Some Final Pictures

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Now that Laurel’s Cottage has been sold, I’m crazy busy getting everything ready to be sold or packed before the new owners take possession on July 15th. Of course, I’m getting tons of help from my sisters. I can always count on my sisters!

Here are some more before and after pictures. The house is so beautiful, I could live here!

Clean living room.

drum vignette






kitchen, clean


No reason to show you the fridge, I guess.





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…

How To Clean The Kitchen

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Before cleaning the kitchen, it helps to do a little prep work.

Put the garbage can and recycling bin nearby.

Get naked, because you will be getting wet.

And remember, cursing is optional throughout the cleaning process.

kitchen, before

1. Unload the dishwasher.

2. Take down the ironing board. And by take down, I mean move to the dining room.

3. Start working your way around the room clockwise, or counterclockwise, whichever direction will bring you to your refrigerator last.

4. Ponder for a moment, with the widespread use of digital clocks, will future generations even know what clockwise and counterclockwise mean? Break into small groups and discuss.

5. Clear counters, putting dirty dishes into dishwasher. Do not sort mail and papers now. Put them on your bed so you’ll be forced to sort them before you retire for the night. Take the fire extinguisher out of the box and clip the packing ties that prevent it from functioning. Plug in the battery charger, as long as you’re here. And for Goddess’ sake, stay focused.

6. Put large pots and pitchers into sink to soak. This is where the out-of-control sprayer will soak you. I told you to get naked, didn’t I?

7. Kick the cat bowl, splashing water onto the floor. Do not stop to wipe it up. It isn’t time to mop yet.

8. Put away the toaster. Admit, after eating 2 loaves of bread and a pound of butter, that the “Can I Have Bread in the House Experiment” was a complete and utter failure.

9. Wash all the counters.

10. Wash the dishes that had been soaking in the sink. I hope you’ve taken my advice and stripped down to the skin by now.

11. Clean out the refrigerator. Put the spoiled food in a double plastic bag and put it in the freezer until garbage day. Rinse the storage containers and put them into the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher if it’s full.

12. Mop the floor.

13. Take out the garbage and recycling. I’m sorry. Get dressed, and then take out the garbage and recycling.

kitchen, clean

Awesome job! The kitchen is clean!

Stay tuned…

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


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…



249, Part 2

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I got up early this morning and thought to myself, “Whoa! What the f*ck am I doing up so early on a Saturday morning”?

Then I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to get my weekend maintenance done early Saturday instead of late Sunday? I’d have the rest of the weekend to do whatever I wanted without feeling guilty”!


Dining room: 8 minutes to pick up, clear the table, and fold up the extra chairs and table. I forgot to put the folding chairs and table back in the garage, though. Have I mentioned that I’m easily distracted?

Kitchen: 24 minutes to unload and load the dishwasher, clear the counters and wipe the counters down. It also includes the time to take out the recycling and the trash. It doesn’t include the time I took to shower after the trash spilled and splashed some unknown liquid all over my legs. Ew.

Living room: 10 minutes to pick up and to switch out a couple of vignettes. The mossy balls came from Amazon and the mossy bunny came from the thrift store.

mossy balls

The Native American drum came from No.8 Sis. Isn’t it cool?

drum vignette closeup

I still need to fix those wonky pictures.

drum vignette

Stay tuned…

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

235, or Dr. Doogie and the Ice Pack

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I was planning on getting a lot done this weekend, but that was before I saw Dr. Doogie, the chiropractor, Friday night. She was poking around my ribs and sternum and asking if it hurt. Well, it didn’t until you starting jabbing me like a schoolyard bully.

Apparently, in addition to my back being its usual wonky self, my ribs and sternum were misaligned. How does that happen? She ordered me to go directly home and apply ice. There are two essential things I lacked for an ice pack. The ice, and the pack.

I stopped by the drugstore and bought a gel pack (similar to the one linked below, only I paid a lot more) and a bag of ice. I put the gel pack in the freezer to cool for future icings. I made a pack out of the ice cubes by putting them in multiple snack bags and putting the snack bags in a one gallon freezer bag. That made a pretty flat ice pack, and I thought I was pretty clever for thinking of it.

