Kettlebell Crazy…and another book

MC Sports is going out of business. This was good news for my exercise equipment inventory. (Not so good for the people who worked there or for my future exercise equipment needs/wants.) A few weeks ago I purchased a weighted hula hoop. It came with a video. I LOVE exercise videos. My son thinks they are “durpey.” (I have absolutely no idea if that is even a real word or how one should spell it. I know what it means though. Dorky. It means Dorky. My son thinks I look like a dork whenever I do an exercise video.) Anyway, durpeyness aside, I like that hula hoop. I especially like it because it is the only hula hoop that I’ve ever been able to actually get spinning. (I will admit, the woman on the video is a bit durpey.)

Along with the hula hoop I picked up another kettlebell. I had a ten pound one already and thought I was ready to graduate to a 15 pounder. Um…no. Not happening. That 15 pounder came with another video. YEAH! It took me four tries to get through the first 25 minute portion of the workout with the 10 pounder. BOO! Today I added (or attempted to add) the ab portion of the video. I did okay. Not fabulous. Just okay. But I will persevere and I will eventually get through that whole video without skipping a single sit-up. I may even get through it with the 15 pounder. It may take me ten years, but I will do it!

I did get something done this week and I can’t wait to share a picture. You may remember that I mentioned a few crafty goals earlier in the year. You may also remember that I finished the ginormous knitted afghan some time ago. Item #2 on the list was a cross-stitch project of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. I’m pleased (more than you can even imagine) to say that I finished it a couple nights ago. I will never, ever, ever, ever (do you get the picture here) do another cross-stitch project on midnight blue linen. I’ll share a picture once I get it ironed (it’s quite wrinkled right now) or after I get it framed. Eldest and I will need to make a trip to the frame store soon as she is very close to finishing up a massive Legend of Zelda cross-stitch that has 121,836 stitches in it. I’ll share a picture of that one, as well. I’ll move on to item #3 on my crafty goal list shortly..It’s a quilt I started 18 years ago. I have two other quilts to finish first, though, before I can get back to that one.

DSCN2204.JPGI also finished reading another book this week. Finish #16 for 2017 is The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I started listening to an audiobook of this story many, many weeks ago. (I think I was almost to my limit of renewals at the library I’d had it so long!) When it seemed that I wasn’t going to be spending a lot of time in the sewing room (where I tend to do my listening) I returned the audiobook and checked out the actual book. I really liked this story which moves back and forth between the present and the main character’s childhood. As the story progresses, we see how events from her past affected her ability to function in the future. Through it all is woven the language of flowers–the meaning of different flowers and how the characters used those flowers to speak to one another.





Going Buggy. Lady Buggy, that is.

RSCN2203.JPGSome people have 101 Dalmations. They are so lucky. You know what we have 101 of? Ladybugs. Yep, we’ve got 101. We’ve got 102. We’ve got 1001. I think we might even reach a million and one by the time we finish sucking those little pests up into our vacuum cleaner.

Just to be scientifically accurate, what we’ve actually got are Harmonia axyridis, aka Multicolored Asian lady beetles. (If I were to be giving them a scientific name, I think I would go with Stinkaroni Multitudinous…which translates to Much Stink because I said so. And stink they do.) These critters have their own page on the Orkin website. That might mean that I’ve got a big problem.

I knew spring would be bad. When I was outside raking last fall there were thousands swarming behind the house. (Apparently they like light colored houses. I believe I will forgo my indoor painting projects and will instead spend the next six weeks painting the house black.) We couldn’t go a day without seeing one lurking somewhere inside all winter long. Now that the weather is warming up, they are pouring into the house like Orcs pouring into the Mines of Moria.

And while we’ve been dealing with the ladybugs, we’ve also had another appliance failure. Last week it was the water heater. This week it was the furnace. As the motor was dying last night, a great stink (worse than the ladybug smell) filled the upstairs. On top of all these repairs and replacements, someone’s car needs some work done. You know what will be pouring into the house next month? Bills.

