Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Party of One (Review)

I recently read the book "Party of One", by Dave Holmes.  I received this book free from Blogging for Books and received no other compensation.  All opinions are my own.  

Anyone my age remembers Dave Holmes from MTV.  But that's not what the majority of this book is about.  This book recounts the struggles that Holmes has gone through so far in his life, and how music has intertwined itself through those struggles.  Struggles with sexuality, fitting in, and just learning to be himself.  It is also hilarious.  This was an insight into another's life and perspective, something that can only benefit each of us as we reflect on our own lives.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Book Review: "Mother, Can You NOT?"

(I received a free book from, but my opinions are my own.)  

Recently I received "Mother, Can you NOT?" by Kate Siegel for review.  I had not heard of this author's popular twitter, @crazyjewishmom, before this book.  Siegel writes of growing up with a meddling but loving mother.  Her mother only wanted what was best (or at least what she thought was best) for her daughter, but the lengths she went to make those things happen were extraordinary, and not necessarily in a good way.  

The love that the family members have for each other, including Siegel's father, is obvious throughout the book, and while you feel that Siegel is sometimes put out by her mother's over the top actions, she appreciates the love and concern behind them.  

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Enough with the knickknacks and glassware

I Last weekend our local humane society held a yard sale.  We asked the community for donations, and had specifics that we did not take such as electronics, mattresses, and clothing, or anything that wasn't in great shape.  We received some very nice items in excellent shape, and only a small amount of junk that had to be tossed.  It is all very much appreciated, I assure you.  We were able to raise over $500 to help with our little country humane society's costs.  

So just to be clear, this is NOT a rant because of what people gave us.  They were very generous and it is much appreciated.  However....

People of the United States, not a single one of us needs to buy another new knickknack or piece of decorative glassware.  EVER.  The top picture below is a panoramic, and it's not easy to see details.  But so much of what we had was knickknacks and glassware.  Some of it was older pieces that flea market booth operators donated to us.  But the majority is CCFC (Cheap Crap from China, as I like to call it.)  

This is just one of the many tables we had full of glassware.  I worked every single transaction, and I can tell you that 99% of these items went into boxes for Goodwill.  My sister bought the George Foreman Grill and someone bought the set of glass bowls stacked up, but I don't see anything else that sold.  At the end of the day, I had my husband's truck bed and cab full, my mother's Murano full, and my sister's small car full of leftovers.  Sure, there were some purses, toys, and holiday decorations left over, but most was glassware and knickknacks.  We drove in convoy over to the Goodwill donation site.  Hopefully some of this will be bought but I suspect most of it will end up either at the "pay per weight" salvage Goodwill store, or more likely, in the trash.  

Believe me, I am not immune.  Like most people, I used to collect.  I used to collect snow globes.  I have let most of them go, with the exception of a collection of Disney globes my mom gave me.  I used to collect snowmen, those Harlequin masks, Mitford items (from the book series by Jan Karon), Santas.  My mother-in-law helped break me of this habit.  She would find something that I liked (Anne Geddes items, for example) and buy tons of the items.  Then she would stash them away for future Christmases and birthdays.  She was well-meaning, and it was all in love.  But I stopped collecting things years ago and I'm still receiving things from her (a snowman pin, for example, this past Christmas) because she wanted to add to my collection.  It was overwhelming, and so I stopped collecting some of those items because I didn't want her to buy me anymore.  Haha  Also, I became more of a person who is ready to get rid of things, not collect.  I don't want to leave my nephew with a house full of snow globes that he is going to throw into the trash or agonize over because his "Ahna loved these items so much" when in truth I don't.  

This yard sale made me stop and think even more when it comes to my own home.  I have a continuous box or bag where I add items I finally realize I can live without.  My husband is slowly coming around as well.  He is tired of clutter and is understanding it's a lot easier to clean with less things in the house.  

And now?  I'm off to go get rid of a few more things.  I'll report back later!  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Goings on

My two latest fosters, Norman and Tate. Tate weighed 6 oz when I got him a few weeks back. I've had him at the vet twice since then. He stopped wanting to eat and had GI issues for unknown reasons. I'm amazed that motherless kittens survive at all, as they are always so sick. Every time, without fail.  He's doing well now though, and was up to over 13 oz last week. He is eating some crunchies but mostly wants to be bottle fed. Norman had a little kitty cold but is doing great now too. 

