Category Archives: Acting Like a Grownup

Cleaning Out the Art Room – Day 1

I’m going upstairs now, armed with trash bags for donations and trash bags for trash, to get started going through things in my art room. As bad as things are in there, my biggest problem will be NOT picking something up and wanting to stop cleaning and PLAY with something wonderful I’ve found. I have my mental ‘ruthless’ hat on, so I’ll do my best.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

New Purging Project Starts Today – My Art Room

I converted our third bedroom to be my art room. I can create to my heart’s content (when I can make the time and have the energy).  I consider it a treasure trove of wonderful ‘stuff’ I can use if/when the creative bug grabs me. Between projects, though, I tend to just open the door quickly (the cats try to dash inside the minute the door is cracked) and stash whatever it is, thinking I’ll get to it later. This is the result of all that stashing.

I really have no excuse, other than being a slob. My biggest problem when I try to go through things and clean in there is that something grabs my interest and I want to sit down and play with it.  :0)


Under all this is a nice drafting table.

This used to be a dressing table when it was a bedroom. It is mostly set up (under all the ‘stuff’) as a jewelry making center and wrapping center. (I know – it’s hard to believe.)


This table is for alcohol ink creations, drawing, etc.

This is an area where I keep art supplies.

I have shelves on both sides of the drafting table.

The last time I cleaned this up, I was mainly straightening things. This time I’m going to concentrate on purging (donating things or throwing away), THEN cleaning, and THEN reorganizing.  This will definitely be a multi-day project.

We have the truck packed with a big donation from the pantry purge to the Veterans Thrift Store in Ft. Smith. When we get home, we’ll repack the truck with all the trash bags from the same project, hoping that the good trash people will take them all.  THEN I’ll start making more…




Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

Pantry Project is Finished!

Recently I showed you the NON-FOOD side of the pantry. Here is the FOOD side – mostly – except for the very top shelf.


Today I went through the top shelf mainly. We just bought replacement flood lights for an outside corner of the house. Today I found that we HAVE some…. I found a lot to put in the Veterans Thrift Store donation area, a lot to throw away, a lot that needed to go elsewhere. I then thoroughly cleaned the top shelf and then reorganized it. There are still two containers holding miscellaneous small light bulbs, but we won’t have to paw through them to find a regular replacement light bulb anymore.


I bought and used a lot of see-through plastic bins to help me organize things. We also have small ‘critters from time to time, and these will help us move things quickly to clean, plus The critters may decide to go elsewhere when they find it’s hard to get to anything edible now.


My husband made some special can shelves for us several years ago. We have these labeled, so we can quickly find the veggies or soup we want. We put new cans in the back of each partition, so the older ones keep moving to the front.

This is a picture of the non-food side of the pantry.  I can now just walk up and get the small appliance I need, rather than having to stand on my head to get one out of the cabinets in my island.

I’m pleased to have this much better organized than it was before. Even my husband noticed a big difference, though his main focus was on what I did with his ‘chip food group.’

The next thing I’ll need to do is list and pack up the things for the next donation to the Veterans Thrift Store. We’ll need to make this donation tomorrow or so.




Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

Thankful and Happy

Humor Mash

It’s cold for Arkansas today, well below freezing and a gusty North wind. The wind chill is ‘too-darned-cold-to-be-out-here!’ We got freezing rain last night and our deck is treacherous. The evergreens are looking really weighted down, but all else looks like we dodged a bullet weatherwise.

Still we froze our parts off taking animals out this morning. My husband went back out because he noticed that we only had ONE feeder with seed in it and a gazillion birds – plus a squirrel – all trying to get something to eat. The one feeder that still had food was one I filled with small bird seed, rather than the sunflower seeds we put out for everyone else. We decided that the feeder is defective and that the sweet birds aren’t getting anything before the seeds freeze at the bottom. So I’ve washed out another feeder and will put the small bird seed in the better feeder and we’ll put it back out. We’re thankful and happy to be able to stay home today where it’s safe and warm.

Projects Update –

1) My husband is working on the welding lathe, some in the shop and some in the office. He got a nice face plate for the control box that will house the motor so that he can mount the buttons on the front nicely. Otherwise, we’re waiting for some parts to come in.

2) The new-computer-for-me project came to a screeching halt when we had a defective motherboard. We returned that, got another, only to find after my husband worked with a tech on the phone at the place we’ve always trusted to get computer parts couldn’t make it work, either. So the 2nd motherboard was mailed back to them yesterday. They should get in Monday and hopefully have a replacement in the mail to us next week.

3) My clean-out-the-pantry project is entering Day 5.  I’m hoping to finish up today. I have to get up on a high ladder to reach things up there, so my husband has agreed to receive things we’ll give away and put them somewhere until we’ve culled out all that needs to come down. Then I’ll clean and organize the rest. Pics to follow.

Since it’s so yucky outside, I’ll start a stew in the crock pot before getting up on the ladder. I know after going up and down and cleaning a bunch today, I won’t feel like cooking later.

