Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Spa Review Post Part 2

The facial. Amy had her facial during my massage and then we switched. I've never had a professional facial but I do take pretty good care of my skin so I do give myself facials at home pretty regularly. Eva was the name of the aesthetician and I really like her, she was very soft-spoken and her approach was not just giving the facial but teaching me along the way. Sakora, by the way, is an Aveda salon so all products are natural.

The facial room is next door to the massage room and off of the private lounge. It is small and painted a very pale green. Again, soft music and soft lighting. Eva told me what to expect and then stepped out so I could change clothes. For this treatment, one removes their top and puts on one of those towel things that wrap around under the arms and velcro. Then you lie on a table (I was envisioning a chair) that has a heated mattress pad on white linens. Eva then pulled the blanket I was lying on up and around my body and shoulders like a taco, her words. A white towel was gently wrapped around my hair and Eva talked with me about my concerns with my skin, allergies, medications, etc. There are two basic types of facials offered. One is relaxation based and involves not only the facial treatment but a hand and foot massage. The second is focused on fine lines, discoloration, etc. Clearly I was there for the second option! We started with my choosing one of three scents to include in my facial as the aromatherapy portion. I chose a cinnamon clove oil, yummy! I closed my eyes and while explaining every step, Eva started with lightly massaging in cool water. She then put cotton swabs on my closed eyes, sorry, I don't remember exactly what the specific ingredients were. She used a light to examine my skin more closely and informed me that my skin is in great shape. Who knew? A light exfoliation and then a mask. Another mask for my eye area which was the eye brightening portion. Cool cotton swabs on my eyes and between each step, Eva would use a warm towel to remove the mask or cream. She gave me a facial massage using chilled glass globes and concentrating around my eyes. It felt wonderful! She finished with a light facial massage and then a massage of my upper chest, shoulders, neck, scalp, arms and hands. The whole process was about 30 minutes long.

I enjoyed this more than I expected to, I have to admit. I was also surprised that Eva's final recommendation was that I continue with my skin care regime because my skin looked really good and the only product she mentioned in passing was the eye cream she had used, telling me if I liked it I could purchase it from them. One time and no product pushing afterward.

I think I expected some kind of miraculous change in my skin which did not happen. My eyes definitely look less tired but the dark circles are lighter but still there. Eva did teach me how to take care of my eyes with cool compresses and tea bags to keep those as light as possible and she taught me that those won't disappear in one treatment. My skin looks and feels good but not noticeably different than beforehand. She did not mention regularly scheduling facials until I asked and then said about every 6 weeks or so would be plenty.

I'm not sure what the result would be for someone with a different skin type but for me the experience was great, the outcome ok. With Amy, she only recommended one product, a toner she used. I'll let you decide if we have low maintenance skin. Although I wouldn't say I have the skin of a 20 year old, I rarely break out and did not have acne as a teenager. I am not a sun worshipper and believe in sun screen which I wear daily year round. I do blush easily and have those doggone dark circles.

Eva did ask me about my skin care habits and said she really didn't see any need to change or add anything. I use only drug store brands; Olay, Aveeno and Neutrogena. I use Olay moisturizer during the day with SPF. Aveena night time moisturizer and Neutrogena foundation. I remove my make-up every night with Olay or Aveena cleansing cloths. I use Neutrogena eye cream once daily in the morning. If I'm home and not going anywhere or just making a quick grocery store run, I don't wear any foundation at all. I find the biggest factor in my skin's appearance is diet so when I minimize processed foods and sodium and maximize water and fruits/veggies, my skin looks markedly better than the reverse. Caffeine is limited to morning coffee. No pop.

I am sure this is boring as I am already bored but it's the facial post and let us be thorough!

As for skin treatments, I have the Olay 2 step microdermabrasion kit which is not cheap ($30-Target) It will provide multiple applications and the package recommendation which matched Eva's is bi-weekly. Most people who have tried this product absolutely rave about it. Again, I don't see any difference when I use it. I'm told that's ok because it will work as a maintenance instead of repair product and is still worth using. I use it about once a month. Last week I was really worn out and looking it so I made my own home facial masque lacking any real products. Equal parts honey and yogurt with a little oatmeal for exfoliation and it worked really well, perked up my skin and tightened up the fine lines.

So! The final opinion? You won't know if you don't try so if you are at all interested, put some money aside and get a professional facial. You may find a huge benefit to your skin but even if, like me, you simply have a lovely 30 minutes it's still worth it. If you are on a budget you can try anything from adding water (free) to honey and yogurt (cheap) to Olay microdermabrasion ($30.)

