Monthly Archives: November 2011

I hope you are smarter than I am

A friend of mine in Wyoming sent me an email with a quiz.  There are nine (9) questions.

I totally flunked the quiz ūüė¶¬† When I saw the answers…well, let’s just say I have a flat spot on my forehead from smacking it with the heel of my hand ūüôā¬† Hopefully you will do better than I did ūüôā

Oh, and if you are so inclined….feel free to copy and paste this quiz to send on to those “Know-It-All’s” you may know.¬† Not that I’m saying you guys are Know-It-All’s, but I think there are some pretty sharp cookies in this bunch ūüėÄ

Quiz for Bright People

                              Quiz for Bright   People
                               There are only nine  questions.
                               This is a quiz for  people who know  everything!
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†I found ¬†out in a hurry that I didn’t. These are not ¬†trick ¬†questions.
                               They are straight questions  with straight  answers..

1. Name the  one sport in which neither the spectators nor  the  participants know the score or the leader  until the contest  ends.

2. What famous  North American landmark is constantly moving   backward?

3. Of all vegetables,  only two can live to produce on their own  for  several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted  every  year.  What are the  only two perennial vegetables?
4. What  fruit has its seeds on the  outside?

5. In ¬†many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, ¬†with a real ¬†pear inside the bottle. The pear is ¬†whole and ripe, and the bottle is ¬†genuine; it ¬†hasn’t been cut in any way. How did the pear get ¬†¬†inside the ¬†bottle?

6. Only three words ¬†in standard English begin with the letters ‘ ¬†dw’ ¬†and they are all common words. Name two of ¬†them.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks  in English grammar. Can you name at  least half  of  them?

8. Name the only vegetable or  fruit that is never sold frozen,  canned,  processed, cooked, or in any other form except  fresh.

9. Name 6 or ¬†more things that you can wear on your feet ¬†beginning ¬†with the letter ‘S.’

Answers To   Quiz:

1. The one  sport in which neither the spectators nor the   participants know the score or the leader until  the contest ends:   Boxing.

2. ¬†North American landmark constantly moving ¬†backward: ¬†¬†Niagara Falls … ¬†The rim ¬†is worn down about two and a half feet ¬†each year ¬†because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it ¬†every ¬†minute.

3. Only two  vegetables that can live to produce on their own  for  several growing seasons: Asparagus and   rhubarb.

4. The fruit with its seeds on  the outside:  Strawberry.

5. How  did the pear get inside the brandy bottle?    It  grew inside the bottle.  The  bottles are placed over pear buds when  they are  small, and are wired in place on the tree. The  bottle is  left in place for the entire growing  season. When the pears are ripe,  they are  snipped off at the  stems.

6. Three ¬†English words beginning with dw: Dwarf, ¬†dwell and ¬†dwindle…

7. Fourteen  punctuation marks in English grammar:     Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen,  apostrophe, question  mark, exclamation point,  quotation mark, brackets, parenthesis,  braces,  and  ellipses.

8.. The only  vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned,   processed, cooked, or in any other form but  fresh:  Lettuce.

9. Six or more ¬†things you can wear on your feet beginning with ¬†¬†‘S’: ¬†Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, ¬†slippers, skis, skates, ¬†snowshoes, stockings, ¬†¬†stilts.

PLEASE DO YOUR  PART Today is  National Mental Health  Day.
You can do your  part by remembering to send this to at   least one mentally-challenged   person.
Well, my job’s ¬†¬†done!

Just don’t ¬†send it back to me. I’ve already flunked it ¬†¬†once!


A new week with new challenges

Yes, you are going to be subjected to Flylady once again.  Why, oh why, am I doing this?

For me, this is historically a bad time of the year.¬† Mood swings, not eating well…or worse…binge eating herald in the cycle of mania that possess me in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

I have great expectations that have nothing to do with the Charles Dickens book of that same name.¬† I am a “work in progress”.¬† I’m not beating myself up about this.¬† Each year I get better and better and the progress makes me feel good about myself, which in turn makes the mania less and less.

