Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Random thoughts

Yesterday, I went to the mall to use a coupon before it expired.  Spending money to save money:)  I loved looking at all of the spring styles.  It makes me happen to see that ruffles are "in" again.  I grew up in an era when ruffles were everywhere -- on little girls' socks, window curtains, baby bottoms and even aprons.  Ruffles are so pretty and feminine and they make me happy.  I need to find a pretty, spring-colored ruffly top.

It's nice to be back in a "groove" again after spring break.  This morning I cleaned the master bedroom, including the closet, and came up with another bag.  That makes 9.  Some people have asked, How big are the bags?  I've decided that each 'container' counts as a bag.  Some are the 30-gallon trash bags, some are just grocery bags.  My friend Mary suggested I use lunch bags!  Whatever, it all evens out in the end, and the main thing is that I'm decluttering and it's fun!  The problem is that I love decluttering and organizing, but cleaning? Not so much.  I think the main idea behind this project is to clean like crazy as you go, but I'm not sweating it too  much. However, I do find I'm more motivated to clean once the clutter is gone.

Baseball/softball season has begun, and on Friday, Dan and I are going to the Rockies home opener with some friends.  The weather is supposed to be in the 70s! so I'm really looking forward to a great day.  Go Rockies!

It's hard to believe that the school year will be over in less than two months.  All of a sudden, I'm counting down the days and making plans for another graduation party. Wasn't it just last year that Joe graduated?  No, it's been three years. I can't believe my middle child will be turning 18 in less than two months . . . just days after he graduates.  I've been having weird dreams, where the whole family is on a trip and we lose him!  

Yesterday, I picked up some potted basil at the grocery store.  I don't know what that has to do with anything, but it seems like a happier note to end on than that last paragraph.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring was here for a week

Whoa, when I wrote about Spring Break I had no intention of taking a break from blogging.  We got so lost in being on break last week, that the days just all blended together.  It was hardly a 'vacation' but it was sooo good to not be on a schedule.  At all.  Here's what got done:

*  The side yard landscaping was a shambles, so we spent two days tearing up all the old mulch and ground cover and rocks, making several trips to Home Depot for pavers and then laying out a nice, smooth, new pathway.  Which is really nice for hauling garbage cans and the lawn mower and bikes. 

*  Put up a fence to keep a certain spazzy dog out of the garden.  Filling holes in the yard created by same spazzy dog.  Putting up some lattice around the bottom of the porch to keep (you got it) spazzy dog from digging.  All this required more trips to Home Depot.

*  Not going to mention how many hot dogs were consumed from the hot dog stand in front of HD.  So convenient for lunches.

*  I managed to fill up a couple more bags for 40 Bags in 40 Days, for a total of 7.

*  We had some fun, too!  The kids (Joe was working all week, but the other two were our slaves) were released in the evening to see friends.  Dan and I took in a movie, and we all went out for dinner one night.  It was a very low-key kinda week, but I think that's what we needed.  The weather was gorgeous and Emily got a couple of horseback riding lessons in, so she was happy as a clam.

This morning we woke up to a wet, sloppy snow.  Dan is out of town, Emily is back in school.  Luke has another two days of break before he starts school on Wednesday.  It's a bit of a let down, kind of like the scene in Mary Poppins when Burt's sidewalk chalk drawings all start to melt away.  Come back, Spring!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday favorites

Some highlights from my week:

Talking on the phone with Pamela for an hour.  Joe came home for lunch and we were on the phone.  He left to go back to work and we were still talking.  He shook his head in amazement, but he wasn't surprised.

St. Patrick's Day dinner with Matt and Lois and Auntie Ann.  And Tommy:)  Sitting around the table, telling and retelling old stories, laughing our socks off.

Getting a free, department store makeover today with Emily.

Spring Break!  Slept in this morning and stayed in my pj's for a while.  Emily's break starts today and Luke's starts on Monday.  We're doing a "staycation" and Dan will take the week off.

My dogs.  They always greet me with big grins and tails wagging.  It's cliche, I know, but it's a blessing all the same.

How was your week?  Join us at Susanne's for Friday's Fave Five.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

One of our traditions for St. Patrick's Day is my Aunt Mary's Irish soda bread.  For years, she would show up on my door step, fresh baked bread set on a doily with a little green ribbon tied on the bag. 

Aunt Mary never missed a St. Patty's day, through two hip surgeries and the births of 15 grandkids!  But about two years ago, she set me loose and I have learned to bake her recipe myself.   I love the process of doing so, mixing the dough and gently shaping it into a round loaf and then the delicious aroma that wafts through the kitchen while it bakes.

Tonight my brother Matt and his family, and my aunt will come over for a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner.

