A Life of Simplicity

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler -- Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Scream

My elderly mother lives with me. She's almost 89 years old and well.....different. She's afraid of almost everything: birds, extreme weather, riding in cars, food poisoning (she's always throwing out perfectly good food), mice, bugs, spiders and the boogey man.

She's also a screamer. I hate screaming. She screams at the dogs, the daughter and when she's the least bit startled by something --which means pretty much everything-- she screams. She'll scream when riding in the car. She screams if a car, three lanes over from us, makes a lane change. I keep telling her that she's going to cause an accident, because when she screams, I tend to slam on the brakes. It does no good to tell her this, she still screams.

Ahhhhh! It's the boogey man!
A few months back, we were having an exceptionally "screamerly" week. I was working in my office when I heard her screaming from the kitchen. The only words I could make out were Brenda! x$#@%^& Jessie! Jessie is my golden retriever.

That's Jessie on the sofa. She's watching Animal Planet. I kid you not.

Anyhow, so I'm trying to get some writing done and Mom is screaming. Here's how my thought process went:

Mom: Brenda! @#$%^&* Jessie!

Brenda: What the hell is she screaming about now?

Mom: Brenda! @#$%^&* Jessie!

Brenda: Well, I'm going to ignore her.

Mom: Brenda! @#$%^&* Jessie

Brenda: Scream all you want. I'm not coming.

Mom: Brenda! @#$%^&* Jessie!

Brenda: Oh! Maybe Jessie knocked her down! (She's always afraid that Jessie is going to knock her down.)

Mom: Brenda! @#$%^&* Jessie!

Brenda: Maybe Jessie is killing Toby. (Toby is my mother's little chihuahua/Jack Russell mix. He hates Jessie, because Jessie's the alpha dog and he wants to be the alpha dog. Toby sometimes goes after Jessie and Jessie beats the tar out of him, but Toby never learns.)

Here's Toby. Don't let that innocent face fool you.

So now, I am panicking. I jump up running for the kitchen certain that I'm going to find Mom on the floor or Toby lying in a pool of blood.

We have a baby gate on the entry to the kitchen. That's to keep the four dogs out when Mom is in the kitchen. Like everything else, dogs make Mom nervous.

Just as I'm running through the entryway, my shoe lace catches on the gate. I trip and fall.

Mom: Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Brenda: (As I'm body surfing across the floor) Oh no! I'm going to slide head first into the refrigerator. I'll die from a head injury just like Natasha Richardson!

Luckily, my body stopped right before the refrigerator. I stand up.

Brenda: (trying to remain calm) What are you screaming about!

Mom: Jessie was trying to get that piece of chicken off of the counter.

Brenda: (screaming) I never want to hear you scream again unless the house is on fire!

                                                   The end

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cats on Tuesday on Thursday

I missed cats on Tuesday this week, so I'm doing cats on Thursday.

Hey! Take it easy! I didn't bite you that hard!

Will someone tell this lady I'm not a Chihuahua?

I told you I'm not wearing the Santa Suit.

It was really nice of my people to get this piano for me.

Happiness is having a pit bull that loves you.

I'm linking to Cats on Tuesday:


Friday, October 28, 2011

Tea Cozies

I love tea cozies and I've seen some really nice ones on the internet recently. Since I knit and crochet, I'm going to start making some. In the meantime, here are some pictures of tea cozies I found on Flicker:
Isn't this one pretty? That teapot sure looks cozy. I've been buying teapots at thrift stores for real cheap, so I can dress them in cozies.

Here's another lovely tea cozy.

Here's a nice one for Halloween or even Thanksgiving.

This is my favorite and one I have to make. A tea cozy would be a nice give away don't you think?

I'm linking to Cindy Adkins Whimsical Musings Magazine Blog. She makes beautiful blog buttons. She made mine. Run over and take a look. She also has some great tutorials on blogging.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fine China

I love fine china. I had a beautiful Russian tea set that I bought at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite several years ago. It was pink, rose and white with gold leaf. Unfortunately it was smashed to smithereens in the '94 earthquake in L.A. I threw all the broken pieces into a bucket and took a picture of it. I still have that picture along with pictures of the fallen freeways somewhere. Luckily, I had bought earthquake insurance about two weeks before the earthquake. Did you know that china goes up in value as it ages?

