Category Archives: Challenges

Little by Little…


I’m feeling somewhat like “The Little Engine That Could” today. I keep saying the equivalent of, “I think I can. I think I can” while trying to clean out my art room.


The art room is an accumulation of about 20 years, rather than 30, as some of the rest of my clean-out projects have been, but it’s harder for me because of the emotional attachment and illusions of ‘some day.’  I have a good start now. I feel even better because after filling 6 large leaf bags full of things I think others might enjoy playing with, we took the donation yesterday. (These were all lined up in the foyer downstairs). Now the decks have been cleared and I’m ready to start another session. :0)

As I’m cleaning, I’m making decisions about what I want to continue to do after the clean-out is finished. I’m starting to feel less sad that I’m not going to do some things anymore because I can concentrate on what I still love to do. I’ll have more room to organize the things I need for each type of art or craft.

(My husband, who sometimes wears the hat of “Balloon Pricker in Chief,” continues to ask if I’ve started cleaning things out yet. He finally quit doing that – at least for the moment – when he helped load the truck and then UNload it at the Veterans Thrift Store yesterday…)

As I also clean out supply shelves my husband put up for me in the hallway upstairs outside the actual art room, I’m seeing them as being more useful as added linen closet type space – an option I didn’t have before!

I AM feeling better as I do this. I’ve given away a LOT of things. I’ve thrown away a LOT of things. I’ve reorganized what’s left in each area so that I know what we have and where it is (mostly).  When my art room is cleaned and better organized, I look forward to starting actually USING it to start trying to create the ideas that have been rattling around in my head.  :0)


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

You’re Not Only One Thing – Take 1

Public Domain Pictures

“Who anyone is” is a complex issue.  I keep bumping into this question lately, and it’s started me thinking – a LOT.

I’ve told you I’m trying to go through my art room, decluttering, reorganizing, gathering things others might be able to use, throwing away a bunch of stuff. I’ve discovered – to my surprise – that getting rid of things in my art room is an emotional thing for me. As I make decisions about what to give away or throw away, I’m shedding things that used to say who I am.

I used to be

  • a teacher
  • a reading clinic owner
  • an administrative assistant
  • a medical transcriptionist/bookkeeper

I still am

  • a wife
  • a mother
  • an animal lover
  • a friend
  • a crafter, stained glass artist, a yard critter creator, and  a metal artist with my husband. I etch and paint glass. I paint stationery and note cards. I create greeting cards. I crochet. I paint fabric for tees, aprons, placemats, tote bags. I’m sometimes a bit of an artist.
  • an appreciator of creativity of all kinds
  • a blogger
  • a gardener
  • a reader

People are never only one thing.  People change labels as they grow, their circumstances change, their thinking changes. People are complex and wonderful – amazing in their ability to wear many hats, fill many different roles depending on what is needed by those around them. We are only seeing the surface.



Filed under Challenges, Changes, Encouragement

Thoughts on The Art Room Project


I’ve made more progress today on cleaning out my art room. I have a total of FOUR 39 gallon leaf bags full of stuff to donate to the Veterans Thrift Store soon.

The thing I didn’t expect was that this project would make me so emotionally tired, too.

I’ve spent a large part of my life trying to create things, paint things, decorate stuff – to sell on my former website, Creative Artworks. Last year I closed the website down, shifting my work to Etsy  and  ArtFire.

Now I’m trying to pare down what I’m trying to create and the materials I need to make them. This is surprisingly hard, in that I’m closing some doors. I’ll feel better once this is finished and I have more room to spread out and start trying to make ideas rattling around in my head come to fruition, but I have to talk to myself, pushing myself to admit I no longer want to make something and actually gather the materials to give to others. I’m happy to provide materials for others who might love making use of them, it’s just hard to make my creative world a bit smaller.

