Friday, January 5, 2018

New Tradition: Luminaria in the Neighborhood

Last year Chris, one of our neighbors, asked if anyone would be interested in creating a luminaria path on Christmas Eve so Santa could see where to land. A couple of neighborhoods nearby have had this tradition for many years, so it was not too new of a concept, it was only new for us.

Chris limited participation to three streets: Nassau, Dustin, and Abby. We live at the corner of two of those streets. Turns out our immediate neighbors on both sides were two of the 26 families who participated. Based on a google maps image, there are 77 houses that could have participated. Not bad for the first real year (last year was a trial year).

It was cold! It rained! Fortunately we took pictures before we went to the 7 pm church service at Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church. During worship the wind blew out many of candles. The rained dampened others. Our spirits are not dampened. We have thoughts on what to do differently next year (the big one is to fold over the bags to make them more wind resistant). We could fill the bags earlier. It was cold when we did it! The weather had been warm up through December 23 before beginning a two week arctic blast (which we are still slogging through). Lastly, we need to clear the leaves first. We were  concerned about them becoming fire hazards.

Here are a couple of pictures:

2017 Hogmanay

Once again we braved winter to toss our grievances from 2017 and our wishes for 2018 into the township's bonfire. Spurred on by Don's 2016 wish for a new job doing something he loves, with a short commute and fun co-workers, I wanted to risk the 13 degree temperatures to toss my wish into the air -- a part-time job doing something I love, something that offers a lot of day to day variety, one that I could make my own.

The bonfire seemed shorter this year. I think the firefighters and Boy Scouts used 5 foot pallets instead of ones twice as high. The crowd also seemed much smaller. Even near the fire, it was still frigid by New Jersey standards.

I met up with my friend Nancy. Her son, Nate, was waiting in the car so we couldn't visit long. We didn't stay long, either, because we left the Kappa New Year's Eve party at Kathy and Scott's house to continue our tradition. I also saw my sister, Melissa, there, but as she was going to the same party we didn't have to stay outside in order to catch up since their trip to Arizona. Other friends posted pictures, but most people did not linger long.

Here are a few pictures from New Year's Eve at the Brearley House:

My parent's calendars burning

I'm partial to the firemen walking in front of the flame photos. Gives a sense of height.

Here is a link to the 2016 bonfire.

Stay warm and may all of your wishes for 2018 come true.

2018 Resolutions

I share my resolutions for the New Year with the hope at least some of you will hold me to them. As I look back on my 2017 resolutions I am both pleased some of them came true, and dismayed others did not. As with everyone reading this, I am a work in progress and I have room for improvement.

I'm going to start with repeating a few of the goals that were not successes last year.

1) Join a parent group at Ashley's school and get to know more people at the school while helping out. She only has 2 1/2 years left for me to make a dent in this goal. High school really does go by quickly!

2) Add another country to my list of countries visited. Okay, this a cheat one since we have a North Sea cruise planned for August to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Since I failed in it last year, though, I feel compelled to add it to 2018.

3) Try new low-carb recipes. I did great with the vegetarian recipes, I believe, because my goal was concrete. This one was too vague to judge. Maybe a cute name like Wacky Wednesday (going low-carb in this country is wacky, right?). Accepting suggestions for the next week.

4) Continue to try to stop wasting time. I suppose I should add an app to keep me off of Facebook during the day.

New goals:

5) Host an exchange student (application already submitted).

6) Find a part-time job (applications submitted, ongoing I suppose).

7) Walk or run 2018 miles in 2018 (signed up for Run the Year).

8) Join a CSA: Community Supported Agriculture (Chose one, application due next month).

9) Reconnect to high school friends by helping to plan the 30 plus 1 reunion (already on the committee).

I might add a goal or two, but so far this list looks good. What are your resolutions?

Top 10 Posts of 2017

Happy New Year! This year's snow has helped me fall a little behind schedule this year. I like to do the final tally and write this post closer to January 1 to make it more accurate. The 11th place (Writing and Running) only missed tenth place by two clicks, so it merits an honorable mention. If you look at last year's list, this year I had nearly twice as many clicks on posts than I did in 2016. The first three months saw a lot of action on The Pillsbury Press, which died out by the end of March. Guess I should have cashed in on my popularity. Hot posts now are around 200 clicks instead of 600.

Based solely on clicks, here is my Top 10 List of most popular Pillsbury Press posts in 2017:

10. 572 clicks -- All Four 
9. 576 clicks -- 2017 Resolutions
8. 583 clicks -- Waning Optimism
7. 587 clicks -- What's next?
6. 621 clicks -- Prayer Vigil
5. 631 clicks -- Million Women's March
5 (tie). 631 clicks -- Inauguration Night
3. 671 clicks -- Countries Visited
2. 681 clicks -- 2016 Bonfire
1. 682 clicks -- Top 10 (11) posts of 2016

I see some irony in that the top post of the year was a list of top posts from the year before. 

I notice many of the top posts are political in nature, but a few are purely personal. I wonder what I will write about in 2018 that will catch your interest. Feel free to chime in and let me know when you are reading something of interest. Maybe that will spur me to write another post on that topic. Or not. As always this started as a way to share our family news with our friends. It started as a Christmas newsletter and has grown into a means of communication throughout the year.