Just Under the Wire

Sliding in head first, just under the wire, I have finally fulfilled my New Year’s resolution of writing a post in January.  I just couldn’t get started.  Not that I didn’t have things to talk about… just the opposite.  So much has happened.. better start at the beginning.   For those of you who are new to my Red Shoe Life Transformation Blog, you’ll have to scroll back through some of the old posts to get the gist. In a nutshell, it has been an account of last year’s efforts to transform everything about my life from my grass to my ass.  I had a lot of trials and tribulations with failed attempts to renovate certain areas, but in the end (no pun intended) I finished the year minus a crap load of well.. crap, a few re-organized areas on the farm, and give or take 50 lbs. vanished off the scale.  As my readers will attest, it wasn’t without a fight.  Every single thing that was accomplished was so freaking frustrating, but I am blessed with superhuman stubbornness and a psycho’s persistence to throw fits until I get my way until I get what I’m after.

An example you ask?  Well, the 30 foot mud hole in my backyard, that was once our pool, is now a fabulous party mecca complete with ice buckets  and red beach balls.  It only took three summers and 6 or 7 pool companies to make things right.  At last, I can sit poolside with my keto lemonade  and not worry about beavers building condominiums under the fiberglass slide.  Yes, I have jackhammered holes in my relatively new cement, the lawn is incredibly rutted up, and, of course, my bank account took about a 10 thousand dollar hit, but my fabulously fixed oasis now shoots jets of sparkling water hard enough to tear off your tankini and the water actually stay IN the pool.   If you have ever spent a summer in Memphis, you’d know… this is a wonderful thing.

If you are keeping score, the simultaneous floor debacle has at last resolved itself.  We got a raw floor just before Thanksgiving and the project finished  one week before setting up our Christmas tree. After two years of living without a floor and 1 year of living with nothing but dirt… all it took was a shit load of money and a new contractor.  Who knew?  I now happily slide around in socks singing “Just Give Me That Ol’ Time Rock and Roll”

Needless to say, I am very thankful for closing the book on those chapters, but am ready to finally move on.  You see, at the end of last year I almost got to the point where I was going to throw in the towel.  The contractors, lawyers, employers and doctors ALMOST got the best of me, and unfortunately I stopped blogging about it, mainly because it just sounded like whining. Friends said I should have just kept blogging, but it seemed like such a broken record.   I had followed my own advice and put myself out there.  I tried new things and met new people, and frankly, it didn’t work out as expected.  At all.  The drama, the frustration and the disappointment were crazy. Here’s the good part though.  Even when it sucked that it didn’t work out the way I planned, in the end it was EVEN BETTER!!!  I’ll have many more posts regarding each aspect of the transformation, but just note that I’m happy to be back in the game” and all of the blubbering from last year is finally over.  I am excited to say, however, you’ll need to get ready for some new blubbering.  January is the beginning of the second half of my transformation.  It will include another 50 pound loss, a fitness challenge, another renovation, new friends, new skills and a brand new grand baby!  Hang on for some really deep stuff…hahah, not just the hike through the Grand Canyon deep… but holy crap I’m almost 60 deep.

Happy New Year Red Shoe friends, and welcome to Chapter Two. I’m not just sliding in under the wire,  I’ve got my sights set on a whole new finish line.

Blueberry Hill

It’s blueberry time here on the farm and I spent a lovely morning in the shade watching my husband pick blueberries. I had my little official blueberry picking basket, but really wasn’t feeling up to crawling around in our forest of fruit. The berries this year are enormous and juicy, so if you are interested, we will be having our driveway sale in the next couple of weeks.

I’ve wandered back up to the house after several conversations with the animals, found a good book, made a blueberry smoothie and will be planting my butt on the porch for the rest of the morning. I’ll be glad when this pneumonia plays out as I am already bored with sitting around.

Check out my pics for an anti-inflammatory treat: Almond milk, blueberries, strawberries, flaxseed and stevia.

