Where does one start?


I have a day off, and so much to do, I can’t even start. Well, I can…It’s just tough to know where to begin. Maybe I’ll hang out with all of you for a while and procrastinate a bit. 🙂

Really, if I had been super intent on getting things done, I would have gotten out of bed at 7, when my alarm went off. Instead, I chose to lay around for a few hours, listening to the radio and playing on Crack Book. It was awesome, but I have been doing that in the morning way too much. There’s a lot I could get done in the morning if I just get up an hour earlier, rather than laying in bed listening to the radio and playing on Crack Book. Hmm… a new goal/good habit to be met/cultivated by the 1st of the year, I think!

In other news, I did finally find a new home for my kitty, Harley. He has been with us for almost 5 years now, and he’s part of the family, but allergies have reared their ugly head. I’ve always been slightly allergic to him, but my Flirt is deathly allergic to him. Silly man can’t help but pet him on the rare occasion when he comes over, and within an hour, his airways are shutting down. This week he gets his shots updated, and then he is off to live with an old friend in my home town. I’ll miss him, but I think he’ll be happier where he’s going. I have no doubt my friend will spoil him rotten with all kinds of people food, let him outside, and not fuss at him for getting on the counters.

In other news…my new kitchen is coming! My poor old kitchen is ugly, falling apart, and needs updating badly. I was able to get a home improvement loan, and am spending the money on a custom built kitchen. It won’t be anything fancy, and I will have fewer physical cupboards, but the way the new cupboards will be arranged will actually give me more storage, and better ways to organize. The skinny cupboard to the upper right of the stove? That is a 12 inch wide spice rack. I’li also have a built in dishwasher, which will only be 18-inches wide. Excuse me, while I go mop up the drool….I’m so excited! I’ll take before and after pictures and post them here like when I had my bathroom remodeled. Oh… the bathroom is getting an update too. It’s been 5 years…time to repaint!

What else is on my to-do list? The basement. I have accumulated a bunch of crap that needs to be gone through and thinned out, so that’s got to be done. I also need to paint the ceiling and floor come the spring time. If I am lucky, I will have saved up enough cash to get new basement windows. This on top of just keeping everything going. My regular housework is definitely falling behind.

So many home improvement projects, and so little time to get everything done. Given my Two Year Plan, it’s time to get on the stick and get stuff done.

Speaking of which, my house isn’t going to clean itself. It’s a really lovely day outside… I need to go make a choice between mowing the lawn and working inside the house. Uff-da! I guess I better hurry up and pick something. My Flirt’s coming to get me soon, as we have a whole day of activities planned. One thing we are doing is looking at mobile homes. I think I like the idea of taking my house with me wherever I go…more on that later.

I hope you all have a fabulously restful and relaxing weekend. If you have to choose between 50 different tasks, pick the one that makes you the happiest to have it done. Me…I think I’ll go putz around my kitchen. 🙂

A Two Year Plan


Greetings to my Faithful Readers. It’s been one heck of a year so far, and I am astonished that we are now in the fall of 2015, and I’ve not blogged since January.

Wow, it has been a ride!

Taking on a new job, which is waaay out of my knowledge zone has been quite a challenge, but is paying the bills, and I’m starting to catch on. Having said that, it’s really not my calling. I get to know way more about people than I ever wanted to, and there’s a lot of bad office politics happening. I have really great people to work with, and I will hang onto this job for a while, but it’s going to be just a stepping stone for the next good thing to come along.

In other news, I finally redid Younger Son’s room. It took me all Winter and most of this Spring to get up the gumption to make the change, but it was worth while now that it’s done. Now it is my friend place my friends can come and stay when they are in town. It’s not done all the way, but it’s functional.

I will be getting a new kitchen soon, and will make sure to post pictures of the demolition of the old, and installation of the new. It’s a big, expensive, stress inducing, joyful, exciting project. Did I mention expensive? That’s ok. I’ll get all of that back when I sell the house. I’m keeping my eye on the prize, which is to move away. To Grand Forks. Hopefully within the next two years.

At the very least, I’d like to feel like I am ready to go in the next couple of years. If I can feel like I am ready to go, that is most of the struggle. As long as I can sell my happy little fixer upper, I can go.

Part of getting ready to go is to also do some landscaping and curb appeal projects. I was forced to do some updates to my back yard and my shed this year due to skunk infestation. That’s right…skunks. IMG_5345

IMG_5370Cute little buggers,but vermin nonetheless. Luckily I got some amazing help to live trap all 7 of the babies living under my shed, and my Dad and my Flirt helped me to get rid of the extra brush around the shed that was sheltering them. It was a large adventure, and I’m glad to be able to check that off the Bucket List and move on!

