Sunday, July 31, 2011

A great birthday

It was a hot and sticky day today while working at the art fair.  My mother told me the day I was born was the hottest day of the year and I believe her.

All day long I had people visiting my booth and wishing me a happy birthday, one handsome man picked some mushrooms for me to dry and see if I can use them in a new creation.

Another friend brought me a beautiful red and black sari to use in whatever manner I chose.  It appears she has several other sari's in her closet and didn't need this one any more.  Yeah, I'm thinking....I have so many friends with that same problem.  All those saris clogging up the closet space.  It's just gorgeous and trying to decide how to use it will be most of the fun.

The day ended with a neighbor and friend stopping by and assisting with the take down.  The three of us went to Ciatti's afterwards for supper and I enjoyed some steak and shrimp and a portion of the chocolate cake.

Then I picked up some tuna for She Devil and I promised to assemble her new fountain tomorrow.  There's nothing better than  being home with loved ones

Long Live the 60 year old Queen!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Art Fair on the Green

Day one down and one more to go tomorrow.  It was close to 90 today with a heat index (someone told me) of 110.  I really didn't need to know that.  I was okay with the heat until she said that, then I felt,

I chose my clothing options with "what am I least likely to pass out in" and wore a sleeveless dress.  Not the most flattering, even with the improving body, but survival instincts prevailed.
Thankfully my booth has good shade and there was a breeze throughout the day, so it wasn't too bad.  The show was very slow, possibly due to the heat or economy or both.  It was a long day's labor to make $68.00.  Maybe tomorrow will be the big day.  I know better, but I keep on believing.

But, it was enough to purchase the new water fountain for She Devil for her birthday tomorrow.  She'll be so pleased with it.  Well, as pleased as she ever is.  I'll add a can of tuna to the gift and she'll be fine with it.  It's all about the tuna.

Long Live the Hot and Sticky Queen

Friday, July 29, 2011

Greasing the aluminum pipe to the bird feeder may have worked, but then again I haven't see her try to climb it.  However, I did see her the other night with her four babies.  Now I feel guilty about stopping the food source, so added some peanuts below the feeder for the little ones.  I'm hoping they show up for some photos soon.

The tent is set up for the art show this weekend and I'll be heading out bright and early to arrange the dolls for sale.  The weather continues to be hot and humid, so I plan to bring some ice in a cooler with a rag to keep my neck wet.

Even though there is a lot to do, I managed to sneak in a movie before the set up.  Saw "Stupid, Crazy Love" with Steve Carrell.  Very funny and heart warming.

Lesson learned last night - don't eat watermelon over the laptop - it juices up the screen and the backspace button is a bit sluggish. 

Long Live the Queen

My first attempt at working with clay

I had previously taken Joyce Diveley's clay camp for grown ups and learned the basics of working with clay.  We made a bowel, a vase and I opted to make a fairy house and a doll face.

After they had dried, we went back to add the glazing and then she fired them in the kiln.  We just got the call that they were ready to pick up.  I could hardly wait to see how they turned out.  This is the view from the back.
My favorite project was the fairy house.  It turned out better than I had hoped.

This is a closeup of the sides and detail throughout.

Our other project was to make a bowl.  

I wanted to keep this as simple as possible and had no thought of liking it. So I was surprised to see how much I enjoyed it.

Who would have thought?

Our third project was to make a vase.  

I had purchased one of these from her previously as I liked the abstract design, so it felt threatening to try to replicate the design.

It turned out well enough but I wish I had used bolder colors instead of staying with the neutral tones of brown.  Oh well.

My last project was to create a small doll face.  I just wanted to play with making facial features before I let go of the clay.  

After completing this last attempt, I'm excited about trying to make faces with paper clay.  Using that medium won't require a kiln.

Now I'll need to create a body for her.  Maybe I'll try that using the paper clay soon.

