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.


Kitty kisses.


Someone to greet you when you come home.


Cat boxes.

Allergic sisters.

Someone to arrange care for when you leave home.



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…

Whatever Happened To Baby Bella?

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For those of you not familiar with the Twin Cities area, let me clue you in. It’s big.

Although St. Paul is hemmed in by the Mississippi River to the east and Minneapolis to the west, Minneapolis is free to spread unchecked to the north, west and south, and has done so.

No.2 Sis and I live in Cottage Grove, a far southeastern suburb of St. Paul.  Yesterday No.2 had a massage appointment in Woodbury, an eastern suburb, and I booked us for a mani-pedi soon afterward in Brooklyn Park, a far northeastern Minneapolis suburb.

That was a mistake. I thought I was booking the salon in Bloomington, a southern suburb of Minneapolis, because we needed to go to a lamp store there. Oops.

So I met Sis in Woodbury, dropped my car at the massage place, we drove up to the mani-pedi, then down to the lamp store, bought lamp shades, had lunch at a nearby restaurant, and drove home, all before rush hour. We put over 80 miles on the car, and spent about an hour-and-a-half on the road.

Around 8:30 p.m., Sis asked me, “Where’s your car?” Shit. We left Gypsy Blue at the massage place in Woodbury. Sigh. Getting old and forgetful is no picnic.

But that’s not what this post is about. I realized that in all the hubbub of selling the house and preparing to Costa Rica, I didn’t tell you whatever happened to Bella, my crazy cat.

I’m convinced that Bella has post traumatic syndrome disorder. She’s been very, very slow to warm up to anyone, including me. She’s jumpy as hell. She’s hyper-vigilant. What can I say? She’s a mess but I love her.

When I decided to go to Costa Rica, I knew Bella couldn’t come along. Although it’s legal and relatively easy to bring your pets to C.R., I knew it would traumatize my baby too much.

I called Feline Rescue, the organization I had adopted Bella from, and they agreed to put an ad for her on their website. They suggested that I write a bio for her, and send pictures if I had them.

baby bella-1 baby bella-2




















































Did I have pictures? I snort in your general direction.

I’d recently read on Sarah Petruno‘s blog how to release things/people when you’re torn about doing so. She suggested writing a letter to the thing/person, thanking them for all the good things they brought to your life and wishing them the best in the future.

I wrote the letter to Bella and used it for her bio on the Feline Rescue website. Even though I included all of Bella’s personality quirks (PTSD) in the letter and adult cats don’t usually get much interest, three people called about Bella the very first day.

The first to call Feline Rescue were Bill and Mary, a retired couple who had experience with Siamese cats. They came to meet Bella, and they fell in love. I thought it was a great success because, even though B. hissed at them, she actually let Bill and Mary pet her!

I had to get Bella’s teeth fixed and give her some recovery time, so her new parents picked her up a couple of weeks later. I gave them her tower, her brand new litter box, and a box of toys and food. They packed it into their car and waited outside for me to bring Bella Luna out.

I picked up the cat, and carried her to her kennel, which was hidden around a corner. As soon as she saw the kennel she started screeching and fighting to get away from me.

I grabbed her by the scruff of her neck, but my grip wasn’t close enough to her skull. She turned and sunk her teeth deep into my hand. I stuffed her into the kennel and pried her jaws off of my hand.

No.2 Sis was there for moral support, so she took Bella out to the car. I stayed inside and tried to staunch the flow of blood.

It was traumatic for both of us, but I’m sure she’s settled happily into her new home by now.

Baby Bella, Bella Luna, Bubba. I miss you sweet, fuzzy girl.

Stay tuned…






2016 Resolution Update, April

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I finally got Bella into the vet for the rest of her dental work. Last time she came home from the vet’s, she hissed at me for days. This time, she immediately forgave me and settled into my lap, purring. I feel so much more guilty this time! She’s f*cking with my head!


Okay, here’s the update on my 2016 resolution to be fiscally responsible.


  1. CANCEL ALL CREDIT CARDS EXCEPT NEW 0% AND MY BANK VISA. I paid off all my credit cards except the new 0%, but I haven’t cancelled them yet. Must do!
  2. BUILD UP $1200 EMERGENCY  CUSH FUND. I have $1339 in the Cush Fund. I reached my goal! I had to withdraw $275 to pay the accountant, and $86 to pay my state taxes. But I added $300 from an extra paycheck in April, $293 from a medical reimbursement, $200 from my federal tax return, $37 from selling books, and $33 from selling some household items to the thrift store. Woot, woot!
  3. PAY CASH FOR EVERYTHING. (No new charges). I charged the vet bill in May, but I’ll pay it off with the rest of my federal tax return.

Success! I feel so grown up!

I just returned from a trip to Costa Rica (paid for in cash) that I’ll tell you about next time.

