being green.

For a while now, issues regarding the environment have been nagging me more and more frequently. Topics that range from climate change, efficiency of recycling and even the recent popularity of Marie Kondo. All of those and many more have allowed me to really analyze not only the items I already have, but the ones I am considering purchasing.

Starting in the new year, a neighboring county to mine has officially banned plastic bags in shopping. I can’t lie, I love every bit of it. Every time there is someone who makes a joke about straws ending up in the ocean, I want to scream. Because, on the whole, we are a hot damn mess when it comes to using single use plastics frivolously and for a fact, they are ending up in the ocean and whole love other places that are directly affecting our health and our society.

I will probably NEVER be a person who can live 100% footprint free….I am adding the “probably” just in case I ever run for political office and they find this particular blog post to hold against me (there is probably much more they could hold over me!). However, I will stand behind the following statement.

Each and every one of us can do better. Should do better. Need to do better.

It goes much farther than using plastic bags, but it’s a hell of a start.

Here is my bigger challenge to you. Buy the market bag. Purchase the store offered grocery bag. Make one a shopping bag out of a old t-shirt.

If you’re interested in one, I have some on my Facebook page and will be posting a couple more soon!

Then use the living crap out of it until it is threadbare and can no longer hold even a clementine.

I love me some Marie Kondo and I am ALL for diminishing the amount of items we have cluttering our lives. But I am also all for living with the things you enjoy…and for me that means having multiple water bottles so I don’t have to wash them daily. Hey, it’s better than plastic bottles and I won’t be purchasing anymore until one of the current stash dies.

Recently, I watched a really informative documentary (currently on Netflix and more info can be found here) called The Minimalists. Once again, I am not telling you that you should get rid of everything and live under a rock. However, I do believe that if start to pay more attention to what we have, what we bring into our worlds and how we use what we do have….it would help a lot of things in this world. I would suggest with starting with watching The Minimalists and see what conversations it sparks within yourself and those you love.

So, with the new, fresh and shiny New Year upon us, ask yourself…what can I do? It might be one simple, little change that you do only once a week, but it’s a start! Who knows where it will take us, but I believe we all have a responsibility to do a little better. Do you want to know if you have too much stuff? Check out this quick read to get an idea!

If you are up for another eye opener, check out the documentary The True Cost or explore some other documentaries here!

Happy New Year.

Peace out peeps.

(I know it wasn’t exciting, but this post is for you Aunt S.! I finally got around to writing SOMETHING!)

18.

Little did I know that exactly 18 days after I wrote the blog post titled, “solo.“, that I would actually have a Solo in my life.

Fast forward to Monday, August 5th. I am back to school in training every day and I am definitely trying to adjust to still getting all of the work at the house done with being back to work. I get home late, after completing barn chores, and I decide to water plants.

Of course.

So, I water all the potted stuff out front. After completing that, I figured I should probably go ahead and start making my lunch for the next day. Knowing full well that if I sit down, I am a goner! I turn on the radio in the kitchen and start all of those fun kitchen chores up. I am finishing up my lunch when the inspiration sparks to check and see if there are any blackberries left in the garden. As soon as I head outside, I hear something.

Is it a bird?

Is it a kitten?

No, it’s not a kitten.

It’s got to be a bird.

But, man, that sounds like a kitten.

I should go look for it.

No, it’s a bird.

But it sounds like a kitten.

Don’t look for it.

LOOK FOR IT you horrible human.

Over the kitchen radio, the radio in the girl cave and the road noise, I realize I am most definitely hearing a kitten.

So, I start searching, entirely expecting to find a pile of kittens somewhere. I walk into the back yard and I am looking around waiting for the kitten/bird thing to make noise again.

“Man, look at that weird mushroom!”

The mushroom’s mouth moved. Yep, there is the kitten.

One kitten.

Solo.

Please excuse the my attire, I was in work mode…NOT EXPECTING TO TAKE A SELFIE WITH A KITTEN!!

