How to Do Laundry Like a Boss

Everyone knows how to do laundry, right? Wrong. Furthermore,  the way in which a person accomplishes this mundane, yet essential never-ending task can affect their life and well-being greatly! Keeping the laundry bin uncluttered and flowing towards the closet, is a fantastic first step towards a more organized and successful personal world.

But it is here that I must digress. Although today, I can do laundry like a boss, my life was not always like this. What I am about to reveal is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I promise.

My Dirty Laundry Confessions 

Once upon a time in Collegeville, I regularly played a game called, “See how long I can go without having to sit in a laundromat doing my laundry”. Because  my college was near my hometown, someone was always going in that direction, and my laundry bag would hitch a ride. My mother would wash my clothes, buy my clean laundry a bus ticket, then let me know what time my laundry’s bus would arrive in Collegeville.

Yes. This did happen.

The summer after my sophomore year, I decided to spend the summer working at the beach.

Dilemma: How would I do my laundry?

Being 15 hours away, the bus ticket system was impractical. One solution to my dilemma was to  buy more underwear and t-shirts. But, it was obvious, even to my highly- motivated-washateria-avoiding self, I could not last three months without languishing at the local laundromat.

When, at last, I was forced to do my laundry, it was such a landmark day that I asked my roommate to capture the moment for posterity. And, in the day of 36 pictures to a roll of film, the following photo proves all-the-more what a watershed moment this was in my young life.

My First Laundry 1979

The size of detergent selected vs. the sheer volume to be washed communicates that this was a one-time, mid-summer, not-to-be-repeated event. In the picture, I’m laughing at myself because I can’t believe I am finally having to do this. (My roommates are not believing I never have.)   It looks as if my clothes are gonna occupy ALL the laundromat’s washers, and, as I recall, they did.

If I told the truth about what happened next, you would not believe it could happen. Even, my today-self has trouble believing what transpired. For brevity’s sake, I will say the event did not end well and was disorganization to the max.

You SERIOUSLY Don’t Want to Know

 

And, then came marriage. Apartment living in those primitive days did not include the washer/dryer combo. Most apartment dwellers had to carry their laundry two miles in the snow uphill while slaying dinosaurs. I’m that old.

Our first apartment, however, was “fancy” and had its own communal washer/dryer set-up, literally two doors away from us.

Still.

Idleness in a hot room listening to the swishing and tumbling of clothes was not my thing.  I would run back and forth checking on the clothes. Sometimes when I would get side-tracked and not return on time, people would rudely toss my clothes aside or, worse yet, once stole an entire load of “whites”.

More reasons to despise doing laundry!

Soon our first house came. My parents gifted the washer/dryer set-up. Yay! My life was transformed… kinda. I was always good at the washing/drying part, but never so good at the putting away part.

Our guest bedroom was perpetually the clean laundry room. Piles and piles of clean laundry. But, hey, points for the clean part, right? And, points for separating the clothes into logical piles: unmatched socks, my clothes, his clothes, etc.

Enter a new puppy who sneaked into the clean clothes room and had a very fun day systematically biting my husband’s Egyptian cotton dress shirts’ pearl buttons in half from the small button-down collar buttons to the tip of his shirt-tail, including the extra button sewn inside and the cuffs.

All of his dress shirts. All of the buttons.

Could THIS Sweet Pup Have Done That?

 

But, this button-eating event, accompanied with the husband’s displeasure, did not cure me, I simply made sure that going forward, the door was always closed.

Next came three boys and grade school and the daily struggle to get to school on time.

Fortieth Bday & Still Struggling with Laundry Probz

The “clean clothes room” system began to break down. I got tired of pawing through piles vs. the clock ticking toward tardiness. My otherwise organized and neat self did not like my unaccomplished laundry self.

I  disliked the daily, panicky feeling of searching for sock matches.

Finally, I knew I needed to make some drastic changes in my laundry-keeping world. I am so glad I did. The changes I made keep me organized to this very day.

Come back next time to learn how you, too, can do laundry like a boss.

Through reading my journey, and knowing a transformational story will be coming, it is my hope that you will be both encouraged and inspired to see how taking charge of this seemingly innocuous life skill can bring much peace and harmony into your daily life.

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Late Fall View from the Mountain

First of all… Can I talk about my first eggs?!!!

Six months ago, when I began my chicken-keeping journey, I had no idea how exciting it would be to unexpectedly discover these three eggs!

