It was the week from hell…the kind where Lucy says, "I have some splaining to do."

Was last week only seven days? It seems like so much longer. I managed to cram those seven days – was it only seven – full of drama! With the click of a finger, I managed to delete all the emails from five, YES FIVE, Gmail accounts. I also managed (over two weeks) to revamp a lot of my blog and now if you click on Non-fiction reviews you get nothing.
Ever want to beat your head against the wall? It’s been one of those weeks – was it only seven days? I worked with Apple for several hours. Believe it or not, there actually is a human at the other end of the line – if you have the patience required to work with the virtual lady. The woman I spoke with was patient and kind and tried her best to help me figure out a solution. We finally reached the conclusion that I needed to work with Google. She even helped me figure out how to reach them.
Google took another couple of hours – it actually became my full-time job that day – but I was finally given a link to a form to fill out requesting Google restore all my emails. Then, I received an email stating the emails were irretrievable. I may or may not have screamed at that point. When I checked my emails, I did find several thousand emails in two of them. Turns out, most of them were trash. Seems trash is retrievable, but the good stuff is not. So, I spent the better part of two days deleting trash emails.
It’s odd how God works in mysterious ways. I have been working on simplifying my life and one of the ways I am accomplishing my goal is by cutting back on my book reviewing. I am in my third/fourth year of Dominican studies and the material is piling up. There is not a lot of time for frivolous reading these days. I will still review a couple of times a month; maybe a few more times, we’ll see how things work out. We also plan on doing a bit of traveling – on our houseboat and by car. Other plans include purchasing a camper as we want to visit the national and state parks.
Getting back to the simplifying part, you know how those emails begin to add up – the ones that you hope to explore more thoroughly when you have time, but time never comes. Those emails added up in my files quickly. Point being, I don’t think if I lived to be 100 could I possibly go through them all. My emails were jammed. One push of a button took care of that! I was freaked out for a while, but now I’ve come to see it as a good thing. The emails are gone. No more worrying and wanting to go through them.
It hasn’t been without its drama, though. I lost a lot of emails from authors and publicists that I still am obligated to review books. Some of the emails I was able to retrieve, but I’m not sure how many were affected. I can only wait until the author or publicist contacts me because they haven’t heard from me. Those emails were in my blog email account. The only other account and most important were my public emails. I had all the emails from several commissions that I am on as well as a ton of Dominican emails. Those I am still disappointed in not having. Luckily for me, I am in the habit of saving important documents to Evernote. Yes, thousands of emails gone, with a swipe of a button. Now, THAT was a Lucy moment. Simplifying life.
Then, there was the aggravation of the internet service at our house. I have not had any problems up until now with the service, but the last two weeks have been non-stop interrupted service. My phone and my MacBook have spent more time filtering than what they are supposed to be doing. I finally figured out that when they begin filtering, it coincides with the lights on the modem going out. Then, when they come back on, all is well in Whooville. This went on for several days before I phoned the cable company. The person I was speaking to frustrated me so much, I wanted to go and slap him. He kept checking the modem remotely and remarking how “beautiful it was”. And, just because the lights were on at the time, didn’t mean they were flashing off and on and mostly off at other times.
I unplugged and re-plugged and rebooted and since the modem “was beautiful” he said there was no problem. I finally told him (none too nicely) that the next time the lights went off, I’d call him back. It’s happened once since the phone call and I didn’t call. I’m too tired of dealing with “stupid” this week – are you sure it was only seven days?
Oh and I’m not finished! On top of that, I am seriously considering handing over my position of coordinator of music ministries at church to some other unsuspecting person. Why is it people who play music are so temperamental and egotistical? About half of our music ministers are playing music in church for the wrong reasons. I don’t think they get it. They seriously think they “own” their mass. Wrong! The mass doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to God. We are stewards of the mass, but the mass belongs to Him.
We had a meeting five months ago to lay down a few ground rules. The diocese is working on strategic planning and the church is trying to adhere to Vatican II a little more than it is currently doing. You know the old phrase, give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile. This has been true in the Catholic Church. Long, long, story short, once the priest begins the procession down the aisle, all music should be liturgically correct. It should also be music from the hymnals so the congregation can take part in the liturgy. Some churches may practice this, but some of our music ministers do not.
This is the reason I say that not all ministers are there for the right reasons. They give concerts. A parishioner commented to one that she gave a nice concert. I don’t think she got it. Without music, the liturgy is not the liturgy; it goes hand in hand. The music should complement the readings, the gospel, and what is happening on the altar. By doing this, it allows everyone in the church to take part in the entire liturgy. When you hear the readings, the gospel, the homily, and the music all reiterating the same message, chances are you will remember something when you leave.
On top of that, one music minister missed mass for four months to go hunting. When I contacted him to find out if he was returning to the music ministry, he replied yes, if he could have his same mass back. He informed me of the date of his return. Five months ago, I checked with each minister and asked if they were open to having an alternate. All said yes. So, when I told this minister there was an alternate for this particular mass, and he would be playing two weekends a month and the alternate would be playing two weekends a month, his reply was to let the alternate play all the masses and if he missed, he would substitute. It was an all or nothing; this coming from someone who missed masses on a regular basis without letting anyone know to take his place. See what I mean? Playing for the wrong reasons and giving a concert, because Sunshine on my shoulders is not in the hymnal.
What I have been trying to get across is that they should all be a team ready to have each other’s backs. If one can’t make it to a mass (we have 4), then someone else should be ready to help out. It doesn’t threaten their spot at a different mass. They all want ownership of their mass. They don’t get it. Anyone in the congregation who would like to play music at mass should be able to, but they won’t come forward as long as the attitude is “my mass”. And, I am very close to telling them all how selfish they are when they play music that they like, that the congregation doesn’t have access to, and doesn’t not know the words. It is not a concert. Needless to say, I am frustrated, and our priest is out of the country until sometime in February, so this problem is not getting fixed for a while.
If you’ve made it this far down the blog, stay tuned because there will be another excerpt from Kat Martin’s book this week and also one from Kristen Higgins and giveaways!
Hopefully, the next time we chat, WordPress will have ironed out my problem with Non-Fiction and we’ll be great!
Enjoy your week!

