Category Archives: Uncategorized

Well, it looks like Autumn is finally settling in here. I picked the very last of the grape tomatoes out of my garden yesterday, yes, October 29. I put them in a salad and gobbled them up. I think next year, if we space our garden rows farther apart, I won’t have “jungle” tomato plants! In the next week or two, I’ll put the garden to bed. My neighbor lady, Mrs. Farmer (they are farmers, hence Mr. and Mrs. Farmer – not their real names) pulled up the big plants then mowed the whole garden plot. I think that is what I’ll do. I’m hoping for some decent weather in the next few days so I can get the lawn mowed one last time for the season. I will need to get the carrots harvested in the next few days, or mound up some straw over the greens. It actually isn’t supposed to hurt them to stay in the ground, even after it starts to frost regularly. We’ll see.

My folks were here this last weekend. Bug’s musical was this last weekend, as well, hence the big reason Grammy & Grampy came to visit. Those high school kids did a wonderful job on Guys and Dolls. It was so much fun. I can’t wait to get our dvd copy. Yes, they had the thing professionally recorded. Such a nice touch. I barely took any photos, I was enjoying the show too much. We have a talented bunch of kiddos out here in the sticks.

I have less than a week before Women’s Writing starts. I’m very excited, and very nervous. I want there to be a great turn out, I want everyone to get what they need from the group, I don’t want to turn on my “professor” voice, and drive them all away. We are going to use a book called Fruitflesh as a resource. It is an amazing resource for finding a jumping off place for writing. Some of the suggestions are a little risqué, but overall, just about ever segment I’ve read has me thinking about what to write for it, already. Maybe I’m just on fire to write something. Other than this. Not that I’m not enjoying blogging, don’t get me wrong, but it is two different creatures. I don’t write fiction here. I might share something of mine as the group progresses….who knows.

On the home front, I’m in the middle of a much bigger project than I ever expected. I am altering my couch. I have a Broyhill couch, that we love, but it has those huge, attached cushions on the back, and they were coming off, misshapen, and becoming uncomfortable. So, I removed them completely, added a panel to the back of the cushion, so they will be “unattached,” refluffing the stuffing (and wishing I could just go buy 20 pounds of the stuff, because fluffing polyfill is for the BIRDS), and I am going to have to sew new baffles – the fabric that they use to contain the stuffing is horrible! It is like the sides of a mattress cover, and it shreds, pills, runs and tears. So, I took one of the inserts apart today, and will cut two new ones out of flannel tomorrow. Flannel, it is just what I had the most of lying around in my stash. I have been promising folks a tutorial if it even half way turns out, so stay tuned!

On the health front…I had to tie drawstring in my exercise pants yesterday in yoga to keep them from falling off my fanny during a stretch! Woo hoo! I am also happy to report I have officially lost 27 lbs. I am hoping to be able to tell you some time next week that it is officially 30…or 35, but I’m trying to be realistic! Ha! I can tell you I haven’t been at this weight since we moved to Illinois. The very last weight I remember while working at the doctor’s office is only one pound away! Yes, I’m excited. And it certainly helps keep me moving in the right direction. I am also happy to report that my left knee, which is the one I injured falling down the basement stairs two years ago, and that has given me so much pain & trouble in the last 3 months, has been behaving rather well this week. There are still some things I can’t do in yoga – I’m not pushing the knee, I don’t want to get sidelined.

So, anyway, dinner (Boca burgers & spicy collard greens) is almost ready, and we have Stitch, Please tonight, so I’m gonna get this posted. Hope you all are having a great Thursday.

Every Which Way But Loose

Whew! I’ve got a minute to catch my breath! That title says it all, my brain is on overload, and I feel like I’m going in 1000 different directions. I think I mentioned everything that is going on lately, which in turn makes me a very, very busy Mom. Between running kids here, there, and everywhere, I pitched in with the costumes for the musical Bug is involved in. I had to cut, make, then sew on bias tape at the hem & neckline on 16 tear-away dresses. (Did I tell you the musical is Guys and Dolls? The dresses are for the “Take Back Your Mink” act.) I can’t believe I’m contributing to the “delinquency” of a bunch of minors…stripping high schoolers. Okay, so they don’t get naked. They have costumes under their costumes. Between trying to find everything Bug needed, and buying two sets of character shoes, because the USPS messed up my priority shipping and instead of the shoes coming in 2-3 business days, it took 5 business (and two weekend) days. We were able to find a pair of shoes, with much higher heels the night of the first dress rehearsal at Payless. What a life saver. She did switch to her professional dance shoes, because the heels are a lot lower, but the Payless shoes are SO cute, and I think both girls can wear them, so they’ll be put to good use.