Enough of that unpleasant stuff. You know what wasn’t unpleasant? I See You by Clare Mackintosh. This was finish number 15.  I really liked this book. It pulled me in right from the beginning and kept me interested right until the shocker of an ending. I’m definitely going to read anything else that I can find by this author.




Let Them Eat Cake…er, Dirt?

DSCN2194.JPGMany years ago, when our three kids were knee high to a grasshopper, we let them fill the driveway (it’s dirt) with water and “swim” in a massive mud puddle. Oftentimes, they wore no clothes.

Yes, they danced around in mud puddles in nothing more than their birthday suits.

Oh! Gasp! My, my!

Reign in your shock. Have you tried to get whites white or colors clean after several hours of “stewing” in a mud puddle. Besides, we live in the middle of nowhere. Neighbors are few and far between. Our road sees minimal traffic and our driveway is long. Blah, blah, blah. If you feel like judging, don’t. I’ve had it with the Mommy Wars. Besides, it turns out I was doing my kids a favor. It’s so nice to have your parenting decisions validated by science.

According to B. Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrieta in their book Let Them Eat Dirt, being exposed to dirt is good for our kids. It exposes them to microbes that their bodies need. Too much cleanliness is actually a BAD thing! An imbalance of microbes is linked to obesity, diabetes, asthma, and other chronic conditions.

Who knew? Certainly not me back when I used the mud puddle as a pleasant diversion for the kids on a warm afternoon.





It’s the Pioneer Life for Me

Sunday morning began with a rude awakening…and not just because we lost an hour of sleep due to Daylight Saving Time. I rose early, as I had to be at church to do one of my church jobs, and started the shower. Several minutes later, the water was still cold. The hot water heater had gone KAPUT! Seeing how there is NO WAY that I can go out in public without washing my hair and showering, I was forced to wash my hair with frigid well water. Showering (I’m using this term VERY loosely) involved a washcloth, a bar of soap, and a tiny pan of hot water that I had to heat on the stove.

Needless to say, the past couple days have not been fun. My aunt mentioned something about how this is how things were in the “Good Old Days.” Well, I’m not certain why people are calling them the “Good Old Days.” There has been nothing good about this…other than the fact that carrying huge pans of water upstairs for your “shower” is a great arm workout.

Having no hot water is slightly better than other previously experienced life inconveniences such as Power Outages Lasting Over an Hour (No water since we have a well, no heat other than fireplace, no electricity. After an hour, you start to feel as if there is no hope and you will be without life’s amenities FOREVER. And then the neighbor kids show up since you’ve got a ridiculously loud generator running and, hey, could they charge their phone!) and The Well Pump Failure of 20-somthing-or-other (200+ feet of pipe had to be pulled out of the ground TWICE to fix this problem.) And let us not forget the Great Car Disaster where the battery died AND a tire went flat all in one day.

We are all so thankful that the hot water guys are here today. Hopefully we’ll soon be all set to get a real shower tonight.

DSCN2195.JPGNow, on to more enjoyable things: Finish #13, Home by Harlan Coben.

I’m definitely going to be checking out more books by Harlan Coben. Last year I listed to Fool Me Once by him and really enjoyed it, which prompted me to check out Home. I was totally shocked by the ending to this story. I love it when a book can lead you in one direction, then, BAM, you get hit with something totally unexpected.


Monday Morning Microwave Mayhem

Monday morning started with a bang, actually two, and a very big mess. Not wanting to wait the ten whole minutes that the steamer requires for cooking up an egg in a custard cup, I put my egg (in a custard cup, not in the shell) into the microwave. I’m quite certain I’ve done this before with no adverse effects. I set the time for two minutes. Thirty seconds later it sounded like a gunman was in the kitchen with me. Instead of me being blasted and splattered all over the wall, though, it was my egg blasted and splattered all over the inside of the microwave.

Now, with such a fine start to the day, you’d probably think that I’d want to curl right back up in bed and pull the covers over my head. I’ll admit, I gave it a thought. Exploding breakfast has to be a sign of some sort of impending doom, right?

But I persevered. I cleaned up that egg, steamed up a new one, and managed to blast through about 90 percent of my to-do list before lunch. I showed Monday who was boss.

