Saturday, July 31, 2010

and now for something completely different

I am not a math genius (or a genius of any kind), but I do find numberical curiosities to be an astounding thing.

Way back when-- I have no clue how old I was-- I remember feeling quite proud of myself for noticing something about the number 9. We must have been learning multiplication tables in school, since I only took this fascination up to the point of 9x9. Here goes:

the result of multiplying with nine yields the sum of nine. For instance: 2x9=18, 1+8=9. 4x9=36, 3+6=9. Clever, huh?

So out of the blue during a wakeful moment the other night my mind turns to multiples of nine beyond single digits. What about 9x13, or 9x238? Let's do the math. The first result is 117 (1+1+7=9), the second result is 2142 (2+1+4+2=9). Is this cool, or what? When the numbers become huge, the sum of the resulting answer is a multiple of nine. 9x48,356=435,209. 4+3+5+2+0+4=28, which divided by 3=9.

Why my mind brought this to the fore at this point in my life I do not know. I will observer the following, however. When I set up my very first email account the name I wanted to use was taken. The provider suggested adding a 1 to the end of it. I tried that: taken. Tried 2: taken. I decided to jump to the end of the numeric sequence and typed in 9. Ta-da! And so I became xxxxxxxxx9 at aol dot com. Now I'm noticing that the name itself has nine characters. Hm. And the fun part, at least today? The last five alphabetics in my email ID is dance, making the graphic I chose above especially endearing to me. (Nine ladies dancing, from the 12 days of Christmas). I've never had a favorite number before. I do now!

I know this absolutely makes your day. Consider it my gift to your bank of trivia knowledge!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 30, 2010

friday five: place matters

The field at the end of our block.

At RevGals Katherine invites us to consider five things that we like/love about where we live. Oddly enough I've thought about writing this very post on several occasions!

1) I love the rolling hills and pastures of middle Tennessee. There's a sensuousness about the curves and crags of the landscape that appeal to me. It's a gut thing, as my Mom would say.
this is a very typical scene in the area where I live

2) I love living close to Nashville. It's a city of peculiar and wonderful blends of down-home country, uptown education and culture, professionals and hillbillies (I use that word affectionately).

3) I love the friendliness of the people and the courtesy most of them show to strangers.

4) I love our neighborhood. There are lots of routes for walking the dogs, the architecture is varied, and the traffic is minimal.
5) I love the degree of selflessness among the people. In greater Nashville the volunteer response to the flooding we experienced in May has been phenomenal. In our own neighborhood after a bad windstorm that tore trees apart, neighbors were out helping neighbors cut down twisted limbs and hauling debris to the curb within moments of the cessation of the storm.

6) What I don't love is that this isn't New England. I may have confederate bloodlines, but I'm a die-hard Yankee and I miss the snow, among so much else.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

what can happen when you walk and wonder

I was walking yesterday on the track at the gym (the track is so. Boring. Must recharge my iPod!), and as so often happens when the brain lacks stimulation from its surroundings, it finds its own, inner track for entertainment.

A sequence of thoughts led me to ponder the nature of relationships after death (just a little light thinking…) A particular, personal situation began to spin some thoughts. A loved one died believing something to be true that wasn’t true. That belief interfered with the living relationship. In death, will the truth be discovered? Will the heart that clung to an untruth be released from whatever pain caused it to cling in the first place? Will there ever be a way that I might know of that’s heart’s transformation and release from pain?

It is not uncommon for some of us to be in a state of difficulty with another person at the time of their death. We know that in many circumstances in order for the person still living to experience peace and/or reconciliation with the deceased, it is the living person who does the “work” toward resolution, forgiveness, and letting go to reach the point of apprehending that peace. But what happens when the work that needs to be done lies with the one who has died? Is it possible for the one who has passed on to resolve and reconcile the issues at hand?