I am not alone in this struggle to live through the Holidays.¬† Like many other people, I don’t fully look forward to Christmas.¬† It is next to impossible (for me anyway) to be delighted with the real reason for the Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus.¬† A person cannot escape the trappings of Christmas.¬† Grocery stores all over the US have been stocking aisles with candy, ornaments, small trees, and other bits of Christmas paraphernalia since October 31st.¬† Halloween is considered over and the next big sales push is, supposedly, the most joyous time of the year and the stores take advantage of it.

The craft and hobby stores around the US have been chock full of aisle after aisle filled with the bits and pieces of Christmas decor and projects to create for the home immediately after Halloween.  Going into these stores does not bring joy to my  heart when I see the overflowing shelves.  It brings dread.

This year my heart has been a bit lighter than in the past.  A real indicator of my progress through the morass of my mind.  It has been a battle and I have survived it and come out in a better place.

There are people with physical limitations that are under the Christmas “gun”.¬† Migraines, fibromialgia, Lupus, severe back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and other physical ailments that make housework nearly impossible to do.

For me it is disheartening to look around at my house and see all that needs to be done.  Not just the housework but my myriad of other tasks that demand my full attention as well.  I have a commission to create Post-It-Note Holders for a friend to give to his family for Christmas.  I have bookwork that needs to be done for our taxes.  I have a husband to feed and water.  Sometimes the enormity of the tasks I have to do and the time limit to do them feel like a heavy weight upon my soul and this causes me to physically and emotionally shut down.

Anthony (Tony) Robbins says “If you find yourself up against a wall then make a door and go through it”.¬† In the past I have confronted the wall and turned away because of the sheer magnitude of the wall.¬† This year, as in previous years, I have fashioned a door in that wall by following (sort of) the principals of Flylady.¬† 15 minutes at a time.

This week she has challenged me by doubling up on the Cleaning Zones.  The Living Room, Front Entry, and Dining Room are to be done this week.  Yikes!!!

I got an early start on the Living Room because of wanting to put our tree up.¬† The bookshelves are all dusted and cleaned because of the foolishness of a few days ago ūüôā¬† I am thrilled to say that the Master Bathroom and Master Bedroom are both clean and orderly, part of the Living Room is clean, and all has been done in 15 minute increments.

Lynn, are you sitting down?¬† You may need to make sure that Rod is close by just in case you will need him to steady you ūüôā

I have two sections of the Living Room to finish this week.¬† One is around Joe’s recliner and I need to resuscitate an ailing and neglected plant.

Joe's recliner space

Joe’s recliner space

My poor plant is in the throes of death ūüė¶¬† Months at a time with no water this strong plant still shows some life.

My poor plant

My poor plant

I need to dust and vacuum this area and make Joe purge his tables.  He has two of them and they are piled high with stuff.

Then it is off to my side of the room and the recliner, table, and curio cabinet that will complete cleaning of this room.

Near my recliner

Near my recliner

My curio cabinet

My curio cabinet

The entryway into our home has been neglected for longer than six months.  It has been well over a year since I have done much here.

Entry way

Entry way

Clutter and dust await me.

The foyer counter

The foyer counter

Tags I created last year in an attempt to entice someone to purchase Stampin’ Up! product from me.¬† They are all still sitting where I left them after photographing them¬† for my blog.

Last years tags

Last years tags

Still on the counter are the pieces I made using Stampin’ Up! products for a Valentine’s promotion.

Valentine items

Valentine items

Joe’s stuff and pieces along with the chemicals he uses to kill weeds and ants around our house that haven’t been put back where they belong.

More clutter

More clutter

The entry way needs some attention also.

The entryway

The entryway

As for the Dining Room……Joe has the table right now to work on projects that need doing on our work trailer.¬† He has taken over that flat surface and I’m not going to be touching it ūüôā

The dining table

The dining table

I think I will sit here and admire the shiny Christmas balls that sparkle with the light.¬† Carissa says I’m an ostrich that gets distracted by shiny things ūüôā and she is so correct.

Shiny Christmas balls

Shiny Christmas balls

Or maybe I’ll be mesmerized by the shiny trumpet ūüôā for a while.