Long Live the Queen of Clay

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Success at the scale today

Today's weigh in at Weight Watchers was a bit intimidating as last week I had gained 3.6 pounds while in Chicago for two days.  Yikes!  So I was starting out this week by being in the hole.

So, I have been very conscious of what I eat as well as working hard in the garden.  Add summer heat to that and the appetite at night is pretty much gone.  This all helped me achieve a loss of 6.6 pounds this week.  That's the most I've ever lost in one week since starting.

I received my key chain and first charm for attending for 16 weeks and a sticker for having lost 10% of my total weight since beginning.  Total loss since March 31 is 19.2 pounds and I'm itching to see the first official 20 gone.

My goal had been to be 160 by my 60th birthday (on July 31st) so that's not going to be happening.  But seeing 170 on the scale was a motivator for getting into the 160's and on my way to my new goal of 150.

It doesn't seem like much each week to lose only one pound but it's still a step forward towards better health and nicer clothes.  I bought my first size 14s today at Good Will to have some summer clothes at this size.  It's an affordable method of finding clothes to wear during the journey without spending a ton of money.

Today's chores involved going to the DMV to renew my eight year driver's license.  I fixed my hair as best I could and went crazy and put on some mascara and lipstick for the photo.  I had to laugh at the stats on my drivers license.  The weight shown has been 135 pounds for many years now.

Who knows? If I can continue at five pounds a month I will be able to achieve that goal by the end of February.  All you can do is take it one day at a time

Long Live the Queen of the Scales!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Halloween projects

This weekend is my first art show, so I decided I'd better start creating something for the show.

I have some dolls prepared from before, but I wanted to catch up on my Halloween items.  One of my best seasonal sellers are the witches legs.  They are fun to tuck into dresser drawers, place under toaster ovens and my favorite...slam into the hatchback of my van.  This batch has just had their boots painted on and are drying.  Then I'll add the shoelaces.

Another favorite are my little witches.  This group just got their heads placed in position and are waiting for hair, hats and props.  Let's see...I've got two days to finish them...should be okay.  I hope.

I really need to stop procrastinating.  I'll work on that tomorrow.

Long Live the Queen of Put It Off for Another Day

The battle continues

We started out with a bird feeder that is supposed to close up when something heavy gets into it.  That didn't work so we added a baffle to it.  It stopped the squirrels but not the raccoons.

I tried a different style of baffle - nope.  I tried both baffles at one time.  No good.

Most recently I have added a 3" PVC pipe and they still got up there.  Someone said they can't dig into aluminum so I put on a 4" piece of that.  I was certain that would work until I saw them shimmying up the pole the other night.  Rats!

So tonight I've added a coating of vegetable oil to the aluminum barrier.  Now I just have to stay up late enough to see what happens.  I hope they come early so I can go to bed at a decent hour.

Long Life the Queen of the Pole Dancing

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

She Devil and the Vet

It was a rude surprise for She Devil this morning.  We generally get up about 6:30 or 7:00 and have a leisurely start to our day.  But today she failed to wake me on schedule.  Did she see that there was a vet appointment scheduled?  I've got to keep her off my computer!

I woke at 8:45 and scrambled to get dressed, grab the dreaded cat carrier and load her up and run out the door.  We wove our way through the construction on the way to the vet, her howling and me swearing, but arrived on time.

Big exam today - blood work to check her insulin levels, rabies shot, distemper shot and general physical.  She'll be 14 at the end of the month and is doing pretty good for an overweight, old diabetic cat.  The vet recommended a different med for her arthritis and found a source that is more affordable than what we had tried before.  It's becoming necessary to get her off the prednisone, she's been on it too long.  This will involve another injection for her, but hey...what's one more.

She is showing the signs of cataracts forming and is definitely getting older and slower...unless she's really ticked.  The vet and tech took her off to do the blood work and shots and when they returned to the waiting room she looked at me, realized I wasn't the one holding her and made a lunge for the vet's hand.  I've never seen her move so fast in a long time.  But the vet is a very wiry, quick woman and moved even faster.  It was all such a blur, but she remained unscathed.

