Sad Time for the Geek Orthodox

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This is a sad time for myself and all others of the Geek Orthodox persuasion. Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, passed away yesterday. Mr. Nimoy will be greatly missed. Peace, my brother.

Meanwhile, I mustn’t use grief and illness as an excuse for inaction. I’ve previously mocked my mother, in the most loving way possible, because she retired 5 months early so she could clean her 5 room apartment. She figured 1 month per room should just about do it.

I’m having a Stampin’ Up party in a month so I have to clean my dining room. I have to say, I’m developing a bit of empathy for Mom right about now. My dining room looks like more than a month’s worth of work. The trouble is, I make a little headway cleaning, and then I want to play with my stamps, which causes a LOT of backsliding.

And then I think to myself, perhaps it would be best to continue to work on my art studio so I can move my stamping supplies back there, where they belong. And once again, I’ve lost focus. Sigh. This is my standard operating procedure.

So…dining room. I have the table loaded, the hutch loaded, the chairs loaded, boxes behind the couch, and a pile of things in the corner by the kitchen. I’m going to focus on clearing the chairs (without adding to the other piles).

Bad chairs.

Dirty, dirty chairs! Bad chairs, bad!

Good chairs.

Good chairs! Who’s a good chair? That’s right, you’re my good chair!

Stay tuned…

Reading List #9

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For four days, I was felled by an incredibly nasty gastrointestinal virus. All I could do was read, watch TV, and sleep. Now that the Evil Humors have left my body, I can return to my usual activities. Reading, watching TV, and sleeping. Oh Goddess, I need to get a life.


Sugar Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen Series Book 6)

Hannah and half the town are stranded at the Lake Eden community center during a blizzard. There’s a dead body in the parking lot, and the murderer must still be amongst the snowbound residents.

Peach Cobbler Murder (Hannah Swensen Series Book 7)

Shawna Lee, Hannah’s chief rival for boyfriend Mike’s attentions, is back in town. She’s opened a bakery and is intent on stealing Hannah’s business, as well as her man. That gives Hannah the perfect motive for murder.

Cherry Cheesecake Murder (Hannah Swensen Series Book 8)

A Hollywood movie producer is using picturesque Lake Eden for location shots. Unfortunately, the film’s director has a bad habit of making enemies out of just about everyone he meets.

Key Lime Pie Murder (Hannah Swenson Series Book 9)

Hannah’s judging baked goods at the county fair. When she discovers a dead body after hours at the fairground, she can’t help but get involved, no matter much danger she puts herself in.

Hmmm, I couldn’t make a link to Cherry Cheesecake Murder. Harumph!

I also read The Parrot Talks in Chocolate (The Life and Times of a Hawaiian Tiki Bar Book 1)

This is a charming, quirky, novel about the magic of life in paradise. It made me wish I was at a Hawaiian Tiki bar drinking fruit punch instead of lying sick in bed. And in frozen Minnesota, no less.

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!

242, the KonMari Way

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I was so inspired by Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (see Reading List #6) that I went through my half of my dresser and half of my closet again. I still need to go through the other half of the closet and 2 more dresser drawers.

I filled up 2 more kitchen garbage bags with clothes to donate by following her advice to keep only pieces that give me a thrill. Well, some clothes I kept just because they gave me a little tingle, but I definitely got rid of anything that made me shudder.

Now my socks are relaxed and on vacation, my tee-shirts have found their “sweet spot”, and my hanging shirts feel loved and respected. Happy sigh.


before KonMari


after KonMari

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at Chic on a Shoestring and I Heart Organizing.



Reading List #8

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I’m continuing to read the Hannah Swensen series of cozy mysteries.

Blueberry Muffin Murder (Hannah Swensen Series Book 3)

Famous lifestyle maven Connie Mac is found dead in Hannah’s bakery. Now Hannah’s business is shut down until she can find the murderer.

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen Series Book 4)

Hannah’s sometimes date, Norman, is building the dream house they designed together for a contest. But will all of Norman’s plans be put on hold when a body is found in the basement?

Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swensen Series Book 5)

Hannah’s brother-in-law Bill is running for sheriff. Unfortunately, that makes him the prime suspect when the current sheriff is found dead.

I also watched the documentary “Advanced Style” (also available on Netflix). It’s a documentary about New York women in their 50’s through their 90’s who are all about fashion. They prove that style is ageless. I smiled all the way through it.

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!

How I Saved Over $300 With One Phone Call

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If you’ve been reading this blog lately, you know I’ve been looking for ways to earn or save some extra money.

In November I had a hand-made jewelry sale.

In December I cashed in my change jar.

In January I made my biannual trip to Las Vegas, and cut my gambling budget in half. I only spent half of that. For all you math challenged folks, that means I spent only one fourth of my usual amount.

In February I called my insurance agent to get summary of my coverage. I have been with the same agency for decades and they’ve covered my auto and home insurance. Lately I’ve found I’m paying more than my friends and family so I wanted to shop around. With the summary provided by my agent, I could compare apples to apples.