Shiny trumpet

Shiny trumpet

Maybe I’ll just talk to Santa.

Santa

Santa

No.¬† I’ll save those for later tonight.¬† I’ve got to get the timer set for 15 minutes and get busy and about my day.¬† Speaking of getting busy.¬† The missive of love my husband left for me….

Love note

Love note

Has been cleaned away along with the remainder of the dust and clutter on our entertainment center and book shelves.

Dust is gone

Dust is gone

Today’s post is for those of you that feel, as I once did, that 15 minutes at a time of cleaning is a load of “horse pucky”.¬† When you think of your home as a whole the task is overwhelming and quite daunting.¬† Pick one spot and do what you can in that spot only for the 15 minute period.¬† Attack the clutter first and leave the dusting, washing, and vacuuming for the next round of 15 minutes.

If you so desire, designate one hour of the day to do your housework and keep it to the one hour period.  No longer than the hour.  Each 15 minute increment of that hour you only work in the one area you have chosen.  15 minutes to clear the clutter.  15 minutes to dust or wash.  15 minutes to vacuum or sweep.  The final 15 minutes to put furniture or objects back in place.  Then go about your day.

Be kind to yourself during the craziness of preparing for Christmas.¬† Let us make this Christmas a truly joyous time.¬† Not so much for our families but for ourselves.¬† Let’s begin to put the childhood wonder back into our hearts this year and daily shove the Grinch out the door ūüôā

This does not mean to attack the entire room if you have a lot of work to do.  Just one section of the room at a time every day until you have finished your work.  Take it easy on yourself and know that  you are making improvement one day at a time.  Soon you will be happy in seeing the progress you are making and the load you have put upon yourself will be greatly lessened.

Let’s put a smile back on our faces and in our hearts ūüôā


A past Obsession

Christmas of 1990 was when my “Obsessive” fault showed itself.

Joe and I had been married in August of that year and I was normal….until after Halloween.¬† I found a plaster gazebo and a box of plaster people playing in the snow.¬† Then came the houses.

Plaster house

Plaster house

I spent hours and hours painting.  No food got cooked, no laundry was washed, the house went uncleaned.  I was totally and irretrievably lost in acrylic paints and plaster images.  By the time Christmas came around I had a big scene of a neighborhood of plaster homes peopled by plaster winter characters.

Sadly, all are gone now.¬† A storage shed we rented upon moving to Oklahoma was cleaned out and everything sold off when we got behind in the storage rent.¬† Everything was gone.¬† All of our children’s school photos and the things they made with their little hands.¬† The storage shed owners would not give us the name of the person that took (bought) our stuff so we could get those treasures back.

In 1998, while I had nothing to do I picked up a couple plaster houses, restocked my supply of acrylic paint and got back to painting once more.  Joe was traveling all over the US doing the Drive-Away while I stayed at home.  The kids were all grown and gone.  There was just me to entertain and I could spend all the time I wanted doing this project.

Plaster gas station and garage

Plaster gas station and garage

Plaster police station and lawyers office

Plaster police station and lawyers office

Today I only have the three but I do have fond memories of making that entire village long ago.  When I think of all the time involved in making these I wonder if I had totally lost my mind during that time (I think my family wondered at my sanity also).

They now reside beneath the Christmas tree and bring a smile to my face when I see them.

Plaster house grouping

Plaster house grouping

1998 I decided to share my skills with family and friends.  I found these adorable plaster ornaments and spent that winter painting the lot of them and mailing them out.  I saved some for myself and I enjoy these little bits of Christmas.

Crate of toys

Crate of toys

Santa's face

Santa’s face

Bird Santa

Bird Santa

Santa's list

Santa’s list

Chimney Santa

Chimney Santa

Snowman

Snowman

Sledding snowmen

Sledding snowmen

I did make sure to leave myself a note on the bottom of each ornament when I made these.¬† My memory sometimes is pretty bad.¬† Most things happened more than 5 minutes ago and that is too long for me to remember ūüôā

Signed and dated

Signed and dated

These plaster items used to be sold at Michaels.¬† I don’t know if they are still even made.¬† If you do find some and want to make them yourself, I have to tell you they are ADDICTING!!

