Sunday, January 30, 2022

Words To Live By. And Why.

Remember other people's birthdays.
As we advance in age (ahem), most people don't feel birthdays seem the same as when we were children.  But even adults feel purdy darn special when receiving a birthday card (or two or ten) in the mail.  Okay, a greeting via text or e-mail is nice, too, but there's still a lot to be said for holding a card in your hands and knowing someone has thought of you and taken the time to send you a card.

Write "Thank You" notes.

Feeling appreciated is a basic human need.  It really doesn't take that long or that much effort to write a short thank you note in response for something nice or helpful someone has done for you.  An old-fashioned bit of good manners, you say?  Perhaps, but once again, we all yearn to be appreciated and we all still like to get mail.
Do it now.

This is something I've taken to heart recently.  Instead of writing a task on your list or making a mental note to do it when you "have time," do it now.  We have too many items on our To Do Lists already and certainly our brain cells as so overloaded these days that trying to remember simply adds more stress.  Unless it's a task that requires a large amount of time to accomplish, quit agonizing about it and do it.  Then you know what?  It's done.  And you haven't added to the mental or physical clutter.  There is an immediate reaping of the benefits.

Try to find the humor in all situations.

Other than extreme dire circumstances, there's always a funny or positive spin you can put on all happenings.  Even if you have to go for silly, it will lighten the mood and put a smile on someone's face.

Show your appreciation.

No one will know if you only assume they know.  Speak your appreciation, give a hug or even a kiss.  (Although a loving kiss may get you into trouble at the DMV office.)

Be on time.

If you are habitually late, it does nothing but show disrespect for others.  You will not win friends or influence people.  It's guaranteed to create negative reactions.

Don't waste time grieving over past mistakes.

Learn from them (often times that simply means not repeating them) and move on.  As Tim of Oakdale Farm recently commented on one of my posts, " . . . it is most important to learn to roll with the punches and look ahead, not behind.  What was, was.  What is in the future is what could still be!"  If we don't move on, we will forever be stuck where we are.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Different Choice

Have you ever wished you had pursued a different career choice than you have?
There's probably no doubt that hindsight contributes a little (or lot) to my own thoughts on the matter. 
If I had had the support needed, I now believe I could have/would have jumped in with both feet to follow a path to gain the credentials required to have a career involving my lifelong passion of creating with my hands.
My parents, although truly wanting what they felt was best for me, discouraged me from using whatever talents I may have had of an artistic bent.  Instead, I was told to, "Become a teacher or nurse and you'll never lack for a way of earning a good living for yourself or as supplement to a husband's earning power."  This was their sincere belief and felt that trying to earn a living while being "artistic" in any way was foolish.
I went to college to earn a teaching degree (silly me, as I would not have made a good teacher), found it totally uninspiring and never finished.
When Papa Pea and I married, I got a job with a large company while he changed his major to education (and had a long career as an excellent teacher).  I worked my way up in the company to become right-hand (wo)man to a vice president.  The salary was good, not doubt about that, but my job did nothing to fulfill my creative desire.
I'm not saying I've not had a good life.  But I am saying, using good old hindsight, I know I would have made different choices way back then.
So, big question for you.  Would you have done things differently in that respect than you have? 

Sunday, January 23, 2022


The dictionary gives this definition for cringe:  to feel very embarrassed or awkward, react with discomfort.
I spent yesterday in my quilt room pulling out some totes of miscellaneous items I hadn't sorted through in quite a while.  I knew they needed to be reorganized because I hadn't been able to locate a couple of things I'd recently been seeking.
All went well and I was feeling proud of myself for being so industrious and doing a good job of the task.
Then I pulled out one of the boxes I store my felted wool in.

Crikey!  Take note of my fingerprints where I took hold of the box and the swipe I made across the top.  Yep, cringe-worthy.

