Getting Creative in 2019

Happy New Year! It’s a little late, I know, but it still feels pretty new to me. Like many of us, I made some plans and resolutions for 2019 and one of them was to spend more time being creative (thanks Jill Kuhn for your inspiration!)

The biggest hurdle I’ve had with this was not finding the motivation, but finding a convenient space where I could spread out and not have to put everything away each time my family needed to have a meal! Some of my supplies were down in the basement, some in the kitchen hutch, a few in the pantry and even my bedroom closet! Well that’s all changed now!

My husband slaved through the last few weeks of the summer renovating what was formerly the kids play area downstairs (I mean, our youngest is 20, I think they are past needing it!) He moved his collections and “man cave” stuff down there as well as our guest area, freeing up our smallest bedroom for my art space. Yay!

Weeks were spent clearing out the room, stripping wallpaper and painting the walls a nice bright white. We are planning on replacing the carpet with a clean grey laminate but I’ll have to save a bit more for that. I’d purchased a smaller, black desk for our computer, which will still share the room so that was moved in. The final step was assembling the amazing new art desk my wonderful hubby had given me for my birthday back in December. It’s got so many compartments and it’s on wheels!

I’ve been picking up items here and there, curtains and cool storage containers (Anyone who knows me can tell you I get weirdly jazzed about organization!) My sister had a nifty little bookcase up for grabs (we actually traded her the bed frame from that room that we no longer needed-win/win!) and I was able to find a desk chair that looks brand new for just $25 on one of those online yard sale sites.

Then….FINALLY….this past Sunday, I collected my many art supplies from their many hiding places and put them away in my very own art room!! I’ve been like a kid on Christmas morning, just giddy with excitement and creative motivation, painting and experimenting with new techniques. One of the best parts is thatI can just leave it all out, ready for the next time I find a few minutes to create. I do have to remember to close the door, though, so the cat won’t walk through the wet paint or eat the brushes. She’s like that!

I’m hoping that this new found creative jag lasts a long, long time making 2019 the year of creativity! It just goes to show that sometimes resolutions or plans can take some patience, a bit of elbow grease and a little faith but they can happen. May all your plans for the coming year be every bit as gratifying!


What’s Bugging Me…

Can we talk bugs?

Yeah, with the exception of lady bugs and butterflies, it’s not my favorite subject either but with the warmer weather approaching (or at least trying to), the bugs can’t be far behind. I am already doing battle with a tribe of mini ants that have invaded my kitchen counters. As a hyper neat person who wipes my counter tops obsessively, I find their presence very insulting. Where did they get the idea that crumbs would be readily available in my kitchen? Who told them that?

They showed up last year too and since I don’t like to use any strong chemicals around the cats, I ended up putting little bottle caps filled with a Borax and sugar solution I found on Pinterest, all over the counters. I had them tucked behind the coffee maker and the napkin holders with the idea that the little suckers would crawl through it and then track it back to the nest, knocking out the whole group.   In reality, though, they mostly ignored it. Eventually they went away but it probably had more to do with my screaming at them and carrying on like a lunatic than the concoction in the bottle caps.

The ants aren’t the worst of the bugs though. They might annoy me but they don’t freak me out the way those centipede looking things with the thousand legs do! I’m sure there is a scientific name for this insect but I’m not looking it up, because there are bound to be photos too! Basically, they have long skinny bodies with long skinny legs running up both sides and they move really, really fast.

I’m not the only member of the family who hates these critters. Last summer, one showed up in the tub while Mr D was taking a shower. For five minutes he jumped around screaming like a girl and beating it with a shampoo bottle. I thought he was having some kind of fit! It’s actually lucky he didn’t fall and smack his head. He’s pretty diligent about checking between the shower curtain and liner before he gets in the shower, these days.

If I do encounter a bug, I’m not squeamish about killing it, in fact I get really extra freaked when they get away. I want to know where that sucker’s at! I don’t want him sneaking up on me again. Miss Dee has always been our bug humanitarian. Ever since she was little, she would trap any bugs we found in the house under a cup and carry them outside to set them free. We still call her to take care of them if she is around. Mr D screamed for her when he was doing battle with the bug in the shower but she told him,

“There is NO WAY I coming in the shower to get that bug for you so just MAN UP ALREADY!”

