Monday, March 28, 2011

Boxes, Legs, and Monday Mornings...

Although my stack of packed boxes is not nearly as impressive as Bouncin Barb's, I got a good handle on the stuff. This picture does not take into consideration the boxes in Ron's closet or the boxes in the garage which hold either stuff for the sale, stuff to be donated, or stuff to take to the storage unit.

There are 18 boxes on my wall and 3 in Ron's closet. I ran out of packing tape or I would have gotten more done. I will get some more tape this week and get the kitchen packed up this weekend (probably Sunday; I'm going scrapbooking on Saturday).

Ron went for his initial visit for his permanent leg. The prosthetist will make his foot articulating so he should be able to drive again (there are other conditions that play into this, but if he could get his legs working, then maybe the other stuff will level out and driving won't be that big of an issue - especially in the little town we're moving to). He's also going to make the lower leg and foot look REAL so when he's wearing shorts (which he does mostly), the casual observer won't realize the leg is fake. That is pretty cool.

Monday Morning:
I was up and about early today and the morning did not feel like a "Monday" at all. Even though it was icky outside (and not any better tonight), I really had a great day. Finally got my body used to the daylight savings time change of a couple of weeks ago and I was really ready to go today. Ron and I had about 30 minutes of just sitting and visiting before I had to get ready to leave. It was pretty nice.

What about you all??? How was your Monday?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday cards

Last week, when I was sick, a friend called in pizza and wings delivery for us. That was awesome all by itself, but she lives in HOUSTON and we live in KANSAS! How's that for friendship? A simple "thank you" just didn't seem like enough for that, so I made her a card.

I was really happy with how it turned out.

In addition, I had seen a stair-step card pattern a week or so ago (over at My Creative Exposure) that I wanted to try. I'd like to do Isaiah's birthday card (Star Wars, of course) and Easter cards for the grandkids in WA so I thought I'd better get started practicing. I have a friend who is going to have a baby girl in June, so I thought this was the perfect theme to practice with.

The images were cut with the Special Delivery Cricut cartridge at 2.25 inches, except for the baby, which is 2.5 inches, and the b-a-b-y letters, which were cut at 1 inch. It's a bit hard to tell in the picture but I also used a clear glitter gel pen to do some outlining on the items. The baby's cheeks have a rosy flush compliments of a Q-tip and a little bit of pink stamping ink. The "hair" on top - same, but with brown ink. The baby's eyes are colored with a blue pencil. I think it's cute. Not great, but definitely cute for a first attempt. Now, I have to figure out what size envelope this baby will take. The overall dimensions are approximately 6.25 x 4.5.

I look at lots of cards and card ideas and I think how beautiful they are - wishing I could create such beautiful objects. Part of the reason (I believe) that my cards are not as beautiful is the amount of supplies that I have on hand, and the amount of supplies others have on hand. Plus, some of what I look it is done by people who do this for a living. They work for companies who provide the materials and then they create the works of art. I will get better with what I have to work with. I can see a gradual evolution of the cards that I've made in the past year. They are getting better.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Packing should be a dirty 4-letter word

Well, "pack" is, so I guess that works!

I've been packing this morning. Ick, yuck, blech!

Keith was going to help today but he had to work. We still don't have an official move date, but I don't want to get the phone call and have it be just days later and be unprepared. I'm a planner. I have to have this all laid out in neat little rows. Pack the boxes of stuff we're not using. Line them up along the wall, clearly labeled.

Sort the stuff that is truly junk and is going into the trash. Sort the stuff that can be donated to charity because I don't want to bother with trying to sell it. Sort the stuff that is going to be part of the moving sale. That's a boat load! Some things I look at and think, "what were you thinking when you bought this?" Other things, I am surrendering with fond memories but I'm sure someone else will also love to have. Sort the stuff I'm going to offer to the kids to see if they want it before it goes into one of the aforementioned piles.