Pedicure! Home stretch guys! I did not have a pedi as they gross me out. Being a dedicated journalist, I did observe Amy's. I remain grossed out and will continue to do my own pedis! Amy loves the experience. She began soaking her feed in a bubbly foot bath. Callouses were buffed, creams and lotions and exfoliants applied to her feet, ankles and calves. Nails trimmed and polish applied. I didn't have the experience so I can't personally attest to it. The final product, very pretty but frankly, no prettier than my home pedicure. Like everything else, I guess it's a matter of personal taste! But I tell you once again, listen to me people...even if you do not get a professional pedicure...TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEET! You will be amazed at how much better your whole body feels and the rest of us will be grateful when flip flop weather arrives!

And that, my friends, is the spa review 2011. We will be having another such experience in the coming months and my mom will be coming along for that one. Obviously, you'll want to stay tuned!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Spa Review Post

As mentioned last week, my sister Amy and I decided to treat ourselves to a mini-spa day. Also as mentioned, this is my first such experience. My thoughts...

The price, $99 for your choice of three treatments. Amy chose the pedicure, massage and facial. I chose the eye brightening treatment (which is really and add-on to the facial), facial and massage. If you've never indulged in spa services before, this is the perfect way to get a taste of the experience without dropping half your mortgage payment. As a side note, Sakora has all of their prices online. I really appreciate this as I could price the choices individually as well as part of the package and make an informed decision. This also allows me to skip the package and just have any individual treatment I'd like and know what I'm spending ahead of time. There are many salons (I checked) who list multiple spa services but not the prices. As far as I'm concerned, this isn't user friendly. I shouldn't have to do the leg work to decide if I want to pay a salon to take care of me. Also smart of the owner since I find myself putting aside money to treat myself occasionally knowing exactly what the cost will be.

The availability. Again, Sakora is very welcoming and the customer service is excellent. Whether on the phone or in person, they take the time to talk with you and help you decide what you need without pressure. They will work with you and even bring in staff who are not scheduled to give you an appointment that works for you. I checked on our spa day on Thursday evening hoping to schedule for Saturday morning for the two of us and they were able to accommodate my preferred day as well as time. Sakora also offers early as well as late evening hours which work for just about anyone.

The experience. Amy and I arrived at 10 and were warmly welcomed by staff that was clearly expecting us and prepared to take good care of us. The salon area is private with its own small lounge area with comfortable chairs, low lighting and the offer of coffee, tea or iced water in glasses or ceramic cups (this is a big deal to me, hate styrofoam and plastic.) Amy was scheduled first for her facial and I for my massage. The facialist was our hostess and explained what we should expect quickly putting us at ease. The massage room was painted a pale peach, low light and candle light with quiet music in the background. The massage table was in the center of the small room prepared with crisp white linens and a soft white blanket. The therapist asked me if I'd had a massage before and when I told her only once a long time ago she gave me a little orientation which put me immediately at ease. She stepped out allowing me to get ready for my massage (disrobe to undergarments and lay down on the table under the blanket on my tummy.) The massage itself was about 20 minutes long although you can schedule for as long as you like with an incremental adjustment in price. The foot of the table was raised to elevate my feet and the linens had been warmed. Micca (the masseuse) placed a slightly weighted heated pad on my upper back and ran her hands lightly over my legs, arms over the blanket. She then moved the pad onto my lower back/upper butt and began by massage my back, shoulders, neck, scalp, arms and then finished with my feet and legs. In this case, Micca had a relatively light touch but one can request a deeper massage as well.

Afterward, Micca explained that she was finished and instructed me to take my time getting dressed while she brought me a glass of iced water. I was completely relaxed and admit, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Not to mention that Micca found those knots that seem to be always in my shoulders and rubbed them out completely. Who knew my shoulders had been tight for approximately 30 years?

I'll end there since this is running on rather long and post part two tomorrow, facial and eye treatment as well as Amy's pedicure.