Once safely back home  I put my jammies back on and fixed our breakfasts of tuna and cereal and we restarted our day the way it was meant to be.  She's now dozing in a puddle of sunshine on the floor and all is well.  Now I need to get dressed again and hit the studio and start preparing for the first art show of the season this weekend.

Long Live the Queen of Sleeping In

Monday, July 25, 2011

Life interrupted

I don't have any plan of attack when I set out for the day. I might have a vague notion of what I think I want to accomplish and there are those times when you simply must do what you gotta do.  But, it's nice to keep your options open... or you miss out on unexpected delights.

During garden season this happens a lot. People walking by stop to visit and ask about the plants and this often ends up in an impromptu garden tour.  When the neighbor dog sees I'm outside he makes a bee-line over to visit me for some loving and petting and, of course, dog treats.  I've found that he really enjoys tomatoes.  When I went to pick yesterday I noticed a large bite out of one that was just nicely ripened.  Hmmm. At first I thought it was the raccoons but it was too large, just about the size of his jaw.  

I set out excess produce for people going by to take and enjoy and now that I find I have a tomato eating dog next door, I place it in a dish pan for safe keeping.  It's like having a little roadside stand without the income.  But the benefits it provides are sweet.  Often I will find a handwritten note, a thank you card or small jars of jelly they have made as a little gift.

It's these little one-on-one encounters that I enjoy the most.  I decided to mow the neighbor's yard yesterday since they are on vacation and I hated to see him have to fight through it when they get back.  The other neighbors were coming over to water their plants so we had a nice visit.  Then Taz the Tomato Eating Dog ran over...followed by his owner and we all chatted for a while.

The ladies (and Taz) took a garden tour and home tour of the canned ham.  By now it was dark and time to head in.  Did I get everything done that I wanted to that day?  No.  Was I blessed with the unexpected joy of neighborhood fellowship?  Yes.  That was a good day by my standards - better than the one I had planned.

Long Live the Queen of Contentment

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mayfly mayham

The mayflies have arrived!  

Even though their visits are short, the impact they leave is large...and messy...and smelly.

Rising up from the lakes and streams they ascend in their frenzy to mate and die.  They belong to the order "Ephemoeroptera" which  manes "living a day".    These are insects whose motto definitely is Carpe Diem....because that's all they have.  Some last a few days, some less than a day and none are equipped to feed as an adult.  the are born, breed with a passion and lay eggs which can hatch in minutes.  You'd think with a short life span like that we'd hardly know they were among us...but noooooooo.

They first appeared about 350 million years ago and are still with us endangered list for these guys.  Even though we call them Mayflies, they tend to show up in our area about July.  And they are everywhere!  The frogs love this all you can eat buffet and as annoying as we consider them, they are an important part of the cycle of life. 
I can remember times when the snowplows were called out to remove them from the Mississippi bridge because their dying bodies created dangerous slick driving conditions.  Since it's only once a year no signs saying "Bridge may be slick if covered with bugs" were created.

My most recent encounter with them was going to the movies and watching the staff trying to hose them off the side of the building.  The only way into the theater was to walk over their slimy dead bodies and hold your nose.  Gives a new meaning to "over my dead body!".  Now that really puts you in the mood for some buttery crunchy popcorn!

Long Live the Queen

Friday, July 22, 2011

Just trying to avoid head injuries

After ducking under the Quaking aspen branches that hang down for longer than I can remember, and risking getting my eyes poked out...I finally took action.  This is what the area looked like before.  

I didn't want to just cut the branches because I'd lose the shade from them for the hostas.  Oh what to do, what to do?

Shopping!  That's the answer!  I found an inexpensive metal trellis that matches the color of the other structure in that area to solve the problem.  I still had to cut a couple of branches, but not big ones, so I've kept the shade and made the area safer to walk through.  Why have a garden path if you can't stroll on it, right?

