Category Archives: home

Christmas Confessions?

by Kimberly A. Cook

How is it December? The past five months I’ve been involved in packing and moving my mother to her new house, three major home repair projects and the holidays. According to my personal internal calendar, it should be September.


Big pink teddy bear with baby bear! Demonstrating exactly what I want to do for the holidays. Relax and recline. 


Still working on the glamour of cleaning out the family home and moving items from here to there.  And there to here. And back again. More about all that move stuff next week.

So to say I’ve become even more attached to Lowe’s and The Home Depot is an understatement.  Imagine my glee on a recent trip to the orange box store when this giant pink teddy bear appeared next to the light bulbs. In the lounge chair and ottoman. So cute.

On another trip, you can’t make just one trip a week to Home Depot, there were more big pink teddy bears. One sat on a bar-be-cue, kids don’t do that at home, and one in a lawn chair. No idea why the big pink bears have invaded The Home Depot, but I approve.

So with Christmas fast approaching, I’m trying to get organized. The wreaths went up outside on Monday; right after the contractors finished the eave vent holes for the roof and the new gutters were put up.

Plus tomorrow is the big day I can drive Subie back into the garage. She’s been on the street for ten days while my driveway was ripped out and poured due to tree root damage. Which means now I need to heft the other move boxes out of the garage to Goodwill so I can get her back inside.

Maybe if all the boxes I’ve lifted in the past three months were gift-wrapped I’d feel more festive. On the good side, my biceps are finally back in shape. And I got to fill up a dumpster last week too. Woo Hoo!

Just heard footsteps on the roof. Not reindeer. Must be the roofers getting ready to replace my skylight; which happens to be over Spec Ops Cat litter box in the office bathroom. Spec Ops Cat is not a fan of the roofers, or the gutter guys or the concrete jack hammer dudes. I can relate. Will need to pry him out of the pantry or from under the bed. Again.

In all this continuing chaos, I did manage to do some fiction writing. Flipping miracle! My kingdom for a yurt in the woods or “not a creature was stirring, not even a roofer.” Not sure that’s exactly how it goes. (They’ve been on and off our row homes for five months. Don’t even ask.)

Besides making my holiday to do list, maybe I need to go buy a big pink bear. To match my big pink rabbit. Tis the Season!

Got Christmas confessions?



Filed under home

Closet Cleaning Reflections?

by Kimberly A. Cook                      (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

The closet purge is finished. The bedroom clothes closet to be specific. It took more than a week and a half of dogged determination, but it’s done. The Mission Op also included the dresser, vanity and coat closet. Sweet crackers how did I get so many clothes?


Spec Ops Cat helping out with the dresser purge. Yes, his butt is to the camera. What a great little furry assistant. Can’t show you what he did to my sock drawer; brutal. Hard to put things in a drawer when a cat is in it. I tried.


Truly a trip down memory lane when I finally tossed the dark green gauze dress from the Mazatlan, Mexico trip. Or purged the blazer jackets from the late 1990s. Most of them.

There are a few rules when starting on this type of operation:

What is the goal? Mine was to get the new clothes in the closet and the old ones out. There was not enough room for both. The tangible reward of my upstairs hallway not looking like a dry cleaners back room was also a major perk.

Go in with a plan. I started with a small group to ensure purge victory – cashmere sweaters. With stupid hot flashes I can’t wear most of them anyway. Sort by category.

Boxes and staging area at the ready. Made sure I had enough cardboard boxes and my plastic totes at hand to put the purged items away and stack until the garage sale. This also required cleaning up the exercise room so I could put all the boxes in there for temporary storage.  Lids on boxes also thwarted Spec Ops Cat plans to cuddle on all items and spread his fur.

Music required. I used my disco music favorite hits CD and cranked it up. Since I tried on every single piece of clothing, it really helps to keep the energy up. No video cameras were allowed in the vicinity.