The Southern Chocolatier – Salted Caramel-Pecan Pie Bark

I don’t think there is anything better than pecans and melted chocoalte, except maybe Salted Caramel-Pecan Pie Bark!

Salted Caramel-Pecan Pie Bark

Ingredients

1 box Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecan halves
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (from 11.5-oz jar) salted caramel topping
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chip 
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 450°F. Line rectangular pan, 15×10 inches, with cooking parchment paper, allowing edges to overhang 2 inches on 2 sides. Unroll pie crusts. Press crusts in bottom, cutting to fit; moisten seams with finger dipped in water, and press seams firmly to seal. Once bottom of pan is covered, use any additional crust, cut into 1/2-inch strips, along edges of pan to thicken edges (using same method as above). DO NOT PRICK CRUST. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, heat pecans, brown sugar, water and vanilla to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 3 minutes. Immediately spread evenly over hot crust. Drizzle caramel topping evenly over pecan mixture.
  3. Bake 3 to 5 minutes or until caramel is bubbly in center. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and salt. Cool pan on cooling rack 30 minutes. Place pan uncovered in refrigerator about 30 minutes or until chocolate chips are set. Lift from pan by parchment edges. Peel parchment from bark; cut or break bark into about 2-inch pieces.

Another Pillsbury recipe.

Join the fun with Thursday Favorite Things blog hop 212

 

Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop 212

Lets get this party started. Link up your favorite post or a post about your favorite things.

We can’t wait to see what you share!

Thursday Favorite Things blog hop

KatherineKatherines Corner            || Twitter || Pinterest || Facebook || Google + ||Instagram || Bloglovin’||
NinaVintage Mama’s Cottage              || Twitter || Pinterest || Facebook || Google + ||Instagram || Bloglovin’||
DebiSurroundings by Debi                  || Twitter || Pinterest || Facebook || Google + ||Instagram || Bloglovin’||
JasAll That’s Jas                                        || Twitter || Pinterest || Facebook || Google +|| Instagram || Bloglovin’||
ErikaWhat Erika Wears                        || Twitter || Pinterest || Facebook || Google + ||Instagram || Bloglovin’||
BettyMy Cozy Corner                             || Twitter || Pinterest || Facebook || Google + || Instagram || Bloglovin’||
RinaI Thee Cook                                       || Twitter || Pinterest || Facebook || Google +|| Instagram || Bloglovin’||
RosemaryAn Italian in My Kitchen || Twitter || Pinterest || Facebook || Google + ||Instagram || Bloglovin’||

 

 

Is that my Fossil bag you're peeking in?

Yes, I have reached a new low or plateau – whichever way you want to look at it. I’m blogging about the contents of my purse – and this is making me laugh. There is just something about the contents of a purse that intrigues women.

I have been on a mission to locate the perfect bag (for me) for so long I can’t remember a time when I haven’t. I think I may have stumbled on to it at last – the perfect bag I mean; the Fossil Sydney Shopper. This is the most amazing purse as far as I am concerned. It has loads of room on the inside and holds all of what I refer to as my necessities. There are also multiple inside pockets for organizing, and the straps are a great length.

photo 3 copy 4

I carry a number of things that I couldn’t possibly do without when I leave the house. I must have my personal planner – of course. I also use it as a wallet. There are a number of sections in my planner, but the most important are the section with my money and cards, and then my calendar, which I use for making appointments while away.

Next, I have a pencil bag, and a little monogrammed pouch for all of those little items you don’t want rolling about in your bag. This pouch also makes changing bags so much easier. I have my pepper spray – of course – who leaves home without that? I also have my flosser (in the toothbrush case) and my keys, along with my cute little Hello Kitty glass case. It’s winter so I carry a neutral color pair of gloves (my matching ones are in various coat pockets.)