According to the catechism of the Episcopal Church we pray for the dead, trusting “that in God’s presence those who have chosen to serve him will grow in his love, until they see him as he is.” Forgive me, but that sounds a bit mamby-pamby. Overlooking for the moment the exclusive body referred to as those “who have chosen to serve him,” why do the prayers of the living assist that journey? It strikes me as an even exchange that the praying can be picked up by those “on the other side,” who have more familiarity with the after-death landscape when it comes to growing in love. And it is all well and good that growing in love will bring us to seeing God as he is, but in my view, once I’m gone that journey is beyond the sights of those still on the earthly plane.

My thoughts with this went all over creation, if you’ll forgive the use of that phrase, and I could write for pages more on the subject of “what happens to us after we die.” For now I’m interested to hear what you think about this (as referred to above) aspect of what transpires. Would you mind sharing your thoughts?

Much obliged.

Monday, July 26, 2010

mosaic monday

It has been so brutally, uncomfortably hot this summer that I have not ventured to my favorite place (or any place!) for summer photos: Cheekwood Botanical Garden in Nashville. Today I am relying on pictures from last year's midsummer sojourn for inspiration for today's Monday Mosaic, hosted by Mary at Little Red House. As Mondays come around I realize that I have limited my photographic worldview. Rather than be stymied by not getting outdoors I need to discover a new world indoors!

It's a day of administration here, with the church newsletter and other, like tasks waiting to be written. Off I go. Have a great week, and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

shining brightly as squashed blueberries!

I'm not trying to look serious here, but I was taking my own picture in the mirror. I don't pose well, and this was the best shot.

This is my new, temporary look, thanks to McKinlee. Friday night I was bending over to help her do something just as she decided to throw her head back to look at me. The top of her head made contact with my cheekbone. Ouch. The pain was excruciating then, but it is fine now. Unless I touch the bruised area. I piled makeup over it this morning before church, not for reasons of vanity, but because I didn't want everyone distracted by it and not pay attention to the sermon. I was told later that it didn't matter: even from the back of the church the discoloration was apparent!

Oh well. Just another day in the adventurous life of McKinlee's family. Carry on!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

big biscuit day here!

I just love this biscuit picture

I was in my (home) office yesterday when Ken calls from the other room, "there's a package here for you!" "Thanks," I called back, and continued on with what I was doing. A few minutes later he came into the room and put two packages on my desk. I recognized one of them as the mail-ordered prescription refills that I was expecting. The other? I saw the name of my friend Kim on the return address and immediately stopped what I was doing, grabbing for the package.

I knew what was inside the large envelope, but I had no idea what was really inside, if you know what I mean. And then I pulled this out.

My eyes could hardly behold what I was seeing. You see, I sent Kim the icon I wrote. She had written me about how it affected her and Jesus and I both concurred that she should have it. How she transferred the image of the icon to fabric so effectively I don't know. But there he is, adorning an outside pocket on this exquisite tote. But wait, there's more. Inside the tote are two pockets, one of them the full length image of the icon. She has taken my breath away (click on the image to see a larger view an ooh and aah over the details!).

The next thing I know Ken is back in my office placing a small box in front of me. I recognize it immediately as the new Pampered Chef trivet that I earned for free. And he's muttering something about how heavy the box is. He's clearly not talking about the trivet. What box? I'm thinking. He's back in the other room and still carrying on about the heavy box, finally imploring me to come open it.

It turns out to be the box of catalogs for the new PC season that starts in September. Since I wasn't able to attend the national conference a few weeks ago I am eager to look through it. Some great new stuff coming out! I'm excited. 
Here is my bounty for the day. And I'm a happy camper. 
Thanks, Kim!
Thanks, Pampered Chef!

Friday, July 23, 2010

friday five: decisions, decisions

chocolate and peanut butter. The best combo. ever.
At RevGals Songbird writes: Since I've been in the midst of a discernment process, I've done a lot of reflecting on how we make decisions. But don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to reveal a dark story about a poor decision, or a self-flagellating story about an embarrassing one. Let's keep it simple and go with five word pairs. Tell us which word in the pair appeals to you most, and after you've done all five, give us the reason why for one of them. 