This is a beautiful set, but it's not mine.

After the earthquake, I purchased a full set of Blue Danube china. I saw it displayed in a department store and the blue and white colors spoke to me. I later sold it on eBay to cover some bills from many purchases that spoke to me.This is the Blue Danube Pattern; however, this isn't my set.

Here's a pattern that's probably the most popular china pattern in the world: American Beauty by Royal Albert.

I have a few pieces of this next pattern. I got them at an estate sale. It's Blue Bird by Spode and originally appeared around 1838. This pattern really spoke to me, but I'm just buying a few pieces at a time as I find them. I bought a plate and teacup on eBay. 
Beautiful dishes and fine china are my weakness, but I guess I'll stick to thrift store and estate sale finds. It's not exactly what you'd call simple living, but a girl is entitled to at least one vice.

I'm linking to Cindy Adkins who also likes fine china. http://artbookstea.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Office

Here are some pictures of my office:
As you can see, I'm a slob. I've actually been cleaning it up today. You should have seen it before. I have a good excuse: I'm ADD. As a former special education teacher I can tell you that's a good excuse.
I've read every organizing book on the market, but nothing helps. That tall thing in front of the window is a hangout for the cats. They eat and sleep up there where the dogs can't bother them. The cats and dogs hang out in here with me.
I watch TV in here also. I moved the TV from the living room to this large front bedroom, because the living room looked like this all the time. I accomplished what I wanted to do: The living room is clean and uncluttered all the time now. I've decided to tackle my disorganization for once and for all. I'm starting an ebook on organizing that follows my progress. The problem with most organizing books is they're written by organized people. They don't know how the rest of us think. I do.

I'm going to turn this room into my art studio/office/cat and dog hangout. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Birthday Present

One of my best friends and I exchange birthday presents each year. A few years back I didn't get her present sent due to procrastination. I sent her a present for my birthday instead. She loved receiving it at a time when she wasn't expecting it. That's what I'm doing this year. Last April was her birthday and I'm sending her this on Monday:

It's a prayer shawl that I knitted. It's full of prayers I prayed for her while I knitted. She's Catholic and volunteers by praying for the church and people. We always have fun getting presents for each other, because we like the same things. We often run across that perfect gift in a thrift store. This is the first time I made something.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Cat Dilemma

I have a real cat dilemma, and I need help making a decision. About five years ago, I started volunteering for the local humane society. At the time,  I told them I would foster animals, but I only wanted to foster cats, because I felt I was less likely to adopt every cat that came into my home. (I've been more of a dog person all of my life; probably because I never had a cat as a kid.) Three or four months ago I took in four foster cats but one of them stayed for only a week.  The owner showed up looking for him. The other three are still with me due to overcrowding at the shelter. Since they've been here for so long, I made the mistake of letting them bond with me. Meet Napolean;
Napolean's owners dropped him off at the shelter saying they were moving. He's a sweet cat and likes to ride in the car. When I take him to the vet, he goes in one of those cardboard cat carriers. I put it in the front seat and open the top. Napolean stays in the carrier and sight sees while I drive. He's had a number of health problems.. The vet at the humane society got nowhere with a diagnoses, so I took him to my own vet and paid for it. When I first got him, he scratched the outside of his ears until they bled. We finally got that cleared up, but he throws up his food all the time. The vet has narrowed it down to either allergies or a blockage somewhere. She's going to test him for allergies.

Meet Josephine:
She came to me with the name of Ami, but I decided Napolean needed a Josephine. She's the smartest and most affectionate cat I've ever met. I decided I would adopt Josephine.

Meet Bella:
Bella was afraid of everyone until a couple of weeks ago. She suddenly started cuddling up to me, and she isn't afraid of the dogs anymore.

You might as well meet Shiloh:

I adopted Shiloh when I first started volunteering.

So here's my dilemma: I don't have the heart to take them back to the shelter now that they're settled, happy and think we're their forever family. Nobody will adopt Napolean, because he's black and has health issues. I want to move back to California next summer, but how am I going to transport four cats, four dogs and an elderly mother who won't fly? 

If you have a solution for me, I'll give you a cat and a dog. I'll even throw in the elderly mother.