Thursday, January 27, 2011

Outlook Good

It must be a good day.  I have a new grown-up handbag - from MAJOR clearance sale at the online outlet!  L.O.V.E.

(Excuse the photos - took them at my desk, and I was in stealth mode, trying to quickly take them before someone walked by.)

I'm waiting on some "news," and it's killin' me!  So, I did what any rational person would do and turned my question to the Mystical, Magical, Eight Ball.  This is the most technical tool in my toolbox, and I use it only for the most serious and worrisome of situations.

"Oh Mystical, Magical Eight Ball, please be so kind as to answer my question......"   And what was the answer?

Mwaaaaahaaaahaahahahahahah!!!!  YESSSSS! 

Have you ever noticed that when you ask a question to the Mystical, Magical Eight Ball that you only want it to answer "yes"?

Yes, I keep this particular decision-making tool sitting on my desk at work.  And yes, I do take my job seriously - why do you ask?

Hopefully I'll be able to confirm that prediction by this time tomorrow!  :-)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Followin' the Rules

Becky at Farmgirl Paints is taking a photography course, and we all know there's no better way to learn something than to teach it.  She's called her class project "THRIVE" - isn't that great?!  Every week, she brings each lesson back to her readers!  YEA!! 

 She's translating photography lingo into real terms that make it easy to understand. (Except for aperture - I still don't get it.  That's not Becky's fault, I've just got a mental block - higher is lower, less is more, up is down - it does not compute.)

I'm learning all sorts of cool stuff about my new camera.  Normally, I'm an "AUTO" girl.  Put all the knobs and dials and buttons on AUTO and let the camera do the work.  That works when you're being a tourist and taking a gabillion shots of churches and various statues, but not so much when you're trying to get the artistic shot of your candle-lit dining room table. Also, you pay extra for all those knobs, dials and buttons, so I'm aimin' to get my money's worth.

This week's lesson is ISO and the Rule of Thirds.  I had heard the Rule of Thirds before, but never tried to compose or edit my pictures to comply (what a rebel - always breakin' the rules - yeah, right), and I was already playing with the ISO a bit.  I'm repeating a couple, but here are a few of my rule-following third pictures:
The barn door is on one of the intersection points of the 9-block 1/3 grid.

I don't know if this is right, but the pole is right along one of the 1/3 lines - and I like this one.  :-)

It's a little late for Santa, but he's also positioned in the right spot, and by the tracks in the snow, it looks like he just walked right into that spot by himself.

This one's divided into three sections.

And here are the REALLY, REALLY BORING pictures where I was playing with both the ISO and the aperture (lower to higher or higher to lower - I'm not sure, but at least I'm trying!):

I was practicing on the water spitters on the side of the pool - I really do not like those things - but they were a moving target.  For what it's worth, I like the last one of these the best.  It was a mostly sunny day, and I took these one after the other, I was amazed at the difference in moving the dials and hitting the buttons.  Cool stuff!

I'm linking up to Becky's project, so hop on over to Farmgirl Paints and check out all of the MUCH better photos.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Laundry Room Redux

Over the weekend, I spent quite a bit of time in the laundry room..  It was BADLY in need of some organization. 

Ahem....slightly embarrassed - but only slightly because it has a door that can be closed. 
So, here's the problem:  it's full of flat surfaces!  If there's a flat surface, doesn't it just call out to hold some junk, especially if it's a flat surface in a room that has a door that closes?!  Yes, duh!

I had already organized the two drawers, and as I did that, I realized that maybe it had gotten a wee bit out of control.  The cabinets didn't seem too bad, but I couldn't really add anything else in there, and they didn't make any sense.

Yes, I do use real chemicals to clean the house.  Maybe after I go through my stash, I'll consider switch to Mrs. Meyers or some other fancy cleaner, but for now, this is what I'm using.  Don't hate...

First step:  clean off the counters and shelves and empty the cabinets.  It had to get worse before it got better.  I didn't take a picture of this in-between stage, but trust me - it was bad.

Second step:  throw out 50% of what was in this room.  I didn't need most of it and don't know why I was keeping it.

Third step:  group like items together, find a place for them, and put them away.

Fourth step:  label maker - 'nuff said.

Fifth step:  sweep the floor, and take tons of pictures.

Last step:  do a little happy dance and take a bow.

And another really good thing - I didn't spend a single penny!!! 

Ta Da!!
Obviously, this is where I hang the clothes as they come out of the dryer.  I took everything off the top shelf except for the ironing stuff and a few empty baskets.  I corralled all of the ironing paraphernalia into one basket.