Add to Bug’s rehearsal schedule, Pally has here Pep Band performances, I’ve started attending a yoga class in our tiny town (and am loving it), plus I all the things I’m doing at the art gallery. I’m co-leading/facilitating our fiber arts group, I’ll begin facilitating Women’s Writing next month (so there have been some meetings with the gallery owner), and I’ve accepted a titled position at the gallery – Art Enrichment Director. I’m exhausted just thinking about everything, but oh, so excited! I hope I’m not repeating myself, and boring you guys.

I know we’ve talked about my health previously, meaning my weight…I’m happy to report, that even with some minor setbacks, I am still having pretty surprising success. I am very happy to report an average of a 3.4 pound loss for the last 7 weeks. That’s 24 pounds, people! I know that may not sound like a lot,  if you know me, and know how much I actually have to lose, but holy moly, relatively consistent losses has been amazing. I can see some changes, the Hubs can see some changes, I’m going to see my parents this weekend, and am kind of hoping they will notice some changes, although my dear, sweet Mom reads my blog, so she’ll know what kind of numbers I’ve lost. Yes, I’m craving any kind of positive reinforcement I can get. The Hubs is doing a bang up job pointing out things he’s noticing, and not making fun of me for doing something I’ve never done before…not even as a teen. Ladies, where do you lose weight first? Yep, you guessed it…TMI warning – if any guys are reading my blog, you may want to go read something else now, and come back another day…my boobs are shrinking! I have had zero luck finding a bra that fits right, band/cup ratio is a strange thing when you are quite empty on top, and all your fullness is on the lower portion. I know that demi cup and balconette bras would fit best, but I just can’t find one with the right size combination. *sigh* I even ordered bras online, that I mistakenly thought were demi cup, and I ordered 2 sizes – a C and a B. Imagine my horror when neither fit! I cried. Yes, blubbered like a baby, So, I’ve been doing something I never thought I’d do, something I never did as a teen – I’ve been stuffing my bra! I discovered that a folded over-the-calf sock of the Hubby’s in the bottom of each cup allows me to wear my nice bras, and not have the gaps show. So, there’s your laugh for the day! I’m 38 1/2 and am having to stuff my bra. I think if I’d had the time to go spend the day in our nearest “big” town, I can stop the bra-drama, I just haven’t had the time. I keep joking that I need to go invest in some of those “chicken cutlets” from WalMart.

If you guys are interested in following my journey to better health, let me know, and I’ll consider posting about the program I’m using, and progress photos….

Neglected, but Resurrected

Are you all sick of hearing excuses and apologies for my not being faithful to this blog? I’m tired of giving them to you. So…here we go again. I figure if I’m going to be leading out in a Women’s Writing group, I’d better be writing. I’ll talk about life, my crazy life, as the SAHM of two teen girls, two dogs, more cats than I need (we are fostering a litter of 8), a hubby who travels for work (which sucks), my continued journey of seeking a healthier/smaller me, and our ups & downs. I’ll share my crafty – Susie Homemaker type projects, both successes and failures. I’ll share my guilt and perceived failures on things domestic. On that last note, I’ll share that this summer’s garden fits into that category! I am ashamed to say the weeds are taller than all the plants, except the corn, because I’m not good with keeping up with things like that without a strict schedule. We got a lot of cukes and tomatoes (grape, mostly) from the garden, so it wasn’t an absolute failure.  Our carrots were also a big WIN. We managed to get some huge, flavorful carrots…the whole row seems to have done very well.

Life in general is busy, as usual. I’m leading out in our local fiber group, called “Stitch, Please.” Hopefully, soon, the women’s writing group will start. Bug is in Driver’s Ed, participating in Scholastic Bowl again this year, joined Chorus at school, and is in the musical Guys and Dolls, so we have lots of practices and rehearsals to go to. Pally has started her 8th grade year, so there is a lot going on, but band seems to be the thing that keeps her & I the most busy…and Pep Band starts next week – so we have to have Pally at numerous middle school basketball games in the next few months. We’ve already done two parades this year, marching band, ya’ll…but she gets better, and better every year.