Here they are:

1) Cake or Pie
2) Train or Airplane: yes
3) Mac or PC: this deserves invites a lengthy explanation, from which I'll refrain
4) Univocal or Equivocal: given my other answers
5) Peter or Paul: Mary

I'll go with number 2. I really like trains. When I was growing up I took the train to NY to visit my grandparents. I took it on a further trip as a teen to visit my great-aunt in Philly. In college I visited a classmate in Pittsburgh after Christmas one year, and we took the train overnight from there to Indiana to return to school for the new semester. I've traveled by train in Britain, and here on the lone commuter line that runs to Nashville. I love the rhythm of the train's sway as it hunkers down the track. I love seeing the world's back yards and back doors. 

I am in awe of planes. The sheer marvel of getting those babies into the air never fails to inspire me. In an earlier phase of life I used to go to the airport just to watch plans take off and land. When I fly I love to look out the window and see the world from an entirely different perspective than I can ever appreciate on the ground. On one trip from CT to DC the night was so clear that I could make out the map unfolding below me by the brightness of city light-clusters and string-of-light highways. I can still see it in my mind.
Both modes of transportation offer an opportunity to read without much interruption, something I savor.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

thursday this and that

I keep forgetting to tell you about some of the other stuff going on around here. You know, besides food.

Sunday was full of activity. One of our young couples at church (we do actually have a few) are expecting their second child next month, and we had a baby shower for them after church Sunday. I put together one of the food items (I know, here I go again, but hey--we all eat multiple times a day!) and the floral arrangements for the tables (above). They're having a girl, can you tell?

Later that afternoon we went to the grand opening of a massage/spa place that was hosting a fund-raising event for a local shelter for homeless women and their children. We didn't know a soul there, and in spite of being outside in 90-degree temps we enjoyed ourselves. Kimber Cleveland, a singer-songwriter was providing entertainment, and she was very good. We had a chance to talk to her for a bit, and learned that she grew up Episcopalian, and is an animal-lover. Although the invitation to the event listed it as a fund-raiser that portion of it didn't really sink into my brain. One of the owners of the massage/spa place is a facebook friend, and I just hadn't migrated my thinking toward the shelter.

Anyway, there was a silent auction, and after we left they had a live-auction; we were fed, got to meet some people (including the aunt of our next-door neighbor, who is on the board for the shelter), and feel inspired by the work being done at this shelter.

The other picture here is just for fun. I wanted to take it of "my girls in purple and white" at the baby shower. To prompt a smile I said, "say sex!" and Shannon, on the right, turned to Yolande just as I took the picture to ask, "did she really just say that?" Perhaps you had to be there for this picture to have any meaning, but it was amusing to all of us.

Right then. I've got a bucket of work to do today, so off I go to begin my tasks. Blessings to you all! Hope it's a great almost-end-of-the-week day!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

it's suppertime!

I'm always impressed by the step-by-step photos of food preparation that are regular features of the food blogs I visit. They have ways of lighting the process that I can't hope to achieve, but I do what I can. A photography site recently encouraged a "shot by shot" effort of our own food preparation, and though I have attempted that at times, I usually get caught up in the food preparation and forget all about taking pictures.

Last night I was starting from scratch with a portion of our meal, using fresh peaches. (Darn, forgot to take a picture of the peaches before I peeled and sliced!). I decided to make an attempt to document, step by step. What the heck, I needed pictures for Project 365. What you see here are highlights from that process that led to last night's dinner. Fresh peaches, fresh beans, farm-stand potatoes, rosemary from our garden, and "natural" pork tenderloin. What you see in the first picture is the slices with wine, water, agave, lemon juice and lemon zest ready to simmer to sweet tenderness. After they cook you add sprigs of rosemary for a hint of flavor. OMG.

The tenderloin was basted with the juices from the peach concoction, with the addition of coarse ground mustard, and would have been cooked on the grill except for timing issues. The meat was amazingly tender, and everything was scrumptious. Recipe courtesy of The Food Network magazine.

