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…

 

Brain Study, 2017

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Dagnab it! I went in for an EEG for the brain study I’m involved in, and I forgot to take a selfie. I’ll have to post the one from 2012.

VA Brain Study, 2012.

BRAIN STUDY, 2012.

This study is about people with thought disorders (like schizophrenia) and their families. It’s trying to see how the brain processes thoughts.

My brain. As the technician was wiring my head full of electrodes, my brain screamed, “BRING ME CANDY!” Which was weird, because I don’t even care for candy that much.

But it made me think of the top 3 attributes I look for in a romantic partner.

  1. He needs to make me laugh.
  2. He needs to laugh at my jokes.
  3. He needs to feed me.

I watched a documentary on polygamy once, and an interviewer asked an African chieftain how he keeps his five wives satisfied.

The chieftain said, “I have to feed them. If I didn’t feed them, they’d wander off.”

I know that’s not what the interviewer was getting at, but it resonated with me. Feed me, or I’ll wander off.

Most guys that I dated were pretty good about feeding me, I’ll give them that.

But that sense of humor thing never gelled. Either they made me laugh, or I made them laugh, but it was never both.

And on some dates, neither of us found the other amusing. Those dates did not lead to further contact. I like to cut my losses; nip it in the bud; run, Forrest, run.

Now I have to condense my dating philosophy into a single line so I can answer my great-aunts, second-cousins, and strangers-on-the-bus when they ask me why I’ve never married.

So this is how my thought processes run. Bring me candy, to relationship non-negotiables, to polygamy, to explaining my life choices to strangers-on-the-bus.

Try explaining that to brain studiers, will ya?

Stay tuned…

Whiling The Morning Away

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Although this blog is ostensibly about cleaning and improving my home, in reality it’s sometimes a productive-feeling way to procrastinate.

Like now, for instance. I should be taking a walk instead of writing. But walking is so…physical. I’m more of a cerebral person. I like to think about walking, instead of actually doing it.

Sometimes I get really ambitious and think about running. Which is extra-hilarious, because I’m physically unable to run since my knee surgery.

I was crossing the street recently when I saw a car coming. I furiously pumped my arms and pushed my leg muscles as hard as I could, and my pace didn’t increase by a jot. At least the driver knew I was trying.

Blink, blink (change of subject).

I had a kitten dream last night. I dreamed I was surrounded by kittens of all colors, in fantastic patterns. And by all colors, I mean blue and pink and purple. And by all patterns, I mean perfect spots and stripes and harlequin diamonds.

I’m pretty sure I should stop watching mixed-media art tutorials right before bed.

While still in Costa Rica, I had a vision of the cat I’d have here in the USA. It was a gray male (I usually get females) and his name was Smudge. I figured I didn’t need to look for him because he would find me.

I was in my living room at “The Village” when I saw an adolescent gray cat come up to my porch and sniff around. I’ve not seen any cats near my apartment before or since. Unfortunately, No.2 Sis was visiting, and she tackled me before I could open the door.

Of course, there are pros and cons to having a cat.

Pros:

Kitty kisses.

Purrs.

Someone to greet you when you come home.

Cons:

Cat boxes.

Allergic sisters.

Someone to arrange care for when you leave home.

BELLA, THE BEAUTIFUL AND NEUROTIC

BELLA, THE BEAUTIFUL AND NEUROTIC

It’s been over a year, so I hope Bella kitty is well-adjusted to her new home. I checked on the rescue web-site, just to be sure she hasn’t been put up for adoption again. She hasn’t, so I’ll still wait for Smudge to show up.

No hurry.

Stay tuned…

The Landing

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I’ve been back on my low-carb eating plan (I refuse to utter the “D-word”) for three days now, and I’m a severely crabby little camper. How long will it take to regain my unusually sunny disposition? Any bets?

The Women’s Adventure Club (WAC) had an outing in late July. I always have fun with the WAC. No crabbiness allowed.

In July we went and toured The Landing. It’s a living-history museum near Shakopee, Minnesota. A 19th century store, church, livery, and government buildings were moved to the site, along with houses and farm buildings.

Costumed townspeople narrate their daily lives, giving you a glimpse of what Minnesota was like 150 years ago.

CHURCH AT THE LANDING

CHURCH AT THE LANDING

GENERAL STORE AT THE LANDING

GENERAL STORE AT THE LANDING

We toured both a fine home that had been built by a lumber baron, and a more modest home that would have housed a working-class family.

BEDROOM IN FINER HOUSE

BEDROOM IN FINER HOUSE

KITCHEN IN FINER HOUSE

KITCHEN IN FINER HOUSE

The more modest home photos didn’t turn out, because there wasn’t enough light. Apparently, those of modest means couldn’t afford sunlight?

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project Backup

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I’m falling behind (WAY behind) in my resolution to only take on one project at a time.

My kitchen has plenty of cupboards, but they all open away from the stove. That makes it hard to access spices while cooking.