Before I starting shopping though, my agent asked if he could go through my coverage with me to see if we could find any savings without switching agencies. So here’s what we came up with.

Drop identity theft protection. It doesn’t cover the actual financial liability. It just covers limited lawyer’s fees. Savings: $15

Raise auto insurance deductible from $240 to $500. Savings: $70

Take Senior Safe Driving Course (still have to do). Savings: $130

Rerun credit report. My last credit report was run eleven years ago.The insurance company needed my permission to run a new credit check, and it could’ve resulted in my rates going up or going down, depending on what they found. When it was last run I had just bought my current townhouse, which increased my debt load exponentially. In addition, I was unemployed for eight months a couple of years prior to purchasing my home. I’m obviously in better shape today, because the savings on my yearly insurance bill will be $330!

Sub-total: Savings of $545 per year


I also found out my townhouse was under-insured due to a hefty increase in the Home Owner Association’s deductible. The HOA sent me a letter telling me the deductible had gone from $5000 to $25,000! I added $35,000 to my previous coverage to cover the INCREDIBLY HIGH deductible, and to cover the increased cost of replacing my furniture and personal belongings (inflation, ya know). Additional cost: $235 per year.

Total savings per year: $310.

Not bad for one phone call!

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at Cozy Little House.

240, or Sorrow and Hoarding

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I’ve spent the day missing things I’ve gotten rid of. This is unexpected. In particular, I miss Dad’s t-shirts. They never fit me because he was a little gnome, and I’m a grand Teutonic queen, but I took them after he died because I thought they were funny.

Dad volunteered for several different organizations and collected some odd t-shirts that he had to wear at events. There was one slightly lewd one with a chocolate-covered banana on it. The sale of the chocolate-covered bananas was an annual fund-raiser for the Lions Club, or was it the Elks?

There was a hot pink one (not Dad’s chosen color) with a fat little porker on it. It was for a barbecue for the benefit of the church. Then there were colorful tees for the historical society, and the library, and the hospice society.

I got rid of them in an early round of purging. I just saw an idea on Pinterest for making pillows out of old t-shirts. Now I’m sad that I don’t have Dad’s collection.

When I think about it though, I’m really sad because my Dad is gone, and my brother-in-law just passed away. Sorrow is hard to deal with. I want to keep things, so I don’t have to deal with the loss of loved ones. It doesn’t work that way, of course, but this is the thought process that leads to hoarding for some of us. I won’t mention any names.

Sigh. So I must feel my feelings, and not try to hoard them away, or shop them away, or eat them away. That about covers my dysfunctional coping skills.

My functional coping skills? Talk it out, take it one day at a time, and continue to get rid of stuff.

Meanwhile, a little home maintenance is in order.


Living Room:

1 hour 20 minutes. This included the usual picking up, but also included going through all the mail and opening some Amazon packages that had been piling up. I got a little herb garden, some Swiffer dusters and some Bissell carpet cleaning solutions. I packed up a box to donate, and 3 bags to recycle (mail and packing materials).

I also ordered and received these 2 scarves, because I felt I needed a treat (or two).

Okay, so I did a little emotional shopping. My bad.

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!

236, or Memories of Spain

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I’m having a very hard time making any decluttering headway in my art studio. I want to keep everything!

I came across these books that I bought on various trips. They bring back so many memories. The top two books are from Spain. Ah, Spain. If ever my high school Spanish failed me, it was in Spain.

travel books

No.2 Sis and I spent a week or so in Spain, and being ever aware of pick-pockets, I kept all my money in a rip-stop nylon money pouch under my pants. Rip-stop nylon doesn’t breathe, and after a few days my navel developed an oozy, bloody infection.

All the medicines are kept behind the counter in Spanish pharmacies, so I had to pantomime my need for an antibiotic cream. I am grateful it was only a navel infection, though. No.8 Sis once had to pantomime a yeast infection in Thailand.

Why did the Spanish teacher make me learn “Pedro has a yellow pencil” when “My belly-button is oozing” would be so much more useful?

I love Rick Steves’ phrase books and buy them for all of my foreign trips. He has a special section of emergency phrases, such as “Cab driver, slow down or I will vomit”. Now that’s useful!

So far, I’ve collected 1 bag of recycling from the studio. That brings me to 236.

And, after 2 days of my morning ritual, I find I have to tweak it a bit.
Revised morning ritual:

  1. Smile. Refrain from growling and/or cursing when alarm goes off.
  2. Stretch.
  3. Take 3 deep breaths.
  4. Open eyes. (Forgot this in original ritual…very important.)
  5. Drink 2 glasses of some water.
  6. Ask and answer empowering questions. (Can I do it in Telly Savalas’ voice, “Who loves ya, baby”?) This just feels silly, even without using Telly Savalas’ voice.
  7. Plan 3 accomplishments for the day.
  8. Affirmations, geared towards accomplishments or the way I want to feel during the day.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at 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!

Reading List #7

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Do you ever dread getting out of bed in the morning? Dread spending the day in your cell  cubicle  country club? I sure do, pretty much five days a week. I decided to read some books on creating a morning ritual in the hope that I can develop a more positive morning attitude.

