It’s better than screaming and throwing things.

Life has been crazy and weird here on the High Plains. We have had relatively few cases of COVID-19 in ND, but two weeks out from our Governor opening our state back up, our numbers are exploding. Yesterday we had 102 new cases reported, and today there were 134.

I called my Mom to talk about what’s going on with Younger Nephew’s graduation ceremony, which we won’t be able to attend, and she let me know she and Dad were on the way out to take her to get tested for the virus.

In ND, unless they are mass testing particular populations of people, you can’t get tested unless you have any of the symptoms. I’m hoping she just has a cold.

More on that later.

In other news, I’ve had a lot of time off being partially furloughed. I managed to get my kitchen painted a nice shade of blue, swapped out the old fridge for a new one, and got some projects done in my yard. I have a whole truckload of projects on deck, but now I’ve been told I am going back to work full time next week. Yay!

It’s going to be kind of rocky, as a condition of our return is that we are going to have to fill in for others who either can’t, or won’t, come back to work. Some tasks I’m qualified for, and some I’m not. I’ve had to push back on being asked to do some things that I just know I’m not qualified for. Sometimes you just have to put your foot down for what you believe in.

Today I worked a few hours, and I will work a few more tomorrow. This will be my last opportunity to get any of my projects done. No more weekends as I’ll be working Sundays going forward. That’s ok. Sundays are good, quiet days to get a lot of work done, for the office at least.

It’s been stressful, and weird, and I don’t like any of this. Sometimes I get so wound up about all of this crap, I find myself crying over stupid things. I’m guessing that I get just too full up with the stress of all of this, and it has to leak out somewhere. I guess it’s better than screaming and throwing things.

The other day I went out to mow my lawn, and I noticed all of the dandelions in the neighboring lot.

The site of all of these happy little flowers made me take a deep breath and just relax, even if it was for a few minutes.

It’s good to stop and notice the flowers. Take a walk outside and get some fresh air. Open your windows and get some fresh air in. Do something that makes you happy. Just make sure to do something for you. Little things matter. Mental health matters. You matter.

Here’s hoping that this note finds you all well and thriving. Remember to take care of yourself. Blessings all!

Accumulating changes

I was hoping for a whole lot of down time and quiet after returning from The Great Road Trip of 2019. But, no. Silly Sparrow… lol.

Work as been harried, and that is to be expected since I was out for two weeks. After this week, it will quiet down quite a bit, especially since we lost a valued and favorite member of the team to a better opportunity. Our office will not be the same. We will hire someone to fill that spot, but who knows how that will change the dynamics of the team. I am more than sad.

I tell my kids to appreciate the good times when you are in the middle of them because, just like bad times, they don’t last.

At home, it’s a little different story. Recently, The Flirt helped me move some large defunct appliances out of my basement, and helped me get my workbench put back together. Today, someone is coming with a truck and a friend to take away an old couch. I’m finally getting my basement space cleared out and will be able to work on it periodically through the winter. It will be a good project for weekends when it is just too cold to do anything else.

So many changes all at once, they seem to accumulate like sticky snow.

Speaking of, it looks like cold and accumulating snow are arriving early. Supposedly we are even going to see some bitter, below zero temps coming up soon. It’s only October and, while we are in that window where snow can happen, I’m just not mentally ready.

Winter is coming to the High Plains, but not today.

Today I will enjoy the crisp fall weather, and the changing leaves. I will enjoy an unencumbered visit to my parents’ house, not having to drive through any snow or ice. Today I will take my time and just be, for tomorrow I jump back into whatever Monday brings me at work.

Here’s hoping you are able to enjoy some good weather before winter comes, and don’t worry about the changes. Life always levels out at some point. Blessings all!

When your dreams get your attention

Normally I don’t remember my dreams, but the one I was having just before my alarm woke me up stuck with me.

I was dreaming that our local Air Force base got nuked, and I was trapped and unprepared in my own home. Getting caught short unprepared for any situation is never good, nuclear explosion notwithstanding.