Stay tuned…


Miss Hiss, or 324

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I had to take Bella to the vet yesterday, and let me tell you, she was VERY unhappy about it. She was shrieking, SHRIEKING, in her loudest Siamesy voice.

The vet took her into a back room to sedate her so she could be examined and, from the exam room, I could hear Bella shrieking and growling for what seemed like forever. By the time the vet got back to me, I was bawling my eyes out. I’m getting teary just writing this.

Bella got her exam and her shots, and they kept her for a couple of hours until the sedative starting wearing off. I picked her up and brought her home, where she hissed loudly at me every time she saw me.

At bedtime, I found Bella under my blankets. I s l o w l y got into bed beside her as she hissed at me. Then I turned off the light and laid down.

You do not know terror until you’re lying in the dark while a fully-clawed cat circles your head, growling in a very menacing manner.

Today, Bella has been letting me pet her for a few seconds before she turns and hisses at me. Progress.



The really bad news? She has to go back to the vet in 2 weeks for dental work. Goddess help me.

I had to hide in the Studio to get away from the dear, wee kitty. While I was in there, I filled one bag of recycling and pulled out a little television set to drop off at Best Buy. They recycle them for free.

That brings me up to 324 bags, boxes, and small pieces of furniture removed from my cottage since January, 2014.

Stay tuned…

I shared this frightening story at Chic On a Shoestring.


Bits and Bobs, and 317

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I celebrated my fifth and final Christmas 2015 a week ago Saturday with my BFF “G”. We met for lunch and a gift exchange in Rochester. I also brought a stuffed-full bag of paper grocery bags for her husband “M”. He uses them in his small business in lieu of buying logo bags.

After lunch, “G” and I went to the book store, where “G” bought a boatload of books. I bought nothing. I’m so proud of myself. We lingered at the in-store coffee shop for a while, sipping and chatting, until it was time to part ways.

Before I left, though, “G” asked me to turn around. I did, and she gave me a few light swats on my full and generous bottom. She explained that when she’d asked her husband if he wanted her to give me anything from him, he said, “A spanking”. Aww, and I only got him paper bags.

After work on Tuesday, I worked on the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Of ,course, I stayed up way too late  drinking (water and cocoa), which meant that I had to get up twice during the night.

The first time I got up, Bella Cat followed me into the bathroom and sat in the sink. Very odd. The second time, she followed me in, and sat in the shower. She never goes into the shower, as she’s learned it’s wet in there.

Ahhh, the light bulb came on. I went to her water dish and found it dry as the Sahara. Clever cat. Forgetful Mama.

On Wednesday, I cooked. Mushroom Burgers (from Top 200 Low Carb Recipes) and Citrus Herb Chicken. I also made Turkey Soup without a recipe and it turned out not-so-great. I ended up throwing that away.

Yesterday (Saturday), I went to my BFF “V”‘s house to play cards with my City Sisters. No.8 Sis was absent, as she’s visiting a friend in India right now.

I made Caprese skewers for the gathering. I saw the recipe on Pinterest, but I added pepperoni. It was so good, I made some more for lunch today.



In addition to the bag of bags given to “M”, I topped off a bag of clothes to donate. That puts me at a total of 317 bags, boxes or small pieces of furniture gotten rid of since January, 2014.

Stay tuned…





A Day Without Electronics, or 315

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Most weekend mornings, when I first get up, I reach for my Kindle. I check my e-mails, I read my favorite blogs, I check out the news, look at some You Tube, and I play a few rounds of slots.

I say to myself, I’ll just play with my electronics while I have breakfast. Eventually, my battery goes dead and I have to admit I’ve just wasted half the day. And now it’s time for lunch.

Last weekend I decided one day would be electronics-free, so I could get something done.

I cleaned the laundry room, which is the transit station to and from the car.



I cleaned the hallway, which is the overflow transit station.



I went to the grocery store, and the bank.

I cleaned out the fridge.

I made Bone and Leaf Soup.

I did the dishes and the laundry.

And I continued to work on cleaning out the Art Studio. I shredded 4 bags of old papers and threw another 2 bags of recycling in the wheelie bin. That makes 315 bags, boxes, and small pieces of furniture I’ve gotten rid of since January of 2014.

And, of course, I spent lots of quality time with Bella (who wears the pants in the family).



Stay tuned…

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

p.p.s. I also shared this at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson.

p.p.p.s. I shared this post at A Bowlful of Lemons.



A Little Solstice Decor, and 307

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I haven’t put up a Christmas tree in a few years. In fact, I just got rid of my five-foot tall artificial tree while cleaning out the garage.

I decided to buy a new,  smaller tree this year. Small enough so Bella the cat wouldn’t recognize it as a tree that needed climbing. Large enough so that she wouldn’t mistake it for a cat toy.



No.2 Sis made these ceramic Santas for me.



And this is one of my favorite ornaments.



I added a bunch of the ornaments I no longer use to the “Sell” box and took 2 boxes to a thrift store that pays cash for home decor. They bought one of the boxes (none of the ornaments)  so the rest went into the Goodwill donation box.

