Friday, December 7, 2007

Sometimes, girls just wanna have fun!!

The Crimson Capers do just that, whenever there is a chance!

Who are or what is The Crimson Capers you may ask? Only the best chapter in all of the Red Hat Society! (My chapter, of course!) I am the founding Queen Mum, aka Queenie-Martini, although where that moniker came from is beyond me…*Ü*

I first registered the chapter in October of 2004. Originally, I formed the chapter because my mother found the whole idea so much fun. Unfortunately, she was only able to attend the First Annual Holiday Tea & Fol-de-Rol in December that year before she became ill. But let me tell you, she enjoyed every minute of it! I can still see her holding court (Hey...I’m the Queen, Mom!) in her gorgeous purple suit & stylish red hat! Her spirit of fun & frivolity lives on in the chapter even today!

Now 3 years later, we are a group of mostly strangers who have come together to form a sisterhood, and I mean that in the literal sense of the word. We are sisters; in silliness, in caring, and although I dread the day it comes, even in sorrow. I would never have had the joy of meeting most of these women had it not been for the Red Hat Society. These are my best girlfriends, the ones I want to “come out & play” with! We range in age from 34 to 81. If you are under 50, you wear a pink hat & lavender clothes instead of the red hat and purple clothesbecause you aren’t ripe yet! Our pink hats help to keep us on our toes, and they give us a chance to “share” from our accumulated uh, err…wisdom!

Some activities we have enjoyed over the years are:
  • The Crimson “Cazoo” Caper – to celebrate National Kazoo Day. We had dinner out & serenaded the restaurant patrons on our “Cazoos”, for which we received thunderous applause! Who wouldn’t clap for “God Bless America”?

  • A Red Hat Bridal Shower for Queeni-Martini

  • A lantern tour of the Old Sacramento Cemetery for Halloween

        • One-Stroke painting class/Pottery painting at Petroglyph

        • Reverse Trick or Treating – we dressed in our finest regalia and handed candy to whoever answered the door!

          • 3-day camping trip to Coloma Resort

          • Building our (gingerbread) Dream Houses

          We don’t need an excuse to have fun – we just do it! It is good to give yourself permission to play dress-up, to eat dessert first, and to enjoy a great time with good girlfriends doing whatever suits your fancy! Most of us have raised families, worked jobs and been loving companions and wives. Some of us still do these things, especially the “Pinks”. It just feels pretty darned good to get to the place in your life where you can have fun without any specific purpose except for fun’s sake!

          If you need some fun in your life, and don’t know any girls you can play with, give the Red Hat Society some consideration! Find a chapter near you on the RHS website

          Better yet, start your own! It is wonderful to be Queen. It is your chapter. Make it yours. It can be as much or as little work as you want. I personally do the things I like doing, hand off those I don’t to willing chapter members. I am blessed to have Lady Duh…, my Queen of Vice (second-in-command) who is a whiz of an organizer and will always step up to the plate when I need her! What would I do without her? Be sure to get yourself a really great soul sister to help out!

          I wish you much laughter & joy this season! I also hope Santa brings you a Red Hat! It’s an invitation to more Merriment & Mirth than you can imagine!


          HRH Queenie-Martini, Queen Mum of The Crimson Capers

          Wednesday, November 14, 2007

          Closet Clutter!

          When we lived in our last home, Ed & I each had our own walk-in closet. Mine was even big enough to set up the ironing board, with room to spare. I got spoiled! I was never forced to sort and toss old or out-of-style stuff. Isn't there some saying about "always expanding our possessions to fit the available space"?

          Then, we moved to the country, into a house we love. Except for a couple of things: One master closet, half the size of the smaller of the two we had previously! Yikes! What a mess! And then, there is the fact that the door into our bedroom is smack-dab in the middle of the family room wall, allowing a direct view into the room from the kitchen and my comfy chair!

          Ever the planner, I hit upon an idea one night when I couldn't sleep! Why not build a decent sized closet off the back of the bedroom, and move the bedroom door so that it enters through the former closet, creating an anteroom or foyer into the bedroom? For once, Ed didn't look at me like I had lost my last brain cell and agreed that the idea had merit! That was at least a year ago!
          Here is my idea, marked on our floor plan.