Hen house building materials + sweat equity provided by my awesome husband makes these eggs worth about $1500 each.

Wow. I’m afraid to eat them.

My First Eggs!!!

 

Our first hard freeze was coming, and  I wanted to winterized one raised bed. Under the great set-up (pictured below) are my arugula plants. Yummy!!!! I am obsessed with arugula and spinach salads.

My Best Arugula Salad Recipe:

To the arugula and spinach mix add seasonal fruit (blueberries, pears, apples, or strawberries…usually just one type of fruit) + glazed pecans or a packet of mixed nut salad topper + blue cheese (or feta or goat) crumbles + creamy balsamic dressing (No HFS dressing! I like Paul Newman’s because it is easily found in most grocery stores.) and, for a more hearty meal, add chicken.

Here’s a great hint: Place salad ingredients in a large bowl, add a small amount of dressing and toss. This method allows me to eat tons less dressing, and it tastes much better than dressing-drenched lettuce. Arugula is so flavorful, I can eat it plain.

A great testimonial from a girl who eats M and M’s with regularity.

I  feel like a murderous gardener when forced to pull perfectly alive and growing plants out of their beds. With the 2018 summer growing season officially ending at HC Farm, the question became:

What to do with green tomatoes left on the vines?

My son fried the BEST fried green tomatoes (My first!) which tasted very close to fried pickles, slightly less sour. I learned the secret is to slice the tomatoes as thin as possible. Next, I canned green tomato pickle relish.

Which brings me to the 1995 fruity-tile in my kitchen. With each Fixer Upper episode, I fervently prayed for Joanna to help me out, ” Please do fruity-tile. Please do fruity-tile” was my chant. My daughter-in-law, too young to remember the fruity-tile era, tells me they are not so bad.

But… I know the truth.

I also know the truth of the back-breaking removal of these tiles. Ain’t gonna happen.

Green Tomato Pickle Relish + Vintage 1995 Fruity-Tile

Enter Anna Bond.

Behold, my new Rifle Paper Co. Loloi runners. They perfectly match the dark blue color I had just painted my kitchen island + look at that awesome fruity-tile pairing.

This runner makes my kitchen look as amazing… as a 1995 fruity-tile could hope to look.

Unless… Joanna would do a kitchen with fruity-tile.

With the recent announcement  the Magnolia duo will return with their own cable channel, it could still happen! I’m holding out for my fruity-tile miracle.

Rifle Paper Co X Loloi Runner

And… here are my green children safely tucked in for the winter. They usually do quite well on my enclosed, climate-controlled porch. I love my herbs!

My Green Children

What is this???? We had a dusting of snow and sleet, Highly unusual for an Arkansas November. Winter seems to have hopscotched over autumn.

The end of Daylight Savings Time spirals me into my yearly seasonal sadness. All the light goes away. I am less productive.

I think about M and M’s more than I should.

Time to consider organizing my house + Drinking more green tea + Painting the last of the 1995-era-color bedrooms + More calligraphy practice + Teaching Mr. Kite (the Art Studio Bunny) a new trick + Dreaming of that Peloton Bike

 

Whaaaaa??? Snow in November!

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How You Can Alter Your Life’s Path

Forty years ago, almost to the day, I went into the woods with a blank sheet of paper, my trademark red Paper Mate Flair pen, and a willingness to open  my life to truth.

I have been known to save the most obscure things of my life. Somewhere, that blank sheet of paper, thoughtfully filled with red-ink honesty, is buried inside an attic foot locker.

I did, however, find the notes from the speech which prompted my life-altering introspection.

Life Changing Notes

The perplexing (at the time) story of Martha was a true lesson for my young college self. According to the notes I had taken that October day, I had been challenged by the Fall Retreat speaker to:

1.) Look up scripture.

2.) Ask Jesus for action points to change my life.

3.) Tell God about higher priorities (than Him) in my life – Ask God to make me want to   change.

So, I made a list of my most important “life things”. And, all I remember is that God did not make it to the top ten. I remember being surprised at the honest results of my “self survey”.

Honesty has a way of illuminating things we don’t truly want to face.

Sitting on a log, in the woods, with no one else around, I began to prayerfully relinquish my life’s most important priorities one-by-one to the God who already knew what a self-centered wretch I was. I truly don’t remember this relinquishment being a painful exercise. I had already been through some depressing days of realizing how futile my earthly life had become.