I hope YOUR Sunday is a good one.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Lewis projects, Mother Nature

Pantry Project – Day 4

This is Day 4 of the Clean-Out-The-Pantry project, and I HOPE it will be the last. I’m hanging in there, but I have to admit I’m pretty bushed. I now have 7 large trash bags in the garage to go out Monday evening, and we haven’t started gathering the ‘regular’ trash for the week! We do have several things to give to Methodist Church’s food pantry when I get finished, and I’ve gathered several things for the next trip to the Veterans Thrift Store.

One thing that has helped is we got 6 large plastic see-through bins so I can put like things together, such as sugar substitutes, or low carb baking mixes, or different kinds of flour. I used 4 yesterday and we went back today – since we’re due for freezing rain all day today into tomorrow, and shopped for groceries, too – to get 2 more. I THINK that should finish it. It will certainly make cleaning easier in the future.

Other than my husband’s sacred ‘chips and crackers food group,’ we’re pretty much down to things we can/should eat now in the pantry. Things won’t be so jammed together and it’ll be easier to find things.

If I finish today, I’ll post pics.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

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The Contest is On….



The contest is on for the oldest thing discovered in our pantry. So far, the winner is 1996 – a can of fruit cocktail in one of the back corners…

I had also been keeping large plastic containers of things – Better for Bread flour, All Purpose Flour, Brown sugar, regular sugar, etc. in two rows, one on top of the other, all the way across the back of one shelf. I’ve just finished throwing all that out. We’re not eating ANY of those anymore. I don’t know why I was so reluctant to dispose of them. Some were yucky, too….

I’m taking a break now, and then I’ll start to try to make a baking supplies area, a condiments area, etc. out of the chaos that reigns now. At the rate I’m going now, it’ll probably be the end of the weekend or into next week before it’s reasonable again.

I think I’ll sleep well tonight!


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

Pantry Purge – Day Three

We’re going to enjoy our good friends at Lunch Bunch today and then I’ll start Day Three of the clean-out-the-pantry project. The non-food side of the pantry is almost finished.



On the food side of the pantry, I’ll try to recapture areas such as baking supplies. I’m going to first start gathering food we aren’t (or shouldn’t be) eating on our low carb lifestyle – except for ‘saving-marriage-stuff, such as the chips food group, for my husband.

I’ve got this! (I HOPE)


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

Another Exciting Day at the Lewises!

I wish that I could tell you that exciting things are happening at our house, but it ‘just ain’t happnin’ as Arkansans say.

My husband will probably work in the shop again, working on his welding lathe. He’s had to make almost all the parts, and he’s done a beautiful job. He has the main part of the tool welded together, painted, and on casters with brakes now. He’s having to carefully put the long 2″ in diameter solid tube of metal on the lathe today because it has to be exactly 2″ in diameter, and there are places where it is over that. This means it won’t go inside the 2″ hole in the tool that it has to, so he’ll have to carefully cut off the parts that shouldn’t be there, whittling the piece down to as close as 2″ in diameter as he can get it. He’s heating up the shop now. I’ll take progress pics soon and post them.

I’m making slow progress on my clean-out-the-pantry project.

I have discovered in all the cleaning out/purging/donating/reorganization stuff I’ve done this year, that I try to have one area serve way too many purposes. I’m trying to consolidate and relocate stuff that ‘shouldn’t be there’ more than anything. Hopefully, this will result in my being better able to find things going forward.  (An example of this is I had two over the counter meds on the shopping list for this coming Sunday. In going through things yesterday, I found we didn’t need to buy them – we already HAD them!)


Another example of my lack of organization was that I keep buying another package of clothespins, which we use around here for all sorts of things other than hanging laundry. I had them ALL OVER different parts of the non-food side of the pantry. I’ll probably never need to buy another one, along with good bottles of shampoo…

I went through both of these bins, throwing away expired meds for both humans and animals and reorganizing the rest and labeling them.


At least you can see that some of the shelves are cleaned out. I’m heading back in there in a few minutes to continue my slow, but steady work.

I hope that YOUR day is more exciting than ours….



Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

Pantry Project – Day One

I did three sessions on my cleaning out the pantry project. So far, it looks worse.

I’ve thrown away a bunch of stuff, started gathering stuff to donate, and have reorganized some things in bins, but there is ‘stuff’ still on the dining area table and unless you know where to look, you wouldn’t know anything had been done in there. WHEW!

One good thing – I certainly got my exercise today.

This is one of those projects where it only looks better when an area is completely redone. That won’t come for at least another day or so. I’m concentrating on the non-food part of the pantry first. There is a LOT to go through, so I may not be posting any pics soon – at LEAST until I get the non-food part cleaned and reorganized.

I’m trying to keep the kitchen so we can still cook, make hot drinks, feed animals, etc., with an area clear for doing each activity. It seems impossible right now, but little by little, I’ll get it done.

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New Purging Project – Pantry

When we built this house 30+ years ago, we wanted to be SURE we had two things: plenty of closet space and a big pantry. We have walk-in closets in all the bedrooms plus the front hall closet and cleaning closet you visited in other recent purge projects. We have a room off the kitchen for the pantry. Not just a few nice shelves, but an entire room. Ahhhh!  I’ve cleaned this out before, but it was before we changed to a low carb lifestyle. I’ve also stashed things in here because we had the room. Now, of course, like so many of my other purge projects, it is overflowing with goodies.