          Finally, a few months ago, we spoke to our favorite contractor about building the closet. He said, much to my delight, "if you're going to the trouble/expense to add the closet, it won't be much more money to make a sitting room too!". Now, if I had suggested that, I don't think Ed would have been so agreeable. It does make sense though, so...this is what we designed. It's a new closet AND a sitting room.

          We are almost finished with the project! I have to say I am loving it! Here are a few pictures.
          This is the door from the MBR into the new space. We removed the window and it is now in the new sitting room wall.

          This is the door into the new closet, the new sliding glass door and a view into the closet.

          Finally, a couple of pictures of the new paint color. (SW6211 - Rainwashed; it's on the same color strip as the bedroom color, which is SW6213 - Halcyon Green) I love the new color, and I am anxious to start cutting and sewing that 30 yards of fabric I have for these rooms!

          Friday, November 2, 2007

          California Wildfire Relief!

          I have always been proud to be a Tupperware Consultant!

          I gladly offer the products and systems that can truly save consumers time, money, waste and space. But now I am especially proud to participate in Tupperware's relief effort for those affected by the California Wildfires!

          For the next couple of weeks, 100% of the proceeds ($8.50) from the sale of our Heartbeat Sandwich Keeper will be donated to the fire relief efforts. The goal is to raise at least $100,000! If I know Tupperware consultants, it will be much more than that! Tupperware Corporate is also working with The Red Cross to distribute essential care packages to those who have lost their homes, been displaced or are otherwise affected by these devastaing fires.

          These are such fun! The heart design is holographic & it looks like the heart is beating when the container is tipped. The containers are useful for more than sandwiches! Think mini first aid kit, purse make-up or sewing kit. It would be a cute small gift container. Last Valentine's Day, I filled them with chocolate truffles and heart-shaped cookies for my girlfriends.

          I am going to order a bunch to have on hand for future use. Won't you help too?

          Please follow this link below to view the container and the product details, and to place your order!

          Thanks so much for helping! Chris

          Tuesday, October 16, 2007

          This is Clever!

          I was browsing some of my Décor “sources” websites this morning and found this cabinet/desk/table. This is not only a space saver, but it looks like an attractive piece of furniture, as well.

          I can see it used in a small studio apartment, office or craft/sewing room. It would even work in a standard or large size dining room as additional serving space. Then there are the times (Holidays, reunions, etc.) you have more guests than your dining table can accommodate.

          Yep! I like this one!

          Please visit the mfr's website for more views.

          Sunday, October 14, 2007

          Tossin' Another Bag!

          Or, at least I’m revising the contents of one…

          I am definitely a pack rat! I save things.

          But what it really come down to, is clutter! No other word for it. I need to refine the spaces around me. The unnecessary “stuff” robs me, and probably my family, of serenity & calm. I am going to concentrate on unloading this extra baggage!

          Yesterday, we started in the office. I say “we” because I had the help of my wonder woman friend, Patti! More on this amazing woman later…

          The office is the place in my home where I spend the majority of my waking hours. Since I work my full time job from home, and run my Tupperware & Refined Room businesses from there, it really needs to be organized! I also share it with my husband who has his own necessary parephanelia…you get the idea! Piles and piles and piles!

          This room is the one room in my home that has never had any attention. When we moved in, we threw the desks and a couple of bookcases into the room and that was it. The walls have remained builder’s white, which is certainly not my style. The oak desks and bookcases are out of date and NOT the beautiful, rich, dark wood I would prefer. But if Refining is making the most of what you have, to make improvement by introducing subtleties or distinctions, then I am going to make them work!

          First job was to clear everything out of the room, ugh! (Of course now, the living & dining rooms are stacked with it all.) Then onto a fresh coat of paint! I chose a warm color “Tamarind” – SW 7538. It is one of the newer “Concepts in Color” shades. It reminds me of a slightly warmer version of SW Latte. It really makes the old oak furniture look like it might have been “on purpose”. I actually like the way the furniture looks now!

          This is the wall color.

          Next, we cut the bottoms off the 8’ tall bookcases so that we could sit them on the desks like a hutch. I think it looks wonderful and has created so much more floor & wall space! Ed is a train & tractor enthusiast, so I can bring some of his art & collectibles into the room.

          Here is a my desk with the "new" hutch.

