Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Beginnings

"Setting a goal is not the main thing.  It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan," ~ Tom Landry

My most humblest apologies for the absence from my blog.  I'm afraid my multitasking once again multitasked me into a 10 week round of Bronchitis; for some unknown reason my lungs have always been very weak and when I multitask to much my immune system suffers.  I am thankfully, finally over it, and am speeding through the Holiday Season.  Thanksgiving was nice, I was able to spend the morning with friends and family at Thanksgiving Dinner and then journey off to work for a shift. 
    I unearthed all of our Christmas decorations and turned our house into Holiday Central.  Two Christmas trees (one large and one small).  More Christmas bric a brac than most people can contemplate, and am planning a small Christmas Dinner for family on Christmas Day.  We are in Winter here and have just emerged from a two week period where our temperatures hovered ranging from 0 F to -17 F.  We have warmed up enough to have snow again and my daughter and I have a date for building a snowman.  :)
    I have a few goals for 2014.  From January-March I'm removing myself from some of my more addictive social media resources and will write the novel I've been putting off.  Stories do a person no good, if they're not shared. 
    I need to buckle down in the finances department.  I have some credit card debt that still needs paid off.  I also have a goal for the end of 2014, to raise $10,000 to buy a VW Van Camper.  Why would I want such a thing?  My reason is that the VW Van Camper has a bed in the back and a small sink that would work so well with my daughter and my mother-in-law for day trips as they both need their naps or else they're grumpy.  I fell over when I heard the price of one, Lord have mercy!  I told my husband that he was more than welcome to join us girls on our adventures and he just smiled and shook his head.
    As far as my Health goals for 2014, they're more maintenance verses actual change.  My diet was changed several years back to a far healthier version that I can stick with.  Healthy meats, LOTS of fruits and vegetables (mostly raw), some starches, and no gluten and no sugar, and no artificial sugars.  My body REALLY doesn't like gluten and sugar, which I found out probably far to late.  I'm still working on repairing some of the inflammation that was caused by the years that I was on gluten, sugar and artificial sugars.  I am exercising regularly again now that I can breathe after getting over the Bronchitis and am starting to train for a 15K on St. Patrick's Day.  Given how sensitive my body is and how crappy my circulation is, my body is significantly warmer and healthier for three days after only one exercise workout.  I was also able to wean myself off of Coffee and now drink caffeinated tea when I need a kick.  This was something that I never thought that I'd be able to do.
    Last, but most certainly not least.  The last final uncluttering push, the wood shed.  The wood shed so aptly named is an ancient wooden structure that I believe at one point was a garage.  The wooden walls themselves are not very sturdy and the windows long since lost their glass.  My husband has said that I have until the end of 2014 to sort through the boxes left from all of the moves and then he is tearing down the shed and building a sturdy shed to replace it. 
    All in all lofty goals, but goals that I know that I can attain as they're spread out over the duration of 2014.  Life is looking good, as I've made so many positive changes that have produced such amazing results.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Best Wishes,

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Waltz

 "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning how to dance in the rain." ~ Vivan Greene
Lately I have felt like I have been dancing the Waltz with life.  One step sideways, second step sideways, then one step back, second step back and diagonally, and the second step sideways before ending up right back to where the dancer starts.  Occasionally, with my zeal for life I end up taking too many steps forward until I almost stumble and then need to stay put for a while to gather my bearings before commencing again.  In the past week I had a cavity filled in one of my teeth that the dentist had been watching for several years, but my diet is working as no new problems have showed up for several years since I switched my diet.  The damage that the dentist has been watching was incurred years before when I hadn't realized the impact that diet and lifestyle can have on a person's health.  I also had my eyes tested when my daughter was flagged at a recent school vision screening.  I decided that since my vision was bad enough that I knew that I needed reading glasses; my daughter who would be getting glasses needed company as well.  And last, but not least, I had a respiratory virus aka the cold.  I had held off the bloody microbe for several weeks, but couldn't quite kill it before it deepened into a full blown cold.  Thankfully the damage was minimal, and I only missed one day of work.
    My Moonflower while it did bloom, became infested with aphids and I had to return it to the compost.  My goal is for next week to start another Moonflower as they are beautiful.  My mother-in-law's Cactus and my Cactus are both beginning to bloom.  My mother-in-law's is a pretty coral, and mine will be a light yellow.

    I decided to merge my gardening beds together as I realized that with the number of fence posts and the depth that I would need them, it was simply not space efficient.  So I behold the new garden beds.

    I have also continued to reground myself, by getting rid of yet more clutter.  It's amazing how much stuff a person can have and far more amazing with the minimal upkeep both in time and energy of the "stuff" that a person needs.  No, I'm not done, about halfway done sorting through stuff.      Hopefully by Spring I'll be done sorting through all of my stuff.
    Last, but certainly not least, our nice weather is over.  The snow has started, and will stop actively snowing around March given our county's climate.  The following is a picture taken last October.  So far I haven't seen any spectacular winter pictures to take yet.  I simply need to give it time.