As you can see, we have heavy shelving that goes all the way around the room and a fridge in-between. We have ceiling-to-floor ‘stuff’ that has gotten totally out of hand.


My plan is to get rid of most of the things we’re not supposed to be eating now – donating it to one of the various food pantries in Greenwood, and there are some things I can donate to the Veterans Thrift Store.  I want to organize the food that is left so I can find things more easily.  I’ll move some of the things in here elsewhere and I’ll throw out a lot of stuff.


I also have small appliances, like a toaster, an instant pot, etc., that I want to be able to get easily off the shelf.

This will be a several-day project. I think I’ll start removing the obvious things that shouldn’t be here first. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed right now, but I’ll just do a session at a time and just keep on keepin’ on.

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Hanging In

You KNOW I’m weird – who else do you know who made ‘throwing-out-an-extra-bag-of-trash-each-week’ a New Year’s Resolution? I also made resolutions to make donations each month to our local library in Greenwood for their fundraising sales and to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith because we have too much ‘stuff’ around here and the people running the store are good people who take pride in a job well done.

Under the category

I’m trying to go through our 30+-year-old home room by room, closet by closet, shelf by shelf – as my word for this year is ‘LESS.’ As I purge (either donating things that are still good or throwing away things that should have been discarded long ago, and then cleaning and reorganizing what is left, I feel better.  Somehow I feel I’m taking control of my life. I’m keeping everything we really use or need, plus everything that gives me pleasure, but the rest is going. I’m beginning to see a difference! :0)  (There will always be the funny thing where I can see all the things we could get rid of that are my husband’s – and vice versa – but that’s the subject for another day.)

I also want for there to be less of ME. To this end I’ve redoubled my efforts to find really good low carb recipes so that both my husband and I will lose much of the lard and feel as good as possible.  So far I’ve lost 20 lbs and 15 inches. We have our next quarterly appointment with our primary doctor May 2nd. I would like for both of us to have lost more poundage and for our blood tests at that time to show good improvement.

So far, I’m hanging in….

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Encouragement

Guest Room Project Finished (Almost)


I finished the purging and reorganization of the guest room closet this afternoon. I have 8 large leaf bags to take to the Veterans Thrift Store on Monday.


Other than my out-of-season clothes and our luggage, the only other things are spare sheets for the bed, a spare comforter and pillows for the bed, a velour blanket. I tried to leave a big space for hang up things – long and short, for our guests, plus hangers, plus lots of shelf space.


I cleaned all the shelves, rods and carpet, so everything is nice and clean and much better organized now.


This is the guest room book shelf I went through the other day.


The only thing left having to do with the guest room is the guest room bathroom. Maybe that’ll be my project for Monday.  I’ll list the stuff for the Monday donation tomorrow. Right now, I’ve earned a nice cup of coffee and the chance to put my feet up for awhile. :0)

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Guest Room Closet Project – Progress (?) Report

I spent most of the afternoon getting everything out of the closet except for my out-of-season clothes, which I moved to the far end. Everything else is now out. When I get home from Lunch Bunch and errands, I’ll make lunch for my husband and then clean the closet before even thinking of putting anything else back in.


Going through my spring/summer clothes again will wait until I switch over at the end of winter.


Right now the guest room looks like a bomb went off in there, doesn’t it. I’ll probably start with linens and bed stuff I want to keep for the guest room. If this takes me through Sunday, I’ll just take time off for the SuperBowl and then do another session. :0)





Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

Thursday+ Project

You already know what a slob I am, and that I put lots of things – almost anything – above cleaning stuff out.  I feel the need, however, every 30 years or so, to go through things.  We have NEVER stayed anywhere for more than 7 years. Our first house closing was in 1970. Our second was in 1977. Third 1981, and last 1987.  ( know these dates because of a wonderful wooden plaque my parents had made. It has a mounted champagne cork on one side and a gold plaque mounted on the other with the dates – added to each time we bought another home. We’ve had it on a wall somewhere since 1970 (some 48 years now. :0) ) When you move, you’re forced to go through things, purging, cleaning and reorganizing.

I use the guest room walk-in closet as storage for my off-season clothes. I ALSO use it for our son’s leftover luggage, some memory boxes I created, bedding for the guest room bed, and LOTS and LOTS of other things.


My goal is to only have linens for the guest room plus my out of season clothes. Everything else has got to go – either somewhere else, be donated, or thrown away. I plan to spend a couple of days (or whatever is needed) to take the time to go through everything carefully, armed with a large trash can, large leaf bags for donated items, a pen and paper to list what I’m donating, and cleaning supplies.









I know. It’s disgusting. It’s a good thing we’re friends, ’cause I wouldn’t show this mess to just anyone….

Wish me luck, please, on healing this.

