I am doing a quick check in before 2022 gets away from me. Several times I considered getting a post done here before Christmas, but those of you who know, know I would have only whined the whole time about how much I don’t like Christmas. Folks, I try. I try so hard every year that now it’s beginning to cause me some pretty serious anxiety. It’s Monday morning, December 26th and I already have half my decorations down. I am so over all the extra stuff in my house, the sugar overload (and the extra 5 lbs that goes with it) and the relative that has given away, thrown away, donated or returned every gift I have ever given them. Pretty sure I could give them the winning Power Ball ticket and it still wouldn’t be right. Anyone else have one of those?
Ok, I still slid into whining. Sorry about that. I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas had a wonderful one. I certainly don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer for the whole world. I also hope those of you who have been in the Siberian Polar Vortex path are beginning to thaw out and get to your family gatherings now.
I already have my 2023 planner filled out and ready to go. Even though January and February are bleak, I can at least start getting some seeds planted, the days are getting lighter and I have 6-8 months before I have to start dreading Christmas again.
We have plans to take our niece to see a college she is considering and that will give us a road trip to the mountains. I need to plan a visit to see my daughter and her family AND we have a wedding in the family this year. Ooops, we have two weddings this year. Happy things.
I am planning on finishing the studio, getting an online store going and lots of painting this year. Currently, I have three landscapes in the works. I don’t generally do landscapes, but am trying to work on some new skills. Below is a work in progress. Yes, it’s a little bleak looking too, just like the mud photo at the top. Gray and muddy is the state of being most of the winter here. Snow is rare.
Gotta go. Unfortunately I have to brave the after Christmas shopping crowds so the kid can finish her shopping and spend some of her Christmas money. Prayers would be appreciated. I will check back in next year!
I hope you are well. Today is Election Day in the U.S. DH and I went out early this morning to vote. I’m old school and prefer to vote on Election Day instead of early voting. I always think of my Dad during elections. One of his favorite things was helping at the polls and he did it for as long as he could. When I went to vote for the first time at the age of 18, he almost followed me into the voting booth while he was instructing me on how to vote. You would have to have known my Dad and his side of the family. They loved to argue politics and they did it loudly at every family gathering. Guess what. They never got mad at opposing views and never stopped being a family. I always told my kids that they should appreciate the peaceful transfer of power in our country. My prayer today is that this country continues to uphold that process and that families don’t stop being a family over politics.
Moving on to artsy things and to start catching you up on our current crazy…
My studio is still under construction, but I am able to work fairly comfortably in here now. With all the other projects that have to be done, we are only working in the studio on rainy Saturdays. We haven’t had many of those in the past few months. While I am working away up here I do have to occasionally move around furniture and storage as we work on baseboards and painting. MOST of the boxes have been unpacked and I have purchased some shelves. I have a color scheme picked out for when I finally get to the pretty stuff, but I have decided that the wood floors need to be painted. They are hardwood, but they have lived a hard life and it’s not worth the time and money to try and refinish them. I also need more light up here and think a glossy white paint should reflect what light I have around more. Do I even need to mention that oil and acrylic paint has a strange way of escaping a paint brush and throwing itself around everywhere? White gloss paint covers a lot of ugly and messes.
The main photo above is a current work in progress. Lately I have been slightly obsessed with clouds or things that make me look up and have many photos for reference. I’m working small right now just to get back in the swing of oil painting. Maybe I’m the only one, but switching between acrylic paint and oils requires a major flip in my process.
Our niece got her license back during the summer and though that is a double edged sword for a parent, it has finally given me a little more time back in my life and my goal is to get in a minimum of 2 hours studio time each day. That does not seem like much, but when it has been more like 2 hours a week or even a MONTH, it’s a huge improvement. My attitude about life reflects the change. I am so much better mentally when I get my art time in. Hopefully I will have some art work finished by the end of the year and can update my website and add a little store onto it. Life goals.
You all have a great week, stay safe (it’s crazy out there) and do something creative.
I hope you have had a good week. It has been pleasantly uneventful here. Oh, other than an escaped chicken (one of our young ones) that got eaten by a hawk. It’s a full time job keeping chickens alive around here! We thought we had all the holes covered that the little ones could escape from, but two found a way out. Luckily we arrived back home in time to rescue one of them, but the hawk had already gotten the other one. It’s depressing when these things happen.
I’m going to keep it short and sweet this week. I have a pile of veggies to freeze and tomorrow is a major tomato canning day. Tonight is open house at the school and Thursday is “finish school shopping” day as well as some medical appointments. Friday is a major grocery shopping day. In other words, time is short this week.