If you are a perfectionist, addictive personality (like me) you may have some grumbling going on in your home.  If you and your family survive this obsession they will all have smiles on their faces when you display your beautiful hand work.

Our Christmas tree

Our Christmas tree

Do you have items you make, or you have made, for your Christmas decorations?¬† What is your favorite Christmas ornament or display?¬† I’d love to know.


Christmas will be celebrated at our house this year.

No “Bah, humbug” this year.

All the foolishness and mayhem of yesterday with the cleaning that went wonky has paid off.

The tree is up

The tree is up

Around early November of 2005 Joe and I were still on the road and would be until the snows came hard and I chickened out. During the bad weather I rode with him and did not drive.  With us being on the road for the holidays and no children at home, celebrating Christmas was not a priority.  Besides I was still the Grinch.

We made a stop at one of our favorite places in Lebanon, Missouri. Shepherd Hills Factory Outlet. Inside the store were artificial trees that had lights strung on them already. First time I had ever seen such a tree. It would not be until the following year that I would finally give in and have a tree in our home.

Lowe’s had a clearance sale on their stock of PRE-lighted artificial trees and we got this $150 tree for $49 the Christmas of 2006. We bought the storage bag separately and I’m very glad we did. The box the tree came in barely held together on the trip to the register let alone home and through our door.

Artifical tree storage bag

Artificial tree storage bag

The entire tree fits in the bag. Stand and all. There is a set of three rollers on the bottom of the bag for easy moving. The zipper that runs the full length, from top to bottom, on the bag seals it pretty tight. If you would have to store this outside in a garage or storage shed you are not supposed to have to worry about spiders or other little insects getting inside. The bag is supposed to be waterproof also. I don’t know the manufacturer of the bag, there is no longer any information on it, sorry.

Tree bag

Tree bag

There are four sections to our tree. In order to get this massive thing into the bag Joe tied the sections really well with a heavy jute twine.

Tied up sections

Tied up sections

Three of the four sections have a lettered tag that helps with the placement of the right piece in the stand.

Tagged and lettered sections of the tree

Tagged and lettered sections of the tree

I was able to get the binding off the first section by myself. Plugging the cord into the wall outlet to make sure all the lights worked on the first section after I got it installed in the stand.

I forgot just how huge this tree is ūüôā

Installation begins and a light check

Installation begins and a light check

Joe had to come out and help me with the next sections. His binding job was so good I found I could not manage the piece by myself. Besides, what fun would it be to put the tree up and leave him out of the fun ūüôā

I needed help

I needed help

There will not be a tree topper, nor has there been one. This tree is so tall that it is pressed up against the ceiling. The lights are cool, they do not get hot to the touch so I am not afraid of having a fire start in the ceiling. But to be safe I will only leave it on for a few hours a day…then again maybe all day long would be good too.

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Do you have a real tree for Christmas or do you have an artificial tree?

Is there a tradition at your house for when the tree goes up and who decorates it?  Does your whole family get in on putting up the tree?

I do miss the days when our children were home and listening to their memories of the ornaments and what they meant to our kids.¬† Their laughter and joking around is a muted memory now.¬† I hope each of them are making their own traditions ūüôā

I’d love to hear about your Christmas traditions.


How NOT to do the Flylady way

I am needing a little Christmas.

When our last child left home in 1995 I did not put up a Christmas tree or decorations for the next nine years.  Our youngest daughter and her husband came out for Christmas in 2006 and I had the tree up that year.  The next year, 2007, Joe was in the hospital being treated for Prostate Cancer and I had the tree up that year.

My poor Joe.  He was beside himself that year (2007).  He had convinced himself that he had ruined my Christmas by being in the hospital.  The tree was up that year and brightly lit for his arrival home.

That was the last year the tree was up.  This year I have decided to get with the program and begin the Christmas decorating of my home.  First I have to clean my house before I begin.  Not the whole house just the Master Bedroom and a little corner of the Living Room where the tree will be.