  Have a Lovely Day One and All,

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Sands of Time

“Our life is made up of time. Our days are measured in hours, our pay measured by those hours, our knowledge is measured by years. [...] And yet time eventually runs out and you wonder in your heart of hearts if those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades were being spent the best way they possibly could.”
Cecelia Ahern

    My Moonflowers are still coming along.  I'm starting to wonder at what point they will be maintaining, verses actively growing.  Hhhmmm, time will tell.
    I also celebrated my 31st Birthday, not nearly as painful as my 30th when I began my Bucket List.  A Bucket List so that while I have the time, physical health and some money to do the things that I wish to do.  For example, note the Bow and Arrows that I have been practicing with.  I have been writing a list of some of the goals that I would like to accomplish in the near and far future.
      My apologies for my detained absence from this blog.  I'm afraid my penchant for taking to much upon myself didn't fail me yet again.  In between working full time, being a wife, mother and assistant caregiver, and part time writer, I decided to start a part time small business.  Yes, I'm pretty sure at this point that I am certifiable, but have enough charm and penache to keep me out of a straight jacket...at least for a while, lol.  I started a part time online and selling locally in person, make up  and skin care franchise after falling in love with their skin care line.  My skin unfortunately like the rest of my body is volatilely over reactive and when it doesn't like something, it will not settle.  Let me give you an example.  At a check up my cardiologist took my blood pressure in one arm manually 9 times in one arm to see if it had dropped at all.  It had not and by the end of the readings my arm had a red band the size and shape of the blood pressure cuff for the rest of the day and the metal strip that holds the material in place left an imprint in my arm that lasted for a week.  If my naughty little dogs get excited and accidentally scratch me, within 2 seconds it welts up, and then settles to a scratch within about 20 minutes. I finally found a skin care line that keeps my skin fairly dry, but still refreshed and has anti-aging components. 
    When I began this blog I really didn't want to have anyone be able to connect my online blog to me personally.  Then I realized that by shutting the door on all of the negative could be's I was guaranteeing that there would be no positive would be's.  Are there creepers, stalkers, and mean spirited people in the word, why yes.  But there are also nice, pleasant honest and hard working individuals in the world.  Let me explain.  Several years ago at one of my former job one of the girls that I worked with was stalked at work, and those of us that worked with her were stalked as well.  She didn't know the man that stalked her.  He had seen her at the local college and stalked her, before attacking her at her house one night.  She got away, with very little physical damage, but the trauma to her psyche was well established along with several of her coworkers psyches.  My husband has pointed out that bad people are going to do whatever it is that they're going to do, and the good people are worth the effort of opening themselves up to the chance of meeting.  My husband laughed while stating that according to my blog that people believe that I am a burnt out hippy, well...  Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.  I'm an old soul who fortunately doesn't look her age.  The following is a picture taken of me all gussied up within the past several days (yes, I intentionally used the antiquated term of gussied up just to make people smile).  Hopefully I haven't broke to many cameras out there with this picture.

 Take care all, Yoko.         

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


"Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore," ~ Dorthy from The Wizard of Oz

It has been a whirl wind of a week.  I accomplished a great number of the projects that had been building on my to do list.  My daughter and I cleaned out the Chicken Coop and using the straw and manure that came out of the Chicken Coop were able to form two raised gardening beds for use in the Spring.  I used some old wooden fence posts that were laying around from when we rebuilt part of the fence.  I made simple squares using four fence posts.  I started with a kill layer of cardboard on the bottom as the weeds here are horrendous, and am using the straw with manure mixed in from the Chicken Coop, along with compost such as egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels, and pieces of produce that the Rabbits and Chicken won't eat.  You'd be shocked at how picky our Chickens are, and the Rabbits are simply snobs; the rabbits turn their nose up at celery.  I plan to add another set of fence posts on top of the first layer of fence posts to make them deeper raised beds.  Over the Winter the mixture in the raised beds should break down nicely into nutrient rich soil.  I would have loved to add newspapers to the beds, but all of the newspapers we receive from family and friends go to starting fires in our wood stove during the winter.

    Since the War on Bees has stagnated for the time being I'm more than pleased at the number and variety of wildlife that have come back to the property.  We now see Dragonflies on a daily basis, our Frog population has increased, Birds are starting to use the bird feeders again (both Doves and Woodpeckers), there is a mischievous Squirrel that comes to visit from the neighbors and my daughter was able to meet a Preying Mantis for the first time while cleaning our Rabbit cages one morning.  She was delighted to say the least.  It's always quite a sight when my daughter and I clean the rabbit cages every morning.  Given that we're not morning people, in the Summer I'm usually in running shorts, a camisole top and flip flops.  My daughter is usually in her pajamas and a pair of Sandals or High Heels depending upon her mood and our two little dogs are barking frantically as they dance around us trying to see the sacred Rabbits.  I'm sure our neighbors our usually on the floor laughing at this point.  This week I've started catching up on some projects that have been simmering on the back burner; such as buying a three hole punch to start on the massive mountain of paperwork I have to sort through and organize. 
    My Moonflowers are still outdoing themselves and next week will determine whether I need to add an additional Tomato Cage on top of the first one.  We'll see.
     I was also able to organize the upstairs guest room so that my husband can resume using music as a stress reliever such as playing a Guitar.  I also organized it so that the movies, CD's, and cassette tapes can be used by the family.  My husband has made great progress in repainting the house while the weather is good; I'm anxious to see the final result, it will be lovely.  All in all a delightful week, I'm hoping to continue to make hay while the sun shines (all pun intended). 
Wishing you and yours a lovely week,


