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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mysterious Disappearing Act

Too early my morning began.

I swiped at my alarm clock and groaned.

Can I get up this minute? I can.

“But it won’t be easy,” I moaned.


Today would be especially tricky.

I was driving the kids to school.

Hubby left this morning at 5:30

And I still had much to do.


I packed the lunches last night

To ease this morning’s frenzy.

But no matter how I tried

Finding PE shirts—I came up empty!


I looked for 30 minutes or 40.

I peered in closets, behind beds.

Yes, I need to do more sorting.

Laundry folding is a chore I dread.


I looked in vain, I confess.

Where could the shirts be?

How to solve this mess?

Maybe my friends could help me.


I texted Marti with my phone.

Then called Elaine just in case.

But her son was sick at home.

So I called Michelle at her place.


She would send a shirt, no worries.

Her son found me as the bell rang.

I thanked him and went in a hurry.

“We made it,” I sang.


I am so grateful for friends.

They help out when you you’re in a jam.

Good friends are happy to lend.

And I’m glad to help them when I can.


I really must catch up on my chores.

There’s a gigantic clean clothes pile.

But sorting clothes is such a bore.

And blog writing is more my style!


I looked for those shirts—it’s a fact.

I tried to be Superwoman.

The shirts pulled a disappearing act.

And even Superwoman needs a hand!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Lookout Spot Ahead


On January 27, 2009 I began my blog. Today I am beginning my sixth year of blogging. I love anniversaries of significant events. Anniversaries are the equivalent of Scenic View signs on the freeway or on a twisty mountain road: they suggest the need for a pause. They recommend that I look out over where I’ve been since I started.

Blogging began as a way to share my quirky thoughts with others. My blog was a spot where I could share whatever was on my mind: funny things, observations about life, and whatever else popped up. Sometimes I shared photos of things I’d made, or posed unanswered questions. I’m not as “bare all” in my blog as some people are, but I do share personal thoughts and feelings. I like having a way to show others (near and far) pieces from my life.

Five years ago I knew very little about creating a blog. I’ve taught myself some things along the way, although I don’t profess to be fluent in computer language. I wonder if I’ll blog regularly five years from now. I wonder how my life will have changed in that time. Will my blog be more tutorial-based, more about making things? Or will it me more autobiographical, and less instructional? Who knows?

2013 was a hard year but I got through it. I realized recently that I’m becoming more comfortable with not knowing what is ahead. Surviving hidden surprises has made me a bit better at rolling with the unexpected. That’s what I see when I look back over the last year. You see that kind of thing when you pause to look back over where you’ve been.

Who knows what my blog will morph into over time? I don’t. And that’s okay. You can’t plan everything ahead of time, and sometimes the unexpected parts end up being the ones with the most meaning…

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Catwalk, Reimagined

Anyone can build a catwalk. But it takes some real imagination to make a sunny cat condo for your pet. I saw such an invention on my morning walk today. A few blocks from our place is a short street made up of duplex apartments. Jutting into the front yard of one of these apartments was a kitty condo of sorts.
Although I don’t know the cat’s owner or the back story behind this kitty’s corner, here’s what I imagine led to the invention. This duplex is rented by people who adore their cat. They want Fluffy to be able to get some fresh air while they are at work. They could lock her outside all day, but they want Fluffy to be able to get inside for her food. (They learned that other animals will graze at Fluffy’s food bowl unless it is inside the apartment.) These loyal pet owners want their cat to have indoor as well as outdoor living space. Fluffy needs her fresh air and naps in the sun. But she is a cat of many moods (aren’t they all?) and also wants to spend time indoors, where her food bowl and cable tv are. How to solve this dilemma? A sunroom extending from her regal palace. She loves to sun outside, but what if the temperatures rise? The owners thoughtfully added a shade so that she has options. When she is in the mood for fresh air, Fluffy can walk through the window’s screen to access her fab sun room. Her majesty can preside over the neighborhood at a height of five feet, where she can look down at the kingdom she is sure is hers. When passersby stop to honor her, she can meow down at them—if it suits her. Her regal catliness decrees the sunroom a royal success.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Don't Forget to Change Your Drawers

Let’s talk drawers. There’s no reason to feel shy. Almost everyone uses them.

Wait—did you think I was starting a blog about changing underpants? Get your mind out of the gutter! Underpants are a personal subject and I’m not here to lecture you about changing them.

I’m here to encourage you to change the drawers in your dresser. And to use them as planters.

Today I moved a small dresser from the back yard to our side yard. The dresser had been sitting in the back yard in my potting area for a few years since I’d moved it out of my cramped studio, where it wasn’t being put to use. My idea was to store gardening pots in the drawers. I opened the two drawers. One was empty and the other had a few pots and—yikes!—a black widow spider, which I immediately sent to spider Heaven. If these drawers weren’t being used to store things (besides hungry spider babies), I needed to rethink how I was going to use them.

