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Posts Tagged ‘birthdays’

Happy Birthday to Me! My birthday was this past Monday (11 January), and I’m officially 52 years old. I do not feel it mentally or physically although I’m sure I look it. No matter, because I’m happy and grateful to be alive another day and can celebrate another year of life. Despite my special day being brutally cold (thankfully, no carpool duty) and having to work, it was a terrific birthday. I received cards from my fabulous co-workers, a gift and card from my fantastic roommate Julia, and lunch was provided for me by two of my fab friends who work in the school library, Kathryn and Debbie. Throughout the day, I received numerous happy birthday messages, texts, and emails. I even received cards in the mail.

When I arrived home from work later in the afternoon, I had a Desert Beauty plant (succulents and cacti) and a card waiting for me from my sweet friend Denise. Andrew and I had our regular take-out dinner Monday evening from Kirin (sushi for me and ramen for him). My gift from Andrew was a book that I have been wanting by Mary Higgins Clark called Piece of My Heart. (Barry, Jr. is getting me Spellbound by Estée Lauder, my favorite perfume.) I relaxed for the remainder of the evening, reading and responding to birthday wishes. I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the day of my birth. However, since my birthday fell on a Monday, and my hubby was out of town, my birthday celebration extended into this weekend.

I requested that Barry take me to the movies and then dinner afterwards at a new restaurant. Yesterday, he and I went to the afternoon screening of Wonder Woman 1984. While it was not as good as Wonder Woman, the first movie in the franchise featuring Gal Gadot, Barry and I still enjoyed it. After the movie, we went to dinner. Originally, I wanted to try One Thirteen in Hammond. Unfortunately, we did not make our reservations soon enough to dine inside, and neither one of us had the desire to dine outside in the cold. Therefore, we did a little research and ended up dining at Paolo’s Restaurant and Wine Bar located on East Pine Street in Ponchatoula. Paolo’s features northern Italian cuisine. This is my first new restaurant of the year (#18 on my 21 for 2021 list). What an excellent choice! A terrific atmosphere, a friendly and experienced restaurant staff, and delicious food made for a wonderful dining experience.

Our waitress for the evening was Haylee. Since it was our first visit, I asked her for recommendations before I ordered anything, and everything she recommended was AWESOME. I wanted a birthday cocktail and couldn’t decide between the Blood Orange Cosmopolitan and the Moscow Mule. Haylee recommended the Blood Orange Cosmopolitan which contains Vodka, Blood Orange Liqueur, Cranberry Juice, Triple Sec, and Fresh Lime Juice. Yummy! Barry ordered a Bud Light. Barry and I skipped an appetizer, so that we could save room for dessert. I ordered one of the specials for the evening, Grilled Atlantic Salmon over braised brussels sprouts, and Barry ordered the Blue Crab Ravioli. Both of our entrées were scrumptious. Of course, we had to try each other’s entrée. Finally, to end a perfect evening, we ordered the Crème Brûlée which we shared. It was heavenly! Furthermore, since we were celebrating my birthday, our dessert was complimentary which made it even sweeter.

In Other News

I am still tracking my time for the week. Weekends are also tracked even though they look differently from the rest of the week, Monday through Friday. My week technically ends at 4:30 tomorrow morning (Monday, 18 January). I will analyze my time log to see what it reveals and share my findings with you, dear reader. I have already started jotting down some ideas of how I am going to divvy up my time based on the first few days of my log. I have to be realistic.

Also, the room in my house that I am focusing on this month is my office. Andrew and I share this room. I use it to write/blog, and he uses it for school work. The office has furniture in place and one framed print hung up closest to the door. The goal is to clear out the piles of paperwork on top of my desk and in a couple of boxes under my desk. I also have a box of memorabilia that needs to find a home in my house. Eventually, I will hang a bulletin board in this room and possibly a white board. The ultimate goal is to declutter and organize each room in my house by the end of the year (#6 on my 21 for 2021 list).

There is not much else to share at this point, dear reader. I’m grateful to have tomorrow off (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day). Andrew and I both have eye appointments with a new eye doctor in Ponchatoula. In the meantime, I will enjoy the rest of today which includes catching a live stream of Kelsi on Twitch at 2:00 this afternoon. I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend. Happiness!