We've got leftovers. Wanna come for dinner?
Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 19, 2010

summer bounty

Today's Mosaic Monday is inspired by a stop at a local family's roadside produce stand the other day. I wish I had taken a few more pictures for a little splash of color here: they had blueberries, squash, and yes, tomatoes. At least the tomatoes are represented above, where we slice an heirloom and served it with mozzarella, basil and olive oil. Heaven!

Our own garden is a huge disappointment this year. Moles have destroyed the roots of two of our tomato plants, along with our cukes and squash. Bummer. The rosemary is doing well! We've also got some healthy dill and basil. This summer has been so miserably hot that it's just as well that we have a smaller garden. Being out in the heat and humidity is a medical hardship for Ken, and I'm a self-professed hot-weather-wimp! It's a miracle that I've done any wedding at all, and I'm not keeping up with that particularly well. One of these mornings I'll plunge in if the temperature is actually cooler outside than inside and the humidity isn't bathing me in instant sweat. Yuck!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

it's a love thing*

*title stolen from MomPriest's sermon title for today


Ken: So what is up with these Snickerdoodles?

Me: I'm making them for Trisha (our daughter-in-law)

Ken: And why are you making them for Trisha?

Me: Because she mentioned in passing that she loved Snickerdoodles

Ken: So you're making them for her because she loves Snickerdoodles

Me: Right

Ken: And because you love her

Me: Right

Ken: That is about the sweetest thing I've heard all week.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

hot enough for you?

“What dreadful hot weather we have!
It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.”~ Jane Austen
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 16, 2010

friday five: pets

Juliet and Dooley on my 50th birthday

At RevGals Jan ruminates about pets. She invites us to "Tell us about the animals in your lives. If you have no pets, give examples of friends' pets or imaginary ones!"

1. Did you grow up with pets?
You betcha! A cocker spaniel when I was a wee thing, and then a cat. When I was eleven my parents gave me a dog for Christmas, and the rest, as they say, is history.

2. Do you have any pets now?
Three dogs (see picture below): Rigel (German Shorthaired Pointer), Juliet (AkitaGgreyhound mix), and McKinlee (Yellow Lab/Jack Russell mix)

3. What is the funniest or worst thing any of your pets have ever done?
I have a terrible memory for antics or stories unless evoked by something, but there is one thing that comes to mind. When my husband and I were dating we were watching TV one evening. My dog, Dooley (seen above on the right) was lying next to Ken and was fussing about something. "GRRRRRRR," he kept going. I finally looked at him and said with conviction, "Dooley, use your indoor voice." He turned his head away and went, "grrrrrr."

4. Who is/was your favorite pet?
I have loved all my dogs equally, but I will say that when Dooley died a couple of years ago from congestive heart failure, the grief was the worst I ever experienced with a pet. I continue to miss him dreadully.

5. How did you train your different pets?
What makes you think I train my pets? Seriously, we don't want to have this conversation.

BONUS: Pictures of a pet or one you wish you could have.

Monday, July 12, 2010

mosaic monday

It's been an uneventful weekend here, which means there hasn't been any blog fodder. While catching up on other blogs I follow I found inspiration via A New England Life to post this collection of photos from Melrose a la the Little Red House blog. For those who don't know, Melrose is my family's tree farm in South Carolina, just a holler from Augusta, GA. In the above collage is a portion of the view from the front of the house, my favorite place to idle when I'm there. The bloom at left is from a bush along the driveway, and the lower right image is a view from the yard looking to the southwest across a section of our property. Most of what you see is across the Savannah River.

Melrose has been in the family for over a hundred years, and there is scattered evidence that my great-great-grandparents spent some time there after the Civil War. One of these days I will track that down. It was primarily a summer place for my grandmother's family, where they could escape the heat of Augusta (it is a few degrees cooler, and the hilltop location of the cottage reaps the benefit of breezes blowing in from the west). My great-grandfather also started a peach orchard there, and bears the distinction of being the first South Carolina peach exporter, or something like that. Eventually the peach trees succumbed to blight, and natural reforestation offered a means of income for my grandmother.

