Monday, January 25, 2010

Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever

by The FlyLady, Marla Cilley

This time of year we all start getting cabin fever. This sickness is fueled by the never-ending flow of our junk mail filled with gardening and seed catalogs. I am a sucker for them. The thought of a beautiful garden filled with fruit trees and butterflies attacking bushes and perennials makes me smile.
When we first married the patch of dirt in front of our home would not grow anything. We are surrounded by a forest. The only open spot is just above our home and where a maple tree had to be removed. Direct sunlight only happens at noon. I spent a whole winter plotting and scheming.
When I moved into Robert’s home in 1996, I was determined to make it mine too. I was not going to move in and not unpack! This went for the yard too! The first thing I needed to do was figure out what I liked and what I didn’t like about the front yard. That was easy! I didn’t like the ivy that grew on the concrete block wall that was beside our driveway. The rest was going to be a little more challenging.

As those gardening books and magazines flooded into our home I would spend 15 minutes culling through them with scissors in hand. Each time I saw something I liked, I cut it out and put it into a sheet protector. Then I placed that sheet into my Garden Control Journal. This was just a place to keep my wish list. It had no plan except for holding the things that I loved along with some interesting articles. After I was through clipping pictures, I tossed the magazine into the recycle bin. Slowly my vision for our garden began to blossom in my head and my Garden Control Journal. But it was not on the ground in front of our home. No one was going to see it stuck in my book. For this vision to come to life there had to be actions.

I began one baby step at a time and with the use of a timer. I knew me! I can hyper-focus with the best of them. I set my timer for 15 minutes and pulled some ivy! Each day I decluttered a little bit of the ivy. The best part was that I didn’t kill myself in the process.

That decluttered ivy unveiled an ugly block wall. One project led to another one. Isn’t that the way it always goes? Thank goodness! We don’t have to do it all at once. I know you really want to get your home organized RIGHT THIS MINUTE, but stop yourself! I don’t want you to crash and burn.

You can’t develop habits that will take root if you try to do everything at once. Baby steps and being kind to yourself are the seeds to growing effective habits and cultivating them into routines that will nourish you the rest of your life.
Are you ready to plant the seeds of change in your home? Get out your timer! Set it! Then go shine your sink! It is the actions that plant the seeds; not the wishing for the clean house!
For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out the Flylady’s Web site and join her free mentoring group at or get her book, “Sink Reflections” published by Bantam. Or get her New York Times best-selling book, “Body Clutter,” published by Fireside. Copyright 2010 Marla Cilley Used by permission in this publication.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Update on Annie and family

If you use this link, you should get to Annie's page and learn about the latest in her life. I wait for each blog entry, anxious to see what is up with Annie and her litter. Thanks Jo for putting in the work to keep us updated.

While you are checking things out, please stop by the PAWS-itive Partners Humane Society page on Facebook. Not sure what all the page will have on it, as it is a work in progress.

If you have ideas of things to include, please send an e-mail to me at

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happiness is Not a State You Visit

by The FlyLady,
Marla Cilley
All I have ever wanted for you was happiness! As I stand in front of my fireplace, I realize I have surrounded myself with things that make me happy.
Pam and Peggy's book "The Happiness File" taught me many wonderful ways to nurture myself and identify what really does make me happy. At first you don't know what makes you happy. You just know what does not make you happy.
For me it started with shining my sink. I knew that a sink full of dirty dishes made me as bad as that nasty water smelled.
When I focused on that one habit of keeping my sink clean and shiny, I found happiness each morning. The joy of cooking returned because I was not already behind before starting to cook. That one little habit changed my life.
My next habit was decluttering for 15 minutes a day. I had held on to so many painful memories. The act of getting those out of my home gave me joy. I would never have to feel those unhappy memories again as I walked across the room. Now my home only has good memories. If an item becomes a bad memory, I immediately declutter it.
I learned from the Happiness File that simple routines for the morning, afternoon and evening can free me up to enjoy the beauty that is all around me. With my work done, I was free to play, free to create or free to just sit. No guilt! A life with no guilt is a happy life.
Do you want to find happiness? Just sitting and hoping that happiness will find you is not going to happen. It takes practice to find out what brings you joy. With "The Happiness File," I was able to work on one habit each month to help me find my joy. With this habit of practicing new things each month I found my calling in life!
I built my very own happiness file right under my own roof. I had happy places in every room of my home: My kitchen had a clean and shiny sink, my living room had my favorite chair and a clean coffee table, my bedroom had a comfy bed that was made and my bathroom was clean and inviting each time I went in there. That was a lot because I was drinking my water and taking care of myself.
Happiness is not a state you visit for a short period to time. It is a place you reside. Make your home your happiness file and you will find the joy that you have been searching for right under your own roof.
* * * * *
For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out The FLYlady's Website and join her free mentoring group at or get her book, "Sink Reflections," published by Bantam. Her New York Times Best-Selling book, "Body Clutter," is published by Fireside. Copyright 2010 Marla Cilley Used by permission in this publication.