Generally I find that my brain will take smalls bit of information and roll it up into a nightmarish story designed to get my attention. I have very few of these sorts of dreams, but they always stick with me. I can count a good handful of dreams I can remember, and none of them are good.

The last one I remember like this, someone came to me in the guise of Mad Eye Moody, and he looked me right in the eye and let me know bad things were coming. The time to do something is now. It wasn’t Mad Eye Moody, though. I have suspicions on who I think it was, but I’ll keep that to myself for now.

Needless to say, I didn’t heed the warning and I was caught very unprepared with a surprise divorce a few months later.

I’ve had this really weird feeling that something is coming. Time to get off my ass and get prepared for whatever.

For now, I will quietly re-stock my naked pantry with as much non-perishables I can, and this winter will be spent getting my basement workshop back into shape. I have a plan, and that is half the battle.

Here’s hoping you have a plan, for whatever needs it. Baby steps are good, and you have to start somewhere. Blessings all.

Deep cleaning, and found treasures

Today I am doing some housework, not only because my house sorely needs it, but also Older Son and his girlfriend are going to stop by.

I still hadn’t quite put things right after I painted the entryway, so this morning finds me picking up and reorganizing everything that hadn’t been put away after its displacement. Much less is going back into the entry, so I have little piles of things that need packing away in basement or shed, as well as stuff that needs throwing.

Of the previous few things going back in the entryway this is one of my favorites:

Two reasons this is one of my favorite things:

1. I’ll be a die hard fan of the University of North Dakota as long as I live.

2. Die hard fans are not required to love the new UND mascot, and that ugly bird is nowhere on this sign. #Go Sioux!

This used to hang next to the door, but I moved it to the opposite wall for now. Once I get the workshop going downstairs, all of my UND Memorabilia will find a home there. It’s all going to be done in UND colors (thank goodness those didn’t change too), and it will feel homey. At least, that’s the plan as it stands now.

Just now, somehow “homey” got autocorrected to “ornery”. Hmmm… Freudian slip? Maybe my phone knows me better than I think it does.

Anyway, I guess it’s time to go finish what I started. Deep cleaning and organizing doesn’t get done by itself.

Here’s hoping you all find treasures you’d put away that make you happy to find again. Blessings all!

Of oopses and wooly boogers

It’s been a productive weekend, and much painting has been done. I’m about 3/4 done with this project, but there are a few lessons I’ve had to relearn since the last time I painted.

First lesson, remember to dust dark corners so that I don’t get wooly boogers on my paint brush. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, a wooly booger is just a clump of fluffy dust that gathers in dark corners, or on undersides of things. It’s a terrible thing to be painting along and run into one of those because it sticks to the paint on your brush, and then you have to stop and pull it off. It’s a momentum busting problem that can cause much huffing of breath, and I’m told much swearing. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

Second lesson, make sure to watch where your paint-filled roller or brush go. In two seconds, a wall you just painted will need to be fixed because you weren’t paying attention and accidentally smacked it with another color. It’s especially vexing when you are close to being done.

Not having learned this lesson will cause a loud shout of “Oops!!”, and I hear that some oopses may cause loud swearing on occasion.


Oh, well. It just paint, and I can paint over this oops it when it dries. This is certainly frustrating, but if this is the worst it gets I guess life isn’t so terrible. This definitely comes under the heading of silly first world problems.

Painting is done for the day, and I’m waiting on The Flirt to stop and get me. We are thinking about driving two hours to go fishing, but it’s raining and at this point I’d rather stay home. Maybe I can talk him into just going to supper and a movie.

Here’s hoping that you experience few oopses or wooly boogers, and that your projects go smoothly. Blessings all!

Renovation procrastination…the struggle is real

Faithful Readers, I’m still avoiding getting on that ladder. I have to admit, though, I’m pretty successful while dwelling in avoidance mode.