This box is stored on an open shelf underneath the top of my cutting table.  (Stack of the boxes on the top left.)  Granted I haven't taken out any of these boxes for several months now, but where does all that dirt and dust come from?
It's not like my quilt room is a high traffic area nor have even I had a chance to spend much time in there until the last month.
Well, time (past time apparently) to put on my hazmat suit and tackle some deep cleaning.  Who knows what other areas of grit and grime I'll find.  Cringe! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Baby, It's Cold Outside

We're having a real winter this year.  When the temp warms up a bit, it snows as it did nearly all day yesterday. (It was beautiful.)
After the snow, the thermometer dips down to just a few degrees above zero for a day time high and then into the teens below at night.  That's the weather outlook for us right now and for the next several days.
After all our moving of snow and shoveling late yesterday, the high winds blew all last night (ask me how I know), and this morning we are faced with more shovel work to clear the drifts the wind made.  (Why do the drifts always end up in just the wrong places?)
But as they say, it's winter time, real winter time, in northern Minnesota.  Our house is so well banked with snow now that we aren't even putting a night time log into our stoves to keep a fire going all night.  Morning house temperature is low to mid-60s but easily warms up to 70° almost before we have our morning coffee consumed.  All is good. 

I finished and put up this blue and white winter cross-stitch piece I showed in a post previously.  Yes, I know I would like it better just a bit lower on this small wall space, but I chose not to put another hanger hole in the dry wall.  (That's one reason I like wood paneled walls.  All of my various nail holes don't seem to show.)

Wherever you are located, stay warm and safe and healthy.  I'm pretending I'm moving to the kitchen counter now to bake a pan of apple slices.  It will be just pretend as we're both trying to avoid sweets (and an over-abundance of all calories) as our exercise out in the fresh, clean and clear winter air has given both of us one heckuva mighty appetite over which we need to gain control.  Wish us luck.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Our Lives Today

We are all trying to navigate through this very difficult period of history.  Our concerns are many.
The political.
The environmental.
The food cost and availability.
The disruption of the supply chain.
The divisiveness that is destroying our family cohesiveness and community.
The inability of children and young adults to receive the education heretofore available.
The infringement on personal freedoms and liberties.
The critical health issues.
The inability to know what the future holds.
I believe we've all, to one extent or another, been operating under conditions which are causing a basic depression of our mental, emotional and physical well-being.
How do you handle the opinions of others, whether they be friends, family or the occasional stranger, when they (sometimes vehemently) disagree with your own?
What are your thoughts regarding the future of our society, our country, our world?
What anti-stress mechanisms do you use to combat this ever-present feeling of unease and concern?
Please share your intuitions, concerns, hopes, expectations and beliefs.  As little or as much as you wish. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022


I feel as though I haven't been accomplishing much lately.  The snow we've gotten is very welcome (boy, does it feel like a real winter this year), but it also brings with it the sometimes daily task of moving it whether by snow plow, snow blower or shovel.  Or using all of them.  And that takes time.
We've had some cold weather.  Minus seventeen yesterday morning, up to a balmy -2° this morning.  When one heats with wood as we do, to keep it comfy-cozy inside, we go through a good amount of wood.  This wood needs to be brought from the wood shed up to the house via wheelbarrow, stacked in the wood box on our unheated enclosed porch, then brought into the wood racks near each stove.  And that takes time.
I still have my Christmas decorations up.  (Am I the only one?)  I truly was going to take them down last Friday, but something (which I can't remember) kept me from doing it.  Then the Arctic cold hit and I've put the task off as all my boxes, totes, etc. are stored back in our big shed and I can't seem to make myself get out the garden cart and make several trips from there to here with the empty storage boxes, then back to the shed after they are refilled, then here again with my boxes of "winter" decorations, then back to put the empty winter boxes away.  See my dilemma?
Today I've had laundry and ironing to do.  I put it off yesterday which is my usual laundry day.  (I can't remember why I did that either.)
I'm in the process of finishing up three good sized pots of stewed chicken.  I'll save and use the meat, of course, but the rich bone broth is what I need most of all.  Papa Pea is having a bit of trouble with a knee he injured years ago so I've been making hearty bone broth soup which is reportedly good for helping bones, ligaments, joints, etc. get stronger even after damage.  He downs a bowl of it every morning before our regular breakfast.  And you know what?  It seems to be helping!

