A Simple Kind Of Gal

One of you commented recently that I seem happier here in this apartment than I was in the little blue house. So that got me thinking.

And I realized that that is probably true. If I hadn’t had the ankle injury, I might have been fine in that house. But after that, everything was harder. 

It was time to scale back.

So yes, I guess I am happier now. 

I like my apartment. It isn’t without problems. But no matter where you land, there’s going to be something. 

I like the size of it. I love the patio. I feel I have what I want right in the middle of a big city. 

And being on the end and having no one in front of me gives me quite a bit of quiet and privacy.

The space is just right. It is something I can easily handle. 

I don’t have steps in and out that are hard to maneuver with groceries. 

Charlie loved to run in the big yard. And I feel a little bad about that. 

But he’s older now and slowing down. He limps quite a bit due to his back bothering him, which has been a problem off and on for years. The pupsters are almost 11 years old now.

He runs around the patio and barks at squirrels and cats, so he still gets to feel like the big boss dog outside. Abi is queen of the indoors.

I like gardening in containers. No weeds to speak of. That’s a real plus. I have my gazebo, and I love that. What’s not to like?

Yesterday I put a photo of the patio on a Facebook gardening group. And someone commented: This is an apartment? Well then who needs a mortgage?

I wish I didn’t look out the front and see the ugly back of a strip mall. There’s that. But you get used to it. Better that than being closer to other occupants in my book.

I have a scaled down version of perfection really. Like Goldilocks, it isn’t too big, or too small. It’s just right. 

I don’t long for stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops. Actually, I’m not the stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops type. Never have been. 

I prefer white appliances. I like my cheap counter tops. I don’t care that I don’t have hard wood floors. Fake is good enough for me.

People get so caught up in what’s trendy. Of all the things in the world you could focus on, stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops just seems like kind of a silly requirement to me.

I like junk I can rescue and redo. Like my coffee bar. 

Yeah, it’s dented on top and on the sides. Certainly not perfect. But I like the dents. I think it gives it a bit of personality. 

I don’t even care that I can’t use my kitchen cabinets due to former mouse problems.

One of you readers told me to get one of those things you plug into an electrical outlet. A plug in mouse repeller.

And I thank you for that, because I don’t think there’s been a mouse in here ever since I ordered that thing from Amazon and plugged it in many months ago. 

I like my things where they are, out in the open in the dining space. I’m good with that. I like my flatware in cans where they’re readily available after I wash them at the sink.

I have a dishwasher and garbage disposal I’ve never even used.

I’m really just a simple kind of gal in most respects.

I also did what one of you mentioned about bringing in the flowers Abi and Charlie snap off when they get up in the garden containers.

Now I’m enjoying a couple of yellow flowers inside. Looking at them over there on the coffee bar makes me smile. 

You guys just rock with all your suggestions.

Yeah, simple feels pretty good.



  1. Hi sis…you aren't alone with the broken blooms! The irises in my front flower bed are SO easily snapped off. I found two brand new buds that were hit by small branches of a tree that the high winds whipped on over the weekend. It's not a long season for iris blooms, & I was upset. Putting them in vases kept them from being wasted…they opened completely. I also hate seeing vinca blossoms die when they fall off naturally, so I stick them in water where they are good for a few more days. They even snap back if they began to wilt on the ground! They're small, but so pretty.

    As for the repeller plugins, they come in various brands & prices. Mine are "Black & Decker" from WalMart, pretty cheap & you can get packages of two to five, or just one at a time. They keep all bugs out, I never see any at all.

    Love your blog, as do so many others!

  2. Brenda, you certainly seem to live according to the saying, Bloom where you are planted. You have been so clever and creative in establishing a comfortable and attractive home for yourself and the pups.