I'm trying to find a small, drop-leaf table that is suitable for a kitchenette and those things are practically non-existent. My in-laws had one in their kitchen and it was great. It butted right up against the wall and when the leaf was down, it was perfect for my FIL to pull up to the side in his wheelchair. I want to do the same in our new kitchen so Ron can get to the microwave, his medicines, and his grill. I only have about 36 inches of wall space to work with so it can't be too big. For the life of me, I cannot find something.

This house has a built-in desk so I have to make a new location for a desk. That will be the dining room table that I'm getting from Amy. I think it will be perfect for my laptop and printer. My books (which are currently on the built-in bookcase) will find a new home in the 2nd bedroom. I have a couple of Wal-mart bookcases that will work out perfectly in there. I've pared down my books but there a few I just can't bare to part with. Eugenia Price, Jean Auel, Victoria Holt, my inspirational books, etc. I re-read my books so it's not like they don't get used. Keith is taking the Zane Grey books.

I put a couple of things for Amy on Craigslist and a couple of things of my own. Miche' bags anyone?

As much as I'd like to relax today, I better get back to work. It is rainy and dreary today so it's a nice day to stay inside. Trouble is, I have to go get more tape and some book boxes.


Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Quiz

Once I felt well enough Wednesday to open my eyes for any length of time, I watched Oprah. She had Goldie Hawn as her guest and I've been one of her fans for a long time. LOL - it could be because she's connected to my most favorite actor, Kurt Russell {grin}. Man, did I do I have a school-girl crush on him!

Back to the show... The topic of discussion was happiness and how we as a society no longer instinctively know how to be happy. We are constantly being bombarded with things and external influences that tell us we need this or we need that in order to be happy. As such, many people have to be taught how to be happy and that the choice to be happy is within themselves, not because of things they do or do not have. Goldie has a program to teach children how to be happy and even has a foundation to help children thrive and be happy.

That's all well and good, but where down the road did we lose the ability to be happy within ourselves without someone telling us how to do it? What happened to normal childhood and the joy of just "being" that made us happy? I don't know. Studies have shown that some people have a higher happiness quotient than others and that some people are born with more ability to be happy than others. I know of people who have every reason to moan and whine about the circumstances of their lives, and they're still some of the happiest people I know. I know others who have so much to be happy about and they can't see beyond the right now to embrace the future. To test myself, I took the Happiness Quiz. I've always considered myself pretty resilient and able to maintain my happiness in most situations. Yes, I sometimes fall off the wagon, but I don't let myself stay down too long before I give myself a swift kick in the rear and get back going.

Goldie advocates meditation and deep breathing. I can't say that I'm a "meditative" person but I do enjoy having quiet time and just letting my mind relax. Sometimes that is more difficult than others. Letting it wander to pleasant thoughts is almost as beneficial to me as emptying it completely (and easier to accomplish). She said that we should give ourselves 1-2 minutes several times a day to just be still and relax - close our eyes and deep breathe. She said when she needs a timeout, she'll take herself to the bathroom and just hide from the world and "chill" until she's ready to resume what she was doing. I've done that myself so I do know that it is very beneficial. There is no private place at work and sometimes no private place at home so the bathroom can become your sanctuary (if you need it to be).

I'm happy to say that I'm a happy person. I passed the quiz. Happiness is a choice and each day you have to decide to find something to be happy about. It could be anything, however minute to massively important. Even negative situations can have a happiness part to them. It's there - you just have to be willing to look for it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The rest of the story

I should probably clarify... most of what I say has a twist of wry, dry, sarcastic humor - usually directed at myself. Sometimes, it's directed at others but if I'm pointing one finger their direction, I've got four more pointing right back at me.
I don't mind if you don't agree with what I have to say. What I don't say is "the rest of the story" and sometimes I probably should just so what I do say makes sense.

LOL - make sense?

Have a great evening!

The faster I go...

The behinder I get!

I've been sick this week. So sick that I stayed home THREE days in a row! I finally feel better this afternoon but this morning I was still too much under the weather to consider sitting at my desk all day. Of course, that means I have to play by the rules and get a doctor's note to return to work tomorrow. No problem, my doctor is glad to do it. She knows me and knows that I rarely even go to the doctor myself and if I take myself then I'm really sick. I've not even showered for two days and, let me tell you, there's not much that prevents me from taking a shower.