Now I also have another area to support the clematis that was out there, plus add another one to the other side.  Ah...more view to enjoy from the arbor.

Long Live the Queen of the Trellis

Thursday, July 21, 2011

good morning..again

It's been a frantic couple of days while attending a craft and hobby trade show in Chicago with my energizer bunny friend, Margie.  We drove down early on Tuesday and walked through the show all day before having supper and returning to the room to relax.  Well, I relaxed...she was busy checking inventory sheets and completing order forms.

The show offers many "make and take" projects to try the various paints and glues and it was messy but fun.  This is so far from my doll making world; however, I can see that I will be making some changes to how I construct my creations now.  Clay and paint will definitely be working their way into my art work now that I'm more familiar with these processes.  It really helped that I had taken the clay class from Joyce Diveley before going.

As I walked through vendor after vendor of papers and stamps and products I'd never heard of, all I could think of were my friends Beth and Miss Edna and how their tongues would be hanging out with all the scrapbooking materials.  Beth - you need to check out Margie's store downtown (Stamp n Hand) to see all the cool things she has.  She needs someone to put together her scrapbook page kits for display when they arrive and I think you'd be the perfect person for it.

We worked our way through the show all day again on Wednesday from 10am to 6pm and then left for home.  There was a visit to Cosco on the way and then we had supper in Beloit.  I met a lovely woman trucker in the ladies room as we left who was talking about how hot it was in her tractor trailer as she wandered into the stall with her bottle of beer.  Oooookay.

Then we stopped at McDonalds for coffee for her and ice cream for me and were attacked by an attack of the sillies, where everything is funny and makes you laugh.  She patiently (at first) kept giving her order and no one would respond until I gently said "Margie....that's a trash can" and we moved to the next station. 

There is a lot of construction on the interstate in this area and they were out there working with these huge lights and wearing reflective clothes - it all felt a bit like being in Roswell with an alien attack...but then again we were hyped up on caffeine, sugar and being overly tired.

I got home about 1:30 AM and couldn't help but notice that it was 86 degrees at that time of night.  Thank goodness the AC was still running fine and She Devil was so excited to see me and led me right to the tuna cans and opener for a snack before toddling off to bed.

Checked myself on the scale before going to the hot tub (I know...I know...why bother in this heat?) and today's Weight Watcher weigh in is going to be so uuuuugggggllllly.  Oh well, it was fun being "bad" for a couple of days and I'll get right back on it.

Long Live the Sweaty Queen

Monday, July 18, 2011

Country style garbage disposal

Is it just me or when they took the seeds out of watermelon did they also suck out the color and taste?  Now I used to pride myself on being a good picker, checking the color of the melon, where the vine attached and thunking them.  But the last two I've purchased I've cut open and promptly disposed of after one bite.  How I hunger for a red juicy sweet watermelon!

Living near a hillside affords me some creative disposal techniques.  I can generally compost most of the excess vegetative material and toss other items near the bird feeder for the birds, squirrels and chipmunks.  I throw old meat further up the hill for the fox and raccoons.

But, it was raining again when this melon disappointed me, so I set it in the enamel pan I had used for picking the garden and set it by the backdoor.  I figured I'd take it up the hill later when the rain stopped since my throwing abilities don't include melons.

I like treating the wildlife in this manner and recycling our waste to them.  But, I get frustrated at the loss of bird seed in the feeder.  I've tried two different squirrel baffles...even at the same keep the raccoons out, but to no avail.  So, the other day I added a 3" wide piece of PVC pipe over the pole.  My theory being that their hands are not large enough to grasp this to pull themselves up.  If I find they can dig into it, I will add a layer of tin to it.  I will WIN this battle!

To my surprise and delight this morning the melon was nicely scooped out and disposed of!  All I need to toss up the hill now is the rind.  Thank you raccoon buddies!  This is my parting gift to you for not being able to get into the bird feeder.

Long Live the Queen of Recycling

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Overly caffeinated?

