Category Archives: Lifestyle

It’s Wednesday and I’m in Love

Hubs and I are in the new house and mostly settled, at long last.

This is me, coming up for air.

This is also me, who has made a self-promise to not overthink the writing of this post.

So.

I am in love with our new house. I’m deeply into the “nesting” stage of this process and I’m enjoying the hell out of it.

I’m going to avoid the temptation to regale you with the saga that was working with our moving company, and the relocation services company that I overpaid to hire them. I say this not only because I’m more dedicated than ever to find and celebrate the good, but this saga began at the end of April and ended, thankfully, at the end of August. And I’m so over it.

Let me just tell you about the “nesting” process I am currently basking in.

It’s reminiscent of 30 odd years ago when I was about to give birth to my first baby. It’s this burst of energy coupled with hopes for the future and it compels me to organize, decorate, and bake.

I’ve been shopping a lot on Wayfair and Etsy, in search of just the right things to craft this joint into our dream home. To get the aesthetic right. It’s fun to get packages most every day; it’s like Christmas for me!

I feel so fricking blessed, lucky, and deep-in-my-bones happy right now.

In the spirit of efficiency with your time and mine, here’s a few pics of the house at the moment. I’m determined to keep things simple these days. Plus, I have zucchini muffins to make using the zucchinis in our garden today.

The Space I’m In

It’s Sunday morning and I’m in the camper (aka our current home) with Hubs and Radar.

Radar is sitting across from me at the dinette, thoroughly engrossed in licking his nether regions. He’s on the bench seat that I keep covered in a beach towel for his comfort each night.

The summer is almost over.

The summer of 2022 has been a little wild for me. Certainly strange. There’s been some surprises (of which I am generally a fan), good and bad in unequal measure.

What’s your take on life’s surprises?

This summer has also been invigorating: the fresh and clean breezes, frequent deer sightings, the birdsongs. Stimulating but also grounding for me. Radar making new friends.

Radar with the neighborhood pooch, Maya

It’s been a memorable season of our married life for sure. Living in a 21 foot camper for more than 2 months has been interesting, to say the least. We’ve joked that moving about the camper simultaneously is like playing “Twister”.

This upending of our lives to move back to Wisconsin has made me more acutely aware of a slew of things; namely the things, ideals, and people I will die on a hill for. It’s solidified my priorities. Given me more clarity.

I can now see more clearly how I want to live. I’m devoted to learning and growing, from my creative writing habit to gardening to grandparenting. My MIL has offered to teach me how to can, using the vegetables in our new-to-us garden. And I’m eager to get back to learning how to play my ukelele.

I think I just seriously aged myself in that last paragraph.

Whatever.

Maybe I will learn how to play and sing along to this lovely medley:

Isn’t this fantastic?

We are now less than 2 weeks out from moving into our sweet new house.

I’m aiming to do more of the enjoying of the present than wishing the time away.

But. It’s. Hard.

Because my head is swimming with ideas about what furniture is going to go where in the new house. The color schemes in each room. Where that beautiful new art piece with the lillies is going to be hung.

I’m missing our youngest, who has remained in Colorado. Though I am a bit less worried now about how they are going to fare without us a half hour drive away than I was when we arrived in Minnesconsin land in June. They now work at a place where they get to provide direct support to a very marginalized population. I am incredibly proud of them and hopeful they will persist, as I’m certain that workplace is better with them in their presence. And vice-versa.

While his mom’s at work, I’m taking care of our 8 year old grandson for several days between now and when we move into our house. 3rd grade in a new school starts right after we move in.

I think it’s fair to say that as a grandma, I’m a work in progress. I continue to learn as I go. But I’m up for it. The kid is so worth it. He’s been through a lot. So many changes in a short period of time.

My grandson is very bright, but also quite oppositional and reactionary. He’s also very funny, but sometimes gets carried away with it physically and ends up accidentally hurting himself or wrecking something. Suffice it to say, he requires a lot of energy from me.

Note to self: schedule a massage, STAT!

As you can see, I’m also a work in progress when it comes to self-compassion. I suspect many of you are too.

I have probably said this before in one of my blog posts, but I know for sure that writing these personal essays and getting them out there in the world is, for me, part of my self-compassion practice.