Anyway, I only kill the bugs that invade my house. I figure the outdoors is their domain so I usually leave them alone.  The only exception to this rule is the mosquito.  Here in Jersey, we refer to them as the “State Bird” thanks to their size and hardy constitution. Now we have the added worry of all the illnesses associated with mosquito bites so we will have to be extra diligent this season.

Research has said that mosquitos  tend to be more attracted to certain people. Maybe it has to do with skin types or a certain scent. I don’t really know what it is but they don’t tend bother me too much. My Hubby, on the other hand, can’t even walk the six feet to the trash cans without them zeroing in on him. The poor guy is a mess after he mows the lawn unless he slathers himself with repellent from head to toe.

I’ve tried various tactics for keeping the deck free of them so that he can at least sit outside in the evenings without getting attacked. Last year I planted lemon thyme and mums in pots around the perimeter because I read that they help repell our tiny fanged friends. Didn’t seem to make a difference. We have tiki torches that we put out for BBQs but they aren’t practical for everyday use and since he and I are both sensitive to strong chemical smells, I try not to spray too many products about. Of course when I was a little girl I rode my bike behind the mosquito fog truck but that’s a whole other story!

So what’s a girl to do? How do I make the great outdoors inviting to the humans in the house but uninviting to the insects? Any ideas?


Miss Dee’s work. These kind of bugs I like.😊.

Home Sweet Homes

Last weekend I went to see Mr D’s soon-to-be off campus housing. The best I can say is it’s safe and sort of clean. Decor wise, think ’70s basement rec-room: drop ceilings, vinyl floors and lots of wood paneling. It’s pretty much perfect for a bunch of 20 year old boys.

A new home is an exciting adventure. This will be Mr D’s third residence and I’m sure it’s not going to be his last. I started counting and realized that I’ve lived in seven different places so far. Some I liked better than others, but they each served their purpose and for better or worse they were the settings for all the life events that made me…me.

House number one was the home of my childhood; 1950s rancher; 6 people-1 bathroom; red carpet in the living room; paneling everywhere (dad hated to paint). This was the home of Barbie dolls and sleepovers and getting caught necking on the sofa with my first boyfriend when I thought mom was fast asleep.


House number two was the home where I first set up housekeeping; 22 years old; newly married (the rehearsal husband); one bedroom ground floor apartment ten minutes from mom and dad’s; brand new blue striped sofa and love seat; new towels, new sheets, new everything; learning to do laundry and shop for groceries. This was the home I shared with my first cat (sweet Maggie); cooked my first meal (breaded pork chops and scalloped potatoes), and decorated my first, very own Christmas tree.

House number three meant a mortgage and grown up responsibility; pretty yellow cape cod two blocks from my sister’s house; weird paneling in the master bedroom featuring deer filled wooded scenes; above ground pool; cricket infestation in the basement (Maggie liked to catch them and bring them upstairs!) This was the home where I learned how to stencil and wallpaper, where I fed my maternal instinct by caring for my infant nephew and where I became a divorcee at 26.

House number four represented my independence, reconfigured second floor apartment in an older house; noisey downstairs neighbors; green paneling and sloping floors in the kitchen; big and plentiful windows, perfect for Maggie to perch. Here was a home that was truly my own, paid for and cared for by me alone. Here was where I lived the life of a single woman, late nights, dates; lugging my laundry to my parents every Tuesday night and coming home with a bag of leftovers. Here is where I was living when I met my forever guy.

House number five, the home for new beginningstop floor end apartment, red brick building in a complex with an in-ground pool; sharing a home with the man of my dreams; “shacking -up” as my mom put it; olive green appliances in the kitchen; stackable washer and dryer in the bathroom; moved in in June; engaged by December. This was the home where I was living when I lost my dad, the home where I turned 30, the home where I planned a wedding and, once again, became a wife.


House number sixtwo story townhouse; another mortgage; three months pregnant at closing; fenced in yard with a luscious thick lawn and morning glories growing in the back; hosting Thanksgiving dinners and Mom’s surprise 70th birthday party (we flew my brother in from Oklahoma to surprise her even more). This was the home where we said a sad goodbye to sweet Maggie and welcomed Jack and Chrissy into our family.  It was also where I welcomed my babies, where I became “mom” and embarked on the biggest adventure of all.


