Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Last of the Big Snow

post signatureOkay, this will be the last post about the snow. I know the northerners out there are just laughing at us. But something we get so infrequently is very exciting. For the two days that it lasts. We never get to the stage where the snow looks all yucky---it melts way before then.

We got the snow on Friday and enjoyed it Saturday. Just two days. Here's what it looked like from Mindy's 10th story condo on Friday night:

These were a couple beautiful shots posted on Facebook:
 Heading downtown and a partial view of the city skyline.
And this one---just because it's so cute.

Since Mindy and Justin live downtown, they were able to walk to the restaurants and honky tonks having fun along the way.

Mindy posted on Facebook: "Way before Adele and her song, me and my snow hat were just like..."

You will recall these views from the front porch on Saturday---7 inches:

 I went out Sunday and risked life and limb for a hair appointment. It truly was treacherous. It took me 55 minutes to make a normal 20 minute drive---the main road was solid ice. Anyway, I snapped this shot when I got home. When I left, I drove through the 7 inches on the driveway. I got home 5 hours later to this. It's almost all gone.
And this is Monday. The temperatures were in the 50's all day and night. That's Nashville for you, it's 15 degrees one day and 50 the next. Luckily for us, it's going to be in the 60's this weekend for the wedding. Good thing, we don't really own heavy winter coats down here, y'all!

This may be my last post  before the wedding. Sandy and family arrive tomorrow. I really don't have much to do---just a Sam's run today, pick up petit fours, theater tonight. Tomorrow, I'm getting my nails done,  playing bridge, going to the grocery store and checking the house to make sure everything is in order. 

I'm ready.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Getting Organized

post signatureOkay, I have to weigh in here.

It's January. The time when a lot of people have set New Year's resolutions for themselves. One of the most popular resolutions is to get organized. There are tons of organization blogs out there. I subscribe to a couple of those. You might wonder "why"---since I am organized and had my own organization business for over 10 years. Well the answer is---you can always learn something new. I love coming across a new, practical idea. I'll be all over it!!

This year, I've been hearing some advice that I completely disagree with. And, no, I haven't read that popular Japanese book--The Art of Tidying Up. It's getting rave reviews and is geared for simplifying your life. I'm just talking about cleaning out a closet.

What I have been hearing (blog reading to be more precise) and is putting me over the edge is this:
"Empty out your space so you have a clean slate to begin." OMGosh!! And I've read it on several sights. This so wrong! Let me tell you why.

Generally, by the time most people who are trying to get organized make the decision to tackle a closet, it is so junked up and packed so full of crap, that if they simply move everything out, they would be completely boxed in with all the stuff that just came out of the closet. There would be no room to even move around. They will wonder how they fit all of that in the closet to begin with. Now all they've done is move the crap from one spot to another without solving a single thing and making a bigger mess to boot! This is completely discouraging as now they are completely overwhelmed and don't know where to begin! Trust me, I've seen this happen!!

Here's the easiest way to organize a closet.
1. Gather 4 boxes or large bags.
2. Label them:  donate; elsewhere (for things that belong somewhere else); trash; keep
3. Begin taking things out of the closet one at a time and make the decision as to which box it belongs in. Once you've cleared enough of the closet so that you can get in there, start working on the right side and continue around the inside. Work from right circling left.
4. Once you've cleared one side of the closet---clean it. Dust the shelves, vacuum the floor.
5. Now you can begin putting things BACK in as you work---or move the things that are staying in there to the cleaned side as you continue around the rest of the closet. Don't even worry about having it perfectly organized yet.
6. If this is a clothes closet DO NOT EVER remove all of your hanging clothes!! I repeat---DO NOT EVER remove all of your hanging clothes. It is so much easier to go through them hanger by hanger. Just decide if you plan to keep it, make sure it's hung properly on the hanger and just start organizing right on the rack---all blouses together, sorted by color, pants, dresses, etc.
7. As your boxes or bags fill, remove them from the room. Carry the "donate" straight to your car, "trash" to the trash, "elsewhere" to the hallway (you are not going to deal with this yet). The only box to leave is the one that has the stuff going back in the closet.
8. Once the closet is completely sorted, you can arrange it anyway you like. Since everything remaining is what you plan to keep, it's easy to see how much space it will take and what your largest category might be. After all the crap is removed, it's easy and quick!
9. Take the stuff from the "elsewhere" box and put it in the rooms where that stuff belongs. Go ahead, I give you permission to cram it in to the over-stuffed closets there. You'll get to it eventually!

