Monday, July 26, 2010

One Bite at a Time

One Bite at a Time

by The FlyLady, Marla Cilley

It is so much easier to clean in a room without clutter.

Don't get overwhelmed by all the clutter; it only takes 15 minutes a day over what you do in your routines. I know you don't think this is going to work, but I promise that those 15 minutes of concentrated decluttering every day will make a difference in your home and your attitude. It is the consistency of eating the elephant one bite at a time that will slowly make the whole elephant disappear.

I have a story to tell you about my Sweet Darling. He is the king of the one-bite rule. Several years ago he had a British sports car, an MG. In fact, the car was always being worked on. After a minor car accident, the MG was totaled. So he bought a second car the same model for parts. He is pretty good at fixing anything. It took both cars to keep just one running. He was left with only the stripped-down parts car.

Over an entire summer, he systematically cut that car (with a hack saw) into dinner-plate-sized parts and sent it to the landfill one plate at a time. It was his goal to do something to dismantle this car each day. At the end of the summer he was finished. It was almost therapy for my sweetie: the car had betrayed him. That car was a pain and he got rid of it one bite at a time. Beware of the anger of a patient man.

The reason I mentioned this story, is because in our impatience to see our homes clean, we overdo. Then we get overwhelmed and we QUIT.

I want you to do a little every day and not crash and burn. BabySteps, 15 minutes of decluttering and consistency will be the keys to your clean home and your peace. If you are not being consistent with your routines, even small ones, then you are not going to have your goal of a clean and peaceful home.

This hit-and-miss attitude is what got your home in a mess to start with. You clean like a banshee for two days because of guests, and then when they leave, you let things go to pot because you are worn to a frazzle.

This has got to stop. I want you to enjoy your home, your family and your guests. You can't do this if you are exhausted. I want your pledge to stop "crisis cleaning"; that you will commit to doing your routines DAILY, and that you will spend 15 minutes decluttering each day.

I am not the drill sergeant that many of you think I am. I don't spend all day cleaning. Even when I was decluttering I only did 15 minutes a day. I used the 27 Fling Boogie to declutter our home. It was almost as if I didn't clean at all. After three months of decluttering every day and doing my routines, our home became a paradise, instead of the pig sty that is was.

Every morning I walk into a clean and shining home and it is still a big shock and a GO ME moment for me. I walk into my clean kitchen and just smile. Some of you know what I am talking about. It is a pleasure to not be greeted by mystery water and yesterday's dirty dishes that make you feel like you are behind before you even make your coffee.

I want you to smile when you walk into your kitchen each morning. Visualize your clean and peaceful home. Let go of your perfectionism and impatience and take babysteps. You can do this if you will just eat this elephant one bite at a time.

For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out her website and join her free mentoring group at or her book, Sink Reflections published by Bantam and her New York Times Best Selling book, Body Clutter published by Fireside. Copyright 2010 Marla Cilley

Thursday, July 8, 2010

20th Century Veterans' Memorial

The entrance to the 20th Century Veterans' Memorial looks interesting, perhaps it could be described as impressive.

But it is through the words and raw emotions of the veterans who stop to tour the memorial that you finally see the true heart of the memorial.

The memorial is the highlight of the little park where I spend several afternoons a week, visiting with travelers in the caboose tourist information center. It is directly across the dirt road in front of the caboose.

People from all over come and go all day into the evening hours. Some will stop at the caboose to tell of their delight in finding such a beautiful memorial tucked away in North Platte.

Others express their joy at finding memorial bricks of loved ones, while others share their pain and sorrow in finding the brick honoring a fallen comrade or relative.

Whatever emotion is released, their heartfelt message is always the same: "Thank you for building this memorial."

As tourists get out of their cars, the first thing they see is the larger-than-life sculpture "Defenders of Liberty," by North Platte artist Ted Long. The six bronze statues on either side of the walkway depict the military service of men and women during the Twentieth Century. Most of the statues are by North Platte artist, Ted Long, a Korean War veteran, North Platte. Following Long's death, Sandra L. Johnson of Cambridge made the last two or three sculptures.

A closer view of the bronze group statue, "Defenders of Liberty."

The south wall of the memorial is a remarkable brick bas-relief mural by Images in Brick of Denton, Nebraska. It measures 15 by 40 feet and represents the five major conflicts of the Twentieth Century. There are two side panels (not pictured) that honor five major ethnic groups and the women who served in the military during the Twentieth Century. It is amazing when you consider that this wall was made of separate bricks in Denton, shipped to North Platte and then built on the site.