Pause here.

Does anyone in our fast-paced, self-absorbed, living only-for-the-moment Instagram universe even ask any more, “What is the purpose of my life?” and “Why am I even spinning around this globe?” Sadly, I think not. But, if you are taking the time to read this post, maybe you are one of the few left who even cares…

to live a life of purpose beyond yourself.

Please, please, PLEASE do not think I am better than any one else because I pondered the meaning of life and someone else has not. This chapter of my life was a long process which God Himself led me through; it had nothing to do with me. Trust me. If I had to look at that list right now, I would most likely gag at my superficial, self-centeredness. And, for real, if you saw my list, I don’t know if you would ever read another word I ever write.

Whew. Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?

Pause again for a beautiful symbol of God’s light illuminating my dark, purposeless world.

Beautiful Fall Morning

Back to the log: Simply put, I  admitted to God what a pitiful job of running my own life I had been doing and asked Jesus to take control. On that autumn day, I understood that Christ had paid for all the sinful, self-centered attitudes of my heart when He died on the cross. I also understood that as I was accepting His payment for my sin debt because, no matter how good I could be or how hard I could work (Ahhhh… back to Martha again.), I could never earn God’s favor, and I would always fall short of God’s perfect standard.

(Refer to previous blog post.)

Did you do the homework of making the list of your life’s priorities?  Now is the time to take an even more honest look at your, hopefully, already honest assessment.

I encourage you to prayerfully give all that stuff to God. Ask Him to take it all and bump Himself up to the top.

I have no idea what your list contains. Some of it might be awesome, great things! Everything in my life took on a new purpose when I let it all fall beneath the great plan that Christ has for me.

Paul sums it up much better than I ever could in Romans 12:1-2:

“I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

What a beautiful October day it was when I realized I needed to present my life before Christ!  I was changed from the inside out and was finally able to know God’s good, acceptable and perfect will for my life. I finally understood why I was even living and breathing!

The actual photo from that actual day… and, yes… my mouth has been wide open for 40+ years… sorry.

October 21, 1978

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” – 2Corinthians 5:17

Guess What??? If you haven’t noticed already, I have A LOT to say that will really help your life.Let’s get you up the mountain so YOU can enjoy the view.

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My Current View from the Mountain

My Little GF
More Fall Splendor
Arriving at HC Farm
From The Upper Veranda
2018 The Lovliest of Falls

How To Live With Purpose

Having promised you a lot in my blog’s  intro description with statements like: How can you live with purpose? How can you know why you are even spinning around this globe? The time has come for me to deliver.

You may already know the answers to the aforementioned questions. But, maybe, you are like me when I began to think introspective, deep, whats-the-purpose-of-my-life thoughts. I had no answers to my questions. All I knew at the time was:

work hard, be nice, have fun.

In my fun-seeking quest, I found myself at a Christian retreat center on a crisp Autumn  weekend, my sophomore college year.

BTW….I LOVE Fall.

The speaker told a bible story I had never heard. (Which was not difficult because I knew like-zero bible stories.) The story was about two sisters called Martha and Mary. The sisters were working hard (High value for me!) to prepare for dinner guests, and Jesus was one of the guests (Yikes! Work even harder!)

Martha was my kind of woman. She was getting after the preparations. She was moving down her to-do list like a boss. She was cleaning and cooking and making floral arrangements and checking Pinterest for cool tablescapes. Suddenly, she paused, looked around, and her sister Mary was no where to be found.

A Pinterest-Worthy Tablescape of which Martha Would Have Approved

Sweat was pouring down Martha’s face. (Kitchens must have been super hot in those days.) And when she finally found her sister, Mary (the slacker!) was seated at Jesus’ feet listening to Him teach. Martha’s head nearly exploded. She probably would have given Mary the Martha- Evil- Eye, but Mary wasn’t in a position to see it, so Martha decided to appeal to Jesus instead. (Oh… this was gonna be good.)

Martha was beyond trying to appeal to Mary. She went straight to the top, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” (No need to wait for Jesus to respond. After all, it had been a rhetorical question asked to make a point. His answer, of course, would be “Slacker Mary, get to work.”)

Martha continued,”Tell her then to help me.” I imagined Martha giving Mary a very smirky smile.

The Lord answered Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

WHAAAAAAAAAAA??????

