WAC 2015, November

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My BFF “C” planned our Women’s Adventure Club outing for November. Seven club members met in Hudson, Wisconsin, for their Christmas Home Tour.

We toured two McMansions, all decked up in their holiday finery. All the stair railings were decorated with swags of greenery and twinkle lights, every room had a fully-loaded Christmas tree, and there was even a real stuffed deer in one family room.

An upstairs hallway had a faux clothesline running its length, upon which hung a full collection of ugly Christmas sweaters. One had even won a blue ribbon in an ugly sweater competition.

There were ornaments of every shape and size, from home-made toilet paper roll snowflakes, to glass pine cones the size of a baby’s head.

We also toured the Octagon house. It’s a historic home in downtown Hudson built over a hundred years ago. It was built in an octagon shape in the belief that all the cross-breezes were conducive to healthy living.

The final home on the tour was a “green” home built by its owner, Gary, and shared with a large fish named Larry. It had a southwestern look from the outside, a bit out of place in frigid Minnesota, but the inside was very sleek and modern. The coolest part about this home was its passive solar design, which allows it to be furnace-free. In Minnesota, where temperatures can be below zero degrees for weeks at a time!

I would love to show you some photos from the tour, but I have to get them from my phone to the computer first. I know to do that I have to upgrade my phone plan to include internet, and I just don’t want to pay for internet. Instead, I just keep shaking my phone hoping the pictures will fall out. I’ll let you know if that ever works.

This was the last WAC for 2015, due to the holidays. Next adventure will be for WAC 2016.

Stay tuned…

P.s. I made $32 dollars extra in November. I won $15 at work for answering a quality quiz correctly. Then I sold $17 worth of mailing supplies to No.2 Sis for her Mary Kay business.


Mirror, Mirror, or 305

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No.2 Sis and I were complimenting No.8 Sis on her well put together outfit the other day, and we agreed that having a full-length mirror might help me do a little better with my couture. No.1 Sis was shocked that I didn’t have a full-length mirror. She had 2 that were slated to go to Goodwill, so she gave me one to take home.

I’m not sure it will really help, but I figure it can’t hurt. Or can it?

The mirror had slots in it for photos, and one of the pictures was of No.1 Sis’ grandson, “R”, at the age of 5. It was taken during a trip Sis, “R”, and I took to North Carolina to visit Dad. What a drive that was. How many ways can a 5 year-old embarrass his great-auntie?

We stopped at a motel with a pool one evening, and I took “R” swimming while Sis had a nap. “R” jumped into the pool, cannonball style, and I complimented him on the resulting splash. He yelled, “You cannonball! You’ll make a HUGE splash!” Thanks, sweetie.

I did train him to open doors for me though, and to call me “Princess Auntie Laurel”. I think it all evened out.



Back to the much more recent past, I worked a bit in the studio over the weekend and finished going through the latest crap tower. In addition to the 3 boxes/bags I pulled out of that pile the weekend before, I came up with one more item. The little plastic set of drawers had to go. I thought I’d keep it until I find a use for it, but it’s that kind of thinking that got my house into the overstuffed state it’s in. Decision made. It’s out of here.


Studio, after. (See before here.)

I haven’t been able to get any of the piles down to zero, so I may have to go through them again (and again). As they say in 12-step groups, “Progress, not perfection”. That still puts me at a total of 305 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture I’ve gotten rid of since January, 2014.

Speaking of progress, when we arrived in North Carolina, we encouraged “R” to go to his great-grandfather and give him a hug. He stayed right where he was, crossed his arms over his chest and asked in a belligerent tone, “Hey Mister, ya got a boat?”

When we were leaving less than a week later, “R” ran to my Dad, gave him a huge hug, and told him he’d miss him.

Now that’s progress.

Stay tuned…

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



Domesticity, or 304


As we got older, most of my siblings and I moved to Minneapolis/St. Paul to start our careers. That left No.1 Sis and her 3 kids in our hometown to look after Mom.

