The 40 Bags in 40 Days Project Ends

I could have ended the post title with “unsuccessfully”. I did not manage to remove from the house something significant each day of 40. I did, however, manage to pare down quite a bit and learn a few lessons from the project.

Lesson 1: Any project that requires daily participation has the risk of failure. Between teaching, handling Amigo’s schedule, adjusting to Chuck’s new job, and life in general, there will be days that I simply can’t invest the time and energy in a side project.

Lesson 2: Projects are easy at first; they get harder. The Purge the Clutter project, as I nicknamed it, started to get more challenging about 15 days in. That makes sense, too; the easy excess was easy to toss. I had to search and think through later pieces.

Lesson 3: Major pieces in the project took more than one day. The piano, for example. We’re still working on it. Expect updates along the way.

Maybe I didn’t succeed in tossing or donating bags of goods every day. I can’t feel like the project failed, though. I did clean out quite a bit, and I set aside a batch of items for a June garage sale. Eventually, I’ll take to clearing spaces again, but without the Each Day Every Day pressure.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Snow Day – Ice Day prep

We had an inkling that a day off might be in the works. Toward the end of the school day, we saw an email from downtown – the Powers That Be had cancelled all after school and evening events, and the morning wellness appointments had been rescheduled. I slid a little in the parking lot; the freezing rain had begun.

By the time I saw the announcement that our local schools would close the next day, I had already prepped for the possibility of power outages. Sometimes, the two go together. Ice, power outages, kind of like chocolate chips and cookies, Romeo and Juliet, or birds of a feather. It’s not a panic situation, but we’d rather not be forced to travel the slick roads in search of eggs or bread if the trip can be avoided.

Our pantry is pretty well stocked as a general rule. A quick stop for bunny food on the way home from work, and we can feed everyone under our roof.

Blankets: if the heat goes off, we’ll need to double up on blankets. We have plenty, and at any given time most are reasonably clean. Most.

Bean bag chairs. Just kidding – sort of. Amigo has several. Bean bag chairs plus blankets equal a cozy corner for relaxing and keeping warm.

Firewood: Bring in a good stack of dry or relatively dry wood. If the heat is off, we’ll huddle up in the den near the fireplace with bean bag chairs and blankets.

Charge everything that needs a charge. That’s probably the biggest challenge on the list. If I can’t plug anything in during or after a storm, I need to be ready to keep the major tools of life charged. To give you an idea, here’s a list.

  • Smart phones – three
  • Kindle
  • Laptop
  • FitBit (it keeps my vibrating alarm on time!)
  • Is that all? No, but those are the high priority items.

I don’t have a battery operated coffee maker. If we lived in a place where power outages were more common, I’d probably get one. A generator for the freezers would be useful, too. Our two chest freezers are full of vegetables from last summer and meat purchased on sale and a full stock of soup broths (haha). In a short outage, we just leave the freezers closed to maintain their temperatures.

So, folks, how did I spend my bonus day? Power stayed on. Heat stayed on. I relaxed on the couch, watched some HGTV and DIY (no news; after I had the closing confirmed, I didn’t want to see any more news), put a loaf of bread in the bread machine, cleaned a little, sipped my coffee, ran the dishwasher, and a whole batch of small chores. A day like this is a gift, when we’re prepared for it.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Playoffs! And the Giants are Coming to Town!

The New York Giants are coming to the Frozen Tundra sometime today for a game tomorrow. No snowstorm this week, so Eli Manning and company won’t have to worry about sliding off the runway like Minnesota did two weeks ago. In fact, Amigo remembers a weekend many years ago when the opposition (he’s pretty sure it was the Giants) was snowed in and had to spend a second and maybe third night in their hotel. Maybe it was this game.

Then there was the year when word got out that Manning’s favorite television show was Seinfeld, and the local Fox affiliate decided to show something else in place of the usual rerun on Saturday night. In an attempt to psych out the visiting quarterback, they played an ancient black and white special on Vince Lombardi. Only in Packerland, my friends, only in Packerland do we take our football so seriously that it changes the television schedule – on Saturday.

We’re planning to Eat the Opponent with a choice we’ve made in the past: Jersey Bagels. We’ll be supporting a local business, getting something delicious, and showing our Packer spirit at the same time. The Giants play their games in New Jersey, after all, not New York.

I’m dressed up in one of my warmest and coziest Packer sweaters with a green/yellow patterned turtleneck underneath. It’s cold, cold, cold tonight. The Giants will face temperatures not quite as bad; the thermometer is due to rise above zero Fahrenheit tomorrow. Highs might even reach the teens. Go! Pack! Go!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Busy, Busy, Busy!

I haven’t posted lately because we’ve been – yep, you guessed it – very busy. Let’s skim the high points.

Chuck has a new job! He’s no longer making sure the news gets on the air. He is no longer driving and running and repairing live trucks and satellite trucks. He is now installing electrical components in brand new fire trucks. He’s been training for a week now, and it looks like this job is a fabulous fit for him. His official title is Electrician, Fire Truck Division.

Maybe he’ll actually enjoy the NFL playoffs this year instead of huddling in a corner crying out “No, no, don’t send me on the road again!”  

In other news, it’s Christmas concert season for Amigo and the barbershop chorus! He’s already sung in two shows in two weeks, and the third comes up in a few days. He looks very festive in his elf costume, and his sense of humor keeps rehearsals light.