We are settling in nicely to the new house. It’s been almost a year here, and we couldn’t be happier. We are still trying to get ourselves organized – a never-ending project, it seems. We keep rearranging things, and some of the rooms. Currently, I’m on the hunt for a cheap Chinoiserie screen or plans for one, to separate my desk/office area from the rest of our dining room. I’m also working on a couple of knitting projects – always having more than one project cast on at a time! Even though I feel like half of my projects get abandoned, and never finished. It’s something I’m working on this year, just one of my personality quirks.

So, thanks for coming back. Hopefully this time I can stick it out with you! If I seem to falter, or fade, give me the what-for.

Fat and Flexible – Oxymoron or Truth

Okay, I promise this isn’t going to turn into a full on fitness blog, however, I’ve issued myself a couple of fitness challenges for this year, and accepted on that was issued to me. So, I’ll occasionally discuss my progress. To recap, we already talked about my 90’s Music Challenge (I just love the way that sounds) to walk 500 miles, then walk 500 hundred more. I’ve had a hard time getting started with the walking challenge, I’ve been letting the weather get the best of me. Today, I said the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks with it, and did a Leslie Sanson 2 mile walk. I’m counting it. It may not have actually been mileage, but I figure it’s comparable.  This is my first official step to achieve my 1000 miles, so I’ve got some ground to make-up, but it’s still easily achievable. Just this weekend I have decided to attempt a 6-Week to the Splits challenge. I can report that on day one, my estimated split measurements (I had to measure myself while doing the splits, so it’s an estimation using a “hand” measurement like you’d measure a horse. Although, not entirely…I measured using heel of the hand to tip of the middle finger, not across the palm as you would measure a horse. Heaven help me, how do I even know this kind of information? I estimate my height of the front splits is already 9 inches, and the side splits to be about 12, hence the possible oxymoron of being fat AND flexible. I really enjoyed the stretches that are employed in the challenge, and wonder why I haven’t been stretching every day. (You can find the link to the video I used for the stretches here .)  I’ve always been rather flexible, and for that I am thankful. For Pete’s sake, even while I was pregnant I could touch my ear with my foot. I think there are pictures of me proving this at one of my baby showers. Ha! So I would say that for me, and I’m sure plenty others that being fat and flexible is possible, achievable, and possible already something that you are! So don’t shy away from giving it a try. Go on! Try it. I’d like to hear how flexible you all are. Whether you’ve been working on your flexibility or if you are naturally flexible, and whether you consider yourself already fit or needing to get fit. I’m interested AND nosy! 🙂

Cabin Fever Busters

So, quick question. What are your favorite go-to cabin fever busters? I’m going batty here! I did find out that our community center’s gym (yes, in my itty-bitty town of 1600 people) opens at 5 a.m. for walkers during the winter. I have got to get out of this house!!! I love it, and I have a thousand things to do, but I’m going bat-crap-crazy being cooped up. I’ve finished two books in the last 7 days, finished a t.v. series (Bomb Girls, so sad they left us hanging), spent about a billion hours on the internet, and have napped more than I should. I was a good little Susie Homemaker today, and got my knitting out. Finally. I’ve been ignoring all my crafty projects lately. I don’t know why. Maybe because I don’t feel like I’m finishing things fast enough, so I just set them aside for a while. Who knows.

We have had another couple of frigid days with ridiculous wind chills, and another one on the way tomorrow, with dangerous temperatures forecast without the windchill. I wonder if my kids will have school tomorrow, with the temps being so dangerous? If they don’t, we’ll have to figure out something to keep ourselves entertained.

While we are talking about winter, I have another question for you all….What do you do to help keep your winter heating costs low? We heat with propane, at $1.80 a gallon, in our larger and older house we are trying some rather “extreme” measures. I know that over the summer, I’m going to be making thermal window covers. The house is oriented directly north and south so the very cold prairie winter winds (that blow predominately from the north) make for a pretty chilly front side of the house (or a very large propane bill). One of the more “drastic” things we are trying is the overnight temperatures…we set the programmable thermostat for 55 overnight. (I know that to many that may sound extreme, but it’s not bad. Also it occurs to me that if I went back to work during the day, we could turn the furnace down in the daytime too and save a bundle, but I’m sure that it is not worth it.) We also set the night-time temp to start at 9 p.m. on weeknights, and to start coming up 15 minutes before we wake up in the morning. So far the kids aren’t complaining, but more importantly the Hubby (who is always cold) isn’t complaining. We do have an electric “fireplace” to help the front of the house on blustery days. It’s rated to heat a 400 sq. foot space, so it helps quite a bit. So, what do you do? Or do you just take a second job or a second mortgage to heat your house in winter? (Ha!)