Finally, House number seven, the worst house in the best neighborhood, 25 years old custom built, original and unique; loved by its first owners; trashed by its second; months of tearing out carpets and flooring; adding walls and my beloved porch; sanding, scraping, planting, painting, making it our own. This is the home where we have raised our children, where I returned to the work force and where I said goodbye my wonderful mom. This is the home where I’ve come into middle age and settled into my life.

Is this my dream house? Not even close. My dream house would be at least a hundred years old and would have a wrap around porch with a swing. It would have pocket doors, crown molding and a fireplace or two. Someday, maybe, I’ll live in a house like that but for now, even if this isn’t my dream house, it is definitely my dream home because it’s where the people I love are and after all, that’s what make a house a home.

Tweety Cat

This is a post that I wrote and published back in March but we now have a new bird feeder right outside our back door and Jack has been “tweeting” a lot more lately. I thought he deserved another 15 minutes of fame just for being so darn cute.


Jack, at his post, ready for action!

Our family unit consists of four humans, some transient fish and two tabby cats named Jack and Chrissy. These two cats are brother and sister but they could not be more different. Chrissy is a nervous little fireball with thyroid issues. Jack is just a big galumphing sweetheart whose main facial expression is “clueless.” My children decided that if he could speak he would sound like Patrick Star.

One thing that Jack does, that Chrissy has never done is talk to the birds. I know lots of cats do this chattering thing and cat experts have a scientific reason for it but I know Jack, and I think he truly believes the birds understand him. I also think he is trying his darnedest to convince those birds that he is just a big, fur covered, tail sporting version of them.

This morning while I was at the kitchen table enjoying my coffee, I heard a very loud bird out on the deck singing. Jack noticed too. He slid quietly up to the sliding glass door and started chattering,

Eeaaaa-eeeeee, eeaaaa..”

It’s a really funny sound, if you’ve never heard it before. He flattened his 15 pound body out as much as he could and twitched his tail in rhythm, waiting for the answering call before he started again. Naturally no bird has ever been fooled by this performance and I feel kind of sorry for Jack. Our cats have always been indoor cats. I don’t think he realizes that he and the birds are not suppose to be friends.

When I was a little girl I had a parakeet named Max. He loved to sing and jump around his cage. Maybe we should get one now as a playmate for Jack.


I think he would like that.

Invasion of the Outerwear

I’m pretty sure my son’s hoodies are multiplying.

Is this possible? If you leave them alone, hanging in the pantry overnight do they reproduce?  All I know is that every time I turn around, there is another hoodie hanging over something, somewhere in the house.

I guess this means that not only are they multiplying, they’re migrating as well!

Even he must notice this weird phenomenon because he complains about finding other family members wearing his hoodies all the time. Our answer: they’re always handy.

It’s true. Anywhere in our house, if you reach out your hand and spin in a circle, you are bound to make contact with one. Eerie.

I’m not sure if there is some authority I should notify about this. Who would be in charge of migrating, reproducing outerwear? NASA? Animal Control? Urban Outfitters?

For now, I’ll just observe and take notes on their behavior. I would advise you all to check your closets too, just in case…




If We Were Having Coffee….9/27/15

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share brought to you by Diana at Part Time Monster. Swing by and check it out!!


If we were having coffee…we would be sipping our piping hot brew while enjoying the wonderful autumn breeze that is coming across the porch. Leaves are scattered about us and I can hear the rustling of the trees above. Ahh.

I would tell you that Hubby is not enjoying the Fall as much as we are, though. Hubby is on a mission today! His mission (…should he choose to accept it) involves locating the area around our roof line that has been compromised by our friendly neighborhood squirrels. Said squirrels have been having 3AM parties above our heads for the past few nights and Hubby is out to put an end to their antics!! Watch out  critters! You are dealing with a man who seriously values a good nights sleep.

Unfortunately, this is not our first time doing battle with the squirrels and while I have nothing personal against them, (I enjoy watching them frolic around the yard and have even been known to chat with them occasionally) I really don’t want them hiding nuts in my eaves. Wow, that’s a weird phrase, but you know what I mean, right? Our roof line has some strange peaks and crevices and that is where they usually get in. Hubby has to locate the spot, which involves him standing on a ladder! This also involves me standing on the ground shouting at him to be careful. Then he has to seal up the spot with screening so they can’t get back in. Doesn’t that sound like a fun way to spend a Sunday?