Daikon and Decongestants

FD236E7E-218B-4A51-AEC8-F92A668A0FF1.jpegAfter several punky days of sniffling and sneezing (thanks Margaret), I finally crawled under the covers and succumbed to this dreadful head cold.  I doubled up on my Vitamin C and Zinc, along with a few other ancient motherly remedies, followed by a vat o’vicks and a soak in my salt water pool.  Needless to say, I still felt like crap and turned to the big guns with nasal spray and DayQuil.  It was so pitiful on Monday as I rolled into Walgreens for the above ammunition, only to find myself in the parking lot like a junkie trying to pry off the childproof top of the spray bottle.  I actually had to go back inside where my friend October (yes, that is her name) tried to help me, but was eventually forced to get a pair of pliers out of the drawer and two cashiers gripped and wrenched until it finally popped off.  (Glad it wasn’t just me.)

I stayed at work long enough to know I needed to go back home, and dragged my sorry self back to bed.

By Tuesday, all the chicken soup in the world wasn’t working and I gave up the fight and went to the Little Clinic at Kroger.  I was happy to note that I was their only customer and the young man who listened to my tale of woe, was very patient and quite comedic.  I have so many issues with the medical profession and it takes a lot to make me go, but if you have to go…  this place was ok.  They called me in some antibiotics and some kick-ass head-meds, and they were ready at CVS before I even made it to the car.

So for the rest of today, I will be sitting around watching my favorite cooking shows in a mild haze of antihistamines and ginger water.  I imagine I will be back at work tomorrow, though I am not planning anything too strenuous.

3EAF659E-AE74-4123-86C3-F0298046A3AE.jpeg

This is what happens when I’m home alone with the cooking channel.  Grilled chicken, fresh spinach and daikon salad with homemade dressing.

Thanks to all of my buds at work who have been checking on me  (Hey, are you dead yet?) and taking up the slack while I’ve been out.  Just in case I have spread my cooties throughout our team.  Here is the recipe for a quick recovery:

Cut up ginger, lemons, limes and mint leaves

Soak above ingredients in the water overnight in fridge and enjoy with a shot of tequila for medicinal purposes, of course!

 

Nailed It

The “Woman vs Wild” home transformation has been getting hot lately… literally.  Yesterday we started on the front half of the storage building which we creatively call “The Shed”.  It’s a dark oily smelling place full of tools, gardening stuff  and  all manner of supplies for home and garden upkeep.

A few weeks ago, which has it’s own upcoming blog post, we gutted the camping end of The Shed and ridded ourselves of massive amounts of tangled fishing poles, mouse eaten tents and empty bottles of propane.  It now has lovely new plywood walls and shelving units full of organized and usable camping and fishing gear.

Since that side turned out so nice, I wanted to keep the magic flowing and dug into the mess where we keep such things as the lawnmower, broken weedwackers, piles of rakes, shovels, bags of bug stuff, etc.  It isn’t as bad as most other projects that we have tackled, and once we ditched some big stuff, it really just came down to organizational storage.

So with gloves up to my elbows, I got up early and started in on two enormous rubber totes full of small “cha-chi” type house stuff, leaves, dead bugs and unmentionable mouse “presents”.   These totes are the type that you put a Christmas tree in, so you can image how much crap we had thrown in there.  Now, don’t think I didn’t want to just dump it, but there was probably a hundred bucks worth of wood screws, pounds and pounds of galvanized nails, and countless peg board hooks, paint brushes and duct tape that I was surely going to need.  So in I went.