And Now For Something Completely Different

Okay, only kind of completely different. My Mom posted today on Facebook that she was challenging herself to read 200 books this year, and on New Year’s Day I saw a girlfriend suggest doing a “90’s Music Fitness Plan” and she means that in a “I’m Gonna Be” kind of way. You know the song I mean –

When I wake up… 
Yea I know I’m going to be I’m going to be that man who wakes up next to you 
When I go out… 
Yea I know I’m going to be I’m going to be that man who goes along with you 
If I get drunk… 
Yea I know I’m going to be I’m going to be that man who gets drunk next you 
And if I heaver 
Yea I know I’m going to be I’m going to be that man who’s heavering to you 

But I would walk 500 miles 
And I would walk 500 more 
Just to be that man who walk a thousand miles to fall down at your door 

It got me thinking. I need to challenge myself, to prove myself to Me, and to actually set goals, because without them I just kind of flail along without a stated purpose.
So, here are my challenges/goals for 2014:
Read 100 books. (I love to read, but the last few years I’ve been reading in fits and starts, instead of reading enough for real enjoyment. I think this last year I may have read 25-30 books.) I have already finished book number one.
Walk a thousand miles. On one hand that sounds like a lot, and on another it sounds like nothing. I’ve done the math. I know how many miles a day I need to walk. And no, I’m not counting my normal “steps” in a day. Only my mileage walked with purpose is going to count.
Finish one knit project a month. Even if it’s just a dishcloth. One project a month. I would like to knit my first pair of socks before this summer starts.
Finish one sewing project a month. Again, even if it’s just putting a button back on something, or repairing an item, it counts. I’ve already done this one for January. The Hubby’s Carhartt coat lost a sleeve cuff snap, and I don’t have the equipment to replace one of those big snaps. So, at Hubby’s request, I just tacked the cuff together. Done. In addition to the already completed project, I have 5 small projects to do, it’s just a matter of getting my butt in gear and getting them done. I imagine I can have them finished in a day or two, if I can get the gumption.
That’s it. I don’t want to call them “Resolutions” because that word has such negative connotations. It sounds like it belongs in a competition. Instead, this is me challenging myself. I’m my only competition here. I’ll keep y’all posted.

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

Anybody else freezing? We sure are. I am so thankful for our home and our furnace today. I’ve had an interesting week. The Hubby left Sunday for work, and I didn’t expect to see him until tonight. He was able to come home on New Year’s Eve, no one was open on New Year’s Day so he was able to hang around. Unfortunately on New Year’s Day he hit one of the two patches of ice in our driveway and pulled a cartoon move and landed flat on his back. Yeouch! He ended up being able to be home the rest of the week to recover. Poor guy. So we’ve hung out, enjoying each other’s company. We watched some Ancient Aliens, the Doctor Who Christmas Special, and today we watched America Decoded….well, he did, I listened mostly. I took the Christmas tree down, and packed away all the decorations. Except I just remembered the miniature ornaments in the dining room in one of my milk glass pedestal bowls AND the little lighted wreath on my kitchen door. Oops. Oh well. I got some furniture moved around in our foyer, my giant cedar chest made by my Dad moved into it’s new temporary home, where the Christmas tree was. (I am not exaggerating about the chest being a giant, it’s probably 22 inches high, 18 inches wide and 36 inches long.) Hopefully before my birthday, it’ll be in it’s permanent home in the guest room/craft room. I’m going to store our extra linens in it, then protect the top and use it as my cutting table. I figure with the size it is, that might be a perfect use for it. I also managed to get the rug & coffee table put back where it goes (it weighs a TON), I had to have help. I feel like I got quite a bit accomplished. Even if I didn’t get much done craft project wise. Oh well. No pressure, right?

The kiddos come home tomorrow, and bless my folks they are going to bring them all the way home. I’m excited to see all of them. It’s been so quiet here. I’m beginning to think that if the weather forecast holds true, they might get an extra day off school. The high here on Monday is supposed to be -6!!!!!! That’s cold.

Any how, that’s what’s up here. Just hanging out, trying to stay warm and trying to stay busy.