Slow changes jump out and cause revelations


Recently, I have become most enamored of the color blue. I was really struck while washing dishes just now, how the color of my coffee cup, glistening with suds in the sunshine, just caused my blood pressure to drop. It’s just a color, right?

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Well, maybe it’s more than just the perception of a color. Perhaps it’s an awakening to change that’s been happening under the surface.

That does sound a little melodramatic, but what I’m getting at is that I have been aware for some time that I crave peace more than anything right now. While I’ve known that for some time, what I haven’t realized is that my likes and dislikes have shifted a little, and seem to fall in line with that need.

It may not have been so striking to me except that I used to really hate blue. In one home I lived in as a high schooler had a kitchen that was decorated in what can only be described as a cacophony of blue; all different shades of blue everywhere. I remember thinking to myself that if I were ever to have my own house, the one color I would never have in it would be blue.

Fast forward to today, 30 years later, and in thinking about how I am going to paint my kitchen, and I keep coming back to blue. I always feel a little resistance to that as I’ve never wanted blue, but yet I find it so soothing as of late.

Hmmmm….maybe it’s time to start listening, rather than resisting.

Here’s hoping you all have a lovely weekend, surrounded by people, things, and colors which bring you peace and calm. Blessings all!!

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The peace of home


Sunday mornings have become one of those times in the week where I get to have a little peace and quiet. I think the most important part of that is that I get to spend time in my house. I’m not home a lot, but that’s slowly changing, as I have been on the run with life for so long, it’s become apparent that I just really need to spend more time keeping the place up.

Line dried towelsThis morning, I managed to get two loads of laundry washed and on the line. In between, I sealed my front porch, which was so very, VERY dry. I even managed to get the bills paid. All in all, it was a very productive morning.

While waiting for my last load of wash to get finished so I could get it on the line to dry, I sat in my living room for a few minutes, sipping a fresh cup of coffee. Those few moments of peace and quiet were so awesome. It’s rare that there isn’t a radio, or Ipod playing, or sometimes the tv is running. Even the traffic was quiet. Just about the only thing I could hear was the laundry sloshing around in the washer, and the clock ticking.

Quiet, steady ticking sounds, like a clock, are so comforting to me. That, and traffic out in front of the house, is something I strongly associate with my childhood. My grandparents’ house is not too far from where I live now, and you could say I grew up there. No matter where we lived, their house was always a constant in my life. They had a cuckoo clock my dad got them before I was born, and it had the requisite little bird that would pop out on the hour. I always loved to watch my Grandpa wind up the clock with the long, delicate chains that hung down from the bottom. They lived on a very busy street, and traffic sounds were a constant.

Sometimes, if I close my eyes and just sit still and listen, it’s almost like I am sitting in their living room again.

So now it’s night-time, and I am lying in bed with my laptop, and the radio is running because I just don’t sleep well without talk radio. I have it turned down really soft, and all I can hear besides that is the sound of the computer and whatever random traffic out front. The irony is not lost on me that it drove me nuts when Grandma listened to talk radio at night, and it kept me up. Now I can’t sleep without it!

Something that is missing in my home is the solid feeling of my grandparents’ house. They had this really solidly build home, with heavy oak doorways that were darkly stained. The front door was so big and heavy that I couldn’t open it by myself when I was small. It always had this big heavy feeling like laying under layers of warm blankets on a cold night. It was a comfortable, homey, safe place, and I miss it every single day.

That home was sold in ’96 after Grandma died, and the folks who bought it take really good care of it. It got wet during the Flood of 2011, but they restored it and it looks wonderful. It broke my heart to see it under water, but I am so grateful they have taken pride in it and have made it their home for so long.

So, I wonder how it is that I can create that same feeling when I walk into the home I live in now? That’s a mystery. Perhaps it is just my perception because it’s a different house, or perhaps it’s because I have never really liked this house. I respect it because it has kept my family dry and warm all these years. It was my world during my divorce because I only left it to go to work, or shuttle the boys around, for a good two years. This crappy little fixer-upper has its charms, but it won’t hurt my feelings to leave it. I wonder how I will feel when the day comes to move? I’ve lived here 16 years, and there are a lot of memories here, good and bad.

Maybe the answer is to just spend more time at home, and stop being on the run so much? I guess I will just keep inching along, making repairs and upgrades as I go, until it feels like home. It never really has, even though I’ve lived here a long time. I’m betting that I can overcome that feeling if I try hard enough.

Here’s hoping you find peace in your home, and that it makes you feel safe and comforted in that space. Blessings all 🙂

 

Taking over my little Universe, one room at a time!


So much to talk about, and I don’t know where to start!

Well, I promised pictures from my bedroom makeover, so I will start there.

My beginning inspiration was the new bedspread and curtains:

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After I had those picked out, I chose a nice light gray paint, so light it’s almost white, and a super bright white for the trim.

I started out with a room that was painted two crappy colors of brown, and here are the before pictures. You can see where I started cutting in the new paint, and the contrast of the two tones of the brown. I think my room had been like that for 10 years or so. How freaking depressing !

You can see the new bed spread and curtains don’t look like much with the brown paint.

After a few coats of paint and a bunch of elbow grease, I was able to take this after picture. I still need to get a matching curtain for my closet door.

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Now add the new night stand and head board:

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This last picture is a little dark, but trust me, it’s like waking up in a cloud. My new room makes me so happy, and it took very little to make it happen. Sure, I had to spend some money, and there were some late nights spent trying to get it done, but it was so worth it!

So what else is new in my neck of the woods?

My new job continues to be awesome, and I have a lot of job satisfaction. I know it won’t always be this way, because life doesn’t ever stay static, so I am enjoying it while it lasts. Hopefully it will last a good long while.