If you read last week’s post you know I have been setting up routines and doing a now, three week long over the top, home and yard cleanup. All this has been in prep for next week when school starts back. I’m trying to lay the groundwork for a real schedule this year. A much needed scheduled. A “the housework isn’t done” guilt free schedule!
I think my hard work has paid off. There isn’t much left on the house other than some big remodeling projects and repairs that will happen in small increments. The yard will be getting a major overhaul this coming month for our annual family chicken stew, so I will have help with that. My goal is to finally have 20-25 hours a week to get back to my artwork and a little side job that brings in some cash flow. I am also preparing those people that I live with to NOT find projects in my coveted time slot. In all the hours available in a week, I don’t think 25 hours is too much to ask especially considering I am a much more pleasant person to live with if you DON’T mess with my time. I will keep you updated on how this goes.
Yes, last week I spoke too soon about getting back on my proper schedule. It pretty much fell apart again last week. My Mom had replacement knee surgery last Wednesday so I went and spent part of the day Thursday at the hospital with her. I managed to get a little work done while there, but not much. Writing these posts takes some concentration and it’s pretty much impossible to concentrate at the hospital. Too much going and coming of the staff, answering the phone for her, moving the table around, etc. It was all good but on Friday I had to play catch up. My plan was to write this post yesterday (I could have over the weekend but I will explain that in a minute) but about 7:00 yesterday morning our power went off. Hummmm, not good. It came back on around 2:30ish, just a few minutes before I had to walk out the door to pick up Miss L. So much for that big plan!
Finally I’m back and I’m thinking I will try for Tuesdays for a while and see if that works better. It seems that the week picks up speed as the days go by. Monday is always busy, but Tuesdays have a slower quality. We’ll see. Anyway, hope all is well in your world. Spring is beginning to show up and in my opinion that makes everything better!
What has been happening here? It’s all sort of a blur. I am still doing some design & printing for clients but slowly winding down. I am still making a once a week trip out to do deliveries of the printing and that pretty much takes up that whole day each week. The estate is closed but there is some lingering paperwork and errands to finish as well as a situation with my late SIL’s headstone that someone at the VA dropped the ball on and we have to start all over with the paperwork again. I will refrain from subjecting you to my thoughts on that. Miss L has some regular appointments now that keep me on the road. We are trying to get the garden ready between monsoon weeks. Every year it’s a scramble to get the planting done on time, plus we are now a year behind on some much needed repairs and projects that got put on hold after my SIL died last June.
I have been trying to do some remodeling of the house and that also came to a screeching halt last Spring. My dear husband could not only happily live without electricity, he could happily live in a cave. His rustic hunting lodge home did not fit my esthetic so even before we got married I started updating his house. Our kitchen was SUPPOSED to have been painted in 2017. I FINALLY got started back on that project this month.
(I’m so sorry this is sooooo copy heavy. Keep going. There ARE pictures!)
Miss L got to go spend the weekend with friends and I took the opportunity of a kid free weekend to tackle not only some kitchen painting but some sewing as well. I love to paint. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s on a canvas or a wall. D. says I just like the smell of paint. Ok, maybe but I LOVE to change the whole look and feel of a room with a bucket of paint. My kids used to go visit their Dad, come home and find that I had painted a room or two in their absence. I prefer color, but have had to make some compromises because of Mr. Neutral. All walls at either gray or beige now. Yuck.
I am drawn to the vintage 1930’s -40’s styles, probably because of my memories of my Grandma’s house. The colors and shapes just feel warm and cozy to me like a favorite quilt. I have collected furniture, dishes, etc. over the years without realizing they were all from that era. Now we have acquired more from D’s grandparents. Several things need a fresh coat of paint and there will be color! The original colors were reds, greens, blues and yellows and for the most part I am going to stick with their original colors. As I move through the process I will include photos.
My other project this past weekend was some sewing. Have I mentioned that I hate shopping? Thanks to the fabric stash from D.’s late Mom and even some from his Grandmother, I may never need to visit a clothing store or fabric shop again. Miss L. does not like to shop for clothes either so she may benefit from the fabric stash as well if we can find some fabric she likes. She loves some bright colors but I’m not sure how many of those are in the stash. Anyway, after years and years of not having real pajamas (I was a single parent for 13 years and many personal things went on the back burner to pay for things like braces and sports equipment.) I found a classic pj pattern and saw several posts of them sewn up by lots of people and liked the style. I managed to get the pattern printed out (love that we can download patterns and print them at home now!) this weekend and I took advantage of yesterdays power outage to get the fabric cut. I will post those whenever I actually get to find time to sew them.
