The Patron Saint of Housekeeping

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I’ve heard it said that god created the universe in six days, and on the seventh day, he rested.

I call bull. I’m pretty sure that on the seventh day, god had to do the housework.

Yesterday, on Sunday, I did my daily tarot reading (woo-woo alert) and it said, “Don’t just sit there! Get something done!”

I did 5 loads of laundry. Darks, whites, reds, delicates and sheets. God probably wouldn’t have had to wash darks, but he I’m sure he had countless loads of whites.

I also cleaned the bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom.

I wondered as I was cleaning, is there a patron saint of housecleaning? The Catholic church (of which I used to be a member) has a patron saint for everything. I expected her (of course it would be a woman) to be named St. Dustina, or St. Cobwebbia, but it’s St. Martha.

St. Martha, if you know your bible stories, was the one who did all the cooking and waiting upon when Jesus visited. She complained about her sis, Mary, not helping her because Mary was instead hanging on every word J. said.

Do I have that story right? Or did Mary complain about Martha bustling about when she should have been listening to J? This is why they kicked me out of Catholic Club; I can never keep the stories straight.

Anyway, J. said, “Cool it, gals. It’s all good.”

And then Martha became the patron saint of housekeeping and Mary became the patron saint of hanging on a man’s every word like he’s god or something.

 

M, M & J

M, M & J

 

Today my daily tarot reading (woo) said, “Don’t just sit there! Go vote!”

It’s a weird time for an election. They’re usually the first Tuesday in November. But apparently some things must be decided, and they can’t make decisions without me. Off to vote, I go.

Stay tuned…

No-Spend Month

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I way, WAY overspent in January, so February has to be as close to a no-spend month as possible.

I need to stay away from The Tasty Gates of Hell drive-through this month. I also need to quit cruising Amazon.com.

My fridge, freezer and cupboards are full of food, so I think I can go most of the month without grocery shopping, too.

FRIDGE FOOD

FRIDGE FOOD

FREEZER FOOD

FREEZER FOOD

PANTRY FOOD

PANTRY FOOD

I’m a little worried about the low level of cheese in the house. I only have 2 partial blocks, and you know I love cheeses.

A COUPLE DAYS OF CHEESES

A COUPLE DAYS OF CHEESES

Oh, I guess there’s the sliced provolone for sandwiches.

SEVERAL DAYS OF CHEESES

SEVERAL DAYS OF CHEESES

And the shredded cheese for cooking.

7-10 DAYS OF CHEESES

7-10 DAYS OF CHEESES

Yup. I’m still worried.

I can distract myself from the upcoming Crisis of Cheeses by working on making some things beautiful.

I added another print to the bedroom grouping (Goodwill, $2.99) and hung a mirror on the opposite side of the bed (Amazon, $149.90).

ADDED PRINT

ADDED PRINT

ADDED MIRROR

ADDED MIRROR

I also spent an hour in the studio, unpacking and finding homes for some of the stuff from my storage locker. Progress was made, but I definitely need to keep at it. And I definitely need to find a bookcase to house the books I unpacked. Next month.

STUDIO, BEFORE

STUDIO, BEFORE

STUDIO, AFTER 1 HOUR OF WORK

STUDIO, AFTER 1 HOUR OF WORK

Stay tuned…

I Fought The Law

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Laws of PhysicI fought the law, and the law won.

The laws of physics, that is. Specifically, the one that says two solid objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

One of the lamps I’d brought to The Lamp Ladies (Lamp Mender) just needed a shade. After I ordered the shade, I brought the lamp back home and plugged it back in, in its current shadeless state.

The outlet was behind the couch, which wasn’t a big deal while unplugging it. I just reached down a little ways and gave the cord a yank.

It was, however, a big deal to plug it in again.

I knelt on the couch, and squeezed my arm behind it to reach the outlet. I got the lamp plugged in. Unfortunately, my arm was stuck.

I tried to stand up to get better leverage to pull my arm free. Bad move.

With my arm trapped up to the armpit, I couldn’t actually get my feet flat on the floor. As I was sliding off the couch, I was torquing my arm.

For a moment, I pictured my ignominious death. After several days of awkwardly hanging off the couch, my neighbor would notice my unchanged position and call for help. It would be too late.

At no point in time did I consider chewing my arm off.

Eventually, I was able to pull free with a great deal of effort, and not a little pain.