Final thoughts on massage~worth the money and the experience of the professional massage is more than the work on your muscles. It really does usher one into a state of relaxation of the body and rest of the mind. For me as a Christian, the quieting of my spirit gave me a sense of rest in the Holy Spirit. Nothing is required except to be cared for and as Micca smoothed out my muscles I felt God smoothing out my heart. Not exactly going into the dessert to pray but certainly time carved out for the world to stay on the other side of the door.
Image: Sakora Spa & Salon, 15007 Eureka Rd., Southgate, MI


Isaiah 53:6

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him (Christ) the iniquity of us all.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


1. Repot my house plants that have outgrown their pots during the winter.
2. Paint the antique fireplace surround in my basement to make a headboard.
3. Get some art and whatnot on my bedroom walls.
4. Put plantation blinds in the family room.
5. Steam clean family room carpet.
6. Paint front door.
7. Buy Sketchers sandals and stop buying Old Navy $5 flip flops.
8. Find my umbrella.
9. Plan my salad garden.
10. Buy a blueberry bush.

Friday, March 25, 2011


I'm having me a mini spa day! Going to the salon where I get my hairs did and my shellac manicure, Sakora, and getting this package CLICK. My sister is going with me. My mom has a situation with her tailbone which prevents partaking in spa activities but she promises to come next time. I have never had a spa day and I'm not sure I'll like it but I'm going to try. I'm not one who enjoys pampering kinds of things but I'm working on learning to change that about myself. I'm doing some introspection to ask God to show me if this is really a matter of pride with me although it seems like it would be the opposite. When I say I don't do spa stuff, people always tell me I should because I'm worth it. I don't really disagree with that. But I'm still uncomfortable with it, with being "waited on." There is something vulnerable and needy in it that sticks in my craw. As Mac used to say, "My do it myself!" I'll do it myself! I'll walk on my broken foot, I'll work with my broken finger, I'll get up and get my own coffee after my surgery last year. It really is pride, take my word for it.
I am choosing a massage, facial and eye brightening treatment as my spa day. Amy will be having a pedicure instead of eye brightening. Her eyes are bright enough as it is. I have not yet matured in my attitude enough to have a pedi. Still doing my own partly because I just can't seem to pay money for it but mostly because I am not comfortable. But still, I'm doing the rest. I've never had a professional facial and only had one massage which I was dragged to kicking and screaming, admitted enjoying it at the time and have never since felt that I needed one bad enough to get another.
I think I might have a secret martyr complex or something. I don't know. I'm not saying everyone should have spa days, they are certainly nothing but extravagance and luxury but this proud person inside of me has entirely too much enjoyed pointing my nose up at such extravagance and being a little proud at never succumbing to it. I am sure this is sounding ridiculous but it makes sense, trust me.
My 2011 unofficial resolution was to take time and effort on myself, to value myself as God does and to see myself as the bride of Christ. To imagine myself an Esther, who cares for herself to prepare herself for her calling. I've done a good job keeping my resolution, although how hard can it be to treat yourself nicely? Well, it can be very hard actually.
I have purchased new scrubs and work shoes because for too long, I've been inwardly proud of not spending the money and wearing scrubs that have become faded and shoes that have become worn out. Stupid.
I have even had a few shellac manicures which for now, I am really enjoying. Maybe not forever, but for now they are a source of pleasure just for me.
And tomorrow, spa day. Work has been pretty demanding lately and as I looked at my puffy dark circled eyes in the mirror and rolled my stiff shoulders I decided quite impulsive to do a little maintenance on the old girl. The old girl being me.
I'm actively working on relaxing into the experience as we speak. The completely inward self-ward focus of it doesn't come naturally but again, I now see some pride in that.
So I'll let you know how it goes or if I go running out the door with the facial goop still on my face, eyes unbrightened and muscles un-massaged. And if I figure out a less crazy way of explaining why this is a step away from pride and toward a healthy approach to myself, I'll update you. For now, take my word for it.
Breathing deeply and going in...

Image: Pedi room at Sakora where Amy will be getting pedi'd tomorrow.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Howdy neighbor!

