It’s been a year and a half since we bought our old house. We knew from the beginning it was going to take a great deal of work to get it to the place where we felt really comfortable living here.
I felt it was important to live in the space for a while. To get a feel for what worked and what didn’t. And mostly, nothing does. Work that is.
As we begin the planning for the changes we want to make, I want to incorporate the principles of Feng Shui. …
It’s 5 o’clock in the morning and I hear a strange noise near my front porch. I flick on the outdoor light just in time to see the butt end of a deer prancing out the front gate. To my horror, six more go dashing off in all directions when I stepped outside.
To add to the chaos, I discovered eight cows in my backyard a few minutes later. I guess they were trying to sneak into the party but couldn’t fit through the back gate.
Now it’s not that unusual to have animals around. I live in a rural area so bucks and does, cows and calves are common sights. Occasionally one or two get near the yard. It’s simple to scare them off or chase them back into the pasture. …
People are always dumping off stray cats around the farms and ranches where I live. It’s a sad truth, but one I’ve learned to live with.
The cats survive or they don’t. I occasionally feed them out near the barn, but mostly they live off of mice and other small rodents.
I treat the cats like the other wild animals around our home. They remain feral and I usually remain unattached. It’s better for both of us this way.
This winter, a small black cat showed up, meowing sadly and gobbling up any food I set out for her. She was there every night. I made the mistake of naming her Nora. …
Purchasing an old home with the intent of remodeling can be a challenge. I should know. My husband and I bought our third fixer-upper about a year and a half ago.
Although this is not the oldest house we’ve owned, it certainly is the most in need of renovation. Not in the basic structure, but definitely in the layout and the “livability” of the space.
It is a very chopped up house, meaning the rooms are small and there isn’t a flow from one space to the next. It lacks any feeling of energy and harmony.
Remodeling will have to wait for a while longer, unfortunately, but we are working on the plans. Because I want to incorporate the principles of Feng Shui to improve the positive energy of our home, I’ve been learning as much about it as I can. …
The moment Earl walked in the door, I knew something was up. His mood had been a roller coaster all week. This morning he had slipped out of bed without a word, no demand for coffee or his lunch to be made, not a kiss goodbye, nothing.
I stopped stirring the pot and watched him as he stood in the doorway, neither in nor out, his eyes avoiding me.
“I think,” he said, “it’s time for a change.”
“What did you have in mind?” …
About a year and a half ago, my husband and I bought a piece of property. The location was great. Very private with lots of visiting wildlife, pasture for my horses, and a big shop for his growing trucking business.
Unfortunately, it also came with a house. An old, outdated, definite fixer-upper. It’s only redeeming feature was a fantastic view from the deck.
With the promise we would make the necessary changes as we could afford to, I agreed to the purchase of the property. The owner made us an offer that quickly sealed the deal for us.
My husband went right to work organizing and setting up his shop. He was delighted to have a workspace large enough to pull in his equipment. No more laying in the dirt or battling the wind, rain, or snow when making repairs on his trucks, trailers, or tractors. …
About ten minutes after coming into the house, the phone rang. I recognized the name on the caller ID as a friend of my husband’s.
A little surprised he would be calling in the afternoon, I was prepared to tell him he was in luck. Todd, my husband, arrived home two hours earlier than usual.
But Todd’s friend didn’t call to chitchat with him. Instead, he called to let me know a fire started near our home.
“No way,” I said. “I was just outside and didn’t see or smell smoke.”
As I spoke, I walked to the door and peered out across the meadows and dried out hillsides toward our neighbor’s house. …
“I’m as flawed as the next person. But maybe I inspire women because I’m an example that you should never assume that where you are in life or what you’re doing is going to remain exactly as it is forever.” — Ree Drummond
I don’t watch a lot of television. For one thing, I don’t have much time. And for another, there is little to inspire me.
But when I do get an opportunity to escape into TVland, I like to watch old movies where there’s usually more story than blood and guts. …
When schools closed suddenly last March due to the growing pandemic, no one was prepared. Not the schools, the teachers, the students. And especially not the parents.
Mothers, fathers, and other primary caregivers were faced with juggling work and home responsibilities, and now, keeping their children engaged in remote learning.
With conflicting schedules, unclear expectations, and in many cases, no set curriculum, parents were confused and overwhelmed. And teachers, like myself, were at a loss to help them given the ever-changing guidelines provided to us.
The result was a mashup of delivery systems, reduced student engagement, and elimination of new instruction, additional grading, and state testing. …
I thought it was burnout. The lethargy, moodiness, and brain fog that hit me every afternoon. This last year was the worst.
Like many others, I attributed my mid-day lack of focus on poor sleep habits, unhealthy snacks, the never-ending amount of paperwork, and the overwhelming stress of my job, teaching high school students with learning disabilities and behavior issues.
But the more I tried to change my habits, to improve my productivity in the afternoon, the more I sabotaged my own efforts. Some times unwittingly. Other times knowingly, with the promise tomorrow I would do better.
I actually believed if I could just catch up on my paperwork, I could relax, sleep better, and reduce some stress. So I went into work early, worked through lunch, brought assignments home to correct, and entered grades over the weekend. …