Category Archives: Changes

Open Wide…

I’m a wuss about going to the dentist.  In fact, for many years my husband or I took our son to the dentist, and my husband went, but I didn’t. Finally my husband got frustrated with me. He got me to go by threatening to NOT wear his motorcycle helmet if I didn’t. Nasty tactic – but effective. I went.

My husband has had to have a LOT of work on his teeth. He learned to avoid really awful problems by going to the dentist religiously, even while in the Marine Corps. There they seem to specialize in people who get the job done, but are not known for their bedside manner or being gentle with their patients. When he got out, he has always searched very carefully to find the best dentist he can.

He had to change when his dentist of many years retired. He asked him who he would recommend – who HE would go to. Dr. Wesley Moore, DDS was the one he recommended. We have gone to him for many years now and felt we were given a gift. Not only is HE a great dentist, he has a very carefully picked staff. Shannon was our hygienist for many years. She got me over my not-being-able-to-sleep the night before jitters and tense appointments by being a very gentle lady sensitive to the needs of her clients. When she heard my mom died of oral cancer and that I’m scared to death I’ll get it, too, she did my cancer exam first so I could relax more for the rest of the cleaning care. Very sadly, she and her husband died in a plane crash last year. We were all devastated.

Alesha was a substitute for both of the hygienists at Dr. Moore’s office. She was still in school to be a hygienist. Dr. Moore was happy with her, and so hired her, working with her so she could finish her certification and work for the clinic at the same time. I think she graduated at the end of December. Our first visit with her was hard. We were full of the loss of Shannon. Alesha knew her, was close to her, and well understood what her clients were feeling. She handled herself very well. Again Dr. Moore has chosen one of the best.

I still don’t like going to the dentist. I determinedly waved at Dr. Moore each time we went, speaking to him, but letting him know I liked him as a person, but didn’t want to EVER need to actually GO to him. Last year I had a tooth go bad suddenly. I’ve never had a cavity, much less had a tooth pulled. I was in terrible pain when I saw him, desperate for relief. He said he had an anesthesia where I was awake and could be cooperative with the procedure, but would take away the pain and I wouldn’t remember any details afterward. HEAVEN! He was right, too. I couldn’t be more grateful.

We go for our semi-annual teeth cleaning this morning. I still don’t want to go, but I didn’t have nightmares last night and didn’t have any trouble falling asleep.  Finding good people on whom you can depend is one of the most wonderful things you can have.

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, taking care of yourself

Change of Plans

Alter and Hearth Magazine

My husband took Amber and went out to the shop to paint a piece for his welding lathe. I took him as I left that I was planning to go out and make more Mel’s Mix for the garden. He came back fairly soon, saying, “It’s WAAAAY too windy for you to make Mel’s Mix today. Everything will blow all over the place.”

So – I’ll make us some lunch and regroup. Maybe I’ll try to work on organizing the greenhouse…

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes

More Purging Progress


After our last donation of ‘stuff’ from my art room, I came up with more – about half a 39-gallon trash bag full, and the bag sitting in our foyer, waiting.

Today I enlisted my husband’s help. We went through some really big bins in the basement that were filled with coats, jackets, rain gear, vests, etc. that weren’t worn all this fall or winter. We are going to donate a good half or more of what we went through, freeing up two large bins and one small bin downstairs. We’ll plan to make a trip to Fort Smith sometime in the coming week with a donation to the Veterans Thrift Store.


My next reorganization project will be my greenhouse.  These are pics from BEFORE I started deciding what belonged out there. This will actually be an ‘organization,‘ – rather than ‘re,’ – because all I’ve done since my husband and I built the greenhouse is take stuff out there and stash it, waiting for spring. This will be my first time trying to make sense of the space I have out there. I want to set up a planting area, a supplies area, and then have kind of a staging area for when the seeds start to make actual plants and before they’re ready to go out in the garden.

I need to do something about the floor out there because the black weed barrier you see here has torn in several places. We have some leftover rolls of carpet that I’ll probably spread out in walkways as an interim measure. I’m planning to use some of the bricks we’ll have when we take down the two damaged planters we have now and replace them.  I’ve never tried to make walkways with bricks before, but this seems like a good thing to try.

As I get rid of things I’m feeling better and better. I’m happy that I’m finding lots of things that others might like to use. I feel good that I’m throwing what isn’t good away. It feels good to have LESS. And it feels GREAT to have what I KEEP more organized.  As I go around the house, I see more and more things that need to be gone through, more that needs to be given away or thrown away. Purging and reorganizing seems to be good for the soul.




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

I Know, I Know….


I’ve told you recently that I was “back in the saddle” on my dieting and exercise. I guess I lied.

