July 16, 2017:
Hola! Where does the time go, Geez Louise! Half summer is already gone, and I am first now updating this from last December, tsk tsk. Bad Jan! So, been busy puttering around the yard, as always, and paying more attention than I probably should be to politics. The kitchen "remodel" is on hold due to budgetary constraints, but I hope to have that remedied before the end of the year. And I have yet to paint the guest room - it's only been 3 years now since I moved in to this version of Maison Newton, I'm not lazy or anything, nope... LOL! Take care and have a great rest of the summer. Jan

Monday, September 24, 2012

Things I Do That Make Me Happy

Hola darlings!

I have not forgotten about finishing up my bedroom look for less -- I will get back to it, I promise you.  I am eager to show you what I came up with.

I've just spent the weekend mostly outdoors chopping up large branches and limbs that came down like rain in my back and front and neighbor's yards to the north on Monday during a freak burst of wind; it's been windy ever since, including today, an entire week later, and branches are still coming down -- just not the big giant-size ones.  I think I lost about 20% of the crown of my giant double-trunked Chinese elm out back.  There are photos of some of the mess posted last Tuesday and later, but in looking at them I don't get the feeling I'm looking at something overwhelming like I do when I step outside and am confronted with a MESS! 


Large branches to 'deconstruct' but oh my, it's just a gorgeous day out there.  Mid-60's, yeah, it's breezy
but the sun is full force.  Look at that blue sky, isn't it gorgeous!  Look at the colors of my purple
leafed Newport plum tree, and the purple-red maples street trees -- and you can see my skinny little green
maple out front too, LOL!  I specified a purple or red maple - the city planted a GREEN one instead.  Sigh. 
But I love it anyway!
I'm by no means a photographer but I love this photo for it's colors, and the contrast between
shade and bright sun-lit areas, not to mention the graphic lines and patterns cast by
shade and shadow.  Maybe you see now why I like to spend so much time hanging outside in my yard :)
To me, it is a beautiful sanctuary, far away from the cares, trials and tribulations of this world.
Anyway, I got my workout over the weekend, not only hiking to and from the Pick 'n Save loaded with groceries in my carry-bags (my arms stretched a good 2 inches, I think) but lugging, chopping, sawing, cutting, tugging, pulling, twisting, and raking raking raking out front until I thought my arms were going to fall off!  Now I've got three stuffed full yard waste trash bins.  Pick-up is tomorrow.  I am headed out shortly to do more chopping.  The really large branches in my backyard are left, but I've got no place to go with them, so I'm going to chop and bundle until I wear myself out, and stack them next to the yard waste containers.  As long as the bundles are 4 feet or less in length, and are tied with rope/strings for easily picking them up and tossing them into the yaws of the truck, they will be taken, too.  Ugh, not looking forward to that, but I've got to get rid of those giant branches and limbs as much as I can -- the grass out back needs cutting!

Fitting, then, that it occurred to me this morning as I was laying in bed stretching and staring up at my canopy, thinking how much I love my bed, that I want to write about some things I do every single day that are meaningful to me, just little things but that make me happy.  Your list may be different.  I hope, darlings, that you have such a list!  If not, think about it, make up your own list, and go for it!

1.  I MAKE MY BED.

Ever since I redid my room in February, I make my bed every single day.  Before then, it used to be hit or miss.  Mostly I would make my bed in the morning, but sometimes when I felt pressed for time, I didn't. Then I'd come home to an unmade messy bed and think to myself - yech, and not feel at all like I was going to be resting in my very own special sanctuary, just a messy un-made-up place! 


My bedroom in February, 2012, after re-do.  I won't lie - the canopy makes
me feel like a Queen or, ahem, the Goddess I am.  In truth, we are all Goddesses.
We just have to discover the truth inside at our own pace and time.