Now MY head was exploding. How in the world would anybody  eat when everybody is just sitting around? How would the table be Instagram-able? Martha was my hero. She was…

me.

This story made no sense to my I-am-building-my-resume, I-join-every-club, I-am-a-perfectionist-over-achiever mind. Martha would totally get the best job upon college graduation. Martha probably ran the entire community with panache. Martha was so good she made work seem like a cinch.

How could Jesus have praised Mary… over Martha?

The speaker’s application that fine autumn Saturday was for each of us to take some time alone to ponder our life’s priorities. He challenged us to make a list of the top ten things in our lives. (Cool! I lived for lists!!!)

So, into the woods I went. And while sitting on a log, with my notebook and red Flair pen, I began to make my list.

Rifle Paper Company is My Fave Place for All-Things Paper

Let me pause right here and ask you some questions:

1.) When was the last time (if ever) that you have taken time away from your busy and very noisy existence to evaluate your life? Not time away to make your “to-do” list but time away to evaluate “your entire life trajectory” list.

2.) Before I return to finish this story, now would be a good opportunity. I encourage you to take a very introspective look at your life. Make a top ten list of your life’s priorities. Most importantly… be honest.

Come back next time to hear about “the list” and how I began to answer some tough life-altering questions.

Oh, and BTW, you can fill out the form to subscribe by email. I have a lot to say, and you won’t want to miss it.

Sweet View from the Mountain


Gotta Love This Character!

 

 

How to Never Achieve Your Best

Do you struggle daily to achieve your best? Ever feel like you are drowning in a sea of unproductiveness? Do you ever get to the day’s end and want to shout,

“Stop the clock! Today was the day I was gonna crush it, but, instead, I feel crushed and over-whelmed.”

Just like this Cuckoo clock.

Celebrating our high school graduation, my friends and I hopped into our fathers’ “land yachts” (what we called their very large 1970’s cars) and headed down to Florida to test out our newly-sprouted freedom wings. (We were basically rule-abiding girls, so the trip was super-fun, yet very tame.) One of the last bits of advice given to us, however, was from a dad who shouted, “Don’t pull off the road into the sand!”

This is the group I’m talkin’ about. Nothing could go wrong… right?

Answer: Well, yep, something could go wrong. We pulled off the road… into the sand… and got terribly stuck. Oops. Glad someone’s dad had thought to join Triple A.

Have you ever done this? No matter how hard you hit the gas, the tires just continue to spin. That’s called being really “stuck”.

Life is the same way. Sometimes we think if we work harder and faster we will get the traction we need to get back on the road rollin’ in the land yacht. But, this is not true.

Being on-the-road to achieving your best begins with pre-determining your priorities and evaluating how you spend your time based upon those priorities. If we all have the same 24 hours in every day, then, why do some people seem to accomplish more? Why are some people able to be the crush-ers rather than the crush-ees? The answer is: They are able because they know their priorities and live their life accordingly.

Hmmmmmmmmm. What does this “priority” talk mean?

I think I can best illustrate the principle by saying: There are many good things to do, but there are only a few best things to do. Deciding your own personal pre-determined priorities allows you to have the ability to decipher the difference between good and best.

Being a “joiner”, a “fun-seeker”, and a “pleaser” at-heart, I naturally spent most of my life saying “yes” to everything. In my immaturity, I lived my life running from one yes to the other, always filling my daily schedule from dusk till bedtime.

Until one day, I said “no”

… to the head Church Lady, of all people. You may know her. She is super nice and is in charge of everything and is really good at directing people. I’m pretty dang sure no one had ever told her “no”… in the history of ever. And, to make matters more difficult, she asked me to do a very good thing, “Would you please sign up to cook and deliver a meal to this infirmed parishioner?”

My reply was simple. The look on her face was pure astonishment. “No, ‘mam,” rolled out of my mouth, and, with confidence on my side, I did not even feel the need to explain myself. Years down the road, as I have been in different seasons of life, I have been pleased to cook and deliver meals. However, for that season and that time, based upon my priorities, cooking a meal was a good thing, but was not the best thing for me.

I matured about 5 years the day I said “no” for the first time.

What are your top 3 to 5 priorities? Answering this question may be super-simple for some. For others, it might take a few days of pondering to make your list. For many years, my husband carried his priority list in his wallet as a reminder to evaluate time commitments through his personal filter of best vs. good.