This current week , November 19th through the 26th, the Cleaning Zone the Flylady way is the Master Bedroom.  Having been gone most of the week traveling to and from Colorado and Thanksgiving yesterday I have not done any cleaning in the Master Bedroom.

Flylady has a section on her website for Crisis Cleaning.¬† This is when you have CHAOS – “C”an’t “H”ave “A”nyone “O”ver “S”yndrome.

“Crisis Cleaning” is done in her 15 minute increments.¬† Begin in one room for 15 minutes then go to another room for the next 15 minutes, then on to another room for 15 minutes, then you get a 15 minute break.¬† After the rest period is over you go back to the first room for 15 minutes and continue on until you have the work done.¬† Hopefully long before you collapse in fatigue.

Scroll saw and bench grinder in the bedroom

Scroll saw and bench grinder in the bedroom

Hidden under all this stuff…oh don’t you just love my door stop :-)….is a scroll saw, a bench grinder, and a stand for the scroll saw.¬† The stand currently props up the duffel bag suitcase we take out on the road with us.

Sleeping bag

Sleeping bag

This sleeping bag is part of the “dump and run” during our brief times at¬† home.

Dust is all over in this room and it is pretty bad.

Under the scroll saw stand

Under the scroll saw stand

More dust on the dresser and the headboard of the bed.

Dusty dresser

Dusty dresser

Dusty headboard

Dusty headboard

The plan is to spend 15 minutes in the Master Bedroom dusting and vacuuming then go in the Living Room for 15 minutes.

Dump and run evidence

Dump and run evidence

Things were working out pretty well….at first.¬† I intended to get the corner of the Living Room cleaned where the Christmas tree resides in its bag.¬†¬† That is the red thing leaning against the wall in the above photo.

I have a bookshelf in the corner that needs to be tended to so I don’t knock the books off when I put the tree up.¬† The whole space needs to be vacuumed and dusted.¬† It is just as bad as the bedroom.

Okay, things were going along really well.  The bedroom curtains were in the wash.  Joe was fixing the curtain rod that had gone all wonky from our dog lying on the bottom of the drapes that puddled on the floor.

Things were going well until….I decided to clean off the bookshelf.¬† One pile of books lead to another pile of books, which lead to another pile of books.¬† All to dust and clean off the bookshelf.

Piles by authors

Piles by authors

The books have taken up the whole floor.

More piles of books

More piles of books

And more piles of books.

More books

More books

And more books ūüė¶

And more books

And more books

My “Perfectionism” has taken over.¬† I mean, get real here.¬† All of the books absolutely HAVE to be put in order by authors.¬† Now, not by alphabetical and perfectly ordered by author and book title name.¬† I mean, I do have some sense to not let my perfectionism totally take over ūüôā

Now I have two rooms that are a total wreck right now.¬† There are paths through these rooms and I’m thinking I’ve gone and done just exactly what Flylady says NOT to do.¬† Flylady says not to make a mess that will take longer than 15 minutes to clean up.

So the rest of today I will be making an attempt to put the books back on the shelves.¬† Don’t quite know how I’m going to accomplish this task because there are more books than shelves to put them on ūüė¶¬† Good grief.¬† I have made a huge mess for myself.¬† All to clean out one little corner of the Living Room to put the Christmas tree up and catch up on this week’s zone work in the Master Bedroom.

So, take this as a cautionary tale.  This is how NOT to clean the Flylady way.


The true riches in my life are family and friends

On this day of Thanksgiving, November 24, 2011, I have much to be thankful for.

Over the past three days I have been trying to compose this post without getting syrupy and maudlin about it.

James 1:17 ESV (Google search)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

For a girl lost in the world of the Welfare System growing up in foster homes I have been blessed with many gifts that I cherish dearly today.  None of these gifts are material in nature.  The girl I once was longed for a family and friends.  I had a fierce desire for belonging and knowing safety and love.  Today, I am especially thankful for the abundance of riches I have.

My life can be likened to the rippling effect of a stone thrown in water.  The ever increasing circles radiate outward from the center.  Each ring is connected to the one before it and to the source of the initial impact.