I cannot tell you how happy it makes me when I come home from work worn out, tired and cranky, go to my bedroom to change out of my work stuff and walk into a cozy, beautiful room with a made-up bed!  It makes me feel like a Queen or like I'm living in a spa -- even though I'm the one who makes the bed in the morning!  Unless I'm stripping it down and putting on new sheets (I only do that once a week, on Saturday) it takes me about 5 minutes in the morning to make up the bed.  I do it after I've washed my face, put moisturizer and make-up primer on.  I like to let that stuff "set" on my face for awhile before I apply make-up and that wait time is the perfect time to put the bed back together.  As you see, I don't use a lot of pillows and accessories, so that makes things go back together quickly!  Not much fluffing and arranging to do. 

It makes a big difference in how I feel to see that beautiful made-up bed at night.

2.  I PAMPER MY COMPLEXION TWICE A DAY.

My skin care regimine used to be hit or miss.  I think we're all guilty to some extent or other of neglecting to take good care of our bodies and our skin when we're younger, because after all, we usually look damn good and our skin is dewy, soft and pliant.  Well, at 61, it's a different story than at 21, har!  I got lucky, though.  A few years ago my younger sister Yvonne got turned onto a local manufacturer of aloe-based facial products.  Let's just say I was skeptical but after attending a party/demonstration of these products I bought some and started using L'Bri products in February, 2010.  They've made an amazing difference in my skin.


L'Bri 'set' of products for combination skin.  I substitute the gentle facial cleanser for the
cleansing product on the far left.  The gentle facial cleanser is perfect for extremely sensitive
aging skin like mine (due to hormonal issues).  Two L'Bri products I cannot live without:  Facial Peel
 and  Maxifirm!  Those products alone have made me look like I'm in my early 40's, not my early 60's!

Regardless of what products you use in your own regime - you should have a regime!  The key is using your products consistently, morning and night.  Really, if you can't take 10 minutes in the morning and 10-15 minutes at night to spend a little time pampering yourself, something is terribly out of balance.  Aren't you worth that little bit of time to make yourself feel and look better?  But I tell you - this came as a major revelation to me.  And teaching myself how to take that time - less than 30 minutes every day when added up - JUST FOR MYSELF to attend to my own personal beauty needs - WOW.  It truly has made a big difference in my life.  The L'Bri products have wrought an amazing transformation in my skin.  It is now smooth, dewy, soft, and pliant.  Yes, I have some wrinkles but they are laugh lines and the 'jowl' lines that come with time and gravity.  Ain't gonna have a face lift, so there they are - but they disappear when I smile; then it looks like I have dimples (not kidding!) So I'm smiling a lot these days.  And people smile back :)

I've received compliments on my complexion since I started using L'Bri products.  Never used to be told how beautiful my complexion was!  And here's a true story -- I don't remember if I wrote it here or not, but I did report this to my sis Yvonne and other friends/family because it was just so funny and unbelievable!  On August 24th I underwent a heart catheterization and while I was on the skinny little table (I thought I would fall off but I didn't) waiting for the doctor to enter the "procedure room", shaking like a leaf, eyes tightly shut and tears leaking out of the corners of my eyes, absolutely terrified, one of the prep nurses came over and started rubbing my shoulder, and gently blotted up those leaking tears with a tissue -- I felt like a big cry-baby but I WAS SCARED HALF TO DEATH. 

And then she said, you have such beautiful skin!  Yes, she said it, I didn't dream it because I had received no happy juice at that time to make me relax, not even a teeny little tranquilizer ahead of time and I sure could have used one, let me tell you!  So, if a nurse in an operating room tells you that you have beautiful skin, you better believe it, darlings!  And I said oh, thank you.  I use L'Bri products that my sister sells.  LOL!  Goddess' Truth! 

So, whatever products you use, take the time to use them the right way.  Spend 10 minutes in the morning and 10-15 minutes in the evening locked in the bathroom away from everyone and everything and just pamper yourself and your complexion, neck/throat and decolletage area.  When you feel good about how you look, there is a spring in your step.  And people do notice that spring in  your step, and your fine skin, even if they don't mention it (but some may). 