I've actually been off all week. Monday morning I took Ron to a funeral. The wife of one of his co-workers passed away after a long struggle with cancer. While we were out, he fell so we ended up spending an hour or so at the "fake leg" office to have his peg-leg worked on. We did get some very promising news from the prosthetist.

He is going to start on Ron's permanent leg and it will be different than his current leg. Currently, he has a stockinette that he puts on, and then he puts on a formed "cup". The cup then goes down into the "socket" part of the leg. The whole thing is then covered with a neoprene sleeve that grips the leg shaft and his thigh and holds the two together. The new leg will have the neoprene sleeve directly on his leg with a pin that goes through the socket and locks into the leg mechanism. He'll put a stockinette on over the neoprene and this will be the surface that the socket glides on. Once the pin is locked into the mechanism, it's not coming off. That will make walking so much easier for him.

This is the best part... After he does all that and Ron gets used to walking with it, he's going to take the temporary leg and fix it so he can wear it in the shower (so he can walk into the and actually stand there) and into the swimming pool! That is just amazing to me and something we are both looking forward to. He'll silicone the screws and other parts to keep them from breaking down (he told me something else but I didn't hear it exactly) and then he'll fix the bottom of the foot so it can be stood on just like a real foot, and put a non-skid coating on it. Isn't that just amazing? That will open up so many doors for Ron and make it so much easier for him to get around.

Now, if we could just get his short-term memory loss to stop or reverse. That is my biggest concern right now. He forgets things that he's said sometimes within moments of saying it. Or, conversations within minutes. It's very odd what just seems to pass through his brain like water and what he retains.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hello card

(If you've already seen this on my card blog - I apologize, so feel free to skip over this posting of it.) I've been waiting to post this picture until the recipient of it had a chance to receive it in the mail. I actually made the owl to show a friend that I could do that (she's the one who ordered the "bee" cards) and then decided that I'd just go ahead and make it into a card. What I wanted to do originally was to have a trunk with a limb coming off and use "hello" as leaves and have the owl sitting on the limb. I'm not an artist so that didn't work out.

The owl's eyes are black buttons (they just don't look like it) because I couldn't find my googly eyes. The red buttons at the bottom of the tree are apples. LOL - use your imagination.

I trimmed the side of the tree off after I had it mounted. I wanted it to just look like it was a part of the side of the card.

What do you think?

There is another Cricut machine that I'd really love, love, love to have. It's called the Imagine and it normally sells for $499 (yes, that is pricey - but it also prints its own paper and coordinating embellishments, so in the long run would save tons of money) and it's on sale through today for $299 on the website (it's even more money regular priced on other sites - YIKES!), which is still very expensive. But, I just can't see myself buying one of these anytime soon. Maybe by the time my birthday rolls around in August I'll feel like I can spring for it. LOL - maybe I can talk my children (who now ALL read my blog) into pooling their resources and getting it for me for Mother's Day. Early of course, since the price is going to go back up. hahaha! (I know... not happening, kids. just kidding... trying to scare you. did it work??? good. hehehehe!)


We did not get ducks in our flower bed this year. I was actually looking forward to seeing them but they must have decided our front door was too active. Oh well... We will still see the little duckies around because of where we live.

Speaking of which, there are duck families everywhere around here. Going up the main road from our neighborhood, I've been seeing a "husband" and "wife" crossing the road, back and forth, back and forth, all week. They must have their nest on one side of the road or the other. This is a busy 4-lane with a center turn lane road, and the speed limit is 40 mph. I've been quite concerned for them on the busy mornings that I've seen them navigating between the cars.

Luckily, people around here are great about giving them time to get out of the way. People who live down here expect to see ducks and geese on or near the road at any given time. I know that ducks mate for life, so it's always a relief when I see the two of them together. But, yesterday an incident happened that made me wonder if something had happened...