Write letters please

This is Annie

If you have followed the news in the North Platte area, you know that on Dec. 30 the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector, who inspects dog-breeding facilities for compliance, took approximiately 80 dogs from a breeding facility near North Platte.
Unfortunately, the authorities left about 20 dogs behind.

I placed Annie's picture on this post because she is a very lucky dog. She was one of the dogs taken from the facility. She was ready to have puppies at any time. She went into foster care with a couple who have had great success fostering moms and their puppies.

On Jan. 9, she gave birth to nine puppies. One has since died.

I included Annie because she had one puppy and then the labor stopped. She ended up having to have her other puppies by caesarian section. It's my belief that if Annie had been left in the breeding facility, she most likely would have died while trying to have her puppies.

So what of these other dogs left at the breeding facility? What are their chances of good care? Of being socialized and adoptable? Of receiving medical care when necessary?

If you are concerned about the other dogs left behind, please write to these people listed below and make a plea for the welfare of the dogs and ask that all dogs be removed permanently from this facility.

Doug Zarek,

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Box 94787,

Lincoln, NE 68506-4787

Office phone number: 402-751-4787

* * * *

Sen. Tom Hansen,
District 42, Room 1012,
PO Box 94604,
Lincoln, NE 68509

* * * *

Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling,
301 North Jeffers,
North Platte, NE 69101

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Courage Award??

Michael Vick - the football player convicted of dog fighting (and much, much worse it turns out) - is named to receive a "courage award." Just when I think something is the most outrageous I've ever heard or read, something else comes along to take the vote of top stupidity and insult.

I receive daily e-mails from Care2 Causes, which covers a variety of topics. I don't always open the e-mails because some of them are just too difficult for me to read. Call it the head-in-the-sand syndrome or whatever you want, but I just can't handle the cruelty which people inflict upon other people and/or animals.

When I saw today's edition of Care2 Causes, which mentioned the award Vick is to receive, I was drawn to read the newsletter. Rather than reprint any of it here, I am posting the link. I suggest you read the article on Vick, which outlines more horrifying details of the abuse the dogs suffered at Vick's hands, literally, and about this award.

The article "Justice for Buddy," a German shepherd that was dragged to death behind a pickup in Grand Junction, Colo., just two weeks ago, provides a petition to bring the person who killed Buddy to justice. You can also find "Justice for Buddy" on Facebook at:

Sorry to be such a "downer" this morning, but this is what faced me at the top of my e-mails. We can bring about change only by being aware and involved. If you are led to write letters or e-mails on any of the items listed, good for you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser episode that aired Tuesday, Jan. 12, was very emotional in the beginning.

The doctor was there to talk to the contestants about their health issues. Every season, he said, he tells the group that they are the sickest group to be on the show.

This season is no different, he said. This group was, by far, the sickest group to be on The Biggest Loser.

I'm not a crier - but I had tears in my eyes several times as the doctor showed them how their weight was killing them and making them sick.

One contestant, who is more than 300 pounds overweight, watched as trainer, Bob, was loaded with weight packs representing those 300 pounds. As physically fit as Bob is, he staggered under the weight. As shocking as it was for the contestant, it was equally educational for Bob who knows now how the contestant feels carrying all that weight around.

Another contestant was in tears because she has diabetes.

"Were you told the disease is reversible?" the doctor asked.

The contestant acknowledged diet, weight loss and exercise had been recommended for years.

Why didn't she do it then, the doctor asked.

"Because I was in denial," the contestant answered between sobs.

The doctor showed some scans that clearly showed how the huge layers of fat were smothering their internal organs.

He showed another contestant how much money he would lose over his lifetime because of additional health costs, but most importantly, the loss of a well-paying career he could no longer do because he couldn't pass the physical.