An Irish Prayer
  May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Blessings to you all on this St. Patty's Day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Taming the beast

Yesterday I gathered bag #4 for 40 Bags 40 Days.  I'm not sure I'm going to get 40 bags total, but every little bit helps.  I should add that I haven't brought another thing into the house since my transgression with the horse.

In the meantime, I've been doing a Lenten study with a small group of friends.  We're reading Richard Rohr's Wondrous Encounters, Scriptures for Lent.  A year ago, I was on a retreat led by Fr. Rohr, a Franciscan priest whose messages on spirituality are universal.

A couple of days ago, one of the daily readings in WESL was about temptations and how most of the time the things that tempt us are "good" things, but made "evil" because we become self-centered about how they are used.  Food for example. We must use discernment to eat it in a way that is healthy and beneficial to our physical and spiritual being.

It's clear to me that one of my 'beasts' is the amount of time I spend on my computer.  In and of itself, my computer is a great resource.  But there are days when it's also a time killer and a brain drain. So for the next few weeks, I'm going to be more selective about how I use it.  Less blog hopping* -- which is one of my favorite things to do because there are so many great blogs out there.  Limit the number of times a day I check email.  Just limit the number of times a day I log on "just because."

And with all the time I'm saving, just think how many bags I can fill:)

*I'm not giving up on my blog or reading blogs!  I just have a habit of reading a comment on someone's blog, taking off to go visit and before you know it I'm down the rabbit hole, cruising blogs while my laundry piles up, my family goes unfed and my dogs forget who I am.  I am not disciplined enough to give up my blogging buds:)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

40 bags, 40 days. Fail.

For Lent this year, I decided to join in the with Sarah at Clover Lane and a bunch of other bloggers to declutter my home.  In the 40 days of Lent, the goal is to get rid of 40 bags of "stuff."  When Spring arrives, our homes will be lighter, our hearts will be lighter and all the junk will be gone.

My friend Mary is going to do this with me, because we always have more fun when she and I do things together.  This morning I worked on some of my kitchen cupboards and by the end of the morning I had a big box ready to go to the thrift store. Oh, it felt sooo good, to have my cupboards easier to get into and even some empty spaces!

I got to the thrift store and there was a nice young man ready to help me unload the big box, plus a couple of old lawn chairs and a stray golf bag that I picked up from the garage along the way.  I was feeling all pleased with myself when I spotted the cutest little toy glider horse.  I couldn't believe, upon closer inspection, that someone would dump it at the ARC store!  It was not only cute, but obviously very old.  I forced myself away from the horse, got in the car and drove away.

But I couldn't get it out of my mind.  And then a picture of it jumped into my mind, in the empty nook above our staircase that I've been leaving empty, waiting for just the right thing.  I quick whipped a u-turn and headed back to the store, sure that someone would see the gold and grab it before I got there.

Jubilation!, it was still there and I asked the nice guy who had helped me unload my stuff just minutes before, could someone give me a price on it?  He called Pauline over.  She was quite firm and would not price the item or let me buy as it needed to be "displayed on the floor first."  I put on my sweetest voice and explained that I once bought a chair from the back dock, so couldn't. . . .   Pauline stood firm. I harumphed and said, "I've only donated hundreds of items here, but I'll go to the front of the store.

So I did. And asked the cashier if it would be possible to see an item in the back.  She said, "I'll call Pauline."  Dang!

Eventually, the horse came out, and Pauline gave me her price.  I gulped.  I was hoping she didn't know what she had, but she did.  I conferred with the nice man in the back and we both agreed it was well worth it, after all, it's an antique!

So I paid the eighty-nine dollars and rode off on my horse with the horse in the back of my car, watching his head bob in the rear view mirror.

Then I called Mary.  "You'll never guess what I did.  It's only Day 2 of Lent and I've sinned.  I'm gonna burn." (If you have a Catholic upbringing, you'll know what that means.)

 Mary said, "From now on, we're getting you a   designated driver to go to the Thrift Store."  Then, she jumped in her car to come over and see the horse.

And while she was on her way over, I went online to see exactly what I had purchased.  AND . . . I kid you not, it is worth ten times what I paid for it.  

Mary said,  "It's God's reward to you for doing the 40 bags!"

We jumped up and down with excitement, and I said, "I can't wait to see what He gives me tomorrow!!"

The End

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A short short story

 This is a fun writing exercise from Jenny at Off On My Tangent.  We're given a writing prompt to be used in a short short story (100 words in addition to the prompt). If you'd like to join in, the link is here.

Here's mine.  (Prompt is in bold).

