Posted in Room and Board

My Week of PTO, Part 5

Friday, Day 5

It is hard to believe we had snow just five days ago!  Friday was a put-down-the-windows-and-drive-with-the-sunroof-open kind of day!  I had lunch with a friend, watched a couple movies, and celebrated the annual spring puppy-poo pick-up!

However, I think you will agree when I say that my puttering has improved.  Here are two items handmade in shop classes and given to me years ago.  I have been meaning to paint them forEVER.  My daughter, who is 26 years old, made the shelf unit, and the candle-holder was made by Bubba’s son a couple years ago.


As per suggested by Lois at Living Simply Free, I primed them both with Killz, which I already had in the house, then bought latex paint to finish them off.


I painted the candle holder black and the cabinet white to match the bathroom.  After the first coats, I set them in the window to dry.  Then I went outside to soak up that gorgeous weather!

DSCN1205The second coats were added in the afternoon.  The shelf knob was purchased five years ago.  I stored it in the drawer so I would always know where it was when I was ready.  Hey, I am a very organized procrastinator!

Posted in Fun

My Week of PTO, Part 4

Thursday, Day 4:

DSCN1192_2My travels proved to me, once again,
that serendipity is anywhere one cares to find it . . .


Lists, laptop, latte and a lemon muffin began my day.  One does not embark on a journey like this without a certain amount of planning.  There was also a fair bit of bill-paying and catching up on work email (ug).

a local coffee shop
a local coffee shop

Trader Joe’s is always a great place to lighten your mood while picking up a few things for dinner.  Smiling while grocery shopping?  Who knew?

Trader Joe's
Trader Joe’s

Whole Foods — another one of my favorite field trips!  This place is a feast for the eyes AND the tummy!


While I was there, I picked up a salad for lunch, and this AMAZING cookie.  If you take all my favorite cookie ingredients and moosh them into a cookie dough, you would have this cookie.  There were chocolate chips, at least two different nuts, dried fruits, brown sugar and oatmeal.  I’m not sure what they called it, but I call it YUM.


The next stop was at a little shop called the Bicycle Chain.  I test rode two different bikes, and oh my, they were the difference between driving a nice sedan and a sports car.  So were the prices!  I bought a pair of riding gloves.  They had something called lobster gloves, which I had never heard of before.  I bought human gloves.

Lobster Gloves
Lobster Gloves

On my test ride, I happened upon a collection, the likes of which I had never seen before.  It was a garden of carousel figures and dolls — like something from a nightmare.  Yet, I couldn’t help but smile.  What feeling does it evoke in you?


You have to hand it to Menards.  They make a trip to the hardware store look like a day at at Six Flags.  Except there’s only Four Flags.  That should be your first clue.

Get your tickets!
Get your tickets!

Reduce, reuse, recycle!  I feel lighter when I can remove clutter from my home.

Half Price Books
Half Price Books

With the cash I pocketed, I headed up to the mountains!


WAIT . . . are there really mountains in Minnesota?


Finally, I picked up some cloth napkins at Target in an effort to cut down on my use of paper.  These are much prettier, too!


The little curiosities of life abound.  Some are noticed, most go overlooked.  The rhythm of life keeps me at a steady pace; my paths are worn bare.  If wonders exist, they have long since been discovered, and turned mundane.  I took a different route Thursday and found some things and learned some things, and challenged my perspective on others.


Posted in Room and Board

My Week of PTO, Part 1

Monday weather
Monday’s Weather

Monday, Day 1:

I awoke early out of habit.  Every woman knows the vacation doesn’t start until you’re alone in the house.

Bubba:  Maybe I should take the day off.
Me:  No, you have to go to work.
Bubba:  You don’t want me to stay home with you?
Me:  You’ve been home with me all weekend.  You go get ready for work.

I had no idea how much goes on here between the time I leave for work and the time he leaves for work.  There are power drinks, moving of furniture, setting aside of animals . . . and then the workout videos come on.  There is grunting, and panting, and a lot of testosterone build-up.

I spent this time dividing my life into 8 segments on a pad of legal paper:

Physical Health
Mental Health

This gives me guideline for goal setting, something I’m not very good at.  There is one area I have deliberately decided to avoid; career.  I’m on vacation, for crying out loud!  Even though this would be a great time to update my resume and LinkedIn profile, I just don’t feel the need to wreck my whole week by thinking about work for one minute.

With this in mind, I made a list longer than I could accomplish in a month of Sundays, and set out to chip away at it.  My car was in getting some work done ($500 worth), so I began puttering around the house.

Puttering is something I am practicing just in case I retire before I die.  The following items were checked off my list:

  • Fix Bed Caster
  • Make Oat Bran Muffins
  • Move the Fake Plant
  • Make an XBox Profile
  • Steam Clean the Couch
  • Watch the Netflix Movie I’ve had for two months.
  • Tear the Bed Apart and Wash the Bedskirt, Mattress Pad, and Freshen the Pillows
  • 30 Minutes of Yoga

You may or may not be aware that I am working on the transition to some natural cleaning products.  This requires some experimentation.  I have decided that I like vinegar for cleaning the kitchen floor, shining faucets, and possibly as a fabric softener when sprayed on a damp washcloth and thrown in with the load.  However, I have to be extremely careful around Bubba’s things.  He has a twitchy nose.  I was very careful not to use vinegar on any of his things in the laundry.  And yet, this conversation took place at bedtime:

Bubba:  (Sniffing)
Me:  What?  What are you smelling?
Bubba:  (Sniffing the blankets, then the pillows, then the mattress)
Me:  (Defensively)  What?  What is wrong?
Bubba:  (Crawling across bed to sniff me)
Me:  I didn’t wash anything you’re sniffing.  What do you smell?
Bubba:  I smell vinegar.
Me:  OK, I didn’t wash anything you’re sniffing with vinegar.
Bubba:  Ok.  (Sniffing the blankets)
Me:  WHAT?  I don’t smell anything!  Go to sleep!