Wednesday, September 11, 2013


"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." ~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War
As you can see from the picture above I have been busy this week.  I discovered approximately 6 years ago that I was allergic to Yellow Jackets, Hornets, and Bees.  I generally have a live and let live policy; but apparently I pissed off the Bee God and every year manage to get stung in the most unusual ways.  The first sting, my husband and I had been driving back to home on the Freeway in his pickup going approximately 75 mph.  I was snuggling down for a nap on the long ride back and decided to put my hoodie on.  In the sleeves my arms went, followed by a bbzzz, and pain.  I took the hoodie off in time to see a Yellow Jacket fly out the window, leaving behind a sting imprint on my arm that was itching, red and swelling.  The next day at work when the swelling continued, and my coworkers were referring to me as Popeye, given the now size of my arm, I sought treatment at the Emergency Room.  I was given Benadryl, Steroids, Antibiotics, and a diagnosis of Bee Allergies and a prescription for an Epinephrine pen for future stings.  The next year my husband and I were camping out at Promise and at 0430 in the morning a Yellow Jacket stung me, see previous statement for treatment.   I was able to skip a year by not getting stung and then they came back with a vengeance. It was 0500 in the morning, and I was sleeping on my covers, in my bed.  I was cold so I slid myself under the covers and received a sting on my big toe. My foot swelled so much that it looked like 6 water balloons that were stuck together.  The swelling pushed the limits of the skin so much that the tissue couldn't hold anymore and actually drained.  Even after treatment I still have a small scar from the incident.  It was personal now; I  was going to bring it!  The following year my mother-in-law and I were yard saling on city wide yard sale day and a Yellow Jacket climbed it's way up my Capris while I was walking and stung me twice on my thigh.  By this time I had the procedure down and was able to seek treatment.  Last week I was stung on the hand by a Yellow Jacket while picking grass for our rabbits.  My husband was here to drive me so I was able to take Benadryl within minutes of the sting.  I then sought treatment for the residual swelling, and it was minimal so the Doctor wasn't quite sure what happened.  Was I developing a tolerance for Bees given the numerous stings over time, or was it due to my taking the Benadryl ASAP since I didn't have to drive myself for treatment?  The Clinic and the Hospital are 25 minutes away.  I suppose I'll find out next year.
    Which brings me to Monday.  My dear husband has been battling with numerous nests of buzzing insects this year.  Early on in the Summer my husband had knocked down several nests above the Kitchen Porch, and had an on going battle with a nest of several hundred in the ground by the Lilac Tree.  He had tried pouring gasoline down the hole and lighting it on fire, he tried most chemicals known to mankind and he even tried drowning the nest, and they still wouldn't die.  I told a friend of mine that I was pretty sure they were mutant Yellow Jackets straight from the bowels of Hell; all that got me was commiseration and a laugh.  Monday morning I noticed that there were at least a hundred Yellow Jackets flitting in and around the tree in front of the house and called my husband for any suggestion to get rid of them.  His suggestion, I stay indoors until Winter; so not helpful.  Monday afternoon I had to break and take the girls shopping for more clothes as my daughter had almost outgrown everything.  I got the girls safely in the car, was climbing in the drivers seat and my daughter started screaming.  My daughter had been stung by a Yellow Jacket in the car.  I assessed the sting (we weren't sure if she was allergic or not yet) and after giving hugs and kisses went into the house for some rubbing alcohol to take the sting out of the bite.  As I went into the house I was filled with such a dark, black rage and all I could think was "those BASTARDS stung my baby"!!!  Shit just got real.  No one or anything messes with my baby.  Then inspiration struck.  I needed something that would draw the Yellow Jackets to it, and then would kill them.  Then I remembered researching the harmful affects of some of the chemicals we use such as bleach.  I remember reading that bleach had been used during one of the World Wars in an aerolized form as an early chemical weapon.  I had Bleach, but liquid and then I remembered the Hummingbird Feeders and how they attract bees.  So with a smile I mixed LOTS of sugar, water, orange food dye and copious amounts of bleach.  I placed my mixture in a sauce pan elevated on a block of wood under the tree outside and waited for the carnage to begin.  The mixture was elevated so that no stray animals or my animals would be able to access my mixture.  The next morning there were numerous dead Yellow Jackets and a peaceful quiet that surrounded the property, meaning the swarm located itself elsewhere. 
    This morning I was delighted to see a squirrel back in residence on our property and a pair of doves eating out on the lawn.  I was perplexed a few weeks ago when I put the bird feeders back out and had very little visitors.  I had become sick last year and so the bird feeders were one of the first casualties of my waning strength.  I do believe the birds simply didn't want to compete with a swarm of Yellow Jackets, but now they're back.
    My Moonflowers are doing wonderful.  As they continue to grow I might need to add a second Tomato Cage on top of the first to help their upward ascent.  The rest of the household is status quo.  My little girl started school again, in fact today was her first School Pictures.  My mother-in-law still asks in the mornings if my daughter is laying down for her nap.  I started my first run/walk this morning outside.  I used a small purse with a long strap run over one arm and around my neck, and under my shirt to hold Benadryl, Epinephrine pen and my phone.  I tracked the run on my phone and I ran 1.2 miles in 17 minutes, at 4 mph, not bad for someone out of shape.  I also remembered how much I love running, but I need to ease into it as by tomorrow I'm sure Ibuprofen and I will be close friends.  Perhaps several times a week an outdoor run, weather permitting.
Hope that everyone has a lovely week.  I'm hoping for a calmer week this week, we'll find out how it goes though. 
Simply Yoko.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