After two weeks of being busy with other stuff (practicing for three worship services that occurred over less than two weeks time and dealing with important life moments like taking middle daughter for her road test and driver’s license acquisition!!), today I got back to weeding things out and cleaning things up. I’m not really following the guidelines in the “tidying” book I read recently. I’m not worrying about “joy sparking.” At least today I wasn’t. Today I tackled the bathroom cupboard. I can’t think of anything in there that “sparks joy.” Well, the electric toothbrush might spark something if I dropped the plugged in charger into water but it certainly wouldn’t be joy coming off of there. Everything in the bathroom seems to fall into the “necessity” category. Everything except for those 5 or so extra contact lens cases. Really, Opti-free folks, I don’t need a new case every single time I purchase solution. (Don’t tell my eye doctor I said that.)

DSC_0497.JPGThat busy stuff I was doing over the past couple of weeks may have cut into my reading time, because it seems like it’s been ages since I posted about a finished book. More likely, though, is that I was reading book three in Nora Roberts Guardians Trilogy, Island of Glass, and I was reading slowly because I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I’ve enjoyed her other books…the ones that aren’t part of this particular trilogy. I must say, I’m trilled to have book three behind me. I was so excited when she wrote this new trilogy. That excitement died when I read the first book. I wrote about reading that book last year. I’m just not really into witches and werewolves and mermaids and all the other stuff that she crammed into these three books. So, I’m not saying that these weren’t quality books, but rather that they just weren’t enjoyable for me.



Meet the New Piggy! (And book #11)

dscn2154Here’s the newest addition to our hoard of pets: Mable, the guinea pig. She became Beatrice’s cagemate several days ago. The introduction was rocky at first. There was some rumble-strutting (I had never, ever heard of this before), there was a bit of bickering, there was some fighting, but the ladies have settled into a slightly more peaceful existence. I think the cohabitation just might work!

DSCN2137.JPGHere’s a photo of Mable and Beatrice chilling in their cage with the cutesy new liner that middle daughter (and the guinea pig fan) picked out for them. They’re just so stinkin’ cute!

And did you know they can purr?!

But enough about guinea pigs.

Finish #11 for 2017 is The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. What a good book! I’m definitely going to have to check out more books by this author. I didn’t realize when I first picked up this one that I had actually read a book by her in the past. I recall enjoying that one, also. It was called What Alice Forgot. (Not to be confused with Still Alice by another author which I did NOT enjoy. Strangely they were both about Alices who forgot stuff. It’s no wonder I got them confused.)


Tidying, Cleaning, Weeding out, OH MY!

DSCN2172.JPGMy poor, poor family! I never should have checked this book out of the library. Finish #10 for 2017 was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing). I had heard good things about this book. So many people were raving about it when it was first published. I can see why. After just the first few pages I was fired up and ready to get my house sparking with joy!  (Well, I was at least ready to determine exactly which of my possessions sparks joy within me.)

The problem with books like these is that they don’t take into account the fact that many of us live with OTHER people. We can’t just have things around that spark joy for us. We’ve got to make room for what sparks joy in others. With five people in our home, that’s four people’s stuff surrounding ME that might not bring me any joy at all. (Of course, if it brings my husband or kids joy, then it should bring me joy also because I want them to be happy.)

So, back to being fired up…I don’t know if it was just this book or if it could have had something to do with the fact that the sun was FINALLY shining after months of gloomy days and I could actually SEE the dust and mess that had accumulated during those gray days, but I was certainly ready to get the spring cleaning under way.

I started with the books. Call me a rebel. She told readers to start with clothes. Now that I’m nearly done with the books, I’m looking for my next area to dig into. I’m feeling more joyful already. (And the house is breathing a sigh of relief that some of the dusty tomes are bagged up for Goodwill, have become kindling as was the case with some ancient, falling apart Little House on the Prairie books, or are waiting for a buyer on eBay.)

I certainly won’t take this tidying and eliminating as far as one of the author’s clients who was quoted in the book as stating that she even got rid of her husband! I’m not certain the author should have used this woman’s testimony in her book.