Monday, July 17, 2017

Flying to Minnesota for a Visit

I was getting lots of requests to come and visit for just a while and since it is 110 degrees (on a good day) it sounded like a plan to me as well.

Don't get me wrong, the heat isn't bothering me at all.  It's very much like winter in the north.  You are uncomfortable for brief periods between the house and the car and the store but it's not that bad. 

In the north I'd be struggling with boots, gloves, hats, scarves and coats.  Here I'm just warm for a bit, and I like that much better.

I fly out on Tuesday, the day I complete my Whole 30 diet, so can relax my diet for a bit during the stay but I plan to stick to it as much as possible to continue the progress I'm making.

It's another first for me to arrange my own flight and transportation to the airport.  I'm feeling so grown up!
Since I'll have to pay for a bag any way I plan to stuff my new suitcase to just under the allowable weight with clothes that I'll be leaving in Minnesota for next year.

My neighbor will be watching the cats for me and it has been such a joy having her across the street.  We talk almost every morning on my deck while her dog tries to coax the cats into playing with him. So far he's just been rebuffed with hisses, but maybe one of these days.

Our visits are like therapy sessions for both of us as we navigate our new lives in Carriage Manor.  I've been here a little longer and had the advantage of having Sister Mary show us the ropes early in our stay, so I've been able to fill her in on things.

We teach each other many things and share similar interests and it's nice to have a girlfriend I can see in person and talk with on a regular basis.  That does not mean my other girlfriends scattered about the country are less important, but it's good to be forming some new ones as well.

If it were not for her I wouldn't even consider leaving my babies for such a long period.  I'm still nervous about it, but she says she'll send me texts and photos during my absence to see they are fine.

I'll keep you posted with photos of the Minnesota digs when I arrive.

Long Live the Queen

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Visit to Our New Vet Clinic

Now that my doctors have been located in our new area, it was time to find a vet for the kitties.  My first visit was to Banfield Pet Hospital that is associated with PetSmart.  But, I hated having to haul them through the store and past all the dogs roaming around for their nail trimming and rabies shots.  Then I received a recommendation from one of my Thursday night out ladies to try 1st Pet.

1st Pet is a 24/7 facility, so if an emergency should arise I could take them in directly and they'd have all their records, so I took them in for a nail trimming to check it out.  I liked what I saw and registered their information at this facility.

This is a cat friendly facility and there are two rooms set aside just for cats that no dogs ever walk through to eliminate all scent.  Much nicer than at PetSmart!

George needed to go back in to have his teeth checked and they did some blood work to check on his liver enzymes, which seem to be higher than they should.  

Dr Waldo asked me if I wanted some water and without thinking I said that George was probably too stressed out to drink anyway.  He smiled and let me know the offer was for me and that he wouldn't even serve it to me in a bowl.  Duh...I just had a Betty White (as Rose Nyland) moment.  As soon as he left the room I turned to George and asked "Where's Waldo?" but he was not in a humorous mood and just glared at me from his crate.

George was whisked away to the inner sanctum and one of the ladies brought in the "mini bar" for my enjoyment.  Of course, with being on the Whole30 diet I couldn't partake of much of the offerings and I always carry my own water bottle...bummer.  There was some nice chocolate at the bottom of the basket.  The popcorn looked the safest choice for when I can have grains again so I took this to enjoy later.

During the absence I was able to enjoy the Catster magazines provided for reading material while obsessing over the untouchable chocolate.  I was never meant to be this good!

The liver enzymes are still elevated so I'll bring him back in 4 - 6 weeks for another testing and if it's ok they will proceed with his dental cleaning.  If not we need to figure out what's going on with his liver.  I contacted the vet clinic from Wisconsin to have them fax the records to the new clinic.

It feels good to have all my doctors, dentists and vets lined up in my new home.

Long Live the Queen of Homesteading

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Deck is Complete

I struggled with trying to make everything fit on the deck and when my neighbor Sandy was over one morning she looked at the huge metal shelf and said "that has to go".  She was so right.

