Happy Imbolc/ St. Brigid’s Day/ Ground Hog Day

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Imbolc (pronounced i-MOLK) is an ancient Celtic festival usually celebrated on February 1st. It’s approximately halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, which falls on February 3rd this year. It marks the beginning of early spring in Celtic lore, and is dedicated to the Goddess Brigid, the Mother Goddess.

Imbolc is full of fires, feasts, and requests for the Goddess to bless farms and homes.

It’s also a noted day for weather prognostication. If the weather on Imbolc is sunny, that means that winter will last a good deal longer. If it’s cloudy, winter will soon be over. Sounds a lot like Groundhog Day, doesn’t it?

The Goddess Brigid eventually became St. Brigid, and Imbolc became St. Brigid’s feast day. You know how those Christians just come in and take over everything.

I don’t get Imbolc off of work, more’s the pity, but I do plan on celebrating in my own little way. I’ll take down all the Yule decorations (no, I haven’t done that yet). I’ll decorate the mantel with an herb garden and the coffee table with spring greenery. I’ll burn the winter greenery (blue-silvery?) in a fire bowl on the patio.

If I hadn’t been cleaning and decluttering all year, I’d start my spring cleaning on Imbolc. It’s so nice to look forward to spring!
Early Spring Mantel
Note: The background information in this post came from Wikipedia.

p.s. The herb garden didn’t qualify for Amazon Prime, so it hasn’t arrived yet.

p.s. I shared this on Chic on a Shoestring.

Note to readers: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link (whether it’s the product I recommend or another). Thanks for helping me earn virgin margarita money!

 

 

 

Reading List #5

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Happy Wednesday! We’re over the hump!

READING LIST #5:

This week I finished Turkey Ranch Road Rage (A Jolene Jackson Mystery Book 3).

Jolene finds herself back in her home town of Kickapoo, Texas, bailing her mother, Lucille, out of jail again. This time Lucille is protesting a RV park being planned for right next door to her house. Unfortunately, Lucille protested with her handgun, The Little Lady. At least the latest crisis gives Jolene a chance to reconnect with her sexy high school sweetheart, Sheriff Jerry Don Parker.

Love the laughs, and the mystery had me guessing right up to the end.

I also read 7 Day DIY Housekeeping Handbook and 7 Day Organization Blueprint, just for laughs. I really didn’t believe I could clean and organize my house in 7 days, and I still don’t believe it. Maybe it works for some people though, because reviewers gave these little books an average of 4.5 stars. There’s a lot of overlap between the two books, so if you’re tempted to buy, just get one or the other.

Stay tuned…

Note to readers: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link (whether it’s the product I recommend or another). Thanks for helping me earn “virgin” margarita money!

235, or Dr. Doogie and the Ice Pack

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I was planning on getting a lot done this weekend, but that was before I saw Dr. Doogie, the chiropractor, Friday night. She was poking around my ribs and sternum and asking if it hurt. Well, it didn’t until you starting jabbing me like a schoolyard bully.

Apparently, in addition to my back being its usual wonky self, my ribs and sternum were misaligned. How does that happen? She ordered me to go directly home and apply ice. There are two essential things I lacked for an ice pack. The ice, and the pack.

I stopped by the drugstore and bought a gel pack (similar to the one linked below, only I paid a lot more) and a bag of ice. I put the gel pack in the freezer to cool for future icings. I made a pack out of the ice cubes by putting them in multiple snack bags and putting the snack bags in a one gallon freezer bag. That made a pretty flat ice pack, and I thought I was pretty clever for thinking of it.

Ice pack

Although I won’t take the vacuum cleaner to the repair shop as planned, or make a Goodwill drop-off (too much lifting), I still need to do my weekly maintenance.

WEEKLY MAINTENANCE:

Kitchen: 12 minutes to load the dishwasher, clear and wash counters, and scrub the grill. I didn’t try any new recipes this week. I just grilled a few burgers and a couple of steaks to build meals around.

Queen Bedroom: 15 minutes to mate socks, put away clean laundry, clear some junk off of bed, and make bed.

Queen Bath: 5 minutes to clear counter and pick up dirty clothes.

Queen Closet: 20 minutes to put away clean clothes, clear dresser, and pick out outfits and accessories for the coming week.