I tell you all this to convey a sense of history about the place, more than the people (at least today!). By modern standards Melrose is lush with ancient plants. Crepe myrtles line a section of the front porch. Tall and stately, I love the pattern of the bark that adorns the trunks. At the back of the house one of the crepe myrtle has "sprouted" shoots of new growth. We dug up four of those to bring home to plant, two of which are doing well. The other two may need last rites, but I'm giving them an opportunity for renewal before that pronouncement is made.

This past spring we were there earlier than usual and saw things in bloom that we miss, typically. Among those blooms is a row of daffodils planted along a ledge of sorts, just down the sloping ground away from the house to the north. These are heirloom dafs, and this fall I plan to dig some up to bring home to plant here.

The cottage was originally two-rooms structure moved from another site, with a detached kitchen. Joined by a common chimney, two bedrooms were added at some point, with two smaller rooms that house a bathroom and what was great-grandfather's office. It is called "the den," and now contains a twin bed and about enough room around the bed to turn around. Old as the house is, there is no insulation or "weather-proofing." Given its latitude, this means that the only comfortable time to be there without benefit of a central heat and air system is in the early spring and mid-autumn. On cold days, the living room is best warmed by a fire.
It is the family tradition to enjoy the close of day with happy hour, watching the sun set. When I was growing up chairs were set out on the lawn under the large Live Oak, and trays of nibbles accompanied our consumption of beverages of choice. In more recent years the event has receded to the front porch, where chiggers and other nibbling critters are less likely to snack on us. I love the golden light that bathes the house and yard at that time of day.

For now, that concludes our tour of Melrose. Thanks for stopping by to visit. It's a tradition at this wonderful place.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

if I had a hammer

and a few extra bucks and some land, I'd build a foster kennel. Our local rescue has 14 new resident puppies, seven of them seen here after they'd been retrieved from a drain pipe and dry creek bed out in the country. The rescue director posted a note on facebook about the adventure and suggested that if we had any time, the pups could use some loving. I left five minutes later to go pay a visit.

These sweet babies range in present disposition from "let me play with you!" to "please go away and leave me alone." Two are especially timid and fearful. I spent about half an hour sitting with them in their digs, where they have shade, water, food, and a fan blowing a constant breeze so that they don't succumb to the heat. A few of them were interested in company and play, though most slept. My goal was to offer non-threatening human presence and love.

The rescue effort, with resulting medical treatment for all of them, ran about $2000. I've already emailed the director to offer to do a PC fund-raiser. Wish I had the money to write them a check. In the meantime if you're in the market for a rescue pup, these will be ready for homes in a few weeks. Mostly boys.

I can think of something else I'd like to do with a hammer, but instead I'll pray for the likes of people who mistreat and abandon dogs (and animals).
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 09, 2010


The RevGals Friday post isn't up yet and I need to get on with my day! I'm amazed Ken hasn't appeared at my office door ten times already wondering what has become of me.

So I'm borrowing today from Ordinary Courage's Friday routine (although as of this moment she's still on yesterday's post about a yodeling pickle. Go there for a good chuckle): Today I am Trusting, Grateful and Inspired...

Trusting that by grace, inner strength, prayer, and the encouragement and support of friends I will break through the bonds of what is presently afflicting me. I can't change someone else. I can change how I respond to the situation at my door.

Grateful for a week of applying some much needed discipline to my life. I have FlyLady and my PC director, Stephanie, to thank for ideas, recommendations, affirmation and support. Life is better in those departments already, and sunshine has a way of spilling into other areas in need of light.

Inspired by the fresh start that each day brings. Yesterday's tears and sighs can give way to laughing at Wipeout contestants jumping over hurdles with stuffed sheep attached to them. I don't think I've laughed so hard, and for so long, for awhile (it was the sheep that did it--the contestants hadn't event started). The humidity that saps the juice from my hydrangea can be ignored once McKinlee starts chasing herself around the yard (you think I'm kidding). The clutter that closed down my desk the night before disappears while a 15-minute timer puts me through my tidying paces. There's inspiration everywhere. Everywhere!

How about you? In what are you trusting, for what are you grateful, and where are you finding inspiration today?