Maybe it's the number of For Sales and foreclosures in the neighborhoods of Southeastern Michigan, but one of my favorite pass times of late is looking for houses for the people I love. No, they aren't in the market. I'm planning their moves for them! Their moves, I'm not going anywhere.
Mac and I like whiling away an occasional afternoon driving up and down the streets around our home and finding houses and then coming home to check the real estate listings to decide where people should live. Our goal is that we are all within walking distance. I told my mom the other day that I'd like for she and my dad to move into a house on our block. If they move nearer my sister, that's fine too. I just think it would be nice to be close enough to chat over the fence, or at least holler over another neighbor's yard, with one another. I'd like Daboyz to live in the neighborhood so if they need help with their children, the kids can simply walk here after school. Ideally my sister will move into the area too. I'll spring that on her at some point. I'm not talking about people who live hours away, I'm talking about reducing the distance to walkable from driveable. All of you should scan the Dearborn listings too, you are invited. Just think of it! All of us in the same neighborhood! The homes would all be maintained lovingly, the streets and sidewalks would be safe for our little ones, we wouldn't need to arrange complicated plans to see one another, we'll be sharing smiles and hellos every day!
If I buy too many tomato plants? I'll walk them over to your house for your garden. If you have too many zucchinis? Send them this way and I'll make bread for everybody! Feeling under the weather, any one of us can pick up your groceries while we're out. Go ahead and take a vacation, we'll see to your mail and your lawn and even your dog. Power out? We'll take turns hosting camp fires and making a party out of it.
And when the world gets a little too frightening and the news is shouting nuclear melt downs and so many wars we lose count and there is a daily moment of silence for the latest young man we've lost in combat, we can look out our front windows and find the good and pure things to focus our hearts on.
This doesn't happen to be one of those "let's pretend" moments. I am putting forth a thought for your consideration. No, not that you pull up stakes and move next door immediately. That's a little too Waco. But if a time comes in the years ahead when you find yourself on the market for a new home, might you want to focus on a house with a sidewalk that leads to someone you love? What have you got to lose? Think how much easier the house-hunting will be when it is narrowed down to a few blocks. Maybe moving days for you are way in the future. All the better! Start budgeting for the street you want to live on so that when that perfect house is available, you're ready.
I've heard of a lot of families over the last few years wishing they could build a compound for their family, buying acres of land and putting homes there together. That would be awesome, but for most of us it is dreaming without planning. I know of a family who all bought condos in the same complex, a kind of modern spin on the family farm! But if that is something in your heart, it really isn't such a castle (or bungalow) in the sky. It's just another of those purposeful living things that make live richer for the planning.
P.S. You do not have to be related to join my neighborhood, everyone is officially invited.
If enough of us join in, we can take turns shoveling snow and only do it once a year!

Image: Fairlane Mansion, Henry Ford Estate. Dearborn, MI. I do not live here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Smooth Monday

Ahh good morning! I awoke to sunshine and wet windows and birds singing but we seem to have progressed into clouds, dry windows and bird singing. However, there are promises of 60-64 degrees in the Mitten on this day off of mine! I have some "bumming" to do and it's just right weather for it. Nothing too interesting...running out of moisturizer, need (want) new pajamas, birthday cards. After a long hard-working weekend, it'll be a nice diversion. By the way, the lazies have indeed passed and I managed to get this house back in order over the weekend so I have no chores standing in the way of my aimless bumming day.
I made a hearty thick smoothie for breakfast since today is Weight Watchers so I try to eat light most of the day. I am way past the days of fasting all day and I find that having a protein packed smoothie with a hit of glucose is a nice alternative. I'll have mostly fruit and veggies until we weigh in. Confession-the Mr. and I are doing terribly! Mac is down 25 and losing more this week but we are just in a rut. And it's not one of those plateaus where you need to hang on and you'll start losing. We are just eating too much! We got off track when Dean's dad was in the hospital and it's been slow to get it back together. This week I don't expect to lose but I think I'll break even, some days that's all you can ask for!
I think I'll finish my smoothie and take a long shower and then it's yoga pants and bumming for me. Hope your Monday is sweet!

Smoothie-1 banana, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup low fat yogurt, 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, 1 tablespoon honey. NOT low calorie! But it will fill you up and keep you going!

Image: My coffee & smoothie on my desk this morning.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Sabbath!

Song of Solomon 2:11
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
Image: http://www.nancywernersbach.com/show-image/432018/Nancy-Wernersbach/Essence-of-Spring.jpg

Saturday, March 19, 2011

This morning's rambling thoughts

1. Can you believe my finger still hurts?
2. And my foot?
3. Mac says the Farmer's Almanac has predicted one more snow storm, the first week of April.
4. Super moon!
5. I have had a sinus headache every day for a week.
6. Yes, I am getting tired of hearing myself whine.
7. Fruit smoothies are a life-saver for those who need to lose weight.
8. I am intrigued by Paula Deen's grapefruit cake. Recipe HERE.
9. Might be taking a cruise in the fall?
10. Gotta go to work!