I managed to fill the donation box that I started last week. I added the candle bowl that I de-limed a while back. I found the base to a similar one in the garage and found the bowl in the dining room hutch. I added that to the box, too. I added a tablecloth from the hutch, then I tucked in some books from the studio and called it done. It will go to Goodwill when I feel I can safely lift things again.

I also filled a bag of recycling. That puts me at 235.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I linked this to Cozy Little House.

Note to readers: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link (whether it’s the product I recommend or another). Thanks for helping me earn virgin margarita money!

 

Hitting My Full and Generous Bottom, or Why I Quit Drinking

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I have a very dear friend who’s a recovering alcoholic, 30 years sober. She asked me why, as a person who was not alcoholic, don’t I drink? She stated, “If I wasn’t an alcoholic, I’d drink all the time!” Um, yeah, that’s what an alcoholic does.

The short answer to why I no longer drink is that once I had a couple of beers, and I misspelled a word. Yes, I misspelled while tipsy. It was mortifying.

Here’s the long version of the story.

No.7 Sis asked me to be her bridesmaid in her wedding. No Bridezilla she, we found affordable off-the-rack gowns for me and her maid of honor “T”. The dresses were peach, with a crocheted top and a flowing, jersey skirt. We also picked up some matching, inexpensive, white sandals out of a shoe store’s bargain bin.

MAID-OF HONOR "T", NO.7 SIS, ME, FROM LEFT, AND NIECE "S2" IN FRONT

MAID-OF HONOR “T”, NO.7 SIS, ME, FROM LEFT, AND NIECE “S2” IN FRONT

Though we all lived in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area, the wedding was held in our home town of Rochester. No.7 and I were staying at our Dad and Step-Mom’s new house while we were in town, and “T” was staying with her parents, also in Rochester.

The wedding went off without a hitch, but there was some time between the ceremony and the dance. Dad had the wedding party and close family back to his house for beer and snacks. I had a couple of beers on an empty stomach. Not a good idea.

When a scrapbook was sent around, with the invitation to write well wishes or words of advice for the newlyweds, I wrote something down that I’m sure was equal parts charming and pithy. And with a misspelled word. No.7 Sis immediately pointed it out and had a good laugh at my expense. As I said, mortifying.

Soon we were off to the dance. It was actually a public dance at a local hall, that my Dad had bought many entrance tickets to. There was more beer available, and I may have had one or two. My memory’s not entirely clear.

Will dance for beer.

I was about to sit down between dances, just as “T” pulled the chair away for herself. I landed on my full and generous bottom with a thud. That was the first of many falls of the evening. I got up, wiped my hands on my skirt, and found another chair.

We danced the night away, until the dance hall closed down. As we left, I lost the heel to one of my bargain sandals in the parking lot, falling into a puddle. I got up, wiped my hands on my skirt, and soldiered on.

It was too late to return to Dad’s house, so I went with “T” to her parents house. I tripped on the curb on the way in, but I picked myself up, wiped my hands on my skirt, and made it to the couch. “T” got me a little glass of water to put my contact lenses in, and I slid swiftly into unconsciousness.

I awoke many hours later to find my contacts glass was missing. “T”‘s Dad was doing the dishes in the kitchen sink. Aaargh! I sifted through all the bubbles and found one of the lenses. It would have to do.

Around noon the next day, “T” dropped me off back at my Dad’s house. He took one look at me, limping, one eye squeezed shut, with hand prints all over my ass. Dad shook his head and quietly said, “I don’t even want to know.”

And that, my friends, is when I quit drinking.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I linked this to Cozy Little House.

 

 

 

233, Part 2

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I cooked fajitas on Sunday and it still smells like a Mexican cantina today. Good thing I like the smell of Mexican cantinas. Although it does make me want a cerveza con lima.

I’ve been working 10 hour days since I returned from vacation, and my urge to declutter is dormant. I had to force myself into my art studio turned storage room. I promised myself I would go through one box. This box.

Box, before and after.

Box, before and after.

I found a 3-hole punch, 2 calculators, 3 expired credit cards, a box of outdated business cards, a crap load of CD’s and an even bigger crap load of floppy disks!

There was also a folder with my entire work and education history. I hope to never need that again, as I’d like to work at “The Company” until retirement. I’ll keep it just in case, though.

