the number of miles I put I my bike, well…that would be a bit fat zero since I don’t even own a bike!

I find it admirable that she is doing something to reduce her carbon footprint, but as she says in her post, it’s not the tiny amount of carbon emissions that she saves, but it’s to serve as an example to one’s peers. Bravo Eco Cat Lady!

I make myself feel better by telling myself that I do bring my own lunch to work almost every day, thereby reducing the amount of miles I would be driving if I went out into the world every day to hunt and gather my burger and fries right?

I’m hoping one day to not have to commute as much, commuting is rough! Not just because of the traffic and wear and tear on my car, but I figure with traffic it takes me a half hour to get to work and a half hour to get home, meaning I lose an hour of each day just sitting and driving.

The worst part is that on the drive home I unwind and relax by listening to the radio and by the time I get home I’ve lost any motivation I might have had to get home and clean or cook or paint. I bet that if I lived a mile away from my job and I walked to work, I would have tons of energy, after all…a body in motion stays in motion.

But I also bet that if I lived a mile away from my job I would probably drive and not walk, it’s not easy to be an example to one’s peers.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Finally....some Rain!!!

Here's a view from my office window. You would think "So? What's the big deal, looks like a normal view for an office."

What you don't know is that I have not seen a blue sky for several weeks now. What I'm used to seeing is this!

Photo Credit - 23ABC News

Bad Air quality! I swear that is not an exaggeration, that is what our air has looked like for probably longer than 3 weeks! There were several days when I was driving home at 4:30 pm and it looked like 9 pm! This air quality causes all kinds of respiratory illnesses in people with sensitive lungs and even those without!

My sister Lisa and my coworker Angie all suffer horribly from allergies, sneezing and coughing and sinus headaches and just a general feeling of exhaustion.

My mom is currently back on oxygen after suffering pneumonia, there is just no way that she can even go outside with pollution like this! 

But this morning we woke up to pouring rain. It caused chaos on the city streets and highways but now I can see blue skies. I am thrilled!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Patience - My Word for 2018

2017 was a tough year for me and for my whole family, but you can't move forward if you're too busy looking backwards right?

Knowing this I've decided to join in on a "Word of the Year" movement and for 2018 I've chosen the word "Patience".

I found the quote above and it spoke to me. I'm not by nature a patient person, but really... who of us is? What I like about the quote is that it points out the fact that patience is not the wait, it's the attitude you keep while waiting.

In 2018 I'm going to try my hardest to keep a good attitude, no matter what life throws at me.

If you had to pick a word of the year, what would word would you pick and why?

Happy 2018 and I hope patience comes easily to you!


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Books Read in 2017

It's that time again....time to write a post about the books that I've read in 2017. 

I've been keeping track of the books I've read ever since 2009 and somewhere along the way I joined Goodreads and they kept track for me, long as I logged the books in they kept track.

So here's a breakdown of books read from 2009 to 2017:

Makes me wonder why some years I read so little? For 2017 I set a doable goal of 12 books, figuring it shouldn't be that difficult to read a book a month. It wasn't, because I actually read 15 books! Yay me! This is the little banner that Goodreads prepared for me.

Here's a list of the 15 books. To tell you the truth, I don't remember too many of them. I did try to review some of them as I went along. I think probably the one I enjoyed the most was The Deepest Secret.

You can read my review of The Deepest Secret HERE. The other books was The Most Dangerous Animal of All which I read while I was at Jury Duty.

If you want to see a list of books by year you can just type in "Books Read" in the search bar to the right and all those posts will come up.

I've set a lofty goal of 25 books for this year. We'll see how I do. I was just telling my mom that I remember that I used to read in bed from half an hour to an hour every evening, but now I have a tablet and instead of reading I watch Art Tutorials every night instead. Maybe I'll do an Art Tutorial one night and read a book the next night.

What about you? Do you do any reading? What kind of books do you enjoy? What book or books can you recommend to tear me away from YouTube?

Happy Reading in 2018!!! 25 I come!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Book Review - The Deepest Secret

The Deepest SecretThe Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another recommendation from my mom. Since her cataract surgery was successful, she has been reading up a storm, which is great! My love of reading comes from her.

I really did not expect the surprise ending! The story is about a boy named Tyler that is born with a rare medical condition that makes him fatally sensitive to light. His mother Eve devotes her life to making sure that her son stays alive, until the unexpected happens. Eve is driving to the airport to pick up her husband in pouring rain and she hits something in the road. She stops and tries to find what it was, thinking it was an animal when actually it was the little girl that lives next door!

Eve tries to revive the little girl but she can tell she's dead. Now the dilemma, she was texting when she hit her and she knows that she will be prosecuted for that. If she is found guilty and goes to jail who will take care of her son the way she has? And if she doesn't tell then the mother of the little girl who is her best friend will suffer until they find the body and then for the rest of her life if they don't catch the person who killed her.

Trust me, this is a must read if you enjoy a good mystery. Makes you wonder, what would you do for your child?

View all my reviews

Friday, September 29, 2017

Using Dollar Store items for Art - Art Journal Prompts and Focal Points

I’ve joined a group on Facebook that does weekly Art Journal Prompts. I joined the party late and missed prompts 1 thru 30, but I can go back and do the ones I want or just keep going with the new ones.

The prompt comes out on Sunday and this week’s prompt was “Use 3 Colours”.  We could do anything we wanted, using only three colors.  Nina Ribena is our fearless leader and she announces the prompt and includes a YouTube video with her version of the prompt. Here is her fabulous video.

I love her videos because they are very informative and professionally done. I learn lots of new methods and how to use various products, and also because I love her voice. It's very calming.

She suggests that we choose three colors from the focal point that we are going to use. I had some napkins that I bought at The Dollar Store that had a beautiful stacked cup design on them. I’d seen quite a few people use napkins as a collage and figured it was time to try it.  

I did this page several months ago, experimenting, not knowing what I was doing. The napkin part is the flowers, music and butterflies. As you can see, lots of wrinkles. But using the prompts allows me to grow and get better and I hope when you see my finished product you will see the big difference.

Always remember that Google is your friend and YouTube your best friend! I googled "how to iron a napkin to card stock using plastic wrap" and found several videos. I chose this one as it was very easy to understand. 

It worked beautifully, not a wrinkle to be seen. I then chose my three colors from the napkin, peach, blue and an orangy brown (rust) color. For the background, I used my gelatos which are like a water color crayon. You can color with it and activate it with water and a paintbrush or you can just blend with your fingers. I love using them, always get great results!

Once dry, I used Mod Podge to glue the image to the background.  and then brushed Mod Podge over the whole image and background which lays a clear protective glaze over it all. 

I was so anxious to finish it and post it to the group Facebook page that I decided that instead of printing the quote at the office the next day and then cutting out the quote and pasting it, I would just hand write it. 

I need practice with hand writing as I think I went a little nuts with my curlicues, but all in all I loved it the minute it was finished and I posted it to several art groups on Facebook, including the Art Journal Prompts group.

I received so many comments on this page so I thought I would share it here as well. See how much nicer the cups look? No wrinkles. Love it! Hope you do as well

By the way, here's a fabulous website if you want to learn more about Mod Podge or just pick up fabulous ideas. Mod Podge Rocks