3.  I EAT A PIECE OF DOVE DARK CHOCOLATE.

We all know that chocolate is chock full of the same kind of endorphines and such that flood our bodies and brain when we're in love.  So eat chocolate and feel like you're in love all the time :)  LOL!  Dark chocolate also has potent antioxidants and one piece is all it takes to receive a benefit.  So, not only do I get the rich, sensual deliciousness melting inside my mouth YUM, I also am doing something good for my heart and health and overall just feel-good-ness.  I admit I'm disciplined - I eat one piece and one piece only most days, but on occasion I'll eat two pieces, one in the morning and one in the evening with a glass of wine.

Image from Candy Warehouse Online!


4.  I ENJOY A GLASS OF WINE.

Red wines are good for us!  One glass is all it takes.  Take it just before bed, after the kids have gone to sleep so you can fully appreciate and unwind.  Put your feet up, pour a glass for your hubby/significant other too.  Maybe he'll give you a foot rub.  It works with Mr. Don :) 

Photo from wine, dine, everything fine blog :)
Beringer's is a reasonably priced tasty white zinfandel.

5.  I COMMUNICATE WITH MY FRIENDS EVERY DAY.

Friends include family.  It's so good to acknowledge that feeling of connectedness.  It provides me with an anchor, a sort of solidarity and strengh, to remember that I am not alone in this world.  I have people who love me, who like me, who admire me, and who will come to my aid, no questions asked.  That is truly a blessing.

6.  I DO SOMETHING NICE FOR SOMEONE.

It doesn't have to be a big thing.  You'd be amazed what it can mean simply saying please and thank you to a clerk or waitstaff, smiling at people, holding a door for someone, giving up a seat on a bus to a woman with a baby or an older person, or paying someone a sincere compliment.  The world can feel such a mean, nasty horrid place sometimes -- and reading the news sure doesn't do much to improve that impression!  But that doesn't mean you, personally, won't be able to make a difference, because you can.

7.  I GET OUTSIDE FOR A LITTLE WHILE EVERYDAY.

I'm a walker.  Well, that is my primary mode of transportation (with the bus) because I do not drive or own a motor vehicle. You don't have to walk.  Just go stand or sit down somewhere outside, breathe in the air, soak in sunshine or smell the rain. Or watch a blizzard, eek!  Spend 5 minutes on your front porch, on a sidewalk or outside your office.  Ten minutes is better.  Look up at the sky.  Listen to the sounds around you.  You'll be amazed how quickly you'll be able to pick up a distant bird call even in the busiest part of downtown, or imagine "creatures" in cloud formations scudding across deep blue skies.  There is nothing quite like the smell of rain, or the awesomeness of standing in a sheltered area outside looking out over a thunderstorm or a downpour of "white" rain. Three or four nights ago a thunderstorm rumbled through my area around 4 in the morning.  Even though it was 'coldish' outside (in the low 50's), I got up and opened my window wider so I could listen to the sounds of the storm as it approached (complete with numerous lightning flashes), and then the rain came!  Snuggling under my quilt while the curtains puffed out with the aromas of the earth and the rain were better than any lullaby. The world truly is a beautiful and awe-inspiring place.  We are creatures of the Earth -- we were made from earth, after all, according to the biblical account and it's true -- we are made up of the elements of our world:  minerals and water!  So, we have a natural affinity to nature. 

I took the very first photo above, just a little while ago, just to post here, because it is a beautiful autumn day today.  The photo below, also taken a little while ago, is looking in the opposite direction of my yard:


Yeah, a mess!  A lot of the smaller debris was removed yesterday.  I love the interplay of light and shadow in my yard.  On a breezy day like this the patterns are always-changing every second!  I love the peeks of robin's egg blue skies through the trees and arborvitaes!  Neighbors to the west have not been home evidently, or if they are home, they haven't gotten around to cutting down the partially broken limb that came down on their tree -- you can just see it on the other side of my rickety picket fence near center rear of the photo. 

So, that's my list.  To which, on Sundays, I add:  READING SUNDAY PAPER WHILE ENJOYING MY SINGLE CUP OF FRENCH ROAST INSTANT COFFEE (TASTER'S CHOICE). 

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