There was a large stack of used, but serviceable file folders, paper tablets, and hanging files. There was also a bunch of printer paper and another box of envelopes. I must have found a dozen boxes of envelopes during my decluttering. Did I buy a new box every time I needed to mail something?

I also found a large envelope of photos from a vacation taken in 2003. Where the vacation was taken is not immediately apparent. I should be able to figure it out with further study.

I started another donation box, and added to the garbage and recycling bins. Nothing came up to a full bag or box, so I’m still at 233, but progress is being made!

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Viva Las Vegas

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A few years back, Barbara Streisand was performing in Minneapolis. The tickets were $400 each. A co-worker asked me if I was going and I said, “Are you kidding? I wouldn’t pay $400 to see anyone! I wouldn’t pay $400 to witness the second coming of Christ!”

I thought about it for a bit and I realized I would pay $400 to see the Beatles. Of course, two of them would have to come back from the dead.

I just got back from Las Vegas, where I got to see the Beatles! And it only cost $46. Viva Las Vegas, baby!

Las Vegas

Okay, they were Beatles impersonators, but they put on a very fun show and the sisters and I had a great time. After the show, I bought the “complimentary” photo they took of our band of sisters on the way in. The Beatles autographed it for me, I flirted with each and every one of them, and even shook “Paul’s” hand. I love America!

Are you wondering if I won big money in Vegas? Alas, I did not. I only lost one half of what I’d budgeted, though, so I came home with some cash. I guess I could count that as money saved this month, but it seems a bit delusional.

Can you imagine telling your financial counselor, “I’m trying to be more fiscally responsible, so I only went to casinos 7 days this month. Yay, me!” I might as well add, “And I saved $354 on Beatles tickets!”

Stay tuned…

ps. This was meant to be posted on the 18th, but apparently I forgot to hit the publish button. Rookie mistake.

 

 

 

 

Brainstorm- How Can I Make Some Extra Money?

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No.3 Bro is a salesman extraordinaire. He’s been to all these sales technique and marketing seminars where he learned how to brainstorm, among other things. Then he taught it to his family. Brainstorming is just throwing out every idea you can think of to solve a problem. No judgment is allowed.

For example, Mom had lost her car and trailer home in her second divorce. She wanted to brainstorm ideas on how to get another car. She came up with:

  1. Buy a car.
  2. Rent a car.
  3. Build a car.
  4. Steal a car.

Well, it just so happened that No.1 Sis was buying a brand new car, so instead of trading in her old car, she gave it to Mom. That wasn’t on Mom’s list, but the brainstorming was still the impetus for getting a car. It worked!

I need to brainstorm about earning some extra money. I earned over $100 extra in November selling my hand made jewelry. I “earned” over $100 extra in December by cashing out my change jar.

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Here are the brainstorming ideas to earn over $100 extra in January.

  1. Work extra hours at my job.
  2. Get a second job.
  3. Sell jewelry on Etsy.
  4. Sell stuff on E-Bay instead of donating it.
  5. Sell lamp and dining room light fixture on Craig’s List.
  6. Do tarot readings on-line or at a psychic fair.
  7. Win big in Las Vegas.
  8. Don’t gamble while in Vegas, and save the money currently set aside for that.
  9. Find over $100.
  10. Steal over $100.
  11. Print over $100.

NOW, comes the critique of each idea, which should help me narrow it down to a plan of action.

  1. Overtime hours have to be at the request of management, and they have not currently made that request.
  2. I’ve found some on-line work, but so far it seems to pay about $1 per hour, or seems to be a scam where I actually lose money.
  3. It could take a while to get customers on Etsy.
  4. I don’t have $100 worth of stuff to sell on E-Bay, but it’s a possibility for earning a lesser amount.
  5. This is a strong possibility. I paid around $400 for the dining room light fixture and $250 for the lamp. If I could recoup even one-fourth of that, I’d still make over $100.
  6. I’d have to set up the on-line readings and try to build a following. That’s more of a long-term project. I’d have to find one or more psychic fairs, but that’s a strong possibility. I should make a new sign, though.
  7. Win big in Vegas? That’s always my goal, but it’s out of my hands and in the hands of the Fates.
  8. Saving money by not gambling in Vegas doesn’t actually “earn” me any money, but even though I’ve already resolved to cut my usual gambling budget by half, I’d come out further ahead by budgeting $0.
  9. 10. 11. I just threw those in as an homage to Mom.