If we were having coffee… I would tell you that Hubby and I did something fun this weekend too. Last night we went to see the new Mission Impossible movie (did anyone pick up on the reference in paragraph two? I was channeling my inner Ethan Hunt). I’m kind of a sucker for action or superhero films. The more out there, the better! I love the on-the-edge-of-your-seat don’t-breath-till-it’s-over thrill ride! This movie really didn’t disappoint. I grew up watching the Mission Impossibe series but I like Tim Cruise in the lead role and the cast he has around him are excellent. Plus ther is a really strong female role which I always appreciate. I saw in an interview that the cast (including Jeremy Renner, Hawkeye in the Avengers films) did a lot of their own stunts. Pretty amazing…and crazy! Glad I’m not married to any of them. I get anxious enough about Hubby up on that ladder!

Speaking of, I hear him out in the garage putting together his tools in order to do battle so I better go. Feel free to stay and finish your coffee…but you might want to move away from the roof line. Things might start flying!!!

So Unmotivated

imageSuch a busy day ahead of me…birthday party this afternoon, company for dinner. I should be marinating chicken, vacuuming up cat hair, ironing clothes. Instead here I sit on the deck with a cup of coffee enjoying this incredibly perfect morning!

Instead of all the things I should be doing, I am watching the antics of the chipmunk that is living in the garden and wondering what those two beautiful hawks over head are hunting. I’m listening to the squirrels chattering to each other and the dog next-door barking at them. I’m enjoying the feel of the sun on my legs and the cool breeze across my face. Ahhh!

Is it any wonder I’m feeling so unmotivated?!

Okay. Here I go. Time to get up….really. 😊

So This is Kind of Cool…

imageThis is a little new for me..Ann over at Muddling Through My Middle Age has nominated me for the Creative Blogger Award! Thanks, Ann! I love hanging out at her site because, since I am also rocking my middle age, I feel like we are kindred spirits. We grew up surrounded by the same world. You should check her out!

This award asks that I list five random facts about myself and then nominate one other person to do the same. I should be able to think five things, right? Hmmm, let’s see…

1. I am left handed. This is very timely because today is National Left Hander Day!

2. My very least favorite thing to do is talk on the phone. I will go to great lengths to avoid it. I would much rather send an email, text or even a letter.

3. I’m an incredible neat freak. I often put things away before my family are done using them. Everything in my house has a place.

4. Even though I share my home with two adorable cats, I am actually allergic to them. I have to make sure to wash my hand right after I pet them because otherwise my nose gets stuffy and my eyes start itching.

5. I am a big fan of old films and nostalgic Hollywood. I have many books and memorabilia, especially things to do with Audey Hepburn. My husband has gifted me old magazines, posters and even a studio sign-in card with Audrey’s name on it. I have scrapbooks filled with treasures!

Okay! Now it’s my turn to nominate someone. I follow lots of blogs so it was hard to choose. After some thought I’ve decided to nominate Summer over at Xingsings because she loves books, like me, and always has some really interesting post about what she is reading but I would love to know more about Summer herself because I bet she is really interesting too! 😊

Confessions of a Do-it-yourself Lady

Summer Bucket List item #13

Today I glued down a section of my floating laminate floor. This is probably a no-no because now that section of my floor no longer “floats”. I’m sure a professional would be blanching at the very idea of what I’ve done but I’m not a professional. I live in “DIY Land” and the rules are different here. The past thirty years of homeownership have taught me that no matter how many manuals you read or how many “how to” videos you watch before hand, no home project goes exactly how it’s suppose to. Sometimes you gotta improvise and that’s what I did today.

It has been two summers since Hubbly and I first laid the laminate floor in our kitchen. Before that, we spent 8 years living with the nastiest, formerly white, vinyl floor that the previous owners had installed. It took so long to get to it just because the size and shape of the room made it so daunting. Also, I knew I wanted a laminate floor that looked like hardwood but since our kitchen has several kinds of wood, I couldn’t figure out which one to match. Finally I found this beautiful one called “Cherry Teakwood”

See, Isn’t it pretty!…image

The first step was to paint all the wood cabinets white. This took a while. Then, we started on the floor. Even though we have put down tile and vinyl flooring before, this was our first experience with a floating floor. The idea is that each board snaps into the next so that it forms one big piece that just sits on top of the foam underlay. Easy right? Not so much.

