Archive for the ‘Everyday’ Category

Minnesota is the state in which I was born and raised.  I’ve never lived outside of the state and don’t intend to ever leave it.  I’m not a cry baby about the cold and snow in the wintertime and I can survive the heat and humidity of summertime.  Spring and autumn are most glorious here, especially autumn.

But this isn’t a post about the reds, golds and oranges shown across the forests of Minnesota in autumn.  It’s summertime and the colors in my back yard during spring and summer are absolutely glorious when it comes to Husby’s excellent execution of landscaping.  Blooming occurs at different times of the season.

Bridal Wreath Spirea




Sweet Woodruff





Even the herbs have lovely blossoms


But there’s more color to Minnesota summers than flowers, shrubs and herbs.  The weather has a definite color too.  Yes, I said weather.  The color of weather for Minnesota summers is green.  Green means “go!” for severe weather.  Thunderstorms and tornados are a way of life.  Could mean running to the basement for shelter, or going outside for photo ops.


Grey and green in definite layers, from the west…not a sign of peace.


Beautiful, yet threatening.


Green skies send warnings but are so fascinating.

And then comes the storm.  But weather is as fickle as a gigolo.  It looks beautiful, it could turn dangerous.  It spreads it’s fury here and there, hither and thither.  One part of our area had to call out the snow plows to rid the streets of the hail that fell.  Our deck…not such a big deal, but still was a weather thing.

So, so green, and pouring little pellets of ice in the middle of summertime. Nature is awesome.

Blue skies, blooms of white, red, purple and pink shining in the summer sunlight.  Then comes the green.  Green skies that pour all sorts of havoc.  It’s all about colors this time of year, and they’re all glorious.

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Fifty Years

I spent a total of thirty-six years and eight months at my day job when I decided I’d had enough.  It had nothing to do with money; if it did I would have stayed another thirty-six years.  But when enough is enough, it’s enough and life goes on the best it can.

There’s someone out there who just celebrated his fiftieth year at the day job.  The difference between him and me is that he’s been doing something he loves.  He’s rich enough to have retired at least two decades ago so money has nothing to do with his decision to keep going.  He’s got a passion for what he does, and his passion has been a part of my life since the summer of 1970.

I was playing in the yard with the transistor radio singing beside me.  A song came on which brought me to tears.  It was the first song I ever cried to. I was nine years old.  The song was Holly Holy.  I reminded me of art class with Miss Magnuson where she’d play music while we created.

Neil Diamond has been touring the United States this year since April and forges on through July and will continue on to Europe in honor of fifty years in the music business.  Charlotte invited me to spend an evening with Neil at the Excel Center in St. Paul, MN.  It was absolutely fabulous.  Neil’s voice is as strong as ever at the age of seventy-six and he’s still got some sexy moves to boot.  Sexy at seventy-six?  Oh yeah.  Plus he’s got some cute facial hair going on now.

Neil filled the arena.  Some of the thrill of being at the concert was being there with thousands of people who love him and his music as much as I do.

Pre show. So, so many people. You’d think Brother Love was in town.

I wonder what it’s like to be adored by thousands, nay, millions.  To create works that touch people’s souls.  To perform those works and have the cheers filling your ears.

Who knows, maybe this is old hat for Neil Diamond.  Does he have expectations regarding concert and recording sales?  Does he get disappointed if he doesn’t meet his own expectations?  Does he get tired of his “customers” as I did after a mere thirty-six years in public service?  What’s he after?  Adoration?  Money?  Fulfilling a dream?

In the spotlight backed up by a loyal band. How could this ever feel “normal?”

You hear all the time about how you should live your dreams and pursue your passions.  I don’t know if passions are on a scale (motherhood?  international fame?) or if most of us don’t even actualize our dreams.  Seems to me most of us are just getting along and feeding off the wonderment of exceptional art, music, and literature of others.  Most of us have regular lives, but there’s a little part of me who wants to know how it feels to have scores of people admire my accomplishments.

Alas, I’ve not felt millions feeling my passions, but my fans remain true.  I’m spending time doing what I like, maybe even love, and I feel joy for the kudos I get for doing what I do.  I’m satisfied, but still wonder what it would be like to be so talented, so likeable, so admired as to bring tears to others, to inspire others to exclaim in cheers with what I’ve done.

Encore with the spotlights on the fans on their feet singing along with the music they grew up with.

Neil Diamond, you’ve been in my life for over forty years.  I turn to you to return to my past, to gain solace in the present, and to remind me how I have to express myself and spew out what make me me.  Thanks for the many decades of enjoyment and inspiration you’ve given me and millions of others.  You’ve made a huge difference in the world.