Now, true confession, I grew up with kittens. However, I have never really considered myself a “cat” person. I believe it has something to do with the entire stigma of “cat ladies” that I can dig into later when I am not nearly as tired.

Thankfully, I found the Kitten Lady, where I learned all of the basic necessities to bottle raising an orphan kitten. If you don’t know who she is, you should totally check her out!

I am pretty proud to say that 6 weeks later, we’re both still alive. He has been fully vetted and has been deemed healthy, minus having a wee bit of a “little shit” attitude.

With all of that, meet the newest member of my little family. Solo.

I am now a cat person.

Peace out peeps.

the dungeon.

Some people call it a basement. I call mine a dungeon. Hang some chains on the wall and sell tickets at Halloween kind of dungeon.

I have a definite love/hate relationship with it

When I first got the place, the basement was HORRIBLE! I even told Momma D. the other day that I can’t believe I just waltzed right down there when I was looking at the house, with zero hesitation.

It was wet and had so much trash in it (minus the few decorations I was lamely trying to store down there). There was literally one incandescent bulb lighting the entire thing. Oh, and the cobwebs….let’s just think about how fun that was!

If you missed all the fun of the start of bringing the dungeon up to some sort of standard, feel free to start with Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3,408. Let’s be very clear, I am THRILLED with the progress that has been made in the basement…but it’s still a creepy dungeon.

This week will be Storm Cellar Part 4,236. The infamous Mr. T. will be back on the property so we can finish setting the last two steps to be able to actually EASILY walk down to the basement. This is all in preparation for the new furnace, hot water tank and water filter that will be going in shortly! We need to get the old stuff out of the way and actually put down a base for the items to sit on. Because for years, apparently chilling on the dirt floor has been the standard.

On my personal To Do list for the basement is to finally get all of the random trash out. Most of it has left over the last 3 years, but now I am down to the annoying stuff. There will be a lovely load of scrap collected when we remove the old furnace, water tank, pressure tanks and some other random metal laying around. There was a large stack of glass that I managed to get out of there last week. If any of you are looking for great bags to get rid of trash…find a horse barn and steal (I mean, ask…) them for their empty feed bags! They are designed to hold 50 pounds of feed and not break, they are awesome!

The other thing I am sharing for those of you who are looking for some easy extra lighting in your basements or work spaces, check out these lights! They are from my fav, Home Depot (I am sure you can find something similar anywhere). Some of the highlights:

  • They are LED
  • You can daisy-chain them together
  • They are super easy to hang
  • They are only $25!

I now have 3 of them in the basement and will probably end up with two more before all is said and done. THE LIGHT!! I can not tell you enough how wonderful it is to have some light in the dungeon!

I mean, it’s also creepy as hell to now be able to easily see all of the gross stuff down there!

However, you also get to start to see some of the beautiful details of this old house!

So, that’s it for now kids. The official countdown to being back at work is 3. Let’s get this project done!!

Peace out peeps.

solo.

One of the reoccurring themes of my life can be summed up in one little word.

Solo.

For years, the idea of even writing a post like this was painful. Apparently, I have done a pretty fabulous job of building some walls up around the word and then was able to reinforce the idea with stigmas and beliefs I have developed and adopted to validate my relationship with being….solo.

One of the most comment battles I have struggled with in owning this identifier is the one where you feel like a failure. In order to combat that, I worked even harder to prove that not only can I do solo life, but I ENJOY IT DAMNIT!! When the reality is, I do truly into about 87.5% of living a solo life, however there are obviously always situations where I would enjoy the companionship (like when it’s time to check the mail box….”Oh, sweetie!”).

However, the in last couple of years, for a variety of reasons, I have been becoming a little too comfortable in my solo skin. I would like to believe it’s because I work my ass off and that by time I get home, shower and have a chance to relax, the last thing I want to do is leave and go do something else. Although, I know it is because it is EASIER to stay home and chat with the dogs, versus a complete stranger.

Even Google has a skewed perception of eating alone. While researching images for this post, I Googled “Eating Alone” and the very first sub-category is “sad”.