Now I'm off to water the hydrangea and clean off the top of my refrigerator.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

when life gives you lemons

The saying, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" is great when you're in your 30's. Sweeten things up, make the best of a bad situation, blah blah blah. At midlife I raise my glass to the updated version: when life gives you lemons, add vodka.

It's not about the lemons or the vodka, it's about the deep understanding that making the best of something no longer cuts it. We know better.

I've got a more accurate adage now. Stone soup? Season to taste.

You can't disguise stones with seasoning. They are not tempered or molecularly transformed. They don't go away. But at least there's something palatable in the mix when you season to taste. And notice that it's "to taste." Meaning my taste. Your taste. What works for each of us according to the lot of stones in our lap. Or pot, as it were. None of this "just add sugar" and all will be well. Blech.

Life isn't that simple. Solutions to problems don't come in packages that you can pluck off the shelf. Each person, each family, has its own dynamics and needs its own strategy and blend of care to apply to the array of stones over which we stumble or which slide down the hill of life's surprises to crash through our roof or block our way on the road to wherever it is we're headed. Sorry for that run-on sentence.

I've got a pile of stones in my pot right now. I haven't a clue what seasoning to add to make the soup of my life more palatable, but I'm starting here, writing to you. A dash of update and a pinch of sharing my lot is a tentative and cautious place to start.  I suspect a lot of tastings and adjustments will be part of the mix before I'm through, but isn't that how you make soup?

Time to simmer. Thanks for keeping me company in the kitchen.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Dealing with some stuff. Some industrial strength prayers would be appreciated. Thanks.

Monday, July 05, 2010


This is one of my favorite pictures of Kenneth and Emma when she was about two months old. (Click to enlarge for a better view)

My first layout in four years! And oddly enough, I used the same set of papers for that one, too. Hmm. And it was of a dog. Hmm.. See my "scrappin' chaplain" link (waaaay down at the bottom of the sidebar!) on this blog, LOL!

My friend Janet was named recently to the design team at How Much is Too Much? a blog that posts challenges for scrappers to help use up our stash of stuff. I get much more done with challenges that help me focus on a specific aspect of design. Usually it takes me an entire day, if not longer, to get a layout finished. This one was between three and four hours! Not bad for a rusty scrapper. The challenge is titled "Party like it's 1999." Use one word for the title, nine squares, nine pieces of patterned paper, and nine brads. Phew!

Next time I'll probably just post it on the other blog and let you know it's there. But today's accomplishment is BIG NEWS!

Here's another favorite picture from that era
I went into the kitchen earlier to top off my coffee and found this preparation on the butcher block. Ken was fixing his breakfast, and the colors were too lively to pass up for a photo. He loves omelets, and this one, underway, will make enough to have some for breakfast tomorrow!

As for me, I'm assembling things to do a little scrapping this morning. My friend Janet is a newly appointed member of the design team on a scrapbook site. The objective of that site is to offer challenges to help us focus our creative efforts so that we can actually come up with a design for a layout and get something done. On reflection I think it's been five years since I did a layout. Time for that to change!

This afternoon I will shift my attention to Pampered Chef. I've been giving a lot of thought to why it is that I don't make calls to book shows and build my business. Fear has taken charge, and the reality is that the need for me to have a functioning business is greater than any fear has a right to be. There is too much to do here that needs to be funded, and at present the only way to add to the income we have is through this business. No excuses. Just do it.

I've actually made some progress in the discipline department with FlyLady. I've had a clean sink every night before going to bed--have made the bed every morning, and done some decluttering along the way to keep me hyped. It's amazing what a little sense of accomplishment can do to boost the attitude.

So, off to choose pictures for my layout, and get to it. I'll post the results on my layout blog later. See that assuming language? It WILL get done!

Sunday, July 04, 2010


When I was planning the rehearsal dinner some months back I went on a quest to find prizes for the winners of our evening's games: newlywed bingo and the almost newlywed game. One prize was kinda hokey: a stuffed animal lobster (which was actually adored by the person who won it). One prize was this mug. I liked it so much that I bought one for myself, and it has become a favorite (LifeWay Christian Bookstore, for anyone interested).