 We have a wireless printer, and we decided to put it in the laundry room so that everyone could access it easily, and it would still be out of the way.  LOVING it here!

In the cabinet underneath the printer, is the extra printer paper (makes sense, huh?).  Also the TP supply and all of my cake stands - they take up a lot of room.

 And in the other bottom cabinet, the cleaning supplies are still there, but much more organized.  I've also stored a few other things that we rarely use in this cabinet.

 This is the upper cabinet.  I put all of my votive holders into the silver box on top along with my individual size salt and pepper shakers.  I consolidated all of the light bulbs into the striped basket.  Vacuum attachments, bags and swiffer stuff are all in the same place on the bottom shelf. 

Don't ask why we have so many ice buckets - we do, and we use them all quite often, so they're easy to access in here.  And finally, I have a stash of birthday cards that I put in another silver photo box.  These used to be upstairs, and I would forget that I had them.  Now they're quick and convenient.
I also gathered a few gift bags, some tissue paper, and a couple of treat boxes and put them on the high shelf over the washer and dryer.  This will be much easier to put together a quick gift.  On the same shelf, I went through the house and gathered all of my vases and this is their new home.  I can see exactly what I have now, and they are out of the way where I don't have to worry about them getting knocked over.

Last, I put only laundry supplies on the shelf above the washer and dryer.  Everything is within reach, and there's not a bunch of other stuff in my way. 

The box of socks is where I keep socks that don't have a mate.  Every few months, I'll go through and if I haven't found the match, I pitch them. 

I wish I could find another place to store the vacuum cleaners (one works better on the carpets and the other works better on the floors). CRAZY, I know.  I hope that when I clean out the coat closet there will be room in there - fingers crossed. 
Ahhhhh.....  So happy!  LOVE IT!!!   I feel like I need to close the door, and. lock. it. so that a certain mister won't junk it up when he's moving things "out of the way".

Linking up over here, come check it out:

Domestically Speaking 

Love Being a Girl

I have spent a lot of time listening/watching podcasts this weekend.  I find them somewhat addictive.  Tons of fascinating information, that I think I will store away in my brain forever, but promptly forget as soon as the next "fascinating" tidbit is laid out there. 

Do you know about the TED Talks?  If you don't, you M.U.S.T. check them out.  I find that a few are a bit preachy, a couple are a bit wack-a-doo, and some of the speakers are way too smart for me to follow along, but mostly they are wonderful.  So many new and interesting ideas presented by people who are DOING things and making an impact.  WONDERFUL, I say!!!

I just listened to and I was particularly moved by Eve Ensler's latest TED talk about our "girl parts": 

My favorite part is the last 4 or 5 minutes where she's reciting from her latest book. As is her intent, it definitely makes me wonder.  Instead of hiding the girl parts of who we are - what if we embraced them?  What if we allowed ourselves to feel and to be emotional like a girl?  Would that be so bad? 

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I am my father's daughter.  As a kid, I remember looking at endless pictures of sunsets - everywhere he went, he took pictures of the sunset.  At the time, I didn't get it - I thought "yeah, yeah, it's another sunset - looks like all the gabillion other ones we've looked at." 
Hmmmm.... things change.

Now, on most days the sunset can stop me in my tracks. No matter what is going on in my world, they are like a little gift from God to remind me of the beauty in every day. 

For me, it's all about the colors.  I love the oranges and blues and purples and pinks and the subtle variations, and how, despite what I used to think, every day brings a different one.

I've heard that something similar happens in the mornings, but I don't know anything about that.  I very rarely get up early enough to witness this event.  :-)

Right now, I feel like my energy is setting, but not in the same graceful and beautiful way as the sun.  Chicken Little goes back to school tomorrow, and my house will get very quiet again.  My energy has been flagging since December, and I'm feeling the need for a bit of hibernation and recovery.  I need to get things in order so that I can regain some focus and purpose this year.  I love blogging, but it does take a ton of energy that I feel like I need to focus in different areas for a while. 

I'm going to take a few more days (maybe a week) off.  I'll see you all soon...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Big Texas Sky

Yesterday, Chicken Little and I took a little road trip up to Wichita Falls.  It's about 2 hours northwest of Dallas.  I thought I'd share some classic Texas scenery with you.

Look at this Big Sky

And these next ones were taken in some of the more populated areas we drove through:


 Anyone lose a hubcap?