So now I’m trying to picture my art room looking clean and spacious, trying to gather motivation to continue this needed project. Some things are more difficult to go through. It was much easier when it was pots and pans…


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

Art Room Clean Up Progress?

Well, I was planning to show you pics of a couple of tables I’ve managed to clean off in the art room. So far I’ve gathered two large bags of things I’ll donate, plus a nice big bag of trash to put out for the trash people tomorrow.

I brought my husband in to show him my progress last night right before we went to bed. I was thinking he would notice how clean two of the tables are. He looked around and said, “You’ve got a lot more work to do, don’t you.”

I’m not admitting defeat here. I’ll just keep going up there, deciding what I can get rid of, and keep on keepin’ on…

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Short, Powerful Stories – Take 2



Today, I asked my mentor – a very successful business man in his 70s what his top 3 tips are for success. He smiled and said;
“Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing.”

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Filed under Challenges, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes

On This Valentine’s Day 2018…

If you don’t already do this, don’t just concentrate on celebrating the special holidays of the year with the one you love. Don’t worry about whether he gets you something for Valentine’s Day, your birthday, your anniversary. Wouldn’t you be happier if he thinks about you and tries to make you happy MOST days of the year?

This doesn’t happen accidentally. It starts with YOU. When YOU show HIM that he’s special, thank him when he does something he doesn’t have to do that saves you time, effort, worry, he might return the way you make him feel in kind.

Yes, there are days you chase him around the house with a fly swatter when he’s being obnoxious. Yes, there are days you think about how satisfying it would be to bash him – just a bit – with a frying pan. Yes, there are days your feelings are hurt. Yes, there are days you want to yell until you’re hoarse. Yes, you might enjoy some time to yourself.  That’s called living with someone who ALSO has wants/needs/ideas/hopes/dreams.  Those feelings go both ways.

It’s up to YOU to see that the GOOD feelings/warm thoughts/melts-you-into-a-puddle acts go both ways.

And YOU go first.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and happy tomorrow, and happy the-day-after-that….


Filed under Attitude, Bright Ideas, Challenges, Encouragement

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

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

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

Destructo Dog

I let Amber and Molly in this morning and discovered a trail of drinking water bottles and labels all over the front yard. Amber had only been able to open one of them and get the label off another, but I cleaned up the yard and put the rest of the bottles that were in the open plastic wrapping into the garage fridge.

I talked to my husband about our closing the garage door to discourage her from rummaging around in there, but he rightly pointed out that she’ll go through the cat door when the door is closed…

Our front yard has become ‘discovery land’ since we adopted Amber last May. So far, I’ve gone out to find –

  • sticks of all shapes, sizes and lengths
  • old toys Amber found from previous dogs!
  • a full length metal shovel
  • my dust mop – with the mop part shredded all over the yard
  • the full drinking water bottles today
  • gourds I was storing to paint
  • buckets of all shapes and sizes, empty and full
  • rat catchers from the pest company
  • an entire rose bush we threw off the edge of the civilized part of the front yard
  • my decorative ducks from the front porch
  • a couple of small statues from the front porch
  • an entire planter full of demolished flowers from the front porch
  • a whole plant from one of the flower planters
  • HOLES dug here and there (we DID get her to quit digging in the two empty planters where we’ll plant new rose bushes this spring, thanks to an idea from my SIL

I THINK that’s the list so far. She’s very inventive and seems to be tireless in her efforts to collect things in the front yard. If she continues, my cleaning up after her may be the only form of exercise I need!


Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Family

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

Project Glitch


Recently I told you that my husband had two projects going on simultaneously – building a welding lathe in the shop and building a new computer for me.

Yesterday we got the CPU finally and he put that and the fan that goes with it into the computer and turned it on. It wouldn’t boot despite everything he knew how to do. After the New Egg people (from whom he bought the computer parts STILL didn’t call as they said they would, he called ASUS, the maker of the motherboard, since he suspects that this is the reason the computer isn’t booting. After a long talk with them, they said to send the motherboard to them and they would look at it.

We now have the motherboard packed up and ready for UPS to pick up Monday. We’re hoping they’ll send us another one quickly, or fix this one and send it back. There is nothing more that can be done until we get one that works, so the project is on hold now.

He moved all the parts off my work area, thank goodness, so I’m functional at my computer again without having a lot of problems finding stuff or moving around a bit, checking my calendar, etc.

He’ll switch projects now. The power supply for the step motor for the welding lathe arrived today, so he’s waiting for the heat to work in the shop and will probably spend the rest of the afternoon out there.

I’m planning to put a coat of orange on the jack-o-lantern mailbox decoration I’m repainting, and then I’ll go back up and work on figuring out what to do with all the ‘stuff’ I took out of the guest room closet….

I hope you’re having a fun day.

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Filed under Challenges, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects

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

And So It Goes

It is lying on its side on the working space between my husband’s computer area and mine in the office, side cover off, all plugged in – but not working.

We got the CPU yesterday. My husband immediately installed it – plus a fan for it – into the computer and fired it up. Fans turned, noises were made, but it didn’t boot. Since then, he’s tried everything he knows to do. And he knows a LOT. A former systems analyst, he’s built, maintained, and written programs for computers his whole adult life.

SO – he finally called New Egg support – since that’s were we bought most, if not all, of the parts. He worked on HIS computer while he waited for the call back, watching to see where he was in the queue. He ate his dinner in here, finally coming into the living room about 10:00 when he figured all chance of call back was over.

He contacted them again, and they’re supposed to call this morning between 8:45 and 9:15. It’s now 9:18….

We’re supposed to go to Lunch Bunch in about an hour. We’ve already agreed that he probably won’t be able to go with me. He’ll either be ON the call, hopefully getting help, or will still be waiting for them to call.

I hate computers that don’t work. I don’t have the smarts to figure out what is wrong or what to do to fix them. I love them when they do what they’re supposed to do and all I have to do is learn how to make them do their magic.

With all of my husband’s expertise, I don’t think we’ve ever had a computer work the way it’s supposed to right off. And so it goes….


Filed under Challenges

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

Death of a Dust Mop

Yesterday I wrote you that I finally cleaned out my cleaning closet, after some 30 years of stuffing more and more into it.

One of the things I put out as trash was a dust mop similar to the one above. I hardly ever use it because I’m fighting pet hair, and the dust mop just makes it swirl around in pretty circles and fall to the floor again. I put it in the garage next to the trash can for my husband to add to the burn barrel, maybe cutting the handle off for use elsewhere.

I just found what is left of the mop in the front yard. There were a gazillion neon yellow ‘hairs’ all over the yard where Amber had pulled them out of the mop head, chewed on them a bit, and then spit them out. I picked up the majority, but I didn’t get down on hands and knees. Maybe the rake will help later, when it warms up a bit more.


Today has been a character-building day for me so far.


Sweet Molly, who is now 13, had accidents in two places overnight. She almost never has accidents, but she IS getting on in years. I cleaned those up and am trying to get her outside, whether she asks to go or not, to see if she can control things better.


THEN Abby gave her breakfast back on the kitchen floor while I was concentrating on getting my first cup of coffee for the day.

Hopefully, things will tame down a bit as the day goes on.


Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Family

Be Yourself

Oscar Wilde via

Now that I’m older than dirt, many things are becoming clearer.

I would prefer that people like me. I love it when people enjoy my blog or some of my art work. I’m delighted when someone wants to spend time with me.

But more and more I’m self-contained. I have so many things I want or like to do that I’m never bored. I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by materials I can use to make things. I have wonderful books and magazines to read, plans to make on my greenhouse and raised bed square foot garden, new low carb, low sugar recipes I want to try, animals to love, a husband who annoys me only part of the time, (;0)  – life is good and I’m so lucky.