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Getting the Lard Off – Progress Report – Jan 2018

Earth Porn

We’ve been down, up again, and all over the place for the past several months in our efforts to get the lard off and move more. We went to our primary doctor yesterday for our quarterly checkup. I can say for sure that two things have remained steady: we’re still alive and we’re still old. This is a new primary doctor for us, as the one we loved moved to Russellville. We lucked out, though, getting a really smart female doctor who listens to us, and works with us. It seems we won the lottery twice on doctors. She approves of our efforts to eat low carb. We’ll see her again the 2nd of May, so we have three months to see some good changes.

I promised to report to you on a regular basis. I find this is much easier when I have good news to report. Not so much when we’ve strayed off the path. We’ve been being good again for approximately two weeks. To date – I’ve lost a little over 18 lbs and 15 inches. We’re redoubling our efforts to NOT use National Pickle Week as an excuse to eat a no-no.

Honestly, if we keep our heads on straight, eating low carb isn’t that tough. The main things I miss are starches, like white rice, white potatoes, pastas, and the salty food group – chips. People tell me a simple thing, like, “Don’t keep that stuff in the house.” The problem is that they are not married to my husband, who says life isn’t worth living without chips. They CALL to us from the pantry! So far, I’m being good.

I’ve been working hard at cleaning things out around the house, so I’ve been moving a lot, even though it’s not with official exercises.

I’m hoping that over the next three months we’ll be firmly back in the saddle of our low carb lifestyle, losing weight and inches. Getting older makes it harder, but we can do it.


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle, getting the lard off

Life Lesson

Gilda Radner via Carol Auclair Daly


“Delicious ambiguity.”  What a WONDERFUL way to describe life.

I’ve spent much of my life wishing it away – wanting to be out of high school, waiting for my now-husband to come back from the Marines on leave and then for good, wishing away much of college because we were again apart, wishing the time away so we could finally get married.

Once I finally had my family, I switched gears – NOT wishing the time away, but worrying about what MIGHT happen, trying to CONTROL as much of it as I could.

What a waste. I finally learned that there is little of importance I can control and that worrying about something that might happen just stresses me out and doesn’t change the outcome. I’m apparently a slow learner, but I HAVE made some good changes.

  • Now that I’m older than dirt I realize my limitations and don’t stress (much) about things over which I have absolutely no control.
  • I realize that my warped sense of humor saves my sanity, allowing me to stand back a bit, and if not laugh, give it a great smirk.
  • I realize how wonderful my life is now. I truly appreciate how spoiled I am.
  • I’m grateful for the husband who drives me to distraction much of the time. How empty my life would be without him. I’m grateful, too, for our animals – even though I spend much of my time cleaning up after them – for their unconditional love and companionship.
  • I treasure the friends I’ve made. I don’t make friends easily. I have people I enjoy doing things with, but real friends are rare, and I’m lucky to have some.
  • I have more interests than I have time or energy. I love being able to mostly choose how I’ll spend my time each day – diving into projects head first, feeling the satisfaction of a job well done, or playing in my art room, dreaming about my greenhouse and spring in my raised bed square foot garden, re-reading wonderful books I’ve collected over the years and finding new authors I love, re-painting some of our mailbox decorations or metal yard critters that need attention in the shop while my husband works on a project at the other end of the room…
  • I’m grateful that I’m healthy enough to do most of what I would like to do.

None of us knows what will happen next. What Gilda Radner says about ‘taking the moment and making the best of it’ really resonates with me. Life is a series of ‘moments.’ If we concentrate on paying attention and making the most of each one, we can relax and enjoy her ‘delicious ambiguity.’


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Encouragement

Monday’s Project Update

Before – I honestly couldn’t get much more IN, and actually had a few things falling on me while trying to take things out. I filled a leaf bag, relocated some things, cleaned the shelves and the floor, and then put what should be in there back.


I don’t think a cleaning closet ever looks ‘pretty,’ but this one looks a  LOT better than it did this morning!  I’m not sure you can tell, but there are about HALF as many bottles of ‘stuff’ as there were this morning. You can actually see the floor now. Things are clean and organized as to type of cleaner, and – best of all – nothing falls on you when you try to take something out!  Hooray!!

Since we’re bowling with friends tonight, I’m going to declare victory for the day and do some serious resting before we need to leave.

I hope you’ve had a good day, too. :0)


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And Yet Another Project…

This purging/cleaning/re-organizing ‘trip’ I’ve been on continues. It may drive me to drink because it’s not like me at all. I may be in the running for the world’s worst housekeeper. I’m not DIRTY, but I’m not NEAT, either. It has been over 30 years since we built our home on top of our ridge line in Greenwood, Arkansas. We have a nice, big house that encourages one to keep bringing more into it. And we have. Things come in, but rarely go out.

I finally decided that enough was enough (to coin a phrase :0) ) and am determined to use this year to really clean things out around here. I’ve also made a promise to do it again every thirty years…..

I’m trying to get donations together once a month – every month – this year for our local library in Greenwood and the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. We made a donation to the Veterans store earlier this month, and today we took several bags of books to our local library, just in time to make our goal for January!