I bought a metal tray at an antique store and nailed it up over the stove (very low-tech, I know). Then I bought these magnetic spice tins from Amazon. I filled the tins with my most commonly used spices, added these labels, and plopped them up on the tray for easy access. One project down, untold multitudes to go.

SPICE TINS

SPICE TINS

Here’s the basis for the next project. I bought this picture from Goodwill for the frame. I’m going to replace the print with my affirmation, “Life is sweet”, and hang it over the kitchen sink.

FRAME FOR "LIFE IS SWEET"

FRAME FOR “LIFE IS SWEET”

I acquired my Grandma’s two antique dining chairs from No. 4 Sis. I had my handyman do some repairs on them. Now I have to paint them.

GRANDMA'S CHAIR

GRANDMA’S CHAIR

I bought this little footstool from a second-hand store that has, unfortunately, recently gone out of business. I may reupholster it at some later date, but for now I’d like to paint the legs.

FOOTSTOOL

FOOTSTOOL

And yesterday I bought a tiny side table to go with No. 8 Sis’ tiny arm chair. The table was from a soon-to-go-out-of-business antique store. It only cost $4.50! It needs to be painted, too.

TINY TABLE

TINY TABLE

All the furniture on the “paint list” will be painted off-white and then be distressed.

Okay, not untold multitudes of projects, just four.

Time to get to work!

Stay tuned…

P.S. I screwed up one of the Christmas cards I was making. I stamped the sentiment crookedly and tore the paper when I tried to reposition an ornament.

OOPS

OOPS

Instead of throwing my “oops” away, I turned it into a birthday card by putting a matted strip over the sentiment and a matted banner over the tear. I like it even better than the Christmas card I was trying to make!

SAVED!

SAVED!

Stay tuned…

 

Christmas Card Evolution

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A bit of advice: Do not put a load of clothes in the washer on hot, and then jump in the shower. Although an icy shower is very invigorating.

Another tip: Having an episode of “Hoarders” playing in the background really helps motivate one to clean the house.

I needed 12 birthday cards in June and 2 in July. I did make some, but I didn’t love them, so I raided my card stash. Since my birthday cards were just “meh”, I decided to start on Christmas cards.

This is the first one. I glued aluminum foil to card stock and then ran it through the Cuttlebug inside the Stampin’ Up Holly Textured Impressions folder. Then I punched out the circle “ornaments”.

Christmas card, Stampin' Up, aluminum foil

CHRISTMAS CARD- FIRST ITERATION

Meh. It needs more.

CHRISTMAS CARD- ITERATION 2

CHRISTMAS CARD- ITERATION 2

I used different punches for the “ornaments” and added some punched stars.

Better, but…

CHRISTMAS CARD- ITERATION 3

CHRISTMAS CARD- ITERATION 3

I’m happy with this. I think I’ll make a few more.

Stay tuned…

Pickle Butts And Shut Up

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I made pickle wraps for No.8 Sis’ birthday party today. I schmeared a  slice of ham with soft cream cheese, and then rolled it around a big dill pickle. I repeated that about 6-8 times.

I sliced the wrapped pickles into 1/4 inch slices and served them as appetizers.

PICKLE WRAPS

PICKLE WRAPS

I know these aren’t very pretty, but they taste so good! And the bonus is that the two ends of the wrapped pickles, the pickle butts, were totally unpresentable, so I got to eat them all. Breakfast of champions.

Many years ago, I was visiting Mom in Elizabeth Fairchild. I think that’s what her one-bedroom apartment in St. Paul was called, anyway.

A bunch of other relatives were there, too, including No.1 Sis and her son, Dude. Dude had had enough of family time and wanted directions to get home to Rochester.

No.1 Sis was trying to give Dude directions, but Mom kept interrupting with an alternate route. Keep in mind, Mom had quit driving by then, and was probably trying to direct Dude via some twisty-turning bus route.

Eventually, No.1 lost her temper and shouted at Mom, “Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP!”

That put a little damper on our Mother’s Day celebration.

A couple of unnamed sisters (1 and 8) were in the habit of telling me to shut up, too. Not nice.

With the encouragement of my therapist, Dr. Ima Shrink, I told them they couldn’t tell me to shut up anymore. Now they follow the letter of the law, if not the spirit.

When we played cards last weekend, I didn’t hear “shut up” once. I was shushed a time or two, asked if I was STILL talking once, and had to endure many eye-rolls while I was talking. So today’s party should fun. I’m just saying.

Stay tuned…

Red Wing, Minnesota

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I met 3 of my 5 sisters in Red Wing, Minnesota last Wednesday. No.2 Sis, No.4 Sis, No.7 Sis and I wanted to go to the nearby casino.

I was the biggest loser, of course, but that doesn’t bother me. Since the casino is on the Native American reservation, I figure all the monies I lose are reparations for my ancestors stealing Native lands. And since my Mom’s people came over on the Mayflower, I have 300-plus years of land-grabbing to make up for.