I've gone from being totally inactive to just plain antsy.  I can't sit still, can't make a decision...can't get things done.  I always know when the depression is lurking nearby because the mail starts to stack up, as well as the dishes.  No, both aren't in the sink...that really would be depressing.

My garden guild toured each others gardens this morning.  We met at Panera at 9:00am, or at least that's when I got there.  Appears we were to meet at 8:30am.  Ooops.  By the time we finished the first of the three we were already sweaty and hot.  Nice cold bottled water was provided at the second one, which most of us chose to wear rather than drink.  As we arrived at mine we were all sweaty messes and moving very slowly.  Not the leisurely lengthy tours we normally do, it was more of a survival touring.

After the group left I decided to run some errands and catch a movie.  I bought some new jammies at Target in a size M...that's a letter I have not seen in my closet in a loooong time.  I didn't realize until I got home that I only have the bottoms and now I have to go back tomorrow for the top.  Grrrr.  I want to get these washed so I can take them to Chicago on my trip.

The movie was "Horrible Bosses" which I really expected to be stupid, but I wanted popcorn and decided it would do.  Other than a lot of swearing (henceforth the R rating) it was actually pretty funny.  Of course, I may have been suffering from some heat stroke, so who knows.

I picked up some groceries and scurried home to the AC and comfort of my chair.  Man is it hot out there!  Maybe I'll get ambitious and work some some sewing orders I have...maybe not.  She Devil is sprawled on the floor with one eye open.  It looks pretty comfortable to me....we could all learn from cats.

Long Live the Hot Sweaty Queen

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Inaction speaks louder than words

So much to little energy to do it.

I'm not sure what's come over me lately, I fret about all the things I need to do and then just sit down and fret until I can't stand it and go to bed.  Hmmm.  This is not the usual take charge person I know.

However, when I do finally make myself get outside I have a great time and can work through all but heavy thunderstorms, covered in mud and smiling all the while.

I hit these little roadbumps in life once in a while and have learned in the wisdom of my later years that it's okay to do nothing.  Sitting around and reading a good book on a lovely day is just fine...the chore police will not arrest me.  Because let's face it...there's always something you should be doing.  Nobody is ever finished with everything.  Unless they are at their own funeral.

So, I will be self compassionate today and allow myself to ride the waves of self indulgence for a while yet and know that when this passes I will hit the ground running and tackle all those to-do's that are waiting for me.

It is the Sabbath after all - and G-d wants us to refresh and recharge on a weekly basis, so off I do nothing.

Long Live the Sloth Queen

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Now THAT was refreshing!

After working hard all day yesterday in the yard, weeding and mowing I took a nice hot bath, an Aleve and tumbled into bed.
I awoke this morning feeling refreshed and ready...but still achy, so off to the hot tub I trundled. 

After soaking my tired muscles and relaxing in the soothing hot water I noticed that the bird feeders needed filling again and the water level in the pond was low.  There's always something to be done.

I decided that I could run the hose into the pond while clad in my towel and then sit in the arbor for a spell while it filled.  This was a good just didn't go that way.

Being too lazy to put the hose into the pond and then walk back to turn on the water, I decided to turn on the water first and walk quickly with the gushing hose to the pond and stick it in.  Good just didn't go that way.

Once the full force of the water filled the hose it reared up at the loose end like a cobra.  This was pretty amazing and kind of funny until it turned to blast me in the face.  I swear sometimes I feel like I'm living in a "I Love Lucy" sitcom.  Well, this took me by surprise to say the least and with eyes clamped shut I reached blindly with one hand for the end of the hose while holding the hose with the other.  Ooops...that's two hands now holding hose and none holding the towel.  Must not scream and draw attention to myself!

So, I tossed the hose to the ground to regain control of the towel.  Now it's become a twisting angry serpent spewing water every which way.
Keeping one hand firmly on my bunched up towel I grabbed the end of the offending hose with the other hand and wrestled it into the pond.  There.  Now I can go off and relax while the pond is filling...and let my heart rate drop back to normal.