In my next post, I am going to tell you a story about two sisters with very different priorities. Jesus had something to say about each of them. Surprisingly, He commended the sister I thought was a slacker. A life-changing thing had to happen in my life to make me see the story differently.

Please come back! I can not wait to tell you how this story changed me!

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(Enjoying the View) Chicken Keeping CityGirl-Style

Chicken keeping CityGirl-style is something around which many, including my husband, have difficulty wrapping their minds.

“Why can’t we just get a coop from the feed store parking lot?” my husband of a gazillion years asked the woman he should understand fully by this point in our relationship.

Hmmmmmmm. Does he not remember, when on our honeymoon,  I promised to go golfing only if he bought me the Lily Pulitzer golf skirt? With me, it is not about golf (or chickens), it is all about the total experience. So… chickens without an EPIC chicken coop?

No, thanks.

Which leads me to this: Do you have any idea how much an epic chicken house costs? I ordered plans for one. Besides that the architectural plans were way too complex for these kids with our collective”C” average geometry scores to decipher,  the cost was simply too high to be considered reasonable.

See “Plan B”.

Plan B usually arrives when I come to my senses, realizing I can not have everything I want, and that some things are just not within my reach. Dang. I hate Plan B. On the other hand, thankfully, I am extremely persistent and resourceful.

“Do with what you have” is Plan B’s mantra. So, I asked myself, “What do I have?” The answer: An unused tool shed in the middle of the rear acre. My resourcefulness + husband’s carpentry skills (- our collective geometry delinquency) = eventually converting the tool shed’s square opening into a cottage-y curved cedar door. I added some fresh paint and a light fixture, and I was pleased with the results. At this writing, the coop’s interior still needs nesting boxes and roosts, but that will come easily.

Phase two of the chicken complex is the chicken run. We are not looking forward to digging holes in our very rocky mountain-top soil. I will be writing about this process soon.

Bless our hearts.

 

The Coop

 

It was a scary day when I called a local chicken hatchery and actually ordered my chicks! I could not believe a thing which I had dreamed about for over 10 years; a thing which I had talked about ad nauseam ( I know all those around me had been thinking, “For pete’s sake! Order the durn birds, and quit talking about it!”); one of the main reasons I had wanted to sell my city house and head for the country, was about to happen.

No turning back.

At the chicken-purchasing point, I would have 6 weeks to finish the chicken complex.

Yikes!

I ordered six chicks( yada yada yada, if you are not into chickens): one buff orpington, one white rock, one black laced silver wyandotte, one barred rock, two lavender orpingtons, plus the hatchery gave me a bonus buff orpington. All were hoped to be hens. I am suspecting two may be roosters. More on that later.

For six weeks, the chicks have to be in a brooder under a light, kept at a very warm temperature. Their feathers are growing, and, little by little, they are able to keep their bodies warm on their own.

Currently, at week three, I am able to take them into the yard for a 30 minute outing. I carefully wrangle them into a large plastic tub (with lid) which I use to transport them to the grass. A large appliance box  shields any wind and keeps them from running away. I  plop myself inside the makeshift fortress. As I am on their level, they allow me to gently handle them. One of the sweet buff orpingtons (often called the golden retriever of chickens) has wanted to sit in my lap.

Yay!

Cleanliness is of the utmost importance as chickens are not the cleanest of creatures. I use sanitizer wipes, wash my hands, and use clorox wipes on door handles and everywhere I touch. I am overly cautious in this department.

First Day with My Chickies: Lavender Orpington

 

 

Buff Orpington Day Two

 

Week Two: First Time Outside Brooder

 

 

 

Week Two: Chicken Outing

 

 

nnnnMaking Friends with My Buff Orpington

This is my chicken keeping journey thus far. There is much more to learn and do in the near future. Thankfully, I planned this “chick season” to come when I had  time to devote to their care. They are babies that require lots of attention. I am very much looking forward to life outside the brooder.

I’m kinda “over” this brooder period.

On a more fun note, the chicks love playing “chicken soccer” with acorns. What a hoot (pardon the bird of prey term) to see the chicks play. Next, they had fun eating rolly-pollies (food + toy). And, any bugs sighted within the boxed walls were gone in a flash. One of the chicks, which I feel is second to the lowest on the pecking order thus far, found an acorn and ran quickly back and forth, whining as she ran, because she was afraid the others would steal her prize. What a whiner! She deserves bottom status.

