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I got an expansive hate comment on my blog long ago. I was accused of living a charmed life full of manicures and antiquing trips. If you saw me on a real day in my life this past week/month, you’d be equally amused as I am at that thought.

in my didningroom on Shalavee.com

While I concede that I am still living a first world life with running water and a roof that doesn’t leak, everyone has some rotten days and bad luck they must live through. Right? Or do they?

I got to wondering if there are some people who live in Grace Bubbles. When they have an appliance go up on Christmas Eve, they know just the right person to call to have it taken care of and have a set aside fund for appliance emergencies. Or they are so Zen with their faith that they know the solution will come soon and they’ll hang until it finds them? Because I want to live those people’s lives. This is what happened to me instead.

House in Easton on SHalavee.com

Our dryer ceased to work around Wednesday. By Friday, I had ordered another heatcoil hoping that, like the last time it broke maybe 5 years ago, we could replace it and be in the drying business again. I do a happy dance when the coil comes the following Wednesday. But after Mark puts it in and there’s still no heat, I concede that it’s a “brain” part that’s died and we’re buying a new dryer. With the bickering kids in the backseat, I head down that evening to the our local Lowes (appliances and DIY store) where I find out that they won’t have the one that we want, the one that matches the washer we just replaced and paid off, for another two weeks.

Option two was me buying one from a store in the neighboring state by phone which will be tax free but undeliverable (and thus uninstallable by anyone other than my husband) to our address. Mark will now be picking up said dryer and then de-installing both the washer and dryer (the sink blocks a straight in entry) and reinstalling the dryer and washer on Saturday midst the birthday party set up. I told him to get another man with a strong young back to help.

What does my brain do when all of this is happening? Well I panic that I won’t be able to do my job, especially when I was just about to go medieval with Fiona’s potty training and the quantity of pee soaked clothing is exponential when you take a way the pull-ups/diapers. And I can also tell that my inner control freak doesn’t like situations where I am not in control. Period. But what I also hear myself doing is flipping the “It’ll never be good” and the “It’ll always be bad” coin. These are my go-to cognitive distortions .

Easton on Shalavee.com

And then I actually caught myself catastrophizing this morning as I was saying, “I’ve nothing to look forward to soon and have no me-time planned either”. The birthday party planning isn’t apparently ending in a fun birthday party for me. This may or may not be true but I’ll enjoy it all the same. So when Fiona threw her nap for a second day in a row today, I didn’t even dwell on it because this I actually expect. Adjusting my expectations accordingly is a tricky business. I can let go of the frustration of my inability to control her.

And that brings me to my last Aha. For this whole month, I have been really working hard in all aspects of my life. I’ve worked daily at getting what I needed done in a way that removes the dread and anticipation away from any given task by placing one foot in front of the other until its done. Because if you combine dread with those cognitive distortions of “it’ll always be this way’ and you’ve got a cocktail for paralysis ready to be swilled down without another thought. But this month was about shedding the fear and doing that which I recognize needs doing. Conceding to my lack of control and doing what I can. And doing it until it’s done without thinking too much. It’s about having a little faith beyond the circumstances in what you and your life will provide you. Knowing that if you do your best you’ll always get better than not.

I pretty much called out every little response and behavior that I knew wasn’t creating good feelings within me and set my sights on recognizing the negative thoughts sooner. I also decided to post seven days in a row of posts on gratitude on Instagram. Because you can’t feel sad or mopey when you are Grateful! I worked super hard this week, gave myself credit for it, and am feeling slightly better for it.

Anything you have to add, please do?

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Last Saturday morning, my microwave committed hari kari. I punched the go button and it yelled at me. I yelled back. Stupid microwave. Turns out, the date on the inside said 2003. Really? I could not believe it had been almost eight years since I bought it. It was older than my six year old. It looked good still. Not like all the other disposed of microwaves in the world.

I couldn’t stand the gaping hole in the cabinet. So I drove a long way to get a new one from Sears. I looked for the same one and purchased its current equal, paying an extra twenty five dollars for the stainless steel version. I got it home and wouldn’t you know, it was a half inch larger in every direction. All fine until the up direction which forced me to remove the shelf above.

And I still had minutes to spare for “operation replace microwave” until I notice that the plug was different. Where the previous plug was straight, this one was the right angled kind. The kind that lays flat behind the appliance. Fine if the receptacle is located behind the appliance. But we’d stuck it above the cabinet where the cord had to snake through holes in the shelves. Holes that were too small now. In ten minutes, I’d drilled holes and taken my jigsaw in an unkosher fashion to open those holes up and accommodate the right angly plug. I was just in time to meet the school bus outside the house.