Think about this: if you were getting ready to organize a whole room---you wouldn't remove everything to do it. That doesn't make sense. Nor would you have the space to do that. Your closets are nothing more than little rooms. Just treat them that way.

I have the very same simple organization ideas about photos. Ask me if you need help with that.

I'm getting ready to tackle my bedroom closet after the wedding. I'll be sure to share before and after.

There are many organizing ideas out there. Not all ideas work for everybody. But, I haven't met a single person that has tried my method that said it didn't work for them. Go ahead, give it a try and let me know what you think. Heck, if you're local, I'll even come help!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Another Snow

post signatureIt’s January, 1977, Charleston, West Virginia. It has snowed 14 inches. Our 1976 Volkswagen Sun Bug is stuck at the bottom of a very large hill leading up to our apartment complex. We have no choice but to leave the car and hike up. Butch is carrying infant, Stephanie. I’m holding 4 1/2 yr. old Sandy’s hand. As usual for me, I fall and start to slide down the hill. Sandy yells, “dad, mom’s pulling me down!”

Oh the memories! I miss the snow!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Big Chill

We don't get snow here much, so you'll have to bear with me. In fact, it's been 13 years since we've had any significant snow.

post signatureIt all started last week with this:
I'm not even sure what the lowest temperature was this week. This is just what the temperature was when I was out and about one day. Brrr....perfect conditions for some snowy precip.
When it was all said and done, the official count was 7 inches. To those of you that get a lot of snow, this might seem like a wimpy amount. But to us in the mid-south that's a significant amount. In fact this measly 7 inches ranks up in our top 20 snows of ALL time!! The most snow Nashville has ever seen is 16" in 1892. Last night on the news, they counted down the top five snows we've ever had. None of them have been in the last 31 years that we've lived here. Only one of them had even occured since I was born in 1952!

I do recall a 5" snow about 25 years ago when we still lived in Devon Park. The girls and I hiked down to the Potters for a visit and some snow play. We all hiked back to our house, ordered pizza and played games. It was a huge deal---not only because of the snow, but because Connie stayed home from work---gasp!!!

The snow was so heavy that it has bent our trees. I hope there is no damage. Our poor magnolia on the right has already been struggling.
These are our beautiful, perfectly upright, conical shaped foster hollies. When the snow melts, I do hope they bounce back.

I just can't stop staring out the window---it's so beautiful---until it's not! I know that soon, the roadsides will be ugly with brown, melting, slushy snow. But for now, I'm enjoying what's in my own back yard.
 Here's a view from the front porch.

I texted this one to the girls. What's wrong with this picture? See the ladder? The one that Butch used to brush off the satellite dish? I may not be able to predict the weather, but I can pretty much predict that this ladder will be here until late spring/early summer! I know Butch and his procrastinating ways.
Oh wait, I spoke too soon! Butch had to brush off the dish one more time (and maybe once more today). So, the ladder has been moved to a more prominent spot on the patio. I still stand behind my prediction. Of course, he reads my blog, so that might add a little motivation. I'm glad his messy footprints through the snow have been somewhat covered up. I love the pristine-ness of freshly fallen snow. 

Mindy wanted me to post the pictures on Facebook of Butch getting up on the ladder to brush off the dish. I didn't because I wasn't sure he'd take too kindly to that. But we girls think everything he does is so cute! Well, most of the time.

But what was posted on Facebook---by Morgan---was a story about our last big snow. That was 8 inches 13 years ago. 

Mindy was a senior in high school. Morgan and Jordan were in 2nd and 3rd grade. I got the call from school that they were dismissing early---it was only 8:30---they had just barely gotten to school! I got there by 9 a.m. At first it was all fun and games as the line out of the parking lot was moving very slowly. I jumped out of the car, made a snowball and threw it at the girls inside the car! "Oh, grammy! Hahahahaha!" We wouldn't be laughing for long. 

I got a frantic call from Mindy that she was afraid to continue driving. I told her to pull over and that I'd make my way to her. About a half hour later---in what should have been about a one minute drive---just a couple blocks from school (St. Cecilia and Overbook share the same campus), we picked up Mindy. I was happy that we were all together as Mindy had no "snow driving" experience. Growing up, I had lots of it in St. Louis. Even as new, teen drivers, we were allowed to drive in snow---the theory being that we needed to learn. But I digress....