I had been treated yesterday by my eye doctor for dry eye.  I'm not sure if he'd approve of my cure this morning, but they definitely weren't dry during the battle of the hose!

Long Live the Queen of the Pond

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rainy day reflections

I had really hoped to pull weeds today.  Well, not really hoped...but it needed to be done.  It's so hot in the full sun portion of my yard, which thankfully is the smallest area, that one needs to get out there at first light to work before it's blazing hot.

But, it's raining today...which is good, the plants need the water, but now I'm off schedule.  So I started to pluck off the spent blossoms and dead leaves of the African violets by my window.  As I did this mundane task I reflected on how we all need to pull off the dead, useless parts of our life to look our best and develop to the fullest of our abilities.  Instead of bemoaning the dead blossoms, focus on the new bright ones yet to come.  This little zen like task inspired me to go back downstairs and finish...yes, actually basement project.

After sweeping the floors and putting away the last of the few items laying about, it is done and looks great.  Everything on a shelf, nothing tossed carelessly on the floor.  What a good feeling.  After finding takers for the last of the unwanted items, I will clear out the garage and that job will be done also.  What a rush!  

Then I will be able to tackle those weeds and empty the composter and have that squared away.  But, by this time again the dishes are overflowing the sink, the laundry has piled up and I need to run the vacuum   Can it ever all be done at one time?  Are we meant to always live in chaos of some sort?

Long Life the Queen of the Balancing Act

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Forty hostas - what was I thinking?

As you can see by the photo the Pagoda Dogwood and forty hostas filled the car.  The man helping me load them never even blinked at Zelda sitting in the back.  She had hostas at her feet and all around her.

The forty hostas are lined up right now by the canned ham, where some of them will go eventually.  But right not they are just bunched together for ease of watering.  Many will go here and there to fill in areas that need something to keep weeds out.  They're actually large enough to divide, so I may split them when planting - but then again 80 just seems to many to deal with, so perhaps they'll just get dumped into the ground the way they are.

As I pulled weeds this morning I was thinking about how I found them before the funeral and I had a little "conversation" with Nancy.  I could hear her asking me "what the hell are you going to do with forty hostas?" and I answered "it seemed like a good idea at the time" and I could feel her smile.

One of my plans is to overwhelm the deer with the sheer numbers of them so they see it as an "all you eat buffet" and decide it's just too much and move on.  We'll see how that works.

During my visit to the neighbors for my cat watching duties I see that they prepared a surprise birthday party for me with cat treats and a gift.  I showed amazing restraint in leaving the gift there as it's not really my birthday yet.  But...I am very curious as to what Yada and SCZI got me, so I may have to open it tomorrow.  Those kitties! They are so sweet!

Long Live the Queen of Anticipation

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Everything's coming up roses

The summer heat has brought the roses to life.  

The Julia Child just makes me smile.  It has a nice scent, but not overpowering.  Yellow is such a happy color.

I never thought I'd enjoy roses, but I keep wanting to add more and more.

I added these rambling red ones to the archway trellis a year ago and they are still getting established.  

The left side seems to be doing better than the right, most likely as it gets more light over there.

Then there's the smaller ones I have tucked in here and there.  

One is by the front door so I walk past it on the way to the mailbox.

This little one is in the meditation garden and has smaller flowers, very dainty and sweet.  It's in one of the little sun pockets in that shadier garden.

Long Live the Queen of the Roses

Friday, July 8, 2011

Goodbye Nancy

In everyone's life there come special people who help you at pivotal times to change your life.  I was fortunate to have Nancy Schurhammer as one of those friends.  Nancy loved life and laughter and was one of the wackiest friends I've ever had...and I've had several.

I learned some of my greater life lessons from her.  While at training in Madison for a new position at Social Security, she took me to a dirty book store and an X-rated movie.  Quite an eye opener for this small town girl.  Even though she was younger than me, she was the big sister I never had.