Problem one was the dishwasher. We knew when Hubby installed it the year before that it was too low and therefore didn’t meet the top of the counter. The new flooring, or a piece of wood the same width needed to go under the dishwasher to even it out. So out it came. Adding the flooring was a piece of cake but some little connector thingy wouldn’t go back on and it took us an entire day to fix and get the dishwasher put back in place.

Problem two came when after doing the first 3 rows of flooring we realized that we had the wrong edge of the boards facing us. It’s hard to explain but what it meant was that the floor wouldn’t stay snapped together correctly. So we had to take it back up and started again with the pieces turned around. Luckily all the ones we cut still fit.

The next problem (and this is where the glued floor comes into play) was the stove. If you look at the above photo you will see that it just fits into the space between the counter tops. In fact when the guys installed it, one of them actually had to pull back in one side of the counter so his buddy could squeeze the stove into the space. It comes out a bit too far too. I can’t open the drawer on the right unless I open the oven door first. It was the closest size we could find within our budget, ok? Don’t judge!

The point is, we were not moving the stove out like we did the dishwasher so we had to figure out a way to get the flooring as far under it as we could. Working backwards from the kitchen door towards the oven (because that’s the direction the pieces snapped together) we had to sort of finesse the ends of the boards about eight inches underneath the stove.  At the time, It seemed to work so we went on to finish the floor. However…

A few months ago we started to notice that the three rows of flooring between the kitchen door and the stove kept sliding apart leaving little gaps at the short end of the boards. The connecting ends had worked their way loose and were sliding back under the stove. Whenever it came apart I had to give it a good kick to close up the gaps again. That got to be a bit tiresome. Hubby and I brainstormed a little and the only solution we could come up with (other than moving the dreaded stove) was to use some liquid nails and glue down the short boards that were under the end of the stove thus holding the rest of the row in place. So that’s what I did! Ta-da! Wow, that was really a long explanation! Sorry.

Now, Jack and Chrissy wanted to be part of this story too so I took some photos of them modeling the rest of the floor….image imageThey look just as good as the floor! 😊

Working for a Living

My son started a new job a few weeks ago and recently received his first paycheck. All of his previous jobs were paid in cash so this was a new experience. He was pretty excited but he was also a little bummed when he saw how much of his hard earned money the government got to keep! Hubby and I nodded agreeing that it had seemed unfair to us when we received our first paycheck.

Naturally all this talk of first jobs inevitable led Hubby and I on a trip down memory lane. The kids just love when that happens!! Like most young boys in the ’70’s Hubby’s first job was delivering newspapers. After that, in college, he worked in a liquor store hauling kegs of beer and cases of wine even though he wasn’t yet legal drinking age.

My first job was working for Taco Bell. I was 16 years old. This was 1979 and Taco Bell was new to our area. My friend Helen (who was the extrovert to my introvert) dragged me along to an interview and and we both ended up getting a job.

I remember my favorite part of the job was that we got to make ourselves anything we wanted to eat on our lunch or dinner breaks. There were all kinds of combinations. We even mixed the sodas with each other.

My least favorite part was the itchy brown polyester uniform. So flattering! Plus there was a danger of being pelted with hot oil when you were frying taco shells! Making the retried beans was very time consuming too. In fact, aside from actually making money, there really wasn’t a whole lot to like!

Several months after getting the job, the manager stole all the money out of the safe and set the restaurant  on fire to cover up his crime! True story. I swear. The police actually caught him because he stood in the parking lot across the street watching the fire. Not the brightest guy.

Didnt matter anyway. I was so done with that job. Besides, Helen had already found us another one at the local Rite Aid!  We worked there till college. It was pretty lucky I had Helen around to find jobs for me! 😊 These days she works for a bunch of stockbrokers, Hubby is a Counselor in a middle school and I’m teaching math and reading to second graders. Funny when you think about where we all started!

Do you remember your first job? What was the best part? What was the worst?