One woman, age 52 I think, has an internal age of 75 years!

I was ashamed because I've been told for years I have high cholesterol and triglycerides and I've flirted with diabetes for quite a few of those years.

After watching the show, I was renewed with enthusiasm. Some of what was said and shown during the show hit far too close to home for my comfort. Yes, by golly, this time I was motivated! I was going to stick to my diet. After all, I had eaten a very healthy hamburger/vegetable soup while watching the show.

But, by bedtime, I remembered the cheese curls in the deep freeze. I had thrown them way, way in the back so it would take some effort to get them out. Like an obsessed person, I opened the deep freeze and dug around until I found the cheese curls - and I finished them while checking my e-mail.

Just this last time. If I eat them all up they won't be there to taunt me. After all, I did buy the ones that had fewer calories and no cholesterol. And what else could I have eaten that would have had fewer calories?

Sometimes the biggest lies are those we tell ourselves.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Is Your Armor Keeping You Down?

It's the FlyLady, Marla Cilley!

The FlyLady can help you with your household clutter, your purse clutter, and the clutter within yourself.

For this column, you need to know the meaning of a couple acronymns:

FLY stands for Finally Loving Yourself
CHAOS is for Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome

You know, the kind of CHAOS where you don't answer the door when someone knocks because your house is too messy to let anyone enter.

The FlyLady will appear here weekly, usually on Monday afternoons. Her columns contain common sense approaches to house cleaning. I hope you'll not only check back here every week to read her column, but you'll also go to her Web site to learn more about the FlyLady's system.


Have you been wearing your heart on your sleeve? Do you perceive that you have been wronged in some way by others? Are you wearing all the wrongs like a cloak of armor? Have these wrongs been the foundation for your whining? Are they what have kept you from FLYing?
Armor is heavy stuff! When we blame others we need to look closely at our own actions. This is why we tell you that this is a NO WHINING ZONE!
Tribes used to sacrifice a poor innocent goat for their sins. They would heap all their sins on the scapegoat and send it out into the wilderness. Have all the wrongs been heaped upon you? Do you feel like the scapegoat? Are you acting like a martyr? Have you been hoarding these wrongs?
This is just like we do with clutter; we hold on to things past their usefulness. When we get our feelings hurt it is best to discuss it as soon as possible. The longer it festers, the worse it is on you!
Are you hearing this? The person who has wronged you may not even know he or she has done anything to hurt your feelings and may not even care. If you don’t talk about it and clear the air, you will be the only one suffering. Discussing the wrong will let you know two things; they are mean and need to be prayed for, or they didn’t know they had hurt your feelings and they apologize. Either way you have released the wrong and it is no longer being hoarded.
Some of you are going to argue that it is not easy to forgive and forget. If you notice, I didn’t say forget! When a snake shows its fangs, this is a warning! If you pick that snake up and put it in your pocket, whose fault is it when you get bitten?
Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself. You get what you give. But if you give in order to get, you will always be left wanting!
At the start of this New Year let’s symbolically take off that armor of wrongs! Put each wrong on a Post-It Note. Imagine that you peel each wrong off your sleeve and put it in an old pie pan. Then take it outside and put a match to them, or put them in your fireplace. As you watch your wrongs (the ones you have been hoarding) go up in smoke, send a prayer of gratitude up with it. Be thankful you no longer have to hold on to this and thankful that now you know!
Leanne and I also have a whole chapter in our book, “Body Clutter,” devoted to forgiveness. I just listened to our new audio version. This chapter is powerful!
My wish for you in this New Year is that you release the wrongs by forgiving others and yourself and open up your wings to FLY!
For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out the Web site and join the free mentoring group at, or check out her book, “Sink Reflections,” published by Bantam, and her New York Times Best-Selling Book, “Body Clutter,” published by Fireside. Copyright 2010 Marla Cilley Used by permission in this publication.

New weekly feature coming

Are you overwhelmed by your clutter? Is it just too much for you to even think about cleaning?

Never fear, help is on the way!!

I can't tell you any more just right now, but later today I will post a new weekly feature that will help you climb out of the clutter, not only in your house but in your personal life as well. In fact, the first feature is on forgiveness.

What better way to begin a new year than by decluttering our homes and our lives!

Jo's Dog Blog

I just wanted to share this blog address with you so you can be "in the loop" on Annie's progress and her puppies.