So in the spirit of moving things around (which I love so much), the heavy shelving went to the side of the house to store trash cans, and other sundry items.  It will be a nice spot for Left Brain to hang his bike helmet, gloves and sweaty clothes when back from a long ride.

I'm in love with these little tables to tuck into corners.

I found a smaller, cuter baker's rack at Hobby Lobby and this works perfectly for my decorative items that I never had space for.  It will double as a serving area for snacks when we have people over to visit or play cards.

I made a little sitting area at the front of the deck using the table that used to be inside the house and the two extra chairs from the dining room.

A new table cloth was added to the table to continue my brown, orange, yellow and red theme going on out here.

The string of orange lights add a little festivity to the area.

I found that an over the door hanger fit on my pvc pipe "wall" and so I added this little planter with fake flowers on my "cat proof" wall.

A cheap little shoe rack has been added to the front entryway to keep them organized.

This classy gate to the deck now has an open/closed sign.

It's starting to come together nicely and the cats and I enjoy the deck at about 5:00 am when you can actually be outside for any length of time.

Long Live the Decked Out Queen

Side note:  by the time this blog is being posted it has been rearranged already.  This will come to no surprise to anyone who knows me.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

My Little Smart TV

I've always wanted a small TV in the kitchen area so I can watch my shows when Left Brain is commandeering the remote in the Arizona room.

I picked up a 24" smart TV thinking it would sit on the kitchen counter, but it didn't really fit, so I put it on the hutch.

This works nicely as I can lay on the couch and watch TV with a couple of cats snuggled next to me.  I know...not everyone is lucky enough to have a couch in the kitchen.  It's an odd spot for it, but it's so comfortable I can't part with it.

I did add the washable pet cover, which is a bit too large, but it keeps the cat hair off better.
this was the first one...too little

There wasn't any satellite connected to this one, so I used it mostly to watch TV from Amazon Prime.  Although I'm finding it hard to find time to watch any TV, even in the summer it seems my days are overly full.

Well, one thing lead to another and I contacted Dish to see about having a box in this room so I have full access to everything.

Now that I have everything at my fingertips, I decided that this one was too small for when I'm sitting at the table.  This will become more important during football season when it's our turn to host.

So, being the considerate person I am I exchanged the 24" screen for a 39" one, because that was the largest size that would fit in the space.

Aaaah...Queen of my castle...and the remote

Long Live the Queen

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

She's Everywhere

I was in the process of seeing if my small black bins would fit inside my new bookcase for storage purposes when I turned and....

there she was.

Yup.  Everything fits nicely inside.

Long Live the Queen of Cats

Sunday, July 9, 2017

I'm having too much fun decorating my little nest!

A friend of mine was here recently for a week to set up the place they purchased and I was able to assist her in a couple of projects and joined her on a shopping trip.  On an impulse I purchased this canvas...I didn't know it would end up being the inspiration piece for my Arizona room.

Watching her transform her space inspired me and soon I found myself looking at my space with new eyes.

Another friend in the park was selling his lazy boy chair for a very small price, so I scooped it up quickly to replace the odd blue chair that has seen much better days.

I removed the heavy wood end tables and replaced them with some smaller fun pieces.

tray for near Left Brain's chair

couldn't resist the turquoise side table for by my chair

little white accent table to coordinate with the fireplace/entertainment center
this fun little table is by the front entry

My latest (and only large purchase) was this gorgeous bookcase for that dead space on the wall behind the recliners. It works nicely as a charging station as well as providing additional storage.

I've been enjoying this journey immensely and it's all coming together nicely now.

Long Live the Queen of the Decorated Castle 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Entertainment center with fireplace

Since I was struggling with trying to arrange the furniture in our little Arizona room it finally occurred to me to remove the little fireplace and buy an entertainment center that had a fireplace built into it.

I found one I liked the looks of (and the price) at Home Depot so placed the order.

When I arrived I uncrated it outside and carried the pieces into the Arizona room, where they sat for a few days while I mentally prepared myself for the task of constructing it.

It wasn't as white as I had thought it would be, but the color goes nice with the rugs in the room. 

The fireplace is nicer than the other one we had and I think we'll really enjoy this in the winter time.

The small fireplace was moved into the dining room where it serves as additional countertop space.