As you know, it wouldn’t be me unless I found some humor in the mix, so I started labeling the resulting smaller more organized totes with my kind of fun.  So when I am working on a project, and go looking for supplies, here is what I will see:

Tote #1:  Nailed It

Tote #2: Screw You

Tote #3: It’s Got 2 B Glue

Tote#4: Electric Avenue

Tote#5: In the Paint

Tote #6 Watergate Tapes

Tote #7 Hooks on Phonics

Tote #8 Chicken Shit (this one headed to the barn)

I am never a fan of spending my whole weekend working on the house project, but tonight, as I sat on the porch, with the yard mowed and my new wicker twinkle lights overhead, I heard a little voice inside my head… “Yeah… you nailed it!”

Unexpected Transformations…

Lately it has been feeling  a little like my house is possessed.  Friends have been suggesting that I may need an exorcism to rid my abode of the ghosts and gremlins that are causing so much havoc.  I laughed when they said it, but deep down, I was beginning to think they were right.

When we bought this place year’s ago,  the previous owners handed us a book about our house that she had written called “Under the Sycamore”.   It was appropriately named as we have several big ones around the property, however, the book was not about a summer tea garden.  It was about the house being haunted by a Civil War widow, whose husband is buried in the historic cemetery across the street. Great.

Scoff I did, though there has been times when I am in the oldest part of the house that I think of the book, and glance around to see if there might be something to this ghost stuff.

Naw… this is not a post about how I saw spinning furniture or flying statues of the Mother Mary (which my family in New York swears happened in our living room).  I will tell you this, however… there has been so much miserable luck at my house lately, I did actually visit every room with burning sage and then just for luck I made a circle around the house with salt.  Whatever that ritual is supposed to be good for, I sure do hope it worked.  I have seen my Catholic friends bury one of their Saints headfirst in the dirt to help find lost items… I have seen my old neighbor’s nanny wear chicken feet around her neck to ward off evil demons and I don’t even want to mention what my Cajun friends do… so burn baby burn (btw, sage smells pretty nice).  Do I believe in this? Let’s just say, I like to cover all my bases.  If it will stop the hemorrhage of cash surging out of my wallet, then I would put a totem pole in the front yard and do a nekkid dance with sparklers shooting out of my ass… don’t judge me.

So here is where the story gets good.  Seven years ago while Chance and I were vacationing in Switzerland, we bought a crazy expensive cuckoo clock.  We figured this was a once in a lifetime purchase and though it cost almost $100 to send  home, we did it.  Needless to say, like everything else I own, it stopped working immediately and has been collecting dust on the Sunroom wall ever since.

Yes… here it comes.  Two days ago the damn thing started working.  I nearly jumped out of the chair where it hangs on the wall behind my seat.  What in the world???  Not only did it start working, but it has been ticking all week!  Craziest thing ever!  Why would it start working after all of this time?

My only guess is that the house and all it’s bug-a-boos has finally started figuring out that I am serious about my kick-ass rampage and that if it isn’t going to be with me on this transformation … it will end up at the curb with the other gifts to the gods of garbage.

I think that the ghost is happy with the improvements I have been making, and can appreciate the effort and strife some of the construction has put me through this year.  Then I thought, maybe she is just happy with the cemetery clean up that we did a few weeks ago during the Eagle Scout project and has granted us a little break in the money pit saga for sprucing up her hubby’s digs.    Either way, I am glad to have something work out right.  I hope this is the beginning of a new trend and an omen of things to come.

If I start to see weirder than usual things happening around the house, I’ll keep you all informed, but until then, it’s nice to know, I’m not the only thing around here that is “cuckoo”.

Deb’s Dreads

Life on the farm has been a swampy mess lately.  It finally thawed out and now has had at least two weeks of monsoon conditions, causing my girls to be cranky and not their usual glamorous selves.  Even Andrew, my Southdown Baby Doll sheep is moping.  I miss his smiling little face as he waits patiently for the other roller rink floozies to fight over the sweet feed.   I just muck around in my waders, schleppin’ hay and tidbits to higher and higher ground.  I’ve even been eyeing a pile of old fence wood contemplating building an ark.  BTW, thanks Bri and Brandon for the IKEA bag… it is working great for hauling hay and keeping spiders out of my hair!

