Saturday, May 22, 2010

Garage sale friends

"Tart words make no friends; a spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar."
-Benjamin Franklin
Last weekend we decided to have a very impromptu garage sale...the "we" being my 14 year-old daughter and I.  We literally made the decision on Thursday night.  The motivation here was money, we were going into the weekend pretty broke, so we thought it could be a quick way to earn a little cash for a trip to the grocery store and to get rid of some stuff we've been piling up in the garage.

The thing I love about garage sales is the people.  I love meeting new people and hearing stories about their lives.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a true "people" person.  At work, I am the first person you see when you walk in our office, and the first person to pick up the phone when calls come in.  This job seems to suit me, I enjoy meeting knew people, helping them fix a problem, or whatever else they may need.

My garage sales are usually pretty successful, I prepare myself to accept the sometimes ridiculous offers that come in, and remind myself this is all just "stuff" and things I haven't used or looked at in a long time.  I live on a busy corner, so I never need to advertise in the newspaper, a couple signs thrown up in the morning and a free add on Craigslist and post on FB are all I really need to grab the attention of any deal-seeking, treasure-hunting souls.

My parents brought over some items of their own to sell, and inevitably, in true garage sale style, along with a pocket-full of cash, I ended the weekend with a few extra "treasures" that my parents were planning to get rid of. 
I also gained some "friends", an offer to trim a tree, and a reminder that there is a big world out there, filled with all sorts of interesting people, who might find my junk to be their treasure.
I can't wait to spray paint this little treasure, from my room when I was a little girl :)
Happy Thoughts & Happy Garage-Sale-ing!

I'm participating in My Romantic Home's Friday Show & Tell...check it out!

Monday, May 10, 2010

In loving memory

Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother.
-Lin Yutang 

I have so much I could say about the joys of motherhood and how much I cherish my role as mother to my wonderful daughters.  

But today, my heart is full of sadness over the loss of a dear woman who I had the pleasure to know and work with.  She was a beautiful lady, who consistently showed grace, integrity and strength in all she did, as well as during her long battle with cancer.

Today, my heart aches for her husband and three children who are left behind to mourn the loss of someone who can never be replaced.  I can't even imagine, it's too painful to even try.

The best I can do to honor her is to let it remind me to cherish each and every day I have here on earth with my wonderful family and friends.  Life is  fragile, and can be taken away at any moment.  Sometimes it takes a tragic event to put things in perspective.

I count myself extremely lucky that I was blessed with a lovely Mother's Day spent with my youngest daughter and parents.  My daughter cooked us a delicious meal and it was a day spent reflecting the blessings I have.  I missed my oldest daughter, but can take comfort in knowing she will be home soon.

In loving memory of Nancy... teacher, friend, wife, mother.

Happy Thoughts,

Thursday, May 6, 2010


There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.  
~Jane Austen

Home is truly my favorite place to be.  I love to travel, and see new places, although I haven't done a whole lot of that so far in my life, but home is where I feel the most comfortable.  

My home has been a work in progress for the past 14 years.  When my ex-husband and I first bought it, it was a complete fixer-upper.  None of the plumbing worked properly, the electrical had not been updated in many years, and could not accommodate a family's modern-day needs.  It was virtually in a state of disrepair when bought it.  It was months before we could actually move in, and even then we were only living in a few of the rooms.

It was smelly, dirty, crusty, and dark.  What in the world was I thinking when I dragged my husband, kids, and mom back for a second look??  The bathrooms were old and dark and needed to be completely redone.  The final room I viewed on my very first tour was the kitchen.  As I walked down the four steps to the kitchen, my heart sank.  We had been looking at enough old homes to know that the kitchens and bathrooms cost the most to repair and remodel.  This kitchen was literally crumbling in places.  The tiny little tiles around the sink, were rotted and you could pick them off w/ your fingers.  There were dirty stains and drips all over the walls.  When we turned on the sink faucet, the water was brown, and it poured right out from the pipes underneath.

Although the windows were dirty and foggy, over the kitchen sink there was the most amazing view of our City Park directly across the street.  It was dusk the first time I went through, and the light was beautiful.  Something in that view and the light at that moment had me hooked.  I wanted this house.

What in the world possessed us to buy a house that needed so much work, when we had so little experience with remodeling and construction?   I will never completely know.  I had watched one too many episodes of "This Old House".  I had a very romanticized view of old houses, I was hooked on the character that these homes possess.  "It has so much potential" became our catch phrase.

After an inspection of the foundation and structure of the house, we were assured it was a good, solid home, built with quality craftsmanship.  

We had very little money.  I can't even explain our logic.  We were dreamers and completely clueless, really.  Our blind faith and ignorance propelled us into a home-buying venture,  that I have both regretted at times, but also been grateful for.

Now I am a single mom, and this home is my girls' and my castle. I have put my heart and soul in this house, and it has seen both good and bad times in our lives.  It has been many painstaking years of renovation and improvements, and by no means is it "finished".

It will probably always be a work in progress, but it has come a long way.  I have given up on the idea of perfection.  All the chips, imperfections, and quirks of my house are what give it the character that I cherish.

Home is definitely where my heart is, and I think my daughters feel the same.  In future posts, I will show  you some more pictures of the inside of my home, before and after.

Wishing you a place of comfort and Happy Thoughts,

I am participating in My Romantic Home's "Show and Tell Friday", check it out here:

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.  -William Arthur Ward

Today is was not the quote that inspired my musings, but the feeling...grateful, or being full of gratitude, for the blessings in my life.  Just the definition puts a smile on my face, in part - "positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive".

When the stresses of daily life become overwhelming, I have to stop and remember that I truly am grateful for many things in my life.

There are the obvious, such as my beautiful daughters, comfortable home, and supportive parents.  I am also grateful for the wonderful staff and boss I work for and with at the school I work at.  The parents who surprise me with Starbucks, or take the time the say thank you, or that they appreciate me.  I am grateful for the students who present me with their precious artwork that I can hang over my desk.

                                                             Isn't she cute?
I am also grateful for the things that are considered in our modern lives as a necessity.  My truck, for example.  I never thought I'd drive a truck.  My ex-husband always had one, I mean lots of "guys" drive them...but me?  I barely ever drove his when we were married.  I have always dreamed of owning a Volkswagen Bug.  You know, Herbie, that cute little car with personality?   After my divorce, as my car was nearing the 10 year mark, and my oldest daughter was nearing 16, it was time to start thinking about a new vehicle.  Now, car shopping is one of my least favorite things to do...I don't like the wheeling and dealing that goes on.  I decided to keep it simple and buy my next car through an online broker. 

When I started really looking at my life, I realized I needed something bigger than my beloved Bug.  So, three years ago, for my 40th birthday, I bought myself a truck.  It has a backseat that is the same size as any car I've ever owned, so driving the kids and their friends around is still possible.  I love not having to find someone to help me pick up larger than average items.  I am always working on my house and garden, so there has been many times my trusty little truck has not let me down.  I love being so high up, I kind of feel like queen of the road, even though overall my truck is not that much bigger than the Camry I used to drive.  Road trips to Tahoe and San Diego are a piece of cake now that I have the room to haul whatever we need.  I can't imagine now, how I would have moved my daughter in to college without my truck. 
I even have sticker on the back that reads:  "Silly boys, trucks are for girls". 

As you can tell, I really love my truck : )

What are you grateful for in your life?

Wishing you gratitude and Happy Thoughts,
All packed up for Tahoe