I’m now sporting a large purple bruise on the inside of my upper arm (the least solid part of my arm, and possibly my whole body, thank goddess).

You can’t fight City Hall, and you can’t break the laws of physics.

At least my injury didn’t prevent me from enjoying our first Women’s Adventure Club outing of 2018.

Me, No.2 Sis, and our friends “P”, and “D” (left to right), went to see the belly-dancing performance at The Mediterranean Cruise Cafe in Burnsville, Minnesota.

WAC 2018-MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE CAFE

WAC 2018-MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE CAFE

Of course, we had a lovely Greek dinner while we there, too.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I can see from this photo that I need to start paying more than $12 for a haircut. Sigh…

 

 

 

Wealth

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Woo-woo Alert:

I read tarot cards for No.2 Sis yesterday. They said, “Pamper yourself, rest, take a bubblebath, curl up in front of the fire and relax!”

I read the cards for myself, and they said, “You lazy bum! Quit daydreaming and actually get something done! Get to work!”

It reminds me of something No.8 Sis’ girlfriend said to her recently. “Sweetie, you have such good ideas. Why don’t you do one?”

So No.8 Sis is building a guest-house in India.

My ambitions are a bit more low-key. I cleaned the whole house (except the art studio). Do you know how seldom the bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen and dining room are all clean at once?

If you read this blog, you know that the answer is “rarely”. It looks so nice!

So today I can just watch the snow fall…and fall…and fall… This winter storm Jaxon is hitting us right now. I don’t know when they started naming blizzards, but there ya go.

I’m also working on feng shuiing (totally a word) the wealth corner in my cottage. This is in lieu of getting a j-o-b.

The wealth area of the cottage is in the bedroom. There was a flying pig lamp in this corner, which suggests that I’ll be wealthy when pigs fly. This is doing feng shui badly.

BAD FENG SHUI

BAD FENG SHUI

I got a new (used) lamp at Lamp Mender, or as I like to call them, The Lamp Ladies, a store in Bloomington, MN.

LAMP LADIES LAMP

LAMP LADIES LAMP

I liked the shape, but not the color, so I painted it white with blue accents. Here it is in its new home by the bed.

WEALTH CORNER

WEALTH CORNER

Four coats, hand-painted. If I had gotten spray paint, it would have been done in a couple of coats. But where can you spray paint in an cottage apartment?

I charged some crystals for manifesting wealth (do I need another woo-woo alert?), and put some money in jewel box (The Taj Mahal Box) No.2 Sis brought me from India for my birthday.

I also hung a watercolor print of Ireland given to me by my BFF “T”. It doesn’t necessarily represent wealth, but I love it.

This is the first picture I’ve hung in the cottage. Don’t judge, I’ve only been here 9-and-a-half months!

CRYSTALS AND THE TAJ MAHAL BOX

CRYSTALS AND THE TAJ MAHAL BOX

The crystals are (top left to  bottom right) Quartz, Aventurine, Moss Agate, Black Tourmaline, and Citrine.

Let the wealth come pouring in.

Stay tuned…

 

The Icebreaker

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It’s 9:30 on Sunday night, and I can no longer hear my next-door-neighbor’s television. He must have gone to bed early.

If he’s home and he’s awake, his TV is turned on and tuned into news. I can’t make out most of what the talking heads are blathering on about, but every so often I hear the word “Trump”.

It triggers my PTED. Post Traumatic Election Disorder.

I’m trying to practice my speech for Toastmasters. This is the first speech a member gives. It’s all about you, I mean me. It’s the “icebreaker” that lets the other Toastmaster members get to know you, I mean me.

I actually gave this speech last month, but we’re having an open house in a couple of weeks to attract new members, and I was asked to give the speech again. I’m not sure that listening to me talk about myself is conducive to signing up new folks, but, I’ll give it a go.

Here’s the speech:

My name is Laurel, and I’m an artist.

That’s a really hard thing for me to say.

I grew up as the sixth of nine children and I was easily lost in the crowd. I always loved to draw, and the praise I got for that made me feel noticed.

I brought home pictures from kindergarten and my mother would gush about how I was drawing fully-fleshed out people instead of stick figures. She would show off the pictures to the neighbor ladies saying, “Look what a wonderful artist my daughter is!”

In a big family like ours, there wasn’t a lot of money for extracurricular activities, but my mother made sure I had art lessons after school. I hiked up to the Motherhouse, a huge convent at the top of a Rochester hill, and got lessons from a nun whose name I cannot remember. It made me feel so special.