Anyone else feel this way about blogging?

Let me leave you, dear patient readers, with this creative rendition of a classic, feel-good Beatles song. Because life goes on. And as a tik-toker I came upon recently said “we’re not here for a long time, but we’re here for a good time”.

Isn’t this kid something else?

House number 8

The afternoon of the day we toured what was our eighth (and final) home, I was watching my 8 year old grandson. And the kid was pouncing on my last nerve. I was at my wit’s end, between his shenanigans and the wounds I was still nursing after losing out on house number 7. The least annoying thing the kid did that afternoon, if you can believe it, was to repeat “are we there yet” over and over in a sing-songy voice in the backseat for no less than 15 minutes while I was driving to meet up with Hubs to check out this house.

I actually got to such a frazzled state that day that I barked to Hubs on our way to house number 8 something to the effect of “let’s just go back to Colorado”. A ridiculous thing to say, indeed. But we all say ridiculous things when we are at the end of our mental ropes, right?

The house has deeded access to a lake. It’s own dock. A beautiful flower garden out front that attracts butterflies. A patch of blueberries and strawberries. 3 larger vegetable gardens. Then there’s a small deck, a cozy sun room and beautiful flooring. There’s both an attached and a detached garage (aka man cave/party room). Hubs and I are thrilled that our offer was accepted.

It was just what we were looking for this whole time. Well-priced, easy access to water for pontooning and fishing, not too far away from the in laws and our daughter and grandson. And not a fixer upper (unlike the previous house we bid on).

The current owners of House number 8 offered to sell us much of the furniture. We, of course, were not looking at the furniture when we first saw the house. So, the owners allowed us to come over one night last week to take a look at all they were trying to unload so we could make some decisions.

On the dining room table was a note from them to us. In this note, they congratulated us on our new home and said they think we will love it. They also said they had picked veggies from the garden for us and we could just grab them from the fridge. They signed the note and supplied us with their personal cell phone numbers, stating to give them a call with any questions re: the house.

As Hubs has a green thumb and I’m eager to learn his ways, we were so appreciative that the owners also included a hand-written diagram of the gardens.

Wow, right? So thoughtful and kind. We came home with green beans, zucchini, kale, and cucumbers; as well as a damn good feeling about moving to this house.

I’m so glad we moved here, to “Minnesconsin”, (we are a very short drive to Minnesota, which delights me no end).

Thanks for your well wishes on us finding “the one”, friends.

Time for a Musical Interlude

The following was written by me on 7/18/22.

Hubs and I put an offer in on a house. It’s a fixer upper but it’s on a river. Waterfront, baby!

The offer hasn’t been accepted yet, and I’m all kinds of anxious about it. I need to slow my roll. Be patient and not get ahead of myself by imagining how we’re going to fix the place up.

Because for all I know, it won’t end up being “the one”. House-hunting is a strange experience in this life. While I appreciate the fact that Hubs and I have the ability to be homeowners in this country, it requires some serious grit. It’s torturous.

This is why, my friends, you are getting a post about the wonderful distraction of music from me today. I need to focus on something other than this house hunting bullshit. If you’re a regular reading of my ramblings who appreciates music even half as much as me, you might like a break such as this too.

Update: Still 7/18, just much later on. Some other dope offered cash to the seller. I imagine one of those wealthy investors. They must have seen all the potential that we did in that house. Back to it, I guess.

Now back to the point of this post: which is A) introducing you all to a unique and talented artist, B) musing about the earworms in my head, and C) sharing song related anecdotes.

The one musical group on a loop in my head since this summer began is ABBA. It’s probably on account of us having the 70’s channel on Sirius XM on regular rotation while we are tooling around Wisconsin in the Tacoma.

“Knowing me, Knowing You” is especially embedded in my brain.

Something I realized listening to the 70’s channel and regular old radio this summer is just how many simply gorgeous songs came from that era and beyond. Like “Suddenly” by Billy Ocean, “Sail On” by the Commodores, and “Oh Girl” by the “Chi-Lites”. Just sweet, lovely songs that get forgotten over time.