There are so many challenges in my days that it can be easy for joy to become lost in the proverbial shuffle. This mug reminds me that even when I'm not mindful of it, there is joy to be found in all sorts of places.
  • Like in the wagging tails of my dogs and the kisses they love to give. 
  • The cooling breezes in the shade of the trees in the front yard, even on a hot day. 
  • The fun of facebook. 
  • The unexpected comment of a visitor to this blog. 
  • An encouraging word from a friend. 
  • The sanctuary of my office at home
  • Success in an area of difficulty
  • Hope for healing relationships
  • Laughter 
  • Inspiration found on the blogs of friends (whether we've met or not)
  • Realizing that even though I don't have children that will inherit a lineage, genealogy is still a blast and worth my time.
  • Enjoying a meal with friends in our home
  • The growing and deepening camaraderie among the women in my church
  • Learning something new
  • Experiencing the enormity of the gift that is our country's independence, and feeling a touch of pride that my gene pool was part of securing our freedom and birthing this heritage.
  • The daily ritual that is time spent writing here, and expanding my world through the world of others.
May your joy be full today.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

in honor of the fourth

Ten things I love about the United States (in no particular order)

1) The Constitution and The Bill of Rights
2) The Wave at sporting events
3) Root beer floats
4) All things country: cowboys and rodeos, music...
5) Southern accents
6) The food. All of it. Except maybe pigs feet. And anything greasy.
7) License plates
8) Y'all
9) Maine

Care to play? Have a great 4th Weekend.

Friday, July 02, 2010

testing the waters of discipline

We feasted last night. Ribs with homemade barbecue sauce. Yummmmmm..... And grilled corn on the cob. Homemade slaw. Delish.

With a number of errands to take care of yesterday I took my camera and got some pictures for Charley's album: the church, town hall, baby food shelves at Publix, their house in the afternoon sun.

We've been having some interesting conversations about discipline. Ken has been really helpful asking questions about habits (or lack thereof) related to the matter. I'm trying to work on domestic discipline with the help of FlyLady. Doable, and fun. I had already spent a good chunk of a day earlier in the week decluttering the top of my desk. Rearranged a few things, and for the most part am keeping it clutter-free!

Related to PC discipline we came up with some goals and rewards. I'm rebuilding my business, so it is a success that I have one show on board this month. The general goal is two shows a week, with a couple of extra booked to compensate for cancellations that occur inevitably. I'm not going to go from one to ten in a heartbeat, so we identified rewards for when I reach four, then six, then eight, and then several choices of reward when hit ten. I included a fabric shopping spree as a choice at ten. He said, "why a fabric shopping spree?" and I just stared at him.

I've done lots of FlyLady cleaning this morning as I procrastinate making PC calls. I MUST get over that. MUST! The business won't happen without them, so...

Let me get this posted and make some phone calls. I'll post an update toward the end of the day as a way to be accountable.

May your Friday include a feast of whatever kind!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 01, 2010

the spectrum of possibility in architecture: one afternoon's adventure in browsing

Note: the opinions expressed below are entirely those of the author, and represent her opinion and viewpoint on things architectural. They are not a standard of measurement for anything other than her own opinion.
Once upon a time my husband declared that we would live in our house forever--he'd be carried out feet first. Determined to stay put and make this our permanent, forever home, gosh durn it! He has repeated that assertion on multiple occasions, and after the first couple of times I learned to just let him talk. He gets notions, some of which are admirable, some of which are wishful, and others of which can sometimes be downright frightening.

Lately, however, issues of health, and particularly of arthritis, have him rethinking the long term plan. Property maintenance, in particular. It's always interesting to me that when he reaches certain decisions he announces them as foregone conclusions. Not, "I've been thinking--my health isn't getting any better and caring for the yard and such is going to get more difficult. What would you think about moving to a place where maintenance is provided?" Our communication issues aren't the topic of this post, but I'm laying some groundwork here.

I'm not opposed to the idea of such a move. It has its drawbacks in terms of how I would like to experience "home," but there are advantages, as well. We are not in a position, financially, to do much about moving at this time, but exploring, discovering, and learning what it is that we want now can be of use down the road when we are ready.