After losing at the casino (No.7 was the big winner, since she only lost $15) we went back into the town of Red Wing to see the world’s largest boot. It’s located at the Red Wing Shoe Museum. It’s a size 638D, and they say it’s too big for the Statue of Liberty to wear. How is it that I’ve lived an hour away from Red Wing for most of my life and I never knew it housed the world’s largest boot?

WORLD'S LARGEST BOOT

WORLD’S LARGEST BOOT

FROM LEFT, ME, NO.4, NO.2, AND NO.7

FROM LEFT, ME, NO.4, NO.2, AND NO.7

After the Red Wing Shoe Museum, we went to a local confectionary. It was full of the whimsical fairy-tale paintings of Juliet Crozier, including this one of The Old Lady Who Lived In a Shoe. How apropos.

THE OLD LADY WHO LIVED IN A SHOE, BY JULIET CROZIER

THE OLD LADY WHO LIVED IN A SHOE, BY JULIET CROZIER

We also had a fun oil and vinegar tasting at this shop. We each left with multiple bottles of both flavored oil and vinegar. I think my grocery list this week will be full of greens for salads. Quite unusual for me.

RED WING OLIVE OILS AND VINEGARS

RED WING OLIVE OILS AND VINEGARS

Oh, my. It turns out Red Wing has another “world’s largest”. At the Red Wing Pottery Museum we saw one of the three world’s largest jugs. It holds 70 gallons.

NO.2 SIS STANDING BY WORLD'S LARGEST JUG

NO.2 SIS STANDING BY WORLD’S LARGEST JUG

Back at home, I decided to unbox my new crockpot and make some slow-cooked beef fajitas. They turned out pretty good. When I took the liner out of the crockpot to clean it, I saw this.

OOPS

OOPS

The packing cardboard had been between the heater and crock throughout the 5 hour cooking cycle. I didn’t burn down the place, but my neighbors would be so scared if they knew me better.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Mass-produced Birthday Cards, May 2017

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Me and No.2 Sis, on the couch, watching TV and playing on our phones.

No.2 Sis: I’m tired.

Me: Me, too. I found this shade garden on Pinterest.

Sis: I think it’s nap time.

Me: I could grow ferns and hostas.

Sis:

Me: But, for color, I could add blue veronica.

Sis:

Me: Day lilies would add color, too.

Sis:

Me: I wonder if Tiger lilies grow in the shade.

Sis:

Me: OMG! You’re tired, and I’m still sitting on the couch, which is your bed!

Sis: {snore}

I guess once Sis chants the magic words, “nap time”, nothing else is required.

I had a lot of birthday cards to make in May, so I wanted something I could mass-produce. I used Freshly Made Sketches #207.

I found three coordinating designer papers in a feminine pack, and three in a more gender neutral pack. All supplies are from Stampin’ Up.

I cut a 2 inch strip from each piece of paper, then cut each strip into three lengths. I shuffled the papers so each card had a variety of patterns, then glued it all down.

MAY CARDS

MAY CARDS

Added the sentiment and, kapow! shazam! Six cards in less than half an hour.

WITH SENTIMENTS

WITH SENTIMENTS

I can’t wait to get into my own apartment, and I’m sure No.2 Sis feels the same (although she’s been a very generous hostess).

The furniture’s been delivered, so it’ll be as soon as I can get off the pain-killers. Yay!

Stay tuned…

 

 

Retirement Resolutions

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I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions last January, because, hey, I’m retired. I can just go with the flow, be in the moment. Oh wait, that would require me to be an entirely different person.

I like to plan, and I worry, whether I like it or not. So there are two retirement resolutions that I needed to make.

I WILL NOT HIRE SOMEONE FOR ANYTHING THAT I CAN DO MYSELF.

That doesn’t mean I won’t hire someone to fix or build things. My DIY skills are sorely lacking.

It does mean no more professional mani/pedis, no wax when I can save money by shaving, and no housekeeper. Do you know I’ve had a housekeeper for the better part of 35 years?

“Retire”, people said. “It’ll be fun”, people said.

I WILL TAKE ON ONE PROJECT AT A TIME.

That means no beginning project number 2 while project number 1 is still lying around half-done. Half-done projects are clutter. I got rid of 35 years of clutter by moving to Costa Rica. I don’t want to start rebuilding it.

MO AMIGO ROBERTO, LOADING ALL MY WORLDLY GOODS INTO HIS TRUCK FOR THE TRIP BACK TO THE USA

MI AMIGO ROBERTO, LOADING ALL MY WORLDLY GOODS INTO HIS TRUCK FOR THE TRIP BACK TO THE USA

And it also means, since shopping for projects is the be-all, end-all funnest thing in life, no shopping for project 2 (or more likely, projects 2 through 111) until number 1 is done. Ouch.

The latest “project” I’ve been working on is recovering from my knee surgery. I had a full knee replacement on the left side on April 26th.

I was in the hospital overnight, then went home with a walker. I just graduated to a cane today. Progress! Yay!

I have about 4 weeks of physical therapy left. I can move into my own apartment and start driving again as soon as I’m off the painkillers.

Does narcotics rehab count as a project?

Stay tuned…