Daddy duck was standing in the middle of the southbound lanes (I was going north), looking like he was really confused and/or lost. Mama duck was nowhere to be seen. I immediately thought that maybe she had been hit (this was near the high school and teenagers may not be as careful as more experienced drivers) and I was afraid that he was also going to get hit. Drivers going both directions slowed to nearly a complete stop (in the middle of the intersection) to slowly go around the duck. In the meantime, Daddy duck was weaving from left to right and couldn't decide where he wanted to go. About the time I got through the intersection, he decided to go my direction - right in front of me. I came to a complete stop and then I lost him. I thought for sure that he was under my car and then I finally saw him exit the other side. Whew! That was close.

Not one driver honked with impatience at any of the other drivers who slowed down or stopped.

I hope I see both of them on Monday morning when I go back to work.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I've been pretty quiet this week. Not that I haven't had things to say, but just don't feel like I could say them any better or any differently than how many of my online friends have already done it.

Yes, I'm talking Japan. Terrible, terrible tragedy and the figures get worse every day. One positive thing that I've read in this is the lack of looting in Japan. I had thought about this even before I read this Slate article, and I was correct in my assumptions. It is due, at least in part, to a strong sense of moral ethics. Japanese children are taught from a very young age how to act in an ethical manner. If a child finds even a small coin on the street, that child is escorted to the nearest police officer to turn it in. This is taken very seriously by all involved and teaches the child that just because something is found, it doesn't make it "theirs." They don't do "finders keepers; losers weepers" in Japanese culture. There are some incentives to turning in found items in that if it's not claimed, the finder does get to keep it. If it is claimed, then the finder gets a reward. Either way, the finder wins.

It's the same principle with looting. They just don't do it. It would be morally and ethically wrong for them to do so and they would rather starve than take their neighbor's food.

My heart goes out to all of the people affected and they are in my prayers every day, several times a day.

Most of us cannot imagine the conditions now being experienced by those affected in Japan. We can only pray that we never have to.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New do

I got my hair cut and colored yesterday. I don't usually like pictures, but I decided that I'd take one with my Web cam and see how it turned out. Since I'm posting it here, it must be OK. LOL!

It's got several shades since I wanted it to look like I had some depth. And hide my scalp.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Cards

I liked the Crazy 4 Challenges card sketch quite a bit, and my friend liked it too so she ordered a 2nd card. I didn't think I had enough paper to do another exactly the same, so I made some changes. We both like this one better than the first one. I did end up finding enough paper to do another card like the first and I may even be able to do another with this paper, too.

I also have a co-worker who is graduating from college in May so I decided I'd make her a card, too. This is a sketch design that I'm sure other people have come up with, but I like to think "I" designed this card. LOL! Maybe - maybe not. I have no idea. I see so many cards and card ideas out there that it's really impossible to decide if I thought of it or not. I know the card I made my nephew last year was similar to this and I thought at the time that I'd "created" it, too.

I cut the mortar board from the Wild Card cartridge at 1.25 inches and trimmed off the extra piece that would have made it a card. I made the tassel from red and black thread that I wrapped around a nail file and then tied it and cut the other end. It's attached with an iRock stone. Then, I highlighted the brim with gold glitter pen.  I actually think it's quite nice. The inside will say "congratulations". Hard to tell, but that's ribbon under the red hat.

I could see myself trying to sell graduation cards with the school colors of choice. The mortarboard paper only comes in black and white. I've also seen it in silver but not recently. The colors for this school are black and red, so this worked out well.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Crazy 4 Challenges

One of my friends ordered a card for another friend, with the request that I incorporate a bee on it, and which was on my list of things to do this weekend. As I was browsing through my blog roll, I happened upon a card challenge using a particular sketch on the Crazy 4 Challenges blog.  The sketch looks like this:

This is my version:

I think it turned out very cute. I think both of my friends will like it.

The inside says "For You!"

I used my Create a Critter cartridge from Cricut and cut my bee at 1.5 inches. The scalloped circles are cut at 3.5, 3.25, and 2.5 inches. The overall card dimensions are 5 x 5. The papers are scraps that were left over from other cards I've made (LOL - if you look back at my paper blog, you'll probably find those cards there).

Simple Saturday...