My new project is to go through what I call my cleaning closet in the utility room. It’s to the point that if I brought another cleaning supply of anything into the house it COULD IN NO WAY go into the closet…. Things don’t fly out at you when you open the door, but….. UGH.

This is the infamous cleaning closet in the utility room. I had to open the door to the garage to get these pictures.

Ugh. Things don’t fall out when I open the door, but it’s close. Things have been jammed in there for years and I can’t even see what’s behind the stuff at the front of the shelves.

top shelf


I don’t believe anyone could get one more thing on these shelves. I hang my head in shame, but I AM going to try to do something about it now.

Pretty frightful, isn’t it.


I’m going to tackle this one shelf at a time. This may take a couple of days, but I’m determined to make this much more usable.

Here I go!


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Bookshelves Project Finished!

It took me two days, but the purging/cleaning/reorganizing of the guest room bookshelves and my bedroom bookshelf is finished!

This is the set of guest room bookshelves. The guest room is our son’s old bedroom – hence the really large built-in bookshelves, a desk, a walk-in-closet, etc. When it was no longer needed by our son, we hired a man to cut a doorway between the bedroom and the bathroom, allowing us to give our guests more privacy with a private bath they can access from the bedroom.


This is the set of built-in bookshelves on my side of the master bedroom.  I can now see what I have, reach everything, and it’s CLEAN.

I gathered enough books in this project that well have a nice-sized donation to take to the local library tomorrow for their semi-annual fundraising sale.

NEXT PROJECT:  the cleaning closet in the utility room. (Pics to follow)

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I saw a set up for selling plants at the co-op as we drove by last week. I did some research and discovered that February is a good months to start onion sets in Arkansas.  We’ll check there tomorrow and see what’s what.  We had such good luck last year that I’ve been enjoying them since harvest and still have two nice hanging mesh bags of onions in the pantry. :0)


We have six 4’x4′ raised bed planters like this in our square foot garden. If we DO get onion sets, I’ll first have to mix some Mel’s Mix to top off a couple of the planters. We don’t have string strung yet to create the ‘square feet’ for the garden, either.  I’m not really in planting mode yet. I’m still thinking about how I’m going to set up my greenhouse so that I can get seeds growing. And I really wasn’t planning to start THAT until March….


I’m still in cleaning out mode, feeling better and better as I get areas around the house finally cleaned out and decluttered.

I’m working upstairs today – the second day of working on my bookshelves on my side of the bedroom, plus the shelves in the guest room. I’m hoping to finish that today.  During this process, I found a bunch of books that I no longer need, so I brought them downstairs to the office. About a third of them were saleable on Amazon, and the rest I listed to donate to our local library.  I have to concentrate on the ‘cleaning’ part of this because I see a book on art, want to sit right down and look at it, drooling over the pictures…

My goal this year is to continually gather donations for our local library fundraisers and the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. I would like to be able to make a donation each month this year. I’m also trying to gather an extra large bag of trash each week. This week I’ll be putting out TWO extra bags!


I hope you’re having a nice Sunday,too.


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Arkansas, Greenwood, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Friday’s Projects – Thing One and Thing Two


We’ll use our CNC table and computer set-up to cut out this metal design for the mailbox. It’ll be about 2 feet high and 2-1/2 feet or so wide. (My husband converted the image we found on the net to computer code.)  We’re doing this today because my husband wants to work on a part for the welding lathe he’s building. We have about half a sheet of metal on the table currently, so cutting out this design serves two purposes – a start to the mailbox decoration AND being able to clean off the table and put the really heavy metal for the welder part on it.



Front Hall Closet Clean-out

This is a closet used for stashing. We hardly ever use it, otherwise, because people come into the house from the garage, rather than the front door. I’m going to change that, making it a closet where we can actually hang guests’ coats! (What a concept!) :0)


It’s embarrassing to post these pictures, but you already knew I was a slob. I hate housekeeping, second only to bookkeeping, taxes, and other legal stuff. I’m determined to go through my house, one area at a time, and take everything out, go through it to decide whether we want to keep it, donate it, or pitch it. If we’re keeping it, I’ll decide where it needs to live. A lot of this stuff should probably be elsewhere. I’ll clean the closet thoroughly and then reorganize what we’re keeping.


Here is a close up of the top of the closet.


And a close up of the bottom.

I don’t know how long this will take. I’ll put everything I take out onto our couch. That will give me the motivation to keep going until all of it has been sorted. I’ll post pics when the project is finished.

First, we enjoy our good friends at Lunch Bunch. We’ll do a few errands while we’re out. We’ll take care of animals when we get back, cut out the mailbox decoration, get the metal sheet remaining off the CNC table, and then I’ll begin.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

On the Right Track Again – Finally


My husband and I have had a hard time for the past 6 months or so on our efforts to get the lard off and get healthier by moving more. We simply drifted off the track, endlessly seeing yet another excuse for splurging or ignoring our guidelines. Excuses, lies, and blather followed.

We’ve been trying various things over the past month or so – some successful to a certain extent, but not really being serious on a long-term basis in our heads. Last Monday we came up with a combination that seems to be working for us! There are certain things that are important that we keep – such as my husband’s fruit and cereal in the morning and our orange dream bars at night – but everything else is on the table for discussion.