In junior high, I drew cartoons for the school paper, and made posters for school events. I designed programs and tickets for school dances. I made banners to hang in the church on special holidays.

In high school, my friends would ask me to draw portraits of their favorite movie stars. At class reunions even decades later, they let me know they still had them and cherished them. I was kind of an art star at my little parochial school.

I was so excited to be accepted at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design after graduating from high school. I moved from Rochester to Minneapolis and prepared to dazzle everyone with my brilliant talent.

Imagine my surprise when I found I was not the most talented student there. All the art stars from all the little high schools were there, and I was pretty average. Not the best, not the worst, just…average.

That was tough enough, but part of our education was critiquing other students’ work. We hadn’t learned the Toastmasters’ sandwich technique of offering constructive criticism sandwiched between statements of praise, so the critiques were often quite…humbling.

I dropped out of art school after one semester. A former high school classmate offered to buy one of my paintings for five dollars. The materials had cost me ten. Does that make me a professional artist?

The other paintings were given as gifts to various friends and relatives, and eventually found their way into closets around the state.

I continued to try to put my artwork out into the world, but it was never accepted into a juried show.

Although I still got lots of positive feedback from most of my loved ones, I remember a particularly awful date I had with my boyfriend. I had a painting of a Native American woman over my couch, and a drawing of a Native American man on another wall.

My boyfriend knew I had created those pictures and I was tired of his total silence on the matter. I asked him point-blank what he thought of the painting.

“The hands look kind of funny”, he said. Ouch. Honestly, they did look kind of funny, because hand are very hard to paint, and the model had left the studio before I’d finished the painting.

I asked him what he thought of the drawing, because I was especially proud of that. There was a long pause, and then he said, “I guess I’m not into Indians as much as you are”.

We broke up the next day. Unfortunately, I seemed to have broken up with art, too, and gave up drawing and painting for years.

Now that I’m retired, I’m getting back into creating artwork. This time, it’s just for me. It’s for my self-expression, and I don’t need to show it to anyone else. I don’t need anyone else’s approval or praise. If I like what I create, that’s all that matters.

I am Laurel, and I am an artist.

Stay tuned…

P.S. Here’s a few beautiful things I made this week:

MADE CARDS

MADE CARDS

MADE MORE CARDS

MADE MORE CARDS

CLEANED THE CLOSET

CLEANED THE CLOSET

My First Date

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Oh. My. Goddess. I have gained 15 pounds since I’ve returned to the USA from Costa Rica. I either have to go back on the keto diet, or I have to buy bigger pants.

But let’s not talk about that. (Classic avoidance.)

Let’s talk about my first date, ever. Because, why not?

I was 17 and I was selling movie tickets from a little glass booth that protruded out onto the sidewalk. A man paused as he was walking by.

theater cashier

SORRY, BUB, CASH ONLY. THIS WAS THE SEVENTIES.

I don’t remember his name, all these years later, but let’s call him Pete. He was probably in his twenties or thirties, and fancifully dressed in magenta velvet coat with white fur trim, and a jaunty fedora.

Pete asked me what time I got off work. I got off at ten p.m., and we agreed he’d meet me back at the movie theater at ten, and he’d take me out for coffee (so grown up!)

The doorman was the only other one still working at that hour, as he had to work past the end of the last screening and clean and lock the place up.

His name was Jim (I do remember that), and he was horrified that I was letting this guy pick me up so late.

Jim tried to talk me out of going, but I naively said, “Hey! It’s just coffee. Be cool, man.” (It was the seventies.)

Jim made me agree to come back to the theater before he closed up, so he could be sure I was okay.

Pete picked me up, and we went down into the subway to stay warm. There was no coffee.

That was when Pete gave me my first kiss. Awww.

I remember thinking, “What is all this fuss about kissing? This is doing nothing for me.” Very disappointing.

I kept looking at my watch over his shoulder to make sure I got back to the theater on time, so Jim didn’t have a cow. (It was the seventies.)

Pete got my phone number, and walked me back to the theater.

Jim was relieved, and I was still confused about his concern.

The next day in high school, I told my girlfriends, who were much more worldly than I, about my date with Pete.

They said, “Oh, Pete the Pimp? I don’t think you should go out with him again.”

Oh, well, that’s probably a valid point.