So yes, I have a collection of sheep that I originally got to spin their wool and make art yarn. I love their wool.  It’s soft and fluffy… and so plentiful…  I even have a wonderful spinning wheel that I use to hang clothes on in my bedroom and drag out to the Mid-South Spinning Club once a year. The tubbies in my garage are really stacking up.  What to do… what to do?

I guess I lost my enthusiasm for yarn when I realized that I just can’t knit or crochet…  tried it… can’t do it. Perhaps I should have taken that into consideration before I purchased the sheep…  The other downer is that most people in Memphis just don’t wear woolen socks and hats.  Go figure!  I just had to come up with some other way to use all this wool.   That is when it hit me…  woolen dreads!  If you are unfamiliar with these cool beauties, check out Google or Pinterest and see all the vibrant colors and adornments.  My brain exploded when I saw how creative I could get with it and immediately fell in love with the whole process.   Thus, Deb’s Dreads were born.

Today the dreads went even further out on the limb of the crazy tree… One of my awesome sisters has a beach side gig where she sells wooden nautical art and driftwood masterpieces.  It’s called “The Wooden Peg” (her name is Peggy) and if you are ever near Jensen Beach, you’ll have to check her out.  One of the biggest sellers at The Wooden Peg are mermaids.  She hand cuts them, paints them, puts on the do-dads and voila… Ariel swims off the shelf faster than Peg can make them.  So one day we were yakkin’ about a new project and it suddenly popped up that it would be cool if the mermaids wore dreadlocks.  Hmm…  hot pink perhaps??  This conversation resulted in me making a set for her today which will be ready for the dying process tomorrow.  I can hardly wait to sew on the little pink sequins and tiny sparkly shells!

This got me thinking about other types of dolls.  I rang Florida and asked if she could make me a stand up version that I could make colorful dresses, head raps and dreadlocks.  Now my head hurts… I’m going to have to get more sheep…

Stay tuned for the finished projects and let me know if my knitting days are over.  In the meantime, making dreads for my human customers keeps me happy and insures that I can continue to use my spinning wheel as a clothes rack… or better yet… use it as the helm’s wheel on my new ark!

IMG_1223 (1)

You Know Me…

Apparently bossing people around and making a “party” out of any gathering of people, runs in my blood.  So, of course, the minute I got to this 27 Week Physical Fitness Challenge, I started getting agitated about how they were missing out on a lot of opportunities to make it more fun!

By week, TWO, I just had to say something, and so I suggested to the owner that somebody should be taking “before” and “after” shots and talking to the participants about why they were in the class, their goals, and in general chart their success.  I told him that he could use it to inspire future participants, as proof that his program worked, and as a gift to his students for their hard work.

You already know what happened next.

So now I am taking everyone’s before, during and after shots, doing the interviews and putting it all together in a fabulous eBook.  Don’t roll your eyes, I love this stuff!  I am so excited to interview these people… find out their stories and write the bio with their pics.  You should have seen it today when I broke out the Nikon and started snappin’.  People were so happy to have their progress documented.  Too cool.

How was the class you ask? Well, I can’t lie… it was tough finding enough steam to show up.  It’s been a long week, it’s raining, and I have a lot of other things that I’d rather be doing… but if I can measure success by the amount of sweat pouring off my face and how great it felt when I held a plank for 30 seconds X2 or did 60 mule kicks each leg… then it was pretty damn good!

Will I ever slow down you ask?  You know me and my philosophy, if you don’t use it, you lose it baby, and that goes for your body and your mind!  Living a Red Shoe Life means you keep plugging away, growing, learning, doing, plotting,  trying new things and making sure you are living every single day to it’s fullest.   I plan to keep going at full speed until they find me one day on the floor of the Good Will…. with a margarita in my hand 🙂    RIP Margarite.  I will miss you.