December 8, 2013 Christmas Photo A Day

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CHRISTMAS PHOTO A DAY DECEMBER 1

20131122-untitled-14THIS WAY to CHRISTMAS PHOTO A DAY! (or, photoS, as the case may be.

20131122-untitled-76Santa at Virginia Beach, contemplating his vacation plans.

untitled-8Waldo has done some traveling this year. Let’s see what kind of trouble he managed to get in after escaping from being packed away with the rest of the Christmas decorations! Enjoying the sun on an early beach day at Point Pleasant, NJ in March 2013.

Welcome to the 6th Annual Photo a Day! Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a day, or   visit —>  My photography website. Follow me on Facebook.  On Twitter, I am@rteest42. Or if you ask, I will add you to an email mailing list, and the photo will automagically appear in your INBOX every day till Christmas!

December 18, 2012 Christmas Photo a Day

2012-12-12 Dec-7

December 14, 2012 Christmas Photo a Day

2012-12-12 Dec

Dream big.

DECEMBER 4, 2011 Christmas Photo A Day

WHITE CHRISTMAS

2010_dec 25-110

Last year, we had SNOW for Christmas, here in central Virginia…. (not a unique experience for many, it was VERY early snow for this area, overshadowed by the great quantities that dumped on the rest of the east coast…)

December 3

2010 dec 3 (1 of 1)

Last year, we were all Swine Flu crazy! I made up these cute little Chinese food boxes full of  ‘Flu Fighters’ and gave them to co-workers, friends and family.

Ingredients, as listed on the tag (with a clip art image of a pig Smile)

  • Blistex
  • Chicken Cup-a-Soup
  • Cough drops
  • Tylenol
  • Emergen-C powder and those drink pouches for water bottles with either Gatorade powder or some other flavor with electrolytes
  • Anti-bacterial hand cleaner in a travel size
  • Tissues with a nice little fabric cover I made
  • and of course, MEDICINAL chocolate *(Hershey Kisses)

Hoping everyone has a HEALTHY Christmas season this year!!!

90 Day Improvement Plan…

(90 Days to Thinner Thighs!!!90 Days to a Whole New You!!! 90 Ways to….)
I can’t promise any of the crazy magazine cover stories. What I CAN guarantee you is that in 90 days, you will be looking back at 2010. Yep, a mere 90 days until the new year. Think of all the things that need to be done in the next 89 days. Parties to plan, gifts to buy, meals to cook, traveling to visit family….I know, you need a nap just thinking about it.

But the question I am posing today is this: Of this past years resolutions/thoughts/promises/ideas you had, how are you doing?
Sometime around the end of month one, I decided to de-clutter. And for a bit, I did well. 27 thing flings occurred in many rooms in the house, right down to the sock drawer being divested of orphan socks. I had grand plans, great goals. And I even thought maybe that if you journeyed along with me, you’d keep me honest, motivated and accountable.

None of which happened, I am sorry to say. There ARE great improvements, but I LIKE my stuff too much. I am not a hoarder; those shows scare me. On the other hand, I would do bodily harm to the hosts of those clean sweep shows, where they don’t take into account anything of any sentimental nature…to them, if it doesn’t match, it isn’t worthy of owning.

And the romantic in me, the sentimentalist, the genealogist—well, we all cringe when they seem determined to create a movie set of a person’s house—with two or three ‘personal’ touches.

The same thing can be said for magazines. I have the chance to peruse the home magazines at work, and every winter, they offer a slew of ‘Reduce Clutter’, ‘Storage Tips for Small Spaces’ and other creative ways to suggest that you go out and BUY a bunch of storage containers to solve the problems (Addresses and websites conveniently listed at the end of each article.) And yes, some of the ideas they have are clever; artfully displaying a few items.

But again, they are movie set clever—not real houses, with 2-6 real people, a couple of pets and not enough space, who already own things. This house was built without a coat closet, without a utility room or a broom closet. That is the reality of the thing. Therefore this past year, back when I WAS posting weekly about de-cluttering, I carefully avoided suggesting that one purchase a magazine to get a great idea or five.

I didn’t suggest that one read self-help books about clutter either, because they too seem to be of the ilk that it ALL go… and they don’t often suggest some pretty storage idea; no they basically think that one is either looking to live life as a hoarder or a minimalist. They suggest taking photographs of all things that are of a sentimental nature to you, and then pitching the objects in question. But it’s not quite the same thing, passing on a photograph of a cherished stuffed animal to your grandchild, you know?

Look, I admire those who can live life with a fork, a knife, two t-shirts, a towel and a back-pack to hold all their earthly belongings. More power to them, if that makes them happy. But I wonder if there isn’t a mom’s attic somewhere where they are storing a bunch of their past? If blank white walls truly make you happy, go at it. I like color. I like design and pattern and things that have stories.
So. Where does that leave me on the de-cluttering scale?

I still have to do the attic. Summer was too hot to deal with it, but hopefully with autumn I can get up there. And I want to re-carpet the house before the holidays, because putting it off isn’t going to get it done. And it NEEDS to be done. (I need to have the couch re-upholstered as well.)  I, of course, haven’t really finished the 27 thing flinging, either. The den hasn’t been touched. (The den is Timmy’s domain. That is my excuse.) I bought myself a Nook earlier in the year, and so I know I can start divesting myself of some books. Slowly. I am not about to tip the shelves over and pitch everything, because I can’t afford to replace everything on the Nook right away.

I can truthfully say that I probably could find 27 things in the kitchen, but only if it included out-of-date yogurt in the fridge or something. The kitchen has managed to not get re-cluttered. (Really, hunny. It’s a totally different thing if it’s not put away …that is a behavioral thing, not a de-cluttering thing! :) )

My studio needs to have a shelf by shelf re-organization as well. That is probably the room where the whole thing fell apart, because there is so much in there, and it all could have a purpose at some point! (Ah, the mantra of the magpie, “But it’s pretty, and shiny!!”) I lost sight of the forest for the trees- I admit it freely. My fabric has been contained; the boxes I chose are perfect and I am very happy with the way it is working. However, I do need to open them all and sort by color. But that is not something that needs to be done now.

Re-carpeting the house, however, is the thing that has made me aware that I really need to put this thing into over-drive. All this stuff has to be moved, right? I have two rooms (the kitchen and dining room) where we have already replaced the floors. The rest of the house is chock-full-o-stuff that will need to be moved. As there is currently no bed in the guest room, it seems like the time to do it. (And because my daughter informs me that the bed needs to be built before she arrives. :) )

I believe I am beyond a mere 27 thing flinging now. It is going to require a minimum of an hour of dedicated time spent per work day, and probably a nice chunk of any day off that has not already been booked (and it’s that time of year where a lot have been booked). I need to really analyze the things in the space, the storage they are in or not in, whether it needs to stay in the location it is in or can be moved, and whether it is better off at Goodwill.

So it seems that surfing the web, reading, goofing off with this or that project will need to take a back seat for a few months. I DO need to make some holiday gifts, but other than that, maybe I need to limit my play time until I get all of this done.

I will get my photo website all set up for the holiday gift-giving season—I have a few really neat things getting ready to launch, and I will need to gather and post my Christmas Photo-A-Day, starting on December 1. If I feel the need or desire to go off topic here, I will. But beyond that, do you think I need to simply post a “I DID IT” post every day? And maybe you will reply that you do, have DONE something, to get yourself to the place you want to be in 90 days. :) :)

It may be a push, but wouldn’t it be nice to say on Jan 1, 2011 “I am FINISHED and that the new year is mine to do with what I choose? To create with wild abandon?”