I used to post pictures of my flowers and garden. Then I got involved in animal rescue. Ha. Now I have no garden and only flowers that can take care of themselves make it at my house. 
Someone threw these two young mamas, likely around 6 months old, and their 9 babies out in a box in someone's yard. We had no space at the humane society but what do you do?  Thankfully a foster stepped up. Taking care of a mama cat who had kittens is no more difficult than taking care of a single cat. Mama does all the care of the kittens and you just have to provide necessaries for mama. These mamas are co-nursing their babies and nobody, including them, has any idea who belongs to who. :)  One baby was dead when they arrived at the shelter, but these mamas are taking good care of their 8 remaining kittens. 

And last but not least: This puppy was the last of 5 being given away at my local Walmart parking lot. Please discourage anybody you know who does this from giving away animals this way. Most likely they won't be spayed or neutered, so will contribute to overpopulation of pets and frankly, death and neglect of said animals. Or they might be snapped up by someone who will use them as bait for dog fighting. Or they might die a slow death from parvo. Just being real here, folks!  This little girl is now safe with a foster, and will be adopted out in the Northeastern US to someone who has been thiroughly checked out. 

We did manage to take a family vacation recently. More on that in my next post! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Contentment:  A state of happiness and satisfaction.

I've been thinking about contentment a lot lately.  What got me started down this path was a comment from my brother-in-law's partner.  She looked at some pictures on my phone and commented about how small my screen was.  This was the second time she had made a similar remark.  There was nothing malicious in her words, she just has a phone with a larger screen than mine, so the difference was noticeable to her.  

Here's the thing about me:  For most things in life, I don't like change.  Some of it is frugality.  I don't want to spend money on a new phone, car, clothes, etc if they are reliably serving the purpose they are supposed to be providing.  Some of it is just resistance to change.  I like some things to stay the same, most of the time.  I do believe in changes when it improves the way things are done.  And some of it is because I'm trying to tread a little lighter on the Earth when I can.  

I'm very content with my phone.  It's an iPhone 5 that I got in 2013.  I just did the latest updates.  OK, my phone has been trying to get me to update for over a year now, and I've been resisting.  (There's that resistance to change thing.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.)  I finally updated it this past weekend because my husband wanted me to download Google Keep so we could share shopping lists, and I had to have a newer version to run the app.  So far I am very happy with the changes.  I intend to keep my phone until it stops working or simply cannot keep up with the technology for apps I want to use. 

But when the comment was made about my screen being small, oh, it planted a seed of discontentment.  Gee, I never noticed that my screen is small.  Maybe I need something bigger?  That, combined with my husband telling me I should get a newer phone,  made me briefly think that I did indeed need one.  I browsed my phone provider's website.  Thankfully I pulled back before I could click "upgrade."  I have complete contentment with my phone.  

The idea of contentment also applies to many other things in my life:  my Prius that has over 140,000 miles on it and is 8 years old (paid cash for it new and hope to pay cash for the next one), the clothes that I wear year after year because they are comfortable and still presentable (I hate shopping for clothes), my laptop (several years old and is a little slow but still works fine.)  Sheets that might have a hole in them, but not in a spot where our feet catches on it, towels that are unraveling on an edge, an ice maker that no longer works but we have ice trays and it doesn't bother us so who cares?  

There's nothing wrong with change when you want it and it makes you happy.  We are not all environmentally aware, and I'm not here to judge anybody over that.  But I do wish we could all be more content with what we have.  

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Keeping busy

Busy times around here!  Just a few pictures to update on what we've been doing:

The kittens are now 5 weeks old!  I'd like them to stay with their mama until they are 8 weeks, so we will see.  After that they will get altered and be up for adoption.  We named them after Gilligan's Island characters.  Clockwise, starting at the 12 o'clock position, we have Gilligan, Skipper, Mary Ann, and Ginger.  

And of course we have their sweet mom, who was already named Nellie.  My sister said she is the SS Minnow, since she brought them all here.  ;) 

This is a cat currently up for adoption at our humane society.  I'm in love with her mustache.  

My husband had shoulder surgery last week.  This was the first time ever, in almost 22 years, that he's ever purposefully taken off his wedding band.  (One time he was playing with it on his finger and it slipped off, but we don't count that. Ha)  He has had two surgeries before but declined to take it off, so they just put tape over it.  This time it wasn't an option.  They were doing cauterization and the pad they put under him could cause burns.  So off came the ring and I wore it until he was back in his room.  When I slipped it on his finger, he was still groggy but I told him "I still do."  