Today marks the fact that I’m not giving up. I just came in from doing 30 minutes on my elliptical trainer in the garage.  Right now I feel better, looser. I may pay for it tonight, when I need a crane to get me up out of my recliner; but right now I’m happy that I did that. Later today, after vacuuming the first floor carpet, I’ll do the first yoga-for-old-broads I’ve done in quite awhile, seeing if I can stretch out some muscles.

I just took our doggies out; and while I filled up the bird feeders on the deck, they ran off.  I had a good walk around and around the house, pushing the warning button on the zapper that controls Amber’s shock collar. Our sweet cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross, Molly, is almost completely deaf, so I didn’t bother to try calling her. I walked around, holding the zapper in different directions in back of the house, and then in the front of the house, warning and calling Amber. I was starting to get concerned when Amber came running. Whew!

I also started up again, realizing that whatever I’ve been doing lately isn’t working for me. We’re eating low carb, but we’re also eating other stuff, and the pounds have been creeping up. I’ve lost ground on my inches lost, as well. To say I’m not a happy camper today is the biggest understatement ever.

But – I’m not a quitter. Even though I’m as old as dirt and the poundage and lard take forever to come off, I CAN do one day at a time and not beat myself up over losing ground. I won’t get points for losing a certain poundage in a certain amount of time. No one will give me an award for there being less of me than there was.

The important thing is that I don’t want to FEEL as old as dirt. I want to have enough energy to do what I’d like to do, rather than crashing in the afternoons. I’d like to move with less pain. I don’t want my life to revolve around what hurts the most today.

I have a lot of fun things I want to do. I want to get up to my newly cleaned out and organized art room and start playing!  I want to spend some time each day getting my new greenhouse organized and ready to plant. I want to use my concrete mixer to mix up Mel’s Mix to fill up my raised bed gardens. I want to think about getting spring plants in.

“I” will be my own reward, doing the things I would like to do. Today is another opportunity to get it right.

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

The Art Room Reorganization Project is Finished!


To refresh your memory a bit, this what my art room looked like before the purge/clean-up/reorganizing. This had gotten to the point there was hardly anywhere to sit down and no clear surface on which to work. Finding something was an awful prospect. NINE+ 39-gallon leaf bags of donation and FIVE 39-gallon leaf bags of trash later, things look a bit better.


The shelves on the left WERE full of art supplies – glassware, gourds….. Now this is where quilts, Afghans, comforters, etc. are stored. The super-large Ziploc bags will keep the dust off and you can see what’s what. The fabric curtain at the right of the picture keeps dust off sheets, etc.


This is a combination gift wrapping center, some finished artwork and mainly paint. This is also the entrance to our attic; hence, the ladder.




This area is set up for drawing (I’m trying to work my way through “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”) and the use of alcohol inks – a fun, messy art form I’m really enjoying.


This is my drafting table that was completely buried in the before pics. I paint note cards, thank you notes, stationery, etc. here. The drafting table is protected by a sheet of black and white vinyl, and then there is a thick piece of glass on which I put the work to paint.


This is the area where I tie ribbon on my stationery and note cards. I also do a bit of jewelry making.


Paper supplies, craft envelopes, etc.


I HOPE that you can see a difference. It will never be completely ‘tidy,’ because this is my play room. I could stack things neatly and finally have it ready for some enterprising person to photograph it for a magazine (in my dreams) but then I wouldn’t want to go in here because I didn’t want to mess it up. :0)

Now I feel free to go up there in the next few days and get started with a new idea I have for a line of stationery, note cards, thank you notes, and greeting cards. I’ve been dreaming about it for a couple of weeks now, so I’m itching to get started!


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

Treasure is in the Eye of the Beholder

National Treasure Film Set-Wikipedia

Somehow the ancient, old, chaotic feel of this photo reminds me of my art room right now. I’ve pretty much finished gathering things for donation, though I’ve started another bag. I’m down to the nitty-gritty of going through things carefully, getting ruthless about whether I actually plan to USE whatever it is, and then deciding its fate.

This is harder because I’m finding lots of things, like pictures torn from magazines, that get my juices flowing. I’ve decided to pare these down to about 1/4 or less of what I currently have. I’ll make files of what I keep so that I might actually be able to find them later.

I’m finding ‘treasures’ though – things I’ve had for years that have been buried. I’m loving this – but the finding of wonderful things makes it harder to make significant progress on my efforts to purge/give away/throw away/clean and reorganize.

I did finally uncover a chair, so I can sit in the middle of the chaos and go through things. I put in two sessions yesterday and will do at least that much today. I’m hoping to be able to share pics with you soon.