  3. I loved this post. You and I think quite alike about living simply. I so enjoy living in my new to me, but old, downsized little patio house. That is what they call them here – patio homes. Quite small, around 950 square feet, with just a patio in back to relax and garden on. And a small patch of grass for my little dogs! It is heavenly to have so much less to clean, and heat and cool. Much smaller utility bills! I do have stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, they came with the house. And while I never wished for them I find that I love them! The granite countertops are so durable, they will last forever and look like marble, which I love. The stainless steel appliances are like jewelry for the kitchen. Just a nice touch and have been easy to keep looking clean. They combine well with my cottage style decor, and I don't think they are trendy at this point. Granite and stainless steel have been around many years by now. I would be just as happy with white appliances and laminate countertops though. Like you, those things really don't matter to me either. I will say at this stage of my life, with severe arthritis in every joint, downsizing has been the best thing I could have ever done! And I am happy for you that you are so happy where you are now! You give me great ideas for decorating my little house and planting my patio container garden. Thank you, Brenda!

  4. hi Brenda! Love your writing and style! I too never use the garbage disposal and rarely the dishwasher (usually my daughter-in-law or hubby may run it even on those rare times). I love white appliances, hate stainless steel, and do like my simple Corian counters.
    Happy Spring, love the blog!

  5. I sure wish more apartments had a large patio space like yours. A small interior would work for me but I just can't give up the outdoors.

  6. Brenda, I am so glad that you love where you live and are happy with your small apartment. Everything you mentioned makes perfect sense except…I don't want to live in a very small living space! In theory, I think they are good in many ways, but I would so love to live in a spacious old Victorian! Not a mansion, mind you, but a house with maybe 15 hundred sq. ft. I have all my life longed for that. I have always been claustrophobic and I hate to feel cramped. In theory and in terms of leaving a small footprint on the earth I do support smaller living spaces, especially when we get older. But I have never lived anywhere that I felt I had enough room to be really comfortable so contemplating moving to a small condo or town house or an apartment like yours is really hard for me. Yet, I think how good it would feel not to have the care and upkeep of a house at this time in my life. Can you tell that I am seriously conflicted??

    I do like cozy, though. But I think you can have that in the way you arrange your furniture and belongings even in a spacious house. Time will tell where I end up living before I leave this earth. Maybe right where I am in my small ranch house! Just don't know. I do know that it will all work out just the way it should in the end, so I don't worry much about it.

    Wow, I should get one of those mouse repellers. I have lived in this house for 30 yrs. and always had mice. We could never figure out where they were getting in, so couldn't plug up the hole. I've used live traps, because I don't like killing them, but they just come back in! And they do such damage. I think they can chew through anything because I have some things stored in plastic bins with lids and they chew right through the lids and raise a family! If that repeller worked I would be ecstatic!

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Brenda.

  7. Brenda, yours was the first blog I ever read. I became so interested in your ideas then learned about your life and apartment. I have since enjoyed every conversation you share. I have been introduced to other bloggers through you. One thing that would interest me is more about your container gardening. I have a black thumb! Your soil, plants, etc. Rhonda

  8. Another inspiring post Brenda. I have followed you for many years. You seem more a and more at peace. You helped me accept my situation in living in a much smaller place. I wouldn't go back to a big house. No way! Cozy and comfortable is the best. Have a wonderful weekend.

  9. Nice post Brenda. I can so relate. I've always been a "cozy and small" house sort of gal.. never wanted anything grand and huge and so roomy that you felt lost in the rooms! I like Carlene's idea of putting her chair and little table where she has the best light.. and her table in the living room! Now I need to do that! I don't feel the need or desire to have all the newest trendy stuff either.. have always just loved white appliances.. nothing else. That's what I have now and have no no desire for stainless! I don't even know why those were put on the market. I think they're fingerprint magnets and would be hard to keep clean and don't even look good to me. That's just my opinion though. Our house is simple and small and old but some of the things in it are so genuine and real, like real wood cabinets (I can paint those!) and old walls that have seen their share of dents and bumps and holes. But every time I walk in our door, I feel like "aahhh I'm home" and it feels so cozy and warm…. even though we've only lived here for a year and a half. I'm so glad you are so happy in your space and thank you for sharing your life with us. You were one of the first blogs I ever followed and I still thoroughly enjoy it! Marilyn

  10. Years ago, when we were building a house, we chose the lot by the big water/tanks (about 20 feet tall). We loved having them as pneighbors–no loud parties, no noise, no cars parked over the lot line, no disputes. We planted some fast-growing trees along that side. They were the best neighbors we ever had!