Annie, rescued from a puppy mill, is a beautiful mama and she and her babies are in very capable hands at Jo's house. It will be interesting to see the progress they make. I hope you'll become a follower of Jo's blog.

Friday, January 8, 2010


A pitbull (not the one shown) was killed by a law-enforcement officer this week in North Platte. Newspaper stories report two pitbulls killed one of the neighbor's sheep and were eating it.

When the officer tried to get the dogs away from the sheep, the one dog allegedly charged at the officer, who then fired a weapon and the dog was killed.

The other dog's fate is still up in the air. Will it have to be euthanized for being a "vicious dog"?

Unfortunately, many people will rush to judgment that all pitbulls are dangerous and must be banned as a breed.

Pitbulls can be sweet, loving dogs that are loyal, funny and smart. They require a lot of socializing and training because they can also be strong-willed.

They are working dogs and as such, they need a lot of exercise daily. On the other hand, they may enjoy being couch potatoes.

It is only responsible ownership that any dog, not just pitbulls, be on a leash whenever they are out of their kennels or fenced yards. Pitbulls - as with all dogs - should be watched closely around other dogs and animals. They do have a strong prey instinct and little kittens probably look no differently to them than a squirrel or mouse.

Probably one of the more famous pitbulls that would be familiar to those of us in the senior-citizen range would be Petey, the white pitbull from the Our Gang movies.

It all comes down to responsible ownership and good training. If you aren't willing to tackle those two tasks, then don't get a pitbull - or a German shepherd, Dalmatian or any other breed of dog.

And, please don't condemn the breed because of irresponsible owners.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Horse pills

I find it very odd that medications and supplements made specifically to reach the older generation are the size of horse pills.

In the photo, notice the Tylenol at the bottom. Tylenol is usually easy to swallow; I included it for comparison purposes. It's fairly small and it slips right down your throat with a generous gulp of water. Sometimes I can take the Tylenol along with several other smaller pills.

The next pill is a vitamin made and sold specifically for those who are older. I rarely have trouble swallowing pills, but I have to admit I occasionally have to take a couple extra-large gulps of water to get that one down.

The next one is Omega 3 and since it is a gel capsule, it usually goes down the throat fairly easily.
The top one is a Vitamin C pill. It sometimes requires a couple good gulps of water to go down.

You might be right in pointing out that none of these pills are prescription medicines, so I choose to take them, not "what the doctor ordered." You would also be correct in suggesting the multi-vitamin and the Vitamin C could be cut in half. However, one of the more difficult pills I have to swallow is a small prescription medication that I break in half and take one half in the morning, the other in the evening. The sharp edges left from breaking it in half often scratch all the way down my throat.

I imagine some of the pills are available in different forms - gel caps, maybe even liquids. In the grander scheme of things in life, this problem would probably rank a two or three on a scale of one to ten.

It just seems odd that any pills specifically marketed to those age 60 and older would be big enough to choke a horse.

Photo notes

I forgot to explain that in the peacock photo, it looks as though he is ready to eat right out of the food dispenser. Actually, he is 6 feet or more away from the feeder.

Here's a short poem I wrote many years ago that might explain the wintry pictures.

Oh my goodness,
Oh my soul,
Jack Frost upset
the icing bowl!

(I didn't say it was GOOD poetry - just short.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cody Park in winter splendor

I received a new camera for Christmas and I have been having a great time finding new ways to take photos. I'm not saying the photos in this blog are great, but they are "cool" and I thought they might be good enough to share with you.
I wish I knew how to set up an album so you could click on a link and go look at them, but I don't. I'll keep trying and hopefully learn how sooner rather than later.

We have had two days of frosty trees, dreary weather and cold temps. The report is for snow yet tonight and by Thursday or Friday we may have some sunshine, but we'll pay for it with sub-zero temps. They predict wind chill temps as low as minus 30 degrees. Last fall was a good time for me to have put on a new front door and new storm doors on the front and back doors, three new basement windows and new storm windows and window panes in my office/bedroom. It has made a lot of difference.

These are chilly photos but also beautiful. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Church signs

I'm sharing a few good words of wisdom from First Assembly of God Church in North Platte.

If you see a church sign at your church or in your community, please share it with me. Send it as large as possible in a JPG format to me at Please be sure to include the name of the church and the town where it is located.