The other night, Ron and I watched The Secret on Netflix. I had heard of this a while back when Oprah was promoting it but had not really delved into the background of it. Frankly, I was skeptical. But, in all honesty, the stuff I watched wasn't really much different than the "positive affirmations" that we're all taught at one time or another to help us to be successful. It's more indepth, but really not different.

I was fascinated. And, hooked. I believe that putting the "secret" to use will have positve results. I have found in the past that when I focused on the good things going on, then the negative things didn't have nearly as much impact on how I faced the day. I sometimes struggle with that but remembering to refocus my thoughts has really helped a lot.

I remember focusing on putting positive vibes out when wanting a particular job over 15 years ago. I knew when I walked out of the interview that the job would be mine for the taking. The only thing that might hold it up would be what salary they would be willing to pay. I put out a number and they accepted it. I'm using this same mental projection practice for the position that I'm seeing myself in once we get moved to Hesston. I'm concentrating on a salary (which is within the range of acceptable salaries for this type of position within the state).

I read a post on Jax's blog that got me to thinking. She posted "Who are you when no one's looking?" She got it from a country-western song by Blake Shelton called Who are you when I'm not looking. I really like the song but hadn't thought to apply it to myself. Until I read Jax's post. I decided to tackle it myself.

In the past, I was...
  • afraid to let my guard down and let people see me.
  • afraid to not be perfect because I would let others down.
  • bound by my fears, which kept me from putting myself out there. What if people didn't like me?
  • someone who would sing in the shower, in the car, in the house - but would clam up if I thought anyone was actually listenening to me.
  • someone who would go out of my way to do something for someone else, but could not let someone else know how badly I might need something myself.
  • check my email, my facebook, my blogs, etc. to see if someone had posted something, sent me a note, or a message - checking to see if they cared enough about me to make contact.
  • someone who continually beat myself up for mistakes that I've made.
  • hid her emotions because someone might see.
Now (putting the "secret" to use), I am...
  • going to focus on the wonderful relationships that I have with friends and family.
  • give thanks for the great new friends I have found online.
  • look forward to not only tomorrow, but also to TODAY because I have a lot to look forward to.
  • concentrate on reaching out to help others (like I used to do and got side-tracked by my own issues).
  • make plans for how to spend upcoming vacation days and financial freedom.
  • visualizing myself in a better place, a better job, a happier outcome.
Check out to read all about it.
What Is The Secret

Friday, March 4, 2011


The other evening, after we went to the retirement center to sign the papers, we went to see Isaiah. It’s only 7/10 of a mile from our new driveway to their driveway. That will be very nice!

Ron had on his leg so we “walked” him into the house. Isaiah was in his room playing because Amy was still working. So, we were very quiet until she was finished and then she called him to come see who was there.

He went flying past me without so much as a nod – straight to his “Crampa” and climbed onto his lap. “Crampa! It’s so good to see you. I missed you! How did you get here?”

Duh… me… your other grandparent… the driver…

You know, the chopped liver.

(Seriously, I'm so glad that he has such a great relationship with Ron. The memories of his time with his "Crampa" will go with him all through his life. I know he loves me as much as he loves Ron. They just have a special bond and that is awesome.)

The time has come...

To turn off the ability for "annonymous" posters to be able to leave a comment on my blog. For sume reason, my "tornado story" of last May has attracted some kind of interest and I'm getting requests for people (three inquiries) to be able to use part of the information there if they link back to the post. I have read and re-read that post. There isn't any kind of valuable information in that post. It's about Ron falling off the ramp the day we had tornado warnings (when he still had both legs). Nothing of value.

I don't know what they want from that post or where they'd link back to it from. But, if someone doesn't have an email address for me to see or some other means of contacting them, I certainly don't want them using my blog and posts for some unknown reason.

I know I have a couple of friends who have posted annonymously and I apologize if it puts a wrinkle in your ability to comment.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thought we had a big BUMP in the road...

But, instead of a big BUMP, it is a little "bimp" in the road (said in my best Pink Panther detective voice).

They have a pet policy. OK - no biggie; most places do (or should) have a pet policy.