When Pete called a couple of days later to ask me out, I told him I didn’t want to see him again. (I was much more blunt in my youth.)

Pete asked’ “Is it your parents? You can sneak out to meet me!”

I laughed, “No, my parents don’t care!” No wonder I’d been confused by Jim’s concern. I hadn’t experienced anyone being concerned about me before.

Pete went away without a fuss.

It would be another year or more before I was kissed again. The next time, I could understand the fuss a little better, thank goddess.

Stay tuned…

 

 

Resolutions, 2018

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I was looking back at my posts from December, 2016, and January, 2017 to refresh my memory on what my New Year’s resolutions were. It looks like I didn’t make any.

I guess I figured that living in Costa Rica, I just had to embrace the “Pura Vida” (“Good Life”). And did I, boy, did I ever.

Now, back here in Minnesota, the temperature has been hovering around 0F (-18C) for about a week. The extended forecast shows the same temps, plus snow, for the next 5 days, at least.

Back to the Scandinavian Lutheran work ethic. Pura Vida does not apply. Resolutions required.

Resolution 1: Grow my hair out.

BED-HEAD, MESSY HAIR

HAIR

Resolution 1: Grow my hair out. Nah, too easy. Not enough suffering.

Resolution 1: Learn to use my Canon camera.

Camera, Canon Rebel DSLR

CANON REBEL

A little embarrassing, as this was on my resolution list in 2015 and I didn’t do a thing about it. I’m taking a really big trip in the fall of 2018, so I really, really, really want to be able to take some nice pix.

If I fail at this resolution again, I should sell the camera and all its accoutrements.

Resolution 2: Start an on-line Tarot business.

TAROT

TAROT

I read Tarot for friends and family for free, and have read professionally in the past. I hope I can develop a professional platform, so I can create an income stream. My remaining in the USA depends on supplementing my savings with some sort of income.

True, a Scandinavian Lutheran voice in my head is telling me to get a j-o-b (can’t say the word out loud, or it might happen!), but since my background is really German Catholic, I’m going to ignore it.

Resolution 3: Create beauty every day.

BED-HEAD, MESSY HAIR

SORRY, THAT WAS UNCALLED FOR

I am an artist. I am an artist. I am an artist! (My #1 daily affirmation.)

I’m not going to make any resolutions about my health. It’s a one-day at-a-time, wrestle-with-the-dragon kind of thing. Resolutions are not powerful enough to deal with this monster.

Do you have any ideas about eating/exercise commitments that are stronger than resolutions? Gastric bypass surgery? Weight-loss camp? Gulag? Hard labor? Do share.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

 

Operation Cash My Stash

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We have a rule amongst my sisters. As soon as a drinker spills her drink, she’s cut off from any more alcohol.

The rule used to be as soon as the drinker hit the floor, she was cut off. But by tightening up the cut-off time, we’ve saved ourselves from most further drinking injuries.

I was trying to finish some more Christmas cards for the craft show, and took a big chunk out of my finger while cutting ribbon. New rule for crafting: If you’re bleeding, you’re done.

The craft show was a huge success. That is, if you don’t count how much money I made versus how much time I spent making jewelry and Christmas cards. Not to mention the cost of the materials.

BEFORE THE COFFEE FLOOD

BEFORE THE COFFEE FLOOD

But that’s okay! Even though I downsized my craft stash before moving to Costa Rica, I still have waaaay too much stuff. That’s why I launched Operation Cash My Stash.

I sold a necklace, about 8 pairs of earrings, and 4 packages of cards. That’s $134 dollars for Operation Cash My Stash. We (the royal plural) are pleased.

And yes, one of the first things I did at the craft fair was spill a cup of coffee on my display, which consisted of jewels on white cards, sitting on a white table cloth.

And yes, No.2 Sis (so grateful for No.2 Sis offering to be my helper) immediately cut off my coffee supply. Rules are rules.

Meanwhile, the cottage is quite a disaster, since I’ve been so focused on creating stuff for the fair.

Sigh! Back to doing dishes, vacuuming, washing clothes, mopping floors, and scrubbing toilets. Retirement is so glamorous!

Stay tuned…

P.S. A special thank you to my niece S2 (No.2’s middle daughter) for donating the table fee for the craft show! Hugs!

Chicken Water And Craft Fairs

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Colder weather has arrived here in Minnesota, and you know what that means.

Soup!

I made a batch of chicken soup from a grocery-store rotisserie chicken carcass. It was a two day process.