While working with her I would use her relentlessly to tell her how unhappy I was and how horrible my marriage was.  She listened patiently for a long time and then helped me in the best way possible.

She very calmly sat me down and told me she would back me in whatever decision I made, stay and work on the marriage or leave and start over...but...and this was the big "but" - unless I actually DID something about the situation I was to shut up and quit bitching about it.  She did not want to hear it any more.  At first I was shocked and appalled at her callousness and it wasn't until later that I saw the quiet wisdom in her action.  Within 30 days I asked for a divorce.  My son told me later that it was one of "the happiest days of his life" to know there would be a change.

Had I not had that encounter I would probably still be in an abusive relationship and miserable and whining to everyone who would listen how awful my life was.  I never would have been able to be free to marry Left Brain...and that would have been tragic.  Maybe better for him...but not me.

She would drive the hour from her house to mine to visit and have lunch.  When I marveled at this, she asked "aren't you worth it?".  In this small way she helped me rebuild a battered self esteem.

Nancy battled for a long time with breast cancer.  She was a young girl when her mother died from this same illness.  Her father died within a year of her mother and she was raised by her older brother and his wife.  Her brother died at age 51.  Her goal was to reach 54 because nobody else in her family had ever achieved more than 53 years of age.  She met that goal.

All through the cancer she never complained about her ordeal.  She always preferred to find the humor in every situation.  When visiting her in the nursing home before her death she asked if I knew how to remove the passive restraint from her wheelchair.  I lied and said "no" and she looked at me silently, then grinned and said "shit".  I learned later from her son that she did make a break for it once...she might not be able to get out of the wheelchair, but she could push the buttons on the elevator and get to the street.  She was heading home when they found her.  Such spirit...right to the end.

Before the funeral I visited a garden center in Rochester and found a lovely pagoda dogwood that will be planted in my meditation garden in her memory.  I also came across a clearance sale and purchased forty hostas, completely filling the car with plants, but that's another story for another time.

I will miss the birthday card she normally sent to me this year.  And I won't be able to return it to her.  For years we would exchange the same card, crossing out the name and resigning it, only the envelopes were refreshed for the postal carriers consideration.  We figured it saved on buying cards and was one of many a fun gag.

Nancy - you were one of a kind and I'll never know another just like you.  I'll miss you.

Long Live the Queen 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Busy as a bee

I'm actually hoping for rain soon for an excuse to stay in the house and do quieter things...but the exercise is good for me.  I can relate to the bee buzzing from one thing to another.  These guys are my friends, unlike the one that stung me in the garden yesterday.  Sometimes I think they are getting irked at all the extra plants I'm putting in - more work for them I suppose. 

When I had the car loaded down with cardboard to take to recycling I stopped at Shopko to catch some sales.  I didn't have any place to put my new purchases, so Zelda ended up holding one of them.  Why is she in the car you might ask?  No, it's not to use the carpool only lanes, we don't have those here.  I didn't want to leave her sitting in the garage...although now it's nice and clean and would be okay.  And I certainly can't leave her out all the time or she'd get wet from the sprinklers or rain.  So the safest place appeared to be in the back seat.  The guy who loaded up the birdseed yesterday never said a word...but then again they know me, so he probably didn't think anything unusual about it.

If I ever do decide to stop working and sit down, I have a nice area in the arbor now to do so.  I do sit for just a few minutes each morning out here to reflect on my many blessings before starting my day.

Long Live the Queen of Contentment

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The progress continues

Each morning I start with a soak in the hot tub and then sit in the arbor and look at all the greenery and blooms.  It's the best way to start my day - calm and tranquil.  I'm looking for corners and spots that need a little oomph so I can check out plant sales later today.

On my little trek through the meditation garden there's one spot where the Quaking Aspen is low and threatens to poke my eyes out.  It occurred to me that this is the perfect opportunity for another archway, so I will check Menards this morning to see what might be cheap and suitable.  It will not only hold the branches up high enough to avoid injury, but provide yet another place for a climbing vine.