Hilarious to watch their interactions with one another.

I am very much looking forward to getting them grown and settled into the coop complex. Come back to see how we are going to build the world’s most EPIC chicken run, on a Plan B budget, of course.

Week Three: Buff Orpington

(Enjoying the View) Empty Nest Probs and Chain Saw Observations

No one lives in the country without a chain saw… except city kids who have been putting off spending money on one. We have had a chain saw before… several times. Like when we lived on the Gulf Coast, and we had a hurricane, and lots of trees were down, and the very muscular men who chopped up our downed-tree just chop, chop, chopped it like butter. The men made it look so easy, I said, ” We gotta get us a chain saw… because who lives on the Gulf Coast (where there are frequent storms) without a chain saw?” We never got to use it because we moved.

I think we sold it.

In our next city, far from the coast, there was a huge ice storm. I mean HUGE. Trees were snapping all around us. People were without power for days. It got so cold you could see your breath INSIDE our house. A very large tree limb smashed our deck. A very large tree fell in our yard. Large limbs were resting precariously against our house. The sound of chain-sawing could be heard all around the neighborhood, so I said, ” We gotta get us a chain saw… because who lives through an ice storm clean-up without a chain saw?” We bought a chain saw. When we cut the limb which was resting precariously against our house, the very large oak appendage  ended up smashing like a torpedo INTO our house. Physics. You know that subject which deals with matter, energy, motion, and force? We should have paid more attention in college.

After that, the chain saw rusted and rotted in the basement.

Fast forward… we live in the country. We heat our house with a super-cool, fancy, wood-burning central heating system. My husband actually enjoys loading it several times a day. We have the NICEST wood man in the county. He promptly delivers whenever we call. However, our wood pile frequently looks forlorn and bare at times because city kids don’t like to think about wood. It’s not in our DNA. Where we come from, wood-burning fireplaces are for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and, sometimes, when company comes over and we want to look all hearth-y.

But… in the country… wood means our house is warm.

The daffodils are blooming here at HC Farm. This has been an excessively cold winter, and I am holding out for spring. The other day, I said, “We gotta get us a chain saw… because for the price of several truck-loads of wood, we could cut-up about ten downed-trees right on the edge of our 19 Acre Wood. We will pay for the chain saw in no time!”

Chain-sawing is backbreaking work. Hauling chopped wood up a steep mountain hill is hard labor. But, we did it, and no one chopped off their leg. When we piled up the fruits of our sawing… we figured we are worth about ten dollars  an hour ( in Wood Pile Land). Depressing. We are gonna have to make a lot more trips down to those trees before we can pay for this new chain saw.

Hard work is… hard.

And so is raking leaves (When we rake leaves, both my husband and myself morph into 10 year-old grade schoolers. We whine and complain and get grumpy like you would not believe.) and preparing a garden (Easy to dream about all winter and draw up plans and look through seed catalogs…hard to accomplish) and digging up the front sidewalk (I did this today, and I lasted 2.5 hours, and it is still not done).

I’m really missing those three sons (who grew up and flew out of the nest) about now. It is so awesome when your boy turns 12. He is all-about physical labor, and ten dollars will get the job done. We had some really good years with really good help. But, the day comes when you look at each other and say,

“Well, it’s just you and me again.”

Slightly older now..

 

Empty nest problems.

 

 

7.5 Incredible Insider Secrets of Why Cruising Will Rock Your World

I completed my first cruise. I am now (because the internet allows me to self-proclaim whatever I desire.) an expert, an insider, a person who possesses all cruising secrets I now have the authority to tell you cruising will rock your world.

Me, having my world rocked:

I had some pre-cruise fears, of which I had previously written: sea sickness, weight gain, onboard charges, bathing suit, white skin, sun damage, a tsunami, unknowns, bathing suit, and bathing suit.

World Rocker #1:  I am happy to report zero sea sickness. Even though I have cruised exactly one time and (because: internet) I am now an expert, my entire 7 days at sea was smooth sailing. Still… no sea sickness. I wore the sea band the first day, but as I looked around and saw no other cruiser wearing  sea bands, I took them off.

World Rocker #2:  My ship had a walking track. Yay! I think being able to exercise helped me to not feel “stuck on a boat”. Walking several miles daily also whispered in my ear,”You earned that chocolate molten lava cake!” Double yay!