Today I broke the carafe to my coffee pot. That’s what I get for having a cast iron sink And I wasn’t really in the mood to be domestic as I went to wash the pot out for tomorrow. In fact, I usually let my husband do that since he makes the coffee being the first one up. Don’t clean the kitchen angry. I pitched a fit as I went down to fetch the old coffee maker from the basement. Us coffee addicts are always prepared. I even had an extra carafe for the old coffee pot. Fat lot of good it does me with the pot I broke today.

Husband suggested looking online for a new carafe. Not a bad idea considering that’s the way I’ve replaced a part for my refrigerator (plastic parts holding the weight of two crisper drawers is a design flaw) and the heating element to our dryer that went out on the day after Christmas, of course. My visiting sister dried the last of her clothes, the dryer broke, and she said adios. Husband wedged himself behind the dryer and took out the twenty hex head screws to discover the manual inside and directions that had him opening up the front of the machine, of course.

The dishwasher gave it up two years ago. And the water heater was replaced nine years ago. The oven and clothes washer are both almost six years old. Which appliance is the next up for catastrophe? Adjustable expectations may be the only way to save yourself. Always expect the Spanish inquisition.

One thing goes wrong and suddenly everything has gone wrong. You start to throw all sorts of layers of bad on the poo sandwich. You call forth all the indignities and broken appliances and you put them right on that sandwich and you take a big old bite.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my life took a little spill recently. I changed medications and this was harder to deal with than I would have imagined. I have been living as one person for a while. I believed myself to be more unshakeable and temperate. And then I ‘m crying and angry.

Who am I?

My head begins to spin thinking of all the things. Work undone, broken unattended, and relationships un-mended. Every ache and creak mean imminent disaster. Maybe I should leave the house or meditate or call a friend. And then I just sit.

Maybe it feels like too much to handle.

Perhaps I’m complicating my interpretation. I might need to take a nap and return to myself later. There is no great answer to it all, especially in overwhelm mode.

I think it’s all in the way you look at it, the perspective you give it.

So, I offer you the opportunity to look at your life differently in those moments. Instead of opening up for another great big bite of poo sandwich, perhaps quickly jot down 5 things that you have been grateful for within the last week. For me, cute cat videos, roasted beets, fluffy clouds, clean laundry, and beautiful children.

And now I start again.


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Tidy isn't the same as clean on Shalavee.com

Look around at my house and most of the time, it is tidy. I try to pick up after the mini tornado creators every day and a half. The feeling I have seeing no clutter beats the chaos I feel when I look around and see stuff everywhere. But there’s still the layer below that that niggles at me. The secret filth that I know is lurking everywhere that I will never conquer.

There’s the grease that flies around the kitchen because there’s no exhaust fan in there. It covers the back stairs and the fan and the top of the refrigerator. Eventually, I stab at it with degreaser but really there’s no winning that war. Until I get an exhaust fan.

Tidy isn't the same as clean on Shalavee.com

There’s the scuffed up dirty wooden floors that need to be revamped and haven’t seen a good mopping in I can’t remember how long. Clean doesn’t comprise just vacuuming but when the floors look this bad, who cares.

Tidy isn't the same as clean on Shalavee.com

There’s the layers of dust in hard places I can’t see that are too hard to reach. And the filth under the appliances that are too hard to move to care to get to. See, there’s an understanding that dirt is literally lurking everywhere and while I take a stab at scrubbing it off the windows every season and waxing my kitchen floor every month, there will never ever be a moment when I am alive that this house will be clean.

So I settle for tidy. And hope no one with white gloves comes for a visit.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

I’ve been in sort of auto-pilot mode for the past couple months. Knowing I could only handle so much, hoping the world wouldn’t hand me anymore and resenting anyone and anything that did. I was fearful of the thing that would come along and tip my precariously balanced mirage of “all good” over. I chewed my lip and kept putting one foot in front of another. I awaited the post holiday unbuttoning of the pants.

Holiday Re-Entry on Shalavee.com

And while everyone I loved was taken care of as best I could, my own introverted creative needs for solace and thought were abandoned. Yes, I am a mother with mother duties and no I’m not resentful. It is what it is. A noble attempt to provide a chaos-free happy Christmas to the ones I love in remembrance of all those holidays I lived in chaos and misery.

I can not find fault in my recreation of holiday traditions that feel safe and joyful. And the moment I was out of obligation-land, I turned my eye in to resee who I am and what I need. And what I found was that I was still in tact, had not given up, and was ready to revisit my goals and intentions for the new year of me with a newly angled view.

