Wednesday, August 25, 2010

All is good!

Test results came back benign. A happy Eileen is spending the entire day in the garden to celebrate - kids at my parents until tomorrow. Thanks for the good wishes! Good thoughts to everyone!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

And the beat goes on;-).

My trip by ambulance to the emergency room at 1 a.m. yesterday for chest pain and trouble breathing was a first, and very scary. Good news is they can't find any cause for this, with EKG looking just fine. I have been having a lot of breast pain in the left breast. Earlier on Thursday, my doctor did an exam and said she felt lumpiness and swollen glands so she ordered another mammogram and ultrasound scheduled for Tuesday - please send good thoughts to the universe on Tuesday. The night of the hospital trip, I took Codeine for the pain, and they symptoms appeared half hour or so later and I think they were connected. The emergency room doctor said that would not be a common known side-effect for Codeine, and correlation (in time) doesn't always equal causation, but that's my thought.

Greg graciously agreed to watch the kids this afternoon and tomorrow so I can address the editor's comments to the first manuscript and get the second draft ready, which will be submitted to him for a line edit later.

So far, the no shopping rule has been no problem, with just a few twinges as I passed a garage sale sign on the way to the zoo with the kids yesterday.;-).

Good wishes to all. Enjoy each moment this weekend!

Kids at the Merry-go-round at the zoo - as a celebration for Kai getting through his immunizations. Earlier in the day, the kids help vacuum out the car after I found a bunch more iris at the town dump to transport home.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not that one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage one has to bet on one's ideas, to take a calculated risk - and to ask. Maxwell Maltz 1899-1975

Kids at the school playground after we registered Kirk for first grade. Then Kirk reading Kai the library book he'd picked out. No pics of the 101 fights the kids have between these Kodak moments....;-).

Day four of four and a half months no shopping going well. Even grocery shopping with a three and six year old more bearable when it's the only shopping I get to do;-).

Got the comments back from the editor and he was spot on in all his comments. I found everything he said very, very helpful and will revise based on problems he pointed out, and in a month or so, resubmit for what is called a line edit or more detailed edit. This was a very good step. Thanks to the Book Doctor!

Monday, August 16, 2010

A fun, frugal day.

Tomorrow the kids come home from Iowa - it will be so good to have them home! Today was a productive, fun, frugal day. No spending - zero, zip, zilch - other than $3.58 for my bagel spot - where I spent two hours working, so it was worth it and food of course is still okay on this spending hiatus.

I had a momentary twinge as I pulled into the donation center of my favorite thrift store to unload about five bags I'd gotten together while cleaning out Kirk's room (best done in his absence as he has his dad's packrat tendencies). But I made it out of the parking lot without stepping foot inside.

Then I stopped by and met the gardener of this cute, colorful garden that I've driven by before. He was pruning trees today so I stopped and asked if I could take some pictures. It was a fun experience.

Early in the day, I took Brandi with me to Panera Bread to work on my book. We found a shady place under a tree and I got a lot done.

Then I came home and cleaned out an overgrown garden, potting up lots of extra plants for next year's plant sale. I usually spend about $100 a year on annuals, which always seemed pretty reasonable. But as I was sweating and batting mosquitoes, I counted how many of my plants I would have to sell to make $100 and at 50 containers ($2 a container), it seemed like a lot of money. Always good to work in concrete numbers with your sweat equity right there before you;-). Good wishes. Still waiting to hear back from the editor. Eileen

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 1 for 4 1/2 months of no shopping;-).

Well, the contract is posted on the refrigerator. Greg and I both signed;-). No shopping other than food/toiletries until Jan. 1 2011. I'm excited about the extra time and money savings this will offer. Hopefully, it will help speed up all the other goals. Hope everyone is enjoying this lovely August day!

This is an article from Mary Hunt that my Mom sent me a clipping from, so I don't have a link. It's entitled: Simplifying makes life simply fabulous.

Anyone with a lick of fashion sense knows that the secret of style is found in accessories. Men have it easy....but women? We have to deal with earrings, watches, bracelets, rings, necklaces, belts, chains, broaches, scarves, glasses, stockings, socks, hats, headbands, briefcases and shoes of every style, height, and color. Being properly accessorized is anything but cheap.