Have an extraction plan. Garage sale at my friend’s house is set for May 12. Hope to sell some of it. Leftovers will go to the Women’s Shelter. Set free the items and get them gone. I’ve been known to load boxes of purged items into Subie and drive them around until I passed by Goodwill. They were out of the house!

Reward yourself in the process. I got new purple orchid hangers to help with the purge. Whatever it takes to accomplish the task. There was Dove dark chocolate involved too. Sure I danced off the calories. Kinda.

Next on the agenda? After the garage sale I need to tackle purging the exercise room, garage and kitchen. The office is on that list but I’m in complete denial about it.

By the time I get that list done it will be Fall. Or time to go play in the Fairy Rock Garden first. Sounds like more fun.

Got a purge plan for this Spring? Dance on!



Leave a comment

Filed under home

Got Closet Cleaning Chaos?

by Kimberly A. Cook                      (Twitter@    WarriorTales)

It seemed such a simple goal. Clean out my clothes closet. I’m deep in the fleece on this project. Started by choosing a small group to purge; cashmere sweaters. Made the commitment to try each one on. OMG. Body parts have moved and fashion has changed.


Closet clutter chaos. The refuse from the purge so far.  


Next on the list were workout clothes – tops and bottoms. Cut them in half by the time I figured out which ones were comfortable, besides the favorites I wear to death. Then onto the lounge pants and sweatshirts. Purged more for the garage sale.

Then last Friday I went for the gusto and spent six hours in my closet trying on every dress, dress pant, winter and summer sweater and blazer. I’m reorganizing and switching out hangers too, so it takes time. Is it possible to poop yourself out trying on clothes? Yes.


Spec Ops Cat helping with my bead sorting. Kinda.


Gave myself the weekend off to visit with friends and family. Then Monday instead of going back to the closet, I deviated to the office to sort beads. Somehow I just couldn’t make myself do it. Think I’m building up steam for the final push to try on and sort jeans and tops. So many zippers, so little fit.

Those two groups are really hard to purge except for the last category which I may never get to – shoes.  I want to live the life my shoes expect me to have, so I don’t want to disappoint any of them right now. Maybe later.


Spec Ops Cat still committed to help with my bead sorting. Sitting in the middle of my work area. Excuse me, HIS work area. Cat’s rule! Too bad he won’t clean the closet.  


Project creep crawled out of the bedroom since I need to replace hangers and purge the coat closet too. Sigh. Onward brave closet purgers! Ye olde garage sale date advances.

The master goal is to easily find the clothes I wear and love. What a concept. It’s day two of Spring, I better get moving.

Got Spring closet projects?



1 Comment

Filed under home

Spring Cleaning Choices?

by Kimberly A. Cook                          (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

The sun came out last Friday and I played hooky from my blog. It was SO exciting. People were nice to each other in the stores, it got warm inside Subie with passive solar and folks were speeding like maniacs; until they hit a killer pothole. The rain poured again Saturday, but it popped out on Sunday and I played in my yard and garage.


How fabulous does this display look at Monticello Antiques? The light coming in from the right was actual sun on Friday.


With apologies to the folks in the Northeast getting pounded by snow today, the rest of us are having Spring dreams while the rain settles in again in Oregon. Rumors of sun breaks on Thursday and Sunday have us all giddy with expectation.

My goal is to get all the inside chores done so when the good weather shows up, I can move outside to play. My new acronym is C.O.D. – clean, organized and decluttered. Noticed one of my declutter books in a pile of books on the floor of my bedroom the other day. Think that might be defeating its purpose.


How cute is this sign at Monticello’s? Truer words were never spoken. Not the best shot due to low light, since I hate flash, but you get the idea! 


While I gear up to attack my closet for a brutal purge which requires empty garage sale boxes, chocolate and tissues to survive, I wanted to share one of my favorite shopping spots again. Some folks have such a knack for displaying items not only for sale, but in their homes too. My goal is to clear the floors.