In the meantime, who knows what treasures I’ll find today!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, Delightful Surprises, Favorite Things, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

That Awkward Stage…


I have several shelves inside the art room, inside the adjoining closet, and outside the art room in the hallway completely cleared now. The result, after 8 leaf bags of donations and two of trash, is that the art room – right now – looks worse than when I started  ( if that’s possible.)  It certainly looks as if a bomb hand landed when you open the door…

I’m telling myself firmly that I AM making progress.

Today I’m going to start putting some things away in the place they’re going to live. That should clear the decks – if only a bit – to make it so I can find a chair to sit and rest on from time to time.

One weird problem I didn’t foresee – I have a cedar chest that has a cushion top that I got from my mom. It weighs a TON, more or less. I don’t want to get rid of it, so I put it under one of the tables in the art room. It eventually was buried beneath lots of wonderful sheets of posterboard, large frame mats, and other stuff over the years. I uncovered it yesterday. I then proceeded to pull it out from the wall a bit and open it. I couldn’t! It’s locked. I have no clue where a key is. I’ll look around today, but I’ve already talked to my husband, asking him to use his nefarious lock-picking skills, to open it for me. It may be completely empty OR stuffed. I don’t have any idea which. Today the mystery will hopefully be solved.

You won’t see pics until I can at least get around in there without falling on my rear. I’m still hopeful that the project will be substantially, if not completely, finished by the end of the weekend.

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

Twinkies via Michael Remillard

“Tomorrow is another day,” ~ Gone With The Wind: Scarlett O’Hara


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Filed under Challenges, Changes, DIET!, Healthy Eating

And the Clean-out of the Art Room Continues

Mairtown Kindergarten-Ephemeral Art

I love this photo.

Yesterday I told you that I thought I had maybe two more leaf bags of things to donate to the Veterans Thrift Store and then I could begin cleaning and organizing. I filled both bags and am still going – if not STRONG – still going.

Something nice is happening, though, as I go through things.

For awhile I was sad because I seemed to be shedding ‘who I was,’ as well as ‘stuff.’  It was hard for me to give anything away. I might need it for something….

Now I’m actually making some good decisions on what I really enjoy doing, and would like to continue doing. An example of this is painting glassware. I’m thinking of new things to do, new designs to try. We have a sand blaster in the shop and I’m looking forward to ‘frosting’ some designs I cut out, plus I find I really enjoy trying to etch the glass with my little dremel tool.  I would like to watch some YouTube videos of someone who knows what they’re doing and then see what I can do.

Once I decide that I no longer really need to do an art form, I find lots of supplies and tools to give away. I’m actually feeling freer – eager to get things organized so I can play again.  I’m hoping to gather the last of the donations from the art room finished by the end of the week, if not before, so I can then figure out where I want to put things. Meanwhile, I have several fun ideas rattling around in my head – giving me motivation to keep on keepin’ on!

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

Seeing the Light at the End?

I’m going back upstairs to do another session in my art room clean up project. We took 6 large leaf bags of donations to the Veterans Thrift Store this week and I have 4 more filled. I think maybe one or two more bags of donations and then I’ll concentrate on continuing to throw away while I clean and reorganize.

The shelve in the hall are emptying of the supplies I’m donating, so I’m going to include those shelves in the reorganization project – using them for longer term storage for linen closet type stuff. This will centralize things from our master bedroom and the guest room. I have some large bags to put quilts and blankets in. I’ll cover up comforters we’re not using now, too.  I really hadn’t thought about the new use for the shelves, but things evolved as I began to get rid of things.

I’m hoping to finish the art room decluttering/purge/reorganization project by the end of this week. I’ll take pics to show you. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to starting to create some ideas that have popped up while trying to go through piles and piles of ‘stuff.’ :0)


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

Olympics Skiing Analysis Tool Blog

I’m fascinated by what to me is a brand new technique for analyzing the performance of one skier to another.  I have no idea how they do it, but they almost seem to superimpose a video of one skier over a second video of another skier, showing both skiers taking the curves of the course as if they were skiing at the same time.

You can see where one skier went in a wider curve than the other, losing valuable time. The skiers are skiing side by side, turning as if they are birds in a flock who turn at the exact same time as if a memo were sent out to the group. Suddenly, they diverge a bit, and the final result is more or less time on the clock, or a crash into the foam at the sides of the course.

It’s even better than being able to study football plays over and over of your team or your opponents. These would be a great learning tool for skiing students, Olympians and even gold medal winners.

They haven’t mentioned the technique when they use it. The commentators are just concentrating on the two skiers involved and the race at hand. I’m fascinated with the way the both the Olympians AND the techniques to cover them have grown.

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Filed under Awe-Inspiring Photography, Changes, Innovation - Great Tools

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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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

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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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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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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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Encouragement

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

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

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