Weather

We have a bright sunny day today.  I doubt we have more than two inches of snow.  It’s just enough to cover the grass, but our street is clean, and most of the driveways are, too.  Dear Husband was “reading” the paw prints in the snow.  I think a dog may have meandered through, and we can see bunny and squirrel tracks.

We put up a bird feeder last week,  a gift from my sister, Frankie.  It’s the tube style which slides to cover the seed portals when a bird (or squirrel) that is too heavy tries to suck the tube dry.  So far the squirrels haven’t tried to bring it down, but we may have to deal with that as the weather closes in.  The little birds, juncos and finches and such, sit under the patio furniture waiting their turn at the feeder.

We’re supposed to get some more bad weather starting later in the afternoon on Wednesday.  Those who will be on the road to family will have tough going from what they are predicting.  Snow and sleet, perhaps some black ice.  If you’re out and about, please drive carefully, and watch out for those who don’t!

What’s new?

Well, we asked our favorite appliance repair company to come to check out our broiler and give us lessons on how to run our oven/broiler.  It turns out the broiler is fine.  It’s the users who need a little work.  While he was here, I asked him if he could order a replacement for the flange in the disposal that was missing.  If I ran the disposal, I had to place something above it, or wear what it threw back at me.  He couldn’t  help us with that, but offered to install a new disposal for us.  Normally I would have said “No” to an offer like that, but I went for it.  The inside of the disposal was rusted, and it sounded as though it was going to shake apart the counter when it ran.  It turns out it was a good choice.  There were signs of leaking at the bottom.  So, we are now the proud owners of a much quieter, cleaner, neater garbage disposal!

We’re going to resume Cookie Day!  I have probably less than half the space that I once had, and only one oven, but with careful organization, we should be able to do this.  I plan to bake the day before, and leave one refrigerated cookie ready to bake first thing that morning  We’ll use the eating area off the kitchen for some prep, as well as the dining room table.  I can clear the trestle table in the living room to store baked goods.  I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.  So far, there will be four of us, plus a five year old.

I finished two blocks for my great-nephew’s Minecraft quilt, and just kept on working on other projects.  I have a 25 block whirligig lap quilt in blues and yellow ready to be sewn together.  I want to add white, yellow and blue borders to bring it up to about  44 inches square.  It will be the first quilt finished for the 2015 season of Scraps on a Mission.

While I was at it, I pieced two blocks for a “Missing U” quilt, the large blocks that are crazy pieced from a single color per block.  The first is from strips of medium to dark blue.  When I began the second block, I had a handful of fuchsia triangles, so I sewed them to a variety of fuchia/pink fabrics to make squares, and then pieced them into two strips.  I was total happy just playing with fabric!  :-)

Where did Fall go?

We had an amazingly beautiful fall!  This is the beginning of the first year in our new home, and we were very happy to discover that we have a LOT of color around our house and through-out the neighborhood.

There are a variety of maples along our street.  We have one right next to the driveway.  The city has had plenty of forethought in mixing up the specific species of trees along the street, so we had quite the display.  Our neighbor’s beautiful gold leafed maple just lost it’s leaves this past weekend, the last to go.

A tree was removed from the parkway before we bought the house.  We hope to negotiate with the city on the choice of plants to be replanted.  We’d be happy to go halves with them on the cost, if we get some say as to what is planted.  Will they work with us?  Who knows, but it’s worth a try.  Meanwhile…winter, here we come!

Sunset

It’s October 7th.  We are more than half way through the cycle of decreasing sunlight.  The sun is setting earlier, the sun is  tracking further south in the skies.  I love fall, but I mourn the loss of sunlight.

Well, maybe not all the time.  I just looked out the dining room window and saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.  Part of the sky looked like molten gold, with shades of melon behind it. There was a bit of crisp blue sky, and a con trail climbed from one color to the next. The final touch was a decoration of white wisps of cloud.  It was an amazing three dimensional gift from nature.

Our “new” home faces west.  Our dining room is at the front of the house and has a large window.  The houses on the other side of the street are tall, but they are on a lower slope of the land, so while we can’t see the entire sunset, we get to see a good portion of it.

You never know what will come your way when you make a change in your life as large as a new residence.  We are blessed that this change seems to be a very good one!

Busy Bees

Oddly, Dear Husband has been the busiest bee here.  He gets up and starts a load of laundry, has some breakfast and then begins opening boxes.  I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen or watching him work.  I wondered if he would complain that it seemed I was leaving all the work to him.  I was simply stymied.  There was no place to put anything!

I opened two boxes of Tupperware and Rubbermaid items.  I had one shelf in the kitchen filled with disposable plastic boxes.  I put ALL the plastic on the counters and started matching containers with tops.  I am amazed at how much I was able to put back into the cabinet once it was organized. (I can hear my sister laughing at that! :-) )  There were  a few items I didn’t have room for, and they will be stored on shelving in the garage.  The rest went either into a box for a garage sale, or into the recycling.