I got the big ladder out and got it all set up where I need to paint next. I climbed up to get something off the wall so I can begin, only to realize it’s nailed on:

This horse shoe has been hanging above my kitchen door from the back entry for a long time. I’m not sure how many years, though I know it’s less than 10, because I was divorced almost 10 years ago. It’s been there more than 5 years, because Younger Son put it up for me, and that was before he graduated from high school in 2014. The color on the wall has been there maybe 12 years, or so, which I’m sure of because that happened before the divorce a few years. I can’t believe I waited so long to paint. Good bye “mocha”… hello “washed denim”!

I’ve come to a place in my life where I mark time by before and after I was divorced. I’m sure it’s a common thing to remember events by he milestones in life, but I find it a little confining. Not sure why, but there it is.

To continue with my procrastination story, there are some bits that needed painting in the trim color, so I removed screws from those pieces and painted them. It took a whole 30 minutes. That’s a good thing, but it means I still have to go get back on that ladder now.

Hmmm. So, it’s a good point to take a break and blog some more. Procrastination achieved. 👍

Ok… time to get back on the ladder, take down the horse shoe and get painting.

More later… I’m going to need to procrastinate some more later. Blessings!

Home renovation isn’t for the faint of heart

It’s been in my To Do List to paint my entryway, kitchen and hallway for quite a while. I bought the paint, and it’s been sitting in my kitchen gathering dust for a long time waiting for me to get myself together and get going.

I have two days off in conjunction with 4th of July, so I took this as a great opportunity to get started. Last night, all things (and there were a LOT of things) were dislodged from the entry and put into my kitchen and spare room. Disgorged might be a better word. There’s stuff everywhere, and it looks like I’m going to be downsizing as I put things back. I can’t believe I had all that stuff stored in that little room!

Having emptied the room, I opened the can of paint and began. It felt scary and fantastic to put those first brush strokes of paint on the wall.

Holy buckets… the paint is called “washed denim”, but went on very purplish. Luckily it dried darker, but still has quite a purple cast to it. I like it, but both of my kids were put off by the color when I sent them pictures. Good thing I’m an empty nester…LOL.

There are a couple of crappy things about painting a room. First, the rest of your home looks like a bomb blew up in it for having the contents of the room you’re painting having to go somewhere else.

Second, there is the problem of heights. I am not a fan of ladders, and now that I have a bad knee, and terrible balance, things get a little dicey trying to reach high places like the ceiling over a stairwell.

There are some good things about painting a room. There is the obvious bonus of getting a boost from having a new color in your environment. Change is a good thing, and paint is one of the cheapest ways to make a big change without breaking the bank.

It’s a good opportunity to change the organization of a room since you have to put things back in it, once the paint is dry. It’s also a great time to evaluate what goes back in the room. If you haven’t used something, time to downsize.

So, as much as I love blogging, I must confess that I am really just avoiding getting on that ladder. I quit earlier than I wanted to last night, just because the idea of getting on that ladder to do the high places was so daunting. Sunshine streaming in the windows helps a little, and I’m not exactly sure why.

Home renovation isn’t for the faint of heart, so I best screw my back bone into place and get on with it.

Maybe I will finish my coffee first. 😉☕️

Here’s hoping you all can dig down and find that place where bravery dwells when having to do something that scares or intimidates you. The results will be worth it. Blessings all!

Marie Kondo has become a verb at my house

As you, Faithful Readers, are aware from previous posts, I’m trying to thin out my stuff.

It’s been made clear to me that I keep so many things that are never looked at or used. These things are generally all kept packed up, and take up space in all kinds of nooks and crannies. They were most likely inherited, or given to me by someone close, and I keep these things not because they are useful but because I feel obligated to keep them.

Keeping things out of obligation is a terrible way to live. Getting rid of things I have been keeping out of obligation has been very difficult, until I ran into Marie Kondo. Follow the link to see a snippet of her Netflix show on You Tube. If you have Netflix, go give the show a good look.