I also need to replenish the bird seed after the last raccoon attack.  The neighbor told me he just killed a couple recently, so maybe he got the ones that have been raiding me.  The Fourth of July weekend is such a good time for this as the other noise disguises the sound of the gunshots.

The lilies are starting to open...those  not yet eaten by the deer anyway.  They are such harbingers of joy.

Today I will learn how to glaze the clay creations I made at Joyce Diveley's Clay Camp for Grown-Ups.  I can't wait to see my projects again and see if they look as good as I thought they did a month ago.

Long Live the Queen of Abundance

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Heat and the weekend

Sometimes extreme heat can be your best friend, at least on the Fourth of July weekend.  I'm not a lover of sudden loud noises, so the Fourth with all the firecrackers and fireworks can be really disturbing.  We have neighbors who love shooting these off and there's nothing wrong with it...I just don't enjoy it.  So, with the high head right now the windows are closed and the AC is cranked up.  Ah...the quiet.  I've slept better in the last few days than I ever have.

Now, some of that might also be from my daily activities.  I took some time to reflect on what was bugging me the most and it turned out to be the basement and garage...where everything just seems so out of control and corners filled with the smell of mice in-habitation. So...I bravely went into each and every corner of both and have removed places where nesting was occurring and swept and washed floors.  Of course I also rearranged shelving and the's just what I do.  Both areas are looking good and I have nine bags of trash sitting out on the side of the road waiting for pick up.

Today I will finish up the basement and then will tackle the gardens this afternoon when it cools off a bit.  Temperatures are still in the mid - high 80's and I just can't handle the sunny areas, but there's lots of shade to work in where I live.

Another plus of this is the weight loss.  All I can handle is water while working outside, so meals get skipped and then I'm too hot and too tired to bother to eat.  So, I generally have a little cereal in the morning to jump start the metabolism and then work in a large lunch about noon to one.  Supper lately has been watermelon and fresh veggies and then it's early to bed to read, rest and recover.  It's a good life!

Once this is all completed I will tackle the living quarters, catch up on the laundry and paperwork and will be living good.  There's something about removing the clutter and unnecessary items in one's life...including unwanted fat and weight.  It feels very liberating.

This is my month of cleaning and clearing to start my Sixties at the end of the month by living my life the way I really want to - clean, unencumbered and on my own terms.  It's good to grow old!

Long Live the Queen of Total Control

Monday, July 4, 2011

First day home

What a joy to wake up in your own home....even if there's a lot of work waiting for you just outside the garage.  The day was hot and humid but we got the canned ham unloaded and parked on it's landing pad, which fits now.  The blocks all held and now I can begin to landscape around it....when it's a bit cooler.

I was a bit worried about the Weight Watcher meeting since I'd been taking in many more calories than normal and not terribly active.  But, I was pleasantly surprised to see a loss of 3.8 pounds, which sets me at 15.8 pounds total loss.  What a relief!  The leader asked me what helped me to succeed and I have to credit Left Brain for that.  When you're cooped up 24/7 with your spouse it's a lot harder to snack and cheat.  

My chores today were to clean the spa filters and the pond and get both of those running again.  I pulled a few hand full of weeds and took a walk around the garden to see what was blooming.  All the astilbes are in bloom now and look great, as well as the roses.  Then I picked the garden so we could snack on fresh veggies for supper.

After running the car through the car wash and having lunch at Panera, I did some grocery shopping and returned home to continue laundry and dishes.  It's amazing what a mess you can make while on vacation!  The house looked so nice when I left.  But all in time...a little each day and it will be back to it's normal self.

As I write this a scarlet tanager has landed on one of the sticks by the pond and bathe.   I think I need to see what's left in the garden centers that I can add to some empty spots.  There's not many any more, but each plant means less grass and weeds to pull, so I like to pack em in there.

Long Live the Queen of Domestic Chores