Years ago, I made a rash decision. In retrospect, I see it as a stroke of genius. Having owned and lost dozens of earrings in my life, I decided that from then on, I would own just one all-purpose lovely pair of earrings. I would wear that one pair all the time. Why not? I had worn the same ring day after day, year after year and had not been arrested for taking unacceptable fashion risks.

I made this decision for one reason: to stop spending money on earrings. It came with a fringe benefit I didn't expect. I gained time and peace. I don't waste effort trying to decide which earrings to wear. I don't waste time trying to find earrings that match. I always know where my earrings are, so I haven't lost an earring in many years. To my surprise, this one decision noticeably simplified my lie. And it became my catalyst to discover more ways to simplify.

Gradually converting to all white linens and towels has simplified doing the laundry. Sorting is a breeze. Everything matches automatically. I never deal with faded towels or mismatched pillow cases. White goes with everything and it never goes out of style.

I have learned that simplifying, even in small ways, makes my life more enjoyable. Want to simplify your life? Start small and see what happens. ...From Mary Hunt, founder of

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Big 3 Month Challenge!!! No spending except food/toiletries till Jan. 1, 2011

I've tried this twice now and failed, so it's time to get back on the horse. At dinner tonight I presented Greg with my idea for no thrift stores, no purchases, no matter how good a deal of clothing, gardening, house, toys, etc all the way to Jan. 1. He was all for it, no surprise;-). I asked him to keep me honest by asking each day whether I'd kept to my plan. This should free up lots of time/money. Wish me luck.

The other picture is of a guy playing his guitar standing on his head that we passed tonight walking along State Street - a clearly creative guy!;-).

Good wishes!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Saved $80 today with a DIY project!

When I saw my mom last weekend, she mentioned a bracelet with a stone that had fallen out and I offered to get it fixed. When I got home, I made a pile of about five necklaces with various issues and put an ad on Craigslist to see if someone could fix everything for a reasonable price. The only responder offered $100 to fix most of it, with some wiggle room if it turned out harder than he expected. Since all but one is costume jewelry, mostly bought from thrift stores at $3 or so, I didn't want to spend that much. So I did a google search for fixing links and clasps and found an e-how video, got some needle nosed pliers and my tweezers, and fixed all but one! The bracelet with the stone from my mom doesn't want to sit back into its holder and I can't figure that one out. But even if I have to take that one piece to a repair place, I've still got all the others fixed and feeling quite proud;-). At my garage sale this summer, a woman stopped by who had redone an old house in town herself. She and her dad even jacked it up off the foundation to fix something. When I expressed admiration, she said, "Most people can probably do most things, you just have to be willing to get in there and learn." Well said! This is supposed to be hiatus, but with the kids at Grandma and Grandpas, time is fairly plentiful! Plan to sleep in tomorrow!!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Taking a hiatus until September.

To me, the difference between the artist and the non-artist is that the artist is the one that does it. Helen Garner - Australian Writer

Emptiness is a symptom that you are not living creatively. You either have no goal that is important enough to you, or you are not using your talents and efforts in striving toward an important goal. Maxwell Maltz 1899-1975.

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap! Cynthia Heimel

Hello to all!! Life is good here. I feel like I'm making progress on all fronts, though often in baby, baby steps.
Marriage - Looking forward to a couple date nights. The kids are in Iowa for the weekend and we are going out twice, which will be a lot of fun. I met my mother in law in Prairie Du Chein and had a fun tour of a great old mansion called Villa Louis stuffed with amazing antiques and an old working kitchen, ice house, etc. etc.

Parenting - Kids are doing well. Kirk has come a long way in his reading with our 15 minutes or so a day practice. I kept Kai home from his part-time daycare/preschool for August and this has been a lot of fun, though stressful too. We are all together 24/7, with the first break this weekend.;-) They have good and bad days/hours/moments as brothers. I can remember fighting with my brother when I was little, but I don't remember it being so constant. They will go from best buds to yelling at each other in a five minute span. My sibling rivalry books have some ideas that I'm working on.