Then I had a conversation with a few of my girlfriends.

Y’all, there are women out there who LOVE to do the solo thing!!! They look forward to it, it empowers them, it frees them to do exactly what they want to do and most importantly, it means they are LIVING this life, not just cruising through it.

I currently have a pal who on her like 326th solo vacation, this time at the beach, and she’s loving and OWNING it! She also shared this pretty amazing article on the topic, which I of course will share with y’all!

I have a friend who eats out solo almost weekly…AT THE BAR!! WHAT!?!?! This is even possible?? My armpits start sweating just thinking of this possibility.

So, I decided to poll my friends. I was pleased to see that I am definitely not the only person who is uncomfortable with the idea of eating alone. However, I was shocked to learn that many of my friends have or currently enjoy eating out or entertaining themselves solo (don’t twist that people, that is another post for another day!).

Now that I had started to poke around on the topic, I felt that it was only fair that I make a goal for myself to try eating solo over my summer break. So, about a month ago, I was out, treating myself to an evening to run some errands and shop for Father’s Day and I decided what the hell, let’s do this!

Dear Lord.

I pulled in 6 different restaurant parking lots if I pulled into one. But I was not about to let indecisiveness be my downfall. I ended up the solid choice of Applebee’s.

I ate at the bar.

I ordered steak and a beer.

There was hardly anyone there, so the conversation was pathetic at best.

My overall feeling on the experience was mixed. If I am going to spend the money eating out, I would much prefer to do it with people I ENJOY and make it a memory. I eat by my damn self all the time and I can do it much cheaper at home.

HOWEVER!!!!!

I am not done. I am going to do it again. I WANT to do it again.

Frankly, I want to shift my thinking to that philosphy that it’s empowering and fun to do what you want, when you want. Versus suffering under the binds that eating solo means you are some sort of failure based on societal standards.

So gals, let’s do this! Own it and do what you want, when you want! I like to think, “What would Wonder Woman do?”

Share in the comments! Thoughts? Opinions? Personal goals?

Peace out peeps!

23.

Not that I would expect any of you to be keeping track of this number, but 23 is an important number to me right now. For those North Ohioans who revel in the good ‘ole days, it might conjure this image.

Nope, for me, 23 the exact number of days I have left in my summer break.

Oy.

The kicker is, I have been working on projects and stuff every day. But there has been nothing exciting to post!

I mean, I put up new gutters on the porch and the front of the garage.

Not fun.

I did start pouring concrete into a walkway form for the back patio, but it’s only 1/3 of the way done and I would love to just wait and make an entire post about it. However, I do enjoy a good sneak peek, so here ya go!

Last week, I was house sitting for my parents and I did tackle putting up their new vinyl railing. That was fun! But not at my house.

So, in the next 23 days, I have a huge amount to still get done. The anxiety is once again on and pressing on my soul. None of it fun stuff, but necessary! For example. getting the old furnace out, pouring base and getting the new one in! Heat this winter would be glorious!

In other news, I had my first blackberry!

So, until next time! Don’t panic if you don’t hear from me in the next 23 days, I am still here…just busting ass on the To Do list…as usual.

Peace out peeps.

a mom tribute.

I am just going to put this out there, in case y’all didn’t know. I love my mom.

I mean, LOVE HER! I have been told over the years that there is nothing like the relationship between mother and daughter. It is truly something that only gets better with time, particularly in my experience.

I mean, who wouldn’t love this face???

As I have aged (so gracefully btw, thanks to her phenomenal genes) , I realize more and more how much that woman means to me. I would even say that I am more dependent on her being in my life now, then I ever was before.

Frankly, I am sure I am not alone in that feeling.

I think it also becomes more and more apparent to each of us on a individual basis when we start to lose people who are as close as family. Then the entire timeline and shortness of life seems to be compressed and forced upon us. Yes, there are a lot of seconds and minutes in the lives we are given….but they go so damn fast.