That brings my total number of boxes, bags and small pieces of furniture cleared out of the house up to 307.

I still plan on decorating the mantel (yes, I know it’s getting very close to the Solstice/Christmas) and when I do, I’ll post some more pictures.

Stay tuned…


Bella, The Brave

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After a long day at The Company, I was lying on the couch, reading a mystery novel. Suddenly, Bella started tearing around the living room and dining room like a cat gone mad.

Then I heard it. The buzzing. Oh, a fly, I thought. Then I saw it. It was huge. Uh oh, a bee?

I got up and wet a dishrag. No, it was really, really huge! A dishtowel.

Oh my Goddess, it’s a wasp or a hornet! I immediately thought of this meme I saw on Pinterest:


Cute, cuddly, fluffy, good for everyone. 1 sting, then it dies.


Skinny, mean as f*ck, good-for-nothing, basically a bee on meth. Infinite stings, thus the aggressiveness.


A wasp on steroids, usually so bad-ass it doesn’t even bother stinging you. Still, stay the f*ck away from it.


As Bella jumped up to catch it, occasionally succeeding, I whipped the dishtowel at it. I was trying to smush it against the wall, but every time I missed and the behemoth would buzz toward me, I’d run away screaming like girl!

But Bella just kept after the monster! Eventually she cornered it, and I beat it against the wall, and then as it fell, I beat it against the floor. Finally, we were victorious! Oh my great Goddess, the adrenaline!

Bella and I took a couple of victory laps around the kitchen island (in slo-mo) and then we both collapsed onto the bed with tuna treats. Ahhhh.




This is probably is a good time to remind you that June is “Adopt a Cat” month in the U.S. If this story hasn’t inspired you to run to your nearest shelter and pick out a new feline, I have many others!

Actually, you don’t pick a feline to adopt. It’s more like a cat hires you to be its staff. But still, it’s a good gig. Think about it.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I will definitely have nightmares from seeing all the bee/wasp/hornet pictures on Pinterest while looking for that meme. And I’m already operating on an 8 hour sleep deficit, due to working overtime at The Company. Well worth it, though (both the OT and the link to the meme).

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

How to Write Out Christmas Cards

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Writing out Christmas cards can be a daunting task. Here’s how I make it easy and fun.

1. Write a Christmas letter. That way you can just write “Dear So-and-So” (not literally) at the beginning and “Merry Christmas” at the end. You don’t have to hand write the highlights of the year in every card. Print the letter up on pretty holiday paper.

2. Gather your cards and supplies on the bed. Supplies include your fluffiest robe and favorite slippers. Cat is optional.

Christmas card writing supplies.

Christmas card writing supplies.

3. Brew a pot of tea. Schnapps adds a little zing.

A spot of tea.

A spot of tea.

4. Put on your favorite Christmas movie. It’s a Wonderful Life , A Christmas Carol, the Patrick Stewart version, or Elf. If none of these are your favorite, then I don’t think we can be friends. Okay, I’ll include A Christmas Story, but that’s it.

5. Write out the cards. Remember, minimal greetings, let the letter do the talking.

6. Address, add the return address label (which may help to hold the fatter cards shut if you stick the label across the back of the envelope), and add your Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer stamp.

Rudolph stamps.

Rudolph stamps.

You’re done when the cards are all made out, OR the movie is over, OR the Schnapps is gone. Really, there are limits.

I don’t think we’re surprised who really ended up with the fluffy robe, are we?

Cat on robe.

Bella gets the fluffy robe.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I linked this to Classy Clutter.

And to Cozy Little House.

And to Savvy Southern Style.

And to Fluster Buster.

And Oh My- Creative.

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!


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Thursday night, Bella Cat flipped my teacup onto the off-white carpet. The hot tea splattered everywhere and the tea bag burst. I cleaned it up as best I could, yelling at her the whole time. Yes, I’m a bad cat-mom. Bella just sat a little distance from me and calmly watched, as if to say, “Are you over your little tantrum yet?” As soon as I stopped yelling, she was back on my lap, purring.

I stopped yelling because I remembered this:

Cats plot revenge.

Cats plot revenge.

On Friday, I saw that the tea definitely stained the carpet. Instead of being a dark brown, raggedy edged splotch, it’s a light brown, perfectly circular stain. Thanks, SpotBot.

Later, I brought my jewelry to No.2 Sis’ Mary Kay open house.


Open house display.

I sold 14 pairs of earrings and 1 necklace. It was a good night!

Saturday, I was totally lazy.

Sunday, I unloaded the jewelry stuff from the car (except the table and chairs in the trunk) and broke down more boxes for the recycling pickup tomorrow. So, I was mostly lazy, with just a little spurt of activity.

The cardboard was 3 bags worth, so that puts my bag count at 222.

I’m looking forward to a three day work week. Happy Thanksgiving!

Stay tuned…