"Experience:  That most brutal of teachers.  But you learn, my God do you learn."~ Unknown
I had a very productive week this past week.  With some help from our dear friend Georgie we were able to finish painting my daughter's upstairs room.  Now we can add some splashes of color to the white walls, the pink window and door trim through posters, paintings, etc.  My daughter was too small prior to this point to safely navigate the stairs.  Since my husband and I welcomed my little girl into our household she has grown 3 sizes from a 3T to a 5T transitioning into a 6T.  It's amazing to realize that we have had my daughter for 9 months now and the effect that she has had on our family.  My dear sweet mother-in-law, who has no short term memory courtesy of the dementia; even notices when my daughter is absent, for instance when my daughter's visiting her sister's household.  It's sweet, but sad as my little mother-in-law will come out on average about 2 times an hour during the day and remarking upon the quiet will ask where my little girl is.  Ever so patiently I rattle off the same answer that I've said so many times that sometimes I have to shake my head so I don't hear the echo of the same response time again.  I love my girls, but they are a handful sometimes.
    In other news my husband finished Thumbelina's Cage and while perusing the Internet I came across an idea of painting the Rabbit Tractors.  I'm giving that some thought; I find the idea intriguing.  We still take her out and pet and handler her.  Approximately 10 years ago there was an early morning jogger that spotted a cougar on our road.  We also have Wolves in the county, Bears and that doesn't excuse the more domestic predators such as Raccoons, Stray Dogs (or mine), Hawks and Eagles.  Cadbury's Cage sits directly next to Thumbelina's that way they can interact with each other and the dogs, safely. 
  My Moonflowers continue to explode at an exponential rate, it's quite miraculous their recovery.  A friend suggested a Tomato Cage as a trellis for it to grow in so I thought I'd give it a shot.  And yes, they have gone a little wild.  ;)  I repotted them today as they were root bound again, and since I transplanted them I gave them a good drenching leaving them to drain outside in the Sun.  By this evening they'll be houseplants again. 
    As far as miracles I have uncluttered my entire house.  There are still a few hot spots to tweak, a book shelf in my bedroom and the bottom of my closet, and some boxes of miscellaneous stuff to sort through in the basement, but the majority of stuff is gone. The one last hold out that I will undertake during The Long Winter (all pun intended) is the Wood Shed outside that houses the remnants of stuff that we moved in with.  I admit I did have an addiction to the written word.  It didn't matter the subject either, I read everything.  Text books on Nutrition, Gardening, Human Anatomy & Physiology, Foreign Language (I so want to finish learning Spanish), Poetry, Fiction, Biology, Chemistry, History.  I'm pretty sure that on my death bed my one regret will be the book that I haven't finished, lol.  Before I began giving away many of my books a year ago I could easily have opened a Library, and not a tiny one either.  Now I'm beginning to enter the realm of the reality where a Library card will obtain any book that I absolutely NEED to read, for no cost and no clutter as the rotating book supply will only take up a limited amount of space EVERY SINGLE time.  The freedom that comes with having just a small amount of belongings to have to clean and organize is liberating. 
I have many friends that are artists in various fields, some of them talented in multiple fields.  My dear friend Georgie is one of those most dearest to me.  She's a 70 year-young-woman that puts most of us youngsters to shame as far as energy, health, and love of life.  She rides in Hot Air Balloons and small planes.  Georgie can do almost any craft that she takes a liking to, and some that not many people can do.  She is my inspiration for who I want to be as I age.  She paints, crochets, quilts, does photography, creates various types of baskets and jewelry and as of late makes Dream Catchers.  Dream Catchers are a type of Native American ornamental charm that are hung over a person's bed and are believed to catch the bad dreams in the net, and the good dreams are believed to filter down through the feathers to the person sleeping below.  Below are several of Georgie's handmade Dream Catchers.  If anyone would like to have any Dream Catchers made please contact her @ 1-541-403-0605.  And no, I receive nothing as payment for advertising her Dream Catchers.

The following is a poem that I wrote.  Hope everyone has a lovely week, Autumn has arrived.  Take care, Simply Yoko.