Recently, I lost someone very near and dear to me. She literally was my second mom and she was best friends with my mom for a very long time. Finding out she had passed and witnessing not only her family’s grief, but my mom’s and my own sadness was literally one of the hardest things I have had to do so far in my life.

However, it also made me look at my mom on a whole other level. The daughter of my “second mom” and I are only two days apart in age. Our mom’s were in lamaze classes together. The bond started long ago and has lasted. At the funeral, I kept watching the daughter and thinking, I don’t know how she is doing it. I don’t know if I could do it. It’s her MOM. It’s my MOM. There is literally not another person who has had my back like my mom.

My Momma is one of the most talented, strongest and loving people I know. She is always there with an idea, a solution, or an attack plan. She has taught me how to look at problems and just figure it out. There is always resolution, you just need to work it out.

The problem lies in what do you do for someone who is THAT important to you! We are lame and I making dinner and hopefully we’ll do something fun after that. Seemingly it is a tie between playing a game and shooting guns (the brother thinks that is something mom would love, I am not sure he even knows who she is!). But that is how we celebrate my mom. Whatever we do is NEVER going to be enough for what she has done for us as a family.

What do you do for your mom’s? SHARE!! I love hearing it!

If you don’t see another post from me for a while, it is because she has broken all of my fingers after writing this tribute to her.

Peace out peeps.

crochet on the go.

In my world, I am pretty much always on the go or doing something. Not to the point where I am frantically running around like a chicken with my head cut off, but most definitely busy. I multi-task as much as humanly possible whenever I can.

Here are some of my quick life cheats.

  1. I listen to audiobooks while mowing and weeding in the yard. This has allowed me to finally get back into books in a way that I thought was gone forever!
  2. I never make a trip somewhere in the house empty-handed. Even if it means picking up a dog toy and putting it away while walking back to the living room.
  3. My Hulu account has commercials and I love it. I take breaks. Switch out the washer. Put away some dishes. Let the dogs out. I know, I know, I might be the only human who needs breaks from watching TV.
  4. I crochet on the go. I have a morning post at school where I open the door for the drop off kiddos. You can literally see me there every morning with this bag attached to my wrist! I purchased it back in November and it has been an amazing addition to my crochet habit. So much so, I wanted to share it with YOU!

In fact, I have loved it so much, I bought one for Momma D., and she has thoroughly enjoyed it also! Knowing how much they travel, I knew it would be a perfect addition to pack up projects for the road.

Upon receiving mine, I was instantly impressed with the craftsmanship. You could tell that Kathy, the store owner of 1000 Stars, took her time! Everything was pressed crisply, the stitching was on point and the grommets work perfectly for feeding material through. The game changer, however, is the wrist strap! Who knew hanging a bag from your wrist would make standing and crocheting so easy? Here, for YEARS, I had shoved skeins under my arm while working on a project! Even better, this bag keeps your materials clean and untangled. Plus, I have enough room to keep a small container for my scissors, measuring tape and extra hooks (just to keep things tidy).

I have to give credit to my dear Sarah C. for the inspiration of monogrammed water bottles and sugar skulls!

On any given day, I can fit two regular sized skeins in this bag. Lately, I have been on a cleaning product bender, so I have been cramming it full of cotton and cleaning yarns. I can typically fit 5-6 of those smaller skeins in this bag, along with the finished items. When it is all used up, I have a good ole’ sit and finish off all of the items and make them snazzy for people to enjoy!

Hint hint, I found this other new yarn…AMAZING! I started making scrubbies with it…it is stunning and works perfectly, but there will be a post on THAT soon.

So, if you crochet/knit and are looking for a great bag to help your hobby travel with you, check out 1000 Stars, and Kathy. She has lots of fun goodies available! As I was writing this post, I of course had to peruse her newest goodies and I might have found another one that is adorable and I am resisting the urge to purchase it right now!

Thanks for reading about my first big Etsy review! If you liked it…comment! If you have a great find on Etsy you would like to share…comment! If you are bored and tired of the rain…comment!

Painting class this Sunday to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in our own way! Hopefully will have my life together enough next week to post on that!