Image: http://elainalove.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/grapefruit.jpg

Friday, March 18, 2011


Welcome to the land of no motivation over here. Every once in a while I become lazy with a capital L and this seems to be one of those times. For almost a week my greatest daily goal has been to nap, lay down, go to bed. My usual every evening house straightening...uh, not really happening very much. I'm looking around a rather untidy family room now and thinking to myself, this seems like a good time to pop in a movie and wrap up in an afghan. I'm not going to worry about it too much, this too shall pass. In the mean time, I think I'll follow my bliss and be a little lazy.
But seriously, I am going to have to snap out of this pretty soon!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On the shelf

In 1972 I was a second grader at Taylor Parks Elementary School and already, my greatest gift had been discovered. Reading. I was, and am, a fabulous reader. The year before I had been introduced to the most amazing place in the world, the library. By the second grade, I had already read already (that just sounded fun, sorry), all of the grade-appropriate books in the Taylor Parks Elementary School Library. The librarian, Mrs. Oliver, did a wonderful thing. One day, when my class went to the library on our weekly visit and she noticed me checking out books I had already read, she took me by the hand and led me down an aisle I hadn't been down before.
The chapter books. Chapter Books. Big kid books.
Oh baby! Mrs. Oliver gave me special permission to go down any aisle in the library I wanted and check out any book I wanted. And as many as I wanted!
Oh baby!
I remember the smell of the library, the feel of the blue carpeting and the beautiful shelf after shelf of books. My gift was even greater than I had realized. With my new clearance to get more books, I would have enough books to take me through all those recesses when I usually hung out under a tree with my socially awkward self praying for a thunderstorm to keep us inside.
Mrs. Oliver was a lunch lady when I was in first grade and when we came back after summer break, she was the librarian and the library had been moved from the tiny room on the first floor with only three walls of shelves and one round table to a former classroom on the second floor with rows and rows of shelves and four round tables and ferns hanging from macrame hangers in the windows. Oh, and some bean bags too! Mrs. Oliver was tall (at least from my perspective) and slim and had dark hair with white streaks. She wore blue eye shadow and pink lipstick and pink frosty fingernail polish. She didn't dress up quite as fancy as my teaches. She usually wore polyester pants and a coordinating cotton top and a gold chain around her neck. Mrs. Oliver. I don't remember particularly loving her. I do remember one time another lady tried to shoo me back to the little kid books and Mrs. Oliver came over and told her I was a gifted reader and I had already read most of the books in the library. I think maybe I did love Mrs. Oliver, now that I think about it.
Obviously Mrs. Oliver was not a particularly educated woman, having just been promoted from lunch lady the year prior. Keep in mind, she was the lady who took the lunch money so she was moving quickly up the ladder. She wasn't a teacher. And when she took my lunch money in the first grade, she wasn't even particularly nice. But somehow she noticed me and she took the interest in me to introduce a world which continues to be precious. Maybe Mrs. Oliver was a reader herself and recognized a kindred spirit. Maybe the lunch lady that didn't seem particularly nice was really another socially awkward bookworm like me. In my imagination I see her opening a door and inviting me into a huge and shining place...the big kid books.
The first big kid book I read was about Louis Braille. Wow. Now that kid was something else. Did you know he injured his eye with an awl? This was where the first spark of passion for what I might someday become was ignited. I wanted to be a special education teacher. That didn't work out quite the way I thought it would but it was the first step of the process of developing a fascination for those who are different, special, disabled. It grew into reading about Helen Keller that year. Good grief! That kid was something else too!
I read everything that didn't move including the shampoo bottles in the bathroom but I was drawn to nonfiction books about those people whose lives were not as easy and average as others and eventually, mental illness was among the disabilities I read about. My desire to be a special education teacher for visually impaired kids changed a little. I wanted to be a teacher for mentally ill kids. Well, that didn't quite work out either but today I am a psychiatric nurse so I don't think I went too far afield.
Mrs. Oliver paid attention and saw something in me. Something fine and good and worth nurturing. She gave me an unspoken permission to remain shy and awkward and keep my nose in a book.
I was a gifted reader. What is really true is that I have the gift of reading. I cannot sing or play an instrument or run a marathon but I can read. That might seem a pretty average skill but it's not the skill that is the gift. It is the joy of it.
I was thanking God for my job the other day and it came into my heart to thank him for the ability to become what I am. The intellectual skill to go to school and learn and have this blessed life. So much of it is not just because I am able to read, but because it is my gift.
I used to wish for different gifts, I used to not even realize that reading was a gift. I wanted to sing at church, I wanted to be athletic or beautiful or something...something. But I'm not those things. I am a reader.
And Mrs. Oliver opened the door to a joy that has yet to become mundane to me.
There is no one without a gift. Maybe we just need to see like Mrs. Oliver did and take the time to show each other the shelves we hadn't seen before...where pleasure and satisfaction and power and truth can be found. It doesn't have to be in a book for everyone, but it is out there in some form.
Find the shelf that holds your gift and when you find it, show others the way to theirs as well.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

John 13:34
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.