Sis would visit Mom in her palatial manse trailer, and sometimes Mom would cook for Sis and her family. My nephew would help set the table and his keen, young eyes would sometimes spot bits of caked-on food debris on the dishes. Mom didn’t have a dishwasher, and the lighting in the palatial manse trailer was none too bright.

When Sis pressed her son to help wash dishes at their home he complained, “Aw, can’t we just wipe them and put them in the cupboard like Grandma?”

No.5 Bro, No.1 Nephew, and me in 1977

No.5 Bro, No.1 Nephew, and me, in 1977

This is why I’m so proud of myself when I do anything domestic and do it well. Why, just this week I ran a load of dishes in the dishwasher and also ran a load of laundry through the washer and dryer. Where’s my gold star?

I know, I know, this is what adults do. And I have a dishwasher, and lights. Oh, and a housekeeper. Let’s not forget the housekeeper.

With all my chores done, I decided to go back into the art studio and make some headway on the next tower of crap. I got about halfway down. That netted 2 boxes and a bag of donations.

I found some junk jewelry I’ll have to go through to decide what to keep, what to donate and what might be sold. And I found a box of funny money! You know, silver dollars, mercury dimes and wheat pennies. Sweet!

Speaking of money, I made nothing extra to apply to my bills in October. However, I did get a better than expected yearly raise, and my health insurance premiums didn’t go up. Shocking, as they have always gone up every year!

And, my homeowner’s association is lowering my HOA fees by $50 per month next year! Lowering? Amazing!

I’m so grateful for all the little windfalls. And with the added 3 boxes and bags donated this week, I’ve gotten rid of 304 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture since January, 2014. That means every week, my house is getting bigger and bigger.

I hope the housekeeper doesn’t notice.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I originally posted this on Thursday, November 12th, but accidentally put it on a different page. Reposting today, Sunday, November 15th.

Someday, My Prince Will Come

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Do you remember the song that Cinderella sang in the Disney movie? “Someday, my prince will come…” She was so forlorn, and so sure she’d be happy when her prince showed up and rescued her from her current situation, that being a crappy job, crappy place to live, and insufferable roommates.

When I saw this blog post at The Daily Positive, I realized I was being just like Cinderella.

No, I don’t dream about my prince arriving (although I had a lovely dream about Russell Crowe the other night). But, I do make the mistake of thinking I’ll be happy when…

When I get a vacation, when I get my house organized, when I make more money, when I pay off my debt, when I lose some weight, when I retire…

I have to get into the habit of asking myself what would make me happy right now.

So, last weekend, I ignored my messy house, and my herbal studies homework, and I drove down to Lanesboro, Minnesota to visit my BFF “G” on her farm.

I thought we’d tour Kinstone, but it’s only open through October. Missed it by 1 week. Oops. We’ll check it out come spring.

Instead, we hung around the farm, where the dogs and cats seem to outnumber the horses and cattle. The dogs are Pepper, Red (I thought they should have named him Red Pepper or Cayenne), and Kitty. Yes, Kitty’s a dog.

The cats are Luna, Violet, Pippi, Mini, and Little Big Man. Here’s Little Big Man getting a drink while I was trying to use the sink, and later, making my coat into a bed.

goofy cat

We also watched some old black-and-white comedies. First, “My Favorite Wife” with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. One of my all-time favorites. Then “Love Crazy” with William Powell and Myrna Loy. I hadn’t seen that one before and it was most amusing.

“G” and I went into town for a little shopping and a lot of eating. I’ve been slipping terribly on my low-carb regimen, and my blood sugar and weight are both creeping up. I decided to have a “Farewell to Sugar Tour”, and I spent the weekend (and the week or 2 before) indulging in sweets and starches of all kinds. Starting today, it’s back to the strict no-carb detox diet.

Downtown Lanesboro:

Amish store


And my retirement home, a shed on “G”‘s farm, if I don’t get my debts paid off.

farm shed

Stay tuned…