Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas Decorations

This cuddly pot-bellied little snowman is watching the world go by from the vantage point of my dining room table. That is a soft flannel quilt on the table, made many years ago. I love all the smiling faces of the snowmen.
My fireplace looks inviting on this cold December day. Two beautiful poinsettia plants add Christmas color.
Last year I went all out with Christmas Decorations - a big tree and decorations in every room. This year I'm keeping it simple and easy. After a small health problem and surgery, I'm ready to sit back, relax, and enjoy my quiet home. Thankfully I'm doing well, feeling great, and fully recovered. This year I will enjoy the season, hearing the story of the birth of Jesus, the music, the colors, the family parties, the food, and finally a big family wedding on December 29th. Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la la la.
Today I am grateful for the color red. (And green.)

Friday, November 23, 2007


The other day I spilled something on my comfortable slippers and decided that since they were old and worn, it was time to throw them out.
A trip to Kohl's seemed in order and I wandered around the slipper department checking out all the options.
Since I prefer slippers that are more like shoes (with a back heel section), I was not considering any slip-ons. However, nothing that I tried on felt comfortable or looked appropriate for an older woman.
Finally I tried on these slip-ons. They were very comfortable and fit my foot perfectly. I was worried about slipping out too easily, but there is enough of a front structure to keep my foot firmly in place. I purchased them.
Now I am here to tell you that I LOVE these new slippers. They are so easy to get on, so wonderfully comfortable, and I like the way they look.
Is it silly to be so happy over a pair of slippers? Ah, the little things in life that make me happy and feeling cozy - they are the things that hit my gratitude list after family and friends.
Wishing all of you a warm comfortable pair of slippers.........

Monday, November 19, 2007

Good book

Today I finished reading Little Chapel On The River by Gwendolyn Bounds. It was a good book and I highly recommend it. It was a pleasant read about nice, interesting people. The author experienced first-hand the 9/11 tragedy and this is her story about relocating to a town on the Hudson River and a pub where she found a welcoming family.

The writing kept me engaged from start to finish. There are even pictures to help the reader get further acquainted with the people in the book. I've never been a person to spend any time in a bar, but this book made me realize that family can be found not only in the home, but in a bar, an office, a business, a church, or just about anywhere that people care for each other.

Happy Thanksgiving to all......................

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007


Dear Blogland Friends,

Updating of my blogs has not taken place lately because I have been busy working on a volunteer job at church, enjoyed a week with out-of-town guests, and have been flitting about in my social butterfly world. Also, I have been too lazy to take pictures and record what I’m doing. I have been working on quilting projects and cross stitch projects. I have been reading books. Along with my out-of-town guests I went to see WICKED and we took a travel day to Lake Geneva Wisconsin.

Every day I write Morning Pages (per Julia Cameron of The Artist’s Way fame) and keep a small journal. Blogging therefore becomes a third process of recording my daily happenings and gets put at the bottom of the list.

I really enjoy reading a few blogs that are written every day and wish that I were not so lazy and could get in the habit of posting more frequently.

However, I can happily report that my life overflows with wonderful things to do, places to go, and people to see.

I’m off now to a luncheon engagement………..

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Good for me......

Wow - doesn't this bowl of apples make a nice picture? I bought a bag of apples because it is September (Fall to me), they are a healthy snack, and on Weight Watchers they are only 1 point. Unfortunately apples are not my favorite food. On my list of favorite foods, apples might be close to the bottom. Now apple pie, apple cobbler and apple slices are a whole different matter.

When I got appendicitis (back in my 20's), the last thing I had eaten was an apple. For years after that, I could not face eating an apple. Then, during one of my dieting phases, I went to Diet Center where an apple a day is recommended, so I ate tons of apples. If Diet Center recommended a bag of potato chips every day, would I be sick of them? (NO)

Will I actually eat these apples? Some creative thinking needs to take place to make them palatable - like baking them with Splenda, or dipping them in yogurt, or adding diced pieces to my green salad. I keep telling myself, Apples are good for me, Apples are good for me......