They charge a pet deposit, the pet can't be over 25 pounds, only one per unit, current on shots, spayed or neutered, yada yada yada. Still, no biggie.

Pet deposit - non-refundable. Ouch.

$300.00. Double-ouch. But, Ron loves his girl so I'm willing to pay it for him to be happy.

Got to reading the pet policy paperwork, and it says this in one section...

If the Resident Occupancy Agreement includes a Monthly Occupancy Fee then the resident shall provide a Pet Deposit equal to one month’s rent. The Pet Deposit will be returned to resident upon termination of the Resident Occupancy Agreement less the non-refundable fee of $300 and the cost of any damages to the home...”

And, this in another section:

“If the Resident Occupancy Agreement includes a Monthly Occupancy Fee then the resident shall provide a Pet Deposit equal to one month’s rent less the $300 non-refundable fee. The Pet Deposit will be returned to the resident upon termination of the Resident Occupancy Agreement less the cost of any damages to the home...”

In a 3rd section, it says this:

"If the Resident Occupancy Agreement includes a Monthly Occupancy Fee then the non-refundable fee shall be equal to one months rent.”

Our "Monthly Occupancy Fees" (aka "rent") is $850 per month.

BUMP! No way can this girl afford to pay $850 deposit for us + $850 deposit for Maisey + $850 rent when we move in (plus, the $300 towards escrow, which will be refunded to us in the form of less rent after 12 months*).

I emailed our contact there and she got back with me very quickly. The provision stated in the 3rd location was for the duplexes with "special" month-to-month rental contracts. Our deposit (non-refundable) is "only" $300 plus $10 per month extra in rent. Ouch, but definitely more of a "bimp" than a BUMP in the road. Our monthly rent will be $850 + $300 + $439 + $10 = $1599 per month for the first year; $1299 per month thereafter.

It's a lot of money to pay to rent someplace, but if it means less stress for me (overall) and a better place for Ron - then, so be it.

*They usually charge 12 months worth of rent up front and then you only pay the maintenance fee - in our case, $439 - per month. After 12 months, the rent is added back on monthly (the $850) and residents then pay the rent + maintenance fee. Because they are making a special consideration for us, they are "only" charging us $850 up front (not sure where this is going or if we'll get it back if and when we move), and then an extra $300 per month for 12 months. During months 13, 14, 15, and 16 we'll pay no rent and only pay the maintenance fee. Month 17 we'll have the remainder of the credit (a couple hundred dollars or so) and pay the rent difference plus the maintenance fee. After that, we'll pay the $1299 per month. Confused? Don't feel bad. I have it in red, blue, and white to refer to. Ron was "huh? OK - whatever she says." The entry fee (which is another non-refundable fee) was $3450.00.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

For the greater good

Sometimes, you do things that you don’t really (down deep inside) want to do, but you know you have to do them. It’s for the greater good… I had to sell my scrapbook armoire. I could have justified keeping it. It was, after all, a birthday present to me two years ago. It held all of my scrapbook supplies (and then some) and it was a decent looking piece of furniture. And, it was not cheap. But, it was paid for.

I put an ad on Craigslist and within 24 hours, I had three people interested in coming to look at it. They did know a good deal when they saw one. The first person who contacted me was also the first person to come look at it. She bought it. $600 cash. That gave me enough money to make the appointment to reserve our apartment at the retirement village. We went in this afternoon to fill out the paperwork. {sigh of relief!}

That is for the greater good. Tonight, I have an address and a tentative move-in date. That is a relief for both Ron and I. It’s really a good thing that we’re doing this because we got a letter from the mortgage holder for our house. They have turned down our work-out package to stay in our house and want us to sell it or deed it back to them. They say we need about $700 more income each month than what we currently have in order to make ends meet. That’s about right. Our expenses will be less once we move.

Once we get moved, I’ll set up shop with folding tables and a couple of things that I have on wheels for storage. The floor under the tables will hold a couple of tubs – one for paper and one for tools. I can make do until I can afford to buy something else. Not sure how long that will be, but that’s OK.

Life is good.