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Last week was a week constructed to point out all of my failings, all of my insecurities, and all of the strength I could muster to get things done, which strength I might add, was mighty and brave.  I rocked last week despite the challenges…I think.  I did the best I could, and who could ask any more than that?

Here’s the thing.  I’ve been working online for a long time.  My Etsy shop works, my blog is out in the blogosphere, there’s an e-mail address with my name on it, and I’m on Facebook and Twitter.  For an oldster like me that’s pretty impressive.

Being online requires one challenge for me – the machine that can get me there.  Cell phones and personal computers freak me out because there’s always an upgrade, an improvement, a new version.

I’m not one of those people who grabs the first new piece of equipment available.  I don’t stand in line to get the newest smart phone, nor do I decide to upgrade my PC (Windows 20578?)  to every upgrade available.

My shameful secret…until last week I was running on Windows Vista.

It worked for me, for a very long time.  Vista is laughable now.  It’s like having a TV with a picture tube.  OK, fine, I still have a TV with a picture tube.  Seriously, I do.  I also don’t own a microwave oven, so call me Amish.

The thing is, Microsoft Vista started letting me down, what with it being unsupported and all, so I decided to bite the bullet and go computer shopping.  For anyone who doesn’t know, shopping gives me great mental anxiety, which causes incredible physical ramifications especially if I’m not completely informed on the product I’m buying.  Plus, I hate doing research so my being informed is usually not a thing.  Add this to the equation – my mom has Microsoft XP, also unsupported.  We’re both living with machines that are completely useless.

Off we go, me and Mom, to the computer store.  Inspired by the bravery and eagerness of my mom, we both invested in a new laptop in short order.

By now I’ve spent some time with my new friend, the amazingly fast and up-to-date computer.  There’s still a lot to learn having been so out of touch for so long, but I’m satisfied.  More than satisfied.  I’ll use this laptop with Windows 10 until it dies, just like I did with Vista, and then venture onto another computer around the year 2030.


Now that Mom and I have our new computers we’re all set to go, minus a little learning curve.  Charlotte went through the process mere months ago so she can guide us if necessary.  Printers, wireless accessories, service providers, security providers, new and different screens to navigate…lots of things to reconcile.  I’ll never be up to date with technology, which is kind of a good thing because that tells me I’m aging at a much slower pace than technology, considering technology grows exponentially.

I totally don’t want to grow exponentially.

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You know how humdrum the days can be.  Routines done on autopilot, day-to-day activities that might drain you of your resources – that’s life.  When you have some dying trees in your back yard that need immediate attention, you have to step out of everyday life.  Because there’s nothing humdrum or routine about having tree guys on the scene.

Husby and I have a boatload of poplars lining our back yard.  Poplars have a lifespan of about thirty years.  Our poplars were planted when the house was built in 1989.  They’re dying.  And dead.  The deads had to go lest we or any of our neighbors get a sixty-foot tree laying on our houses at the next wind storm.  We called Maximum Tree Service and Landscaping.**  And then the excitement began…

We had seven trees to be removed, all dead, and this mighty piece of equipment made everyone’s job a little easier.

The little thing is a mechanical genius, and the operator is a human genius. A powerful piece of equipment has never before been so effective. Love the BoXer.

And then there are the humans who make the whole tree removal thing seem easy.  It’s dangerous, it involves physics and smarts, and most of all, these guys have guts.

Even the ground guys like to watch the climber do his thing. I was in complete awe. I want a pair of those spiky boots.


And then tree climber guy is hanging/working above the roofs and most of the tree tops. He’s not even scared. I asked him.

The high climber was indeed a sight to behold not only for me and Husby, but for our neighbors as well.


OK, so the climber is a pretty amazing character.  But the ground crew is equally impressive.  They spotted, sawed, and hauled with choreography rarely seen outside a concert hall.

Not a smidgen of damage done to the surrounding trees, fence, or other obstacles in the yard.




It made a lot of noise, but I think it’s fun to watch a chipper in action…from a distance.


Not only did they take down the trees with ease, they cleaned up the fallen branches, logs, and trunks of the trees perfectly.  I was incredibly impressed with the fact that they even blew and gathered the sawdust on the lawn and cleaned up sticks in the neighbor’s yard.  And in the street!


What a relief to have those seven dead trees out of the yard, threatening to hurl branches or fall down completely during an upcoming summer storm.  It was a fun morning for Husby and me, and an exciting show for our neighbors too.  No complaints and a little conversing with friends over the fence – fun for all!

