Memphis, Nashville, and 264

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No.2 Sis, No.4 Sis, and I recently returned from a road trip to Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee. It was a pretty uneventful drive, considering it was around 1800 miles round trip.

Well, there was the time the GPS tried to give us driving directions to Cape Town, South Africa, instead of Cape Girardeau, Missouri (where we spent our first night). It would have been interesting to see how the computer thought we could navigate the Atlantic Ocean by car, but we corrected our destination before the GPS could figure it out.

We also had to make a new car rule because we were laughing so much during the trip. If anyone started wheezing and couldn’t catch her breath, we had to remain serious for 10 minutes. No more jokes.

The most touristy thing we did was visit Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home in Memphis. You can’t go to Tennessee and not visit Graceland. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see Mom’s ghost in the Jungle Room, but I’m sure she was there somewhere. (Unfortunately, no photography is allowed inside Graceland).

Here we are at the Bluebird Cafe. From the left, it’s No.4 Sis, Aunt P., No.2 Sis, Cousin J., and me. I’m taller than all of them, but I’m also the highest on a slope, so I’m towering over my teeny-tiny relatives.

Bluebird Cafe and Franklin TN

And above, we’re posing by a cannon in a park in Franklin, Tennesee. From the left, that’s me, No.2 Sis, No.4 Sis and Aunt P.

Oh, I can see why Dr. Doogie, my chiropractor, asked me if my mother or grandmother were kind of round shouldered and hunched forward (yes to both). I’m doing that here. And I can see why my doctor wants me to lose 80 more pounds. Other than that, it’s a lovely, lovely picture.

The rest of the time, we visited with Aunt P., Cousin J. and her husband, and all of J’s kids and grandkids. Oh, and we shopped and ate and played cards. It was perfect.

Yes, I shopped. I tend to bring home lots of souvenirs from all my trips. I was pretty restrained on this trip, though.

The photo below shows what I bought. There’s a hand-blown glass bottle, an Elvis mug, a bottle of spices, a tea towel, a scarf, and some postcards and greeting cards.

souvenirs from Tennessee

I knew I needed to get rid of some stuff, so I cleaned out the china hutch. I came up with a full box to donate. It consisted of a big Tupperware thingie, a mug, 4 gold chargers, 2 hand-made pottery bowls, 3 placemats, 6 cloth napkins, a nut bowl, and a set of four snack bowls for card parties.

In an unrelated move, I cleaned out the freezer and filled a bag of garbage. Not everything had an expiration date on it, but I’m pretty sure it’s time to ditch the pizzas my niece sold me as a fund-raiser for her middle school. She’s in college now.

The donation box, the freezer bag, and the two end tables I gave to No.2 Sis brings me to 264 boxes, bags, and pieces of furniture removed from my cottage, so far. Yay, me!

Stay tuned…



How To Assemble End Tables

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I bought two end tables and a coffee table from Craig’s List. The coffee table fit in the back seat of the car, but I had to disassemble the end tables to fit them into my trunk.

I painted the coffee table and have been using it in my living room. I tossed the pieces of the end tables into a corner of the garage, where they sat gathering dust for years.

With No.2 Sis trying to furnish a new house, I thought I’d put the end tables back together and see if she could use them.


1. Sort through “wood pile” to find all end table pieces.

wood pile

2. Spread pieces out on garage floor.

3. Look for hardware. Unsuccessfully.

4. Park Gypsy Blue (car) on driveway for the next couple of months while you procrastinate going to the hardware store.

5. Put top of end table and one leg in car.

6. Go to hardware store. Carry in table top and leg and announce loudly, “I need a screw.”

7. Have nice employee figure out size of screws required. Buy screws.

8. Go home and start assembling legs to table top, while holding 4 cross bars in place. Put on helmet to protect you from spinning, falling cross bars (optional).

9. Use crescent wrench to tighten hex head screws. When the hex head screws are too deep in their recessed holes, switch to box wrench.

10. When box wrench will no longer work, look for the socket wrench set you bought when you were ovulating. You always think you’re Superwoman when you’re ovulating.

11. Make sure socket wrench set is right-side up before opening. Oops.

end table, in progress

12. Finish tightening the screws.

13. Note that the cross bars are still spinning. They will require another type of screw.

14. You don’t want to return to the hardware store after the “I need a screw” episode. Search your large bin of assorted hardware (also bought while ovulating) to see if there’s anything that will work.

15. Yay! You have screws that will work. Screw down the cross bars.

16. Set table upright and add glass insert.

17. Ta-dah! You did it!


Assembled end table, and coffee table in use.

Assembled end table, and coffee table in use.

Stay tuned…

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


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I’m on vacation. See you next week!

Stay tuned…


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I received a blue bag with my mail a couple of days ago. The US Postal Service provided them to everyone to encourage food donations. If you filled the bag and left it by your mailbox Saturday morning, the postal carrier would pick it up and deliver it to a food shelf.

I went to my pantry to see what I had to donate. It seemed that most things I picked up were past their freshness date. Um, like 10 years past, in some cases. I filled up over 2 bags of garbage.

I went to the cupboard, separate from the pantry, and pulled out some canned goods to donate. I store most of the canned goods in a separate cupboard because there isn’t enough room in the pantry. Because I’m storing antique food in the pantry.

I really, really need to start menu planning.