Holiday Re-Entry on Shalavee.com

See, I know I did my best. Through the month and a half of holidays and the accompanying trials and tribulations of family matters and dying appliances, I did my best. I kept putting one foot in front of another and I held it together as I produced another special event that sparkled and giggled and tasted as good as it smelled. I am proud of myself for keeping the car on the road. And the earned pride and knowledge that I am the best person to be with when the plane crashes assures me that whatever I’ve got coming up will work out better than I ever imagine.

What I decided is that it’s my perception of what will happen, based on whether I think I’m capable or not, that brings up the feelings of fear and dread. But we really don’t need to dread our own lives. Instead, I’d like to hold the view of what I’m doing with a child’s curiosity. I want to want to see what’s going to happen looking forward to what I might earn that will make me better. My anticipation of failure only serves to squash the fun. But being present and doing everything for my satisfaction first has proven an unfailing method to stay true to me.

Holiday Re-Entry on Shalavee.com


As I sat here this morning responding to a prompt on Instagram of What I want for 2018, I came up with these words

to guide my choices this year:

Perspective ..Safety……Joy……Inspiration…..Value……Chances…..Strength…..Hope.

My feelings of my life is what I am truly living every day. So let my eyes be wide enough to see all the wonder and possibility.

If you enjoyed what you read, please subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

I notice that sometimes there are items that will sit on my to-do list for an uncomfortably long time, taunting me with their incompletion. The reasons why they are not being accomplished had evaded me. But they linger like a pain deep in my hip saying there’s something worth an x-ray going on in there. And this hallway renovation had become “one of those things”.

Hallway update on Shalavee.com

I recognized the hold up sometime ago when I wrote about the stalled renovations in this post titled Weird Spaces and a Plan and what I realized it meant in the bigger picture. I had yet to see myself as my future self. I was stuck in a purgatory between who I used to be and who I’d yet to decide I’d become. And so the hallway sat, halfway undecorated, dark, and a victim to whatever fell there. Until I began to decide to stand for what I am already. When I decided to be me again. And I bought this beautiful kilim rug.

I hadn’t spent any money on anything new for the house, other than appliances, in a very very long time. But I suddenly became obsessed with the idea that I wanted a kilim rug and that once I had the rug of my dreams, everything else would fall into place. True and truth.

Once the rug was in place, I felt hopeful. And then I began to plan my daughter’s birthday party. And I had to renovate something because, as we all know, parties are really just an excuse to renovate. So I scheduled the hallway painting for this week. Which meant, working backwards, I had to buy the paint beforehand. And this meant, I had to choose the paint colors. So one morning a couple weeks ago, I sat down on the rug in the sunshine and I picked out all the colors.

Hallway update on Shalavee.com

But it wasn’t until yesterday standing on the ladder with a roller in my hand, that it hit me. This hall was being completely transformed in one week’s time and this had taken me ten years to give myself permission to do. Yes there had been a question of how to “deal” with the bas relief diamonds I had so cleverly adhered to the walls 15 years ago. And then the other day I realized I just needed to spackle over them. Duh. So queen of the spackle bucket went and bought a $20 bucket of spackle, which seems to have gotten way heavier in ten years, and in one day the walls were ready.

We are not ready until we are ready. The lesson isn’t about time restraints or monetary resources. The lesson is about being ready and being patient until you are. I can’t say I have all the details hammered out yet. Because sometimes we need to be in process to decide and sometimes we need to live with stuff before we can make a decision. And of course, I may also need to change my mind about any of the redecoration choices I have made. The point is, you will start when you are ready and finish when you are done. And allowing that to be the truth will save you many years of judgement on yourself and others.

It is what it is until it isn’t anymore.

Here’s to having most of it completed when the birthday party happens in a month!

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.


I struggle and shuffle stuff around in my head to make sense of my money thoughts. I’ve perused Susie Ormand books. I’ve listened to podcasts and pinned books and talked about it with my husband and my therapist. I just don’t have a very good relationship with my money thoughts. And that’s a problem.

In the past, money was the source of fights with my ex. I made it and he spent it. I did a really good job bailing myself out of debt after that marriage to buy my house. I had worked hard for a good credit score and we got the house because of it. But 14 years in this dilapidated house, two new businesses, fixed roofs and appliances, a surprise hospital visit while uninsured, and two babies later and we’ve definitely hit a monetary wall. We spent more than we made and our debt scared me.