Saturday, March 12, 2011


1. I am ready for the blowing out like a lamb part!
2. Foot better, only slightly limping.
3. Finger better but still pretty tender. Keeping it buddy taped to my ring finger.
4. Praying for Japan. Lord, be with them.
5. Going to buy Dansko shoes for work. Heard they are great.
6. New opportunities to consider, praying for wisdom.
7. Dear Charlie Sheen, I have a nice bed for you and a leetle something to take the edge off.
8. I WILL get a shamrock!
9. Making Irish soda bread for work. Recipe HERE.
10. Hooray for shellac manis!

Image: Spring 2010

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I happily went back to work yesterday after almost two weeks off between bereavement and breaking my foot. I'm off of the crutches but between you and me, I'd probably be better healed if I had complied with the no weight-bearing, splint and actually used the crutches. Then last night as I was rummaging through the freezer getting dinner supplies, a large heavy pot fell off the fridge hitting my left hand. I am pretty sure my pinky is broken....owwwwwww! It hurt so bad I actually sat down and cried! Didn't go to the doc, nothing to do for it anyway except splint it; which I did. I seem to have suddenly become fragile!
Tonight I got a shellac manicure on 9 of my fingers, the pinky is way too tender. Can't see it under the splint anyhoo.
After my multiple injuries, I'm glad this 3 day work week is coming to an end. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Down in front

Springtime, when a middle-aged woman's heart turns to thoughts of exterior home improvement.
I hobbled around Lowe's yesterday looking for the key elements I will need for the inexpensive update that I'm planning for the front of our post WWII bungalow. The siding is painted gray, the front door red and the shutters white. Like all good old fashioned American post WWII bungalows, we have wrought iron railing and posts on our porch. We will need to replace the porch steps which are starting to crumble but that won't have any impact on the curb appeal. If I call it Curb Appeal, will HGTV come do the work and pay for it? No?
On the shopping list is a new full glass screen door, paint for the original wooden front door, 2 sconce porch lights and possibly new porch posts depending on how disgusted we are with the job and one another by that time. We have done our choosing so as the weather begins to warm up, we can start the buying hopefully having our mini re-do done by May.
The screen door is black-trimmed full glass Mission style. The door paint is what I'd call robin's egg blue but the good people of Valspar call it Beach Kiss or Ocean Sparkle or some such thing. We will simply repaint the white shutters black. The porch light sconces are black and we'll be ordering a custom address plate & mail box to top it all off. The new steps and some trimming of the existing shrubbery should give it new life and of course, the Stars & Stripes will once again be flying from whatever posts we end up with. Of course, this inexpensive little project will not be literally cheap but I think it will make a big difference for a smallish budget compared to the long-term plans of new siding and having a brick walkway put in.
As for getting that shamrock, so far no luck!

Image: Our red front door

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Stuff & nonsense

The Mr. just made breakfast for us, I'm enjoying a cup of coffee and then I'm going to try a daring experiment...putting on my work shoes and going to Target. I'm 99% mended and shooting for back to work tomorrow without crutches. If the Target adventure goes well, I might just go buy that shamrock plant that the Mr. isn't getting for me. I'll round up the day by sketching out my yard & garden plans just in case the Mitten does eventually thaw out and then making Swiss steak for dinner.

As you may have noticed, I have updated my profile picture. What you don't know, and so I must tell you, is that it took approximately 80 self-shots to get one that didn't make me cringe. I told the Mr. we needed to update our Facebook pic as well since the one posted now is from October but he refuses to do so until we have lost weight. The point is, the next photo on Facebook is likely to be at his reitrement party...in 20 years. I'm going to keep working on him. I'll keep you updated.

What else shall I tell you? Oh, I know! I have a dream. I have a dream that if my foot withstands the Target and shamrock purchasing, I want to go to Lowe's. We are putting plantation shutters in our family room and kitchen this spring and I want to order them and I just want to look around. Every once in a while, a person just needs to look around Lowe's or Home Depot, don't you think? You may say that I'm a dreamer. Well, I'm not the only one.