My husband likes to eat out at lunch. This has been one large problem because we tend to choose the wrong things at the deli, as an example. I have decided to be prepared to fix us a large salad for lunch each day. If my husband decides suddenly that ‘we’ should stop at CV’s and he wants to get lunch at  the deli, he can do that. If he does, I have a go-to meal I can throw together at home, some combination of raw veggies and dip, hard boiled egg, a bit of meat – things like that. For dinner we’re staying low carb. Last night we had a roast from the crock pot and some steamed mixed veggies. My husband is a big boy and can make decisions about whether he REALLY wants to eat half a bag of potato chips while he’s reading in the afternoon… We also chose carefully and stockpiled our pantry freezer with low carb, low sugar frozen dinners, so we’re not derailed if I’m “too tired to cook.” I’m concentrating on drinking more water during the day, as well.

Since last Monday I’ve lost 5 lbs. (18.2 total from my highest weight.)  I’m down 13″ from my starting point so far.

I’m hoping that I’ve finally turned the corner again, taking responsibility for what I put in my own mouth, rather than grabbing excuses out of the air and pointing fingers elsewhere.  I’ve told myself that I won’t be upset if the scales or the tape measure don’t show any improvement from one week to the next. I just want them NOT to INCREASE!

I have not been doing my exercising, again using lame excuses. :0(    We have a 91 pound lab ‘puppy’ who tends to come in and run over me on the floor on my yoga mat, knock me over, or lick me to death. There ARE ways around this problem.  It has been REALLLLLLY cold for Arkansas this month. My elliptical trainer lives in the garage, so I’ve been using the excuse that it was too cold to do that. (The fact that I have walking DVDs in the house has been ignored.) I have also piously excused myself because I have been tackling an area most days to DEEP clean, including taking everything out, going through it all, deciding what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away before cleaning the area and all things in it and reorganizing. This is a good thing to do – and LONG overdue – but NOT a valid excuse for not doing regular exercise.

I’m giving myself a bit of slack, though, because I HAVE been eating much healthier and taking responsibility, so I’m honoring my promise to

but I need to put this together with an honest effort to at least do some yoga stretching each day. I’ll concentrate on that this week.

Wish me luck?






Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating

Decluttering my MAC

I have spent the morning trying to go through all the ‘stuff’ on my MAC computer in preparation for trying to change over to the new PC my husband is building for me. To be honest, I’m in a bit of a panic about this, afraid I’ll lose things, afraid I won’t be able to remember – or it’ll take a LONG time for me to relearn – how to use Microsoft. I’m certainly no expert on the MAC, but I was determined to get ‘functional’ before our son left to go back to Thailand over two years ago.

I have a place on the MAC called “Notes” that I’m not at ALL sure can be transferred from the MAC to the PC. It’s become kind of a catch all for things I want to keep track of – recipes, how-to’s, URLs, quotes, greenhouse articles, etc. I had a gazillion things on it in no particular order. I made a run through this morning, printing things I wanted to keep and deleting the rest. I’ll need to make a couple more passes before I’m ready to give it up when I change computers, but I made a good start today.

I’ll just try to do a bit each day and hope for the best.

I LOVE computers – except when they’re not being cooperative or when they go on strike. I basically consider them ‘magic.’  It’s a good thing my husband is a computer analyst. I LOVE the Internet – a great place to learn a ton of things. I HATE trying to make sense of what files I have, where they are, how to move them. I hope we don’t lose a lot of valuable ‘stuff’…


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Friday’s Project

This year I ALMOST set a personal record to getting our tax stuff organized. Since I closed my website, Creative Artworks, in June, I MADE myself do the year’s accounting records in December, wrapping up the end of my business – happy that it’s the LAST time I have to fight with it.  I LOVED running the website, working with the other artists who displayed their work on it, making things to list, selling things, working with customers, and more, but I HATED the bookkeeping.  The fact that I no longer have to do that part is freeing.

I was trying to get the rest of our stuff ready for the CPA before we got the booklet he sends each year. Because our scanner bit the dust and we had to get a new one, I missed that goal. I totaled the different categories, and was plugging them into the booklet when I hit a brick wall not being able to make copies of anything.

We got our scanner yesterday. My husband fought with it, finally getting it to work.

No more excuses. FRIDAY’S PROJECT is to go through the awful pile on my desk made when I needed to find stuff and had to move the careful staged stacks as I went through the booklet.

By the end of the afternoon I plan to have all the totals entered into the booklet with the receipts in the proper place tied into a bow and put into the big envelope – waiting only from the paperwork from our broker to be able to take the envelope to Fort Smith and dump everything on our wonderful CPA.