We started inching towards home and I do mean inching. There was no quicker way as the cars were bumper to bumper. I'm still not exactly sure what happened then, but about the time all of the schools were closed, ALL the businesses closed too. So you had that much more traffic on the roads. 

By the time we reached Hillsboro Rd---4 hours later---which normally is about 15-20 minutes, Jordan had to go to the bathroom. Since we were mostly at a dead stop, we decided that we'd open both doors on the passenger side so she could step out and "go." She was mortified and couldn't perform---if you know what I mean. She got back in the car and started to cry. When the pain got too bad, I yelled, "Mindy, give me your sweatshirt!" She looked at me in horror and cried, "Mom, it's my SENIOR sweatshirt!" I insisted that we had no other sacrifice for the cause. We bunched it up and I think you can figure out the rest. Jordan definitely knows how to spell relief!

Everyone was hungry. We found a snack size bag of M&M's. Jokingly, we decided to ration them. It was a time before water bottles, so we didn't have any drinks. Continuing to inch along towards home, I told the girls that we could have already been to St. Louis by now---a mere 5.5 hour drive.

When we were finally about a half mile from home, we abandoned the car and started to walk. We reached the entrance to the neighborhood which was at the top of a hill. As we started down, I slipped, fell (remember, I've always been a faller) and lost my "water." The girls thought it was hysterical that I "peed my pants!"

Come to think of it, with that story, why would I ever want a big snow again? Because, no matter what, we made some fond, or not so fond memories! At least the girls will never forget it---the story of "The Big Chill" 2003!

And that's it---3 decent snows in 31 years! I'll take it!

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Snow Break and Other Possibilities!

We're due to get up to 8 inches. All the schools and businesses have shut down. Everyone is home for this snow "break". This is exciting stuff for us! Rarely happens.
My view from the back door. It's so quiet and beautiful. I thought I'd like to go out and play in it, but decided I can't afford to risk another "break" so close to the wedding.
 Instead, I'll stay put right here with my book and computer.
 The lengths Butch will go to---to watch TV! This one was not quite tall enough!
He assures me it's safe! 
And, I'll drink the WHOLE bottle! Starting at noon. Hmmm, I hope I'm not setting myself up for a "break" after all! Here's to "snow breaks!"
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Friday Funnies

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Upon Being Busy

post signatureWell, the wedding is just a week away and I am not stressed out. In fact, I am completely on top of things. I hope I didn't just jinx myself.

That's not to say I haven't been busy. I've been crazy busy---because, I'm never willing to give up anything fun. As a result, I have continued with my normal life and just squeezed the wedding stuff in. Plus, I added several---non wedding related things---like 4 doctor's appointments (colonoscopy tomorrow---might as well get it over with),  an appointment with my orthopedic doc (he gave me the "all clear" on both feet), a trip out to the airport to apply for the TSA-precheck and a 3 hour long hair appointment---that's supposed to be today, I hope she doesn't cancel due to weather---then I'll be up a creek---she already canceled me last week. 

Wedding related outings include---two trips to Sam's, picking up things for the wedding here and there, two fittings for my outfit, dropping something off for the cake, visiting the chapel with the officiant, going to Mindy's dress fitting (we have one more on Friday) and visiting the Nashville City Club downtown to check out the reception set-up. I've followed up with all the vendors, made the seating chart, filled the gift bags (Connie helped), created and printed many items and I've paid a kazillion bills. 

I've squeezed in repair men---Ashbusters---twice for the chimney (that's a full 'nother story), twice for my sound system guru, the bug man and I've got Good Will coming next week. I'm still handling beach business, doing "Movie Monday" and stitching Tuesdays with my friends. I've done my AYM layout, round robin assignment and put together February's AYM kits. 

Then my uncle passed and my brother asked me to handle sending something from our family and letting them all know what they owe. Not a huge deal, but you know what they say: "if you want something done, ask a busy person."

All of this in just the past three weeks. Okay, so I didn't cook much---maybe once or twice a week---which is about how much I cook anyway.

