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…

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…

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

MO 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…

Ass-Bling

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When I returned to the U.S.A. from Costa Rica last December, I had to buy pants in a smaller size.

When I came back in March, I went to buy one size smaller yet. I just had a hard time finding anything that fit. I finally found some Gloria Vanderbilt jeans that fit perfectly. They were two sizes smaller than the pants I wore in December!

I liked the jeans so much that I bought three pairs. Then I took a little closer look at the details on the jeans’ back pockets. Bling. Ass-bling.

ASS-BLING

ASS-BLING

When my mother was my age, 58, she was wearing old lady pants. Elastic-waist, double-knit polyester pants. You know, the kind with the “crease” sewn in.

Dear readers, the question before us now is, am I too old to wear ass-bling? And if so, where do I buy those old lady pants?

Stay tuned…

Birthday Cards, April 2017

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Yesterday was a good day. I was conscious and pain-free, two of my favorite things. Well, in the top 10 at least.

No.2 Sis took me to the orthopedic clinic, where I got a cortisone shot in the right knee, and finally got surgery scheduled with Dr. Jack for the left knee. You know, the knee I’ve been trying to get replaced for the last 9 months, the one I damaged even further in Costa Rica by falling hard in the road.

Then I took a mega-dose of pain pills, as per the recommendation of my general practitioner, Dr. Kitty. She had promised (apologetically) to hurt me during a procedure scheduled for later yesterday. After she got started though, she found out she didn’t need to do the hurty procedure after all. Suh-weeeet.

I treated No.2 Sis to a celebratory dinner at Baker’s Square. (Pie.)

She started reciting a nursery rhyme while I drinking water, and I damn near drowned, laughing. I may have been a little loopy from the pain-killers. It still was a very good day. (Pie. Definitely in the top 10.)

I have a niece and two grand-nieces with birthdays in April. I wanted to get back to making cards. I missed it so much while I was in Costa Rica.

The challenge was to use as little as possible of No.2’s stash, because my stuff is still all packed up.

I bought a paper pad, Fashionably Chic, by Recollections, at Micheal’s. I just used some of Sis’s black and white paper, black ink, adhesive, and one stamp. The stamp is the owl from the Stampin’ Up set, Punch Bunch.

Ugh. Her paper trimmer is very dull, so I had trouble making clean, square cuts. Oh yeah, I used Sis’s paper trimmer, too.

I used 3 sketches from Pinterest for the layouts.

The first sketch is from Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge #294.

The second is from Mojo Monday #396.

The third sketch is originally from Quintessentially Me. I couldn’t find this exact sketch, so this a link to all of her card sketches.

If you want to see my Pinterest board with the sketches I’ve collected, click here.

Stay tuned…

Fashionably Chic, Stampin' Up, Punch BunchFashionably Chic, Stampin' Up, Punch BunchFashionably Chic, Punch Bunch

Toastmasters, Because I Love Toast

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I was getting ready to come home from Costa Rica with No.1 and No.2 Sis. They were talking about their membership in Toastmasters. I said I wanted to join, because who doesn’t love toast?

Of course, Toastmasters is about making speeches, not about making toast. Now that I’ll be joining  No.2 Sis’ Toastmaster club tomorrow, I’m having some feelings. And you know I hate feelings. Especially these feelings. Fear, anxiety, terror, PANIC!

I didn’t have trouble getting up and speaking in front of people until 7th grade. We had to make a speech in front the class about any topic. I gave a humorous speech about why cats are better pets than dogs. Apparently, I’m no Henny Youngman (Steve Martin? Chris Rock?) because it got no laughs at all.

Hello

Also, the teacher, a very mean and vicious nun (aren’t they all?) shamed me in front of the class for using a little off-color humor. Like the lack of laughs wasn’t humiliating enough.

Then in 9th grade, we all had to take a speech class. I researched the hell out of all my topics, and gave some very dry, humorless speeches. In a small, shaky voice. I’d get an A for prep and a C for delivery.

