Beautiful and Inspiring Spaces

Since both Hubby and I work from home I am always on the lookout for new ideas to make our office spaces better.  I got an email from LinkedIn with a link for “Beautiful and Inspiring Workspaces.”  Here is the link so you can look for yourself

Not to be too critical, but are you kidding me??!!  Most of these work spaces are so far from reality.  How can these be work spaces?  As I scroll down there seems to be a trend, bland, empty, unrealistic spaces (don’t get me wrong, there are a few nice ones).  Then I started to think about it, everything is digital these days, everything!   This has to be where they pay bills, read/write personal emails, and update their Facebook account.  But realistically speaking, who has a desk that looks like this all the time, I mean all the time?

I love home improvement and decorating shows.  Looking at my house in a constant state of construction is proof of that.  But when I look at webpages like this it makes me wonder.  Are there really people out there who have a work space that looks like this all the time?  People that are such minimalists that they can function with nothing but a table, chair, lamp, and laptop?  Look at the 3rd one down on the website to get my point.


My work space

Here is my “work space”.  Of course the computer with 3 monitors (gotta have 3 to see what you’re doing).  A project in progress on the table (I hope this time I can finish it!).  My exercise ball tucked under the table so I can swap it out with my chair during the day.  Shelves full of bits and pieces of stuff I really use.  Have to have the candles to set the mood, or more importantly reduce the stress.  Simply put, this is reality.

bar_done_0245Now here is a shot of the infamous bar.  This project came out of nowhere the weekend after Thanksgiving (you can read all about it by clicking on the Archive link for November).  It is basically done.  We still need a new stove as this one is too tall, but it now has given me a surface I can actually work with, and I love it.

But I am sure this too is not what a “Beautiful and Inspiring Kitchen” would look like on a website.  In the real world we have messes and clutter.  We can’t all afford to have the top of the line everything all at the same time.  Most of us do things bit-by-bit as the money and time allows.  But let’s get real.  I want to see rooms designed for people to really use.  With storage that hides the mess, but still functional.  A place where it is inspiring to work, and welcoming.  Yes, my work space.  It is all that.  Still some clutter, and will always need improvement.  But I have to admit, I like to work in it.  After all, isn’t that what a ‘work’ space should be for?

Today – Winter Weather Advisory – it is 30 degrees outside, Precipitation 100%, Humidity 92%, Wind 7 mph = ICY!!!!

Check out the ice on the chair and deck rail.  The smoker cover just looks wet, but it is actually ice!

Check out the ice on the chair and deck rail. The smoker cover just looks wet, but it is actually ice!

For most of the area this means everything is cancelled.  I call it “God’s gift of a day.”  People can’t go to work or school, so they get a free day at home.  For us today it means my 3 girls get to ‘play’ together.

The white areas are not snow, it is solid ice!  We can't even get out of the driveway!

The white areas are not snow, it is solid ice! We can’t even get out of the driveway!

Now for Hubby it is a different matter.  He works from home; there are no 2 hour delays, no snow days.  Even if the power goes out, we have the generator.  Unless the internet goes down on their end, he can still work.  So here is one of the few disadvantages of working from home.  For me, yes I too work from home, but today is a doctor’s appointment for my mother.  So time was set aside for that, but it is certainly not safe for her to try to go anywhere. So we will wait and see.

hands_0228Now you might have wondered how the 3 girls can spend the day together.  The oldest is here too!  Pretty cool for them!

So, take this gift of a day, spend it with the ones you love.  Or if not, clean out that closet, sort out that junk drawer, or relax – read a book, and recharge.  Whatever you do, don’t waste the gift of a free day.

Those Special Friends we call Sisters

Yesterday I received an email from my mother-in-law.  I had seen it before, but was in an exceptionally sentimental mood, so decided to forward it.  It was a story of a mother telling her newly married daughter to always have ‘sisters’ in her life.  She meant the special friends you make that will be there for the good times and the bad.  We will always have our husbands, children, and family.  But those special girlfriends are just that, special.  So today I am going to honor some of the long-time ones that I am still friends with today.  I hope you know who you are.

  • When my first child was born I had only carried her 28 weeks.  I had 2 very special neighbors.  Still friends 35 years later.
  • kids on benchWhen that same child had her first grand mal seizure she was there.  A dear friend for 38 years.
  • She took me to my first Tupperware party 36 years ago.
  • When my first marriage ended she was a real strength to me.  That was 20 years ago.
  • Hubby’s “work wife” who helped me keep him happy and healthy when he quit smoking.  Thanks for being our friend for almost 18 years now.
  • And most specially, my ‘little sister’.  We helped each other through the loss of her son, and my daughter.  She will always hold a very precious place in my heart.

In the almost 13 years I have lived here I have made some very special friends too.  I have a terrific family, and daughters that have grown into great friends now they are adults (only one left to ‘grow’).  So I count myself very lucky.  Life is good!

Finding Your Art

Ok, so who determines what is art or not?  The wild child is an artist; that is a fact.  She has the talent, creativity and that special eye.  She is still learning, and hasn’t sold much, but don’t you have to be a ‘starving artist’ first.  You have to suffer for your art.  Wow, I had a hard time even typing that it sounds so corny!  But I guess in some ways it is true.  But does it have to be?  Do you really have to suffer before you can produce that perfect piece?  I don’t think so.  I think if the talent is there it will come out, the question is simply, when?

So as you know wild child is taking a photography class, following in my footsteps.  Well maybe not.  We have a successful discovery!  This is not her genre.  Yes, I said “not”.  But even an unsuccessful thing is a success when it means checking something off your list.  She has, and is, learning from this class, and she just loves to learn.

So last night her sisters and I were giving her a hard time about some pictures she had taken.  Ok, we were teasing her unmercifully.  Her response was to take up the camera and shot this.

Talk to the hand!

Talk to the hand!

Is this not a piece of art?  Does this not express it all?  Talk to the hand!  Well in reality this was a shot that says the perfect thing at the perfect moment, and she caught it.  In photography to me that is the art of it.

The greatest photographer was, and will always be, Ansel Adams.  This man would sit for hours waiting for that perfect shot.  He worked with equipment that was an extension of him, and the end product showed that.  Today we are all about digital.  Yes, we have the technology to make our pictures have that look.  But we don’t have the ability to put in the soul that a true artist can do.  It goes back to things like comparing vinyl albums to CD’s.  Some people can’t hear the difference.  But the person with the ‘ear’ can.  The sound that comes out of a CD player simply cannot compare to that vinyl record spinning on the record player.

So my message to my wild child is to be patient.  Explore and grow until you find that thing that gives you the ability to express yourself.  Mama won’t let you starve.

Saying Goodbye

truck_leaving_0069Today marked the passage of another vehicle.  Our little old pick-up bit the dust a few months ago.  It is at the point where putting more money into it just isn’t worth it for us.  So we called the local donation charity to come and get it today.  It is a little sad to see it being hauled away.  But this is the 3rd or 4th car we have given them, and we know what good it can do.  The only issue; we don’t have a pick-up again.  I sure do miss it.  Doesn’t it always seem that as soon as you don’t have something that is when you need it the most?

Super Bowl Sunday

Today is Super Bowl Sunday!  Now we are not really a football household.  We like a good game, but Hubby isn’t they typical Sunday football guy.  On the other hand, his best friend is.  He is the epitome of a football fanatic.  But he is a gem because he will not let it get in the way of friendship and family.  The last time we got together he taped his game.  But when he got here it was on the TV as my brother-in-law was here too.  So he told the guys to not say a word to him about it, and he joined the women in the other room.  It was actually fun for us as we got his company.

My brother also loves football.  So today we are having an impromptu Super Bowl Party.  Hubby’s best friend will be here too, and his wife (who I adore).  So we will have a wonderful time.

waiting_time_smokin_9857But the thing I love the most is what is happening to prepare for this.  Hubby, of course, is smokin’ meat.  It is such a strenuous job for him.  I don’t know how he does it . . . NOT!


I get to play with my brother!

S-&-DI am so excited!!!  My brother is coming to visit tomorrow.  There is no big family holiday, and not a house full of people.  It is going to be fun time with everyone around, but some time just for the 2 of us.  My brother and I have always been close, even if we went months without talking to each other.  Life gets busy, but we are always there for each other.


Heading off to school when we lived in Australia.

When we were kids we moved around quite a lot.  So we depended on each other to help settle into a new place, watch out for each other, and yes, sometime make friends.  We did love to play practical jokes on each other, but we rarely fought.  Maybe not the typical sibling relationship, but it was a good one, and still is.

My brother is getting ready to start a new phase of his life.  Just as I did when I left my job and started to work from home.  He had an alpaca ranch for the last 13 years, and after a lot of work he was able to find homes for all the animals, and shut the ranch down.  It is sad, but it is time to move on to new experiences.

I have to admit, leaving my job was hard.  We had a lot of adjusting to do, and there will still be things to deal with (like school loans because the kids didn’t have my employee fee waiver anymore).  But overall it was a good decision.  Life is not all about the money; how much you make, how much you have.  Life is about the people you love, and who love you.  You need to grab onto all the joy you can, when you can.  The bills will get paid.  You might not have the fancy house.  Instead we have ongoing construction :-)   You may not drive a fancy car, but I love the car I drive.  More importantly when my youngest asks for help with her homework I am here.  If I can’t figure it out her Dad is here.  Thank God for that!  She is a sophomore in High School, do you honestly think I can remember that far back!