Stick A Fork In Me…

I’m done.

I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. But I did. And that’s a relief.

Recently I started writing for a magazine that covers the communities throughout our county. They liked my first submission on the Alvin Historical Museum so well, they’ve asked me to do a continuing series on museums throughout the county. I was flattered, and honored, to say the least. But somehow time crept up on me and the article I planned on having finished a few days ago JUST. WOULDN’T. COME.

I started getting a little panicky last night when I’d rewritten the opening paragraph six times and still wasn’t all that happy with it. I pounded away at the keyboard for a bit more and then decided I would finish it today. After all — the article and photos were due on May 15, and last I checked, that doesn’t end until midnight, which is still more than an hour from now.

We went to church and then went out for lunch with some friends. When I got home, I sat down to see what I could do. And I checked my email. And Instagram. Because there’s a new baby in the family, don’t you know? And then I took a brief peek at Facebook… because there’s a new baby in the family, don’t you know???

I finally got back on it around 5:30 pm. And had to look at the photos I’d taken to refresh my memory on what I hadn’t yet covered in the three paragraphs I wrote yesterday. You’d think I was a sixth grader doing everything I could to avoid my homework. BUT I finally got back in the groove and finished up around 9:30 pm

As painful as it was at the beginning, I’m pretty pleased with the end. I sent it to one of my writing buddies and she gave me a comforting “thumbs up,” so I think I’m in good shape. I’ll have to see what revisions the editor makes or wants me to make. It’s in the correct word count range, though, and I have some good photos to go along with it.

I have a couple of client appointments tomorrow afternoon, and I have a morning coffee date with an old friend (that would be a friend I’ve known a long time, not that either one of us is old…) I am looking forward to that, because it’s been too long since we’ve had a good visit.

I think I’m going to call it a night. When the magazine comes out, if my story is picked up, I’ll be sure to post information here. It’s so weird. Getting paid to write. I’ve been writing online for YEARS for free. The thought that someone finds my words worthy of cold, hard cash is still mind boggling. And grin worthy. Cheshire cat grin worthy.

cheshire cat
Only the insane equate pain with success.

Of course, he was spot on with that quote. Because writing is painful, slow and painful work. And yet, the success is oh, so sweet.

Progress

Before and Almost Done

One of the things that I’ve been working toward is throwing out what’s not needed and organizing what’s left behind.  You might look at these photos and think I still need to throw out a lot more stuff.  But truthfully, I HAVE thrown out or donated a lot of things.  Most of what you see here is necessary — at least it is to me.

I was very happy to have recently scored the desk and two bookcases shown in the top two photos on VarageSale.  We are book people, and we’re not talking “only fiction” or “reference” or whatever.  We love almost anything that can be printed and bound between two covers.  We dabble in “ebooks” from time to time for convenience’s sake, but we’ll never give up our beautiful book collection.

If you look at the upper left-hand photo, there is a bookcase on the left that I got at IKEA a number of years ago.  It’s solid wood and the shelves are supposed to hold up to 77 lbs.  This was a huge selling point for me, because I didn’t want the shelves to sag over time.  That bookcase holds my cookbook collection, as well as a number of stitchery books (mostly cross stitch).  The cabinet below holds some crafting supplies.

And you can see in the lower left-hand photo an identical bookcase on the other side of the window that holds some of my favorite history and literature textbooks from college on the upper shelves.  Below them are some storage cases holding photographs that are organized, but need to be put in albums.  In the cabinet below I store scrapbooking magazines and idea books.

But I digress from my VarageSale score.  The desk and two bookcases visible in the upper righthand photo — I was able to buy them for $135 last week and, while they aren’t super high-end pieces, they are solid wood and pretty well made, as long as I keep their limitations in mind.  (The drawers are stapled, not dovetailed, so I’m thinking it wouldn’t be wise to load them down with too much weight.)  Now that I’ve gotten them semi-organized and know for certain that they will serve my purposes, I plan to paint them and replace the drawer knobs on the desk with something a little more my style (the current “frogs” are NOT my style — amphibians weird me out).

The hutch above the desk has all my business materials (client files, pricing binders for calculating quotes).  The bookcase immediately by the desk has:  Shelf #1 – Photography references; Shelf #2 – Writing magazines, rough drafts of my novel, critiques; Shelf #3 – Office supplies; Shelf #4 – Old novels that belonged to my grandmother; Shelf #5 – High school and college yearbooks.

The second bookcase needs three shelves cut and then I will do a little fine-tuning of my organizational efforts.  Over all, I think my purchase is really going to help me with organization and time management, since I won’t be searching for things that are scattered all over the place.

