Mass-produced Birthday Cards, May 2017

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Me and No.2 Sis, on the couch, watching TV and playing on our phones.

No.2 Sis: I’m tired.

Me: Me, too. I found this shade garden on Pinterest.

Sis: I think it’s nap time.

Me: I could grow ferns and hostas.


Me: But, for color, I could add blue veronica.


Me: Day lilies would add color, too.


Me: I wonder if Tiger lilies grow in the shade.


Me: OMG! You’re tired, and I’m still sitting on the couch, which is your bed!

Sis: {snore}

I guess once Sis chants the magic words, “nap time”, nothing else is required.

I had a lot of birthday cards to make in May, so I wanted something I could mass-produce. I used Freshly Made Sketches #207.

I found three coordinating designer papers in a feminine pack, and three in a more gender neutral pack. All supplies are from Stampin’ Up.

I cut a 2 inch strip from each piece of paper, then cut each strip into three lengths. I shuffled the papers so each card had a variety of patterns, then glued it all down.



Added the sentiment and, kapow! shazam! Six cards in less than half an hour.



I can’t wait to get into my own apartment, and I’m sure No.2 Sis feels the same (although she’s been a very generous hostess).

The furniture’s been delivered, so it’ll be as soon as I can get off the pain-killers. Yay!

Stay tuned…



Progress, or Lack Thereof

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I needed to get into a locked document while working at The Company today. Do you think asking the IT manager or “one of his minions” to help me was unprofessional?


I’m so excited that I finally got the front, outside water spigot on this week! I found a handy-water-valve-opening-tool.

handy-water-valve-opening-tool 2

I went in from the front, instead of overhead, twisted the head of the broom under the half-opened valve handle, and pushed it the rest of the way up. Sweet success! No more linking three hoses together to run the water from the back of the house.

Rocky 2, the maple tree in front, is responding very well to the consistent watering. This is the first time since I planted (that is, paid someone to plant) him six years ago that I’ve seen real growth. The day lilies are doing well, too.

The window box, um, not a huge success. The celosia died a while back. The sweet potato vine has spread across the box, but it refuses to vine.

The petunias are still blooming, but the foliage looks very skimpy.

And the irises I planted look great, but there seems to be something foreign mixed in with them. It looks like corn. I’m going to wait and see how that pans out.

On the herbal study course, I’ve definitely made a lot of progress. I’ve turned in 11 lessons since the beginning of July, and I have 2 more that I just need to type up and send in. Unfortunately, The Master Herbalist hasn’t had time to check them and give me feedback. He’s in the process of moving his clinic to a new location.

I did take a seminar with him a couple of weeks ago, though. He called it a “Wild Plant Walk”, but I called it a “Weed Walk”. He took us to a park and pointed out various weeds native to Minnesota that have healing properties. I’ll tell you all about that later.

The worst news I have about my progress, or lack thereof, is about getting out of debt. My chiropractor, Dr. Doogie, is leaving the practice. She bought into a clinic in another suburb. So I went to Dr. Touch-Feely instead.

Dr. Touch-Feely is the owner of the chiropractic practice that I’ve been going to for years. I really like him, because he has an incredibly healing touch, and he knows his stuff! I haven’t been able to see him much because he’s semi-retired.

Now that Dr. Doogie’s leaving, Dr. Touchy-Feely has increased his hours, and I’m going to be seeing him. Twice a week. For six weeks. At $80 a pop. So, I’ll be another grand, give-or-take, in debt. Sigh. A Queen’s gotta do what a Queen’s gotta do.

Oh well, at least I won’t have to buy groceries for Thanksgiving dinner in a few months. My two sweet potatoes and three ears of corn should ready by then.

Stay tuned…




Neurological Screening, Or 275

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I got home from work today, had dinner, went to change into something more comfortable, and realized that I’d had my shirt on backwards all day.

Last weekend, I met my BFF “T” at her favorite restaurant to treat her to a birthday brunch. As I got out of the car, I thought, “Why are my hands so empty?” Umm, because I left her card and present at home.

Last week, I got lost on the way home from work, twice. The first time I accidentally took the freeway exit before my usual one, and then went the wrong way at the next big intersection. It went downhill (figuratively speaking) from there.

The second time, I decided to take the exit after my usual one to avoid some heavy traffic. I spaced out and missed the exit I wanted, so I had to go 5 miles further, cross the river, and turn around in the airport. The f*cking Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport.