A Rainy Morning
The rain pattered softly against the window.  The warmth of the bed cocooned me as I struggled to emerge from the Land of Sleep I was ensconced in.  The humid atmosphere of the room was permeated by the vase of Honeysuckle blossoms sitting on my desk.  The chimes from the antique clock began to sound pulling me up from the depths of my sleep.  Blindly I reached out slapping where I believed the alarm clock to be, and felt a warmer, larger hand guide my hand gently to the alarm clock to turn it off.  Cracking my eyes open blearily I saw you, happiness filled me and I smiled.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

In One Accordance

"A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing.  She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself." ~ Maya Angelou
This past week has been nice.  I've managed to get quite a few things accomplished and under control.  I have 3/4's of my bedroom uncluttered, the last hold outs are the bottom of the closet, and the small bookshelf.  After I accomplish these last 2 trouble spots then I can do a final uncluttering purge, then clean, and paint the room.  I'm wanting burgundy colored walls, cream color for the door, window trim and ceiling, wooden floors, and a border between the walls and ceiling that is antique looking, and has dark green, burgundy, cream and yellow in it.  I'll have pale light yellow lace curtains for the window, since I no longer work nights I don't have to keep the light out during the day, and I do LOVE light.  In celebration of all of my hard work I'm gifting myself with some sort of beautiful antique lamp.  As my dogs had an incident a while back resulting in part of the glass globe missing on my current lamp and a new fancy bedding set.  It will be quite lovely when I'm done.
    This past week I have been able to catch up on a lot of paperwork and start delving into my various projects.  For instance, instead of going to a local thrift store for work shirts and some more clothing for my little girl I asked a friend who is a frequent shopper there if she would keep an eye for those items for me and I would reimburse her the cost.  Altogether a smart idea as I'm still learning how to resist temptation, just because a person COULD do something, doesn't mean that they will have the time or energy to do EVERYTHING.  A person has to pick and choose the things to invest their finite amount of time and energy in.
    I also used one of my days off to putter around the house, uncluttering and chipping away at my to do list, and having a Spa day.  My little girl and I painted our nails.  Mine were just my toenails as long painted fingernails in the field I work are impractical and a hazard.  My Moonflowers are also thriving; I think I'm going to have to repot again, very shortly, at their current growth rate.

    I also realized that I should probably give a better description of where I live.  I live in a tiny county in Oregon called Wallowa County.  For people that are unfamiliar with U.S. History, when settlers moved West in the 1800's they crossed on a trail that is known as the Oregon Trail.  The county that I live in is also called "little Switzerland" given our mountains and harsh climate.  In the Summer we have HOT dry heat 80-105 F during the day, 40-70 at night.  In the Winter we have COLD temperatures anywhere from -20 to 50 F.  The weather has quite abrupt mood swings here.  We usually have active snow from late October or November through March.  From September through May or Memorial day there is an active chance of snow.  The blizzard on July 4th back in the 1970's still provokes comments when the topic of weather is brought up.  Every January there is a dog sled race that is a qualifying race for the Iditarod dog sled race up in Alaska.  Due to the differences of elevation in the mountains and the valleys between them there is quite a drastic climate change.  A friend of mine grew up in Imnaha, one of the lowest elevations in the county and her parents were able to grow Avocados at their house, due to no snow, lots of rain, and warm to HOT weather year round.  At some of the highest elevations in the County 4-wheel drive is required, a lot of times with chains or studs, and snowmobiles and skiing are an active part of the community.  Road closures during the Winter are not uncommon.  Below are some beautiful pictures I have taken of the Valley in its' different moods, on my various journeys.
A view from our Cabin at Promise on Memorial Day 2013
      A view of Wallowa Lake on Easter 2013, and please note the Ice still there from where it freezes over completely every Winter.
A beautiful waterfall up in the mountains above the lake.
Have a wonderful week everyone and take care, Yoko.


Thursday, August 22, 2013


"Look to the future, your story is not yet written." ~Unknown Author~
I have made great progress in uncluttering my bedroom this week.  Given the inches and sizes that I have lost over the past 2 years I still somehow had many clothes that fit me when I was heavier, even though I thought I had given them all away.  Into the give away sack they went, clothes that will never fit me given the fact that I am a woman, and not a prepubescent girl.  Clothes that were trendy, many years ago, into the sack they went, followed by clothes that I never should have bought as they were designed for someone with a far different body structure than mine, mine is hour glass curves.  After the basic clothes purge, I followed it with a cathartic book experience, book after book left my book shelves to journey into the giveaway bag destined for homes that will treasure it more than my dusty shelves.  One of the ways that my daughter and I plan to get our book fix cheaply without the clutter is the Public Library.  Free access to an unlimited number of books, with a deadline to read them by a certain date thus minimizing the amount of clutter than can enter my household at one time.  My daughter and I are now official card carrying members of our local Public Library.
    Depending upon my schedule for the week, is how much time I have and which project I am able to work on at the time.  In weeks where my schedule is normal I have been able to chip away at larger tasks such as landscaping, longer weeks mean less writing, more uncluttering, essentially baby steps as I try to balance work, family and my own personal projects. 
    My little girl is getting ready to start school again, it's amazing how the Summer has flown by.  Pretty soon my little girl will be ready to start sports such as T-Ball, and Soccer.  My mother-in-law's dementia has not progressed very much and so we are still able to take care of her.  My husband has been helping his daughter at her Restaurant and has been loving it, and me, well I'm always up to something.  It just depends upon my mood how beneficial it is to other people, lol.  ;) 
    My Moonflowers have managed to pull out of it nicely.  After giving it some thought I replanted the three plants together so that they can use each other to climb upon as they are a vining plant.  They are starting to become a little wild though, I'll have to move them with the rest of my Jungle soon, as my Kitchen Window is for small plants only.
 My niece and her family came up from the City to our neck of the woods and we had a delightful visit.  I was able to show her the new, improved healthy me and she was delighted at the results I have had so far.  I also wrangled an invite to a 15K that her city has annually, and so I have several months to prepare for this undertaking.  I think I am finally able to be up to the Challenge.  The difference between my hike with her last year and this year was amazing!  I was talking with a friend yesterday and remarked that I have lost 35 lbs. since beginning my weight loss journey over the past 2 years.  That my dear friends is the size of a large bag of dog food.  Imagine continuously carrying around that sack of dog food, there's a reason that being far over weight is dangerous to a person's health.  Until next time friends take care, and have a peak at my latest poem, inspired by the change in seasons. ;)