Peace out peeps!

mediocrity.

Here in Ohio, we are smack dab in the middle of 48 hours of endless rain, drab and cold weather. Which inclines me to address a topic that has been on my list for a while now.

Mediocrity.

A while back, I read an interesting article that popped up on my Pinterest newsfeed. As soon as I started to read it, I thought, “Damn, that is pretty spot on!”, and I knew it was something I wanted to talk about.

When I was a kid, I would wake on a Saturday morning and before much of the morning passed, there was a question of “What is on your agenda for the day?” posed to me by my father. I don’t remember how old I was, however, I do remember feeling like I had to create a list that would prove I had worthy tasks to be completed! For the record, even as of this morning, the question was asked, “So, what did you do last night?” and I instantly felt a need to list off everything I had gotten done. This is obviously an ingrained problem in my character!

Now, since at least my mother is going to read this, I would like to disclaimer that I do not think it was necessarily a BAD thing. It taught me to plan and organize my goals and life to the best of my ability. Also, who knew that many years later, I would be teaching Habit #2, Begin with the End in Mind, of the Leader In Me (an extension of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) to my hundreds of students daily. There is nothing wrong at all with making a plan and sticking to it.

However, just like most things in life, I believe that the key is moderation.

To this day, I plan the week, to each and every day. I write WIGs (Wildly Important Goals) at school for both my professional and personal goals. I make lists to meet those goals. I keep calendars and journals for my inner deep secret goals. I even check off water glasses on Fitbit to prove to no one that I drank enough water each day.

Frankly, I sometimes need to chill the heck out and I think most of us do.

So, why in the world is mediocrity so wrong? Because we live in a world where if you’re not on Team Accel, you’re just a loser?? Shouldn’t there be a range of success and all of it would be ok and accepted? I mean, maybe your personal growth is staying sober one more day? Shouldn’t that be just as important as closing a multi-million dollar deal? Shouldn’t all levels be celebrated? After all, no one should have the right to impose their interpretation of mediocrity on you and judge you for where you are on your journey.

I look at it this way, as a teacher, I know not all of my kids will want or be able to go to college. Does that mean they are automatically failures? Absolutely not. There is a place for them in this world and they should be celebrated just as much as the kiddos who take the college path. Of course. So, does that mean they are mediocre because they didn’t go to college but have focused their energy in other ways? I don’t think so. (OBVIOUSLY, I don’t agree with doing harm or bring negative consequences to yourself or those around you under the guise that being mediocre is accepted and ok).

I can not remove the word mediocre from the dictionary, be that as it may, I can change my interpretation and also how others interpret it.

So, I accept for myself, that today I might wake up and be mediocre. In my opinion, that is better than not showing up at all. Maybe I need the mediocre moment to rest and prepare to be a rockstar again tomorrow. Maybe I just want to know that the life I am building is ok and acceptable, even if deemed mediocre by some. It might not be for everyone, but it is for me.

The life you are building and the journey you have embarked upon is also ok and acceptable. Just FYI.

So, own it. Don’t be a jerk. Be a good human and embrace that not everyday is going to be rockstar level.

Peace out peeps.

podcasts.

Recently, I have delved DEEP into the world of audio entertainment. It is something I thoroughly enjoy and now, I feel I must share one of my new favs with you guys! It is actually connected an old fav from my childhood and I am sure yours also.

I started listening to audiobooks about two years ago (and I plan to start a new conversation topic on that soon! Be so excited!) and that kinda transitioned into listening to podcasts while I would wait for a book hold from the library, etc. I primarily used it to fill the down time between books. But then I started to really get into them, the concept, the content and the ease of access are top notch. Plus, the variety of topics…it’s like blogs…ENDLESS!

In my most recent search, I stumbled upon the handsome Joe.

hee hee hee!

How could I NOT post that pic of this man! I mean, it’s freaking hilarious and you probably need a good laugh at this very moment! Or on the flip side, you could be highly offended. Which in that case, my apologies.