I am totally surrounded by family and friends that bring me joy on a daily basis.  That little girl from long ago has finally realized her dream and I am thankful for each and every person that has made my dream and wish a reality.
My girls, Carissa and Heidi Jo, are happy and in good relationships.¬† These two girls amaze me each day as they become adult women with amazing hearts.¬† I am thankful they were given to me to watch them grow and be a part of their lives.¬† Carissa’s husband, Jaime, is such a good man with a huge heart.¬† His quiet and strong ethical character allow me to sit back knowing my daughter is in good hands.
My husband, Joe, is the love of my life and has been instrumental (along with Carissa) in teaching me what real love and family is all about.
My sister, Pati, and her husband, Les, have blessed my life by coming back into it after so many years of being lost to me.  I am thankful to have my sister and the struggles sisters go through in being family.
My kids, albeit they are Joe’s, imbue my life with richness in their way.¬† Tiffany has given me a grandson that I adore and a Son-In-Law that makes me laugh at his antics and acerbic wit.¬† Joseph melts my heart each time he calls and says “Hi Ma.¬† Whatcha doin’?”¬† Curtis and his wife, Brenda, make me happy with their quiet ways and the love they freely give.¬† Loreli makes me laugh with her renditions of self deprecating humor at her attempts to be cool under pressure and pulls it off ūüôā¬† Loreli has Chad, who is a good foil to her confidence and strength, and he is a wonderful guy in his own right.¬† Aaron and his girlfriend, Krasi (Kressa), I don’t get to see very often but when I do they bring me a great deal of joy.
My Internet friends have expanded my life with their love and support.¬† Nancy from Canada and Shelly from Illinois are two that have been stolid supporters of me from my first forays into the world of YouTube and crafting.¬† Jann, from Tennessee, has embraced me with her friendship, talents, and guidance in being a better crafter.¬† Maureen, from Texas, has included me in her family life and made mine richer with her humor, wit, and cookies :-).¬† Lynn, from the United Kingdom, has become a kindred spirit in the parallel lives we have lead in our quest to live a good life, and it doesn’t hurt that she can make me laugh so hard that I choke myself.¬† Shar, from New Zealand, pops in from time to time with her brand of friendship that I cherish.¬† Indira, from the Dominican Republic, blesses my life with her friendship as well.
I am thankful for each and every person that is in my life.¬† Material riches are nothing compared to the abundance I have in my life through the people that are in it.¬† Truly, I have been “gifted” with the good and perfect gifts of life that mean more to me than any material possession could possibly fill.
Happy Thanksgiving to each and everyone of you.

The role of a Grandparent

We are not quite advanced in years that we “relive” our childhoods. We get back in touch with the joys our children brought to us when they were 3 years old.

SNACK ALERT ūüôā for my friend Nancy.

Poppa Joe is making whipped cream for a dish he and his girls, Tiffany and Loreli, like.

Mom, Tiffany, was having concerns of the after effects of a sugar buzz her little Simon would experience but Poppa Joe won the skirmish.

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Poppa Joe told Simon he would have to remain in the chair next to him in order to get this treat.

The licking began ūüôā

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Simon sat in the chair without any fuss. His concentration on the task at hand was total. No wriggling. No talking. No flailing the beater about in the air.

The lip smacking commenced along with little joyous utterances of yum ūüôā

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I’m here to tell you there was some serious action going on ūüôā

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Now, can you possibly imagine anything better than this?

Joe had me giggling with a story he told from his childhood. It was his job to lick the beaters when he was Simon’s age and until he was nearly 10.

His Great Uncles Jack and Chuck teased him every year that they were going to get the beaters this time. They teased poor Joe so much that he felt really bad they were not able to enjoy this treat along with him. Joe went to his grandmother to ask for an extra one so they wouldn’t be left out. Grandma’s response was to go to the Uncles and firmly say “You stop teasing the boy!”.

Do you have a fond memory of a grandparent you would like to share? Are you a grandparent and have a story of your own you would like to share?

I’m really loving this grandparent thing ūüôā