I decided the dresser could be made into a planter in our side yard, which is a wedge of land near the front door. The drawers I would turn into shelves for my plant collection out back.

I think this piece is really cute but I wasn’t using it indoors. I bought it (along with a similar one) at a thrift store, and gave them both makeovers. I hand-painted each and they were part of a group art show. Neither sold so I kept them and they’ve held various things in various rooms in the various places we’ve lived. (Yesterday as I moved the drawers I saw that I’d signed the back and included their completion date: 1997. That was so cute. 1997 seems like so long ago—I was practically an infant back then!)

Here is the dresser before I gave it a new life in the plant world:
I turned the dresser so that it now rests on its back. I put potted plants inside and touched up the red top, which had been scraped during our moves. Now this wedge of land has more of a focal point, a strong color drawing your eye to it, and the dresser looks great where it is. It is being put to use and adds a splash of color to the area. 


Now what to do with the two drawers? Today I turned one into a plant shelf and the other will be hung tomorrow. I nailed the drawer to the fence in our back yard, and it is showcasing some of my plants. The fence needed jazzing up as it’s pretty boring, and this is the perfect way. I chose plants that were relatively light (in plastic pots rather than terra cotta), as I don’t know how much weight the shelf will hold. It looks terrific and I’m delighted with the result.

Don’t be scared to walk around your house or yard and look at things in a different way. I’m not suggesting you take a prized family heirloom and turn it into a planter, but maybe you have something that isn’t an antique and needs a new look. Slap some paint on it. Or move it outdoors and throw a plant into it. I just love these opportunities. It’s so fun to give furniture a makeover. Since I had the drawers, plants and paint already it was completely free. It gave me a boost to repurpose something and to add new life to my garden. So step away from the computer, and go walk through your home. Find something that needs a new look and give it a try. Let me know how it turns out!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Golden Opportunity

Something funny happened today.

(I love how often I’m able to write that. I am lucky that funny things happen near/to me. Or maybe I just see the amusing side of things. But I digress…)

Today at the park we were hanging out with a new friend, Laura. She moved to our neighborhood a few months back and we first met (at the park, of course) only a few days after she’d moved. She’s easy to talk to and we have good conversations, but I don’t know much about her life before moving into the neighborhood. We were gabbing about this and that when I suddenly noticed that her pants said “St. Olaf.”
Okay. Time out! St. Olaf, as in the hometown of Rose, from the Golden Girls? I asked Laura if her pants were a reference to Golden Girls, a show I watched in the 80s, and still enjoy today as reruns. St. Olaf stories were in every episode.  Rose often shared stories about her hometown, a Norwegian farming settlement in Minnesota. Every time she said, “Back in St.  Olaf…” the others either left the room, or settled in to get comfortable, knowing the story would be long (and may not in fact relate to the previous topic at all!).
Imagine my surprise today when I learned that St. Olaf is a real place! (I hadn’t bothered to find out before, but today’s discovery that it’s a real place makes this blog so much better.) Laura went to school at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. I asked if I could photograph her leg and she gave me the go-ahead. Laura said that the Golden Girls’ writers had gone to Carlton College in Northfield, MN, the rival to St. Olaf, which is in the same town. They named Rose’s hometown St. Olaf (where everyone was fairly stupid or at best naïve).
I definitely consider myself a Golden Girls fan. Those four spunky ladies were such a funny quartet. They were roommates and friends and each episode made me laugh. Sometimes the story lines were mostly comical, but other times the show managed to mix humorous moments with meaningful topics. I remember episodes that took on serious social issues: aging and death, betrayal and loyalty, immigration, homelessness, HIV, addiction, and homosexuality (which was not something that tv shows had dipped their toes into in the 1980s). Each of the four roommates had a distinct personality, strengths, weaknesses, and baggage. Plus, the four main characters were women, which must have made an impression on me years before I learned the term “gender inequality.” This show was a delight. I liked all of the characters but one who stands out in particular was Rose, who was played by the adorable Betty White. Rose was naïve, at times ditzy, and (unless stopped) could ramble on for long periods about strange things/people/animals/events from back home in St. Olaf, Minnesota. These stories always involved names with unusual sounding words that reminded me of sounds the Muppets’ Swedish Chef made. I’m looking at a Golden Girls segment on You Tube as I type and I’m laughing out loud. How did Rose manage to utter those funny sounds and not bust out laughing? She’s a pro, of course.
Here’s an example of things Rose had learned in St. Olaf. She said it was an old Scandinavian saying:
"You can let two, angry mackerels fight it out in a purse but don’t ever plan on carrying that purse to a formal affair."
If you would like to hear a sample of names and words that have St. Olaf's distinct flavor, watch this one-minute clip:
Oh, I love moments like this. It’s pure coincidence that Laura wore those pants today, which led to my discovery that St. Olaf is real. These serendipities just make my day. Hope you got a laugh, too!