For example, consider the following. Dress rehearsal at the restaurant that will host the Barbershop Bistro. Risers are set up, guys are in place, lights are adjusted. Director scans the chorus and asks, “Is there anyone who can’t see me?” Think on this for a minute.

Amigo, he of the white cane club, gleefully raised his hand. The chorus members were beside themselves with laughter. When I picked him up two hours later, the guys were still chuckling. He livens up a party, all right, my Amigo.

My holiday shopping spreadsheet is in place, and I’m filling in the blanks. Wrappings and trimmings and trappings are organized and ready for use. The Christmas music CD collection is accessible – those albums not on my desk at work, that is.

The O.K. Chorale is settled in for the remainder of December. The blog might even reflect that – when I have time.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

To-do, Ta-dah! and Doo-bee-doo-bee-doo

To do tonight: Visit Kwik Trip. Fill minivan’s gas tank, pick up a dozen eggs, and buy a snow brush. Mine disappeared last time Chuck borrowed the minivan for a weekend.

Ta-dah! Chuck starts his new job tomorrow! He’s no longer in the television industry. He’ll be building fire trucks instead. He’s looking forward to the change, and we are, too.

Doo-bee-doo-bee-doo: It’s the most wonderful time of the year to share my holiday music collection at work. My coworkers have been very accepting of my playing Christmas music as performed by brass groups, pop singers, a capella  singers, and just about every genre that plays or sings the songs of the season. Only one puts on his headphones as soon as I arrive. Scrooge. I turn off the speakers and put on my headset as the clock approaches official work time.

I’ve also had fun sharing videos with my virtual students. I use a safe-tube service to eliminate comments and ads (you’d be appalled to know what kind of garbage is out there), and I’m respectful of  my students’ many beliefs. In sharing music, my goals include encouraging my students to log into class on time, quieting the chat before class, and starting class on a positive note.

To-do: I haven’t logged into my school account during the weekend. I like to get some grading done at home whenever I can. I have to balance that, however, with my own need for rest and respite, a.k.a. sanity. This item may or may not become a Ta-dah!

Meanwhile, Amigo is helping Chuck get supper ready. The Packers won, and we’re looking out over the first snow of the season. Life is good.

Readers, what’s a ta-dah! in your life?

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Attitude. And a blind sense of humor.

I almost – almost – feel for the director of Amigo’s barbershop choir. But really, he set himself up for this one.

Director Man had the risers set up, the festive scenery in place, and the lights on the choir. He stepped back, looked over the group, and asked, “Is there anyone who can’t see me?”

Without a pause, Amigo raised his hand, the hand not holding his white cane, and the choir erupted with laughter.

They were still chuckling when I arrived to pick him up two hours later. Spark plug, indeed. They’ll have a hard time picking a new recipient for that award!

Amigo in his Elf costume

Amigo in his Elf costume

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Jar Variety

The batch of jars from a recent estate auction contained some interesting variations in size and shape. Several were the basic half-pint jelly jar size and design. Some were different.

Milk bottle, perhaps?

Milk bottle, perhaps?

Old fashioned lid - slightly odd shape

Old fashioned lid – slightly odd shape

Some had the word “freezer” embossed on them. Most were Ball; a few said Kerr. Two or three lids, the solid gray lids – does anyone know what they’re made of? I’ve seen lamps and hanging lights made from jars with this type of lid, so I’m not quite ready to throw them away.

For now, I’m sorting and storing those that are clean and suitable for food storage. The others might become…well, who knows? It’s all part of the fun of finding and procuring and using old jars.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Cranberry Sauce – Daisy’s Way

1-2-3 Cranberry Sauce

1 cup water
2 cups sugar
3 cups cranberries

Bring to a boil, then simmer 20 minutes or until all the berries have burst. Add cinnamon to taste. Serve warm.

Now, the backstory. I brought this recipe home from kindergarten on a sheet of construction paper. We made it at home since it was so easy. It became a standard at Thanksgiving dinner, the tradition lasting long after the original paper faded.
A generation later, my kids started helping me make it every year. If we have leftover cranberry sauce, I use it in jello or add it to muffins. This little piece of my “saucy” childhood continues, along with Thanksgiving memories that will never fade.

Have a wondering Thanksgiving, readers.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Short Conversations by text

Introduction – Blogging this election has been much harder than 2012 or 2008. I don’t want to give the Republican candidate any more of my time or blog space than he deserves, but if I stay silent, if too many stay silent, then his misogyny and racism will spread. Instead of posting election-related content, I’ll simply tell you that I VOTED already, and move on to an everyday conversation.

Actual Text Message Conversations (I couldn’t make these up)

from Chuck: Gotta love our downtown! I went out to plug the meter again and a stranger had already done it.

my reply: Pay it forward!

And yet another day — 

I was on my way to the Take and Bake pizza place to pick up a particular type of pizza for Eating the Opponent. As I pulled in to the parking lot, my phone went “Ding!” signaling a text message.

from Chuck: Here’s some must have – the Golden Girls Action figures. Someone really is producing them and will sell them at an upcoming comic con. Collect the whole set!

my reply: I want the Supreme Court Women set.

Chuck’s response: I bet the Ruth Bader Ginsberg action figure would kick the trump bobble head’s butt.

my reply: Darn right. Notorious RBG to the rescue! Add superhero cape to the judge’s robe!

Follow up: I haven’t ordered my blue pantsuit Hillary action figure yet. Yet. I still wish Lego would get serious and make the Supreme Court Women. 

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS