Things in Life I’ve Learned From My Dogs

Skippy and me

 

This is the first post in a series about me, my dogs, and everything I’ve learned from them. I am smarter, and a much better person because of them. (I wish I was as cool as they think I am. HA) These posts are especially appropriate because I just found out I’m allergic to dogs. Not that I intend to do anything differently, of course, except spend the next few years getting shots. 😀

This is me and our dog Skippy when I was about two.

Skippy is the first dog I ever knew, and one of only two purebreds I’ve ever lived with. He was a beautiful English Shepherd.

He was never vaccinated or neutered, lived outside (except in our basement when it was cold outside), and ate nothing but table scraps.

And he lived to be about 18 or 19 years old. Go figure.

I grew up as an only child. (I wasn’t an only child, mind you.)

I had older brothers and a sister. But I was an accident (my mom was sure she had cancer), so I came along much later after my siblings. In fact, they were all pretty much in high school when I was born.

Eventually I had nephews around, but much of my early years was spent with my barnyard friends, since we lived on a farm way out in the boonies.

I had a pet pig named Curly, and chickens, and bottle calves to play with.

In fact, I spent so much time with the chickens that one of my mom’s friends became concerned. But that’s another story for another day. 😉

I suppose I learned to be resourceful spending so much time by myself.

Skippy was my buddy.

Skippy taught me how what a good friend, and good company, a dog could be. He and I hung out together, went on picnics with Miracle Whip sandwiches out in the pasture, and explored. If my mother wondered where I was (or any of my siblings when they were younger) she called Skippy.

He was a great dog and a terrific friend, and although I don’t have many pictures of him, I have lots of great memories. 🙂

5 Quick & Easy Ideas to Perk Up Your Patio

2014-05-18 18.54.47Suddenly, the weather has turned nice, spring…and Memorial Day weekend…is finally here.

How did that happen?!

Maybe you’re hosting a graduation party this weekend, planning a barbecue, or simply just spending some time at home. Or maybe your space is small, or your deck needs staining, or a host of other little projects need completion and you’re thinking that there’s no point in ‘prettying it up’ until you get those things done.

Whatever the reason, this post is for you.

If you’re planning to entertain, you’ll love these quick ideas for brightening up your space. Lightning fast and easy to do, they’ll spruce it up and give you a lift.

And if you’re thinking simply there’s no point in doing it because [insert reason here], I disagree.

YOU are reason enough to brighten up your deck or patio and make it look nice. Think how much pleasure it will bring you to simply look outside and see a nice space! It makes whatever you’re doing outside more enjoyable. You may find you’re using your outside space even more!

1. If you have an umbrella, open it! 

Every weekend there’s nice weather and we’re going to be home, one of the first things I do on Friday night or Saturday morning is open my umbrellas. Even if we aren’t going to be outside. Your space looks nicer, and they add a little pop of color.

Look at the difference between the picture above. Such a little thing changes the whole look. (Obviously, if a storm’s coming, you’ll want to lower your it…but otherwise, leave it open in it’s full glory!)

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2. Pick up a new mat for your front door.

2014-05-18 18.59.32A new mat works wonders. I can’t tell you how many times I walked through the front door yesterday and smiled inside when I looked at this mat.

This mat was on the higher end price wise, but I still only spent $20.

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Hmmm, apparently I had supervision.

That’s her “If I really look sad, maybe you’ll let me out so I can be with you” look. Of course, it also means “when you aren’t looking I’m going to take off searching for Mr. Groundhog and deer poop to eat” so I didn’t fall for it.

3. Add some plants.

There are several options for adding plants. Color is always nice; you can add some pre-made color bowls or hanging pots.

I picked up a couple yesterday, because I am lazy. 😉

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But it’s not hard to add some plants to a pot you already have. Be creative if you need a pot, and look in your garage. What could you turn into a planter? I have an old ice cream maker bucket that is someday going to be a pot.

2014-05-18 19.00.58If you don’t have the time or your budget is limited, move your houseplants outside. As I mentioned around this time last year, it’s a great way to spruce up an outside space. (Just be careful they don’t get beat with too much sun.) Up against the house is usually a good spot because the sun isn’t so harsh there.

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One of my plants and a color bowl are coexisting peacefully outside my back door.

Or, plant some vegetables. This is my little ‘container garden.’

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We have too many deer around to have a serious garden, so this year I decided to do it a little differently.

We have herbs, lettuce, onions…

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and tomatoes.

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And they are all on our back deck where we can enjoy them every day.

4. Add some lighting.

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These are lanterns I bought several years ago. This year, I moved them outside from my bedroom because I was tired of them there. But if you don’t have lanterns, get creative.

String some lights around your deck, or weave them in  your plants.

No outside receptacles? Place candles in Mason jars. (Please be sure to blow them out before you go to bed!) I’m a half-wit and I know this, so my outdoor candles are flameless.

Or use some small galvanized buckets or clay flower pots to add a soft glow. Bet creative!

5. Contain your crap.

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This my current favorite container. It’s simply a galvanized bucket with a lid. I picked this up for $18 at Tractor Supply. It holds a 30-pound bag of dog food, so I always know how much I have. It’s mouse-proof and rain-proof.

We bought a new barbecue grill yesterday, and if you grill much, you know that grills always require accessories. Jimmy also has a smoker, so we invariably have little bags of wood chips laying around.

I’m going to get another one of these to put all the grill stuff in to keep it dry and easily accessible. If galvanized isn’t your style, be creative. What could you repurpose to hold all your outdoor gear in? A fishing tackle box perhaps? Just containing the clutter will go a long way in making your space look neat and tidy.

 

 

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Some of you may notice that my front deck has more muted colors this year.

There’s a reason for that.

We are going to attempt to install a stone flower bed this weekend directly in front of the deck. (This has the added bonus of preventing groundhogs, skunks and other such animals from getting under that deck.)

I plan to fill it with a riot of colorful petunias, which is why I went with more muted colors on the deck.

Speaking of decks…

Don’t let the fact that your decks (or patio) may need staining or repair keep you from beautifying your space. Assuming the deck is safe for you to use, dressing it up a little bit accentuates the positive and makes the negatives less noticeable.

Yes, I am a professional stager. But I’m married to a contractor who has no desire to work at home. And while we may also be partners in a building construction business, my own projects have to wait until there’s time available.

My decks need stained.

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All of them. You can see this one is partially done.

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Home projects, like everything else, are a process.

We are really enjoying our outdoor spaces right now, and eventually we’ll get them stained. Then, we’ll enjoy them a little more. 🙂

Don’t put off living until you get everything done. Life is in the details!

“Enjoy the little things for someday you will realize they were the BIG things.”  (I have no idea who said this, but it’s on a sign in my office at home.)

Have a wonderful summer enjoying YOUR outdoor spaces! 🙂

Highlights From Our Crazy Kansas Race Weekend

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We just got back yesterday from a NASCAR weekend at Kansas Speedway.

We had a terrific weekend with good friends and the usual drama on (and off!) the track. Here are a few of my favorite memories, in pictures:

JanineI met the Hound Around Hotel ‘Bus’ on Thursday morning. I felt like I was dropping my kids off at the Bus Stop! Janine already had one dog on board, and we loaded up Ekko and Charra. As I was leaving, three more people met the ‘Bus’ with their dogs. I was amused by this.

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About 15 miles from home, we had a blowout.

Actually, let me rephrase that. The blowout happened approximately 11 miles from home.

We stopped to change it 15 miles from home. We didn’t stop before because one of us happened to be on the phone, and ‘shushed’ the other who said, “I think we had a blowout!” When the person disconnected from the phone, they opted not to stop because it was probably a bump.

Shortly thereafter, the tire shredded. OOPS. I hate it when that happens.

The shredding tire did minor damage to the skirting and cut the wiring to a couple of clearance lights.

Fortunately, Jimmy had the foresight to bring a regular-sized jack and the air wrench he bought prior to Florida last year. With an onboard generator, we were able to get the tire changed relatively quickly.

I supervised and documented it for future torture. Like now. 😀

The next day, Jimmy headed straight for the tire store to get a new one so we would have a spare. (This was our 3rd blowout either en route or returning from Kansas City in the years we’ve been going. Aside from almost-brand-new Brighton watch which I lost somewhere on I-35 several years ago, we’ve never lost anything, no one ended up bleeding, and we never had any damage.

Kathy and I

 

I love this picture of me and my friend Kathy. I should probably wear this outfit more often. Black really IS slenderizing! 😉

Three couples in our Kansas NASCAR family didn’t arrive until Friday, so it was just Dan and Kathy and Jimmy and I.

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And the possibility of severe weather.

This is a shot of the clouds over the speedway on Thursday night. I tweeted this to the National Weather Service, who then retweeted my tweet. Six other Twitter accounts then retweeted the NWS tweet which was originally my tweet.

It’s really twue, I swear! (Sorry I couldn’t help myself!)

I felt important. 😉

Fortunately, other than a few sprinkles, the system split and passed us by on either side, and the sky cleared.

2014-05-08 19.56.25Dan made this fire pit from a washing machine tub welded onto an old disc and painted black. Is that not the coolest recycling idea ever? The firelight looks neat in the little holes, and all your ash is contained. Groovy!

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The National Anthem flyovers always bring tears to my eyes, and make me proud to be an American. And you can’t get much more American than NASCAR.

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The weather was beautiful for the truck race. Because they averaged a caution every ten laps, it went way longer than it should have and got a little chilly at the end. But it was fun.

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There was a baby bird in a little nest on the ground (see him under the clump of grass?) Momma Bird hung out on a large boulder across the road trying to draw attention away from baby all weekend, or swooping down on some people if they got too close.

We were all terrified he would end up mashed, as one of its siblings had who was in the road. After much discussion of whether to put a marker so people would avoid him or try to move him, we collectively decided his best chance was to leave him be and not draw anyone else’s attention to him.

I’m pleased to say when we all left Monday morning, he was still there. Whew!

Rayna and I

 

Saturday morning Rayna and I did 2.5 miles of running intervals in the campground (she pushed a 50-pound stroller!) It was great! And it was the last healthy thing I did that day. 😀

2014-05-10 12.06.02Meanwhile, the guys had Bloody Mary’s using Zing Zang. I tweeted this picture with the caption “The Boys are Back in Town. Zing Zang!” without an @ or even a # and Zing Zang retweeted it. I thought that was cool. I love Twitter.

And once again, we forgot to take a group picture of the girls. Dadgummit!

This is a good time to mention that shortly before we left  home, we discovered our water pump was malfunctioning.

When you’re dry camping as we were, the water pump moves the water from your fresh water tank to your faucets. Over the years, they’ve improved them enough that you can turn the pump on when you set up camp, it will stay primed, and then you can just shut it off when you break down camp.

Because it wouldn’t stay primed, we had to only turn it on when you used it, and shut it off immediately after, or it would keep running and overheat.

This meant going to the bathroom, coming out to turn the pump on, going back to flush, then coming back out and shutting the pump off.

I tried to look at it from the benefit that I burned more calories. 😉

2014-05-10 13.24.51The guys played a rowdy game of corn hole. (Don’t you like the custom Black Dog Saloon boards?) 🙂

2014-05-10 18.21.08We’d been watching the weather all afternoon. And, of course right about race time, ominous clouds rolled in and the threat of severe weather loomed.

We should be good at this by now. The last three races have all involved severe weather and taking shelter of some kind.

Right after I got to our seat, I began receiving texts and Facebook messages from friends at home making sure we were watching the radar. Thanks guys!

Often at these events, there’s enough people with phones and computers that it’s almost impossible to get a phone signal, much less access to internet and radar.

My lesson learned is to take my Hot Spot with me and a portable phone charger next time; my phone was dead before the end of the race.

 

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Just as the race was getting ready to start, the Speedway announced there was lightning in the area. Because I got soaked in Daytona, I had no desire to do it again. Jimmy stayed in the stands, and I went up to the mezzanine underneath the upper rows.

2014-05-10 18.51.32So did a lot of other people.

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I appreciated a firefighter friend who messaged me updates through Facebook. It was easier to access those messages even though I couldn’t get a consistent signal to get the radar. He was able to watch and give me details, and tell me that it was going around us and that we were in the clear. For now. Thanks Chris!

I received a text from another friend that made me chuckle: “Are you in a safe place?”

“If she only knew,” I thought to myself. 😀

My response: “There is no safe place!”

My options were to go to the Speedway, or to stay at the camper by myself.  While one of the storms that passed over us later spawned the tornado that hit Orrick, Missouri, the race was still running on time and we hadn’t received any messages from the Speedway indicating that severe weather was imminent.

And while I was concerned about the weather at the Speedway, I was more concerned about the weather as we traveled home on Sunday.

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Fortunately, the storm went around us, it only sprinkled a little, and the crowd went back to the stands.

It turned out to be an exciting night of racing, and we were happy for our friends who are Jeff Gordon fans. It’s nice when your driver gets a win!

Sunday morning we packed up and hit the road around 9:00 ish. We were excited that we’d be home around noon.

And then, that familiar sound, just east of St. Joseph, Missouri: POOM.

This one actually didn’t lose air, it just shed the tread.

And took out the fender skirting, the brake line (on that side), mangled our sewer house and wrapped the wiring around the axle.

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This one was more dangerous to change by virtue of it’s location on the driver’s side. With the flashers on, I stood on the shoulder behind the trailer to motion people to the outside lane.

Every single vehicle but ONE changed lanes. One little car driven by a man who was well enough to know better ignored me and stayed fastened in that lane.

Using sign language, I educated him that was poor etiquette and not appreciated.

Two Good Samaritans who passed us turned around and stopped, parking their pickup halfway out into the traffic lane. The gentleman, who happened to be wearing an orange shirt, signaled traffic while Jimmy changed the tire. We appreciated their help very much.

Our tire guy tells us that you never wear out an RV tire. The trailers bounce so much on the road that the steel belts simply wear out. And most RV manufacturers don’t put high quality tires on them in the first place.

At this point, Jimmy decided the safest option was to travel no faster than 50-55 miles an hour to ensure we got home without another blown tire.

Sure, we have emergency road service, and my brother offered to drive and bring us a tire if we needed him to. But fortunately, we didn’t have to call either one.

We rolled into our driveway about 2:00 p.m. from the longest drive home from Kansas City ever.

One thing I can say for sure: just like NASCAR, camping is never dull! 😀

5 Easy Tips to Organizing Your Closet

 

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Welcome to my closet.

While I have been blessed with many things, a large walk-in closet is not one of them. It is extra deep, so I love that part about it. It just doesn’t afford me a ton of space.

Really, I’m good with that. After all, it is human nature to want to fill up a space. I’d just end up with more crap that I really don’t need.

See, limitations CAN be good for us. 😉

So anyway, I have a routine I do twice a year to get ready for the upcoming  winter/summer season.

This routine serves several purposes: It gives me an opportunity to clean my closet and organize things where I can find them easily. (If you’ve ever head a Closet Crisis when getting ready for work which has brought you on the verge of a Morning Meltdown…you know what I’m talking about.)

Personal time, free time, is at a premium for all of us these days. Whatever the reason, so many hours of our days/weeks/months are obligated to others. It becomes increasingly difficult to find time just for YOU.

My friend Tim said it best: “I bust my [bum] to be lazy.”

Besides giving me a feeling of inner peace, the satisfaction of seeing my space organized and neat just makes me feel good. I know where everything is; I feel pleasure opening the door to all my favorite things!

This is so much better than opening the closet door and the first thing every morning that catches your eye is the outfit you bought two sizes ago with the prize tags still on it. Or that you bought for a special event 20 years ago and never wore again? Or an outfit that you bought which has bad memories associated with it.

For instance, this year I weeded out the suit that I wore to both my parents funerals. It had the added bonus of being too big, but really, do you think I’ll ever wear it again without thinking about where I wore it last? My point exactly.

And if you happen to be considering selling your house, this project has the added bonus of making your closet seem spacious to buyers. Nothing screams “This house doesn’t have enough storage space” louder than one with closets stuffed to the gills.

I’m actually proud of my closet. For a half-wit like me, who knows it and has to plan accordingly, it’s almost idiot-proof. 😉

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If you follow these tips, your closet CAN become a friend and filled with all your favorite things.

Don’t feel like you need to do all this in one sitting. I’ve done this so long that I have it down to almost a science. It’s become a ritual that I almost look forward to, closing the book on one season and welcoming the next. I can do it in a couple of hours.

But if you’ve never done it, I don’t recommend that. 

Start small. Do a little bit at a time, and eventually you’ll get it done. If you pull everything out at once, you run the risk of getting burned out or running out of time and ending up with a bigger mess than you started with. I don’t want that on my conscience! 😀

1. Examine your closet. Remove anything that doesn’t make you feel happy or feel good about yourself wearing it. (I’m serious!) Let.it.go. If you have a large closet or you haven’t sorted through your things in years, attack this task a few minutes at a time. (You can get a ton done in ten minutes! You’d be surprised.)

While I’ve read you should get rid of something you haven’t worn in a year, I admit I don’t follow that advice. I have things I love that I haven’t worn for a couple of years or more, but I still love them and they still fit.

So I prefer the “I love it/it makes me feel fabulous” strategy. If it doesn’t meet either of those criteria, get rid of it. And if you currently don’t like anything in your closet, I’m sorry. I would suggest trying it another day. Sometimes my attitude makes all the difference!

Anyway, place the things you’re purging in a bag or box. If they are in good shape, donate them so someone else can feel good in them. If they are stained or have holes, toss them. (Yes, really. No one else wants these items either!)

It’s at this point I end up with 3 piles: the “trash” pile, the “needs mending or washed” pile, and the “what the samhill was I thinking” pile. 😀

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2. Remove the seasonal items that you know you like and will wear the next season.

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Like this sweatshirt I have, for instance. I love it. But so far the only memory I have of wearing it is the day I spurted BBQ sauce all over myself. But that’s another story for another day. 😀

If you’re spacing out this project, work on this a few minutes at a time, pulling out things you love but know you won’t wear again this year.

At the actual time I did this project, there was still some chilly weather ahead. I removed all the heavy winter items, but left my long-sleeved cool weather items to wear through the transition to summer.

I already feel better, just having done this. Honestly, as much as I love some of my clothes, I just get tired of looking at them all the time! I need to be away from them to fall in love again.

3. Swap out shoes. Because my closet is extra deep, (it used to be an alcove off a hallway until a prior remodel) I installed shelves all the way up the back for my shoes. Then a couple of years ago I realized I was getting tired of dusting all my shoes off before I wore them. That was annoying.

I bought clear plastic shoe boxes, and labeled them so I could find the shoes easily. (It saves time and is less stressful.)

My scarves are folded on the upper shelves, and a box with holiday/sentimental/keepsake jewelry that I don’t wear all the time.

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Hey, Inner Peace takes work I tell ya. 😉

Because my clothes hang in front of the top shelves, I move my winter shoes up on the higher shelves, and move the summer shoes down on the lower shelves.

We don’t have a traditional dresser, so shelves along the bottom hold folded shirts and shoes I wear daily. (It’s just to the left, mostly out of sight.)

A dear friend of mine lives with several animals, and bad things periodically happen to her shoes. If you have that same problem, this would fix it and certainly lower your aggravation level. AND the cost of purchasing new shoes over and over.

Oh, and check out the super cute shoes I got recently at my favorite retail therapy spot in our downtown. I could hardly wait until it got warm enough to wear them! They are so bright they just scream SPRING!

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SQUIRREL! 😀 Sorry.

3. Clean the floor and dust the baseboards of the closet, if you can reach them.

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Well that was scary. I can promise you my dogs weren’t in this closet.

And speaking of dogs….

“There was nobody in the room when I started.”

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I have lots of help.

And look! Titan was still here, so it’s been a couple of weeks since I did this.

As you can see, he was in a supervisory position and sleeping on the job.

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4. Fold everything you are removing from the closet neatly and place it in clear totes.

I store mine in my basement. A climate-controlled storage place is best, as excessive heat may dry out elastic, but it’s not necessarily critical as long as you are careful where you store them. Just make sure everything you store is CLEAN.

This fall, when you get them out again, it will be almost like Christmas! Or welcoming old friends home again. 🙂

As happy as I was to see my spring and summer stuff (especially this year) I know I’ll be ready to see them go again when the time comes.

Within the last year I’ve begun the practice of removing and donating something from my closet I love less anytime I buy something new. Not only does it help me keep from building up an excess of clutter, it makes the purging process easier.

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5. Arrange your clothes on nice hangers.

If you are using wire hangers, purge those from your closet. Like, yesterday.

Even if you have to purchase a few at a time, invest in hangers nicer than wire. Wire hangers (like the ones that come from the dry cleaner) are not meant to leave your clothes on. They will create “hanger nipples” in your tops, will stretch out sweaters, and will leave wrinkles in your pants.

Plastic tube hangers will work, these are very inexpensive at big box stores, or the hangers that look like dress store hangers. They will keep your close nicer…and if you’re investing in clothes, you want to keep them nice for as long as possible.

I hang my clothes in groupings by color. You’ll notice I have mostly black, cream, and white, with just a few colored items. Besides being my color preference, it makes packing for a trip almost idiot proof: everything matches! And I always have shoes. 😀

If you hang your clothes sorted by color and item, it really makes getting dressed in the morning so much simpler. Simpler translates to happier. And you’ll love your closet, and your clothes again. 🙂

You’ll take on the day feeling good about yourself! And isn’t that the best way to do it? 🙂

Our Last Weekend With Titan

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Titan went home with his new mom yesterday.

We knew it would be bittersweet. Adoptions always are. While you are sad to see them go, that sadness is outweighed by the happiness you feel at knowing they are going to a wonderful home.

Although we discussed keeping him ourselves several different times, each time we came back to the same thing: two dogs were so much easier for two people to do things with than three. Especially when you have no idea how large the third one is going to be.

We couldn’t have chosen two better parents. 

Peggy and I graduated from UNLV together, worked together, and have been friends since. Even our husbands are now friends.

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We rode out the storm in Daytona with them. They are godparents to our own dogs, if something happens to us.

Peggy came down Friday, and we all had a great weekend together. She fell in love with Titan instantly. Like that was a surprise? 😀

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He liked her instantly, and spent a lot of time snuggled up with her over the weekend.

Because this was Peggy’s first dog since she was a kid, we surprised her with a ‘baby shower’. She was thrilled, and we all had a blast. Where else would you have a shower for a black dog than the Black Dog Saloon? 😉

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The cake that HyVee made was absolutely adorable. We all had blue lips afterwards. It was great. And so was the cake!

 

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Peggy was so excited about adopting Titan that she had her nails painted blue.

 

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Titan, of course, helped open gifts and especially appreciated everyone’s thoughtfulness to send tissue paper for him to play with.

 

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But all that help was exhausting, and sometimes a guy’s gotta rest under his new woobie his mom opened for him.

 

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The last day came too quickly, and before we knew it, it was time to load the car.

 

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Since he doesn’t have opposeable thumbs and wouldn’t know how anyway, in the meantime he had a last play with Ekko and Charra.

 

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Then Traci came by for a quick visit. In canine speak, Titan learned quickly that “Traci” means “treats”. 😀

 

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And of course there’s nothing more appropriate to wear for a road trip than dirt.

 

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Everybody went in to get a big drink and rest for a few minutes while we finished loading up.

 

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Then, it was time to get in the car and go.

 

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I’ve learned that sometimes we aren’t always the best home, which sounds hard to believe. We wanted him, but they needed him.

Like all of us, their life has been full of ups…and downs. Happy times, sad times, stressful times, stressful work.

Titan is their ‘first child’ together, and their only dog.

Titan is incredibly social. He loves people.  He knows what it’s like to run free; he doesn’t need a big yard to make him happy. What he wants, and needs, is a family.

His life now will involve trips to Day Care, swimming lessons,  the dog park, playing with nieces and nephews, and traveling with his new parents as much as possible. He’s going to go for long walks, visits to the golf course (where hopefully he doesn’t chase the golf balls), and for obedience training. And since Chicago is home to a number of canine dental specialists, he’s going to visit one soon, where hopefully they can take measures to prevent him having to eventually have all his teeth pulled.

And in about six  years, he’s going to live on the beach in Gulf Shores.

Titan1

For a little guy whose life got off to such a miserable start, it’s going to be a wonderful life. After everything Titan has managed to survive, he so deserves this. It’s as if after being so close to dying, he decided to make the most of every day.

Only two weeks ago, I told Jimmy that I was ready for him to go.

As much as I loved him dearly and am continually amazed at what a truly incredible dog he is, I was tiring of our house in a constant state of chaos with toys and shredded paper everywhere. He and Ekko loved to play, and our house regularly sounded – and looked – like a herd of small buffalo had thundered through it.

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We had him seven weeks. It took us nearly that long to get him healthy. And while he had been feeling good the last three weeks, he had a skin barrier issue and only received a clean bill of health from the vet three days before Peggy arrived. By the time he was really and truly well, it was time for him to go.

 

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When I got home from work last night, I felt a huge lump in my throat when I saw the red Santa hat he’d removed from the stuffed animal he’s holding in the above picture. He’d carried it around, left it outside in the rain, and had played with it again in the yard just that morning. I saw his food bowl that will never be his again. I picked up all the stuffed animals he’d dragged around the house. Wanting him to have something familiar, I’d sent his favorite toys home with Peggy. Now I was glad I didn’t have to look at them.

I walked back to the bedroom, and was struck by the emptiness left now that his crate is gone. Our room was empty, and so were we. I just sat for a few minutes in stunned silence.

It was like someone had died.

I prayed for guidance. While I had absolute confidence that we had made the right decision for Titan and that he and Peggy and John were a perfect match, both Jimmy and I wondered if we’d made the right decision for us.

Even the girls were quiet. Ekko looked for him. She went down to the basement, back to the bedroom, and around the living room and kitchen. She sat outside on the front deck for several minutes. Her eyes questioned me: “Where did he go?”

After Titan left, Ekko and Charra had their vaccinations, Ekko got a haircut,  and they went to the shop with me. It was a big day for them. I think she’d forgotten Titan had gone with Peggy.

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Feelings are a complicated thing.

Sometimes, those feelings can be intensified if you aren’t at your best. I was incredibly tired yesterday, and Jimmy just flat out didn’t feel well. Neither of us were really 100%.

Titan and Maggie were both big doofuses. (Is that the plural of doofus?) 😀 Titan had a lot of the qualities that we used to love about Maggie, and none of the qualities we didn’t.

It’s only been a few months since we lost Maggie, and I’m not sure we’ve had time to process that loss. Less than a week after she died, we left for Florida. Less than a week after we were home, Titan came into our lives.

When we had Maggie, her needs came first. It was Maggie who went to the shop, Maggie who went along for rides. Because three was too hard to handle, Ekko and Charra had to be left behind.

With Titan, his needs had to come first. He had to learn to enjoy car rides and to meet people so we could get a feel for his behavior in public, and we had to do it quickly. Once again, Ekko and Charra were left behind.

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Now, it’s their time.

They will have an opportunity to blossom, and to have some fun. Charra has finally begun to play again for the first time since losing Maggie. There have been a lot of changes in her little life. And, Maggie was her hero.

Maybe it’s time to enjoy the girls we have, and, like Titan, to embrace life every day. Sometimes you just have to have faith in the process. We don’t always know all the answers, and we have to have patience until God reveals everything to us.

If we were meant to have kept Titan, both of us would have felt certainty about that decision. The fact that we were conflicted is an answer in itself.

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Goodbye, Titan. We’ll miss you. We’re looking forward to watching you grow, to hearing about your adventures, and especially to seeing you and your parents in the fall. 🙂

Update: Shortly after arriving at his new home, Peggy sent me a picture of Titan lounging on the couch. We talked on the phone an hour or so later, and I heard a squeak toy in the background. He slept all night last night, and is really enjoying his walks. He made the trip fine, and is settling in well. Life is good. 🙂

My Camouflage Shop Shelves

2014-01-03 16.54.54It’s spring!

Spring is the season which turns everyone’s thoughts to…home projects! (Even saying it just gets me excited.) My needs are simple. 🙂

So anyway, this reminded me that I’d never shared with you my camouflage shelves I made for the shop.

The picture above is the finished product. Keep in mind a few things: like, this is the bathroom at the shop, hence the stubbed in shower pipe that doesn’t have a shower on it that you see in the foreground.

And, there’s deer antlers that are waiting patiently for their use in another project which requires power tools.

My husband doesn’t allow me to use power tools. (This is in my own best interest. Really.)

So, eventually one of the guys will help me with that particular project, and they won’t be on the floor anymore. But I digress.

These shelves began their life as crates that held oranges which, as far as I know, someone brought home from Florida. They resided in my parents basement for years.

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My mom, always the crafty sort, suggested we paint them to use as shelves in my college dorm room. During my college years in the dorm and various apartments, they were several different colors.

If any of my college friends are reading this right now: do you remember them? 😀

They moved cross-country with me to Las Vegas and resided comfortably in my garage for years.

They moved back here with me in the late 90’s, and have spent the last ten years holding my resource collection of magazines in the basement.

Until we needed shelves for our shop.

And, because it’s a shop, I didn’t want to invest a lot of money. I challenged myself to ‘shop my basement’ and be creative.

Hence, the orange crates. And, since I already had a camo lamp shade, and plans for those deer antlers, camo seemed to be the way to go.

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It really wasn’t that hard to paint them.

I just picked up 3 coordinating camo colors; the lightest color was the primary color. Then add to that the other two secondary colors; the darker of the two had the minimal coverage.

Like, in really random patterns.

They aren’t perfect, but then I wasn’t striving for perfection. After all, it’s a shelf, which means it’s going to be holding stuff.

You gotta have perspective here. 😉

What I love about these shelves is that you aren’t limited to positioning them in one way. You can position them in whatever way blows your skirt up.

At first, I positioned them in a very basic, traditional way.

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But then I decided to change it when I went to take pictures for this post. They are currently sitting like they are in the picture at the top of this post. In case you forgot, I’ll post it again. I really like this set-up. 🙂

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But you could also position them like this:

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Or like this:

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Or even like this:

2014-01-03 16.42.25I think that sort of gives it a modern look.

What about this one?

2014-01-03 16.44.20I think the look of it is really cool, but I would recommend attaching the crates to one another; otherwise, you’re going to be doing a balancing act with your stuff.

The beauty of this is you can set them up to suit your needs, or simply whatever trips your trigger!

I was happy with the way the project turned out, and they suit our needs perfectly. Even better, my husband loves them too.

And all from re-purposed junk. 🙂

I wish you inspiration, beautiful weather, and all the right paint colors!

Titan: A Progress Report

Titan Car rideTitan really is an amazing little boy.

It’s not so much that he has rebounded after being so near death.

What makes him so remarkable is his capacity for love and trust.

Rescued dogs are always special. While they often will bear emotional or physical scars from whatever trauma they’ve endured (sometimes at the hands of people it’s hard to think of as humans), they always seem to have a sense of gratitude.

I told our vet that Jimmy and I didn’t think Titan had been abused…just simply abandoned. Once in a while he can be a little timid when meeting new people, which is normal for most puppies his age…he is friendly towards everyone he meets.

Our vet agreed. “Either that, or he just simply has an amazing capacity for love,” she said.

Titan always receives raves when he visits the vet. He is such a good boy, he doesn’t seem to mind going there. They are friendly, they give him attention and treats. And, he seems to know that no matter how much he’s poked and prodded, they are all helping him. He trusts in the goodness of people.

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When we went back to the vet for his follow-up after 3 weeks, they were very busy. We waited patiently in the waiting room. While we were in there, a number of people came in with their animals.

Each time the door opened, he would stand, ears and expression alert with curiosity and friendliness and tail wagging, as if to say, “Oh, hello!”

One dog and his person waited in the room with us for at least ten minutes. When the dog had to go outside to go to the bathroom, Titan looked at me, his face questioning. “Why are they leaving?” his expression said.

“They’ll be back,” I reassured him.

Titan came into our lives March 4. On that day, he weighed a mere 27.6 pounds. Most of that surely had to be his frame.

As of Tuesday, he has gained 20 pounds.  He is still underweight, but of course he is also growing at the same time.

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Just last week, he finally began to act like a puppy. Clearly feeling better, he is running, playing, shredding papers, and teasing us. All normal puppy behavior.

Another victory.

He hasn’t quite grown into his large feet yet, and when he walks, he looks like someone who’s wearing shoes that are too big. 😀 Sort of like a clown, he pads along with those large feet…it’s comical and sweet at the same time.

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With praise and love, he has blossomed. I have only had to scold him once, and that was because he wandered too far from the house and didn’t come when I called. He’s never done that since.

In the beginning, he simply wasn’t well enough to leave the house or to socialize. We’ve started doing some things this week, like practicing car rides and meeting some new people, but I’m still being very careful what I’m exposing him to. He is still very vulnerable to illness.

It takes some time for a dog so close to starvation to fully recover. His body is nourished, and amazingly, his spirit is as well. He doesn’t seem to be starving emotionally: he doesn’t show any food-aggressive issues, doesn’t try to steal or beg human food, and doesn’t raid the trash.

But his system is still playing catch-up.

When we went back for his check-up late on a Friday afternoon, my vet and I discussed his plans and his pending move to Chicago for his forever home. (And that is another story for another day!)

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“When’s the last time he ate?” she said.

“At breakfast this morning. I wanted you to swab him for a DNA test, so I didn’t feed him all day.”

“If you want to leave him overnight, I’ll neuter him before I leave today.”

“You’re a Rock Star,” I told her.

Three weeks after his rescue, the complete blood panel they ran prior to surgery showed he was still as anemic as the day they first saw him.

Our vet told me later that normally they wouldn’t have even done the surgery with an anemic dog. But Titan had improved so much from the day she first saw him and looked so much better that she thought it was just a matter of his system not catching up.

We’ve made some dietary changes and he’s on a multivitamin. Hopefully another blood test next week will show an improvement.

He has a crusty, itchy skin issue which is causing him some hair loss. We’re treating him for mange, but our vets believe that it simply may be a skin barrier issue. Healthy skin keeps out bacteria which can cause illnesses.

His skin may simply have not recovered from his severe malnutrition. A special shampoo, Omega 3 and Omega 6 supplementation, and a special skin medication seems to be gradually helping.

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 “Mother, you really need to stop this picture thing. It’s getting embarrassing.”

His first bath here at home was like wrestling a greased pig!  Jimmy and I only have 4-5 more to go. 😀

Today I’m picking up a prescription for a sinus infection for him.

“He’s a bit of an enigma, poor little guy,” our vet said.

Next week, we go back for another blood test and his last booster shot, and we’re hoping to see improvements across the board. Time will tell.

He didn’t reach near-starvation overnight, and his system isn’t going to recover overnight.

But overall, he is rebounding wonderfully, and shows us every day what a truly remarkable and amazing little boy he is.

He’s funny, sweet and loving. He snores, prefers to sleep with a fan as he gets hot at night (and it covers his snoring!), and is curious about the world.

Terrified of cars at first, he now gets in and out all by himself. (He prefers to ride in the middle of the back seat, where he can see straight ahead and sniff out of both windows.)

Titan at the shop

He is enjoying going to the shop with me, and I can tell that his car rides and the people he’s meeting are building his confidence. 🙂

Nearly every day is a new ‘first’ or a small victory, and I can’t tell you how much it warms our hearts to see him grow and blossom. It’s incredibly rewarding, and been an amazing journey already.

(How many times can I possibly say the word AMAZING in one post?!)

For us, watching him is a good reminder of how important it is to embrace life fully, one day at a time, to keep a loving heart, and always be open to new adventures. :-)

Why Getting a New Car Makes Me Sad

New Acadia

 

This post isn’t so much about getting my new car that we’re trading for later this week. I know most of you really.don’t.care what I drive. You have WAY more important things going on in your life.

This post is about letting go of the old one. 

We bought this Acadia “way back” in the summer of 2009. My life has undergone some dramatic changes in the 5 years I’ve owned it.

I remember showing it to my mom for the first time. It was more than a year later that she passed away.

Daisy

 

This is Daisy checking it out right after I brought it home.

RavenThis is Raven. She’s checking out the backseats.

“I don’t really care for these seats, Mother. I prefer a bench seat. Can you take it back?”

None of the dogs who lived with us when I bought this car are alive now. They are all gone. 🙁 And that was less than 5 years ago.

076It was the first MuttMobile.

BasementThe Black Dog Saloon looked like this. (Actually, I don’t know that we had even thought about a Black Dog Saloon yet.)

Charra2 We adopted a new baby, and named her Charra, because she was the color of something that had been ‘charred’.

We didn’t name her Charro because  I did not want someone thinking she would ‘koochie koochie koochie!’ And if you’re too young to know what that means: That’s what they made Google for. 😀

We flipped our first house.

Club 88

Club 88 was born at Daytona Speedway.

Glassees

And my dear friend Christine and I looked through the world with (blue) colored glasses.

We have a different RV. We’ve started a new business. We have another new project in the works.

And we’d never been to the Florida Keys, had never heard of Key’s Disease, and had no idea how it would change our lives.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

So much has changed, yet so much remains comfortingly (is that a word?) the same.

The Acadia has seen us through a lot, and all of it safely. Thank goodness.

If she could talk, what stories would she tell? That I’m a terrible singer, probably. And clumsy. And sometimes not a very good carkeeper. 😉 And that I sometimes forced her to drive over curbs. 

I remember the very first ding.

I was airing up a tire at Casey’s wearing platform shoes. Somehow, I lost my balance on the edge of the curb. (I really, really wish I could tell you this was the first time I’d engaged in curb wrestling.)

To regain balance, I began waiving my arms wildly to save myself. And, BANG! I threw the tire guage right into the side of the car. 😀 Ooops.

As exciting as it is to get a new ride, it’s also sad to say goodbye. It’s funny how cars can become so personal to us.

Is it because we spend so much time in them? So many times, it’s just us and our cars, sort of like a friend. I’ve had light bulb moments when driving that car, and times of great sadness.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited about my new ride.

“I’M NOT WORTHY!!!” I thought when I laid eyes on it for the first time.

“I’ll keep you cleaner! I’ll lose my last 20 pounds! I’ll be more professional! I know I’ll be a better person with you!…”

Yes, I really thought all those things about an inanimate object. 😀

Like a New Year, a new ride brings opportunity. It’s sort of a fresh start, a Do-Over, a new adventure. The slate is clean, it’s a chance to right all the wrongs. The Tahoe doesn’t know that I’m clumsy, a messy eater, and bring with me all sorts of black dog hair, which is usually connected to black dogs.

Or that I’m going to stuff it with all sorts of things that I probably shouldn’t. Or that realistically, this is the cleanest it will ever be.

The Acadia learned this, and still carried us tirelessly.

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Fairwell, MuttMobile One. I’ll miss you. Thank you for serving us well. 🙂

5 Easy Tips to Organize Your Photos

We’ve finally arrived at that not-quite-spring-not-quite-winter lull that makes me restless, itching for change, and tired of the status quo. For me, this translates into the urge to organize. In the last 3 weeks, I’ve reorganized my make-up drawer, my pantry, my pots and pans, my socks, the dog food, and a myriad of other little things that escape me at the moment. While they are all very satisfying to me, I’m certain you wouldn’t be the least bit interested. 😀 But I thought you might be interested in this. 

Digital photos can be the skeleton in everyone’s organizational closet.

How many of you have 482 pictures on your SD card that you’ve never bothered to download because now it’s too overwhelming? Or have wonderful pictures on your phone of your kids, your last vacation, etc? How do you get them off your phone? What if you lost your phone? What if your hard drive crashed?

Spring means proms, dances, graduations, reunions, vacations…more and more pictures. Do you have all your pictures made into prints? What if (God forbid) your house burned?

Pictures are the priceless treasures that become the biggest loss. Material things can be replaced. Pictures, and memories, can’t. So, I’m here to help you bring order to all that digital chaos and give you Inner Peace.

At least for your digital disorder. 😉

1. Find an on-line storage system.

Some people use Instagram, and I’m sure there are others. I use Dropbox because I have other files I need to back up. I love Dropbox! (www.dropbox.com).

You receive 2G free when you sign up. You can earn free space by signing your friends up, or for $99 per year, you can purchase additional storage. And still earn free space!

I am a half-wit, and I know this, so I have to plan accordingly. I can never remember to back up files. What if I back them up, then lose whatever I backed them up on? What if my house burns down? What if I forget to back up the files in the first place? What if I’m out of state and need a file and don’t have my laptop OR my back up system?

See how my Inner Hysteria works?

(Did I mention I love Dropbox?)

I store ALL my files on the cloud. I can access my files on ANY computer. If I lose my computer, all my pictures and other files can be accessed by any other computer or my phone.

2014-03-20 12.53.52

 

Here’s what my Dropbox file looks like. It’s no more difficult than setting up folders in your computer’s Documents.

Dropbox is simple to use, simple to set up files, and also has an option to allow you to share pictures publicly, which is handy. For instance, when my hard drive had to be replaced last fall, the only file I lost was the ZIP file with my niece’s wedding photos, which I hadn’t unzipped and moved to Dropbox. I emailed her, and she resent them..in Dropbox. 🙂

A caveat: if you use Dropbox on your phone, make sure your phone is password-protected so your files aren’t compromised if you lose your phone. Also, never ever allow the browser to save your password if you’re logging in from a public computer.

2. DropSnap.

If you are like me, and take a lot of pictures from your phone but don’t like worrying about transferring them (or figuring out how to do it!),  you will love DropSnap. It’s an app with a one-time fee (I think it’s about $4). Every time I take a photo with my phone,  it automatically uploads to my Camera Upload file in Dropbox. (Yes! Really!)

The downside is for this to work you have to use Dropbox. That doesn’t mean there isn’t another app out there that could do the same thing with what you’re using. It just means I don’t know about it.

My poor little pea-brain (vs. pee brain, which sometimes happens ha ha) can only hold so much stuff and everything else just sort of gets squeezed out. Sort of like the pee…okay, never mind. 😀

3. Organize Your Pictures in Folders. 

I organize all my digital pictures in folders by year.

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See?  By the way, I took this picture with my phone – sorry about the reflection of the window…ooops. The picture then automatically uploaded to my Camera Upload folder, and I used my laptop to place it into this post. Groovy, eh?)

Also, it’s hard to take a picture of a computer screen up close. I think it’s something to do with the pixels. Or at least it was back in the day when I worked in TV. But I digress.

Apparently, 2006 was the year I received a digital camera for Christmas. Which I later lost at the Truman Homecoming when it fell out of my coat pocket when I was riding with my husband in a friend’s Mule and we were careening around corners.

Squirrel!

Sorry. 😀

I’ve not had any sugar, I promise. 😉

I then make sub-folders in each year of various events, vacations, etc.

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This is my 2014 folder. More folders will come as the year passes, but I’ve grouped them together to easily find what I’m looking for.

In my Florida folder, I have more folders broken down into locations or subject, such as sunsets or our visit to the Dry Tortugas.

You can get as crazy organizing as you want!

The purpose of this, however,  is to relieve stress and make it easier to find what you’re looking for. I don’t recommend getting ‘analysis paralysis’ and stressing over too many folders. Just categorize them generally.

4. Do a Little At A Time.

If you’re the person who has 482 pictures on your camera…or 3,487 pictures on your hard drive…or 12 SD cards full of pictures…this is going to seem like an overwhelming task.

I get that. I’ve been there.

Whatever you’re planning to do with those pictures, you can still do…it will just make it easier to find them, and easier for you to enjoy them more if they’re more organized. I can whip out my phone and show someone any of my pictures at any time – whether they want to see them or not! BWAH HA HA HA

I’ve been at lunch with former clients who have been talking about doing an update to a room in their house.  I can whip out my phone, pull up the pictures of their room, and boom! We’re right on the same page. (Usually.)

I will NOT be responsible for your friends avoiding you due to picture-fatigue. This is a VERY powerful tool, so please use it responsibly. 😉

Just start wherever you are! The next time you upload pictures, try organizing them. Do NOT get carried away weeding out the crappy ones! Just put them ALL in a folder for now.

The next time you’re stuck on the phone on hold, or listening to Great Aunt Mabel who likes to talk, or your husband is in charge of the TV remote and you hate what he’s watching, weed through them. You can delete the crummy ones, or go back through some of  your older pictures and organize a few more.

I wouldn’t accomplish anything if I didn’t do it a little at a time.  One baby-step at a time will eventually take you down the whole road.

“Chunking it” is the term my friend Michelle uses. Breaking up any overwhelming job into one ‘chunk’ at a time will eventually get it done. 🙂

5. Use Photo Boxes.

Picture box

I used to have about 25 photo albums. These albums took up boxes and totes, and I moved across country with them twice. They were heavy, and guess what? Rarely did I ever go back and look at them.

A few years ago, tired of all the space these albums hogged, I worked one album at a time, removing all the pictures and making files (by year/event/location/subject) in photo boxes. I think I even used shoe boxes!

Now, every paper photo I have ever taken fits into boxes in two totes in the basement. The totes keep them mouse proof and dry if the basement ever floods.

If you have kids, you can sort them into boxes per kid (what a nice keepsake!)

They take up less space, they are easier to move, and all I have to do is pull out a box, search for the year or subject, and pull out the pictures!

My next project is going to be sorting through and digitizing some of my old family pictures so I will have them forever. (That’s probably a project for next winter or the ridiculously hot summer months.)

Family photos

Recently, I took my wedding negatives in to have them digitized, after keeping them in a safety deposit box for years. I can promise you I enjoy them much more in their current format than I ever did in the album!

And if there’s a better way that works for you…fabulous! The whole point is to enjoy all those pictures you’ve taken rather than have them weigh you down.

Happy Organizing!

The Daytona 500: Taking Shelter From the Storm

Today’s NASCAR race in Bristol is on rain-delay, as I write this; three weeks ago we were at the Daytona 500, which was also rain-delayed.  So it’s the perfect time to reminisce and tell you the Rest of the Story of our 2014 Daytona 500 adventure. 🙂

Photo by The Guy With The Hard Card

Photo by The Guy With The Hard Card

Where I last left us in Part One of this story, we were standing under the cover of the speedway grandstands with our friends Tucker and Lisa, listening to the din of pouring rain thundering onto the aluminum grandstands.

It was incredibly crowded; 100,000 race fans in a mile-long grandstand are a LOT of people! Everyone scattered to take shelter, and we watched vehicles and people alike pass by us. We were on ground level, waiting for the pouring rain to let up.

The track had been lost long before now. By “lost”, I mean that there’s no hope of racing until the rain stops, and the jet dryers can do their job. If the rain stopped right at this minute, it would be at least an hour and a half (thanks to the Air Titans) before the race restarted.

Tornado warning radar

This was NASCAR_WXMAN’s 2:38 p.m. radar tweet showing the severe weather just north of us.

As we stood there, the Speedway began broadcasting messages urging fans to clear the grandstands and take shelter from severe weather in the Daytona area.

At 2:57 p.m., I received a text urging us to clear the grandstand and secure campsites due to severe weather in the area.

I don’t know about you guys, but the last place I want to be is stuck here in a panicking crowd,” my husband said. Images of being trampled went through all our minds. We all agreed, and as soon as the rain let up, we made a break for it.

It was still peppering rain. We had about a 15-minute walk back to our camper, and we walked and/or jogged as fast as we could.  There was a lot of standing water everywhere; it had rained so hard for so long it really didn’t have anywhere to go.

This was the first time I’d regretted my choice of footwear.

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I’d worn my rubber Croc sandals; they are comfortable, easy to walk in, and perfect on a hot day. It wasn’t so much the shoes were hard to move in; it was the fact that I’d lotioned my feet well that morning. Now that my feet were wet, they were like little slippery seals.

I could barely keep my shoes on! My feet kept slide sideways, one way or the other, and because my feet are the only part of me that is narrow, occasionally they would slide forward through the straps until the front half of my foot was exposed at the top.

I tried taking my shoes off, but the pavement was rough. Hampered by my shoes and concerned about the weather, it seemed like it took forever to get back to camp.

About 100 yards from the trailer, heavy rain began to fall again. My foot slid completely through my shoe again. I stopped to fix it, gave up, and hobbled on to the trailer.

We looked like drowned rats. 😀

Our friends Peggy and John were already there. They’d come back earlier at the first sign of rain.

At 3:07 p.m., I received another text from the Speedway advising us that we were under a tornado warning.

Although we’d cleaned up camp earlier that day, we’d left the trailer tailgate open. With the threat of severe weather imminent, Jimmy braved the pouring rain to close it while John helped him from the inside.

In the meantime, Speedway fire department personnel drove through the campground with bullhorns, advising anyone in camp to get in your vehicle and fasten seat belts.

2014-02-23 20.59.07This is a picture someone tweeted of a water spout, although the National Weather Service said it was too far away to confirm.

We debated what to do for a second, but looking around, we saw all the items in camp spaces around us which could become missiles in a high wind. A camper is just not the best place to be in a severe weather situation.

Jimmy tossed on dry clothes, he and John grabbed the dogs, and the four six of us piled into the pickup, started the engine and turned the radio on.

There was silence for a minute.

“Should I go get a cooler?” Jimmy asked. He darted in the trailer and returned two minutes later. We had no idea where any of our fellow campers were. Tucker and Lisa opted to head for a restaurant to be inside a building; we saw them drive by.

I texted friends to see where they were, and to see if they were safe. Most were still over at the Speedway.

We sat in the truck, watched it rain, and toasted life. And adventures in Daytona.

Potholes. Jet-dryer crashes. The first ever rain-out. Wow.

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This whole adventure seemed sort of surreal. Daytona is, if nothing else, full of surprises.

Ultimately, we all decided that if it was our time to leave this world, we were at least all together. Jimmy and I were together, we had our dogs with us, and two of our best friends who also happen to be our dogs’ godparents were there. We were all doing something we loved. What more could you ask for, really?

At 3:37 p.m., I received a text that the coast was clear and that the threat of severe weather had left the Speedway.

Thank goodness.

John and Peggy headed back to St. Augustine around 5 p.m. After the “36 Hours of Daytona” two years ago, they opted to watch the rest of it at home. Our friends Eugene and John also left, since they were planning on heading for him the following morning. (Gene, always resourceful, had found  a sheltered dry spot in the Speedway; he and John remained completely dry the whole time!)

The following day, the Weather Channel posted an unflattering article about the Speedway and the lack of notice to the fans.

Would I have left the Speedway earlier if I’d known there was lightning nearby? I’d like to think so, but at the end of the day, who really knows?

In spite of several years of emergency management and planning experience, we still found ourselves in this position. It was a series of decisions – and not all of them bad – based on the information that we had at the time that put us in this situation.

This storm blew up fast.

At approximately 8:30 p.m., the green flag dropped and we were racing again.  With an ongoing threat of rain, drivers weren’t holding back. It was a really exciting race, in which the lead changes and green flag passing broke track records. Once the race got beyond the halfway point, whoever was in the lead when it rained would be the winner.

Emergency vehicles

You just never know. That’s Daytona. 🙂