Squeezing in some time for handwork lately, I've almost finished this piece.  It was a pattern in an old Leisure Arts book, and I almost tossed the project into the trash more than once because I found six (yes, SIX) mistakes in the pattern.  A couple of them I could go back and fix but others would have been almost impossible to rectify.  I'm sure you can spot the oopsies if you want to waste time looking for them.
Off now to finish straining and freezing the chicken bone broth.  An easy dinner tonight is on the menu.  Hamburgers on homemade buns with all the fixings.  A choice of either chocolate or vanilla pudding for dessert.  Hey, now I remember that was one thing I did yesterday!   

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Just Because

 I baked a Strawberry Shortcake today.  Just because I could.
Also because every summer I squirrel away in the freezer the required six cups of beautiful strawberries to save for a winter's day when we (make that me) need a special pick-me-up.
Besides which we really didn't indulge in many holiday sweet treats this year.  I made only one single batch of Christmas cookies.  My Scandinavian Almond Bars.  I'm not even Scandinavian (by a long shot), but those bars are sooo good. 
My choice of the Strawberry Shortcake was also made because there are only six tablespoons of sugar in the whole concoction.  And the strawberries taste so fresh that it's a lovely, light treat that maybe perhaps will help pull me out of my doldrums.
I have not been a delight to be around today.  Just ask Papa Pea.  Don't worry, it's nothing serious, and I truly know I have no reason to be such a grumpy-dump.  Other than the fact that I did have a terrible night's sleep last night and have absolutely zero energy today.
So there.  That's my reason for baking a Strawberry Shortcake today.  A July treat in January.  

A nice slice, anyone?

Sunday, January 2, 2022

A Lovely Week of Relaxation and Snow

Papa Pea and I have talked for years (YEARS!) of taking the week between Christmas and New Year's off.  A staycation here at home.  To just relax.  And this year, we succeeded.  (Sort of.  For the most part.)  Lots of time to do as we pleased, to sleep in if desired, while getting out to breathe the fresh, clean air, do a little hiking through the snow and to generally enjoy ourselves.
I'm tickled pink to report we have about two feet of snow on the ground now.  More than I think we've had in total in the last few winters.  It feels so great to see that clean, white blanket of snow covering all outside.
Snowplowed banks of snow are everywhere and Papa Pea has done a great job of shoveling snow up against the house all the way around which provides insulation and really helps in keeping the house warmer inside.  It's been appreciated and needed these past mornings when yesterday we woke to an outside temperature of -11° and -5° this morning.
Saturday we walked out to get our mail at our mailbox and couldn't believe the plethora of wolf tracks up and down our driveway which showed up very distinctly in the new 1-1/2" of snow we had received over night.  The tracks were definitely those of timber wolves (BIG, they were!) as opposed to the smaller brush wolf (coyote) tracks.  There was one spot where there were so many tracks it looked as though it was the wolves' last convention meeting site of 2021.
I made a big pan of Macaroni and Cheese with a tossed salad for dinner on New Year's Eve.  (There may have been a couple/few glasses of wine on the table, too.)  Our daughter joined us for our quiet dinner and a game or two of Mexican Train Dominoes and Mancala after we ate.  I think her mom and pop pooped out before she was ready to go home, but we haven't made it to midnight to officially welcome in the new year for many years.  After we wished each other Happy New Year and she left, we did manage to collapse on the couch to watch a couple episodes of "Alone" before going to bed.  I think it was around 10 o'clock when our lights went out both literally and figuratively.
I'm sending all of you the very best of wishes for a new year along with hopes it brings you peace, happiness and health.  Remember to keep looking on the positive side and smile as much as possible.  Funny thing, I've noticed that my progressively saggy jowls aren't quite as evident when I manage to keep a smile on my face.  That alone should be enough to remind me to smile.   Smile, SMILE!