But the main purpose of this post is the most exciting thing I've done over the last three weeks---DECORATE Morgan and Jordan's rooms. The girls both have apartments at college. Stephanie had a really good idea to get them to clean out their rooms. She said that "if they didn't want something in their apartments now while they were in college, they were never going to want it later." Why didn't I think of that! Since I didn't, I'm still dealing with this:
Mindy's closet is a huge walk-in. I liked to joke that her college dorm room was smaller than her closet!

Right now we have wedding presents coming in. Her condo is really small with not so great storage. Of course, a good clean-out there would help the situation. 

Okay, back to Steph and her project. Besides just a few things in the closet, I was given a clean slate to work with. And a budget. A "decorating on a dime" kind of budget. Well, okay, a "decorating on 10,000 dimes, budget."  Yep, she gave me $1000 to work with. She had already purchased the furniture and had the rooms painted. Jordan's room had an accent wallpaper added to one wall. 

So here we go. The rooms before:
This is Morgan's room. My direction here was that she wanted the room to be "old Hollywood glam." Colors: silver, black and mint green.
I do not know what that thing on the bed is. It wasn't there when I began putting this room together. 

This is Jordan's room before:
 On the left is a big mirror that's going on the wall.
That bedding is old and was not going to stay. My direction for this room was that she wanted "Mad Men modern." The colors were beige, brown and black. Sometimes I wish she'd call me in at the beginning of the project so I could offer some guidance in color selection. But, I work with what I'm given.

The $1000 was for both rooms and had to include all bedding, window treatments and rods as well as lamps and accessories. She even wanted a nightstand and shelf of some sort for Jordan's room. So that meant adding a little furniture to the budget. 

So, along with everything else I've done in the past three weeks, I added shopping at all of my favorite places: Hobby Lobby (the best for inexpensive home decor items, lamps and mirrors---they run their stuff half price all the time), Target, SteinMart, Home Goods and Marshalls. My favorite online place for inexpensive "stuff" is Wayfair. I got all of the bedding, window treatments and furniture there.

Here's the "after" for Morgan's room:
 Entering her room.
 I went with silver, shimmery bedding. The throw is a very light mint. That scrolly thing over the bed is black with giant rhinestones from Hobby Lobby. The shades on the lamps are silvery also. The drapes are silver, but the bright light made them look purple in the pictures.
I found the lighted marquis "M" at Target. It works on batteries and has a timer so it shuts off by itself.
The clock was on clearance at Marshalls for $10.00. The little jeweled box also came from Marshall's for $2.50. The succulent---which looks so real--is from Target. The bowl of "balls" was another bargain---Hobby Lobby for $2.50---90% off of the remaining Christmas stuff. It was a huge container of silver and black, shiny and glittery ornaments. I bought a plastic bowl and silver charger-the whole thing under $10.00. 
I found the perfect mint pillow at Target. You can't really tell by the photo, but it is a PERFECT match. So you can tell what the wall color really looks like from the pillow.
Another succulent from Target on a jeweled mirror tray from Hobby Lobby. Lamps all from Hobby Lobby. On the left is a re-purposed soap dish from my house. I had always pictured using it to hold jewelry. Steph pulled a few things from her collection.
So you might be thinking, the room looks good, but is it practical? Since they are still the girls rooms, and the girls aren't home much, they are guest rooms. Stephanie and Nicky don't have guests---ever---so they are nice rooms to look at! Agree?

On to Jordan's room:
Her room definitely needed some color. So, I went with "paprika." The drapes didn't photo well in here either---since there was too much light. I brought the pillows from my house as I have tons of them--I could spare a few. The artwork came from Hobby Lobby. I still want to get a throw for the bed to add a bit more color, but haven't found the perfect thing just yet.
 I loved these weird feathery things from Hobby Lobby and just stuck them in a tall skinny vase also from HL. The nightstand is from Wayfair.
I should have taken a close up of the nightstand as the clock is really cool. I got it on clearance at Marshall's for $7.50---or maybe it was even $5.00. 
 The shelf came from Wayfair. I thought it had a funky, contemporary vibe to it.
I made the floral arrangement with flowers and vase from HL.

When it was all said and done, I overshot the budget by $25.00. Stephanie was okay with that. I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have Butch and Nicky's "free labor."

And there it is---what I do with my time! I'm definitely busy, but it's all fun!

Oh, and I managed to write a few blog posts!