If you have a hard time watching it, like I did, stick with it. She is a little out there with some of her methods, but there are so many kernels of truth in what she has to say about what to keep and how to organize things, that it is worth paying attention to.

One of the big thing things I took away from her show is to ask yourself if an item “sparks joy” when you pick it up. If not, it’s probably time to donate it. Make space only for the things you really want or need.

For me, that morphed into asking myself why I’m still holding onto something if I haven’t been using it. The answer generally seems to be that I have felt obligated to keep it.

Hmmm. It seems I’m drowning in stuff I feel obligated to keep. When I look around my house, there is so much I don’t use, and little that I need very often.

So, last week I culled books out of my shelf, and only kept the things that I felt were useful. Today, I was making myself some coffee, and spied my recipe box sitting on my counter. It’s full of recipes that I have either never used, or ones I will not use again. So, I Marie Kondo’d my recipe box this morning. That’s right… Marie Kondo has become a verb at my house. I culled fully half of my recipes, and now have a whole lot of spare room in my recipe box. Next step is to do the same to my grandmother’s recipe box, and combine the two together. That’s for another day, though.

Baby steps, Faithful Readers, are ok. For those of us who are easily overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, just do one small thing at a time, and do not feel obligated to do a whole room at a time, just because other people have that capacity.

I know lots of folks who can dive in and are driven to spend a whole day or weekend on one room and get the whole thing done. I just can’t. It’s too much, and I’m learning to be just fine with that.

Today it is a recipe box, and a few things I’m taking out of my closet, but not the whole closet.

Here’s hoping you all find just the right pace for you to do what you need to do, without letting others influence your speed, or reasoning of purpose. Anyone who tries to pressure you into thinking their way of doing things is better can go jump in a lake. You can tell them Sparrow said so. 😉 Blessings all.

Be a weed- bloom where you land

Today, I started a chore I had been dreading: weeding behind my shed.

Generally, I enjoy putzing with plants, but I have this little plot of land that enjoys sprouting really giant weeds. It also gets a kick out of harboring feelers from my neighbor’s Virginia Creeper.

It’s really a do-nothing slug of a plot of land. Largely, that’s my fault for not paying attention to it.

Given that this is the year of “Decrappify and Spiff”, I’ve decided to try to rehab this little 10×12 piece of land. Time to get out what I don’t want or need, and make it a productive, satisfying, happy place.

I was surprised at how quickly I was able to get most of it pulled up. I was a little sad though, because there were some happy little bees harvesting pollen from a bunch of the flowering “weeds”. Seeing that, I left some of it to do for tomorrow. Let the bees have their lunch.

I pulled out a whole lot of thistle, which has the prettiest flower. I’m a huge fan of weeds and their flowers, but these do need to go in order to make way for progress. Not quite paving paradise and putting up a parking lot, but I’m aware of the irony of it. I hope to make this space as functional for the bees as for me.

So, what to do with this space? I think I’m going to take my time, and step terrace the little hill behind the house. My plan is to make my yard a fully functioning space, loaded with gardens. It needs to be an oasis that feeds me, physically and spiritually.

Wow. Sounds like a tall order, right?

Maybe, but chunked up into baby steps, each one is a doable achievement. It’s my hope that just the physical labor of doing the activities associated with what I’m calling the Back Yard Metamorphosis, will be one satisfying aspect all by itself.

In short, I’m trying to enjoy the journey of blooming where I’ve landed.

For so long, I’ve felt intimidated by all the work it will take to get this yard into shape. Now, I just want to putz with one little project at a time. It’s my hope that one day I will look up from whatever I’m planting, or harvesting, and have the sensation of having arrived. At that point, I’ll need a new project. Lol…

Now I’m off to visit a cousin I haven’t seen in person since I was 16. It will be a nice visit.

Here’s hoping you all find ways to bloom where you have landed, in whatever capacity. Beautiful flowers come in all shapes and sizes. Blessings all!

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