My Old House

Eddie Bauer "Craftsman Bungalow" Palette (Valspar, available at Lowes)
Eddie Bauer “Craftsman Bungalow” Palette (Valspar, available at Lowes)

I’ve lots of dreams for our house, but some are more expensive than others. I’ve decided that paint will give us fairly immediate gratification with the smallest expenditure. Yesterday I prepped the entryway from the garage between the laundry and kitchen. Patched holes with wood putty, smoothed them over with some sand paper and wiped everything down with environmentally friendly mineral spirits to get rid of years and years of dust and grime. (The entryway is still wearing the same coat of paint it was when we bought our house 14 years ago. Yeah, I know.)

I also bought a desk, hutch, and two bookcases off Varage Sale the other day. They aren’t fancy and only cost me $135. I think they will look pretty good after I paint them. I really needed the additional bookcases for things in my office, so this seemed to be a pretty inexpensive solution to my ongoing battle with disorganization. I’m going to go ahead and organize the things I plan to use the set for before I spend a lot of time prepping and painting them. That way, if it doesn’t work as I hope, I’ll just turn around and sell them again. Sometimes you have to try it out to know if it’s the right solution.

The color palette I’ve finally settled on for the majority of the house, and have already used in the living, dining, and kitchen (after YEARS of trying to decide) — Eddie Bauer’s “Craftsman Bungalow” in these colors: Mercer Blue, Cattail, Craft White and Limestone.  (Disclaimer:  I do NOT live in a “Craftsman Bungalow” — it’s a 1950s/1960s Ranch (?), I guess . . . but I love these colors and I love Craftsman-style furniture, so whadyagonna’ do?)

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Valspar "Limestone"
Valspar “Limestone”

The image above is a fairly accurate representation of Mercer Blue and it is the color that I painted our living room walls several years ago.  In fact, it is the color that wraps around the perimeter walls of our entire common area, which is somewhat open.  When you walk through the front door, if you go straight ahead, you walk into the living room and as you go to the right, you see the dining area.  If you keep going to the right, you go through the kitchen and end up back at the front door.  There is a wall separating the living and kitchen — on the living side, it is paneled and on the kitchen side, it is covered with a closet housing the hot water heater, cabinetry, and the stove.  So the Mercer Blue takes care of the outer walls of this part of the house.

The Cattail is the color of the paneled wall on the living room side.  This representation is not quite as accurate as it appears real life.  On our paneled wall, it appears to have more of a green undertone.  I really like it with the Mercer Blue.  And when I get to it, all the trim will be painted Craft White.  I’m thinking about doing the kitchen cabinets with the Craft White, too, but adding some sort of antiquing glaze to make them stand out a bit from the rest of the trim.

In a few weeks, I hope to paint my office and the hallway that leads to the bedrooms and bath the Cattail with the Craft White trim.  And last, but not least, I plan to use the Limestone in our bedroom.  This representation is the closest I could find.  If you look at the paint chip at the store, it is a really pretty grey — and definitely warmer (but not too warm, since I like cooler colors in the bedroom) than the Shale blue I selected from this palette and used in there a few years ago.

There are lots of other projects we want to tackle (my husband is working on replacing our siding with Hardiplank as he has time and money), like putting bead board paneling over the 1960s’ acoustic tile in the front part of the house and tearing out the weird closet/cabinet thing I use for a closet and putting in a REAL closet for both of us.  Those are a little more expensive, though, and I’m thinking that a fresh coat of paint on everything will be a nice compromise in the meantime.

The real excitement is knowing we only have about four years left on our mortgage!  So fresh paint or no, this old house is looking better and better as time goes by.

Each Day With Purpose

In the inconsistent early days of this blog, I wrote of “trying to get healthy” and “starting to exercise” and “losing weight” . . . and none of those times did it “stick.”  I’m not sure what’s changed, but about two weeks ago I determined that this time would be different.  And so far, it has.

I rediscovered MyFitnessPal and I’ve been wearing my FitBit (pedometer) faithfully.  I’ve managed to walk 1.5 miles in 30 minutes each day for the last 7 out of 10 days, and I log everything I eat on my “MyFitnessPal” app.  I made up my mind to not worry about goals.  I just think about getting through the next 24 hours.  In this 24 hours, I purpose to exercise and eat healthy.  Yesterday’s failures do not matter.  Tomorrow does not matter.  Just this 24 hours.  And that seems to have made all the difference in the world.

Lady Grey tea with stevia, Yoplait Greek yogurt and Cascadian Farms granola.
This is what 260 calories looks like!
This is what 260 calories looks like!
Lunch!!!!
Lunch!!!!

While I have had to adjust my tastebuds a bit, I’ve found that I am getting plenty of food and for the most part, it tastes good.  And when I get really “desperate,” a Hershey’s Kiss has 22 calories.