The two smaller pouches (blue and little birdies) hold my ear pods for my iPhone and my iPhone charger. That’s about it, unless I toss in my Kindle last-minute.photo 1 copy 5

All of my gear fits quite nicely with room for a water bottle if I want to bring one along. If I adjust everything really well, I can also squeeze my 13″ laptop into my bag. I don’t carry it around often, but should I want to, there is room for it in the bag.

photo 2 copy 5

 

 

Hope you enjoyed the tour! As the little green lizard (?) says “What’s in your wallet (bag)?”

 

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Utilizing the Key Ring App on Technology Thursday

It is a foregone conclusion that way too many people out there are running out to purchase iPhones and then not utilizing them! It seems that everywhere I go, I end up teaching someone about an app.

 

If you follow my blog, you have already been witness to some of my screwups – like tripling my contacts, etc. You can take it from me – on good authority – that there is simply no reason not to play around with apps and your phone. If you mess something up, you simply head on over to iTunes and begin searching, because I promise you – there is an app to fix it because someone else has already beat you to the screwup.

 

We all have those pesky store discount cards dangling from our already full key rings – well, not me. But, they were corralled in my wallet, taking up valuable real estate. 

 

I was doing one of my favorite pass time hobbies – surfing iTunes. Does anyone else do this? I came across an app that was named quite appropriately –  Key Ring App

 

No longer do you have to shove an actual key ring full of store discount cards in your purse, or heaven forbid, your pocket.

 

You simply scan all of your cards (library, store, hotel, etc.) into the app using your phone camera. When you check out at a store that you have a card for, simple open up your app and the cashier will scan the bar code from your phone. The app can also be shared with another person.

 

You can have all of the individual store apps on your phone, but I have had others tell me that they sometimes have trouble while attempting to scan at the stores. This app has never given me any problems, AND the bonus is that they are all located in one app, not scattered around my phone.

 

This app also sports additional features are just plain wonderful! Using your GPS, it will find store promotions in your area. 


The ‘Offers’ icon finds and shows me the coupons available through the stored cards I entered. 


Under the ‘Sales‘ icon, I can view the sale papers of the stores where I have loyalty cards. No more searching high and low for the sale papers when I’m ready to shop!

 

Did I mention that it is also FREE! How great is that!

 

I would love to hear from you. Do you use Key Ring or another similar app?

 

Be sure to follow my blog and tune in next Thursday for another episode of ‘Technology Thursday’.    

keyring app

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Technology Thursday: A Personal Assistant App that WORKS!

 

personal assistant app Donna

You just have to love an app that is named after you! Especially one that is organized! You can only imagine the number of people I’ve told about this app. 

This amazing app is a personal assistant app named after the amazing assistant character Donna Moss from The West Wing. It’s user friendly and did I mention AMAZING?! (You can never have TOO many amazings.) And shares my name?!

 

What makes DONNA so amazing?

  • She syncs with all of the “stuff” on your smart phone: calendars, contact info, GPS, etc.productivity app, donna
  • She reminds you of appointments, checks traffic to estimate travel time, and checks the weather to let you know if you need an umbrella.
  • She calculates when you need to leave so you’ll be on time AND THEN SHE REMINDS YOU!!!!

It is seriously like having another “me” along for the ride. I can be my own assistant.

 

 Ever find yourself running late?

We’ve all found ourselves being late for a meeting because we forgot to consider traffic, how long it takes to park, or even our route there? Donna (love that name) pays attention for you so you can focus on other things. She’ll let you know when it’s time to go—and even phone you if you want.

  • She’s intuitive,productivity app, donna so even if you don’t know an exact location, she can guess & help you figure things out.

 

  • In addition to detailed directions, traffic info, and parking tips, she can even send photos of the building you’re trying to find!

assistant app, donna

 

 

 

 

  • If you have a conference call, she can dial it for you & handle any access codes needed to connect.
  • If you’re meeting with someone who typically runs late, she can send them a reminder to stay on track.
  • If you’re running behind schedule, she can notify the people you’re meeting to let them know what’s up.
  • She can even book a car for you.

scheduling app, donna

 

Donna will notify you the night before and let you know your schedule, the weather, and when to leave to arrive on time, as well as what the restaurant looks like so you’ll be sure not to miss it.

Donna

“It’s going to be 54º and raining when you get to “Dinner with Ari.”

Don’t forget your umbrella!

Connect Directly to Meetings

Donna

“It’s almost time for your “11:00AM” meeting with Amy. Shall I dial you in?”

No more rummaging for clumsy conference access codes or finding that one app to connect to a meeting. When Donna notifies you of a conference call starting, she will automatically connect you and dial the code for you—without even looking at the app.

Beautiful design. Easy to use. Intuitive. FREE.

“Good assistants give you what you ask for; great assistants get you what you need before you even ask for it.” — Don.na

donna personal assistant iphone app

I love this app. When she notifies me of an upcoming event I have to refrain from saying, “Yes mam, and would you order yourself a huge bouquet of flowers?”

Which apps do you use for organizing? Have you tried Donna?