Spec Ops Cat is always helping out with the housework by supervising. This photo was him working hard in the office yesterday while I was editing my fiction book. He strives for nap perfection. Pretty sure he had the ten thousand hours for mastery before he turned four. He’s always practicing, like right now in the exact same spot while I write this blog. So dedicated to his job.


Words of wisdom from Spec Ops Cat for the folks back East in the snowstorm; nap hard, nap deep. He’s a Ninja Nap Master.   

Spring officially arrives Monday, so hope they can dig out of the snow in time to celebrate back East. We have flood warnings the end of this week. The ground refuses to take more water and even Idaho is dumping its rain water into our Columbia River.  Grab the sandbags, it must be Spring!

Are you Spring cleaning?  Or napping like Spec Ops Cat?



1 Comment

Filed under home

Ready For Romance?

by Kimberly A. Cook                     (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

There are many types of romance, but digging out of a historic snowstorm and freezing rain/ice mess topped it for me last Thursday. Finally able to get out for a girl’s lunch at Monticello Antiques and Monti’s Café. Heaven!


How is this for a fabulous display? I use red accents in my pink kitchen and it works great. White and red are such perfect colors together with a dash of pink.


When what to my wondering eyes appeared but red and white decorations telling me Valentine’s Day is near. The main reason I was so happy is because it means Spring is on its way. When even the Weather Channel says Portland is number one on the winter-fatigue scale, being able to shop is romantic.

Wanted to share some of the finds I found in my browsing. It was so fun to be out of the house, snow, ice, arctic cold temps without a snow shovel and my Danner Fort Lewis boots.

I discovered jewelry jars, but after a thorough scan of the contents I decided I didn’t need these; still have a bunch at home.


Jewelry treasure jars!


Thought these buttons were so cute and festive, plus vintage. Can’t we just kick ourselves for all the stuff we got rid of which is vintage now?


Vintage button bonanza!


Found another pink mini-teapot that I managed to not buy. It was a tough decision, but I am out of teapot display space. Completely.


I’ve got at least three pink mini-teapots. Maybe it’s four. This one had to stay put until I can take inventory.


Then this fabulous find would have gone home with me if I had a bigger house. Who doesn’t need a pink couch? Really!


Spec Ops Cat would love to curl up on this beauty.


There is more daylight now. It’s time to buy Valentine candy for all the folks we love, including ourselves. My motto is buy early because by the actual day all the good candy has been sold on clearance. Better put it on your shopping list for Super Bowl party goodies. Just to be safe.

Happy Almost Romantic February!


Leave a comment

Filed under home

Looking For A Warm Spring?

by Kimberly A. Cook                         (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Living in the land of denial is high on my list. Especially right now when the majority of us in the good old USA are freezing our giblets off. In the Pacific Northwest we get cranky when it gets down to 32 degrees in the city, so these 20 degree temperatures plus wind chill are a force to be reckoned with this week.


Took this picture of Mt. Hood on Dec. 28 while on a quick photo field trip in my neighborhood. Wanted to work with the fading light and my zoom lens. Clouds came in faster than expected and mucked up the visibility.  Snow belongs on the mountain, not in the city. Just say ‘in.


Our Mt. Hood snow skiers might find this face freezing cold fun, but I do not. My days pulling 4 a.m. post guard at Fort Carson, Colorado wearing full arctic cold weather gear pretty much gave me all the thrill I needed with high altitude cold weather training.  You haven’t lived until you’ve tried walking in Army Mickey Mouse boots in a snowstorm.

If I wanted to live in these temperatures I’d move to Antarctica or someplace colder, like Wisconsin. (Go Packers!) So I’ve taken precautions. Moved the Gardenia plant into the garage for a balmy 37 degree spa experience. Duct taped the foundation vent hole blockers to ensure they stay put in the high winds forecast for tonight.

Bought four more holiday blankets on clearance to hang over the big windows; plastic blinds are not the best for insulation. Stocked up on goodies from cookies to beans. Got myself a plug in Warm-Me-Up Heated Pocket Wrap to cuddle into while in the LaZBoy.