We went shopping last week and finally found the shelving we needed at The Container Store.  Part of it was installed on Thursday.  We have two guest rooms on the north end of the house.  We put shelving into both bedroom closets, leaving room for hanging clothes.  I began opening boxes of china, glasses and kitchen equipment today, putting them on the new shelving.

After some discussion, we decided to buy one more section of Swedish Shelving from Williams Sonoma.  That will be set up in the small eating area past the kitchen counter.  Cookbooks, the blender, food processor and mixer will go on those shelves.  They’ll be at hand, without taking up counter space.

We’ve ordered a custom made bookshelf for the bedroom.  It’s the only bookshelf planned for the first floor other than the shelving in the kitchen for cookbooks, and is fairly large.   We need to shop for carpeting in the bedroom before that bookshelf is delivered.  And then, I hope to buy a loveseat to finish the room.

The painter has been here and painted the living room, dining room and kitchen.  In the second week of October, he’ll return to finish our bedroom and bath and paint the laundry room.  It’s all beginning to pull together.  Bit by bit.

Gratitude

Recently a friend challenged me to take the gratitude trial.  I was to list three things I was thankful for each day, for five days.  It’s a pretty small effort.  Most of us can find fifteen things for which we are grateful.  I accepted the challenge and completed it.  I passed the test on to two of my sisters and a friend.

What I found was that I have a LOT to be grateful for.  I was surprised when I started typing  my thoughts down for Facebook.  Everyone addresses this differently.  I’ve seen one word responses, such as “chocolate,” and I’ve seen paragraphs describing a mother’s love for each of her daughters. Everyone responds to this differently, but each of them must stop and think about the quality of their life before they can answer.

I’m a list maker.  I spend a lot of time listing what needs to be done, and fretting when something on the list keeps getting carried over.  I am an impatient person, and I want to resolve issues NOW!  I was surprised that many of the things for which I m grateful are those which have come to me over time: having lived to the age of 65, having three lovely grandgirls and a grandson,  having a roof over my head and a place to lay my head at night.  Yes, I like chocolate, too, but it seemed that it was the big things in my life that came to me first.

I’m fortunate to have an established exercise class which gets me up and running three days a week.  I’ve been going to that class for so long that the members feel like family to me, and I’ve taken two of my sisters, and a niece to the class. Now that Dear Husband has retired, he goes with me to class.  A dozen or so of the members babysat my indoor plants while we were between houses.  How’s THAT for friendship!

I also participate in a small group that makes  lapquilts for those in need.  I consider those ladies to be friends, too, and would do anything they need.  We only meet once a month, but we keep in touch by e-mail, and I’m astonished at how hard they work.  I love it when I see their names pop up in my mail.

I think I may continue listing three things for which I am grateful for a while. I’m interested to see where this will take me. I know it sounds a bit hokey, but I encourage you to give it a try.  You might learn something about yourself in the process!

Family Wedding

Dear Husband and I have just returned from a family wedding that was absolutely wonderful!  We traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, a place I had never visited.  More than one entire floor of a hotel was reserved for family and friends for the weekend.  Most of the visitors stayed through this morning, but we opted to return on Sunday.  We need to be ready for the last delivery of our belongings, and didn’t want to be caught in the Labor Day traffic.

The groom’s parents hosted a party following the rehearsal, Friday night.  Usually rehearsal dinners are limited to those in the wedding but this party was open to anyone who was in town for the wedding.  It was wonderful to be able to catch up with family and meet people soon to be a part of our family.  The groomsmen got together and did a humorous presentation of the groom’s life for the past six years that had everyone laughing.  They had a life-sized cut-out of the bride and groom, and moved it around the college campus and other sites to tell the story.

Saturday morning was devoted to shopping and hair appointments.  Later in the day we were shuttled to a private club for the wedding and reception.  The location was beautiful, the ceremony touching.  The entire wedding party was lovely, from the flower girls on up to the grandparents of the bride and groom!

There was a choice of sea bass or file mignon for dinner.  My favorite veggie, green beans, were served steamed, whole!  While the meal was wonderful, watching the kids dance was even better!  I’m used to seeing bodies move to music, but what was interesting about this group was that they were dancing to the lyrics!  You could see their bodies responding to certain phrases, or accenting words.  It was fascinating to watch.  It also made me wish I knew ALL the lyrics! lol  Lucky for me, there were a lot of oldies on the play list.

We rode a shuttle back to the hotel and crashed around midnight.  Sunday morning we were invited to brunch at the home of the parents of the bride.  Their gardens are fabulous!    We strolled through them before sitting down to eat and found several plants I couldn’t identify. They had TWO very functional veggie gardens, mostly blocked from view by shrubs, annuals and perennials.  What  a treat!

We chatted with our extended family, caught some hugs, and were on our way.  DH drove the entire day, letting me chat with him or read, as the mood struck.  We stopped every 90 miles or so to get out and stretch.  This time, we chose not to have a meal, which made the trip go a little faster.  Kudos to the Ohio service areas, which are exceptional!  I discovered plastic cups of strawberries to go at one kiosk, and snapped them up.