Morning Ritual Guide by Richard Carroll

This is a very short book with a few good basic ideas. My favorite chapter was “A Leap of Faith”. I have to pass on the prayer and the Scripture reading, but meditation and inspirational readings would be good ideas. I also like the idea of listing what I want to accomplish during the day, and visualizing it happening.

Amazon readers gave this book an average of three stars (out of five). I rate it at two and a half.

Morning Ritual Secrets by Stephen James

This is an even shorter book, but I found enough inspiration to take notes, and I think I’ll develop much of my morning ritual from this book. My favorite idea was to ask yourself empowering questions like, “What am I happy about in my life?” “What am I proud of?” “What am I committed to?” “Who do I love?” “Who loves me?”

Amazon readers gave this book an average of four stars, but I think it’s a five star book. Warning, there was a little cursing, which was part of why it was rated lower by some reviewers.

The Ultimate Morning Ritual by Stephen Hall

This book had a lot of the same philosophy of the previous one (both are students of self-help guru Tony Robbins), but was denser and a slower read. It had more explanation and background material for the suggested ritual components. Frankly, I liked the writing style in Morning Ritual secrets better. I found it much more inspiring.

Amazon readers gave The Ultimate Morning Ritual four stars. I give it three.

So, after reading these three books, I think this is what my morning ritual will consist of:

  1. Smile.
  2. Stretch.
  3. Take 3 deep breaths.
  4. Drink 2 glasses of water.
  5. Ask and answer empowering questions. (Can I do it in Telly Savalas’ voice, “Who loves ya, baby”?)
  6. Plan 3 accomplishments for the day.
  7. Affirmations, geared towards accomplishments or the way I want to feel during the day.

I also read Strawberry Shortcake Murder (Hannah Swensen Mysteries Book 2)
Coach Boyd Watson is murdered and his wife, Danielle, has motive, means and opportunity. Hannah can’t let her friend Danielle go to jail, so she does a little investigating on her own.

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!







VD Cards For My Girlfriends

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Here’s the first set of VD (Valentine’s Day) cards I made. I’m sending them to my girlfriends so they’re all girls, no boys allowed.

Valentine's Day collage cards

I made collages with Graphics 45 papers, then collaged a layer of tissue paper over top of them. I decided I didn’t like the tissue paper.

Here’s the second set I made a few days later.

Valentines cards 2

I like these better. No tissue paper layer. I thought the tissue paper would add some texture, but not deaden the colors so much.

By the way, I believe I mentioned that one of my 2015 New Year’s resolutions was to take a photography class. I haven’t done that yet, obviously. I start a Tai Chi class (another resolution) next Saturday, though.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at The Cottage Market.

And at Cozy Little House.


4 Things NOT on My Bucket List

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I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately, due to a recent family loss. And thinking about death makes me think about life. Just what do I want to accomplish before my time is up? And, if I have a bucket list, what is NOT going to be on it?

1. Learn to fly.

When I was in my twenties, half a life-time ago, I took an introductory pilot lesson. We took off, the pilot turned the controls over to me and I did a couple of baby dips and turns. I then turned a hideous shade of green and tried valiantly to hold down my lunch. That was my first and last lesson. I’m no Amelia Earhart.

2. Climb Mt. Everest.

As a high school senior, I went to Mexico with the Spanish Club. Que emocianante! I was so careful to avoid sunburn and to avoid drinking the water. By midweek I was the only student not sicker than a dog. Then we went to Mexico City, and the altitude had me so light-headed that I was blacking out left and right. I had to be physically supported to move about. Que verguenza! I’m no Sir Edmund Hillary.

3. Ride a camel.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned the sisters’ trip to Morocco before. At one point in the journey, we hired a car and driver to take us out to the Sahara desert to see the sunrise on the world’s largest sand dune, Erg Chebbi. The driver dropped us at a little mud building in the middle of nowhere, and some beturbaned natives helped us mount camels to take us the rest of the way. I may have freaked out a little bit. Those suckers are really tall! I insisted on getting down, and I did not see Erg Chebbi at sunrise. I’m no Lawrence of Arabia.

camel ride

4. Snorkel in the open sea.

I took scuba lessons in a Minnesota community pool and got my certification in a murky Minnesota lake. I thought snorkeling off the Mexican coast would not be a big deal. The water was so clean and clear that I could see twenty feet down to the seabed. Apparently, I’m afraid of depths as well as heights. I had a panic attack. I grabbed at a coral formation and hung on for dear life. The Mexican guide tried to pry me loose as the waves pounded me against the sharp coral, cutting me over and over. Eventually, I let go and paddled my bloody self back to the boat. I never want to do that again. I’m no Jacques Cousteau.

I’ve always thought of myself as an adventurous woman, but I’ve been repeatedly slammed up against my limitations. At fifty-six years old, it’s probably time to accept myself as I really am. I’m a wobbly-kneed, wonky-eyed bundle of phobias. With a very rich fantasy life.

Stay tuned…

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

And at The Cottage Market.

And at Cozy Little House.