Years ago I read Julia Cameron's book, THE ARTIST'S WAY. In the book she discusses Morning Pages - an exercise of writing (by hand, not on the computer) each morning using the stream-of-consciousness method. I have practiced doing Morning Pages many times over the years. For some reason, doing Morning Pages seems to give me energy for the day. I use this writing time to plan out my day, to record what happened the day before, and to write out my gratitudes and prayers to God. I write three pages each day. About half way through, I usually feel like I have nothing more to say, but per Julia, I keep writing. Sometimes it is nonsense, but soon I am back on track and by the time I get to the end of the third page, I wish I could write more.

Now you may be asking, if Morning Pages is so great, why does she stop doing it? Good question! Company comes and my routine is interrupted - I go away for a vacation - I have an early morning appointment - I don't feel well. Excuses, excuses.

Food management and Morning Pages - it is time to consume those apples and lift that pen. Good for me!

Friday, August 24, 2007


A big rain storm went through my area yesterday, flooding the street in front of my house, downing trees everywhere, and knocking out electricity in lots of places. I'm one of the fortunate ones that did not lose electricity.

I had to go out this morning for a fast errand and as I drove down a street in my neighborhood, I noticed cables going across the street in quite a few places. At first I thought they must be for a survey counting cars, or maybe even to check the car speeds. But then I noticed that these cables went all the way from one doorway to the doorway across the street. It finally dawned on me that one side of the street had electricity and the other side did not. The cables were from one neighbor to another, sharing electricity undoubtedly to run sump pumps or to keep refrigerators going. "Love thy neighbor........" took on a whole new look for me today.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Office clean-up

The other day I spent the entire day cleaning up my office - organizing, re-arranging and purging. Now everything has a place and everything is in it's place. Is it perfect? Oh my, NO. The most glaring imperfection cannot be seen from the doorway, but when you sit in the chair and look to your right, there on the floor are all the wires and cables. What a mishmash! Attached to my computer are speakers, a keyboard, a mouse, a USB hub, a label maker, a docking station for my camera, a docking station for my PDA, a laser printer, and a color printer/fax/copier. Then there are the Cable cables - from the cable box to the computer, from the cable box to the cable connection and from the cable box to the surge protector outlet.

Do you think I will live long enough to see a completely wireless system???????

Friday, August 10, 2007


Right before I retired, my friend Brenda gave me this Vera Bradley lunch bag. Little did she know that I would use this lunch bag all the time even though I eat lunch at home every day. The bag is perfect to carry in the car to keep my Diet Coke cold. Even on the hottest days, I put my pop between the ice packs in the bag and it stays deliciously cold in spite of the fact that the car is an oven. It is so nice to go shopping, return to the car, quickly turn on the A/C, and reach for my perfectly chilled can of DC.

Thanks again, Brenda!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Sizzling Hot Summer Days

It is a hot humid day. The air is still, without a hint of a breeze. It is the kind of weather that drains my energy, smothers my joy, and can very easily get me depressed. Maybe depressed is too strong of a word. Perhaps a better word would be "blue", or as my Mom used to call it, "down in the dumps."

Instead of wallowing in my mood, I decided to find a few things in my house that reminded me of happy times.

This watercolor painting is made by my brother (now deceased) Ralph - or as he always signed his paintings, Ralf. I love this picture and the feel of Spring it invokes. It hangs at the end of my hallway where I see it all the time. I'm so thankful that I have this picture and I'm more thankful for all the happy memories of my brother. Thinking about times we spent together always cheers me up.

The Iowa piggybank is a souvenir from a boat ride on the Mississippi that I took quite a while back with my sister, brother-in-law, and his mother. It was a delightful trip and my memory of that day is of fresh air, sunshine, cool water breezes, laughter, good food, and a completely relaxing time. Now wait a minute......did I get it on the boat ride? Or did I get this little piggybank on the trip my sister and I made to Garner Iowa to visit the quilt shop, Country Threads? Well, no matter, both trips were great and left me with wonderful memories.

Remembering good times and finding things for which to be thankful always helps to lift my spirits.