I have two new portrait commissions to start and I started several little paintings. I am not enjoying painting that small. There is a very good chance that these will not get finished. I prefer working bigger so you probably won’t see these again. I did finish my egg painting and will have prints for sale in my Etsy store when I get it scanned.
I think that’s about it for the House of Weird update this week. I should be back next week same time (fingers crossed).
Have a great week and remember that some times you just have to go with the flow!
Did you notice that I’m back on schedule this week? Woo hoo! I was determined to get a post in before the weekend starts.
Is my To Do list caught up? Not by a long shot but I’m pretty sure it never will be. I finished a knitting project and a commissioned project this week. I don’t have photos of either of them yet though. I will be starting two small portraits soon. Stay tuned for those.
In my “spare” time I started a new pair of socks. My sock knitting is getting faster. I started these on Monday and am almost to the heel already. This is just squeezing in 10 or 15 minutes here and there, often waiting on an email or supper to finish cooking or waiting for an appointment. Aren’t these the most beautiful colors. Pure joy to hold and knit!
I did a little of this knitting while waiting Tuesday evening for Miss L to be inducted into the honor society. We are so stinking proud of her especially considering the vast numbers of changes that have occurred in her life this year!
This week I also pulled out several textile art unfinished objects and plan to finally finish them up and put them in my Etsy store. Here is the first. Not quite finished yet but close. I will post them with a link when I get them finished and in the store.
Muffin had the last of her shots this week and became the celebrity kitty of the day when she willingly sat on EVERYONE’s shoulders at the veterinarian’s. Here she is with two of the doctors.
We have had more barn drama this week. Something tried to get to Muffin one night and pulled her kitty condo off the table in the barn. She has a spacious large dog crate for a condo so we suspect a coyote. NOT GOOD. Luckily the door latch held and Muffin was safe but everyone has been a bit jumpy this week especially the horses who were the silent witnesses ensconced in their stalls and none too fond of coyotes either. Last night something knocked over Sweetie Pie’s (Muffin’s Mom) crate. SP doesn’t get locked in because she has excellent barn cat skills and is safer with an escape plan. She came cruising out to meet me this morning showing no sign of being terrorized. Whew!! Whatever it was decided that the honey racks stored in the feed room (we still need one more door…SOON) would have to do for a midnight snack. Now I have a sticky mess to clean up. Insert bad words here.
We have a rare and wonderful unscheduled Saturday tomorrow. I have a goal of starting the kitchen remodel that was supposed to happen LAST Spring. Now if I can get the painting and repairs done BEFORE the garden planting and bee season begin I will be doing a happy dance! To accomplish this I must go dig the paint out of the closet in G’s room before she gets here this evening. Gotta go ya’ll.
My apologies for going missing last week. I finally got the Administrator paper for my SIL’s estate and jumped into action to start processing all the pieces and parts. My week was full of constant phone calls, paperwork and appointments with a full day of volunteering at our Chamber of Commerce golf tournament thrown in. Oh, work. I even managed to squeeze in that darn work that helps to pay our bills. Don’t ask about sleep. I have given sleep up until all this is over.
This week has been more of the same but with the addition of school shopping thrown in and our internet being down for almost three days. Miss L. starts school this coming Monday. We got the school supplies on Monday and we got school clothes and soccer gear yesterday. Neither of us enjoy shopping for clothes and were both wiped out by the end of the day.
Several family members came to help clean out J’s storage units and we managed to get one clean completely and have to get the other one finished this weekend. We now have boxes piled in the house and soon in the barn. Everything has to be out of the unit by the end of the month and we have limited time to do it. The rest of the sorting out of stuff will happen here. I cannot stand “stuff” out of place or laying around for very long so my mission is to focus in and get this done as fast as possible.
Sooooooo, my apologies, but this is as good as you get this week. There is more on the schedule than I have time for. Hopefully next week will be better as we settle into a school schedule.
Take some time to slow down this week…for me as well as yourself!
Believe it or not, I am actually writing AHEAD of time this week! That sounds good, but primarily it is because I have yet another day of appointments tomorrow when I normally write my posts.
We need a copy of Miss L’s birth certificate and social security number before we can get all her requirements for health insurance, school and soccer done. So part of tomorrow will be doing that and the other part will be meeting with the attorney to get the final papers done for me to be the executor and finally get started on the estate.