          That was Saturday. Today we tackle the really tough job of moving all the cr*p back into the office. Well, not all of it! A bunch of it is getting tossed! Won’t be fun, but it is so necessary! And it will feel really good to be free of all that junk!


          It is done, at least for today! We finished what work we could the office, including organizing my fabric samples and decor catalogs! We took the two bottoms that we cut off the bookcases and stacked them to make a bookcase in the closet. Still need to order new blinds and some fabric for a valance. But I must say, I am really pleased with the results. I am also exhausted! It isn't easy to let go of some things, even when you know it's the best thing to do!

          The closet with the "reused" bookcase bottoms.

          Wednesday, October 10, 2007

          Modern Medical Miracles

          My husband had his hip replacement surgery on Thursday, Oct. 4th.

          He came home from the hospital on Saturday, approximately 36 hours later! Amazing what they can do with a bone saw & a few titanium do-hickeys! He was able to walk from the car, up the steps into the house all on his own with the aid of a walker.

          He is having very little pain and had his first physical therapy session (at home) on Sunday. The PT said he is doing extremely well, and that he is about a week ahead of what she usually sees! His second PT appt. today went just as well. He is a trooper!

          I am walking the fine line between loving wife & Nurse Ratchet…he won't drink water like he should and refuses to sleep in bed, preferring the recliner! Even after the PT told him that lying completely flat, IN BED, will help with his healing. So, aside from running to and fro, fetching and gathering, I am doing almost as well as he is! Except maybe the fact that I am waking up every couple of hours to go check on him during the night.

          Oh, & then there are the daily injections of an anti-clotting drug I have to administer…yikes! My LVN experience was years ago, and I haven't given an injection since then! I was so peeved when he told me that the nurse at the hospital had offered to give me a refresher, which he declined, that I jabbed him a good one! He said, "WOW, I didn't even feel that!". I guess it's like riding a bike!

          Yes, things in the our household are mostly good. I wish I could say that my diet was going splendidly. It's not...I have had little time to grocery shop and not much motivation to cook. I have managed to keep it low carb, but it hasn't been a very healthy "Stella Style" menu. I do think Ed is finally getting some appetite back, so that should help.

          I'm thinking salmon for dinner, Ed will probably want grilled cheese. LOL!

          Friday, September 28, 2007

          Here goes "bag" one!

          Well…it has taken a couple of days, but I am finally going to deal with one of those “bags” I discussed in my last post. Here goes the “FAT” bag!

          I have been doing a lot of soul searching and research regarding how I should eat. I have Type II diabetes and it is all-important that I not let this chronic illness rob me of my vitality and life! I have done a good job of controlling it with diet in the past. And while it isn’t awful now, my last HGBA1c test was 6.5. I want it below 6! (For those of you who aren’t diabetic, the HGBA1c measures average blood sugar over the last 3 months. If you are diabetic, 7% or lower is good.)

          I need to get back to losing weight and eating in a way that maintains proper blood sugar levels. For me, that is a low carb diet. I have done Atkins in the past, with some success. I also was on the South Beach Diet for a time and did well there too. That is, until I started adding grains back into my diet. What a disaster! I have been on a yearlong binge and have gained about 2/3 of my weight loss back! DAMN!

          I have discovered the eating plan I want to adopt. It is easy, healthful and it is one I CAN live with. It is “Stella Style”. You may know of George Stella, the Low Carb and Lovin’ It” chef from Food Network. Yes, I know…many people consider him to be a dork! But he is a likeable dork, and you certainly can’t argue his success! His bio, family story & photos are all on his website I like his approach and the fact that he and his family have lived it!

          Here are just a few points regarding the Stella Style way of eating. These are excerpted from George’s book “Eating Stella Style – Low-Carb Recipes for Healthy Living”.
          · Eliminate the “white stuff” from your diet. (Sugar, white flour, potatoes)
          · Replace processed foods with fresh, healthy foods.
          · Get into your kitchen & cook!
          · Eat well-rounded meals
          · Identify the right foods without obsessing over every carb.

          Does that sound like some crazy, whacko diet? Nope! Sounds pretty sensible to me! Now I know there will be a few out there who will get all bent out of shape about the whole low carb diet thing. Do the research and read the medical press!