Today's Gratitude List -
1. Air-conditioning!!!!!!
2. Good memories
3. Plenty of things to do and books to read

Friday, July 13, 2007

Oh Happy Day

This picture was taken in February 2002. It was a Happy Day for me. I had two huge poorly maintained evergreen trees in the front yard of the house I had purchased the previous year. It was one of the only things I did not like about the house. Those trees were close to the front window, blocked light and prevented grass from growing. My realtor had told me that it would cost about $2,000.00 to have the trees removed. I saved that amount but had not made the calls to get estimates.

Enter my cousin. She came for a visit In February 2002. I was still working at the time - as an accountant for a CPA firm and it was Tax Season. My cousin came to give me a break at home by preparing my meals and running errands for me. I asked her if she would mind making calls to get estimates on removing those ugly trees.

That day I got a frantic call from my cousin telling me that a tree removal company was in the neighborhood and would remove the trees for $400.00. WHAT? $400.00????? Well, it seems that they had no more jobs to fill their day and if they could let the trees fall on the neighbors yard, it would be an easy job. "Do they have insurance?" I asked.

Everything worked out. The trees (two big ones and one small scrawny one) were removed and the stumps were also removed. The neighbor lady was not home and never knew that the trees fell on her front yard as it was snowing and all the imprints were filled in by fresh snow. My cousin had a digital camera and took pictures during the whole process, E-mailing them to me at my office.

Since I saved almost $1,600.00, I was able to purchase a much needed new computer. That was 2002. It is now 2007 and I need new gutters, downspouts and windows - and I would love a new computer. Maybe I'll invite my cousin for a visit..............

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Getting things done

There are so many things on my mental "To Do" list that when I have plenty of time to work on this list, I get paralyzed with indecision and end up doing Sudoku puzzles or surfing the Internet. I should clean the bathroom, but I'd rather stitch, yet that quilt needs binding, and I haven't finished the ironing. Yet I probably should pay the bills first, or perhaps start a load of laundry. And the kitchen floor needs scrubbing, but the quilt retreat is coming up and I need to prepare for that. My head starts to spin, I pick up a Sudoku puzzle, and nothing gets done while I look for where the 9 goes in the last grid.

Today I thought about my problem and decided to take a new approach. Instead of having to decide what to do on my long list, I made out little slips of paper for each list item and put them in a big bowl. After mixing them all up, I closed my eyes and reached in to pick out my first item. Then I set my timer for one hour and began on the assigned task. When the timer dinged, I put away the project and reached for another slip of paper, set the timer again for one hour, and began my new task.

It worked!!!!! I finished four projects and got an hour's worth of work done on four others, plus I took an hour out for lunch and dinner, reading my book as I ate which meant I also had almost two hours of reading time. What a productive day. I feel great.

Of course a lot of things did not get done - but they might not have gotten done anyway. Maybe I will pick them out of the bowl tomorrow. Maybe not. So if my kitchen floor does not get scrubbed until next week, well, it's just the luck of the draw.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


When I day-dream, I'm energetic, thin, and usually a writer, or some sort of artist, or musician, or public speaker. In real life, I'm somewhat lazy, overweight, and do not have the discipline to write or create or practice or keep my voice from quaking.

Come into my office and you will find many notebooks - journals started and abandoned, memory notebooks half full and abandoned. BUT - this year (so far) I have kept a daily journal right on my desk and faithfully enter a few lines for each day.

For several years I did "morning pages" (per Julia Cameron of "The Artist's Way" fame) and felt that it really helped me be more energetic. It was a half-hour committment every morning. That half-hour is now spent reading the newspaper.

I try to keep three blogs going, my daily journal entry and an e-mail to my cousins every night with two gratitudes & a summary of my day. It is my form of being a writer. My form of being an artist can be seen on my other blogs (quilting and counted cross-stitch) and my form of being a musician can be seen Sunday mornings when I sing in the choir. As far as public speaking goes, I make a great audience!

Do you journal?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wallace Nutting

These are two pictures from my small collection of Wallace Nutting pictures. You have to be fairly old to know about Wallace Nutting pictures. Wallace Nutting pictures are actually black and white photographs that he hand painted. They became very popular (before color photographs) and were sold by Sears Roebuck & Co. Because they were so popular, there was no way that one man, Wallace Nutting, could possibly paint all the pictures that were sold. In fact, there were many people painting these pictures and signing them with Wallace Nutting's signature. I have a book telling the history of these pictures and about the life of Wallace Nutting.