I just love shuffling things around!

Long Live the queen

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Whole 30 meals

When people ask about this Whole 30 diet and I explain that I can't have any alcohol, sugar, dairy, grains or legumes they ask "what CAN you eat?"

There's actually a great deal that can be eaten on this diet, it just takes more planning and cooking.  Let's just say I don't eat out much any more.

Here are some of my favorite new recipes.

This is the Thai Red Beef Curry.  It uses cheap charcoal steak that is cooked for 7 to 8 hours in the crock pot and is soooo yummy.

For a fish meal I cooked this coconut crusted fish with veggies.  It's just cod topped with a mixture of almond meal, unsweetened flaked coconut, shallots and coconut oil.  I baked it in my nuwave oven and it couldn't have been any easier to prepare and is so flavorful.

I always have a bowl of salad ready to go for a quick meal, including for breakfast.  This is the Napa slaw, the first salad I fixed up from my cookbook. It's so fresh and crunchy.

I'm finding that I really appreciate the flavors of the foods now that the sugar has been eliminated.  Everything tastes so fresh and vibrant.

I spend a lot more time in the kitchen these days, but on my "prep" days when I'm slicing and dicing and getting stuff ready for the week I just put on some of my favorite music and dance around while I work, or I pick something to watch on my TV in the kitchen. 

Life is good.

Long Live the Queen of the Whole 30 Diet

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Book Report: 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life

Okay, it was the title of this that caught my attention.  This book is written by Andrea Owen and she has overcome an eating disorder, alcoholism and divorce to emerge as a powerhouse in the life-coaching world.

In her introduction she made a statement that stirred me:
"I had spent our entire relationship, all thirteen years, suffocating myself. Building a life around someone else because I was simply desperate for love. Was it his fault?  No."

She then proceeds with the advice that you must take responsibility for your life.  A simple yet profound statement.  She deals a lot with how your attitude forms your being and how important it is to take negative thoughts and turn them into committed beliefs.  An example of this is to take the thought of "I'm fat, lazy and unattractive" into "I would love to lose weight by eating better and exercising."

In her section of allowing yourself to be alone I learned that personal autonomy is imperative for a healthy relationship.  To get to know yourself without anyone else, to find out what you really want in relationships, your life and your future.  And if your relationships are less than perfect it could be that you don't know yourself yet.

Here is a segment of what she promotes:

  • Take responsibility for yourself.
  • Forgive yourself for your past.
  • Own your story and at the same time love yourself for it.
  • Set healthy boundaries.
  • Go after what you want.
  • Believe you are worth what you want.
  • Take care of your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
  • Accept praise and compliments.
One of her nuggets was "don't complain about anything you're not willing to take action on".  This reminded me of a time in my past when a dear friend, after listening to me complain for the hundredth time how awful my husband was (not Left Brain but his predecessor)gave me the following tough love speech. "I will love you whatever choice you make, stay with him or divorce him, but until you're ready to actually do something about the situation... I don't want to hear about it anymore".  Wow.  I'd lost my sounding board for my pity party and had to put on my big girl panties.  And I did, I asked for a divorce within a week of that announcement.

I've always been a creative person and several friends have encouraged me to return to my sewing and dollmaking, something creative.  She points out in this book that "What might be creative for you is actually creating yourself. Creating that person you want to be, the person you were meant to be. And know that by doing that, you're actually creating your own revolution of sorts- by standing up for who you are and not who you think you should be".  This gave me a tingle since part of my exile to Arizona was to separate from being part of a couple to living alone to figure out just who the heck I was.  I'd lost sight of that while raising kids, caring for elderly parents, working at a job and being married.

At the end of her book she asks this question:
"What if, at the end of your life, there is a questionnaire. Which box do you want to check?
___I made everyone happy by not expressing my passionate opinion because I didn't want to offend anyone.
___I expressed my opinion and it meant something big to me.

This trying to find out who you are and what you really want is hard least for me.  I envy those who have clear thoughts on the matter...I've always been a slow learner.  But I think at age 65 it's time to work it out.  Wish me luck.

Long Live the Evolving Queen