Have a good day whatever your plans or dreams may be. I'll post a picture of my shamrock!
Image: Cement chicken which formerly lived at The Farm sitting next to my lilac bush last Autumn. Keep checking back for the first bloom! (Of the lilac bush, not the chicken.)

Monday, March 07, 2011

18 degrees of spring

18 beautiful sunny degrees in the Mitten this morning! You might think it's cold but it isn't. Spring degrees are different than winter degrees. I'm off work until Wednesday with this silly foot and today is the Mr.'s last day of bereavement so we are home together. He'll be going grocery shopping this morning since I'm a bit on the slow and clumsy side. I need to get a few birthday cards today so I might just hop over to Target. Don't be jealous of my glamorous life!

My current obsession is a greenhouse or garden window for my kitchen but did you know those things are expensive? Shesh! I was thinking in the hundreds not the thousands of dollars. I mean, I'd actually like a greenhouse but I'm thinking if a simple kitchen window is $1500 an entire greenhouse but be at least $2,000...LOL. Maybe I can start harvesting glass from abandoned houses and in 30 years I can build my own actual greenhouse. I'd like to attach it to the north side of my garage just off of my back porch. Wouldn't that be nice? In the meantime, I might have to collect McDonald's sundae cups with lids and have several miniature greenhouses. That should be attractive.

So, if you have a greenhouse that you would like to send me or if you have a few extra thousand dollars you need to get rid of, let me know. In the mean time, it's 18 spring degrees and I gotta get plantin'!

Image: Plants! Houseplants that are waiting to go back on the porch.

Sunday, March 06, 2011


Job 12:12

Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?

Saturday, March 05, 2011

The important things in life

1. Buy your favorite volumizing mascara & your favorite lengthening mascara. Apply a coat or two of the volumizer and while it's still wet, apply the lengthening mascara. Do one eye at a time.

2. Shellac manicure is holding up great. No chips and I have had a very busy week with lots of cooking and cleaning.

3. Dean's mom is moving back to Alabama to live with his sister this summer. Please pray for wisdom and for a smooth transition.

4. Just got my Spring edition of Midwest Living Magazine...ahhh. Happy-making.

5. Got my hairs did, it's very cute. Take my word for it.

6. I need new shoes for work but can't seem to locate an extra $120 at the moment. Please see numbers 2 & 5 to solve that mystery.

7. I am going to buy some seeds and plant a bunch of herbs in small pots in my kitchen.

8. I want a Shamrock plant which is available at Thrifty Florist for $5. The Mr is ignoring this.

9. I made goulash with dumplings, yummy!

10. Last but not least, I am so thankful for all of you. This past week could have been difficult in more ways than I can share but everything was peaceful for all involved. Thank you and praise the Lord for his goodness.

Image: Backyard. Summer 2010

Friday, March 04, 2011

Joyful joyful

The Mr. is off to take his mom to the doctor this morning and I am enjoying HGTV with my cup of coffee and my gimpy foot up on a pillow. This week has brought the death of my father-in-law, funeral and my broken foot to top it off. In short, life is good.
Strange to those who don't have a truly personal relationship with God to hear that our life is good but the ones who know Christ aren't in the least surprised. How many scriptures could I quote? "He makes all things new..." "We mourn not like those without hope..." "All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose..."
There are so many details to life that bring child-like joy to my days. Good hair, the perfect new lip stick, having a pedicure when going to get my broked foot looked at, the laughter of daboyz, coffee coffee coffee. I could go on forever because things get better and better the more I think about it. A friend who is one of the busiest people I know but took time to make us soup. A friend whose early morning texts messages of love and offers to help waiting when I wake up ("Crutches are in my front closet, I'll leave the door open for you.") A friend who sat next to me at the funeral home an giggled inappropriately with me because let's face it, Christians ain't afraid of funeral homes. There is no more inappropriately appropriate response for a Christian in a funeral home that to laugh at death.
Death? Whatever!
But everyone has moments of good hair and good friends and good coffee. Not everyone, however, is able to live in the middle of difficult days and still find happiness in the small stuff much less laughter. The difference is Jesus. Every self-help theory in the world tries to teach people to reframe their circumstances to find the hope and the positive in the things that are challenging to them. But if you know God (and I don't' mean know about God, I mean know him), he does the reframing of your thoughts before you are even thinking them. He gives an extra something to the face of your friends and the taste of soup and the words in a text that makes the details bigger than the picture you are living in.
We cry, we mourn, we bargain and deny and get angry and get worn out. We have bad days and bad hair and dying loved ones and broken bones. We are not placed inside of a bubble that protects us from the hurtful and the ugly. We are in the world, but not of the world. We are not captives of our pain.
Finally, we are bound together with other believers who do miracles on our behalf. Do you have friends who pray for you and yet have never met you? Are you utterly convinced of the love of people in your home and around the world? Are you so sure that they are moving heaven on your behalf that you sleep in utter peace when life is crumbling under your feet?
Life is joyful. If not, your soul perspective is in need of reframing.
He makes the ugly beautiful. He makes warriors of the weak.
We are beautiful warriors.

