Friday, February 21, 2014

Cleaning Up

Clean up, clean up,
everybody, everywhere....
Clean up, clean up,
everybody do your share!

~ Barney the Purple Dinosaur

Unlike a lot of moms raising
little ones in the 90's and first
decade of the 21st century, I
was NOT a Barney snob.  

You know the ones.  They'd
roll their eyes and declare that
their children {or, when I have
kids....} would never watch a
non-animated TV show 
hosted by some guy in
a dinosaur outfit.

They were definitely missing
the point of the show, which
focused on things such as using
your imagination, good manners,
cooperation, acceptance, a thirst
for knowledge, kindness to others,
and collaboration, among many 
other wonderful themes.

My daughter, especially,
loved Barney.

While the catchy tunes that helped
to reinforce many of Barney's
lessons no longer fill the rooms
of our home, if I happen to
hear them somewhere else, I'm
amazed how I can still sing 


One of them is the Clean Up Song,
which I'm not ashamed to admit
I still hum under my breath when
I have a mess to tackle.

Since the calendar flipped to a new
year, I've been tackling closets,
drawers and other junk-attracting
areas of our house with abandon.

We moved here 13 years ago,
and while {thankfully!} I was always
good at passing along the kids' clothing
as they were outgrown, other areas
weren't met with such diligence,
or if they were, it didn't last.

Like so many people, I've started
many years determined to 
purge and get organized, with the 
goal of attacking the entire house, 
from top to bottom.

But usually, I burned out on
that mission fairly quickly.

But this year's been different.

By my estimate, I'm nearly
halfway there.

And it's still February!

I think the awesome team at the
Goodwill drive-up which I frequent
have begun to recognize me, after
all the boxes, bags and other things
I've rolled in with recently.  

As Martha would say,
It's a good thing.

And like a proud momma who keeps
sneaking into her baby's room to 
catch a peek at her pride and joy, I
find myself opening the spaces where
I've conquered clutter to simply 
relish the order that lies within.

I'm also in the middle of cleaning
up my blog page*.  I've wanted 
something less jumbled and a bit 
more restrained for a while now, 
so the focus can be on the words 
and pictures.

Like my {previously chaotic} junk
drawer, it's a work in progress,
and I am enjoying the process.

In the meantime, I'll be your
tenacious friend, cleaning out 
cupboards with  the song 
of a purple dinosaur 
in her heart ~ 

and sometimes, on her lips : )


*If you subscribe via
email, you don't see
my blog page....or its

all photos my own

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Life's Business

In the midst of what can be
a dreary time of the year
here in the northern part of
the Northern Hemisphere,
a long-anticipated season
finally arrived at our house.

Downton Abbey Season.

For one hour each week,
I'm whisked away from
sub-zero temperatures and
day to day concerns,
immersing myself instead
in the drama that is life ~
both upstairs and downstairs ~
in this beautiful English
castle set in the early
20th century.

Like any good series, each
episode touches me in some
way, makes me think, and
leaves me wanting more.

For example, this quote from one
of my favorite characters, Carson,
the head butler at Downton Abbey.

One of the acquisitions
deposited to my own

memory bank

happened on a beautiful June
evening when my husband and
I attended a Downton Abbey
inspired dinner party.

After watching DA last Sunday,
I reflected back to that June
night and thought it would be
fun to withdraw some of those
memories from my memory bank
to share with you....

Here we are, preparing to
set out for the festivities.

My hubby's mustache, which
I found at the same vintage shop
where I picked up his waistcoat,
was made of real hair.

He really got into it!

The host and hostess for
the evening are huge DA
fans and were so gracious
to open their elegant home
for this special night.

{While they do not have
a butler, this cutie greeted
us at the door.}

In the weeks leading up
to the party, we all put
on our creative hats to
come up with an outfit
worthy of Downton!

A lot of the ladies found
all or part of their attire
from thrift shops, including
me : )

The men found it a bit
more challenging to get 
into the spirit, but in the
end they were looking sharp!

Music of the era drifted 
through the house and out to
the verandah as we sipped
champagne and nibbled
on hors d'oeuvres....

The air outside was soft and
lovely.  June in Minnesota is
perfection. {Worth every 
minute of the winter months!}

The gardens were amazing.
The mistress of the house
has a fondness for flowers, 
and her touch was everywhere.

All the details filled me with
gratitude, because there was
love in every single one.

As the sun dropped low
in the sky and we lingered
over coffee and dessert, the
candles grew shorter and
the laughter grew louder,
as it tends to do when good
friends share a wonderful night.

I love Carson's idea that
the acquisition of memories
is our life's business.

That's a business we can
all invest in, because the
currency is only limited
to our imaginations.

We are all presidents
and CEOs of our very
own memory banks.

Let's fill them
to the rafters!


PS:  Click here to read about
the Mad Men inspired dinner
party at my house with this 
same group : )

{All pics except the one
of Carson are my own.}