April 6, 2019:


The income taxes are finished and were taken to the Post Office yesterday to send out via certified mail, which now costs nearly $16 for two 8 1/2 11 envelopes with return receipt. Yikes! But worth it because I have proof positive once I get the little green cards back that the returns were delivered and received. And just in case, there are tracking numbers that I can also tap the U.S. Post Office for to verify that delivery was made. In these times, it's better to be safe than sorry

I have been working in little bits and pieces outdoors whenever a window in our crappy weather has presented itself. Today, however, was the first day where I was able to spend an extended period of time outside. First, I cleaned up areas on the sidewalk and driveway along the edges where pine cones and branches tiny branches blown off during the seemingly wind storms we endured over fall and winter 2018-2019. After resting for a bit, and removing the winter hat, gloves and jacket, I moved to the back yard because I'm sick of feeling sick to my stomach every time I look at it through the patio doors in the dining room and window above the kitchen sink. This winter left it a true disaster zone. I worked steadily raking small areas and filled two trash can size black trash bags full of debris blown down from my arborvitaes and neighboring trees over the winter, in addition to about half a ton of nut shells. The nut shells are my fault because I feed all the neighborhood squirrels. They are so entertaining, and very smart! I also made a small dent in starting clean-up of the flower beds, where the "mild" (ahem) weather and thawed earth has encourages perennials to start popping through, whether I'm ready for them or not!

All in all, a somewhat decent start to making a larger dent in clean-up operations. I worked outdoors about 4 hours off and on. I didn't want to overdo it, and truth be told, I'm pooped! It's humbling to not be able to work as long or as hard as I used to. I can get it done, but I have to take lots of rest breaks so it takes quite a bit longer now. Good thing I'm retired


Monday, November 5, 2018

Planning for Red for Christmas this Year

I will be rearranging the living room soon in preparation for bringing up the Christmas tree from basement storage after Thanksgiving.

One of my close friends has a birthday on November 23rd and I always treat her - and myself - yearly to a night out to see a show at one of our local theatre venues and have a nice dinner.  And then we go to Candy Cane Lane and join in a parade of cars driving slowly through about a 6 square block area of a local neighborhood where the neighbors decorate their houses for Christmas to raise funds for the MACC Fund (Milwaukee Area Childrens' Cancer Fund).  They have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past many years.  That's how I kick off my Christmas season.  This year we're going to see the stage play "Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley" at the Pabst Theatre downtown.  I love all things related to Jane Austen, including off-shoots by other authors from her work. I am really looking forward to seeing this play!  It's gotten good reviews and who can resist a story about one of the most neglected of the Bennet sisters - Mary!

Not sure why, but for some time now I've been stewing on the idea of using some red in my living room decor for the first time.  I have used my red cardinals and red/black/green plaid ribbons, of course, in my kitchen and dining area for decor, but the living room and tree have been decorated primarily in gold, silver, sparkles and glass.

So, I made some modest purchases -- two rich red colored throw cushion covers for the sofa and a chunky knit faux-fur trimmed throw blanket to add to the room for snuggling before the fireplace.

Here is one of the throw pillow covers I scored online from Bed Bath & Beyond Manhattan Square Throw Pillow Cover in red ($14.99).  It's soft and silky feeling with a nice sheen to it.

The second throw pillow, also from Bed Bath & Beyond and also $14.99,is a red velvet with a gold quilted diamond pattern, plush, lush, soft, lux:
MYOP Quilted Diamond Square Throw Pillow Cover in Red
Here is the Nina Campbell throw blanket I scored at Steinmart for 50% off:

I am loving this throw!  It is super-soft and chunky and warm!  It is a deep red but not burgundy, called "Chili Pepper."

Speaking of the fireplace, I had my first fire of the season yesterday.  It was raining, super-windy, damp and dark out all day and I felt chilly in the house although the heat was kicking in on a regular basis.  So I had a 2-can gel fuel fire and it was glorious! It lasted for 2 and 1/2 hours as I sat in one of the wing chairs in the living room with my feet up enjoying the flames and and crackling - because it's actual fire burning in the fireplace behind the faux logs and the real fire screen, and the room warms up.  Lovely! 

Back to the red - I have my nearly 30 year old red and black "Oriental" pattern wool rug to bring up from basement storage for the holiday which this year will be layered over the black and cream chevron pattern area rug in the living room.  The red/black Oriental traditional pattern is a 5 x 7 and much smaller than the 10 x 12 black and cream, so there will certainly be some contrast there!  But I think it will work, and if it doesn't I won't care, as to me decorating is intensely personal and not about appealing to an audience.  I've used the rug in this retirement version of Maison Newton before - in the dining area.  No photos of it on this computer, it will be a "surprise."

I'll probably add some red plaid French ribbon to the Christmas tree decor this year, too for some red color on the tree. I can get it at the Family Dollar for $5 for a large roll.  I do believe I even have a few (a very few) red ornaments but I'll have to unbury them from boxes of Christmas decorations in the basement!

Stay tuned. 

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