Ice pack

Although I won’t take the vacuum cleaner to the repair shop as planned, or make a Goodwill drop-off (too much lifting), I still need to do my weekly maintenance.


Kitchen: 12 minutes to load the dishwasher, clear and wash counters, and scrub the grill. I didn’t try any new recipes this week. I just grilled a few burgers and a couple of steaks to build meals around.

Queen Bedroom: 15 minutes to mate socks, put away clean laundry, clear some junk off of bed, and make bed.

Queen Bath: 5 minutes to clear counter and pick up dirty clothes.

Queen Closet: 20 minutes to put away clean clothes, clear dresser, and pick out outfits and accessories for the coming week.

I managed to fill the donation box that I started last week. I added the candle bowl that I de-limed a while back. I found the base to a similar one in the garage and found the bowl in the dining room hutch. I added that to the box, too. I added a tablecloth from the hutch, then I tucked in some books from the studio and called it done. It will go to Goodwill when I feel I can safely lift things again.

I also filled a bag of recycling. That puts me at 235.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I linked this to Cozy Little House.

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 virgin margarita money!



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I went to see Dr. Doogie, the chiropractor. She told me that my continuing back pain is caused by poor posture at work. No doubt, she’s right. I told her I’d stick a post-it note on my computer screen to remind me to straighten up.

I started thinking though, a post-it note isn’t really motivating enough. Maybe I can MacGyver up a laser beam at my desk. Every time I lean forward and break the beam, it would set off an alarm. Ooooh, I’ve got it! An Invisible Fence! I’ll have to wear a shock collar, but I’m sure they come in lovely fashion colors.

Meanwhile, it’s time for my weekly reading list, and I’ve read absolutely nothing all week. I’ve been glued to my television with my Amazon Fire TV running. Oh my goddess, the cool shows I never knew existed!

“Sherlock” is my newest addiction. Awesome! And I love to watch old faves before bed time, like “New Girl” and “The Big Bang Theory”.

I did manage to make time for some weekend maintenance.


Queen bathroom: 10 minutes to pick up jewelry, clothes and toiletries.

Queen bedroom: 10 minutes to pick up clothes and magazines, and make the bed.

Living room: 20 minutes to pick up Christmas gifts and wrappings, mail, clean laundry and miscellaneous accumulated junk.

Kitchen: 15 minutes to clear counters and do dishes.

I collected a bag of recycling. I also sent my BFF “G” home with the big box of draperies that has been cluttering up the hallway for quite some time. That brings my bag count to 233.

Stay tuned…

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!


5 Favorite Posts From 2014

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As the old year passes and the new year begins, I’m looking back on my hundred or so blog posts and thinking, “Did I really have that much to say?” Well, yes, apparently I did. Here are my favorite posts of 2014.

37, in which I reminisce about my last visit with Dad.

Simple Steps to Hanging a Chandelier, in which I chronicle the worst possible way to go about changing a light fixture in your home.


Pillow Talk, in which I reveal my strange relationship with bed linens.

196, in which I reorganize the kitchen for food preparation, and finally give up on my life-long dream to turn it into a craft room.


Money Is Dirty (But I Like It Anyway), in which I count my change jar and reminisce about a trip to England with No.1 Sis and No.2 Sis.


Do you have other favorites? Please leave feedback in the comments section. I look forward to hearing from you!

Stay tuned…


229, & Timing Weekend Maintenance

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It recently occurred to me that I’ve never mentioned why I time my weekly maintenance cleaning. It’s because I get overwhelmed by the mess and think it’s going to take forever, so I don’t want to start. I figure that if I time how long it takes to tidy a room, it will eventually train my brain to not be so overwhelmed.

If I tidy up every weekend, it can take as little as 5 minutes for a room to look lovely again. If I skip for a week (or two or three), it can take over an hour to get a room looking decent again.

When I was little, before my Dad built us a triple-decker bunk bed, I shared a room with No.2 Sis, No.4 Sis, and No.7 Sis. No.2 and No.4 each had their own bed. No. 7 had the top bunk in a low bunk bed, and I had a trundle bed that pulled out from under the low bunk.