This summer, I did a lot of running and I don’t regret a bit of it. I wished I’d got to spend more time with my Parents, but that’s something I need to get my life reorganized around. My change in job took me farther away from their house, and it’s something I want to fix. I miss them.

I got to see some amazing concerts, one of which was Aerosmith. My Flirt took me to a small town rodeo, and it was one of the loveliest evenings I’ve had in a long time.

Boots on the groundJust for fun, I took this picture of us sitting on the hillside watching the rodeo, and it is one of my favorite pictures ever.

We did a lot of walking, a lot of just hanging out, and a little bit of traveling. It was a good summer, and I’m happy to say my Flirt and I are getting along well, and seem to be happy with things as they are.

We’ve been talking about moving in together, but before that happens, my cat needs to go to another home. He is deathly allergic to cats, and as a result he doesn’t come over to my house much. The good news is that my cat will be going to live with an old friend, and I have no doubts that he will be much happier there. I don’t believe in spoiling my pets, and I certainly don’t believe in allowing cats to get on kitchen counters or anywhere else food is prepared. I think that the house where he is going to live will find him very spoiled and allowed to do all sorts of things he is not allowed to do here. It’s a win for both he and I.Harley Napping I’ll sure miss him, but part of my two-year plan is to rearrange my life so I can travel light. Part of that is no more pets. I raised my kids, and have had numerous fuzzy creatures in the house. Now it’s time to take care of me, and not have to worry about having someone at home to always have to be home for. It sounds selfish, but I promise you I’ve done my bit for family raising and now it’s time for me.

My new work schedule is going to allow me to blog a little more, so I am hoping to make that part of my daily routine. I’m amused by some of the pre-election shenanigans, like Trump running for the Republican ticket. More to come on that. I’m appalled by this whole thing going on with Kim Davis, and I’ll have a few things to say about that too.

Until then, I wish you all a lovely Sunday evening, and hope that the weather where you are is as awesome as it is here in the High Plains.

Sleep…where the heck is it when you need it?


My son sent me a picture today of our cat, Harley, and I must admit I was instantly jealous.

Image

What? Why would I be jealous of whatever my cat is doing at any given moment of the day?

You see, I received this picture on my phone during a pretty dry meeting today. If I hadn’t had my laptop open and actively working on something while trying to pay attention to what was being said, I might have fallen asleep myself. Looking at Harley taking a nap in the sunshine just about did me in.

Sleep is something that I am badly in need of, and constantly find myself chasing after. There are rare occasions where I can just lay down and sleep falls softly on my head like fog moving in. It’s stealthy, calming and comforting. Most times, though, I have to trick myself into falling asleep. There are so many things to think about and keep track of that the inside of my head looks like a million internet browsers open and running all at one time.

When I was a kid, I remember hiding in my neighbor’s garage because I knew my mother wanted me to lay down and take a nap. There was no way I was tired, and didn’t want to have to lay still all afternoon. Looking back, now I realize the poor woman was so tired from keeping up with me and my brother that she just needed a little shut eye. Whoa…lesson learned there. I now understand the magic of taking an afternoon nap.

It’s almost midnight, and right about now I catch a second wind. I’m kind of a night person and don’t mind staying up late. The problem is having to get up in the morning!

That said, perhaps I should go find my pillow and talk my brain into shutting down for the night. Here’s wishing you all a good, solid night’s sleep!

 

 

 

Cat Herding Rule #1 – Provide Structure


I have been given a task at work, which is a project that will last about two years. Essentially, the whole point of this task is cat herding.  Yep, you read that right. For the next two years my biggest daily responsibility will literally feel like I am trying to get a whole group of cats to go in one direction.

In trying to get my arms wrapped around just how I am going to organize people from three different countries, via computer and phone, I have come to the conclusion that the first thing I need here is structure. Well, let me rephrase that. My Cats at Work are the ones that need structure, so I will provide it.

You might ask, why would I compare cats and people so flippantly? Cats are interesting creatures in that they have ideas. Sometimes if you look carefully into their eyes, you can see the gears turning. Let’s use my real cat, Harley,  as an example:

harley 029

Harley, who is thinking naughty thoughts

As you can see in this picture to the left, Harley has some thoughts rolling around in his head that probably add up to no good. Frequently he will look at me, and I know that he’s got ideas about something. The other day he took a nice long look at Older Son’s new girlfriend, as though she looked tasty. Luckily, I snatched him up just before he pounced. Needless to say, he spent the rest of the evening in the bathroom, in “time out”, to make sure he didn’t try it again while she was there.

