I recently stepped outside to find an aroma from my childhood wafting through the air. It smelled like my grandparents’ house.

It was a cold, dreary day. The snow had melted but it was frigid and there was a slight breeze that carried the aroma of fried beef, something musty and fabric softener. I spent the walk down my hill to the mailbox trying to coax my brain back to her laundry room and remember which fabric softener it was. 

And then it hit me. 


I remember because I was a kid and liked the little bear on their commercials.

In my house, there are few brands that actually inspire loyalty. I use the expensive toothpaste that my dentist recommended. There’s a local Mennonite store that sells some pickles that have ruined my opinion of all other pickles forever. Silk almond yogurt is the only kind of yogurt worth buying by my estimation. 

But I tend to bounce back and forth between a couple of detergents and buy whatever dryer sheets are on sale. Perhaps this is why my actions were so surprising but I scurried home and ordered a year’s supply of Snuggle dryer sheets. 

We have five senses and each one can easily transport us to another time and place. The smell of Elmer’s glue will always remind me of the day I fell asleep on a swing at recess my Kindergarten year. No one even noticed me out there or that I was missing until I wandered back into the classroom.

Those were the eighties for you!

The sight of a Mountain Dew bottle takes me back to my newspaper years when I guzzled the stuff to stay alert on long days. I no longer drink this sugar bomb in a bottle but its presence reminds me of how grateful I am to have survived those days.

And now I have my Snuggle to take me back to my grandma’s laundry room. 

Brand loyalty can be a good thing. It’s a small price to pay for a happy memory. 

Then and Now

When Scout found me alone in the street, with no kitty cat to brighten my home, this is what he looked like.

He was under two pounds with a cruddy eye and some fleas. He was also a persistent, irresistible little soul who was determined to have a good home.

Here he is now!

Isn’t he a beautiful boy? He’s all grown up, sleek and shiny. He’s my little panther boy and ready to help with laundry!

In fact, laundry day is the best because that means we put clean sheets on the bed. And when I say “we,” I mean I put clean sheets on the bed and he wallows around until it looks like this.

I hope you are as happy today as a spoiled rescued cat with a pile of clean sheets! And if you’ve never rescued an animal, it’s the best feeling in the world. Go find a little lost soul who needs a home. You may just save a life!

Self Care Sunday

I protect my free time on Sundays the same way a mama bear protects her cubs. If I agree to do something on a Sunday, it must be really important or I must really like the person who invited me.

The phrase “self care” sounds self indulgent but I’m not lazing around in a bubble bath all day. Instead, this day is reserved for certain household chores, laundry and preparing for the week as well as for more traditional self care efforts.

I respond well to structure and planning. I also respond well to rest and relaxation and to the sense of accomplishment that comes with a well spent Sunday.

This is what I seek on an average Sunday:

Wake up naturally. The is the only day out of seven that I am not ripped from my sleep by an alarm and then forced to leave the house. This simple act feels decadent.

Eat well. Breakfast is normally a really good smoothie with peanut butter on toast. This is my normal daily breakfast but on Sunday there’s time to actually enjoy it. I aim for healthful foods on this day because there are no excuses when there’s time to cook.

Be enlightened. I typically watch CBS Sunday Morning, a magazine show that covers lifestyle, history, current affairs, entertainers and almost anything else the folks at CBS can dream up. Sometimes I kick up my feet and watch but some weeks just listen while doing chores. Much of what they cover doesn’t sound at all interesting in advance but I nearly always enjoy the stories and learn something.

Do laundry. Starting the week with an empty hamper ensures that whatever I want to wear is clean and there are plenty of clean towels. I typically put together some outfits to choose from including scarves and other accessories to save time on work mornings. Also, the bed sheets are always changed on Sunday because there is nothing more decadent than clean sheets.

Meal prep. Grocery shopping usually happens on Saturday or maybe Friday after work. On Sunday, I cook a few things to make weekday meals easier. This is the ideal day to experiment with new recipes or to make things that require more time. Soups that need time to simmer or beans that take hours to cook are good candidates. Homemade granola always happens on Sunday too.

Sweat. At some point, I like to break a sweat. This typically happens on the treadmill or maybe with an exercise dvd. This is followed by a hot shower and clean pjs. That’s right, I wear pajamas all day. Judge me all you like but it makes me happy.

Work the brain. This means that I kick up my feet and curl up with Scout to read, journal, do crosswords or catch up on other things that give my brain opportunity to stretch.

Embrace the quiet. Soft music, smart stuff on tv and plain old silence are important to this introvert. It allows me opportunity to calm my mind and mentally prepare for the week ahead.

Whatever I please. Real work always comes first so that the last half of the day can be devoted to whatever I feel like doing. Sometimes this means decluttering a drawer because this makes me happy. Sometimes I process pictures, write a blog post or watch a movie. If I’ve been too busy to keep up with housekeeping it often makes me happy to do some chores. It really just depends on what I’m in the mood to do.

Rest. Going to bed early on Sunday sets a good tone for the rest of the week. I love to take a book to bed early and then wake up feeling good on Monday.

In short, everything I do on Sunday is aimed toward improving quality of life during the work week and making myself healthy and well.

It’s not a bad way to live.

Do I feel like I’m missing out on something by basically hibernating one day a week? Not on your life. I feel stronger and happier for it.

The weeks when I skip my routine are harder weeks. The simple acts of staying fed and clothed take longer and eat up valuable time that could be used for fun, rest, exercise or basically anything else.

It’s not that I can’t function without my Sunday routine, it simply makes life more pleasant and easier.

Clearly, this wouldn’t work so well for someone with kids or a significant other. This is one benefit of being on my own and I am milking it for all it’s worth.