Thanks, Tree Guys.  You’re all awesome!

**This is not a solicited post.  I highly recommend this company; however, all of the information given and photos taken are for my own enjoyment and satisfaction.


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It’s Time

Hello – it’s April!  Do you know what that means? Spring cleaning!

I know, the Spring Cleaning is a ritual that is pretty out of date and I don’t know of many people who engage in this utterly satisfying practice, but this year I’m going to hit it to the hilt.  I hope.

If you don’t participate in this yearly ritual, think again.  Murphy’s Oil Soap is a lovely fragrance to have hanging around your house and gets rid of all of those sticky wooden surfaces.  Hand rails, cupboards – they totally need a cleaning!

I have a plan this year, but it’s anyone’s guess if I complete it.  I started with my beloved East Wing room.  It’s not really a “wing,” but I’ve named all of the rooms in my house that that’s what “my” room is called.  I tackled the closet of the East Wing and this is what I’ve emptied out so far…

That’s not even all of it!  The closet is your standard-sized closet, plus a little extra but  nothing like a walk,in and this is what came out of it.  Ack!

Those file folders on the ride side of the photo?  Business records.  I spent over two hours going through those, getting rid of at least six years of paper.  Some of it went into the recycle bin, the majority of it went into a container saved to burn.  That’s right, burn.  And for anyone reading who cares, the burning materials are staple free.  Yes, head of the family cottage, there will be no staples in the burning barrel!  (You’re welcome, Dad.)

A few hours later everything was sorted and consolidated and organized and put back into the closet, or sent out for disposal.  It doesn’t take a huge amount of time to attack a spring cleaning project, and the reward is so fabulous.  You’ll feel like a hero.  You’ll feel like a super-hero.  You’ll feel like, dare I say, a god(dess)!

There are several more spring cleaning projects in store at the Auntie B’s Wax World Headquarters.  I realize my house cleaning practices aren’t very interesting to anyone other than me, but my pride necessitates a post to encourage domestic goddesses everywhere.  Clean up that wood work!  Vacuum that furniture!  Launder those window draperies!  Put on that first t-shirt of the year (in Minnesota at least), open the windows and let the fresh air in while you scrub away the dirt and grime of the previous year.

Oh sure, it’s all going to get dirty again because, well, you live in your house.  You fry food, you burn fires in the fireplace, you touch stuff.  That’s no reason to ignore the most satisfying cleaning experience of your life.

And plus, don’t forget to polish those windows, inside and out.  You won’t regret it.

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Cocky Kitchen

Disclaimer:  This is not a nasty, dirty, naughty, slang-word post.  It’s completely G-rated and any misinterpretation of rhetoric is no fault of the author.

The definition of cock…

1.  a male chicken; rooster
2. the male of any bird, especially of the gallinaceous kind

Now that we’re on the same page, talking about roosters (aka cocks), I can proceed.

I blame the French.  Apparently they are the ones who brought cocks into our kitchens.

“The rooster is an essential element of the countryside because of his role as the alarm clock and guardian. Day after day, he wakes up at the crack of dawn and proudly crows at the sun, waking up the rest of the farm. He proudly struts around the farmyard, bobbing his tail feathers, and bravely protects the rest of the flock.”

“Because color is so important to the French Country look, the rooster is the perfect accessory for many French Country homes and kitchens. Large ceramic roosters are common decorations on countertops and tables. Of course, ceramic statues aren’t the only way to decorate with roosters. They’re also used as motifs on dining linens.”**

I have a cock kitchen.  I think it began when I got married and inherited Husby’s cocks.

Husby’s cock cutting board and recipe box might have inspired the whole thing.

I didn’t even know the history of cocks in the kitchen when I started to accumulate the colorful, feathered friends to my kitchen.  It’s kind of like a Jungian archetype.

An innocent, yet oh so appropriate, gift. The giver had no idea cocks were hot in our kitchen.


Electric cocks! We chose our chandelier to match the cock theme.


Cock valance.


A decorative cock plate, Lenox, no less.


Collectibles scavenged from past generations and given as gifts because, well, cocks.

During the 2016 Christmas season Charlotte presented Husby and me with a host(ess) gift when she and her family came to our house for some cheer.  She called it The Christmas Cock.

I love this thing and it totally goes with the cock theme in my kitchen.  It’s about 18 inches tall – not that size matters.


The Christmas Cock

Does your kitchen have a theme?  Can you laugh about it?


** http://blog.couleurnature.com/why-the-rooster-is-quintessential-to-french-country-design/

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