Ok, a soap box moment…if you do not have your final affairs in order, especially if you have children, STOP right now, GO make an appointment with an attorney and GET THIS STUFF DONE! I don’t care if you think you are never going to die, JUST DO IT! No one should be left behind to go through the mess that we are having to work through. This could have turned out so much worse for Miss L. You do not want to leave your children to “the system”. I doubt you would want to leave your possessions and affairs to “the system” either. GO DO IT NOW! Ok, enough of that.
I have a good start on this commissioned barn drawing. If only I could find a few hours in a row for about three days, I could call it finished, but my days are broken into bits and pieces until late evening so it is taking longer than I would like. I am pleased with the way it’s turning out, but frustrated with the broken time.
On a brighter note, the disappearing Sweetie Pie (the cat) has reappeared and seems to be transitioning into a barn cat quite nicely. We still have to get her wrangled to the vet and get her spayed before we wind up with 25 barn cats, but it was good to see her again and know she was ok. Miss L was especially relieved and goes out to spend time with Sweetie Pie each day.
Our 16 guinea fowl keets are thriving in our bathroom. We have had them for a week now under a heat lamp. By this weekend we should be able to turn off the heat lamp and just leave them in the bathroom without the AC blowing on them. Danny will be especially happy to turn that heat lamp off. It’s like a full time sauna in there. I will have to find them a taller box soon too. They are almost able to jump out now. Guinea’s are known for their excitability. Can I just empathize that “excitability” is an understatement? They totally freak out every time you move and at every noise. How they just don’t drop dead from a heart attack is beyond me. Soon they will be adding their well known loud alarm calls to the freak out. I hope we have them outside before that kicks in!
Bob, the horse, still isn’t taking to the saddle outside of the round pen. The discussion is turning to what to do if we can’t get Bob trained into a trail horse. He is bred to be a Western Pleasure horse and that may be what he has to go and do somewhere else. I’m very partial to the crazy horse and don’t really want to think about not having him around.
All other critters, including the bees are doing fine. No honey this first year, but the hives seem healthy and growing. The next three months are critical so I will be paying close attention to my bee colonies now that the honey flow is over.
That’s all the news from Green Acres (if you don’t know Green Acres then go check it out on YouTube) this week. Hope all is well in your world. Have an awesome week!
Happy Mid-August! Where has the summer gone? School started back this week and there are hints of color in the leaves here already. I’m not ready for cold weather!!!
It has been a productive week for us. The floor is installed in the laundry room, the dryer is fixed and back in place (no more having to rush out and get the clothes off the clothes line before the afternoon storms) and the washer has moved out of the kitchen to it’s rightful place as well. One more little bathroom to go and the floor will be finished. Of course I have to paint the new cabinet this weekend before I install the flooring. It just never ends.
As life begins to finally settle into a rhythm I am facing a new adjustment. Slowing down. Well that should be easy enough! Yeah, you would think so, but…
Is your To Do list longer than your arm every day? Is every minute scheduled? Do your kids think their names are Hurry Up and We’re Late? I have also been living under that craziness as long as I can remember or since my first kid was born, whichever came first. Work (often two jobs), house, dog, car, yard, two kids in several sports, volunteer work, church involvement, etc. Years and years of hitting the floor running early in the morning and collapsing into bed late at night. Stress, stress, stress.
One of the most insane moments I remember is being at work at our then family business, rushing to pick up both kids at two different schools, coming back to work and supervising their homework, then rushing them out the door at closing time to grab another fast food dinner and drive them both to soccer practice in two different towns. It had been “one of those days” all day and when we pulled out of the fast food drive through my kids decided that their Mom might need to be committed.
Why? First, what I thought was closing time was actually an hour earlier. I had looked at the clock wrong. Then after screaming at them to get their stuff in the car and driving like a maniac to Wendy’s for dinner, I paid for the food in the drive thru window and then proceeded to drive away WITHOUT THE FOOD! It wasn’t until my son gently and tentatively asked me if I was OK that I realized what I had done. I would not chalk that day up as one of my best parenting days.
That was the point where I started dropping some unnecessary obligations and trying to regain some sanity in our lives, but things have still been “go, go, go” even after my kids left home. D. warned me that life up here has a different time frame, but I did not realize how different until this week.
I decided to get a haircut at one of the local hair salons. I got an appointment for 5:00 pm. My hair is very short and it has never taken more than 15-20 minutes for someone to cut it. I arrived 10 minutes early and got to sit for about 15 minutes listening to the local gossip and meeting some of my new neighbors. My haircut started at 5:05. I left at 6:00!