Autumn Fire
She was walking home with her backpack slung over her back, the weight of the books a familiar pressure.  With each step she took she heard a crinkle as leaves were crushed underfoot.  The warmth of the Autumn Sun beat down on her causing a trickle of sweat to slide down her temple.  Within seconds a blast of frigid air hit her forewarning of Winter's approach and just as quickly darting away, causing the leaves around her to dance.  She looked at the darkening hills around her as the Sun began to set, it's rays burning brightly crimson, smelled dry grass, wood chips, and smoke and inhaled deeply.  All around her were the signs of the season; the signs of Autumn and realized that this was what she loved about Autumn, the Autumn Fire.



Monday, August 12, 2013

Bon Voyage

"A traveler am I, and a navigator, and every day I discover a new region within my soul." ~ Khalil Gibran.
 The past few days have been a wonderful relaxation for my overworked body.  I took my girls over to some friends of mine that have several different animals and it was an impromptu mini petting zoo.  What most people don't realize is that animal companionship is not limited to the young; I'm sure my mother-in-law enjoyed it as much as my daughter.  There have been many studies that show the beneficial effect of animals on people, everything from dogs, to horses.  Pet therapy is used in hospitals for everything from cheering people up to lowering blood pressure.  Somehow animals are able to connect in a healing therapeutic way that we as fellow humans cannot.  For more information on pet therapy simply Google the term and there are many studies for you to read. 
    I have been able to sort through several boxes of stuff from storage and get rid of quite a few of them.  Also, the nights here are starting to cool down and I'm able to start opening the blinds in our bedroom to let in the light and warmth again.  I do love letting the light stream through our bedroom window during the day to help light up the hallway, it is after all an old farmhouse, and the lighting is quite limited. 
     I drew up a rough outline of the 3/4 acre of the property that the house sits on and have started my landscaping plans for next year.  As far as animals, my husband has agreed that we can get a Pot Belly Pig, a Miniature Horse for the property, and a few ducks; then we'll be maxed out as far as the limit of animals we can take care of properly.  The following picture is a picture of Thumbelina our first rabbit, and my bratty dogs which are determined to eat her.  Yes, I love my dogs dearly, but they are spoiled brats, and yes it is almost all of my fault, but my mother-in-law does not help the situation.  Meet Buddy on the left and Brandy on the right, brother and sister from the same litter, different fathers.  It's quite amazing what genetics can do isn't it?  
    I started exercising again and it has been very nice and I can feel the difference already.  I have almost completed the outline of the first novel that I plan to write.  On Friday, my next day off, I'll start the actual writing of my novel.  It'll be fantasy based, along the lines of The Chronicles of Narnia meets The Hobbit with a twist.  My health has improved quite a bit so I am able to accomplish more things during the day, even days that I work outside of the home.  I managed to save the Moonflowers that had been neglected, see the pictures below, and they seem to be pulling out of it nicely.  Last, but certainly not least is the rough outline of my goals for the property.  Keep in mind that when I plan things they have to be able to be self-sustaining and low maintenance in order to fit into my schedule.  I have to work to pay for bills for my family and my husband and I are raising my daughter and taking care of my mother-in-law. 
My Moonflowers are rebounding back quickly.  It's astonishing what the right conditions can do.
My initial plans for the property.  Some of them will take a while I think, probably over the next three years is what I'm currently estimating.

   Until next time, take care one and all.  Simply Yoko.  ;)