Yesterday we were at a friend's house that is in a community of mostly retired people. The homes are very nice, there are several layouts from which to choose, and the prices are reasonable. We decided to drive through the community and scope out what was for sale, noting attributes like location within the community, etc., as we did so. We actually found a unit well situated, and with the floor plan that we like, that is for sale. Send a miracle along!

We left that place and drove to another area that isn't retirement-focused, but has condos and town houses. This is a golf community, which makes for some interesting settings. The "Villas" were attractive, if you overlook the fact that the garage doors face the street (this is something I learned to abhor from an early age--it's not personal). There were essentially no front yards to speak of, and except for a back deck of modest proportions and a spit-length of grass, no back yard either. The topography in this community is rolling in places and steep in others, which means that some homes looked out their back windows to a steep bank (which in some cases was reinforced with concrete---lovely!). This is a non-view, and in the winter? Yuck.
The Villages at Five Oaks
The "Villages," however, were better off. These are billed as luxury town homes, and with a few still under construction we were able to walk through. The photo above demonstrates the architectural leaning. Not a bad exterior, and some of the interior was nice, but on balance had too many drawbacks. The full, two-story unit, however, available for viewing as a model, was very nice. It was too late in the day to go inside, but we looked through windows and liked what we saw. A lot. Sadly, beyond affordable for us, but dreaming isn't a bad thing, necessarily.

As we left there and drove through the rest of the area we happened upon this monstrous, 10, 070 square foot "gem," above, listed at $1.295 million. We had to check it out. It is clearly still under construction when you get up close and personal, and especially when you look through the windows, as we did. And we were appalled by what we saw. Note the gaping darkness of a drive entrance at the rear of the driveway. That darkness leads to a courtyard, off of which are two, two-car garages that face each other. The two tall, narrow windows on the right are part of one garage.
As you pull into the drive/courtyard, this doorway is on the left.I took the picture from this angle for interest, but it disguises, somewhat, the narrow width of the door. It may be difficult to see the narrow width of the stoop and steps, as well, but armed with knowledge of building codes, Ken whipped out his trusty tape measure and, sure enough, the door and steps don't meet code. Go figure. I know I wouldn't want to navigate those steps while carrying something. Brick stairs aren't friendly to shins and knees. And then there's the funky pipe descending from above the door stoop. We think that may be to vent a gas-fueled lamp over the doorway, but other than that, its presence was a mystery to us.

Perhaps the design of this entrance was to give it an "old world" feel, like the old world nature of a driveway/courtyard that suggests the conversion of a former carriage house, or even stable. That's my guess, anyway, especially when you consider the "bricked in" look shown in the other picture. Personally I dislike a wall without windows, so that vast, bonus room space without light on this side lacks appeal for me.  Then again, maybe the architect assumed no one wanted to look out onto pavement below, or the garage across the way. We will likely never know.
Design elements indoors left us stumped, as well. Consider this space at the back of the house, with stairs leading to the aforementioned bonus room over the rear garage (photo taken through the window).  For starters, there's the asymmetrical location of the stairs vis-a-vis the wall and ceiling. If you're going to decorate your crown molding and draw attention to it, make us ooh and aah, not go, "OMG, what were they thinking?" And then, of course, there's the butt end of some other space jutting into the side of the stairway with the exposed "ledge" above it. Architectural Digest won't be calling any time soon. Don't you want to spend more than a million dollars on this beauty? I won't belabor the rest, but if you really want a treat, check out the pictures posted on the Realtor website (above, where the price is noted). It's a lesson in how NOT to market a home for sale! I've considered contacting the company to offer my services to photograph the interior. 

I know all of this has been absolutely fascinating, but since it occupied so much of my day yesterday I just thought I'd share. Think of it as coming along for the ride. Maybe this afternoon we'll go back to the model we can't afford and look on the inside. I find incentives very helpful in working toward goals.

Have a good one. It's almost Friday.


Related Posts with Thumbnails