If you are headed down Interstate 80 through Nebraska, please stop at Iron Horse Park in North Platte and walk through the memorial. When you see the thousands of names etched on "bricks" lining the walkway, you'll be so thankful for their service to our country.

(Photos are continued in the next four files)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

20th Century Veterans' Memorial

The Canteen lady's basket of goodies.

This is Rae Wilson, founder of the North Platte Canteen. This is worthy of a blog post all its own so I'll just introduce her here and will tell you more about her and the canteen in another post.

20th Century Veterans' Memorial

(Continued)World War II Army Air Corps

U. S. Navy

Nebraska Army Medical Corps

(continued in next file)

Veterans' Memorial in North Platte

Three more of the individual sculptures at the Veterans' Memorial
Marine Corps
Coast Guard


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My view from the caboose

I can watch the strength of the wind as it blows this flag that is across the highway from the Union Pacific caboose where I am working this summer. As you can tell, there was a slight breeze Friday when I took this photo.

On the other side of the caboose is Interstate Lake. A lot of people fish at this lake, and quite a few bring their dogs for some water fun. It is surprisingly shallow in some spots. A water polo club meets there on Thursday evenings.
So now you have seen my view from the caboose to the west and the east. Tomorrow I'll try to write about the view across the street from the caboose. It is most beautiful and moving.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Grandson Chris, 11, had the misfortune to be involved in a fireworks accident a few days ago.

He was visiting a friend, planning to stay overnight. The two boys were lighting some small fireworks - I'm not sure of the name of this particular one but they whirl around and around, shooting sparks out as they whirl. Sometimes they hop up and down or move forward as they whirl. As fireworks go, this is a fairly innocent item when used properly.

Chris' friend's grandfather was supervising the boys closely. They were standing away from the fireworks. They were handling the fireworks responsibly.

In other words, they were following all the rules and doing everything exactly right.

However, after lighting this particular item, it took off, flew up and hit Chris in the neck. He grabbed it to get it off his neck and in the process he also burned his right hand.

This could have been so much worse. The fireworks could have hit him in the face or eyes, or it could have become lodged under his shirt, so there is much for which to be thankful.

This truly was an accident. There was no neglect, no disregarding the safety rules, the boys had perfect supervision - and yet it still happened. There is always that unknown factor that cannot be controlled: Was there a slight wind gust that blew the fireworks toward him? Did it hit a rock that tilted it toward him? There's no way to know exactly why the accident happened.

There are, however, some things you can do to better your chances of avoiding a fireworks accident.

1. Read all instructions on all fireworks and know and understand how they are to be used. Do not use them in any way other than instructed.

2. This is sort of a DUH! - Do not smoke while handling fireworks.

3. Always use fireworks in an open area.

4. Check on the wind direction and speed. Another DUH! - Don't set off fireworks in strong winds.

5. Have a bucket of water close by and/or have the garden hose turned on and readily available in case something goes astray. It wouldn't hurt to have a fire extinguisher handy either.

6. Do not put fireworks, like fountains, on grass. If you must put it on a lawn, first lay down a piece of plywood.

7. Do not wear loose clothing. One person told me she knew of an incident where some fireworks went up under someone's blouse. You may think it sounds funny - until it happens to you.

8. Wear non-flammable clothing such as cotton. Never wear clothing made from nylon or polyester (I'm guessing these products might melt onto the skin if hit by burning fireworks). Always wear long pants and always wear shoes - no flip-flops, no sandals.

9. Wear safety glasses or goggles. Regular glasses provide little or no protection.

10. For years we thought sparklers were the proper fireworks for our small children. Who knew they burn as hot as 2,000 degrees F.? We were very lucky they never suffered anything more than a burned finger tip.

11. NEVER attempt to relight duds. Wait 30 minutes and then drop them into a bucket of

12. Another DUH! moment: Never dispose of the duds in your fireplace or a bonfire.

Follow all the safety rules you can find, including those that come with the fireworks. However, understand that even then you may have a freak accident and get hurt.

Finally, perhaps the best advice is to forego the fireworks at home and go to displays put on by organizations or companies.

Have a happy Fourth of July -- and a very safe one.