There is such a lack of abundance hangover in our American society. It manifests as an obsession of more for less. A friend pointed out to me that getting more of any thing, be it clothes or makeup or stuff, doesn’t equate to more happiness. It’s as if this never enough mentality is our birth right. Never skinny enough, slept enough, appreciated enough, or have time enough. It’s a perpetual spinning cycle of not enoughness. No one sees what they really have, their family or good health, as something to be grateful for.

Money Matters on Shalavee.com

“Not-enoughness certainly shows up in our money relationships — but it goes deeper than that. It’s a mindset. A way of being founded in the illusion of deprivation, instead of in the reality of provision, gratitude, and sufficiency in the here-and-now. Enoughness is not a static accomplishment: it lives and breathes in you.”  Bari Tessler from her brilliant post It’s Never Just About the Money , and excerpt from her The Art of Money book.

This is basic primal stuff. Well known psychologist Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory says you can not grow when your primary needs of food and shelter are not met. Homeless and hungry is not a good thing for your psyche and you won’t feel good about yourself to be able to contribute what you have to give. There are many psychological nuances at play around money and it’s power over self-worth even when you seemingly have enough. Self-worth and love has become entangled in my money mind and it’s messing me up.

Money Matters on Shalavee.com

As a kid, I experienced my mom’s shame around a bout with unemployment and receiving government funds and that felt like shame and less-than-ness. I am always subconsciously fearful of being there again so I keep my credit scores good by making timely payments. I try to pay a little over my credit card minimums. But I act richer than I am. Not wanting to be caught with yellowing underwear or needing the flea meds for the cats, I bought those on credit. Mark’s business needed time to stand by itself. Perhaps , as Bari Tessler suggests, this is not about money at all but our perception of enough.

We can easily spend more than we make. With one income and 4 people with needs, sometimes you just can’t say no. A gift from a family member alleviated some of our worries for paying our taxes and provided a needed reprieve during a very stressful time when Mark lost his Dad. But this is still a very weighty subject for me. I’m not earning anything and that makes me feel less-than. Even though I do my job well, it’s a non-paying job.

My major problem is that I just don’t know how to be OK with money thoughts.

My major problem is that I just don’t know how to be OK with money thoughts. There’s anxiety and love struggles buried under there. I’m so disassociated from monetary abundance thoughts that I recognize it as a downfall. A personal fault. A retardation of a sort. I also know that if I’m going to be writing and asking for money, the money problems are going to block me from the writing. And that’s the biggest problem of all. When money fears impede with artistic expression and growth, I need an intervention.

I am gathering my materials and my thoughts and I also need to gather a support group I suppose. If you have any references to suggest, please share. If you have had any similar set backs, I’d love to hear your stories. I work hard to keep it all organized, balance the checkbooks immediately when the statement comes in, and try to make a budget for us. But I think that’s all superficial, that the relationship I have with money and success is where my work lies. Seeing it as energy/permission and not cash/greed/stuff may be the direction I need to head in. And appreciating what I have. Cheryl Crow  sings,  “It’s not getting what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.”

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Seems I’ve become a grumpy old lady and my onset of geriatric bad attitude was ignited and continues to be fueled by our carousel of appliance heartache. It would be farcical if it didn’t affect my housewife happiness so hard.

The washer from Shalavee.com

The last tragedy was the washer lost in October. The drum just broke off the arm it was attached to for 7 years. And the Youtube video guy who had taken this same washer apart with the same affliction had this tone in his voice that seemed to suggest that Sears knows exactly how long that pot metal “spider arm” will hold.

Stovetop on Shalavee.com

Around the same time, our March 2014 “new” 80 gallon water heater, had one of its two coils die. It broke after only 8 months of use. Really? They replaced the part for free but we had to do the physical replacing ourselves. Well Mark did but because of carpal tunnel surgery, he had a friend assist.

Don’t even get me started talking about the Dual Fuel Sears Stove! Read about that here and here.

New dishwasher on Shalavee.com
regrigerator on Shalavee.com

And this week, it was the dishwasher. We hadn’t had it but maybe four years. Sadly, I think it may have been Fiona sitting on the door that killed it. It was a Maytag and Mark has now officially sworn this brand off now. He’s in the kitchen now hot wiring the new dishwasher into the quad box behind it. Thank goodness the plumbing is hoses. The DIY thing can be great unless you’re way out of your league.

I was glad I bought that nice smelling green apple dish soap because I’ve done dishes by hand for a week at least. Mark’s hand operation put him out of service for a few days of dish washing. It’s my job you know. And these appliances are all tools to make my job easier. But if they fail, I’m going to still do them. Remember my trip to the laundromat? The refrigerator has leprosy. Our Hari Kari microwave? I don’t mind doing these housework chores but I’ll not say I enjoy them.