I could stay up here on top of my ridge line for days at a time, only coming down for supplies of various kinds. I’m able to reach out to people via social media, my blog, chat programs, phone and letter. It just doesn’t get better than this.

I still would like to improve, but I no longer want to be like others. I’m content within my own skin. I would like to lose some lard and feel stronger and more flexible. I would like to continue to learn things. I would love to have more time and energy to play in my art room.

I hope that many people live to look around and realize that their lot in life is pretty good. Things are never perfect, but they sure could be a lot worse.

Be content being yourself. Find things that make your spirit soar. Surround yourself with people you cherish. Live every day – embracing it, wringing every bit of joy out of it that is possible.  “Be yourself….”


Filed under Challenges, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes

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

In This Year to Come…

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.” ~ Neil Gaiman, British author

It’s late to post this – on the 20th of January – but I think it’s important. Expanding your horizons, moving out of your comfort zone, is a way to keep your juices flowing.  I hate it when people I care about start ‘closing down.’  I want them to be overflowing with enthusiasm about SOMETHING, whether it’s a new author they’ve found, a new idea for their home, a new exercise they’re trying, a new picture puzzle they’ve started, a new hobby….

My husband and I are so busy all the time we don’t know how we EVER found time to work full time – as we did for most of our lives. The day begins and it’s over. We cram as much as we can into each one, but always make time to relax and take a nap to replenish energy, if needed. The days go so fast our hair blows! We have too many good things to do for each day.

Right now we have two main things we’re focusing on: I’m trying to clean/declutter/reorganize our ‘stuff’ one area at a time and my husband is building a new computer for me.

Yesterday I

  • finished getting things together for taxes for our CPA. We’re waiting for one more thing and then we can go dump it all on him. :0)
  • I also cleaned out the fridges in the kitchen and the pantry.
  • We received a BUNCH of boxes via UPS yesterday afternoon. We unpacked several computer components, plus the case they’ll all go in. We spent the rest of the afternoon and much of the evening putting the components we received into the new case. Now we’re waiting for a CPU and the main memory, and then I think my husband will start installing the operating system.

Meanwhile, my husband found a DVD via YouTube on TIG welding. He has done this for years, but really would like to do better. The DVD is wonderful, with an expert who makes it look easy. My husband is happy-as-a-pig-in-s_ _ t” watching the videos, ordering things he didn’t know existed to make his welding go more easily, plus downloaded a project to make a part for his metal lathe.

Also, meanwhile, I’m trying to get my greenhouse organized and functional, hoping to get a jump on the upcoming spring planting season. I’m researching, making notes, starting to spend a bit of time in my greenhouse as our weather is warming up a bit, listing plants I want to start, and figuring out how to get set up, at least initially, to start seeds.

Not to mention the newest member of our family, a yellow lab ‘puppy’ who is now 10 months old and 91 pounds, who is definitely giving us a run for our money.

The point is that we’re trying to branch out, do things that are a bit intimidating, trying to get healthier. Our interests are broadening and we’re loving our lives. We’re ‘Doing Something”

I hope you’re pushing yourself to ‘do something,” too.

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

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

Your Home is…

Francine Jay via Lisa Bearnes Richey

I think these nice folks were looking at ME when they wrote this reminder….

I AM making progress in my efforts to tackle one area at a time, take everything out, look through it, decide what to keep, what to donate, what to throw away, and THEN how to reorganize what is left after a thorough cleaning. I figure I should go through things this way at least once each 30 years or so – just to keep up to date…

My husband is getting me a computer. He HATES my MAC. He’s a retired computer analyst, used to knowing everything about computers. Lately he is realizing that the field is growing faster than he can keep up. He hasn’t given up, and he wants to be able to fix any problems I have when my computer is getting wonky. It really makes him angry – feeling inadequate – when he can’t begin to solve any problems on the MAC, so he finally convinced me to let him build a new computer for me – a PC with Windows 10.