Be happy and enjoy your sacred time on earth.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

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December is in full swing, and I’m in the midst of writing Christmas cards to send out to family and friends. My hubby and I have started buying the handful of Christmas gifts for the holiday season. And today, I will start reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This Christmas season I opted to create a Christmas Fun List to help get me into the spirit of the holiday.

I’m a bit behind on my 12 Days of Christmas Horror Marathon which is one of the items on my Christmas fun list. Every day this past week, I had some kind of commitment after work which did not allow time to watch movies. At the moment, I have only watched two Christmas horror movies, Krampus and A Christmas Horror Story, and they were both delightful. This upcoming week will afford me more time, so I can catch up. My goal is to complete my Christmas Horror Marathon first and then start watching traditional Christmas movies. Also, Kelsi and I have discussed having two Zoom conversations, one on Christmas horror movies and one on our Christmas fun lists which will include traditional Christmas movies as well as our other holiday activities. 

Yesterday, my hubby and I drove to the South Shore and visited by parents to celebrate their birthdays. My Daddy’s birthday was the day after Thanksgiving, and my Momma’s birthday is today. They wanted to eat at Zea Rotisserie and Bar where we all enjoyed a scrumptious meal. Afterwards, we headed over to PJ’s Coffee and enjoyed coffee and dessert.

Of course, what I look forward to the most this month is my two-week holiday break which starts on 18 December. It will be a time of reflection on the past year and preparation for the upcoming year. I love new beginnings, dear reader. Although the pandemic will not be over and a new president will take office in the United States, I remain hopeful that 2021 can be better with a change in perspective. I’ve already started tossing around ideas for my theme for the new year and items for my 21 for 2021 list. Happiness!

“The Christmas spirit is simply an honest spirit of love for all humanity. It is the force that moves us to give what we can, to help as we are able, and to always be of kind comfort.” ~ Richelle E. Goodrich, Slaying Dragons

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Happy Birthday, Aunt Carolyn!

Typically, November is the month that plenty of us pause and reflect on our blessings. The celebration of Thanksgiving stirs up the soul to think more deeply about who and what we are most thankful for in our lives. 2020 has been a challenging year for many with the global COVID-19 pandemic, numerous natural disasters, and the presidential election in the United States. I’m sure there are some who would scoff at feeling grateful amidst so much suffering and loss. However, counting our blessings every day, not just during the month of November, is a wonderful way to navigate through a stressful period of uncertainty. 

I chose November 2020 to visually count my blessings with a gratitude project on Instagram called A Month of Gratitude. If you are interested in my project, you can follow me on Instagram @katherineloyacano. Each day, I post a black and white image of someone or something that nurtures my grateful heart. I am fully aware that 30 days will not cover everyone or everything that I am most grateful for in my life, but it is a wholehearted starting point towards being more mindful of the gifts I receive daily. Today, I am grateful for my Aunt Carolyn who is celebrating her 80th birthday. What a terrific person! I wish I could be with her today celebrating such a huge milestone. She has a special place in my heart. 

Undeniably, there is a great deal that stinks about 2020. It has been a year of loss in so many ways. Loss of life, loss of jobs and financial stability, loss of hopes and dreams, as well as the loss of security to name a few. Nevertheless, when you peel back that layer of discontentment, worry, and fear brought on by loss, there is a fresh layer of hope ready to replace all those negative feelings with comfort, calmness, and contentment. This year also celebrated babies, marriages, graduations, and birthdays. In addition, this year has shown us resilience, living in the present moment, and our true priorities to ourselves and others. Those are all something to be grateful for during uncertainty.

It is never too late to develop an attitude of gratitude, dear reader. It is a simple habit that costs nothing to cultivate. With a little time, you will immediately reap the benefits. A grateful heart is rooted in joy. Take some time today to plant some seeds of gratitude and see how your life blossoms. Happiness!

“Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

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Happy Groundhog Day! Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow this morning which means, according to legend, that we will have an early spring. I sure hope that is the case because I am over this funky, cold, and damp weather we have been experiencing in Louisiana as of late. Thankfully, Mother Nature gave us a reprieve today and provided us with a lovely day of sunshine and warmer temps before our next bout of rain comes early this week.

Emma & KatToday, the happy factor is not only limited to the groundhog, but also to the hedgehog. Yes, it is in fact National Hedgehog Day. Those cute, little critters share their special day with Phil. It also happens to be Super Bowl LIV. The San Francisco 49ers will be playing the Kansas City Chiefs later this evening at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. However, while all these events are wonderful and provide a happiness boost to many, nothing compares to the biggest happiness boost for me on this day. Today is my beautiful niece’s birthday. Emma has officially turned sweet sixteen. She is not only beautiful and sweet, but she is also intelligent, vibrant, compassionate, and cheerful. Happy 16th Birthday Blessings to Emma! My only regret is that I cannot be with her today to celebrate.

Although February is starting off with a bang, I must address January 2020. Where did the first month of this year go? I’m astonished with how the rapidity of time has slipped by me with nothing much to show for it. Yet, I have done more last month than most Januarys of the past. Generally, the winter months with dreary weather and lack of extended sunlight hours often relegates me to hibernation after the workday. I surmise taking a weekly improv class (#7 on 20 for 2020 list) on Tuesday evenings, meeting with my acting coach most weeks, reading daily, and diligently sifting through paperwork to discard has contributed to time passing more quickly. My only regret is that I did not blog more.

Improv 1I thoroughly enjoyed the Level I Improv class, so much so, that I’ve decided to continue with Level II Improv this month. David Hamilton is an awesome teacher who makes the class interesting, challenging, and enjoyable. Every week builds from the previous week. I’m feeling more confident and less fearful when making choices, and I’m hoping to see that carry over in future auditions. My classmates are wonderful actors, and with the exception of one student Michael who will be traveling to Spain, our class will be together again to learn and play for the next session.

I read five books in January: The Institute by Stephen King, Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton, Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham, Count All Her Bones by April Henry, and The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry. I enjoyed all five of them, and I’m one book ahead of schedule for the Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge.

What are your plans on this gorgeous 02/02/2020, dear reader? I plan to bask in the sunlight and the hopefulness of an early spring, crack open a new novel to wile away a couple of hours, and await joyfully for anything else the day may offer. Happiness!

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” ~ Hal Borland

 

 

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I am writing to you today, dear reader, from my favorite hot spot Books-A-Million. Sometime last night, my Wi-Fi router decided to conk out for good. Therefore, since it is Sunday and our internet provider is closed today, my household will have no internet service until tomorrow afternoon. And, that is if our provider has the items we need (router and modem) in stock, and I can figure out how to put everything together and activate my new router and modem. Aah, the joys of modern technology!

Today marks the end of March and the end of the first quarter of the year. What a whirlwind of a month! Slowly, but surely, I am clearing out the front bedroom. The closet has been cleared, cleaned, and the baseboards inside it finally painted. As soon as the room is cleared and cleaned, it will be repainted and a ceiling fan and crown moulding will be installed. It would be nice if I could complete this project by the end of April. I’m itching to get some scrapbooking done prior to my annual convention in June.

SophieAndrew is officially registered to attend Southeastern in the fall. Over the Mardi Gras break, he applied for housing and just this week selected a roommate. Thankfully, Dane is a friend from high school and someone he has known since Pre-K. Andrew also applied and was accepted to the Honors Program and scheduled his orientation for June. In four and a half months, my baby will be officially moving into his dorm and starting his college career.

March ushered in Daylight Savings Time and was a month of birthdays for some important individuals in my life, including my hubby, some awesome friends (two turned 50…Jeff and Georgia), and Sophie (our German Shepherd). She turned 11 years old on the 27th. For being an old lady, she is still a beauty.

In Other News:

Since our evenings now have more daylight, I have been walking almost every evening with my BFF Shelly. Sometimes, her hubby walks with us. If we cannot coordinate our schedules, then I walk by myself and listen to the latest episode of the podcast Levar Burton Reads. Yesterday, I listened to an excellent short story called “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon and read by Levar Burton.

As for my 19 for 2019 list, I completed:

#16 Take a voice-over class. At the beginning of the month, I attended a voice-over class with Marc Preston. It was an introduction to voice-over with a ton of good information. I am interested in studying with Marc during the summer.

#8 Read one book a month for self-improvement. For March, I chose Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to Make More Room for Happiness by Gretchen Rubin. I am a fan of Rubin’s writing and her new book did not disappoint. It is a terrific little book chock full of advice on how to declutter your home, office, etc. and create a happier environment. The suggestions that Rubin gives are practical and easy to follow. Before I even finished the book, I had already started implementing some of her tips. For example, “follow the one-minute rule” is one of my favorites. If you can do a task in less than a minute, then do it at once instead of delaying it. This book, along with Marie  Kondō’s book, has gotten me even more excited about decluttering.

In two months, it will be summer break and a chance to catch my breath before helping Andrew get ready for college. However, the next two months are going to be busy for both Andrew and me. In the midst of all the excitement, dear reader, I will continue my quest to create outer order in my home so that I may achieve inner calm in my life. Happiness!

“Once outer order emerges, take the opportunity to enjoy it, to experience the ease, space, and growth that come from inner calm. Revel in it! Take time to pause and feel happy.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

 

 

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50 cookieSince my last post, I have officially turned 50 years of age. My fantastic friends at school started my birthday celebration off with balloons, flowers, lunch, cards, and sweet treats. The next day was the shindig with family and friends from near and far. Son #1’s talented friend Tyler made delicious homemade pizzas for everyone in attendance. My BFF Shelly baked an amazingly scrumptious cake with a bra on top of it. And, my gifted cookie maker friend Darleen made incredibly yummy cookies for me to hand out to my guests. What a delight to celebrate ME surrounded by some of the most awesome people in the world! Although my birthday month will soon be over, my year of 50 has just begun.

That said, what have I accomplished so far in this new year besides celebrating my 50th birthday?

  • I organized the bookcases in my living room.  I will need to eventually get more bookcases. For me, there is no such animal as having too many books. I LOVE books! In addition to organizing the bookcases, my hubby repainted Andrew’s bathroom which is also the bathroom our guests use. We also bought new bathroom accessories. This is one of many rooms that need to be repainted this year.
  • #8 on my 19 for 2019 is to read one book a month for self-improvement. For January, I chose Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes. I chose to read this book first because it goes along with my theme for the year: COMMIT. Many of the ideas that Rhimes said YES to are goals that I have committed to completing throughout 2019. I definitely enjoyed this book. It spoke to me. I also enjoyed listening to the podcast episode (12/26/18: Year of Yes) of By the Book where Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer live by the rules of a self-help book and discuss the pros and cons of it, as well as if the book is life changing. They both agreed that the book helped them in various areas of their lives by saying yes to things that they would normally want to brush aside. I still need to listen to the follow-up episode (Epilogue: Year of Yes) that aired on 01/02/18. This episode features listener comments and questions about their experiences living by the Year of Yes.
  • I had Monday off in celebration of MLK; therefore, I took the opportunity to get a massage which was #1 on my 19 for 2019 list. It was a Christmas gift from my 8th grade homeroom from last year. I love massages; however, I am terrible about scheduling them even when I receive one as a gift. I figured if I put it on my list, I would go get it. The result was WONDERFUL and RELAXING.

Well, dear reader, what have you been up to since the new year has started? It is never too late to set some goals. Happiness!

“Everyone’s got some greatness in them. You do. The girl over there does. That guy on the left has some. But in order to really mine it, you have to own it. You have to grab hold of it. You have to believe it.” ~ Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person

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Party

On January 11, 2019, I will officially become 50 years old or 1/2 of a century old. In my late twenties, I distinctly remember throwing my mother a 50th birthday party and thinking that she was old. HA! Oh, how my thinking has changed considerably since I am throwing myself a 50th birthday party in a few weeks. What does 50 feel like? Personally, I do not think it will feel old. More grown-up, perhaps, but not old. Honestly, I mentally stopped aging when I turned 32 years old and birthed Andrew. Time kind of stopped for me at that point. When I turned 40, I marked that milestone with a party amongst friends; however, I did not feel like a 40-year-old. Now, it is ten years later, and I’m ready to party amongst friends again to mark this new milestone. 

Age is relative. Don’t you agree, dear reader? Happiness!