No.5 Bro was in the same class, and he’d just go up in front of the class and wing it (and even get laughs). He’d get a D for prep and an A for delivery. If only we’d been able to combine my research with his confidence.

So tomorrow I begin facing one of my biggest fears, public speaking. Even though he never joined Toastmasters, I think I need to call No.5 Bro for some tips. I hope none of them involve first getting stoned (not that my brother ever did that…wink, wink).

Stay tuned…

 

It’s Hard To Have Roommates

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No.2 Sis: Where’s the butter?

Me: By the toaster.

No.2 Sis: No. There’s an empty plate by the toaster.

Me: Maybe the butter’s gone?

No.2 Sis: We had two plates of butter. The clean plate and the messy plate. The empty plate is the messy plate.

Me: Is the empty plate round or square?

No.2 Sis: Square.

Me: That’s the clean plate. I finished off the messy plate a couple of days ago. Then the clean plate turned messy. And I finished that off too.

No.2 Sis: (low growl)

Me: It’s hard to have roommates. They will eat the butter while your back is turned.

I’ve been living with No.2 Sis since returning from Costa Rica 12 days ago. Besides eating all the butter, I’ve had a nasty cold. Bad roommate. Sis is avoiding me to avoid getting sick.

I have a new apartment lined up. It’s kind of cottagey, in that it has it’s own outside entrance, with a little porch. The manager told me I can plant whatever I want on the grounds near my unit. Isn’t that great? I don’t want to overdo, so I’ll start with a pot or two.

I told No.1 Sis that I was going to go without a car for as long as possible, as a money-saving measure. I lasted 8 days.

Since I loved my previous Honda, Gypsy Blue, I went to the nearest Honda dealer and started test-driving used cars. I drove a CRV (who informed me his name was Butch). I really liked him, but he had 109,000 miles on him. A little old for me.

Then I drove a 2013 Fit hatchback with 31,000 miles and the angels sang! I bought her immediately. I couldn’t pick her up for a few days though, since I didn’t think to arrange for insurance before-hand. Oops.

Insurance turned out to be a hassle. I had cancelled my policy when I went to Costa Rica, because I didn’t have a car there. Apparently, that flagged me as some sort of flake (imagine) to the insurance company, and they tripled my rate! I’ll go with Progressive for now. Thanks Flo!

I know you’re wondering what the name of the new car is. Her name is Baby. Awww!

RANDOM PHOTOS OF THE VERANDA AT THE RENTAL HOUSE AT ESTERILLOS OESTE, COSTA RICA

RANDOM PHOTOS OF THE VERANDA AT THE RENTAL HOUSE AT ESTERILLOS OESTE, COSTA RICA

Stay tuned…

P.S. I’m still answering salespeople and waitresses’ questions with si, and telling them gracias. That should wear off soon, right?

 

 

 

Last Woman Standing

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No.2 Sis looked out at the rain, and the trees being whipped by 30 mile per hour winds and said, “I hear that Costa Rica is such a beautiful country. We must not have seen very much of it.”

TODAY'S VIEW OF LAKE ARENAL AND THE MOUNTAINS BEYOND

TODAY’S VIEW OF LAKE ARENAL AND THE MOUNTAINS BEYOND

This is true. We haven’t toured at all in the months that we’ve lived here.

NEIGHBORING CASITA IN STORM

NEIGHBORING CASITA IN STORM

Instead, we’ve taken turns being sick. This latest bug was delivered by No.3 Bro and his girlfriend just before Christmas.

Then No.1 Sis came down with it. She passed it to her son, Dude, who was visiting. No.2 Sis got it next.

I’m the last one standing. I haven’t gotten it, knock on wood.

We managed to get a grocery order delivered in spite of the lack of an address. The driver called several times to describe where he was, and we guided him to Casa Amarilla.

I’m thinking we should have asked how much the zucchinis weighed before we ordered two of them.

10 POUND ZUKE

10 POUND ZUKE

Know any good zucchini recipes?

Stay tuned…