Book - Off to the editor. I can't wait to hear back comments. I'm thrilled to have this done.

Business - Got a business plan checkoff list from a friend who is also starting a company and hope to use it to be more disciplined to get a bit done each day.

Garden - My phlox and Joe Pye weed and annuals are going strong. I really enjoyed the plant sale I ran on and off during the summer (at the end of the drive with an honesty jar so no extra work) and will probably do this again next summer.

FI - Kind of a mixed bag here. Considering I started this whole project as a money saving blog, honesty compels me to admit that the last few months have not been our most frugal. But I plan to buckle down and work harder at it in the months to come. So far, August is off to a great start - being with the kids full time means no trips to the thrift stores, and even Home Depot is a bit of a stretch with a three year old, so saving money that way;-).

Health/beauty. Finally broke down and took a friend's advice to do a food journal. Have done this for about a month and lost two pounds and am eating much, much healthier - too embarrassing to write down Pepsi 250 calories and snickers 250 calories under snacks;-). Finished reading a book about Coco Channel and another about style from Rachel Zoe, started taping Project Runway and the Rachel Zoe show to watch when I exercise in the basement and now am obsessed with fashion - absolutely love looking at those beautiful clothes, which do not seem easily available in Wisconsin, but fun to look at anyway. Now have on my wish list a white winter coat;-).

Spirit - Have been reading a book called The Art of Happiness at Work by the Dalai Lama - always makes me feel peaceful and Enthusiasm Makes the Difference by Norman Vincent Peale - always cheers me up. Trying to spend more time with family and friends - spent four days with my parents earlier this month and went out to dinner with my brother and a friend from fourth grade while I was in Illinois- gotta love friends who still are friends 30 years or so and counting...Several years ago I wrote out the goal that I would feel happy each day and I've met that goal - not that I'm happy the entire 16 hours I'm awake, but a good portion of each day is just plain happiness and that is something I'm grateful for in so many ways. Here's the key, to save you 1000 self-help books and twenty years of study - think happy thoughts - think about what you want, not what you fear. As soon as you find your mind going along some dark pathway - worry about kids, the extra wrinkles around the eyes, worries about aging parents, concern about mold in the attic or whether you stepped on someone's toes with a thoughtless comment, usually these thoughts like to come at low moments - think 3 p.m. or bedtime, just absolutely refuse, refuse to think about it. Think happy thoughts about gardens, people you love, pray or "talk" to loved ones who've passed away. Then in the morning, when you are feeling in a happy mood, jot down a quick list of anything you need to do. Believe everything is an opportunity for something good to come into your life -that it's truly all good. Maybe the mold guy will be someone you're meant to help out or watching your parents go through the stages of life will make your relationship even deeper. Really, truly, you can save yourself a lot of time, anguish and reading if you just determine to think happy thoughts, then do what needs to be done from a happy place. Enough said- I'm still working on it, but have come a LONG, LONG way considering I have a worry-aholic mom and a tendency toward anxiety.;-).

House - Still a mess much of the time, but I pulled out my Fly lady once again and trying to get organized. I have learned that I love being surrounded by natural objects, and to that end have picked up shells and rocks and things at garage sales during the past year and now put them on the foyer hall and somehow seeing those always makes me feel good.

Bus. Vocab - Had to give this one up - it just didn't seem to warrant the time at this point.

Joy and best wishes to all. I plan to take off the rest of August and just enjoy the kids. Kirk goes back to school Sept. 1. I want to have lots of happy little adventures between now and then. Wishing each of you one happy mini-adventure each day from now to September.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A quick update.

Sharing of ice cream cones at the ZUZU cafe after a long walk - Unheard of!;-)
Hello to all. Hope the summer is going well for everyone. I just sent off my manuscript this morning to an editor in Milwaukee who will give initial feedback and comments for about $300. He has worked with quite a few small, but published authors, so I'm really hoping his comments will be a big help. Hitting the send button was a huge sense of accomplishment!!!!!

Now hoping to make family and finances the focus for the rest of August. Good wishes!! Eileen
P.S. All those books I checked out on sibling rivalry, and all the subsequent theories we've been trying out seem to be working - not to tempt the fates;-).