Friday, August 9, 2013


"One cannot manage too many affairs: like pumpkins in the water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other." ~ Chinese Proverb
    This past week and a half has been very busy.  I picked up extra hours at work and on my day off I agreed to help my step-daughter with her catering business.  I had never waitressed before so it was a learning experience.  What I took out of it was that I was glad that I was in the career field I was in instead of waitressing.  I'm afraid I talk to much to waitress properly, lol. 
    We acquired another rabbit named Cadbury, she's white with pink eyes and ears.  Her cage when we finish will be similar to Thumbelina's.  A mobile structure that we can move around the yard so that they have access to fresh grass and air, sunshine and can also fertilize the ground in preparation for my landscaping designs on our property.  My girls love our rabbits and have been helping me daily with the rabbits.  My mother-in-law's responsibility is her cat and I help oversee to make sure the appropriate care is given to Bella and my daughter's responsibility is Moby, our Beta fish and I also oversee his care.  My husband's responsibility has been the chickens and we share responsibility for the dogs.  My step-daughter and I also struck an agreement.  My husband is quite the handyman and can fix lots of electrical stuff, and can be an extra hand at the restaurant when needed.  In exchange I will be getting their leftover bits.  Egg shells and coffee grounds for the soon to be gardens, produce for the rabbit and chickens, and leftover bread/grain products for the chickens.  At home it was also a monumental decision that my husband would allow us to recycle and compost many of our waste products. Cans, glass and plastic containers to the recycling center and coffee grounds and egg shells for the gardens, produce to the rabbits and chickens and grains to the chickens.  The newspapers are used to start fires in our wood burning stove during the winter. 
    One of the dangers of being to "busy" even if it's for a good cause is that things can get neglected when pushed to the backburner.  My Moonflowers were divided and sent to their appropriate homes leaving me the care of three of the flowers. Two of the Moonflowers were sent to homes with my coworkers and another one actually to my work.  The other three didn't fare to well neglected due to my over "busy" schedule.  The plants themselves should be able to pull out of it, some of the leaves might be lost however.  Given what my schedule did to my plants I can only imagine what it did to me inside.  I have resumed my walking/running on my treadmill and plan hopefully by next week to take it up a notch. 

    As far as writing I have taken a love of poetry and the following is a poem I wrote almost as a sequel of The Darkest Night.  Hopefully you'll enjoy reading this poem as much I enjoyed writing it.  Until next time, take care one and all.
    The Ascension
    She stood there in the grey eerie predawn light watching the distant horizon, waiting.  Slowly golden tendrils of light swept over the distant mountains creating a magical radiance that flooded the valley.  She stood there listening to the rustling in the underbrush as life stirred, once again active after the last nightfall.  The hot cup of coffee warmed her as she stood there inhaling the heady scent of the mountain flowers once again perfuming the world around her.  As the sunlight began to warm her she heard the jubilant cry of the birds as they sang out in celebration for the glorious ascension of the sun.  As a bee flew past her humming it's way to the next flower she sighed in contentment.  All was right with the world, the Sun had completed it's rebirth today and she was up to see the christening.   A secret smile lit up her face as she realized that she was the only witness to this miraculous phenomena.  Life was good.  :)     

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Vision

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.  The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." ~ Thomas A. Edison
This week has been a little busy.  I picked up an extra shift at work and altered my schedule around that.  My mother-in-law stayed with my sister-in-law for a week allowing my husband and I a small break from our caregiving roles.  I spent a lot of time regrounding myself with my daily duties and passions.  When I move at a too fast pace some things in my life get pushed to the back burner, such as my poorly neglected plant corner, also known the Jungle.  I watered my plants, and brought each plant out for my mother-in-law's inspection with the Scissors and she is RUTHLESS when it comes to trimming plants.  I have a tremendous ability when applied to help things grow, whether it's plants, animals or people.  My weakness is that sometimes there are some aspects of the living object that need to be adjusted for them to continue their healthy growth, such as plants that need the dead or weakened aspects of the plant removed so that the entire plant can continue to grow.  Enter my mother-in-law, also known as the "little" mother.  That woman is only 5' on a good day, and in her day, as she'll tell you, she was a redhead and was a "little bull headed".  I'm grateful that I'm not a "little bull headed".  As I like to tell my family I balance them out, and then they laugh as I realize that my nose has grown a few inches after that statement and that I might be more stubborn than all of them combined.  I like to say it's misplaced optimism; the hope that never dies.  ;)
    As far as my landscaping goals I've taken a tiny step in that direction.  I set a goal of 1 raised bed by October 1st.  I like the idea of raised beds due to their low maintenance.  At some point over the extensive history of this property, the Garden Spot was used a dumping ground and old pop cans and glass shards were found last year while tilling the ground.   I'll use some wood to outline the raised bed.  I'll use a cardboard kill mulch on the bottom, probably layers of newspapers, followed by straw from cleaning the Chicken Coop out and compost.  This should break down nicely over the Winter Snows and provide weed free, nutrient dense soil.  We also acquired a Pet Rabbit for my daughter and myself.  She's a 1 year old Brown and Black grey lop that we named Thumbelina; yes we read to many Fairy Tales at our house.  Thumbelina's house is a small pen constructed of wire with a house attached for night time and cold weather.  My husband is going to put some old Lawnmower wheels on it and a handle so we can move it to various parts of the lawn as a Rabbit Tractor allowing Thumbelina to fertilize my lawn, fresh grass, and protection, especially from my Chicken Killing Chihuahua Mix Dog..  A win-win situation for all. 
    Last but not least I rediscovered one of my passions.  A vision for where my life is headed.  A combination of gardening, farming, frugality and the simple life, on a small scale.  It was called homesteading, the modern term for it is Urban Farming.  It is simple living:  Choosing things in your life that bring you passion, like gardening, animals, family, cooking on a practical scale that anyone anywhere can accomplish.  For me it is cooking with whole foods, spending time with my family and friends that I love, my animals of course, gardening, reading and writing.  All done cheaply, because I am not made of money, and I don't know anyone personally that is.  I have the wrong connections I think, lol.  