“Go shawty, it’s your birthday/We gonna party like it’s your birthday.” ~ 50 Cent

 

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Kat 2Yesterday morning, I set up a Google Photo account (#3 on my 18 for 2018 list) to help me win the constant battle I have with my iPhone over storage. Setting the account up was effortless. What I find praiseworthy about opening this account is I can access my photos on my computer which will make ordering photos for my scrapbooking projects super easy. I still need to explore all of the features this account has to offer. One ability I hope I have is uploading photos directly from my account to my blog or to social media. I’ll have to play with it. I’m not tech savvy, so figuring this out on my own is kind of exciting.

In Other News:

I’m in the early stages of planning my 50th birthday party. I have a date (January 12th)! I had so much fun at my 40th birthday party that I thought it would be fun to do it again for my 50th. I believe I have the most AWESOME group of friends who bring a great deal of love, laughter, and joy to my life, and I cannot imagine a better way to mark this milestone than to spend it with them and my lovely family. After all, I am going to be 1/2 a century old this upcoming year.

My season of sacrifice has officially ended. In fact, it ended on Saturday evening when I left Tiger Stadium after working LSU concessions for the last home game. It has also coincided beautifully with Thanksgiving of which I am blessed to have the whole week off. While I am relieved that this season of sacrifice is over, I am also grateful for the experiences it afforded me these past few months. It makes me more appreciative for the restorative benefits that down time has provided me the last few days.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader! I hope you can carve out some time this week to relax and reflect on your blessings amidst the cooking, eating, football watching, and  shopping. Thank you for your continued readership of my blog; I consider you a blessing and appreciate your ongoing encouragement and support. Happiness!

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” ~ W. T. Purkiser

 

 

 

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For the last couple of weeks, I have been wrapping up summer activities with family and friends and steadily making preparations to return to work. August is generally a busy month in my household between Andrew and I starting school, Andrew’s birthday, and my wedding anniversary. Since we do not go to the same school anymore, coordinating our schedules in the beginning of this month can be a bit challenging. Andrew drives now which is totally convenient. However, it feels slightly weird this year since we are no longer leaving together in the mornings. STA takes in later this year, so I am basically leaving the house for work as he is getting out of bed.

Andrew officially turned 17 years old on August 1st. I had meetings at school that morning, so he and I went to Chili’s that evening to celebrate his birthday. Unfortunately, Barry, Sr. was out of town with work. Afterwards, we hung out at home and watched television together. Our extended family and his friends will celebrate Andrew later in the month.

Last Sunday, my hubby and I went to the Imagine Dragons concert with Andrew and his friend Sophie. Yes, it was a Sunday night; and yes, I had to go to school the next morning. Of the four of us, I was the only one that had to get up early the next morning. Thankfully, there was only one opening act, so I was in bed and asleep by midnight. The performance by the Imagine Dragons was amazing. It was definitely worth missing a little sleep.

My hubby and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on August 6th. Although we did not do anything special to commemorate this marital milestone, we are tossing around the idea of staying overnight at The Myrtles Plantation located in St. Francisville, Louisiana. We would like to visit when the weather gets cooler.

The school year has officially begun. I am slowly establishing myself in my new position at school as an instructional (curriculum) coach. While it was surreal not getting a classroom ready for students, it was somewhat of a relief. Honestly, I think I was ready for a change. The initial meetings with my grade levels went well. I’m excited about my new role and look forward to working with the teachers and the administration.

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Senior Breakfast

Before signing off, I must mention that Andrew experienced his last first day of high school. The senior parents organized a breakfast to honor the seniors. I was able to help with setting up and cleaning up. It was quite lovely to be able to participate as a mom and to spend time with Andrew and many of my former students as they embarked on a new school year and their last school year at STA.

Dear reader, are you experiencing some firsts and lasts? Are there any changes in your future that you are looking forward to or dreading? Whatever is awaiting you on the horizon, try to embrace it positively. A positive perspective is a key ingredient to a happy life. Happiness!

“There is something magical about beginnings, about the challenges that come with territory not yet conquered, about being the underdog. I think I’d far rather stand at the beginning of something, looking up, rather than at a summit, looking down.” ~ Jo Malone, My Story

 

 

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