This is the pantry, all cleaned out. I didn’t take a “before ” picture, because I didn’t know this was going to turn into such an undertaking.

clean pantry

This is all the cat food that I didn’t realize I had. Bella is set for all nine of her lives.

cat food and garbage

This is the garbage ready to be taken out to the big wheelie bin.

And I filled the blue bag full of fresh canned goods (that’s a bit of an oxymoron) for the food shelf. That puts me at 260 bags to date.

Stay tuned…

257, and More Masculine Cards

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Yay! I made some decluttering progress! Not without help, of course.

No.2 Sis has a friend who’s having a garage sale in a couple of weeks, and Sis and I got permission to put some of our items in, too. I helped Sis mark and pack her items for the sale, so she came and helped me with my junk.

We got 5 boxes of stuff priced and packed and put into No.2 Sis’ car, and she even delivered them to her friend’s house for me!

I packed up 2 boxes of stamp sets to sell. I sold some to a stamping buddy at work ($20 of extra income in April, woohoo!) and let No.4 Sis look through the boxes and take what she wanted. The rest went to the rummage sale.

I also had a bunch of household items, table linens, a brand new radio/alarm clock (the numbers shine too brightly), a light table (never used), my food processor (used once), and a coffee maker. Whatever doesn’t sell gets picked up by the Salvation Army. I might make some money, but best of all, it’s stuff that’s out of the house.

After all that work 🙂 I had some fun making a couple of masculine cards with the Guy Greetings set. I really don’t need to make any more cards. I’m sure I have enough for birthdays through the end of the year. I think I even have enough Christmas cards already made. I just can’t stop, though! I’m having too much fun!

Guy Greetings

Hats Off to You

Guy Greetings

No one Else Could Fill Your Shoes

Stay tuned…




Weekend Maintenance

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Before I started my weekend maintenance, I ran a few errands. I had to go to the post office, the drug store, the office supply store, and the craft store. I had a few more stops to make, but I was tired and it was noon, so I got a drive-thru salad and went home.


Queen Bath and Throne Room: 20 minutes to clear counter of clothes, jewelry, pill bottles and makeup. I hope I remember to take the pills now that they’re put away properly in the drawer.

I also dusted, cleaned the sinks, emptied the trash and restocked the tissue supplies. I hung clean towels and put all dirty clothes in the hamper.

Not counted in the 20 minutes was trying to get my newly unearthed glucometer to work. It turns out I need a new electronic code key. My insurance company will mail me one.

Whew, that was more work than I’ve put into the house for the last month. Time for a break.

Kitchen: 26 minutes to clear and wash the counters, load and start the dishwasher, and take out the garbage and recycling. I won’t count the garbage and recycling in my bag count, because it’s just part of the usual incoming mail and groceries, not part of the old hoard.

Time for another break.

E-mail: 34 minutes to reduce the number of e-mails from over 1400 to 138. I like to list the e-mails by “from” instead of “date”. That way I can delete the DNC’s dozens of requests for money at one go. Ditto for the ads from stores I frequent, and the updates from all the bogs I follow.

I hope my computer speeds up now.

Snail mail: 29 minutes to sort the mail into recycle, shred and action piles. I haven’t stayed on top of the mail for the past month, so this was a big pile.


Last night I went clothes shopping with my BFF “L” at the Mall of America, or as we like to call it, the BFM (Big F*cking Mall). I needed some summer clothes in my now smaller size. After walking and shopping for a couple of hours, we were exhausted and went our separate ways.

As I was going through Nordstrom’s to the parking ramp, I saw some really cute pants! Even though I was tired and a little bit broke, I tried on a few more things. The pants were much more expensive than I was used to, but I loved them, so I bought two pairs.

So today, No.2 Sis and I went back out to the BFM to return some of the things that I’d bought earlier, so I could afford the Nordstrom’s pants. I was still stiff and sore from yesterday’s mall tour, so I parked right outside the door we needed to go in (I thought).  I was wrong.

We wandered around, overshot the store I needed, doubled back, made the returns, and hiked back to the car. This took about an hour.

My point is not that I have new clothes, or that I showed a little (a very little) fiscal restraint. My point is that I’ve exercised twice this week, and I’m done. I am so done.

Stay tuned…



May Day, May Day!

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Ahh, tomorrow is May Day, or Beltane, the first day of Gaelic summer. I’ve always wanted to be the May Queen. According to Wikipedia,

“Today the May Queen is a girl who must ride or walk at the front of a parade for May Day celebrations. She wears a white gown to symbolise purity and usually a tiara or crown. Her duty is to begin the May Day celebrations. She is generally crowned by flowers and makes a speech before the dancing begins. Certain age groups dance round a Maypole celebrating youth and the spring time.”

As a young girl in Catholic school, May Day was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Our teacher, the nun, would pick one girl to lead a parade around the classroom. This “May Queen”, although they didn’t call her that, would carry a little crown made of aluminum foil.

The rest of the students would each carry a flower brought from home. We sang a song dedicated to Mary…”Big wheels keep on turnin’, Proud Mary keep on burnin’…No, I don’t think that was it.

The May Queen

The May Queen

The May Queen would crown the classroom statue of Mary, and the rest of us would lay our flowers at her feet.

The Christians sure know how to co-opt the pagan customs, don’t they? Gotta love that.

I won’t be parading around the house, or the town, singing “Proud Mary” for May Day. However, if you time it just right, you may catch me dancing naked in the moonlight.

Stay tuned…