Younger Son is coming home after being out at sea for 8 months. I got to talk to him on the phone for the first time since November, and it was so good to hear his voice. Just that simple act of speaking with him on the phone let off a lot of steam I didn’t realize had been building up. It appears that I was kind of holding my breath all of this time. Even with email, mail, and Facebook, it was so little contact. I don’t know how loved ones did it in the days before social/electronic media, when their kids joined the service and were gone for long stretches of time. He comes home soon, and it will be so awesome to have all of my chicks back in the nest again.

Older Son has been having a stretch of good luck in that he was able to replace an old car with a newer, cheaper-to-run vehicle. He even got a break on his insurance. Fabulous!!

The city is gearing up for the State Fair which begins next week. This year, I think we will just go for one day. Usually we go for multiple days, but it gets expensive, and doesn’t change much from year to year. I still get excited when it starts up, though. Older Son will be in the Parade this year, so I may just go watch it. This will be the first Parade Saturday that I haven’t had a prior commitment for a long time.

Well, I’m working on my 2nd cup of coffee, and I think I will finish that up and get to work on my house. The laundry needs to get going, and everything else needs picking up and scrubbing. After chores are done, I think I will go shop for a new BBQ, and plot my next home improvement project: Kitchen Part 2 – paint & floor! I feel like I am finally taking over my own little universe, one room at a time!

Here’s wishing you all a lovely, relaxing Saturday, with which you can plot how you will take over your universe! Blessings all!

Here’s to new beginnings


Well, it’s been a while since I posted last, and so much has happened in that time.

Between then and now I managed to get a brand new job, which is a marked improvement over the last one. I have good people to work with, and good and interesting work to do.  I’m working in a hospital now, and it’s interesting work.

Needless to say life is much less stressful, and I’m grateful for it.

I’ve fallen into a strange rut for the last several months, and I’m just now feeling like a human being again. Too much sleeping, too much eating, and too much playing games… Avoiding everything. All good anesthesia, but not good for living.

Today, I decided to take the plunge and get something going that is long overdue. Nothing so energizing as a good project!

My bedroom is painted two different, terribly awful, colors of brown. Ugh… So awful! Today that is getting fixed. If my bedroom feels so gross, and it’s supposed to be the most serene place in the house, that’s a problem easily rectified with new curtains and paint!

Progress will be documented and posted later. For now, I’m diving in head first and see how much I can get done this week.

Here’s wishing for you a creative outlet to help get you out of whatever rut you may be in. Blessings all!

 

The joys of home improvement…a new kitchen!


The, last two days have been a dusty, noisy, joyous, anxious roller coaster ride. I’ve been planning a kitchen remodel since the end of August, but nothing quite prepares you for the actual havoc of it all.

I’d been waiting for a call from the folks who are installing my new kitchen, and I’d asked them to give me a couple weeks of lead time so I could arrange to have the time off to be at home when the install happened. I got the call two days ahead of time. Whoops! Good news is that I was able to get the time off short notice.

The demolition of the Beforeold kitchen went off without a hitch, and was carried out in short order yesterday. The picture on the left is what the kitchen looked like to start with, in all of its ancient, built-in, plywood cupboard glory. Notice the really old brown/orange-flowered flooring? I’ll look forward to seeing the last of that, but more about the flooring later.During

Once all of the cupboards were gone, it was lunch time, and then it was time to get the new cupboards installed. The thing about installing new stuff in an old house is that you never know what you might find after you pull all of the old stuff out.  They did find a little mold under the sink cupboards, but they took it all out and sprayed some stuff over it to prevent it from coming back.

They would have been able to get the whole thing done in one day, had the plumber shown up on time. He didn’t manager to show up until day two, and the only reason he came right away this morning is because there cold water feed line decided to spring a leak in the middle of the night. Older Son woke me up at 3am to let me know that it was raining in the basement. The whole kitchen floor was covered with water. Poor kid had to work all day today on not much sleep. After we got done mopping it all up, there wasn’t much sleeping going on.

After the plumber showed up and fixed the leak, he said he would be back about 2pm. Well that time came and went, and we had to call him to remind him to come out. The crappy part about that is that this is my regular plumber that the kitchen installation team just happened to contract with. I was super disappointed with that, and hope it was just a fluke. As things stand right now, it’s 3:30, my kitchen installation team has done their job and gone, and I am still waiting on the plumber. The new cupboards are installed, along with the new counter/back-splash. I still have the electric items, dishwasher/garbage disposal, painting and flooring left to do, but that can wait. I’m hoping to have that done by the time June rolls around. Just need to save up the cash and build up some time off. This was a good company to work with, and I’m super impressed with them. If you live in the High Plains, check out Your Home Improvement Company. They are based out of St Cloud, MN, but have branch offices in other places. The guys who did the cabinet install is WIT Construction, LLC. Good guys. They showed me how to operate these new-fangled cupboards, and take the doors off if I need to. You wouldn’t think there’s much that goes on with cupboard doors and shelves, but there really is.

All done but the plumbing and electric! 11-13-15

This last picture is of my new cupboards in all of their honey oak glory. I’m so happy with this…it’s really quite surreal. I can hardly believe this is actually mine! You know what, though? I work my butt off, and I deserve this new kitchen. It’s been a long time coming and, while it might not be done all the way yet, I can still enjoy it on the way to completion. It’s amazing what kind of transformations can happy in just two days!

Now the plumber is here and is putting in the sink stuff. It’s not going to be too much longer before I have my running water back, and the stove and fridge back in place. Time to wipe everything down and get my house back together, until the next round of home improvement!

Here’s hoping all of your home improvement projects go smoothly, that you find nary a weird thing behind your kitchen cabinets, and your plumbing never leaks! Blessing all!

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.