She climbed into her car and slammed the door, ears pounding and head damp with sweat that trickled down her back.  Her suitcase was heavier than she expected and her arms ached from dragging it down the stairs, the bumpity-bump on each step taunting her with betrayal.

Within minutes she was driving down the highway, heading for the bank.  Constantly checking the rear view mirror, she pulled up to the ATM and grabbed her wallet from her purse as she rolled down the car window.  She held the shiny silver card in her hand and said a silent prayer. Everything depended upon this single card. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Now We Are Six

This weekend, I spent a long afternoon with one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, my nephew Tommy.
We had a lot to do in just one afternoon.  We . . .

  • made monsters and snowmen and funny animals 
  • played chess, checkers and dominoes
  • drank chocolate milk for a snack
  • make an entire fleet of paper airplanes and shot them down with nerf guns
  • watched Star Wars
  • had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for supper (his choice)
(Sigh) It was so much fun being 6 years old again.

But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever. 
                  ~~  A. A. Milne 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday's Fave 5 and Company Girls

Just squeezing in at the end of the afternoon, to join in on Friday's Fave Five.  Looking back at my week, there were many moments of gratitude.  Here are just a few:

1.  Last night, we went to see my mother-in-law, 'we' being Dan, Luke, Emily and I.  Luke has an ear and a heart for music, and enjoys all different kinds.  He made up a CD of his favorite country songs, knowing Dan and I like country music.  We listened to it on the drive down and there were some songs that neither of us had heard of. 

2.  My MIL is doing great!  She had major surgery two and a half weeks ago to have a benign brain tumor removed.  She is in a rehab center for another few days and then will get to go home!

3.  I joined a gym (again) and I'm loving it!  All of the machines have their own t.v.'s, so I can watch House Hunters on HGTV while I work out, guilt-free!

4.  I won't go into details, but I was shown a kindness this week when I least expected it, in fact I was prepared for a confrontation.  The rest of the week, I found myself "paying it forward."  Nice.

5.  This little corner of my living room just blesses me all the time.  It's my favorite reading chair and the bookcase is from my parents' house and holds special mementos.  The books are my grandmother's, my dad's when he was a little boy, and a collection of Dan's favorites.  The pieces of blue delft are from my mom's collection.  There's an eagle statue that Joe received when he got his Eagle Scout award.  And the flag was flown with my brother's unit in Iraq.  The pictures on the left are from  my grandmother's house and I remember them so vividly from when I was a little girl visiting her.

If you'd like to join in, link up with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.


I'm also linking up for Coffee Talk with the Company Girls at Home Sanctuary.  They're the nicest group of girls!  Grab a cup of coffee and join us.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Random thoughts

To use the proverbial expression, March came in like a lamb today.  It is absolutely gorgeous outside!  I keep looking for signs of tulips and daffodils, but nothing yet.  Still, the sky is clear and soo blue, it's a lovely 66 degrees outside and it feels like Spring.  Love it!

We received a rebate for one of our credit cards a couple weeks ago, so DH and I decided to splurge and buy one of those Keurig coffee makers, the kind that makes one cup of coffee at a time? He likes decaf and I drink regular coffee, so it makes sense for us. I just picked the machine up at Costco this afternoon and am sipping my first cup of coffee.  It's a little weak, but I think that's because I used the setting for the large mug.  I rarely drink that much coffee, so I'll set it for the smaller size next time. 

Took Lilly to the vet this morning and she got a couple of shots and a clean bill of health.  Then, when Emily got home from school, she noticed that "something's wrong with Lilly's eyes."  I'll say, she was swollen up all around her eyes and nose, so that she looked like a St. Bernard!  We put her in the car and drove back to the vet, which is just down the street, and he gave her some Benadryl, which seems to be working.

This morning, I went to visit my mother-in-law who is recuperating nicely from surgery a couple of weeks ago.  She is staying at a rehab center to regain her strength.  My drive took me through the neighborhood where Dan and I lived when we started dating.  I drove past the site of the restaurant where we had one of our first dates.  It was such a beautiful day, so like the time of year when we first started going out and it brought back a flood of memories!  I'm sure if anyone was watching, they would wondered about my goofy smile as I drove along.

My comments section just went bonkers in my last post!  It's so nice to meet new (to me) bloggers!  I linked with a meme from Home Sanctuary, which is one of my favorite new blogs.  Rachel Anne is all about making home "a refuge and a place of grace."  I just love that, and it fits in with my own goals for home care.

Have to share what I found today . . . I love anything that has to do with paper, stationery, and books.  I always carry a small notebook in my purse to jot down ideas, and this one just shouts out springtime.  Cute, eh?

How 'bout you?  Did you do anything special today, to welcome the month of March?