Monday, April 28, 2008

approaching storm

One of the wonderful things about Melrose is that whether it rains or shines, the view is always something to watch. On a clear day the view front the front porch can exceed 40 miles, extending over a series of hills, across the Savannah River (which you can't see) and over the Georgia hills to the west. That view inspired the family tradition of enjoying happy hour while watching the sun set, and from time to time I have shared some of those photos with you.

Equally enjoyable is to watch an impending storm as it moves toward us from the west. The hills begin to disappear from view as the rain blurs their existence, and as the rain itself makes its way toward the house you can literally watch the wall of raindrops approach.

On our last night we watched such a storm, and I decided to try to document its approach. The post below is a sequence of pictures that begins with a broad sweep of the view as I sat on the porch steps. A wisteria arbor frames the front. Subsequent photos reveal the image that appears between the wisteria posts. The final picture is taken after the storm has passed, with the mist bearing witness to its power.

Enjoy

storm sequence




































Friday, April 25, 2008

a week's idyll

We arrived at Melrose Monday afternoon and have enjoyed a hodge-podge of activity. Ken has been busy fighting off an allergic attack of some description while finishing painting the house, a task that was interrupted last fall when an over-sized splinter got lodged in his finger joint while scraping. (Ouch!). Mom and I have been putting together plans for a partial kitchen remodel. A broken portable dishwasher has been kept for more than 10 years as it provided useful surface space for food preparation and other assorted kitchen jobs. Its location, however, has made access to storage impractical. The time has come to restore a working dishwasher to the kitchen and reclaim storage.

We spent several hours at Lowe’s on Wednesday and came home with a workable, although not entirely satisfactory, plan. Some rethinking that evening spurred us back to the design desk the next day, this time to Home Depot to compare costs and scope out additional prospective dishwashers. Although the design help at Lowe’s had been adequate, HD ruled the day with competence, patience, useful suggestions and thoroughness. We are pleased with the plan and will implement it in the fall.

Thursday night we joined our friends Jimmy and Barbara for a belated celebration of Mom’s 80th birthday. True to form J & B prepared a fabulous meal, complete with printed menu. After dinner Jimmy, Mom and I accompanied Hannah, J & B’s Sheltie, for a walk through that lovely neighborhood (oh, to have been there two weeks ago when the azalea were at their peak!). We returned to the house and settled in for a game of “Quiddler,” a specialty card game that incorporates components of scrabble and rummy in an effort to create words. It was fun as well as challenging, and a nice way to complete our evening.

We have had glorious weather thus far, and we have enjoyed the typical end of day ritual of happy hour on the porch delighting in the view, which never fails to disappoint. A few more days and it will be back to reality, but for now, this reality suits me just fine.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

on the road

Literally, the road portion of this trip has been beautiful. The redwood still have vibrant color, and dogwood are abundant in this mid-south-east section of God's world. Traveling through the rolling hills and mountainous regions of middle to east Tennessee and western North Carolina have been breathtaking as we have been delighted by these colors against the burgeoning early green of spring. Ahhhh.....

The first leg of our trip was delightful. We visited old friends (of mine, new for Ken) from Lebanon who are now in Davidson, NC. It was a special treat for me to see Davidson, settled by ancestors of that name, and its college, named for a great-great----great-grandfather (I'd have to check the family tree to see just how many greats there are--he was a Revolutionary War general). We laughed and chatted way past our bedtimes Friday night.

Saturday morning we headed to the family reunion, the purpose for our NC jaunt. It was a first for this family--the siblings of Ken's father and their offspring, but pretty well attended (although Ken's father wasn't there!). We enjoyed our time with them before shuffling off to the next stop on our itinerary, my goddaughter's family. More on that visit with the next report, but I wanted to check in while I had the chance.

Hope y'all are well!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

respite

It has been a beautiful spring, from the early daffodils, forsythia, bradford pears and magnolias, then flowering fruit trees, tulips and pansies, and now the redbud and dogwood. We have had sufficient rain, so everything looks lush and the weather has ranged from wild to wonderful.

Friday morning we get on the road and head east to a family reunion (Ken's side) in North Carolina, a stop with some friends not far from the reunion gathering, then on to Melrose for the rest of the week with Mom. Ken has been working hard and deserves a break, and I can do with a getaway and some time for rest and reflection. This has been a difficult few months. I still ache with Dooley's loss, and last week the untimely death of a friend pierced me yet again. Some time at Melrose feels like the perfect retreat for tenderness and a small dose of self-indulgence (translation: reading!).

I'll report in along the way as there is news to share and a photo or two. Y'all be good in the meantime! xoxoxo

Friday, April 04, 2008

snippets

1) Junior is back! He has returned safely from his last deployment in Afghanistan, and now we simply count the days until his five-year stint in the army comes to an end. At that point he will be moving here for a duration as yet undetermined. While he's here he will assist Ken in his work, and we will be thrilled to have him.

2) My nephew, Jesse, has heard from all the colleges to which he applied and got into them all. Most importantly, he received his acceptance from his first choice, Middlebury College, in Middlebury, VT. We're all proud and happy for him! Jesse is so thrilled that he has already put the college decal that came with his acceptance letter onto his car.

3) Recipe for great smashed potatoes: add carmelized onions, garlic, buttermilk, and aged cheddar along with salt and pepper. Yummmmmm!!!!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

adventures in dogland -- sounds of spring

A couple of days ago I heard an exclamation from the other room, "OH, my GOD. Rigel!" I hurried to Ken's office and took one look at the dog. His cheeks were swollen significantly, and the skin around his eyes were puffy to the point of leaving small slits through which he could see. My first thought: stung or bitten by something. My first fear: what if his throat swells closed? There was no time to grab the camera (much as I would love to share that image). I needed shoes for my feet and then we loaded Rigel into the car and high-tailed it to the vet. Not knowing what sort of discomfort or anxiety Rigel was facing I sat in the back seat with him on that ride. Two shots of benadryl and prednasone later we were on our way with one comforting thought: if this happens again, his throat won't close. Apparently that doesn't happen to dogs. We have extra doses of prednasone to give him and benadryl on hand. Poor baby. Think he'll learn anything from this? Naaaahhhhhh.
The blossoms on the trees should be enough to let me know that spring has really arrived (and it has been beautiful compared to last year's freeze-out), but the real sign is the sound of the lawnmower at work! I heard the first one yesterday from across the street, but this morning it comes from my own yard where Ken is tackling the stubbly and irrascible growth that passes for a lawn at our house. Ah, spring. I'm eager to get to work at the back of the yard to prepare a real garden bed for forsythia, azalea, rhododendron, daffodils, black-eyed Susans and other favorites. The trashy look is so passe! I'm hoping we will have some decent spring temperatures in which to accomplish that preparation before heat and humidity descend.

And now for some visual relief from all this text, a collage of a few more pics from our getaway.
The vase of flowers were a gift from Ken, waiting for us in our room when we arrived.

Happy April, y'all!
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