In other music-in-my-head news, the song “I Just Haven’t Met You Yet” by that corny crooner (“cornoner”?) Michael Buble, is a major earworm for me these days.

Clearly, this song is in reference to our house-hunting journey. Maybe the song will get out of my head once we actually close on the home we purchase here in beautiful northwest Wisconsin.

There is a fantastic radio station, The Current, which is owned by MPR and based out of the Twin Cities. Hubs and I had sort of forgotten about this station when we were still in Colorado, despite being able to stream it. We were listening to it in our camper the other night and a song came on that really caught my attention. It’s by an artist I don’t think I’d ever heard of: Orville Peck.

Of course I had to google him out of curiosity and learned he is an artist like “Sia”, as he keeps his face covered when in public . I think it’s sort of odd, but yet cool. The mystery of it intrigues me, though his voice intrigues me much more.

I think the song “Unconditional (Look Out Kid)” by Arcade Fire is awesome. It feels to me like a love song from Gen X to Millenials and Gen Z. I would love to be in the audience at one of their concerts, singing along with the “Do do do do do do do do do do do” part. They are playing in Minneapolist this fall, so maybe I’ll get that chance.

Our daughter and grandson recently moved to a nearby town where the writer of Daughter’s “go to” Karaoke song grew up. I love “coincidences” like that, don’t you? Below is a video of that song.

The biggest item on our wish list, besides a place to live that isn’t mobile, is a pontoon. I’m not much of a country music fan (especially the newer stuff), but sometimes there’s just a song that I love despite myself. We all have those, right?

Please tell me: what are yours? Or how about your current playlist and/or earworm in your head these days?

House Hunting Amidst the Chaos

I think we Americans are at the very start of a revolution.

All of us are pissed about something. And rightfully so.

I’m beyond pissed that Roe v. Wade is now part of our past. I’m pissed that a woman in a black robe agreed it should be. And that the rest of them that agreed with her are all men. I’m pissed that SCOTUS has devolved into an entity that we can no longer trust.

Others are mad pissed about the price of gas or increased inflation. It’s all they can talk about to anyone who they think might listen.

Some are pissed that Trump isn’t behind bars already where he fucking belongs.

I am looking forward to a beautiful blue tsunami in November.

Amidst all of this, life carries on for all of us.

Me and mine are in a good place, here in Wisconsin in the summertime.

Hubs and I, along with our furry pal Radar, are living in our camper in his parents yard, while we are house-hunting here in beautiful northwest Wisconsin. Our daughter and grandson are bunking inside the house, until they move into their new apartment next week.

It’s been interesting, living in such a small space. I’m thankful that it’s temporary, but having less stuff is kinda nice. It’s simple. Less to clean. Less to manage. I actually appreciate the challenge of having to organize things in this space. It really brings out my resourcefulness. It turns out that the shower in our camper can double as a closet, thanks to a simple, inexpensive shower rod (and the ability we have to use the shower indoors).

I regret all that time I spent on my computer, househunting, in the months leading up to this period of time. As if even one of the houses that piqued my interest was still going to be for sale once we got here, sorted ourselves out, and actually had the time, energy, and resources to begin the bona fide hunt.

It’s not as much fun as I remembered it being, this house hunting. It’s aggravating. It’s frought with disappointment. Like what we thought was the absolute perfect house on the Apple River, which turned out to be too rural for high speed internet (a must for Hubs to work from home). Like the house on a lake that looked spectacular online but had the weirdest layout I’ve ever seen (kitchen and dining room in the basement and oddly shaped unused space on the main level).

Hubs and I are grateful, however, to be here. We are grateful that our townhome in Colorado sold quickly and for more than the listing price. And we are determined to find our next house here. We’ve agreed that our backup plan, should we not find the right house by the end of the summer, will be to purchase a less expensive home in town, not on the waterfront, to live in for a couple of years while we work and save to buy a piece of waterfront property and build the house we really want.

Hopefully we won’t have to go that route. I mean, who wants to tack on another move after this big move? Not me. But we’ll do it if it means not spending the winter living in our camper.

We just gotta take things in stride.

Ch Ch Ch Changes, Part Two

My first ever post on this blog was entitled “Ch Ch Ch Changes”.