Harley reminds me of people at work who have too much time on their hands, so much so that they have nothing else to do but think up ways to make more work for other people. Yeah…that doesn’t work for me.

Georgette

Georgette, who didn’t have a naughty bone in her body

I had another cat once, Georgette, who was a sweetheart and never caused us a bit of grief. Well, very seldom anyway. The only problem we ever had with her is that she had a penchant for eating plastic Easter grass, and anything that looked like it. The problem with Easter grass, and most anything that looks like it, is that it doesn’t digest. The net result is that you end up with a cat trailing “processed” Easter grass behind them through the house.   You’ve not lived until you have chased a cat up and down a flight of stairs three times in a row, trying to catch her because she’s trailing Easter grass from her backside.

Some people at work remind me very much of Georgette in that they mean no harm, but don’t know what they are doing and make a large mess while others trail after them trying to clean it up.

You get my point. People have ideas, and most times they don’t mesh with what other people in the group want/need/think they need, etc. The end result is that there are too many cooks in the kitchen, and nothing is getting accomplished.

I think the first rule of herding cats has got to be that structure needs to not only be provided, but also adhered to. It will be my job to crack the proverbial whip and get all of these cats going in the same direction, rather than each chasing their own catnip mouse into corners where random ideas propagate like rabbits.

Not that having ideas is bad, but this group needs to THINK about what they bring to the table for discussion and make sure it is actually with in the scope of the project. Scope creep is rampant, but that is something I’ll expound on in another post.

Here’s hoping that the cats, and the people, in your life stay out of the real and proverbial Easter grass. Have a fabulous weekend!

 

Counting blessings between the sneezes


The creeping crud: it got me!

Today was supposed to be a day of fun including shopping, and watching of the Superbowl with The Flirt. Two things happened to prevent these activities today; the Superbowl isn’t until next weekend, I now hear, and this morning I woke up sick. Yep…the local cold bug finally caught up to me in spectacular fashion. I will count my blessings that I haven’t had a cold like this in quite a while. Older Son was kind enough to grab me some Puffs with Lotion in them today, and that will save my nose any more misery than it need suffer already. I took a nice hot bath, ate some soup, and cancelled my plans for the day. Time to sit around and just veg.

I was looking at “This Week in Pictures” at MSNBC on-line. There are so many pictures of people enduring terrible hardships, just in the process of getting along in their lives, that it made me feel instantly ashamed that I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself having to skip my plans with The Flirt. It’s one thing to hear about someone else’s situation, but it’s another thing altogether to see it in a picture. I imagine it’s even a different thing altogether to witness it first hand. I encourage you to follow the link above to see just what I am talking about. There are some positive pictures sprinkled throughout this week’s collection, but the tragic ones struck me today, in particular, because I really have nothing to complain about…yet, here I sat wallowing in my own pity party.

Well, enough of that.

It gave me pause to think about all of the things I have to be grateful for today.  The first example I have is this new frozen soup mix I’ve discovered: Bertoli Roasted Chicken & Rotini Pasta. I’ve actually tried all of the different flavors, and they are all tasty, and easy to prepare. I ate two bowls full of this soup today, and it was heavenly. Felt like I’d had a home cooked meal, and I didn’t have to do anything but add water and bring to a boil.

The second thing I’m really grateful for is my trusty tweezers. My Faithful Readers will recall that I discovered several black hairs growing from my poor innocent chin, and I was forced to dispatch them with all haste and vengeance. Apparently one of the little buggers had decided to make another try for it, so I had to mercilessly kill it again. I’m rather violent that way, I’m afraid…bye, bye little vermin!

When I got up this morning, I was alone and it was a little chilly in the house. I turned on the tv, sat down and pulled the afghan up to my chin. Harley curled up on my lap and instantly warmed me up. He sat on my lap keeping me warm as I sat up waiting for Older Son to get off of work last night. He’s growing into his role as Professional Lap Warmer very admirably, which is exactly what I wanted.

It snowed today, but we have precious little snow on the ground already. Last week we had a few days where the temps hit at least 45+ degrees, which is unheard of for January weather. I feel more than a little spoiled, and I know that not having any snow could cause drought this summer, but after all of the water we dealt with last year, I think I won’t complain too much. We still have two months of winter left, and we will most likely have at least a couple more blizzards before the season is done. I’m just grateful that my snow shovels have been gathering dust in recent days.

I have this fabulous new fuzzy blanket, that I bought at the Red Big Box Store. Not only is it soft, but it’s been keeping me very warm at night in my cold bedroom. For some reason, my room is very cold, even though the new windows have done a good job keeping the drafts out, and this new blanket is so very warm. I haven’t slept so well in such a long time.