However, back on track. This guy, Mike Rowe, hands down one of my favorite celebrities who I find to be pretty down to earth and incredibly talented. I mean, he might have faked it, but he did make it into the Baltimore Opera and a performance of Rigoletto! Want to know more…his site is pretty handy.

Anywho, his podcast is called “The Way I Heard It” and I found it on Google Play, but you can check it out here if that is easier for you.

Way back in the day, there was this great story teller named Paul Harvey and for over 56 years, we could listen to his broadcasts on almost a daily basis. I never realized how much of a role those broadcasts played in the fabric of my life, until they were gone.

Well, if you’re seeking a bit of a throwback feel, truly, check out “The Way I Heard It”. All of the episodes are under 10 minutes and they will teach you something, enlighten you and even have you finish a cast and think, “Huh, who knew!”. Plus, you get to listen to that great voice of his!

I know you think that this post has nothing to do with the house, however, just think about all the Paul Harvey broadcasts that were listened too over the years in that old brick house!

Check it out and enjoy your day everyone! Don’t count on a 3rd post in 3 days, I don’t know if I can keep the expectations that high!

Peace out peeps.

barns.

So, in case y’all didn’t know, I love historic barns. There is a barn on the property. It is one of the biggest reasons why I pursued the place.

I love it.

It breaks my heart daily.

Way back when I started this blog, one of my very first posts was about the barn actually. You can stroll down memory lane here.

The good and bad news is that not much has changed, at least with my barn.

Now, the neighbors are a different story.

One neighbor has gone above and beyond to preserve their gorgeous gambrel roof barn. Last summer they primed and painted the entire thing. I see it every time I go outside and it is a truly inspirational barn and I give all credit to the family who is fighting to keep it up!

Another neighbor however, just slightly further up the hill in the same direction has recently broken my heart. I could hardly believe when I saw a barn removal company in their driveway. The barn was OLD and had a newer roof and metal siding covering the gem beneath. Within days, the sheeting was pulled and within two weeks, she was gone. Only the stone foundation remains along with a huge pile of debris.

What this all boils down to is that it truly kills me to see barns fall down (trust me, I am fully aware how close mine is to giving up the ghost) or to see them sold and moved. I know, I know….they are being repurposed and loved and salvaged, but it still makes me sad.

What brings this up you ask?? Well, on Sunday, I was out working on the pesky grapevines and was scared half to death with a stranger pulling in and asking to take pictures of the barn. I can’t blame him. I have used it as the subject of some amazing photos myself. However, I did chuckle to myself as he was setting up thinking, “No worries, I have been letting it rot to the perfect level of patina for you to photograph!”

Secondly, my lovely and wonderful neighbors stopped by later that afternoon and we were chatting about my barn and some of the neighboring barns. It brought to my attention how blessed I am to see no less than 4-5 barns from the property throughout the course of the seasons. For this, I am very blessed and lucky!

Plus the buzzards love it and have become part of my life.

Now, to wrap up. In my original post, I ended with a list of things I was doing to help save the old girl. So, because I am who I am….might as well wrap this one up the same way. No worries, not much has changed. Still waiting for a miracle on a wing and a prayer.

  1. Continue to save nickels, dimes and dollars. It would help immensely if roofs and furnaces would quit dying on me.
  2. LOTTO BABY!!! LOTTO!!
  3. I stopped drinking Diet Coke, so guess that is out.
  4. I ended the Go Fund Me Campaign and to the people who donated, I love your souls….and you are friends and companions and I could not keep asking you. No offense, I was hoping for a Warren Buffet type to see it and, well ya know…hand me a wad of cash. Greedy and horrible, right? But I am honest!
  5. Ellen. I actually had dwindled in my writing of the superstar. However, I might have to ping her an email this week…
  6. Back to the damn nickels and dimes…

So, have a beautiful Tuesday friends.

By the way! If you reading this internationally, please comment!!! I see you! I want to say hi!

Hell, if you’re reading it at all, comment!! lol!

Peace out peeps.