          First, low carb diets aren’t all about bacon and cheese! Grilled salmon, steamed broccoli & a spinach salad is a low carb meal. Fat IS NOT the enemy…sugar is!

          Second, medical research is validating the low carb diet again & again. More about this in future posts.

          There! I have put it out there for all to read. As of Monday, October 1, 2007, I will be eating, cooking & living “Stella Style”.

          Whew! That “FAT” bag is one I surely will not miss!

          Sunday, September 23, 2007

          Baggage Check

          Crud! I started this blog, then immediately became paralyzed by the seemingly huge task ahead (putting my plans to refine my life down in writing)! See what I mean about needing to make some changes?

          I have TOO MUCH BAGGAGE! I am trying to check onto a flight that will take me to a new place in my life, and the extra bags are costing (or weigh) too much! Some are going to have to be left behind. Aye, there's the rub! Which bag(s) do I leave?

          How about the "Fat" bag? It is so comfortable to continue to eat just whatever I want, despite the health consequences! Finding the right way to eat and exercise has become a matter of great importance if I am to remain on this planet! And FAT has been a major part of my life for so long…I want that baggage gone!

          Or maybe it should be the "Possessions" bag? Which one of my collections (roosters, teapots, pumpkins, finials, red transferware, depression glass) can I part with? How will I refine my home to achieve the serenity & calm I seek?

          I know, it must be the "Carreer" bag! That is certainly a full one!

          There’s the full time proposal-writing job. That's the one that is our bread & butter! Probably have to keep that one...

          Maybe Tupperware? Oh but I love my Tupperware (! I love the parties, I love the people! But I haven't been giving it my best. Why is that?

          The Refined Room ( is hanging out there in limbo most of the time. I love decorating, and believe that I truly have the gift for it. But having a full-time day job makes it difficult to take that one anywhere. Who wants to move furniture in the evening, after dinner, with the husband & kids to help?

          There is another "network/internet" marketing business I'm holdin' my back pocket that is either the greatest thing since sliced bread or a train wreck! Not sure which yet, but I'm counting on the former. When I know for sure myself, you can bet I'll be sharing that story!

          I certainly can't leave the "House & Home" bag behind! After all, I must have a place to hang my hats. (That's another bag for another discussion...Red Hatting!) House & Home is one bag I must keep with me on this journey, but I definitely think I can re-pack it to lighten the load! Might even make it a source of not only necessities but also comfort.

          The "Relationships" bag is my carry-on. I would NEVER check that one. It contains all that is most precious to me.

          I have a wonderful, loving husband who "gets" me. He is able to see me as I am, and still loves me! I am completely and passionately in love with him, even after all these years!

          My daughter is a fabulous child! She is bright, good-hearted, generous, hard working, and she loves her mother! Which in itself should attest to her brilliance!

          I have sisters and a brother whom I love dearly. But more importantly, they are people I would like & respect even if I wasn't related to them.

          Then, there are my friends! I have girlfriends with whom I share deep, personal (sister-like) bonds. My husband & I have couple friends that enrich our lives so much! Then, there are those who are just fun to be around, if only occasionally. I feel like I am truly blessed with friends.

          I am sure there are a few smaller bags that are tucked amongst the larger ones that I haven't considered yet. As I have written this entry, I have realized that as I embark on this journey, there are definitely some of these bags that will simply be left to spin on the luggage carousel until someone places them in the unclaimed pile. But others can be consolidated, re-packed, or ticketed for another destination. Somehow, that seems an easier, less heart-wrenching task!

          Now, I just have to get on with it!


          Wednesday, September 12, 2007

          Time for a "Life Refinement"!

          These thoughts have been wandering around my brain for a while. It has always helped that I write things down. goes!

          I belong to a wonderful organization, the Interior Refiners Network. As a group of professional redesigners, we help our clients make the most of what they already have. Organizing, editing and showcasing their possesions, even adding new things as needed. It is a concept that I believe will work in life as well. It is a process that I need to adopt. I am at a point in my life that I want that "refined" space, both physical & mental. I could use more calm & less exasperation, even if it is of my own making! My home, my relationships, my businesses, my JOB can only become better, more refined!

          This will be a journal of my quest. Not sure where it will take me, but you are welcome to come along for the ride!