I particularly like the scenery pictures of lakes and quiet country roads. They are very meditative and serene. It would be lovely to transport myself into one of these pictures for a quiet hour or so.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

And they said it couldn't be done

The fireplace in my home is a stone facade and lacked a mantel. Recently I went to a fireplace store and asked about having a mantel or shelf put on my fireplace. When I told them it was a stone fireplace the unfriendly male clerk told me, "Can't be done," and he walked away.

Then my cousin's husband offered to spend a few days at my house doing handyman jobs. On my list, of course, was the challenge to mount a mantel or shelf on the fireplace.

With a much skill and a little thinking outside the box, he was able to install a shelf, center it, and make it level. Beautiful!

Now I can display my china dogs and my favorite covered bridge painting. At Christmas, I can hang a wreath and place garland, candles and stockings on the shelf.

(Please sing along.....) It's so nice to have a man around the house....

Monday, June 11, 2007

Monday Morning

The absolutely best thing about retirement is Monday mornings. On Monday mornings I have several cups of coffee while I read the newspaper, do a Sudoku puzzle, and read my book. There is no rush to get dressed and no rush to start my day. What a blessing to look forward to Monday mornings.

My doorbell just rang and it was a little girl from next door. "Our ball went into your back yard" she said with a shaky voice. Oh my, do you remember when the next door neighbor's yard was a scary place? I tried to reassure her, with a friendly smile, that it was OK to go into my yard and get the ball. She is the littlest of the neighbor children and got the unwanted job of ringing my bell. She was mighty brave.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Good Sister

Yesterday and today I helped my sister clean out her closet. See the pretty white shirt she is wearing in the above picture? This picture was taken in 2005. She lost the white shirt and today we found it on the floor in the back of the closet where it had fallen off a hanger. But we didn't find the white knit suit that disappeared several years ago. We had a good time reaming out clothes and preparing eight bags for charity. Don't worry, she has plenty left in her closet. She is feeling good about getting her closet organized and I'm feeling good that I could help. We have always had a helping-each-other-out relationship. Many times over the years she has come to my rescue, even to giving me a room in her home, rent free, when I lost my money on a silly investment - and this is when she had a husband, five children and three dogs. Now that is a GOOD sister!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

New Car

Crash. It happened on May 24th. I had the green light and was waiting to make a left turn when a car came the from my left, through the red light, and crashed into my car. The airbags imploded, bruising and burning my right arm. I was scared and thoroughly shook up. I remember crying and saying "Somebody help me."

A nice young man calmed me down and called the police. "There has been an accident involving an elderly woman." WHAT?????? The crash was a shock, but being called an elderly woman was the biggest shock of all. As one of my friends said it was like adding insult to injury.

My car was towed away and so was I - to the hospital. Fortunately I had no other injuries other than the surface burn on my arm and some bruises. No neck pain, no back pain, no broken bones. I'm grateful.

My car though did not make it. It was totalled. I loved that little car - a Honda CRV. The crash pushed the engine back and bent the rails. The cost of fixing the car would have been more than the current value.

While the insurance company was deciding about my car, I drove a little rental car. As soon as I found out they were totalling the car, I started investigating new car deals. Even though I could have gotten something cheaper - or a better deal - I ended up getting another Honda CRV. I like the size, the convenience of being able to haul things, and I like sitting up high. And now I love the fact that the car is heavy enough to sustain a driver side crash without the driver getting hurt!

Oh - and I picked the color green for my car - Tea Leaf Green. Green is my favorite color - green fabric, green paint, green trees, green eyes, green lettuce, and yes, green money.

Is there anyone out there that remembers the movie "The Boy With The Green Hair"? I saw it when I was very young (I'm 68) and had nightmares about it for years. Not because of the green hair, but because the children in the movie were burned out of their orphanage. As a child that was pretty horrific to me.

Oh, I love pea soup too.