My sister got Mom one for Christmas. I beat feet to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought one using my 15% off coupon. When I combine that with the heating pad, will be toasty as long as I don’t trip the breakers.


Spring Bunny Squad! It’s just around the frozen corner.


So you can imagine how excited I was at the store today when I spied this row of new merchandise on the shelves. Spring bunnies! We will make it through this cold and the daffodils will rise again. They started peeking up last month then all this cold hit and they went back down into the ground. Smart move.

Stay warm, stay safe and keep any important body parts covered. Words to live by this New Year. Happy 2017!


Had to take this picture before Christmas. How happy are these giant bears? If you can find one on clearance, snap it up. Big teddy bear snuggles will keep you warm!




Leave a comment

Filed under home

Got Snow? Ice? Locusts Wearing Parkas?

by Kimberly A. Cook                         (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

The best laid plans of mice and women. On Dec. 7th I picked up a load of artwork and plants from my sister and brother-in-law’s house to help them move into their new mini-house; they are in my neighborhood now.


Comet on his commandeered pillows in the new house master bedroom closet. Waiting for Mom and Dad.


On Thursday they made two early morning car loads. I was at their new house babysitting their cat and baking lasagna when the snow storm hit about noon. So with a full moving truck, they were stuck at their old home with everything packed except two LaZBoys and food in the frig and freezer.

The moving crew barely slid up and off their hill but the 150 foot difference in elevation made for an auto slip and slide. Their old house is on the top of a steep mountain. They watched one neighbor’s car get to the side of their house and then slide backwards down the long hill. Not a trick to try with a full moving truck.

Waited for the oven to finish cooking the pasta. Five minutes after I took the lasagna out at 2 p.m. I heard it on the window. Tink, tink. Crap cakes! Freezing rain.

Threw the still hot lasagna in the frig, said goodbye to Comet and hightailed it home. Long story short, I babysat Comet on Friday while they were still stuck. Saturday they were able to get the truck off the hill around 11 a.m. and the moving crew unloaded in the afternoon and evening.

Long day Saturday but got the second load moved and unloaded too, the lasagna ate and Comet got to see his parents again. He’d been in kitty solitary in a new place for more than 48  hours but was doing fine since he was wearing his kitty calming lavender collar. We all needed one.

Sunday I watched three NFL games in a row from my LaZBoy. Barely moved. Forgot what it’s like to heft a few boxes. Spec Ops Cat made up for missed lap time. Monday and Tuesday spent grocery shopping and meeting a friend for lunch. Finished up chores in time to get ready for the next snow storm due in yesterday.

Which became quite interesting because today I had jury duty. Snow started at 1 p.m. Wednesday and dumped. So everybody and their brother, co-worker, relative and favorite enemy ended up bailing onto the highways at the same time. Gridlock ensued!

Basically Portland shut down. The freeways shut down. But my bird bath heater is working great. Iceageddon ensured my jury duty was finally cancelled today, so I’m home playing hooky. Trying to catch up on blog posts.

So here’s a video of Nora the polar bear and the river otters at the Oregon Zoo enjoying their second snow. Last week. This last storm was our third. We might have more this weekend. It’s going to be one of those winters!

The rest of the country has been hit hard by bad winter weather too, so we are not alone. Since we don’t use salt to treat our roads and we have hills, snow turns to ice and it amounts to toddlers trying to drive cars on a hilly skating rink. Does not end well.

A HUGE thank you to the law enforcement and medical first responders, road crews, mass transit folks, electric line repair personnel and “essential personnel” who go out in these messes and help us all. Plus the UPS driver who just drove through my neighborhood with chains on the big brown truck. Wishing you donuts and hot chocolate or coffee!

Everybody stock up on food, books, cat litter, blankets, soup, cat food, chocolate, chips and dips now. Good luck this winter. We might just need it! Go Nora!

Leave a comment

Filed under home