He took a week off work but is now back.  Yesterday was his first day back and he came home exhausted and in pain.  Today he took his sling with him so he has somewhere to rest his arm when it becomes too painful.  

We had our first ever "Reading to Rescues" at the humane society on Dr. Seuss's birthday.  We had a great turnout, including little kids plus students from a local university.  Most of the dogs and cats really enjoyed the attention.  We plan to make this a weekly event this summer.  

And the nephew had his birthday party a couple weeks after his actual birthday.  He wanted a skating party and several of his friends from school and some cousins were able to come.  

So that's what's going on around here lately!  Between caring for my husband, taking care of my nephew 1-2 evenings a week, kennel duty one evening a week, and Petsmart kennel duty 1-3 times a month, I am keeping very busy.  Mostly I enjoy it though, and I do find time to spend with the rest of my family too.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Last week

.....this little guy turned 8!  We celebrated by going to his choice of restaurant for lunch, Steak and Shake, where I proceeded to have neither steak nor shake. I did, however, have a bowl of soup and some fries. 

...I came home from 2 days away to this little baby and his 3 siblings!   His mama, Nellie, came to us from a hoarder situation with 19 cats. The filth was unbelievable.  I brought her home because a shelter environment is not a good situation for newborn babies if it can be helped. Nellie gave birth the day that I left to go out of town. She had 3 overnight and one around 8 in the morning on February 10th. Thankfully my sister was here. I wouldn't have left Nellie alone, knowing she could give birth at any moment. So far all 4 kittens seem healthy and their eyes are beginning to open.  

...we discovered Ruby Tuesday will still make the spaghetti squash marinara for you, even though it's not on the menu anymore. At least one location in Missouri, that is. 

...we went out of town for this reason:  our nephew graduated from a combined basic training/AIT at Ft. Leonard Wood. We were able to join his grandma, and his dad and partner for the graduation and family day before. 

It was an eventful week, that's for sure!  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Declutter: Christmas edition

I decided it was time to tackle something I had been putting off for years:  my Christmas decorations.  When my husband got the tubs of decorations down from the attic this year, I had him get everything so that I could look through it all before it went back in the attic until next December.  

So here are my results!  I think I did pretty well.  I feel like I got rid of about half of the Christmas items.  

But first:  Halloween decorations?!  Yes, there were a couple of tubs of those too.  I had completely forgotten that I even owned them, so that should tell you how many years it had been since they were used.  I had a family Halloween party here once or twice after we moved into our house, but it's been well over 10 years since these items have been touched.  We don't get any trick or treaters in our neighborhood and I'm just not into decorating for Halloween, so it's all going away.  

These decorations were great when I felt like moving all the decorations I already had, putting them away, and fancying up the place for Christmas.  But I'm pretty much over that and have moved on to more simple times.  

Oops!  More Halloween things.  A strand of really cute lights for which I have absolutely no use.

And then it started to get tough.  Many of my Christmas items were given to me by various family members.  Or I bought them when we were first married.  But I don't want to hang on to everything and honestly, I believe items from family members mean more to you when there are fewer of them.  If you have an entire house full of things that belonged to your parents or grandparents, nothing is really all that special.  But just a few items, or even one, and you treasure it.  

I used to put out a small little village.  But it's little cheap, fiddly pieces that keep falling over and I'm tired of them.  If I want a village (and right now I don't) I'll invest in good quality pieces that make me happy.  

I bought this reusable gingerbread house last year.  My nephew and I had fun with it.  And then it was a greasy mess on plastic to clean.  Let someone else have that fun!  

I had three outside signs and kept two of them.  This one is old and tired and maybe someone else will want to give it some new paint and enjoy it outside their home.  

There were more items that I didn't show in the pictures above, including a wreath, tree skirt, and other miscellany.  Here you see most everything that I culled from my Christmas and Halloween decor.  

And here are the empty containers that used to have decorations stored in them!  

Here are the containers that are left.  There's also a small Christmas tree in one of these tubs plus our (heavy) stocking holders and stockings for every being in this house.  The four blue tubs will go back into the attic.  The red tub contains our ornaments and a couple of candles.  I don't want to take the chance of the ornaments getting broken in the attic, so this tub stays in our bedroom closet.  

Here are some of the items that are in the tubs.  I used to collect snowmen and Santas.  I got rid of some of each but I truly enjoy my snowman collection so am keeping the majority of them.  

Every living creature in this house has always had a stocking, and I am happy to hang on to the ones that belonged to the animals who have passed.  