So it sounds like Craig’s List is the best idea. Meanwhile, I’ll research some psychic fairs and make a new sign.

I’ll also remain very, VERY open to the Universe letting me win big in Las Vegas.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I linked this to Cozy Little House, and Chic on a Shoestring.

 

The Kindness of Strangers (& Friends)

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Years ago, I was driving home from a card party at my BFF “V”‘s house, when I realized I was running on empty. I pulled into a gas station and filled my tank. When I opened my purse, I found that I’d left my wallet at home. And my cell phone battery was dead. Crap on a cracker.

I went into the station, explained my situation, and told them I’d run home, get the money, and come right back. The attendant rolled her eyes and just glared at me. Apparently she’s heard this line before. She told me to call someone. I told her my phone was dead. She handed me a phone. I told her I didn’t have anyone’s number memorized. She handed me a phone book.

I couldn’t call any of my sisters because they were on the road, too. I called No.8 Sis’s fiance, “The Mister”. He said, without hesitation, “Where are you? I’ll be right there!” So kind. I asked him to give the attendant a credit card number over the phone, so he wouldn’t have to come out, and he did so. Whew. I was free to leave the glaring attendant behind and make my way home.

Last night I met a friend for dinner at a restaurant that just happened to be next door to that same gas station. As I was walking across the parking lot, a car pulled up and the driver rolled down his window. He said, “Excuse me, this is really embarrassing, but I left the house without any money, and my tank’s on empty. Could I borrow a few dollars to get a couple of gallons of gas so I can get back home?”

As I dug in my purse for my wallet (I did bring my wallet, I hope) I told him my story. (Thank Goddess, there was my wallet, right where it should have been.) He thanked me for the money and tried to give me his phone number so we could figure out a for him to repay me. I told him not to bother. Just paying it forward.

I’m sure he’ll do the same. Besides, I wouldn’t wish that glaring gas station attendant on my worst enemy.

Stay tuned…

233

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I went to see Dr. Doogie, the chiropractor. She told me that my continuing back pain is caused by poor posture at work. No doubt, she’s right. I told her I’d stick a post-it note on my computer screen to remind me to straighten up.

I started thinking though, a post-it note isn’t really motivating enough. Maybe I can MacGyver up a laser beam at my desk. Every time I lean forward and break the beam, it would set off an alarm. Ooooh, I’ve got it! An Invisible Fence! I’ll have to wear a shock collar, but I’m sure they come in lovely fashion colors.

Meanwhile, it’s time for my weekly reading list, and I’ve read absolutely nothing all week. I’ve been glued to my television with my Amazon Fire TV running. Oh my goddess, the cool shows I never knew existed!

“Sherlock” is my newest addiction. Awesome! And I love to watch old faves before bed time, like “New Girl” and “The Big Bang Theory”.

I did manage to make time for some weekend maintenance.

WEEKEND MAINTENANCE:

Queen bathroom: 10 minutes to pick up jewelry, clothes and toiletries.

Queen bedroom: 10 minutes to pick up clothes and magazines, and make the bed.

Living room: 20 minutes to pick up Christmas gifts and wrappings, mail, clean laundry and miscellaneous accumulated junk.

Kitchen: 15 minutes to clear counters and do dishes.

I collected a bag of recycling. I also sent my BFF “G” home with the big box of draperies that has been cluttering up the hallway for quite some time. That brings my bag count to 233.

Stay tuned…

Note to readers: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link (whether it’s the product I recommend or another). Thanks for helping me earn margarita money!

 

5 Favorite Posts From 2014

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As the old year passes and the new year begins, I’m looking back on my hundred or so blog posts and thinking, “Did I really have that much to say?” Well, yes, apparently I did. Here are my favorite posts of 2014.

37, in which I reminisce about my last visit with Dad.

Simple Steps to Hanging a Chandelier, in which I chronicle the worst possible way to go about changing a light fixture in your home.

Voila!

Pillow Talk, in which I reveal my strange relationship with bed linens.

196, in which I reorganize the kitchen for food preparation, and finally give up on my life-long dream to turn it into a craft room.

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Money Is Dirty (But I Like It Anyway), in which I count my change jar and reminisce about a trip to England with No.1 Sis and No.2 Sis.

Coins

Do you have other favorites? Please leave feedback in the comments section. I look forward to hearing from you!

Stay tuned…