When we left at 9 AM, it was rainy and chilly, but no snow.  On the way, it rained and snowed a little, but it was never bad...until we were on the way home.  Luckily the roads didn't get bad until we were about 5 miles from home when they started to get a little slushy and icy.  I know pictures of the snow are not unique for most of you, but this is an EVENT for us.  So, just a few more pictures to make this post even longer.
This is the golf course around the corner from us.  No one out playing today, can't you hear it..." Hey Bob, did you see where my ball went?"

The street into our neighborhood - slip slidin' away.
Finally home...  I just don't think of snow as "heavy" but look at the tree.  (Yes, I did see that stadium roof cave in a few weeks ago, but it's hard to believe it was from too much snow!)

The snow makes everything seem so clean and look at through the window from a nice warm house (or car as was the case here).  While I was taking these, I was trying to psyche myself up to get out of the car and go inside.  :-)

Looks like lots of folks got snow this weekend - how 'bout you?

I'm linking this one up to Favorite Things Friday at The Speckled Dog.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I do not like snakes in the rain.
I do not like snakes on a plane.
I do not like snakes here or there.

Did you know that they are having big floods in Australia?  Neither did I until I ran across this random article on the web the other day. 

In case you didn't know already, when the waters rise, it forces the hole dwellers (a.k.a. snakes) to seek higher, drier ground.   It also tends to agitate them - as it would anyone being forced out of their home.  Ever since this awful scene in the Lonesome Dove miniseries, this has been the subject of a few nightmares for me:

(Skip past the first minute, and then you only need to watch another minute or so to be scarred for life.)

Apparently, in this flooded area of Australia, the snakes AND the crocs are converging on the airport.
"Staff at the Rockhampton airport have compared the watery runway there to a wildlife park. Safety officer Kevin Lucas told the Australian on Thursday that he has killed around 40 snakes at the airport, one of which he likened to the Loch Ness Monster. "They're everywhere," he said."
I guess they're trying to evacuate with everyone else.

Australia Floods

Can you even imagine?!  I would have to move ...PERMANENTLY!

Sweet dreams...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Confession: Stealing Away

So, last night I said I was going to take down the Christmas decorations.   Buuuutttt, I was presented with a much more appealing opportunity.  Chicken Little wanted to go to see Country Strong, the new Gwyneth Paltrow movie.
Country Strong Poster
I like a good, cheesy story, but this one was a bit choppy in parts.  Chicken Little and I totally disagree on this point - she loved it.  I thought it was entertaining, but it was pretty high up there on the cheese-o-meter.

On the other hand, the soundtrack was darn good.  According to the credits, the actors sang their own songs, and they held their own.  There was one song that was played in the background of one scene, and I LOVED it!  I've listened to it about 5 times already.  The song doesn't show up on the soundtrack CD, and the performance credits in the movie went to someone else, but it is the Randy Rogers Band song, Steal You Away - found it on you tube and I will be downloading it from itunes shortly.  Enjoy...

If you like country music, go see the movie, just don't waste your time trying to figure out who likes who.  :-)

Love this song!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Breathing Room...

It seems like lately there are so many To Do's hanging over my head.  When I get home from work, I just don't know where to start and it's overwhelming.  So, instead of doing, I sit and I read blogs and lament having too much to do.  Ha!

Last night and this evening, instead of sitting, I decided to DO. 

Most people have a junk drawer or two.  I was starting to feel like all of the drawers in my kitchen and laundry room were junk drawers.  I tackled 6 drawers in the kitchen and two in the laundry room (I only have two in the laundry).  Here are the before and afters:

Laundry Room

 Two drawers in a welsh cupboard in the kitchen.

OMG! Look at this one!  This was/is the TRUE junk drawer - getting excited, yet?  I saved the best for last...

Three more drawers in the kitchen.  Don't ask about the batteries - they are one of those things that we never can find when we need 'em - now they are all in one place!  AND I HAVE AN EMPTY DRAWER!!! 

Breathing room!!!

How exciting is this?!  Hmmmm..... maybe I need to get out a bit more.

Even though it's just a small start, I feel so much better.  I feel like I have a little bit of breathing room.  I've finished SOMETHING - accomplished SOMETHING!  Whew - it's a little victory, but it is a victory. 

Now, I'm off to take down the Christmas decorations - finally.  :-)

I'm linking up over at Frugal Friday at Shabby Nest, Domestically Speaking, Funky Junk Interiors and Show and Tell Saturday:

Domestically Speaking