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

ONE STEP FORWARD – I’m happy to report that I FINALLY got the counter top under and behind where the printer WAS and the computer screen IS – dusted and wiped down. Until you’ve tried to clean a gazillion wires with velcro ties of dust, dog and cat hair, and other “ickies,” you have NO idea what my morning has been like.  After several steps with dustpan and brush, then heavy-duty cleaner and wiping down wires, and finally Pledge, my area is now cleaner than it’s been in at least a couple of years and smells nicely of lemons. :0)

As I told you before, we moved the printer over after my husband extended the counter top with plywood and supports, opening up my work area and in preparation for the new computer my husband is building for me. My son convinced me, after talking about it a LONG time, to change from my PC and Microsoft to a MAC. In some ways it has been good. I had to learn to do EVERYTHING all over again. Anything I did by habit or with any confidence was wrong with the MAC. My son set up the computer and tested it, then helped me learn (with me taking extensive notes) how to do things. I’ve used it for at least a couple of years now.

Whenever it acts up, though, my husband is really frustrated that he can’t help me solve the problem. He knows nothing about MACs and is at the point where he doesn’t want to. Our son lives and works in Thailand, so when something goes wrong, I have to wait until we’re both awake (there is a 12 hour time difference) and then depend on him to walk me through telling him exactly what’s wrong, and working to fix it. Stressful, at best. Add to that my husband haranguing me about having the MAC and his wanting me to change back, and you can picture me tearing out what little hair I have left….

TWO STEPS BACK – (ONE) SO – we’re starting to receive parts for the new PC each day. My husband will put it together on the counter to my right, installing everything, testing everything, then moving things from the MAC to the new computer, testing again to make SURE all is there and reachable, before switching over, selling the MAC, and I learn again how to do things under Microsoft Windows 10…

(TWO) – I crowed and patted myself on the head recently because I had done my Creative Artworks bookkeeping for the LAST time (:0)  and was totaling up the various tax deduction categories in preparation for our CPA to send the tax booklet that organizes our stuff the way he likes it. That came to a screeching halt a few days ago when our scanner suddenly wouldn’t work. I HAVE to have copies of some stuff and couldn’t make them. The scanner would scan something halfway and then quit. Over and over. It wouldn’t simply make a copy when I pushed the button on the front, either. We worked and worked with it, but couldn’t get it to work the way it should. AND it was a fairly new scanner!  My husband contacted Amazon and they said they would send us a new one with instructions on sending the current one back to them.

We received the new scanner this morning.  My husband got rid of the old software, installed the new and we were again ready to scan. It did the same thing the old one did! After much frustration, my husband figured out that it was a communications problem, and instead of plugging it into our hub, plugged it directly into the back of the computer. It worked!

TODAY’S 2ND PROJECT – figure out where I was in the plugging-the-receipts-and-totals-into-the-CPA-book-project and see if I can get it wrapped up. THEN it will be a matter of waiting for some paperwork from Schwab and dumping it all on our wonderful CPA.

I hope that you’re making more steps forward than back today.


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering


Growing Bolder via Cathy Ruggiero

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Childlike Fun, Encouragement

Productive Day

I worked hard today, getting many things on my list accomplished.

I finally got my tax prep done to the point I can just plug in numbers and put receipts in the booklet our CPA sends us each year. Then I wait for one more thing to come in the mail and we can take it all and dump it on our wonderful tax man. This is the earliest I’ve ever done this, so I’m feeling particularly good – and a giant weight has been removed from my shoulders.

I shopped for groceries this morning, did two loads of laundry, changed the sheets on the bed, and cleaned up the kitchen.

I listed the stuff we’re donating to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. I’ll call them tomorrow before we put the bags in the car because tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day and they might be closed.

I received an order for two sets of thank you notes from a good friend. I made good progress on them this afternoon.

I did the leash training walk with Amber without having the no-pull collar on. She did PERFECTLY. She stayed right by my side on the short leash. We walked out to the shop, then farther out to the garden, then all the way back, behind the house, out to the greenhouse, and then all the way across the front yard, into the garage and into the house. Amber got lots of love, hugs, praise, and a big dog biscuit.

I’m about to go start fixing our dinner, but I wanted to share my small victory lap with you. :0)

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No Ice!

It has been really cold for Arkansas already this winter. Our ‘worst’ month is usually February, and it has snowed on my birthday in March. Usually, though, we have a cold snap and then Indian Summer type weather through January. I think I mentioned before that last year I was still harvesting lettuce in January…

We have had no ice, though, and I’m very grateful. That’s the only thing that truly paralyzes us. We live on top of a ridge line. Our driveway is steep, 650 feet or so down to the road that runs in front of the house. It becomes a ski slope in the winter. We can navigate it down and up again if it snows because of the snow tires on the truck. Ice is another story. Not only does the ice make it impossible for us to go out, it breaks the branches of the trees. We still haven’t fully recovered from the damage from an ice storm in 2000!

That said, our 90 pound,  10-month-old lab puppy, Amber, LOVES this weather. She finally isn’t panting from being too hot. Her coat is very thick and she seems to grin all the time she’s outside. When it’s seriously cold, we don’t let her stay out long because she’s a huge dog with very little brain at this point, but we try to let her out often. When it warms up to our high of 36 today, I’ll take her out for her no-pull collar training session on the leash for the day – Day Three.

