Yard Work and Accomplishments

ITS BEEN A QUIET WEEK, DESPITE the busyness of preparing for the book signing/art show at Harvest Jubilee in Salinas over last weekend. Sunday was supposed to be a “chill” day, but I had enough energy reserves, I decided to putter in my yard.

You really cannot truly appreciate the results of the work done in my yard by the three guys that worked their tails off a week ago. I’m embarrassed to post any photos to show how much was done, but let’s just say that all they had to deal with was the results of not being able to do much for about two years! There’s still tons of work to do, but things look so good, I’m thinking that alone has given me quite a bit of energy!

Our tinder-dry state (plus the urgings from CalFire to bring my property into compliance)—and the horrific fires we are experiencing both north and south of us are incentive enough to get things cleaned up. I need to call my gardener and find out when they will return to continue the cleanup process. In the meantime, I’m in the yard as often as possible, cleaning up what I can. And it’s nice to be able to really see the fruits of my labour. Gives me the incentive to get back out and keep working. Ooh, and it is a very good feeling. I’ve even taken the time to finally pot a few of the plants that have languished in their tiny containers. I’ve pulled others to safety from potential browsing by my resident deer (my bunny condo has been turned into a safety zone for my plants for now), placed a wire guard over a raised bed—after taking a ton of mulch and dumping it into the bed, adding a few onions that ended up “passed edible usage”, but were still producing greens (yum) and, well, in general I’ve been busy making the yard more presentable between weeding stints.

My yard is a work in progress—just like I am (insert huge grin …)—it will take many more trips to the dump (yard waste and trash), lots of fighting with poison oak (ugh … not me—unfortunately my gardener and his crew get that privilege). Oh—and there’s the pruning of trees (they must have no branches hanging down lower than 6-8 feet). Hand saw is not going to do the job—at least not in my hands (pout) …

I’m falling in love with my yard all over again. Wheeee! Even when I have it back to within CalFire’s guidelines … I’ll keep going, bringing it back to its former glory—including a koi pond … a real one, not the “temporary” small trough I have been using for sooo maaany years. That’s the plan … and I’m sticking to it! I’m so tickled with the progress that I’m still trying to decide—I’ve such a roller coaster of emotions about this—whether I put off traveling abroad one more year so I can get this vision of what the yard will be done … I’m so conflicted! I’ll have to decide soon. I will send my money in for the CIV tour and keep planning for the other parts of it. I’ll just need to keep an eye on the deadline for withdrawing from the tour so I don’t lose the money … again!

May each of you have an amazing weekend and may this upcoming week unfold serendipitously (sniggle … Word’s dictionary doesn’t like that word—too bad!)! Have a great week!

Don’t forget to check the updated events calendar (at the bottom of my Amazon Author’s page):
Next event is Saturday, November 4, 2017 in Aptos, CA

Wishful Thinking?

WELL … THERE WENT THAT DREAM. It was fun whilst it lasted, though. And bits of it are still floating around in my head (insert huge grin here).

I’m talking about the humongous PowerBall drama of this last week. The pot kept getting bigger and bigger—to the point that is was almost ridiculous. No, beyond ridiculous. And the chances of winning (always tipped to the “in-your-dreams” side) were down to “not-a-chance-in …”

Well, you know what I mean.

Yet, knowing all of this, I decided to give it a go. After all, if you don’t enter in, you cannot possibly win, right? And … (here’s where everyone will probably roll their eyes) since luck has nothing to do with it, why not? My attitude is, if I’m meant to win, then I will. If not, then at least a portion of the funds go to the public school system here in California … though, I’d love to know where within the system it disappears to, since it seems our schools are in shambles.

I’ve thrown a couple dollars at the lottery over the years. I think five dollars at one time was the max—and that was “big-time” for me. I’m not really a gambler. I take life as it comes, make do with what I have and enjoy life. Pretty simple, really.

But this time, I was drawn in by several friends at Open Ground Studios—just for fun. Three of us threw in two dollars each. That’s three quick pick numbers on one ticket. Then we sat around the table and talked about how we’d spend it. Improving/upgrading OGS—maybe moving the business to a better location … and taking a trip to the UK. With friends. And paying their way. Maybe “buying out” a plane so we could have the plane to ourselves. Oh—and, of course, stay in a castle whilst there. Dreaming big doesn’t cost anything, so why not?

It was somehow decided I’d buy a house in Carmel with a beach view so I wouldn’t have to travel so far to get to Open Ground Studios. I have to laugh at that. It only takes me twenty minutes to get there from my existing home. With the traffic in and around Carmel, there could easily be delays, making it more like a thirty-plus minute drive. Yes, it would be nice to have the ocean to see and hear as I wake up every day. But that’s not so high on my priority list.

When I got home that night, after all our wishful dreaming, I found myself thinking about it more. I decided to increase my odds (who was I fooling??) by purchasing a few more

PowerBall Quick Picks

Some of my numbers …

quick picks at three different stores in the area. Then I settled in to think. Would I really want the notoriety that comes with all the money? The instant fame? I wondered if I could hire an attorney to pick up the winnings to keep me anonymous … just think—how many Debra Smiths are there in the world? Money-moochers and scammers would have a hard time finding me. This is the one time a name like that might come in handy. What about the hassles of trying to figure out what to do with all of it? Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? Of course I could easily find ways to spend every single penny. But, that’s not the point. To spend it wisely: that’s the trick, isn’t it? That’s how I was brought up. Money is a gift to be used wisely (yes, I do have my “fun stuff” I buy, as do most people … but I don’t go overboard—most of the time). Sometimes I can be downright frugal.

So, I went to bed pondering how I’d handle all that wealth. I found myself making a list. It was an interesting list: a mix of well-intentioned and practical ideas blended to those of a more fanciful bend. Having already been the recipient of a decent sum at my husband’s death, I was well aware of how easy it is to quickly fritter away the bulk of it without even a blink of an eye. No, I didn’t fritter it away. I sat on it for quite a while (almost too long, since that was the 2007-8 crash era). After all, I would need to live on it for a long time. Well, I held onto all except for the funds needed to fulfill my husband’s suggestion of my daughter and I going through with the family’s plan to make our first trip to Europe, without him. At first it was sad, but I am glad we did. It was an amazing, two-month adventure. Worth every experience (good and bad) and worth every single penny spent.

But, back to the dreams … I wonder what others would wish for if they’d managed to win? For me, in my mind (and on my list) I balanced giving to my church (and a few other special places) with needed repairs and desirable upgrades

Dream Wish List

I can dream, can’t I?

for my existing home (it’s centrally located and I have awesome neighbors I’d hate losing if I moved … even if it is on the north side of a hill) and a bit of frivolity: dreams of purchasing a home in the UK so I’d have a place to stay when I traveled there … and, of course, more travel—much more travel.

And, yes … it was only a dream. I did not win. The winner

The winning numbers for 13 Jan 2016 ... not me

The winning numbers for 13 Jan 2016 … not me

was somewhere in San Diego, I believe. But it was fun to dream  …

So, tell me—how would you have spent the money had you won? Be honest. Dream big. Tell me, please. I’m all ears.