The first day, the chicken was stewed 8-10 hours in the crockpot with garlic, onions, and miscellaneous veg (I actually only had celery). That made the stock.

Day 2, I pulled out all the bones, skin, and old veggies. Then, after going shopping, I put fresh onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in the crock, along with the chicken meat, broth, and plenty of spices. I let that stew for another 8-10 hours.

And voila! After two days of cooking, I had a big batch of chicken water. I mean soup. The blandest soup ever made.

It was very audacious of me to think I could have any sort of culinary success without a tried-and-true recipe.

Anyway, if cold weather means soup, then soup means crackers, and crackers mean cheeses. I love cheeses. After making the grocery store veg run, I made a cheese run.

cheese and crackers

I LOVE CHEESES

The other thing cold weather means is Christmas craft fairs. My niece, S2, e-mailed and asked me if I’d like to participate in the craft fair her kids’ school is putting on.

At first I said no, since I’m retired and it kind of sounded like work. But then No.2 Sis (S2’s mother) pointed out that I have a whole room of my apartment stuffed with craft supplies, and I could possibly turn some of those supplies into cash.

Hmm, was that brilliant or what? I started thinking of the room of “The Vault” instead of “The Studio.”

So I signed up for the craft fair at Nativity of Mary School in Bloomington, Minnesota, which will be from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 9th. And yes, this is a shameless plug.

So far, I’ve made 90 Christmas cards, 40 pairs of earrings, and 3 necklaces. I’ve got almost 2 weeks left, so I’m sure I can get those numbers higher.

My goal is to run out of Christmas paper for card-making.

I’m sure I have too many craft supplies to run out of most of the other card and jewelry components. And remember, this is what I have left after a considerable amount of down-sizing! It’s a little embarrassing.

ENTIRE STOCK OF NECKLACES

ENTIRE STOCK OF NECKLACES

A MESS OF EARRINGS

A MESS OF EARRINGS

hand-made Christmas cards

A SMALL SAMPLING OF CARDS

Stay tuned…

 

 

26 Minutes To Raise Your Self-Esteem

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I returned home from my Virginia vacation (more about that later) in my usual post-vacation slump.

My brain was tormenting me with, ” You over-packed. You didn’t walk enough. You spent too much money. You left your house a mess.” My brain can be so mean to me!

There was only one thing I could think of to raise my self-esteem.

Clean the kitchen.

I timed it. It took 26 minutes to take it from this:

DIRTY KITCHEN

BAD SELF-ESTEEM

To this:

CLEAN KITCHEN

GOOD SELF-ESTEEM

I felt so good, I cooked a delicious pot roast, which we all know is Food-For-The-Soul. (Vegetarians and vegans, please disregard previous sentence).

Then I had to clean the kitchen all over again. Totally worth it.

I was so inspired that, while the roast was roasting, I cleaned the living room.

DIRTY LIVING ROOM

ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO RAISE MY SELF-ESTEEM

11 minutes later:

CLEAN LIVING ROOM

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Note to self: buy lamp shade.

And the bedroom.

DIRTY BEDROOM

DON’T JUDGE ME

Hey, I would have thrown the clean laundry on the floor before going to bed.

DIRTY BEDROOM

THE EGG CARTON IS FOR MY EARRINGS

27 minutes.

CLEAN BEDROOM

UNSTOPPABLE

 

 

clean bedroom

TA DA!

And the bathroom.

DIRTY BATHROOM

EASY-PEASY

5 minutes.

CLEAN BATHROOM

LEMON-SQUEEZY

It’s really, really good that I cleaned up, since Old Al, the 80ish-year-old handyman at “The Village” (my apartment complex) came to unstop a drain for me. He brought Young Al, his 20ish-year-old assistant, with him.

I wasn’t sure why Young Al was there until I told Old Al that the previous tenant must have dumped grease down the drain, as the water that had backed up was quite greasy.

Old Al said, “What?” Young Al yelled, “THE WATER WAS GREASY.” Ah, Young Al was Old Al’s interpreter. Mystery solved.

So, all told, I spent 1 hour and 9 minutes cleaning my house. It took all day, because I’m a big believer in (long) breaks, but it was only 1 hour and 9 minutes of work.

It’s now time to do it all again, of course. Isn’t it funny how that works? I’ll do it today, before my amazingly high self-esteem crashes again.

Stay tuned…