To decide or not to decide, that is my dilemma

English: New Year's Resolutions postcard

I know that this is the time of year to take stock of the past 365 days, look for ways to improve oneself, and resolve to do better in the future, but I know that when I make a mental list of these resolutions I’m only setting my psyche up for disappointment. I am just horrible at following through with New Year’s resolutions!

The only time I can remember keeping one of them was actually this past year, when I was determined to lose weight for my daughter’s wedding, and my inability to find a suitable garment to wear to the event forced me to follow through with this one resolution.

My other resolutions of spending less time watching TV, giving back to the community by volunteering, eating fewer sweets and more salads, and reading a classic each month fell by the wayside. See, my failures trump my successes I’m afraid 😦

So this year I’m going to try to not be so hard on myself and only make one official resolution and I’ve decided to make that a bookish one! I am going to start reading some of the many unread books I have in my collection. This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but I have amassed so many books over the years, that the scale is decidedly tipped towards the unread side, as opposed to the read side.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This situation became even more apparent to me this holiday season when I was able to make not one, but two book Christmas trees out of all the pulp I have piled up around the house!  When you are carefully crafting a book Christmas tree, and you have to locate perfectly sized literature for its construction, you are forced to actually to come face to face with certain titles that were at one time on the top of your ‘to be read pile’ and now have somehow gotten relegated to the ‘dusty forgotten pile’.

Pile of my books

I’ve decided to liberate these lonely, forgotten titles, and resolve to read at least one of these shelf dwellers for every three new titles I lay my eyeballs on. I know this won’t be an easy resolution to keep, because there are so many lovely new books coming out in 2013, but I must try at least.

Of course mentally I’m also running through a list of other resolutions I should make….lose weight, exercise more, volunteer, be nicer, have more patience, eat better, clean up the clutter….yada, yada, yada…

I think I will stick with just one resolution this year…fingers crossed I can keep it!!


Twas the season!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I was lucky enough to be able to stay home and have the celebration come to me, which is always a win win in my opinion, but for a while at the beginning of the month it was a bit touch and go on whether I would be able to wave my magic Christmas wand (yes, I have one of those, don’t you know!) and get the house tinseled and sugar plumed in time for Santa’s visit on the 24th.

santa claus

I was not only suffering from extreme sciatica nerve pain that was making it difficult for me to walk, sit or stand (this doesn’t leave many options, does it?), but my unlucky number came up and I was assigned Federal Jury duty for the two weeks right before Christmas.

I don’t know if anyone else has ever been picked for Federal Jury duty, but it’s a lot different from getting picked for County Jury duty. For County duty you call the night before the day you are to report and either get a recording telling you to come in the next day to see if you’re needed on a jury, or the recording tells you that your off the hook and your done. Federal duty is a two-week commitment and, depending on where you live, a bit of a journey.

In my case I was assigned to the Federal Courthouse in Chicago, which is not the easiest place to get to by 8:30 AM during rush hour! For the two weeks of service, you are required to call every night to see if you are needed the next day. I can tell you that each night I made that phone call I was crossing my fingers and saying a little prayer hoping they wouldn’t need me, but of course I couldn’t be that lucky!  So, the very first day I had to take my gimpy, sciatica pained leg, on the train and wait with another 100 people to see if we would serve on a jury. That first day I was grouped with 19 people to be interviewed for a jury, but I wasn’t picked and I got to go home by 1:00 PM., and my luck continued to hold for the rest of that first week, as night after night I called in and was told I wasn’t needed for the next day.

But then Monday, December 17th came and I was again required to take the train into Chicago and await my fate in the jury room with my fellow lucky ducks. Something was a bit different this time though, as there were a lot less of us than the previous Monday, in fact when I counted there were only 27 people. Ruh Roh, it looked my odds of a Jury assignment had suddenly gotten a lot higher! First they called 20 names to head to the courtroom, of course one was mine, then came the interview by the judge, and then lastly the selection of the 10 jurors. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, that I was picked. Oh lucky me!  One week before Christmas and chosen to serve on a Federal Jury, in downtown Chicago in the winter, with sciatic nerve pain!

"Gentlemen of the Jury, I have the painfu...

I was a bit nervous, because immediately after the jury was picked, we were sworn in, taken to our new “home” (a small jury room behind the courtroom), given a few instructions, then taken back to the courtroom and the case began! No time to catch your breath that’s for sure.  I don’t want to get into the particulars of the case, but we were informed that the trial wasn’t expected to go for more than three days, so even though I felt like I had lost control of my time, I was relieved that it was for just a short amount of time. I can’t even imagine getting assigned to a trial that lasts for weeks and weeks!

I was also blessed with a really nice group of fellow jurors. After three full days together (we were done by Wednesday afternoon), you get to know each other pretty darn well. We spent a lot of time waiting in our “home”, and since we couldn’t talk about the trial, we got to know a lot about each other. There were even a few promises of trying to ‘keep in touch’, I’m not sure if that will happen, but it just shows you that there is real bond formed when you experience jury duty together!

So, to make a long story longer, I did manage to survive Jury Duty with sciatica pain (which is almost gone thanks to physical therapy), get all my shopping, baking, wrapping and cooking done and best of all have my whole family here for Christmas!!

Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year!


Focus is not my Forte

After my last post where I scurried to make room for my Christmas decorations, which have still not made it out of the box I might add, I got bitten by a bit of a unclutter bug. Another Christmas miracle I do believe!
Yesterday I worked on the mother of all archaeological digs,  my kitchen pantry. I can tell you it was a humbling experience reaching way, way back in there and finding three unopened bottles of mustard, salad dressing I bought last Christmas when the kids came to visit, a teeny weeny bottle of ketchup I pocketed from a flight to England (it was so cute!) and oodles of past their sale date items.  While embarrassing enduring this pantry cleanse, the liberating feeling afterwards more than made up for it!


So today I decided to tackle some more purging….the dreaded magazine rack! It’s been many moons since I’ve purchased or ordered a magazine, but I have kept some of my favorites for viewing later, and while ‘later’ never seems to come I just can’t bear to toss them. The lament of all hoarders…
I also stuff maps, catalogues, and a variety of other papery things up there on occasion and then forget to look at them.  Sheesh, all this soul bearing is started to seem like the beginning of a 10 step program for squirrels of the human variety!

Anyway, I finally began reading my one year subscription to “Fine Books & Collections” magazine, so that I could recycle them. But during my perusal I kept jotting down websites I wanted to visit, and antique books I need to further research, and then I had to keep jumping up to see if I actually owned any of these titles they talked about.


….focus, not my forte!

But in the end I did recycle a substantial pile of pulp, discovered some forgotten books on my shelves, and learned about a fascinating woman named, Sarah Wyman Whitman, one of the first graphic book designers in America.

Sarah Wyman Whitman

Her book covers are gorgeous. I don’t think I own any of her designs, but I have other titles that must have been influenced by her style.
Perhaps a post for another day, because now I’m going to clean out my desk drawers! Oh mercy, give me strength!