I wrote it as a way to introduce myself. To share the major life transitions that led me to where I was in that particular moment of my life: unemployed and living the “empty-nester” life with Hubs in a new state.

As of April 1st of this year I again am unemployed (by choice). Because of all the things that need to be done. Addressed. Thrown out or given away. Packed.

Our move back to Wisconsin is slated for late May/early June. Between now and then, my mental and physical energy will be split between reviewing the past, savoring the present, and planning for the future.

I, along with my family, are in the throes of transition. I am a bit freaked out and searching for the balance in all of this.

Reviewing the past will include playing the “should it stay or should it go” game with all of our worldly possessions and the reminiscing this will bring about. There are countless pictures and assorted memorabilia to go through. You can no doubt expect blog posts to come out of this.

This is a good thing, because I’ve got some catching up to do. I’ve all but ignored my blog for the last couple of months. Case in point: my 5 year blogging anniversary came and went with zero fanfare.

The present: practicing self-compassion and actual mindfulness, which I now realize I’m only beginning to grasp after using it as a buzzword willy nilly in the recent past. Making memories with my daughter and grandson, as these two will not be living with us indefinitely. Come summer 2022, they will most likely be living in their own place again. Spending quality time with Kid #2, who intends to remain in Colorado while the rest of us are moving to Wisconsin.

The future: staying on top of the housing market in the area of Wisconsin we plan to settle in. Finding the house that will suit us best. One on the waterfront, large enough to host friends and family on the regular. Familiarizing myself, via the internet, with the area and getting a feel for the job market there.

Time is of the essence for me right now. I aim to use it wisely so I can avoid being overwhelmed.

My 2021 Merry Christmas post

Merry Christmas my sweet reader friends!

**I promise there’s a totally reasonable explanation for this photo turning up in this post***

I have at long last arrived at the point in the holiday season where I am decompressing. The presents and cookies are out the door (and many now received-USPS, you’re doing a good job). The house is as decorated as it is going to be. All the Christmas plans for the three of us have been fleshed out.

How about you? I hope you’re enjoying this holiday season.

A portion of the Christmas cookies I baked, just before I started packing them up.
My attempt at packaging Christmas cookies differently this year!

We watched “Christmas in Connecticut” together as a family and really enjoyed it. I watched it a few years ago on the recommendation of my mother in law, Alice, aka the woman who is known to give me great advice. I thought it remarkable that in spite of it being made in 1945, Barbara Stanwyck was rocking those trousers and making her own path. I suspected Rabbie and Hubs would find it as charming as I did, and, to my delight, I was right.

On my own, I caught a couple of shows that enchanted me: the totally cheesy yet pleasing “A Castle for Christmas” on Nextflix with Brooke Shields. The fascinatingly-original-for-it’s-time “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” (a “must watch” for me every year. It is just so special), and the Oprah-hosted magical “One Night Only” special with Adele. If you can carve out a little time for yourself (please do, you’ve surely earned it), I recommend you watch at least one of these shows. I look forward to hearing your report afterward, friend (s?).

What entertainment have you been enjoying this season?

Sometime around Thanksgiving, my Minnesota born and bred friend, Jill, posted a request on Facebook. She asked that all the friends and family that plan on sending her family a Christmas card include a favorite recipe. Jill and I have bonded many times over our collective foodie tendencies over the years, so I appreciated this request.

Of course, I was concentrating on the baking of the Christmas cookies, the buying of presents, and decorating the house, so her family’s Christmas card arrived well before I had even sent ours out to anyone. For whatever reason, it hadn’t occurred to me that she intended to include a recipe of her own. What a sweet surprise that was for me. Chicken Za-Tar will be on our menu in the new year for sure. I think I ought to steal Jill’s idea next Christmas.

I, in turn, wrote down the recipe for my current favorite Christmas cookie, “Cherry Snowballs”. I just hope it’s not too much of a pain in the ass for her to make these with her two kiddos (ages 6 and 9) when next Christmas rolls around.

With any luck, I will be hearing the whole story of this cookie baking adventure in the years to come.