At what point do I ask my doctor for a neurological screening? Is it already too late?

Anyway, I had a 4 day weekend for Independence Day, yay!

Thursday I brunched with “T”. Friday I met my BFF “G” in Z-town. I can never remember if it’s Zumbrota or Zumbro Falls. Whichever one is closer to the highway.

Saturday, No.1 Sis and I helped No.2 Sis start painting her kitchen cabinets. They’re that 1990’s honey oak with no hardware. They’re so dated, I can’t stand them. They’re awful. They’re hideous. They’re exactly like mine.

On Sunday, No.2 Sis came over to my house. We finished the shredding, which, between sorting, recycling and the actual shredding, took a couple of hours. 4 more bags went into the recycling wheelie bin.

Also on Sunday, I gave Rocky 2 (my maple tree) and the shrubs a good soak. We got a thunderstorm that night and it rained into Monday. I AM SO POWERFUL. Thank Goddess I didn’t wash the car too, or it surely would have caused serious flooding.

By the way, the garden is looking awesome! The window box garden is growing, Rocky 2’s day lilies are blooming, I got a pot of pink petunias (say that 10 times, fast) for half-price, and the irises I got from Cousin “J” in Nashville are growing great guns.

front yard garden- July 8, 2015

Stay tuned…

Busted, or Front Yard, Part 2

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I received this e-mail from my Home Owner’s Association:

Good morning Laura,

We have been notified that you have new landscaping around a tree in your front yard. While the board does allow this, they still require an architectural request form be submitted for approval prior to any exterior changes. I’ve attached one for you to fill in and return at your convenience.

Thank you,

Your HOA

This bothers me on several levels.

First, I’ve lived here for 12 years, which means they’ve cashed approximately 144 of my checks. Checks signed “Laurel”, not “Laura”.

Second, when I was weeding the garden around Rocky 2 (the tree in the front yard) a week ago, and the little old lady from across the street came over and complimented me on how my flowers looked, I assumed she was being neighborly. I didn’t realize she going to run to the HOA to have me busted for beautifying my yard.

Third, and most importantly, the landscaping around Rocky 2 has been there for 6 years! I put the tree, the flowers and the edging in at great expense to myself. AND I got prior written approval from the HOA to do so.

So there.

I took this picture a week or so ago. The day lilies started blooming a few days later.

Maple tree, day lilies

I also planted a window box, for which I didn’t need my HOA’s permission. There are celosia and sweet potato vines in the box, and a cat in the window.

celosia, sweet potato

Stay tuned…

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



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I went to see Dr. Doogie, the chiropractor, a couple of nights ago. I was really messed up from working overhead on that chandelier. She asked what I was doing after my appointment. I told her No.2 Sis was coming over and we were going to give the chandelier another try. She yelled, “NO! NO! I absolutely  forbid it! You have to sit in a comfy chair all evening, preferably with a Mojito. Doctor’s orders!” Okey dokey. I really, really like her.

No.2 Sis came over anyway and brought her 15 year old granddaughter. They worked on my little front garden around the tree (the tree’s name is Rocky 2). They worked their tushes off for 3 hours while I sat and watched. I forgot to take a before picture so I googled “thistles in grass”. I found this photo at It’s a pretty good representation of the “before” condition.


And here’s the after:


Rocky 2 and flowers.

They filled 2 bags full of weeds and such, but I won’t count them in the bag tally. It doesn’t seem right for some reason.  I fed No.2 Sis and my grandniece for their help, and I gave my grandniece some cash for Mormon camp. Just to clarify, I’m not a Mormon. I’m Geek Orthodox. I believe in The Force.

On the weekend, I figured I better stop decluttering and just CLEAN! Here’s the kitchen before, and after.



The dishes in the sink are washed and drying. The dishes on the counter didn’t fit in the dishwasher. I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher after it ran, so it looks even better now. I filled 2 bags of garbage and 1 of recycling. I’m not sure if I should count those either, but I’m going to. That puts me at 127.

By the way, this is Peggy. She was a gift my BFF “V” brought me from Costa Rica. When my BFF “T” cleans she always faces her toward the kitchen.



I kind of like her facing the dining room, because it makes me giggle.

Don't look now, but Peggy's staring at you.

Don’t look now, but Peggy’s staring at you.

Stay tuned…