Tuesday we needed some lumber to finish our barn and fix a room in D.’s new business. We arrived at 3:45 with our list. Said hello to the owner who was helping another customer. Sat in his office for another 15 minutes. Then he and D. proceeded to discuss hunting for another 15 minutes. Finally out to load the lumber we went. Then the fork lift stopped working. Another 15 minutes of fork lift discussion until it was decided to use THE OTHER forklift. Another 15 minutes picking out the right pieces. Yep, another hour bites the dust.
I used to start work at 6:30 in the morning. Now that I am down to one job I sometimes just stand in the middle of the room trying to figure out what to do with myself. With the yard, house, dogs, horses, bees, work and an hour drive anytime we go somewhere, there is plenty to do, but there really is a time difference. It’s like a Twilight Zone episode (if you are younger than 45 years old you will have to Google that reference). Honestly, it’s going to take awhile to get used to this. I have a physical reaction when I have unoccupied time on my hands. I get anxious and antsy.
Oh, it is a much better and saner way to live and one that our grandparents had everyday. We have made time into our enemy. Something we have to race again the clock to beat everyday. Time should be our friend. Time to get to know our neighbors. Time to pay attention to what you are cooking and eating. Time to enjoy a walk in the woods. Time to read a book or get lost in a project.
I’m working on it my friends! I’m taking a deep breath when I start feeling the anxiety coming on and sitting down in my lawn chair and watching the butterflies do their thing on my zinnias. I hope you can find some “country time” too.
I’m wondering if writing a blog is like Facebook. Is it supposed to be all “perfect world” posts? The fact that I have started this at 4:45 am might be a clue that this one will not be one of those posts.
You don’t have to stop reading. I promise not to be Debbie Downer, but if I’m going to write this every week I have to be honest that every week is not sunshine and roses.
For several mornings in a row I have been wide awake at 4 am. Historically that means my poor brain is trying to cope with some overload and the fact that I get up and start work means I manage to accomplish something before exhaustion sets in around noon. I figured out about a decade ago that tossing and turning in bed for hours accomplishes nothing and I’m still exhausted by noon.
So what exactly is going on? 1) I have some big changes on the horizon and I’m working through that transition. 2) I’m having some time management problems. 3) I’m just dealing with general life aggravations like we all do.
I’m going to work through these backwards. If you have suggestions, I am happy to hear them.
#3 – Life aggravations. It’s the end of October. The holidays are looming. It’s pathetic, but I do not enjoy the Thanksgiving and Christmas insanity. I do not enjoy shopping. I don’t really enjoy cooking either. So here I am at the end of the year with my gift lists and my budget and never the twain shall meet. I just bought new tires for my car two weeks ago which was a hit to the saving but not dreadful. My son calls yesterday and his truck (my truck actually) needs over $800 in repairs. If you noticed an odd repeated “thud, thud, thud” sound yesterday, that was me banging my head on the wall.
#2 – Time management. Overall I am decent with my time management skills, but I have a couple of problem areas. First, I have a tendency to be a workaholic IF I have work I enjoy. Give me a project that excites me and I will work through meals, meetings, date nights, etc. You caught that right? My kids will tell you as will my fiancé that if I’m into something I have no clue what is going on around me. The dogs will be banging their water bowls and I don’t hear a thing. I resent being interrupted and they all resent being ignored. It’s a problem.
On the other end of the spectrum, if there is something I hate to do, I become the Queen of Procrastination. Three months of filing that needs to be done? Darn, there is something I need to go research on Pinterest right now! My patient readers, please pray that I will find the intestinal fortitude to face the two large boxes full of filing that must be done so that I do not have to spend a week of sleepless nights doing taxes this year. Have I mentioned that my accounting is about two months behind as well?
#1- Life changes. I believe the saying goes “There are only two things you can count on in life, death and taxes.” I would add “change” to that list. This coming Spring I am getting married. That is a big, YEAH! But, I have been a divorced, single parent for 13 years living in a suburban area. Come summer I will be a married, empty nester living in a very rural area. I’m beginning to believe that adjusting to being married will be the easy part. The logistics of moving my storage unit and all my stuff, beginning to remodel his house, finding my way around a new area, having a 25 minute drive to the nearest grocery store, merging two of EVERYTHING and deciding what stays and goes, adjusting to an hour commute to work from an 8 minute commute, and making my business fit all this without losing customers is making me lose some sleep.
It’s just life. Messy, inconvenient, overwhelming. I’m not complaining. These are normal, even good things. I just need to feel a little more in CONTROL. That is what it usually comes down to, right? We need to feel we have some control over what is happening in life. My conclusion is that we don’t have much control over anything, but what we do have we need to embrace. I’m going to go make my coffee and breakfast, set the timer and tackle some of that filing and accounting before I start back on my recent fun project which I will show you next week.