Our blessings go out to the entire family but especially to my great-nephew and his bride!  Congratulations!

Mid-Atlantic States

This morning, as I was doing the Sunday crossword puzzle, the question arose as to which state was at the bottom edge of the Mid-Atlantic states.  We weren’t sure if it was North Carolina, or Virginia.  I went to Wikipedia for information.

I was very surprised to find that New York, and West Virginia are included in the Mid-Atlantic states.  Personally I would have sent New York off with Connecticut, Rhode Island and the rest, and I see West Virginia as the lead to the Midwest.

Then I read this paragraph:

“The Mid-Atlantic is a relatively affluent region of the nation, having 43 of the 100 highest-income counties in the nation based on median household income and 33 of the top 100 based on per capita income. Most of the Mid-Atlantic states rank among the 15 highest-income states in the nation by median household income and per capita income.”

Although it shouldn’t, those statistics astonish me.  I thought the wealth of the nation was much more evenly distributed, but apparently, there are just pockets of wealth where there are large cities, such as Chicago, Denver, L.A. or San Francisco and their suburbs.

I think these statistics show that those who gravitate toward government most likely haven’t a clue about the nation’s distress.  They  live among the wealthy and probably assume that everyone has problems similar to theirs: should we buy a new BMW van for the family, or where will we go for vacation this year.

What Enron and the banks and automobile industry did to the wealthy is a far cry from what happened to those who were already living on the edge, and were hurt through the actions of others.  It’s not a question of should we buy a new car, but, can we afford a car at all.

I am no longer confident that a person who has less than several million in assets can get elected to the federal government.  I don’t know how to persuade the government that they need to focus on the issues of poverty at home, and I’m very concerned that they have eroded the financial base of the middle class.

I’m feeling very pessimistic this morning, and I’d like some good news about our government.  Does anyone have any?

Shades

One of the things that persuaded me to buy our “new” house was the color on the walls.  The previous owner had painted them in what I think of as “Tuscan” shades, or, mostly warm earth tones.  Of course, we looked at the condition of the house, the neighborhood, the garden, the utilities, and location, but I loved the warm colors.

I have a favorite house painter.  He painted and stained our last house, painting the entire inside at least twice.  He’s a gentleman, is pleasant to converse with, and never leaves a mess behind.  He’s generally right on time or even early, and his prices are in keeping with the state of the economy.  We’ve had a relationship for easily 25 years and he does a fine job!  Could a tradesman have a better reference than that?

The painter came yesterday to try to determine just what colors we needed to start painting the public areas of the house and our bedroom suite.  I want the house repainted, using as close to the same colors as possible.  The highest ceilings in the living room and dining room are a soft white.  In the living room the upper walls are a warmer shade.  We’ve been calling it “linen” for want of a better description.  The lower walls of the living room, and the bottom 3 1/2 – 4 feet of the foyer are an old gold, but a pale shade, rather than what you might  think of as a Renaissance “Olde Gold.”  The dining room looks like it’s been kissed by the sun, a lovely pale, pale shade of what’s in the living room, and that color continues on into the kitchen. The trim is all white, and our bedroom has white ceilings and the palest of green shades on the walls. This green is more of a mint, or related distantly to a spruce, than the yellower greens, like lime or celery.  I think that comes to five colors plus the white for the trim.

I was concerned about scheduling problems.  The painter has been on vacation the past two weeks, and will be going away again in September.  I want to look for furniture, and once the furniture is in, it will be more difficult to paint.  Lucky for me, it’s rainy and terribly humid outside today.  Our painter was rained out of an outside job, so he was able to get color samples and start the sitting room part of our bedroom.  I think we spent an hour talking with him about colors, before he went off to buy paint.

I’ll be able to look for the bookcases for the sitting room, and decide which books to keep, and then our painter will return in mid-September to finish the job.  Getting this little bit started makes me feel as though we are moving forward.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Expert

It is good to have an expert as a friend.  In this case, my friend is an expert at all things electronic.  Dear Husband has been trying to get things hooked up in the office and we’ve run into one problem after another.  He’s worked away, diligently, but some of the problems have seemed overwhelming.

So, yesterday, I sent a wail for help to My-Friend-The-Expert.  He called right away  and said that they had some time today, so we arranged for a mid-morning visit.  His wife is one of my quilting buddies. She came along for the ride and helped me to unpack my quilt fabric, while Dear Husband and MFTE worked in the office.  He got the sound to work on one computer, hooked another up to the internet resolved one mouse and one keyboard problem, made a printer recognize a third computer, and discovered why another printer was sending strange messages (it was damaged when it was delivered).  He also talked to two televisions to get the remotes to play nice.

Now, I told him that I wanted to HIRE him.  He was happy to be taken to lunch.  We went to Famous Dave’s.  I think there will be more dining out in the near future! lol

Thank God for those people who understand how all this STUFF works!