An update on the growth of my Moonflowers in all their glory. I'm going to have to find homes for some of them I think.  6 15' tropical vining plants will be a bit much.  Check out their progress.
    As far as my writing I have done some planning on my novel, and have been writing some poetry.  What I LOVE about Poetry is that if it's done correctly, it can describe a situation and evoke certain feelings with only a few words.  The following is a poem that I wrote.  It gives a tiny glimpse into my writing ability.  Until next time, hang in there one and all. 

Forever Yours Yoko


The Darkest Night

The night was icy cold, the sky an inky black and all the world was silent, mute except for the frozen breaths she expelled as she sat there, lost deep in thought.  Thoughts of freeing herself from the shackles of the past, longing to embrace the hope for the future, but stuck enmeshed in the quandary of the present.  As she sat there watching the barren landscape, feeling the tomblike atmosphere around her; she saw it.  The sky began to lighten, shimmering a silver in the distance.  Slowly grey tendrils of light crept across the land as the Sun began to rise.  Soon splashes of Crimson Red and Golden Yellow filled the sky brightening the sky to a Turquoise Blue.  A ghost of a smile crossed her face as she realized what she had forgotten.  It was always darkest before the dawn, even the darkest of nights.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Onward Progress

"Do not expect to become perfect at once.  If you do, you will be disappointed.  Be better today than you were yesterday and be better tomorrow than you are today," ~ Lorenzo Snow.

    This week I wasn't able to make much progress on my listed goals, only several small ones.  However I did make progress in a goal that I had not listed previously.  Growing up, I did not obtain my drivers license until I was 20 and married.  My husband taught me how to drive a vehicle so that I could obtain my drivers license to commute to college.  After obtaining my drivers license I had only driven in small towns with two and three lane highways and two lane freeways and small town stoplights.  Yesterday I drove during rush hour in a largely populated city, survived and feel comfortable enough to start driving in the city when necessary, such as for medical checks ups and to visit my far flung family members.  This has given me a greater step towards my personal growth and independence.  I am now able to provide self-transport when necessary to pursue some of the goals that I set; both for myself and for my family.  The only thing that I will need to learn still is how to use the GPS on my phone; I have NO sense of direction.  We all have weaknesses, and this is one of mine.  The trick with weaknesses is simply to learn how to work around them to accomplish your set goals.  In celebration I visited with both sides of my family and went out to dinner and a concert.  It was a wonderful past couple of days.  The world is now mine to explore, sometimes virtually, and sometimes in real life.
    I have been busy whittling away at other goals.  I'm establishing a daily schedule that allows my girls to help me with basic tasks such as sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting.  They are such a wonderful help.
    My Moonflower seeds have sprouted I now have 5 seedlings and the 6th and last seed is sprouting.  It will be beautiful to see them grow.  Here is a current picture of the seedlings.  Their growth is AMAZING!!

      The goals for next week are to begin to further unclutter the bedroom, find separate containers for the Moonflowers which are rapidly overtaking their original container, do some research into grant writing and begin to flesh out the story of my novel.  I will continue with the treadmill which has been successful minus the last 4 days with travel and family obligations.  And no, the following picture is not mine, it simply represents the dragon named Clutter which I plan to slay.

Onward soldier, the war has been waged and victory for the future of our goals will be ours.  ;) 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Beginning

"Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments.  The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked is mine." ~ Nikola Tesla

 This week has been about obtaining my bearings.  I am a procrastinator by nature and it is sometimes hard for me to apply myself which is part of why I started this blog, to hold myself to my family and friends accountable for the goals I have set for myself on a global scale.  So no pressure there, lol.  My treadmill has now taken up residence in our living room so that I can walk/run now for at least 30 minutes, my goal is 60 minutes at least five days a week; why not outside you ask?  Well, we live in the mountains in the middle of nowhere and have snow minimum 9 months a year, with a chance of snow the other three months of the year.  I have lost 35 lbs. over the past 18 months through diet and lifestyle changes, to help improve my health and now am taking it up a notch through intensive exercise.  I have a family that I need to be around to help raise.  My poor husband is already outmatched with three women telling him what to do and where to go from his wife to mother and daughter.

    My daughter and I planted 6 Moonflower seeds, after all what is a blog about a home with Moonflowers without the Moonflowers?  They are already starting to sprout, we'll see how many will come up. 



    I have organized my writing space and have started detailing some of the characters in the fictional novel that I will be writing.  I have a list of websites for information on grant writing that I have been perusing, the writing itself will not be hard, but to find accurate legal grants etc. will be the challenge.
    As far as the bedroom remodel, I am working on decluttering the bedroom.  A person can only read so many books in a life time.  I'm hoping to paint in early September before the weather turns cold and after painting I will tear the carpet up.  The carpeting has been in there for approximately 40 years, at least 34 years of it had chain smoking in it.  The rest of the remodeling can be accomplished after cold weather arrives.
    The landscaping goal has only taken a minute step this summer; I have container plants on the three porches and planted a Bleeding Heart Plant and a Honeysuckle plant both of which are thriving well.  Stay tuned for next week's update, more progress in store.  ;)