Posted in Room and Board


This is what happens when you are so excited about a post and try to whip it out in about 10 minutes flat on your lunch break.  Yesterday I posted about Lois’ fantastic natural cleaning post, to which I will be referring back often.  Except I gave the link for her wonderful Friday Favorites.  MAYBE you figured it out, or maybe you were just too polite to tell me, but it does give me a reason to repost with the correct link.  Help Lois from Living Simply Free save the planet and keep a couple coins in your pocketbook at the same time.

Change the World Wednesday, Cleaning House / Living Simply Free

Posted in Room and Board, Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home


“Home is the nicest word there is.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Daily Post / Weekly Photo Challenge:  Home

Rarasaur  / Weekly Photo Challenge – Home
West Coast Kayaker / Weekly Photo Challenge:  Home
The Polar Panda / Weekly Photo Challenge:  Home
Uwana / Weekly Photo Challenge:  Home
The Voice From the Backseat / Weekly Photo Challenge:  Home
Catatan Kecil / Weekly Photo Challenge:  Home
To Mother Earth, with Love / Weekly Photo Challenge:  Home
The Adventures of Inigo Boy / Weekly Photo Challenge:  Home
Valdecor / Puppies Galore
Fojap / Weekly Photo Challenge:  Home
Polly’s Space / Weekly Photo Challenge–Home
Jen writes, too! / Weekly Photo Challenge:  Home

Posted in Lore

Here, in Oz

As one of the most referenced stories of all time, it is not uncommon to discover you are in the Land of Oz.  You may long to go “over the rainbow,” find that you are “not in Kansas anymore,” direct someone to “follow the yellow brick road,” take a day trip with “the munchkins,” or be watching out for “Lions and Tigers and Bears! — Oh MY!”

Never having done so, I decided to read the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.  I had been told it is mildly different from the film(s), and that is true.  Somewhere in the middle, I started to find symbolism relevant to certain philosophies.  I did a search, and it turns out there are as many different parallels for the Wizard of Oz as there are readers.  This is mine.

The Yellow Brick Road:  This is my journey through mid-life.  I’ve come from the gray prairie of Kansas, where nothing changes, day in or day out.  I was tossed from a sudden storm into a land where I recognize nothing, including the image in the mirror.  Dorothy “knew very well she was only an ordinary little girl who had come by the chance of a cyclone into a strange land.”

Dorothy:  I play the lead role in my own analogy.  Dorothy is looking for a home; comfort, dscn0373shelter, rest, family, refuge.  She learns early in the story that she has taken for granted the comfort of tedium.  Dorothy explains to the Scarecrow, “No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful.  There is no place like home.”

Toto:  “It was Toto that made Dorothy laugh, and saved her from growing as gray as her other surroundings.”  Toto is my ego; my spirit and psyche.  He is my intuition that acts without thinking.  He may bark and even bite, but we are inseparable.  “Toto did not really care whether he was in Kansas or the Land of Oz so long as Dorothy was with him.”  At one point Dorothy and her companions find they are lost.  “Toto found that for the first time in his life he was too tired to chase a butterfly that flew past his head.  So he put out his tongue and panted and looked at Dorothy as if to ask what they should do next.”

Scarecrow:  My three chums are my alter egos.  Each searching for something different.  My scarecrow searches for a brain; wisdom.

Tin Woodman:  The second companion is found stiff from rust.  He searches for a heart; passion, tenderness, empathy, humanity.

Cowardly Lion:  Lastly, the Lion joins the other three, seeking courage.  The Scarecrow asks the Lion, “Have you brains?”  The Lion answers “I suppose so.  I’ve never looked to see.”

The Tin Woodman challenges the Scarecrow on his longing for a brain.  “But once I had brains and a heart also; so, having tried both, I should much rather have a heart.”  After some time, the two fellows get into it.

“All the same,” said the Scarecrow, “I shall ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one.”

“I shall take the heart,” returned the Tin Woodman; “for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.”

As readers, we know that courage, brains, and heart are most effective when used together, so the three are devoted friends.

Obstacles:  Every excursion has its obstacles.  Dorothy’s is wrought with dark enchanted forests, and deadly fields of poppies.  Doubts and anxiety loom about like a Wicked Witch, cackling at me and humiliating me.  Using the brains, heart and courage I didn’t know I had, I ease myself through.  Friends support me like Glinda the Good Witch, working magic to bolster my confidence and making me feel safe.

The Emerald City:  I’ve already been to the Emerald City and it’s not all it was cracked up to be.  It is not really made of Emerald.  I have seen the man behind the curtain.  dscn0400I now know the wisdom, passion, and courage that I need to find peace already exist inside of me, or at least as much as they ever will.   However, this is not the end of my journey.  To find my way home, it seems I still need to kill the wicked doubt and anxiety that have tormented me all along the way.

Am I to find that once I accomplish this seemingly impossible act, it will be as simple as clicking my heels together?  Perhaps . . . Perhaps.

Read more about philosophies of The Wizard of Oz

Read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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