There was not nearly enough storage space, and we were all pretty unsupervised, so the bedroom was always a huge, HUGE mess. It was overwhelmingly, mind-boggling messy.

About once a year Mom strong-armed us into cleaning our room. It was usually right before Christmas, so Mom could threaten us with the prospect of no gifts if we failed to comply.

We’d scurry around, stuffing things into the tiny, shared closet and the inadequate dressers. When there was no more room to squeeze anything else in, the older sisters pulled out my trundle bed and piled it high with stuff, and shoved the bed back under it’s companion bunk.

I was threatened with death if I moved anything off the trundle bed. Then someone would call Mom upstairs; she’d inspect the room, and give the go-ahead for Christmas.

Meanwhile, I spent the next week or so sleeping on clothes, toys and other crap. The wire hangers were the worst, but I took death threats pretty seriously. Eventually, the floor would fill up again, and I could shove the junk off my bed to join the piles.

So, my brain is now overwhelmed by mess. I become immobilized, and hopeless. It’s called “learned helplessness”. Thank you, Psych 101 class.


Kitchen: 25 minutes to unload and load dishwasher, scrub the Foreman Grill, clear and wipe counters, and go through a big pile of mail and craft paper scraps. I came up with a whole bag of recycling, which brings my bag count to 229.

I also cleaned up this messy candle holder with this technique I found on Made From Pinterest. I didn’t have any cleaning vinegar, so I used regular white vinegar. Big improvement, so it’s going into the on-going donation box instead of the garbage.



lime deposits removed

Cleaned up candle holder.

Stay tuned…




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Oh dear. I’ve been back on heavy carbohydrates all week. It was my birthday a week ago and I dined with 5 different friends over the week (and I had to have dessert…it was my birthday!). I guess I could have gotten together with all of them at once, but I don’t like crowds. Hell, I wouldn’t even get together with my sisters all at once, but we need 5 of us to play canasta. 4 to play, 1 to serve drinks.

Besides getting back on the lo-carb regimen, I’ve decided to spend a little time each weekend to do some maintenance on previously decluttered rooms. I hope that a little attention will keep these rooms from backsliding too much while I continue to work on seriously cluttered areas. My BFF “T” cleaned last week, so I don’t have to do any scrubbing or dusting (ever), but she leaves my piles of junk for me to figure out (as she should).


Queen Closet: 5 minutes to put the last of the larger pants in a bag for Goodwill, arrange shirts by sleeve length, and clear top of  dresser. I was down to 2 pairs of pants that fit me, so I went to Goodwill and shopped, instead of just dropping off bags. I bought a pristine pair of blue jeans and black dress pants, and a pair of olive green Levi’s with the tags still on! Total clothing expenditure: $21. Sweet!

Queen Bath: 5 minutes to pick up jewelry, scarves and makeup.

Queen Bedroom: 10 minutes to put away clean clothes, clear the nightstands, and make the bed.

Living Room: Um, didn’t get to the living room (again).

Kitchen: 20ish minutes to clear the counters and load the dishwasher. I did some of this while cooking and some after cooking a batch of food. I made tuna stuffed peppers (recipe was for salmon, but I only had tuna) and chicken parmesan. The chicken recipe said simmer in sauce for 4 minutes, but my chicken breasts were SO fat, I mean practically spherical, so I simmered them for 12 minutes, checking often to make sure I didn’t simmer all the sauce away.

Easy peasy recipes and they were quite tasty. The recipes are from Low Carb Meals in Minutes, which seems to be only available used on Amazon.

Also, I made the chicken in my new Dutch oven, it’s maiden recipe! It worked great and cleaned up easily. It’s one of my newest kitchen additions.

dutch oven, low carb cookbook

Still Life with Cookbook

I worked in the Studio for a while, decluttering, and I filled a bag of recycling. With the bag of clothes for Goodwill, I’m up to 226 bags. Thank goddess, I broke the 224 slump.

Stay tuned…

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!