Port Days also helped me to not feel stuck:

World Rocker #3:  It took me a day to figure out the best way to get coffee and whole milk (not creamer in those small plastic things) and how to hoard cereal and milk cartons, in case I needed a midnight snack.( We had a refrigerator in our cabin!) I also watched how other cruisers were doing stuff and, being a college graduate and part-time genius, I figured  out how to keep my expense account to a bare minimum. I’m not a drinker, so this was pretty simple. I did, however, get a bit lax with my Ben and Jerry charges the last two days.

World Rocker #4: The answer to the bathing suit fear: my very stylish cover-up.

White skin: I am very late to the party on using bronzing lotion. It looked super real and was just enough to help my skin out a bit.

I am 99.9% faithful in using sunscreen to protect my skin. A tsunami did  not happen. There was one unknown which I will explain in a minute, and bathing suit, bathing suit… oh well. Added Bonus: I took ZERO selfies and, quite frankly, NO ONE was noticing me.

Except this selfie, I took this one:

World Rocker #5: We made friends with our cabin steward. An experienced cruiser friend had given us a dry erase marker for mirror note writing. We encouraged our cabin steward friend daily (and she encouraged us!) We also tipped her (in addition to the standard pre-paid tip) at the beginning of the week, as well as at the end. All this friendliness worked to my advantage when my diamond earrings, stored stupidly in tissue paper, were thrown away. We called our cabin steward, and she dug through the ship’s trash to retrieve my earrings! Wow.

World Rocker #6:  Private Balcony. It is the only way to cruise. My balcony was peaceful and…well…private. It was the place where I sunned, read, and napped. A true vacation. Being on the top deck was LOUD and way too people-y.

Can’t you just feel the peace:

World Rocker #7: The food in the main dining room was super good. The portions were small, but we could order as many courses as we wanted. The food at the casual buffet was ehhhh, but we only ate there twice. The food in the pay-extra restaurant was definitely worth the splurge. The pay-extra desserts were definitely a notch up from the main dining (5 star for sure). And I give out my stars according to the desserts.

World Rocker #7.5:  Would I go again? Of all the vacation choices in all the world, I would probably choose an active vacation (skiing, bicycle touring, hiking) over cruising.

Look at this amazingly peaceful view:

HOWEVER, was cruising a true vacation? Yes. For this reason alone… cruising will rock your (fast-paced) world. 

I think you should go.

One last beautiful view. (Good-Bye, Jamaica!)

P.S. Yes, I know it is called a “ship” not a “boat”. (Emoji with tongue stuck out.)

P.P.S. We took zero excursions (At least $100 a pop, and, in my “expert” opinion, not worth the price.) We shopped on our port days, ate at the local restaurants, and returned early to the quiet ship. If you like spa treatments, this would have been a good time to snag a good deal.

 

 

(Enjoying the View) I’m Going on a Cruise and I’m Scared Because

Not necessarily in order of fear:

1. Sea Sickness – Car sickness, vertigo, inner ear probz are all realities for me. I have the Sea Band, ginger tea, and will hydrate LOTS. I’m not getting “the patch” because I don’t want a doctor visit in order to get said patch, but I will have plenty of dramamine, both drowsy and non-drowsy.

2. Weight Gain – Too much food talk in regard to cruises. Quite frankly, I only eat one major meal a day. Quite frankly, I have a problem passing by chocolate anything.

3. Onboard Charges – I know I will be super- paranoid about any extra charges. “Is that included?” will be my mantra.

4. Bathing Suit – Really? Does this even need any elaboration?

5. White Skin

6. Sun damage – Can not afford any new sun damage. Period.

7. Tsunami – I am a child of the 70’s. “Poseidon Adventure”.

8. The Unknowns – In my ignorance, I am certain there is more to fear, but I am yet to know what it might be.

9. Bathing Suit – I am a girl who knows my limitations. This is not good. See #2 chocolate.

10.Bathing Suit

Will report back post-cruise.

(Enjoying the View) Snow on the Mountain

January is the BEST Time for Snow
A Snow Walk Around the Farm
I love it so much… for a few days

The Southern girl in me loves an occasional snow. Living in the country makes the snow even more delightful. Cheese dip, chili, soup, coffee, and hot chocolate. However, after a few days, the Southern girl in me is ready for the snow to be on its way.

We had one night of -2 degrees. No words.

The melting has arrived! I am ready to be back to my walking routine and to human-like temperatures again.