How are you all celebrating the holidays this year? Any fun and games on the agenda? Or maybe some quiet time with the one you love? Or maybe it’s just the most perfect time to catch up on your sleep? I relate to the latter at this point in time. Not that I’m going to honor that of course.

It's Christmas. Keep It Real. - Home | Facebook
Because this. $$**

In a perfect world, I’d have a week off of work and the ability to purchase plane tickets for the three of us to fly to Minnesota and spend the holiday with our extended families. But I have faith that scenario will happen sooner rather than later.

But in my imperfect (yet blessed) world, the three of us are going to enjoy the currently very mild temps here in Colorado and play mini-golf amidst Christmas lights at the Adventure Golf venue 10 minutes away from us. I am going to be making a ton of food, we will watch a Christmas movie or two, attend Christmas Eve services at church, open presents our family has sent us, and play board games. I’m most excited to play “Ransom Notes”, which I bought recently as a family gift. One of the benefits of being a mom to adult children, I suppose.

In other words, in spite of the stress and hard work associated with this Christmas season, I’m still looking forward to it all.

***I spent more time than I am comfortable sharing on saving the “right” photo for my “featured image” on this post. So I chose instead to include a picture in the body of this post of the only cat I’ve really felt love toward, Karl, Rabbie’s “biological son”, taken last year or maybe the year before. But he’s cute and obviously spunky and charming so it fits in my view****

$$**and this image I totally copied from https://www.facebook.com/ItsChristmasKeepItReal/

How Are You Rolling These Days?

I ask this as a sincere question.

Like, I can take it. Be real.

Think of it as a “check in”.

I also ask this because I have a full blown complex about coming across on this blog as self-centered, self-involved and driven solely by self-interest. Like “me me me me me” obnoxiousness.

Please God tell me I am not alone in this.

However, I know the nature of a personal blog is that it is personal. Attached at the hip to who the blogger is as a person. Like, no one is paying me to write news articles here. I am not beholden to anyone other than myself (and you) in this space.

It’s really quite the conundrum, don’t you think?

Also, I am not in the right head space to finish and publish the post I most recently started about work and career and me (of course).

Because of Christmas. Because of Work. Because I have the crud (aka sinus and possible ear infection, and yes I should get my ass to the doctor’s office).

So, tell me, how are you feeling physically these days?

Aside from the crud, my shoulders are aching more than usual. Likely because of the physical activity my upper body has been up to, with all the Christmas cookie baking and packaging I’ve been doing. I am hop Blah .Blah. Blah.

I freaking love baking. Christmas cookies especially. My secret? I keep it simple. No high-falutin Martha Stewart shit going on behind the scenes over here.

Though someday, I think I’d enjoy simply trying some of Martha’s recipes or DIY tricks. Maybe when I have this kitchen to cook and bake in.

How’s your attitude?

Currently, I am waffling between “let’s get Christmas wrapped up, mmmkay?” and “Christmas is my favorite!” Depends on the day. I am very much looking forward to making some merry though. Especially this weekend when I’ll be dressed as an elf while working at my employer’s “Santa Shop”, where donated presents, food, and hygiene products are given out to low income families.

How are you feeling emotionally?

Good question. Hard to answer actually don’t you think? I push those emotions of mine down during times of extreme stress. So much so that I can’t properly answer this question. Once I start seeing the light at the end of this Christmas tunnel I have faith that my body will relax and those emotions will come to the surface. I’ll sit down on my couch with Radar, sip some wine, and let it go.

All of the above and more is why I’ve determined that I’m going to choose one word to focus on in the New Year: “Balance”.

I was totally going to end this post with the loveliest Christmas music video I could find on YouTube.

Instead, I’m going to share two of my newest favorite songs; both of them stick in my head as I go about my day and lift me up. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

I have been a fan of this dude for about 8 years or so. Can’t wait to see him at Red Rocks (or anywhere else) someday.

Doesn’t this just make you yearn for a tropical vacation this spring????

How I’m Rolling At The Moment

I started writing this post on Labor Day. I decided to “labor” at home. Doing just-for-me creative pursuits. I started with updating my vision board. I’ve tons of magazines around here collecting dust and taking up space to be used on this project.