The fact that it’s too cold to be comfortable outside has helped in my efforts to declutter our house. Religiously every 30 years or so I go through the stuff in our house, taking everything out of an area, cleaning, donating what we think someone else might be able to use, throwing out what should have been thrown out years ago, and then reorganizing what goes back in. Yesterday it was our “coat, hat, muffler, and glove area” in the utility room and back bathroom. Today it will be the front hall closet.

So far, I’ve kept my promise of filling an EXTRA big trash bag to put out for the trash people each week. I’m piling things up for donations to our local library and the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith before the end of this month. My goal is to have donations each month, but if I don’t make it, the goal still stands and will remind me that I have much more to do. I’m trying not to be overwhelmed by how MANY areas in our house are crying out for my attention!

Though I don’t enjoy going through things and cleaning, I DO enjoy each area when it’s finished. I like the feeling of accomplishment, the cleaner, more organized area, the feel that I’m getting better control of our ‘stuff,’ and the happy feeling that I’m sharing things that we have enjoyed with others.

I hope you’re having a happy Saturday. Stay warm and enjoy your day!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Amazing Animals, Family, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Mother Nature, Organizing/DeCluttering

Tuesday’s Project

As with the file cabinets, I’m good about putting things IN, but not so good about taking things OUT. Our buffet has gotten to the point that we cannot get anything more IN.     TIME TO PURGE!  My husband hoards pill bottles. He’s not sure why. I’m going to solve this problem today. I love place mats, tablecloths, cloth napkins…..


Here you get an idea of what came out of the drawers of the buffet. Some I packed nicely in plastic, but most were just stacked and slid into the drawers. Then, when I changed place mats, I pulled out two of the four and put the ones I was not now using in the drawer, on top of the pile.


Time has passed and we’ve changed our daily pottery – a nice combination of aqua and brown.  I’m going to go through what we have with that in mind, trying to keep only the things that look good with the pottery, my china, or other things I have, donating the rest.

This is another project that has been a long time coming. I’ll feel better when I have things in more control, where I can remove something from a drawer without half of the contents trying to come out, and actually be able to put something back IN to the drawer with the other place mats, for example, where they belong.

Waste basket and donation bag are ready!


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

Pat, Pat, Pat….

Me again. Patting myself on the head. Sorry if this is aggravating, but it’s such a NEW THING for me to be actually getting ahead of some things, rather than always having to run the bulldozer and wear a dust mask.

My husband is already getting tired of my saying, “Let’s talk about my desk again!”  After at least 20 years of stuffing and ignoring the problem, my desk is as clean as if we just set it up, moving in to a new house. \

I love my desk. As you can see in this picture, there is a roll top with a key that I close, if needed or desired, though I usually leave it up. There are 6 small drawers – 3 on each side, with a larger drawer underneath. In the center are  7 slots and two pencil/pen holders in the opening between.

This is a closeup of the roll top part with the key.

On the right you can see one of the guides for the roll top to come down. There are 7 drawers under the flat part of the desk – two filing cabinet type drawers and two smaller ones above, plus the center drawer.

This shows you the pull outs on each side that give you more writing space, or a place to hold stuff to the side while you’re working in the middle.

My husband thought I would go for a more modern desk 35 years ago, such as the ones made for computers, printers, etc.  He gave me the option again when we moved here about 30 years ago, and again, when we changed the office around to face the desk in a different direction. I loved my choice then and still treasure my desk now. I’ve always loved lots of cubbies, nooks, crannies, and maybe a secret spot or two…

15 drawers gives you a LOT of space to stash things. It takes many years to finally get to the point you can no longer find things, and it seems like a treasure hunt when you finally go through everything, empty each drawer, and clean things.

I found some good things I can donate to others. I now have things organized so I can actually FIND things again, plus I’ll have a great bag of extra trash to put out the next time the wonderful trash people come and will whisk it away. :0)


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

Pat on the Head

Forgive me for tooting my own horn, but I’m patting myself on the head today because I’ve done one of the things I hate most in life – done my bookkeeping book and office deductions for taxes.

I always put it off until I’m really under the gun, and then I’m doing it in a panic. Since I closed my website, Creative Artworks, in July, I decided that I would try to get a jump on everything and get that out of the way. It is now done, for the last time ever. :0)

I’m now going through receipts, trying to at least get the stacks organized, for our regular taxes. I’m also using this opportunity to clean out my desk. so far I’ve done the filing cabinet type drawers on each side of my desk, cleaning out, throwing a BUNCH of stuff away, getting everything out of the drawers so I could clean out the hair balls at the bottom of each one and start fresh.

I guess I’m about half finished with going through the drawers. I haven’t done this for years – content to stash things wherever I could put them. I’m determined to get better in my pack-rat-itis habit, trying to get together a donation to the Veterans Thrift Store and the local library once a month, and fill an extra 39 gallon trash bag each week with ‘stuff’ that has been gathering dust. I just finished doing the extra bag, and it’s in the back of the truck, ready to go down to the bottom of the driveway tonight for pickup tomorrow.

NOW I’m going to go put my feet up for a few minutes and finish drinking a cup of coffee before fixing our lunch.

I hope this first day of 2018 is being good to you.


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Organizing/DeCluttering