  11. I am so happy for you now. You do seem more settled and you've made such a cozy and loving atmosphere for yourself and the pupsters. I'm sure that patio is plenty room for them. I live in a smaller home and used to feel bad that it wasn't more open and spacious like my friends then came to love it so.

  12. Love everything you write and all comments…
    I love in my little apartment with my 2 kitties.
    It's tiny,very old and kind of shabby but it's mine,I do what I want and the rents cheap…

  13. Sweet post (and I love your coffee bar)! … What I was remembering when I was reading this, was the time (almost ten years ago now) that I was in the process of purchasing a house (since sold – another story, that…) & my real estate agent called me when I was in the supermarket. He was stammering and hemming and hawing and I couldn't imagine! Well … it seems the couple selling the house had a $2,000 (then!) Sub-Zero refrigerator, 'like all the people on that Cribs MTV show', and they were attached to it so much they wanted to take it with them, and would that be ok if I bought a house without a – well, Brenda! I was laughing so hard, I was doubled-over my shopping cart, and people thought I had fallen ill ๐Ÿ˜‰ "Who – who spends two grand on a refrigerator?!" I was laughing so hard, I was crying. "Of course! Let them have it!" There trendy 'toy' ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Lovely post Brenda…and very thoughtful. If you have what you need and feel safe and happy then that is just how it should be. You are an amazing container gardener and I've always enjoyed seeing the plants you grow and the lovely pictures you take of this kind of gardening…always inspiring. I'm happy to hear that you are happier now. x
    Have a good weekend.
    Helen xox

  15. I love that you do seem more settled and content now. I think a lot of it is just finding the things that bring you JOY. I'm so happy with my smaller space and can't imagine a big house for myself. The mouse thing sounds good. I don't see any here but then I don't want to either!!

  16. Hi Brenda, glad the plug in keeps the mice out. We had problems with mice at a cottage we owned, I woke up one morning and they were actually on my pillow! At that time we had a cat who was also on the bed but he hadn't bothered to chase them off! We purchased some humane traps and then let them out to see where they would go and then we blocked off the hole. It worked very well. They are so sweet I just couldn't have put kill traps down.
    I love your apartment too Brenda, I am urging my Husband to think about moving to a smaller place, we don't need the work of a big house and as I get older I want to feel the coziness of a smaller place. Your place is just lovely, I see no dents in your coffee stand, it looks perfect!

  17. I love this post! I relate to all of it.
    and i'm the one who mentioned to you the 'pest offence' plug~in to stop mice. that's the brand I used then anyway. I owned my little cottage for 10 years and I never saw a mouse! and what I liked about it… it's humane. no killing.
    they don't even ever come in because of the sound waves. which are silent to us and our dogs and cats.
    one thing though… if people with children have a guinea pig or hamster or bird as a pet… it will kill them. very important to know!

  18. Can you tell me what brand mouse repeller you purchased? We have lived in the same house for 30 years and never had a mouse until this year. I do have a rat terrier and I wondered if the repeller is safe for him?

    1. Sure. The brand is Riddex. I ordered it from Amazon.com. I think it was right around $28. Has colored lit buttons that sometimes flash.

  19. What you said is true, no matter where you live it is going to have its problemsโ€‹. I have lived in my house for 43 years, it is a small 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom frame house but I wouldn't trade it for anything. It was built in the 40s by two old men who were brothers and one lived here and one nextdoor – so it definitely is not perfect. I prefer white appliances and Formica countertops and I have hard wood floors because that's what they put in when the built it (I have no carpet and because of my allergies that's good). In the middle of my kitchen floor is a small sitting chair and table so I can sit under the florescent light to cross stitch. My living room has my kitchen table so I can sit at it with my sewing machine and quilt. My husband passed away 3 years ago so how I do things in my home bothers no one – and my 2 cats sure don't care. Enjoy your home Brenda!

  20. You're so right, Brenda. Anywhere you live, there are going to be problems. We live in a nice house that we have been updating over the last ten years. It's still definitely not perfect but we love it. You have turned your apartment into a lovely home and beautiful outdoor space. It may not be perfect but it's perfect for you!

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