So there it is…some of the many blessings I have to count for myself on this sneezy day. I hope you can count as many blessings in your life, or more, today.

Quiet moments, and some blather


Yes…yes, I’m still alive. It’s been awhile since I posted, but I have to say I was a running fool. Seems like the whole summer has flown by. While I feel like I have nothing to show for it, I’ve actually been pretty busy. That’s ok…It’s better than sitting around, I guess.  And then, when I have time to take a breath, all the fabulous things I had found to blog about evaporate like flood water on a hot July day.  Amazingly, I was sitting in the living room alone with no sounds other than my Wood Wick candle burning, the traffic outside and the noise of Younger Son taking a shower. It was a lovely quiet moment, albeit brief. Apparently that was just enough to break my writer’s block. Strange, the things my brain will respond to.

The flood situation in Minot is no longer all about being wet, but now about recovery. Most everyone who was displaced has been allowed back into their homes, and the gutting and cleaning has commenced.  We have heard that there is a plan being proposed that will straighten out the river, and provide protection from the river for up to 30,000 cfs (cubic feet/second).   We dealt with upwards of 22,000 cfs this go around. Whatever plan they come up with, it will take a long time to put into place, but Minot will be better off for it. More on that as things progress.

Right now we are sitting in the living room watching a movie called Escanaba in da Moonlight. It’s an old family favorite that we got through Netflix. It’s one of those shows we all agree on, and can have a good laugh over.  There’s nothing like sitting around with your kids having a good laugh.

Speaking of kids, I had the last three days off so I could get them registered and set up for school, which is starting very late for us this year. The flood took several schools in town so the State has forgiven five school days, plus there will be three more tacked on to that will be made up throughout the school year. As a result, instead of starting school August 24th, school won’t start until September 6th. Older Son is a Senior this year, and so come all things associated with that: Senior pictures, applying to colleges and graduation…amongst other things.  Older Son isn’t too hip on the whole graduation tradition, and would rather skip all of the pictures and ceremony. Well, he’s just going to have to tough it out. Some traditions just need to be observed. I think he’s feeling a little overwhelmed with the end of school coming and having to make choices. I don’t envy him…it’s no easy thing to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. I still am not sure what I want to do when I grow up either, and I’m 42.

Younger Son cooked supper tonight. It was a <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/t1IiUAtoNBk“>grilled,  bacon wrapped, vegetable stuffed meatloaf. OMG. That kid is going to make me fatter than I already am. He’s also going to make some nice girl a fine husband one day. He’s got that cooking thing down for someone who’s only 16 years old. This is the third time in the last month I’ve come home to find supper grilled and ready to eat. I’m truly spoiled.

My lovely kitty, Harley, got declawed this week. As lovely as he is, he’s got a taste for scratching everything but the scratching post, including box springs, the dish washer, the heat vent in the bathroom, the living room furniture, and anything Older Son owns. It’s not something I had planned on, or liked, having to do, but it was either that or he’d have to go. The good news is that he is making a remarkable recovery and is up to the usual mischief…except without so many scratch marks.

Now it’s quiet again, and all I hear is my tapping on the key board and the wooden wick of my candle crackling away. Pretty soon I’ll have to get up and put my laundry in the dryer, and hit the rack, bringing  my rare quiet moment to an end, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

Simple things are good things


I found a nice patch of cat mint growing wild in my compost heap this last week, and I thought I would bring a snippet of it in for my lovely cat, Harley. This is cat mint:

I brought a goodly sized piece into the house, wondering if Harley would pay any attention to it or not. I got my answer quickly, as he fairly climbed up my leg trying to get to it.  This is Harley after having grabbed his prize:

I bet Harley spent a good 45 minutes in the back entryway, rolling around on the floor mangling that piece of cat mint to death. In the pictures you can see little bits of it laying all over the floor from where he shredded it. Afterwards, he had a VERY nice nap.

It got me to thinking about how simple things are good things. Harley doesn’t require anything special on top of normal care and affection. It sure does make his day when I bring him a big piece of cat mint, though.

Today I finally got out of the house and went for a walk this morning. It was so beautiful out, and I enjoyed it so much. It was the simplest thing in the world to get out and walk up the street and back, and it got my day off to a good start. I sure have missed walking in the morning, and now that I’m back at it, I feel much better. It’s the simplest thing, but it makes a big difference. Perhaps this ought to be the summer of simple pleasures. I bet if I look hard enough I will have no problems finding multitudes of things that will surprise and delight me in what joy they can bring, with not too much cost or effort.

What about you? What are some simple pleasures you enjoy?