Image: Flowers on our kitchen table, a deconstructed funeral arrangement in an antique painted bowl. Beauty from pain.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


I went to Urgent Care yesterday and although the x-ray is inconclusive, the opinion is that I have a hairline fracture of one of the small bones of my right foot. Therefore, I am being treated for a fracture, fiberglass splint-wrapped-crutches. Very inconvenient! Turns out, if you use crutches because of pain in your foot, you will have less pain in your foot in exchange for pain in both arms. Tricky! If I'm still in pain next week, it's off to an orthopedist. I don't expect that will be necessary. On the bright side, I like nothing better than being at home so this gives me a grand excuse. On the less than bright side, everything I try to do takes twice as long and makes me sweaty.
And since I know you long for the nitty gritty of my life, I also have cramps that are not in my foot.
I just changed the linens on our bed which took about 20 minutes but it does look very nice now. :) I am taking a break and moving on to the next item. Happily, our washer/dryer is on the first floor so I will be able to keep up with what needs doing. Also happily, this is all stuff I really do enjoy so despite the gimpy foot, I'm right where I like to be. The Mr. and I are both off the rest of the week so he's here to holler at me to sit down and I'm here to holler at him to shut up, I am the doctor here. All in all, business as usual. I'm making goulash later!
Dean is doing well with the loss of his dad. Moving forward and spending lots of time with his mom. The loss of a Christian cannot be compared to the death of someone who didn't know Jesus. Dean's mom plans to move back to Alabama when the weather breaks to live with his sister. I have a personal theory that it is a little extra gift from God that Ben passed during the transition from winter to Spring. The bright sunny mornings and thoughts of gardens and flowers lighten even the heaviest hearts.
So I will leave you with the most recent words of wisdom inspired by the Holy Spirit. Don't die without Jesus, it will make your loved ones sadder yet. Don't get so fat your feet break when you walk on them. Give yourself weekly pedicures so no one has to be grossed out looking at your feet if you do break them. By the way, my feet are always examination ready. What's grosser than gross feet? Pretty much nothing except for dying and going to hell.
You see how I tied that all together?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Peace, joy and grace

Good morning to you neighbors!

As you know, the last several days (few weeks) have been difficult and long ones for us. The Mr.'s dad passed away last Friday. On Saturday Dean's aunt and uncle arrived from Tennessee and have been with us, they are leaving today. Monday was eight hours at the funeral home for the viewing and Tuesday was the funeral. We cannot express enough gratitude for the love and prayers of all of you throughout this time. The peace of God was certainly felt every moment. Ben will be cremated and his remains interred in Alabama this summer at the little Baptist church where he was raised.

Dean's mom is doing pretty well although the true experience of being a widow will set in as the company leaves and she starts to live this new phase of her life alone. She will probably be moving back to Alabama to be near Dean's sister within the year.

And since we cannot do anything without a touch of the ridiculous, I will be going to urgent care shortly because I think I may have fractured one of the small bones of my right foot. How, you ask? Walking. I stepped down on it yesterday morning and sort of rolled it slightly as I was getting out of bed and felt a snap and have been in quite a little pain ever since. I am guessing at a stress fracture. I wrapped it and took 800 mg of Motrin to get through yesterday and was hoping it would be better today but not so. Can I just tell you that when a person is fat enough to break her foot bones by simply walking it is time to lose weight!

So we are happy to greet a new month and in a few weeks, the first day of Spring. The wind chimes are already announcing that March is blowing in like a lion. Birds are chirping in the trees in the morning and the sun is a little brighter, the days a little longer. Ben's in heaven so we don't mourn for him, we'll just miss him for a while. God is a keeper of promises, I've always thought that Spring time was proof of that.

Peace, joy and grace to you!

Image: The back porch last Spring.