The microwave on Shalavee.com

Within a year, we’re now a couple hundred more dollars in the hole for the water heater, washer, and the dishwasher. And that is just how it is. These appliances are just made to be disposable. This isn’t the same country that used to take pride in American Made to Last. And that is really what irks me. The concept of “Buy it cheap and save money” is turning consumers into chumps. And if there is no longer integrity in product production, we’re throwing away our money and filling up our landfills.

Gladly, Christmas took it’s time getting here this year. It didn’t sneak attack but rather stealthily aimed itself at my life and I prepared for the onslaught with the small people in mind. It’s easy to be slack about holiday happenings when you’re a swingin’ single gal. You are carefree as it ought to be. Because the next phase of your life involves being responsible for small lives and their happiness forever.

Playing with the Christmas loot on shalavee.com

Littles need lots of selfless consideration, preferably well in advance so you don’t get knocked for a loop when the big present might not arrive in time. But there’s really nothing to be done about the fading sound of the ringing of the belief bell.

Her very own laptop on Shalavee.com

Christmas 2014 highlights necessarily include happiness and a little disaster. Of course Eamon woke up the first day of Christmas break sneezing and gifted me his cold for Christmas. My nose was in the holiday mode with red and green nostril discharge at any given time throughout. Festive! And Fiona can now say Ah-choo, so funny.

And then Christmas Eve, I walked into our office to see Fiona at the desk on the chair with my open laptop pressing the on button. And then pressed it off. It would seem that the computer has to “repair” itself after such an incident. I thought my brain would explode with worrying. And then, for some unknown reason, I thought it would then be a fabulous idea to make another round of cookies that same day too. But everything is well that ends well.

Waiting for the cookies to bake on shalavee.com

Our new hot water heater, installed last Spring, hadn’t been doing its 80 gallon best and a test of the bottom element found it to be bad. Really? I think I’m officially a grumpy old lady because new appliances are now a dreadful thing to me. Like when you get them and they don’t work or they’re really loud or they aren’t as efficient as the last one. Hate that. I offer my vacuum cleaner picture as proof.

Kenmore vacuums aren't what they used to be on Shalavee.com

But Mark went right ahead and called and the part will be here this week. Unfortunately he’ll have to install it and that should prove tricky with his hand healing after a carpal tunnel operation tomorrow. One hand Stan I’ll be calling him.

Princess potty on Shalavee.com

Happiness was everywhere. I decorated three beautiful trees without a hitch. There were no complaints about the presents because either the child got what they wanted or didn’t have a clue that such a day existed and was so very happy to have new presents magically appear. And this year I made sure to number the presents on the bottoms with a master list for me so the present shaker was thrown off. It worked!!!

All three children together on Shalavee.com

But most of all, my children were happy and healthy and here with us opening presents and stealing candy cane chunks to suck until she spit out the plastic wrapping. And we had food on our table that we shared. More than some others during these holy days. If we could get around our shame and our pride, many people could enjoy their holidays just a little more.

So Happy New Year to All and I hope you have much to be grateful for.

See you in 2015. Otherwise known as Friday.


When last I spoke of the stove, the story wasn’t going well. Sears had “messed” up. All their kiss butt customer service people couldn’t put it back together again. And I had given up hope. But not Mark (or Kathy). No. He was the picture of perseverance. He went online to a company called PartSimple who refurbishes parts. And ordered us up some rehabbed stove’s brains for $137, plus shipping.

My Dandy Handyman

The part came on Tuesday. He said Thursday he’d put it in. I had waited this long. Today, Thursday, he began to install it only to find that he was going to have to disassemble the new Johnny 5 to swap a part of the part. So he practiced pulling it apart like an assembly line pro. Did you know the soldered component boards are called “bread boards”? He did. Bad soldering memories for him. But this only involved his leatherman.

And he stuck that bad boy in and…TA DA… As I no longer dared to hope…It worked.

Fiona says he’s her favorite Daddy

So I made roasted red potatoes tonight to go with my Faidley’s crabcakes and fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden. And we may have to celebrate with a bottle of Smoking Loon Pinot Noir. Yippee. Here’s to my husband and boo hiss to Sears, you schmucks. I have my oven back no thanks to you. My friend Anne suffered the same fate with the same stove BTW.

I am glad my oven cleaning effort won’t go to waste

The beginning and end of the story, all appliances suck and are necessary. See Stupid Plastic Parts for more appliance breaking hilarity.