Primarily I found phrases that speak to me (“let curiosity lead” is my new favorite), but no visual depictions of any specific, tangible, thing that I want to manifest. I’ll probably need to hit a thrift store soon to complete my current iteration of this vision board.

I did find some articles in these old magazines that I missed on my first go ’round with them. I will read those this week, before toss them into our recycling bin.

Hubs and I got back from our summer vacation last Wednesday night. It was a long-ass road trip to Minnesota with our camper. We normally go up there to see family and friends in July; this year, however, we went in late August so we could attend the nuptials of my nephew and his gal.

All went well, though Hubs is still quite sore from doing all the driving. Those sweet kids got married (under a tent during a downpour). We spent quality time on the way visiting his parents and sister in Wisconsin, having dinner with our best friends farther north, and lunch with my beautiful niece and her family on our way through Nebraska.

I didn’t want to come home, to be honest. Not just because I wanted more time with family, but because of the beauty and serenity I find at my sister and brother in-laws place. I wanted more of it. Maybe next summer, we’ll fly there so we can spend more time with them in this instead of sitting in the truck. Better yet, we’ll take the camper but extend our vacation by another few days.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

The best place in the world to decompress
You can see the Baptism River more clearly in this one.

Words On The Walls

I’ve been focusing more these days on home improvement and home decor. Hubs and I are planning some pretty major upgrades for our town home, which will, hopefully, be completed before Thanksgiving. New carpet is going in first, sometime next month.

I’ve got a lot of words on my walls. I may have overdone it. I think, being a 54 year old white woman from the Midwest, having so many pieces of “words as art” on my walls might make me a cliche. At the very least, I ought not to buy any more.

That by no means is me declaring that I don’t on some level enjoy each and every one of my word/art “pieces”. But I also wouldn’t want to fuck up the other scenery inside our empty nest. Overwhelm our space with words which would, no doubt over time, diminish their meanings.

How about you all? You’ve got words adorning your walls in the name of art, right? Perhaps it’s just an American thing? I wonder about that.

I think it all started with the small framed piece of art I bought at one of those home decor parties I attended when we lived in Wisconsin, probably in about 2002. It has the word “Faith” emboldened on it. I felt a bit obligated to purchase something (you know how that goes, right folks?). Seeing it on our wall was a good reminder for me at the time, what with the challenges of raising two kids with Hubs, working full time as a case manager, and managing the stress/anxiety that accompanied those roles. It now lives on the wall above our town home’s staircase. I probably don’t take note of it as much as I should.

One of my most recent “word art” acquisitions was found on Etsy. It’s a slim piece of wood with the words “Everything is Figureoutable” on it. It’s cute, though perhaps overly optimistic. But I like it just the same. It sits on a buffet table in our dining area, in front a lovely plant and next to pictures of our kids and our grandson.

Then there’s the also made-of-wood but glittered up word “Peace” that sits above the gas fireplace in our living room. I bought it at TJ Maxx a few years ago, when I was searching for new Christmas decor. I haven’t been able to bring myself to take it down since. It’s a pretty reminder of my desire to maintain peace within my home. As well as a reminder that outside of these walls, peace is something that is sorely needed and something I must actively cultivate.

In this post, I wrote about the funky sign my dad, Babe, hung in his beloved garage for years. For the longest time, I had it hanging beneath my vision board in our home office. Now that this is Hubs space as he’s working from home full time (and likely for the remainder of his career), I needed to find a new place for it. It’s now hanging downstairs on the wall across from our half bath. I think the words will be a comfort to visiting guests after using the facilities.

Speaking of my vision board, it’s now hanging above my small Ikea dresser in our walk-in closet. It’s a good place for it; however, it needs some new words and/or phrases. Probably another inspiring image or two. Nothing new has been added to it for probably 2 years. I must get on that soon.

But of course I have the “Live, Laugh, Love” phrase on my walls. My sister Kelly gifted that to me several years ago. I guess I wouldn’t be a “words on the wall” kinda gal if these words were not present somewhere in my home, right?

I look forward to hearing about your own (or your take on-maybe that’d be even more fun?) “words on the wall”.

In the meantime, enjoy this little ditty:

***Header image courtesy of yours truly. It might be my favorite . It’s the first one you see when you walk in our front door***