These were the items that were decorated by myself and my sisters when they were young. It makes me happy to look at them and remember those times, so I'm keeping them too.  

All in all, I feel very good with what I managed to let go.  It's all still setting in my garage right now though!  I have to decide if I want to save it for the humane society garage sale or take it all to Goodwill.  I'm leaning toward Goodwill because I really just want to get it out of my house.  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Well, that's one way...

My husband eats a lot of salads and I like one every now and then as well.  We have had a salad spinner for years now and it's used quite a bit.  But it takes up a lot of space, especially in the refrigerator, where it's used with a dishtowel inside to absorb moisture and keep the salad in good shape.  

Last week my husband emptied the spinner when he was packing his lunch and set it on top of the oven.  And that is where it stayed because usually he just rinses it out and fills it up with the next bunch of lettuce.  And then one day shortly after, he used the oven. (Dun dun DUN!) This is what I found when I decided he wasn't actually going to refill the spinner and went to move it.  So now we have a hunk of plastic that isn't going to do us any good, so out it goes.

We may replace it at some point, and I will keep an eye out at thrift stores and yard sales, but for now he is going to try the method posted here, using a cloth bag or very large, thin dishtowels that we have:  My Plastic Free Life .  

Monday, January 11, 2016

Cold January weekend

This weekend was a busy but mostly good one.  The bad part is my foster kitten was noticeably less active than the day before so I took her in to the vet and they are keeping her for the time being.  Her littermate died of FIP we we are crossing our fingers for little Frankie Frappuchino.  

The good parts though:  My great-aunt Louise is turning 80 this week and we had a surprise party for her on Saturday.  She has NEVER had a birthday party and was genuinely surprised and very pleased over the party in her honor.  In attendance were her son, a first cousin she grew up with and is very close with still, and multiple nieces/nephews, great-nieces/nephews, and one great-great nephew.   She is the last of my paternal grandfather's siblings.  Living in the same area as the past few generations of both sides of your family has big advantages, and one is that I got to know most of my great-aunts and uncles and multiple cousins.  

Sunday we drove to the next county over and saw the new Star Wars movie.  What did I think about it?  Eh.  My husband said it was basically the same storyline as the others, and I agree.  We had lunch out at Qdoba (veggie burrito and tortilla soup-yum) and shopped at Kroger.  Doesn't sound very exciting but it was time with just the two of us and we enjoyed it because of that.  It was freezing, with a "feels like" of 9°.  This is our typical weather this time of year, but I guess because we had a much warmer December it just feels extra bitter right now.  

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Today I am....

Today I am....

  • Making chili, and barley for my husband to have with it.  Confession:  I like Fritos with mine.

  • Printing out low-cost spay/neuter forms for bully breeds and cats to drop off at the community table in our library.

  • Laundry (this is an everyday thing.)

  • Picking up two dogs from their spay/neuter appointments and taking them back to their foster mom in the next county.

  • Helping my husband clip the chihuahua's nails.  (This involves me feeding her tiny bits of dog cookie every time he clips.)  

  • Taking photos of some of the new cats at the shelter so I can get them listed on Petfinder.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Blog

Welcome to my new blog, My Simple Southern Living.  As you might have guessed from the title, I enjoy living a simple life in the South.  The United States South, that is.  

You might have read my old blog, Green Veggies.  I decided I'm ready for a fresh start, and really hope I can keep the momentum going in my new endeavor.

So, a little about me:  My name is Susan, I'm in my 40's, happily married to my husband for over 20 years, no kids.  I have a degree in a medical profession but haven't practiced in many years.  Up until about a year ago I would have called myself a stay at home wife.  Now I stay very busy volunteering with my local small-town humane society, and am also a member of the board of directors.  I have 3 dogs and 5 cats of my own, and there are usually a few foster kittens running around as well.  Currently we have 2 foster kittens, with one most likely leaving for a rescue partner next week.  The other is recovering from a serious illness which in fact claimed the life of her sister, and will be with us 2-3 more weeks at least.  

My focus for this blog will just be to talk about my life and what's important to me.  Sometimes I'll include pictures and maybe even video if I get very brave!  I might talk about animal rescue, veganism, frugality, books, decluttering, family, travel, and any other thing that strikes my fancy.  Things you WON'T read about on this blog:  religion, politics, guns, fashion, in-your-face-veganism, and Debbie Downer pictures of animals suffering.  

See you in my next regular post!