He has promised me that he’ll build it on the counter beside me, taking all the time he wants to bend Windows 10 to his will, making sure all is good before we CAREFULLY move my stuff from the MAC to the PC. When we’ve tested everything and we’re sure we have everything we need from the computer I’m using now, we’ll make the switch. We’ll wipe the MAC and sell it, since it’s a good computer and fairly up to date on what is being sold now.

To this end, we decided to move the printer over beside one of our file cabinets. The printer is wider than the file cabinet, so he built an extender for the counter top and we put the printer on it. Now I have a lot more usable space for working.

I also discovered, to my horror, a truly contest-winning amount of dust and grime that was living under and behind the printer and my MAC screen, among the rivers of wiring that string along the counter. This will be my project of the day – to move stuff from one side to the other, thoroughly clean the counter top, and then figure out the best way to arrange things so I can reach them easily and the area can be cleaned again in another 30 years or so…

In the past we’ve always moved often enough that we were forced to go through things, being ruthless about what we would pay to move and what needed to be purged. We’ve lived in our home on the top of the ridge line for over 30 years.  Internalizing the quote above, that ‘Your Home in LIVING SPACE, not Storage Space” hits me right between the eyes. The two nice ladies took one look at me and said, “Linda Lewis, this means YOU!”

At least I can look to various places in our home and see that progress has been made. I’ll just keep tackling one area at a time, healing things as I go. :0)



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

The Joy of Raising a Lab

Amber at 10 months

Today has been a challenging day for the parents of a 10 month old lab ‘puppy.’

She LOVES the cold weather we’re having.  She comes to sit beside me as I’m working on the computer. Then she starts ‘talking’ to me, saying something like, “Hmmmm!” If I look at her and say, “What do you want, Amber?” she says, “WOOOF!!!” – making me jump straight up in my chair. She actually hurts my ears! We wanted her to bark when she wanted to go out and when she wants to come back in again, but I think we’ve created a monster. How to you ‘explain’ to a 10-month-old-lab-with-small-brain that barking ONCE to go out is good. When you’ve gone out, and come back in again, you need to wait at least awhile before repeating the process?

It’s noon and so far, she’s been out 5 times!  The first time I let her in, I saw she had been busy collecting sticks again. I put on my coat, hat, gloves, and muffler (I feel like a kindergartner getting ready to go out and play in the snow), and cleaned up the yard.

The second time, I saw ‘something’ I couldn’t identify in the yard. I donned all my gear again and went out to discover that Amber had brought the cats’ water bowl and bottle out into the front yard and had been chewing on them. :0(   I picked them up, brought them into the house, washed the bowl and water bottle and refilled them. I took them back out into the garage to find that, before taking them out into the yard, she had played, “Let’s splash all the water out onto the floor!” Since it’s 15 degrees outside right now, I took the broom and swept the water out as best I could, warning my husband to be careful if he went out into the garage, watching for thin patches of ice on the floor.

The next times were more ordinary, without much destruction, but she would stay in 30 seconds, come over to me and say, “WOOOOF!!!” – piercing my eardrums – to go right back out again.

My husband just finished playing “fetch the frog” with her. That lasted for a good 5 minutes or so before she came over and said, “WOOOOOF!!!” again.

By the way, this cute rubber frog is a “Thumbs UP” list frog, as far as we’re concerned.



When we first got it, It’s made of soft rubber and squeaks. I thought it was really cute, but wouldn’t last long. I was wrong! It has lasted for about 3 months so far. She just loves it. She finally ate off one of the eyeballs, so it’s a one-eyed frog now, but seems to have many hours left in it.  (sorry. I just tried to find the toy on the net so I could give you a URL for it, but I guess it’s been discontinued.)

Footnote – It may be that I’m paying for past sins or something, but one of our CATS just pulled over the laundry basket that was sitting on the stairs, scattering the clean, folded clothes and throwing some socks over the side…..



Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Dog Products - Thumbs Up List, Family

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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Out With the Old….

I’ve been working in my dining area and kitchen for parts of 3 days now, trying to purge/reorganize/clean. I have now done

  • the window sill
  • the top of the buffet
  • the dining table
  • the divider top between the kitchen and the dining area
  • the kitchen counter tops

It’s amazing how much ‘stuff’ accumulates around here. I swear to you that there is some hanky-panky and things are reproducing when we’re not watching. What is helping me on the counter tops is picturing my husband with too many plastic bags in each hands fighting with the dog when he’s trying to bring in a load from the car and plopping the whole bunch down on a part of the counter top. I’m trying to make sure that there is nothing breakable, “spillable,” or “dumpable” on a good part of each area, having learned the hard way that no thought will be given as the bags come plopping down. In this effort I’ve relocated a lot of things and gotten rid of the rest.

I’m enjoying a rest now and then I’ll tackle what we call the ‘go-out’ table (holding things we want to take with us the next time we go to town) which unfortunately also acts as a dumping table.

The remaining project for today will be trying to make sense of my hats and scarves in the utility room. This is more complicated than it sounds because nothing can be down low, due to the cats. Nothing can be high, because then I can’t reach them, and hard decisions will have to be made on which things should be given away…

As I move through the house, though, I’m feeling better about being in better control of my space. I’m getting rid of a BUNCH of ‘stuff,’ relocating some things that should live elsewhere, gathering things that I’ll donate to the library or the Veterans Thrift Store, and things being easier to clean when there are fewer THINGS.

I’m hoping that this urge to get my things in better order will continue. It’s quite unusual for this old broad, so I’m doing a bunch of it as quickly as I can…




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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Encouragement, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering


Jack Kerouac via Lisa Bearnes Richey

So MANY controversies – so little time.

On 60 Minutes last night, Lesley Stahl spoke with Margarita Simonyan — the head of Russia’s state-owned news network.  At one point, Margarita Simonyan said (paraphrased) “The U.S. prides itself on allowing freedom of speech. What happened to it? What has happened to the United States?”

She raises a very good point. I never remember such discord before in our country.  I don’t remember many instances of not allowing someone to speak, although I do remember instances where the Ku Klux Klan announced they would be in a location and protesters coming. A good yell was had by all. No one listened to anyone who disagreed with them, but I don’t remember property damage or bloodshed. My memory may be faulty.

My point is that it seems that –

  1. We are gradually losing the right to freedom of speech in our country, and
  2. Somehow, when we DO speak, we have forgotten that, along with freedom of speech, there may be consequences to our speech or actions, and we should be ready to pay the price.

One example – Women – particularly in Hollywood – are speaking up about sexual abuse they have suffered in the past, insisting that things change and that the men responsible be punished. I think this has been a long time coming and that powerful men should be learning that, along with increased power comes greater responsibility to be respectful of those around them or be ready to lose it all.

Some women, though, have accused men of abuse and rape, only to be proven liars – sometimes years later. They have ruined men’s reputation and lives. If/when it is known that they accused falsely, though, nothing seems to happen to them! I can’t believe that a woman merely has to accuse someone in order to ruin them. Now THAT is power! People who falsely accuse should be sent to prison with THEIR reputation in ruins, or something equivalent – maybe some way of trying to make it up to the person they wronged.

People who are abused should feel free to speak up about the wrong and get help with making the abusers pay for their crime. Falsely accusing someone should come with STIFF penalties. Otherwise, it will get to the point where no smart man will EVER consent to being alone with a female for any reason, fearing their lives could be ruined.

Our country is divided on too many issues to count. The people holding different views are really hostile, some threatening to end the lives of people who oppose their views. This is NUTS!

May 2018 bring awareness, of what we’re losing,  bigger brains and ears, and more tolerance.

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes