Monday, May 17, 2010

A Great Way to Celebrate

Today is our 24th wedding anniversary! Some of our friends at the time we got engaged were doubtful that two such opposite people would last even a few years. But, the commitment we made all those years ago is only strengthened each day. Our personalities are still very much opposite, but our interests and values are very much alike. As an sad aside most of those doubters are now divorced themselves.

This past weekend we had one of the most fun and relaxing weekends in our marriage. We attended our town’s Wine and Craft festival. This just happened to be the 24th annual festival (what a coincidence!) The town shuts down several streets and the craft vendors set up along one street, the wineries are set along Main Street and a food court is erected around the park. While I am not a wine drinker, Rich enjoys a glass of wine. For the price of $15.00 before the event or $20.00 at the gate you receive a commemorative glass to sample the wines from over 20 wineries. They also offer a discounted rate if you purchase wine during the festival. The size of our town swelled to triple its size. The amount of people was amazing!

Back to Zero

After walking..and walking... and walking to see everything we sat down to eat. The seats we chose were right in front of where a band was setting up. Back to Zero was incredible! They played music from when Rich and I were dating and first married, so it was like our own personal concert. Many in the crowd got up to dance—fathers and daughters, grandparents with their grand kids and couples all got out to enjoy the festive family atmosphere. Rich and I decided not to embarrass ourselves, so we just took pictures and rocked out in our seats. We loved it because it was like a big block party. We saw our next door neighbor and her 14-year-old daughter and David saw a teacher from school.
Kids, joining in the festivities

We stayed all day, as my shoulders can attest to the sun that shone on us all day. I wore a hat so my face was spared.

We continued our celebration by going out to lunch yesterday after church. This was a restaurant we had just discovered and hadn’t taken David to yet. They have a wonderful dessert called funnel fries. I could only eat a few after our huge meal, but David—the human disposal—finished them off, after he polished off his lemon meringue pie.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A New Hobby

We are a family that really gets into our hobbies. When we have a new interest we read up and research it, so that we can enjoy it to the fullest.

Well, Rich and David have found another new hobby—sushi making. While at the bookstore a few weeks ago Rich found a kit that included the tools and DVD on how to make sushi. He couldn't pass it up—on sale and a food he loves! When we lived in Lynchburg our local grocery store sold fresh made raw sushi. However, our local store only sells California rolls. So Rich and David have been going through withdrawal. I, on the other hand, do not like sushi.

We purchased the supplies and Rich and David were off. They had a great time working together to decide what would be in the sushi. It was fun seeing them learn this new skill together. David had to try each componant of the roll as they were making them. They got so into the craft that they had enough left over following dinner to take for their lunches the next day.

David came home the following day and said all the teachers were jealous of the sushi. Everyone was amazed that he and his father made it themselves.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bathroom Humor

I said I would be showing David’s bedroom and bathroom. However, he has asked that I not show his room for privacy reasons. Translation: I don’t want to keep my room clean enough to get a picture. The joys of teenagers!

But, I draw the line at keeping his bathroom clean. And he hasn’t objected to showing it off. Of course since it is not for exclusive use I have decorated it to my taste and demand that he maintains my cleanliness standards. So here you are—my purple and peacock room. These are the same decorations we used in our old home, so they may look familiar. They were just cheap masks purchased at a festival that I had framed in shadow boxes. I love the color purple!

Our downstairs half bathroom is very tiny but still deserved a personality of its own. We let our sense of humor shine through and I love to see guests come out chuckling. Many years ago we purchased Mayberry pen drawings. There’s Andy—with a Mayberry sherrif’s badge in the frame. Barney Fife’s picture proudly displays the one bullet that he kept in his shirt pocket. And the one I think is funniest of all—Ernest T. Bass and his rock. So far everyone that has used the bathroom has come out laughing and asking where they could get one.

I have enjoyed having lots of walls and the ability to show a bit of who we are on those walls.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Government Logic

Having done family research for many years, I of course have used the United States census reports. While the census records can contain errors—misspelled names, incorrect birthdates, or incorrect places of birth—I have found they are invaluable records. A census report was the place I learned that my great-great grandfather was a blacksmith. I have also seen the heart break of high infant mortality rates.

My “free” U.S. Census t-shirt

So when the census report is sent to our home I do not have to be prodded to complete it and return it in a timely fashion. I didn’t like the television ads that had run since February telling us to look for the census reports. So I was a bit annoyed when I received a postcard in the mail stating that I should get my census report the following week. After receiving and sending the report back within two days I was further annoyed to get another postcard reminding me that if I had not returned it, please do so. They should have already received the census back a week before they sent me the letter. Then, while on a visit to the library, I was greeted by a nice young lady who asked if I had returned my census. When I explained I had, she gave me my choice of a t-shirt, hat or pennant. Then while Rich and I were eating lunch last Friday I our doorbell rang. You guessed it, someone coming around asking if we had filled out the census yet.

The money that our government has thrown around on this census is appalling. I saw that the man responsible stated that in the long run this would save money, since they would have to spend less on census takers going door to door (hmm, they still came to my door). I was most appalled when I looked into the tag of my free (haha) t-shirt and found that it was made in ... Nicaragua! Now I’m sure the logic would be that it was less expense to have them made in Nicaragua, but how about you figure in the expense of extending unemployement benefits for American who desperately want a job. The person who made the decision to purchase these t-shirts should be fired!!!

Where my U.S. Census t-shirt was made

Has our government so low an opinion of the American worker that it doesn’'t believe we could do the job as well?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Teen For Hire

Have you ever wanted to check out cars without the "help" of a car salesperson? I can help you achieve this goal. Hire me and I will talk and annoy your salesperson allowing you time to shop for your dream car. Reasonable rates and guaranteed to work.
—Call David at 1-800-CALL-DAVID

This is just what happened to Rich and David on Saturday. I went to the local library in order to attend a genealogy class leaving my men with several hours to do some male bonding. They spent some of their time checking out the new Camaros at a local car dealership. Rich got a big kick out of the salesperson who eagerly came out to make a sale, retreated back to the showroom door, then went inside the showroom, scurried to the other side of the Corvette on the showroom floor, and ended up hiding behind his cubicle.

Rich was taking pictures of the Camaro while David was asking the salesman lots (and lots) of questions. The man finally went into the office and pretended to make a phone call as David followed him. While David peppered him with questions the man began to cower at his desk. Rich got a big kick out of this!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Looking Forward

Since my last post I have kept very busy. In February we had so much snowfall that by the time we could venture out to restock food supplies we were also preparing for another storm. I loved the beauty of the pristine falling snow but since I am not a cold weather gal it was from the inside looking out. Everyone was home and we had a great time watching DVDs together. However, it does increase the work load, such as recleaning the entry and downstairs hall floors daily. I love the hardwood floors but the snow made a mess of them. Lots of food fests while watching the movies created more cooking and cleaning up. However, I was able to work on the photo albums that I had fallen way behind on since our move.

Once school got back in session I was back to a full round of IEPs and meetings. Schools begin preparing the next years IEPs in February and March. With David in high school this increases the amount of information and goals that must be met and reviewed.

I really appreciate the school system here and the head of special education. In spite of budget constraints and concerns they have continued the services that David needs. David came home all excited since the school rings were being displayed. He has already picked his out. We went over the packet of ordering information to decide on the ring that would suit him best. I was surprised since I was in high school we didn't oreder our class rings until we were sophmores. It was only after all the paperwork was gone over that I asked David when the order had to be placed. His answer was "I can't order until next year." It had never occured to him that I would not know he couldn't get it yet.

We knew the day was approaching when Rich would have to go into the office more often. After working from home four days a week for the past couple of years we had fallen into a rhythm that worked well for us. In the middle of February he was told everyone in his department would need to be in the office every day. To our knowledge there had been no abuses of the work-from-home privilege, but the new boss claimed that the job could not be done outside the office. With only one car this would create some issues.

We are fortunate that there is a little transit bus that picks up around the corner from our house and it goes to the shopping center where our bank is located, the grocery store and even the bottom of the hill at David's school. It only costs 50 cents each time you get on, so its not expensive. The problem is that it stops only every hour at each stop. It also was extremely cold in February and you couldn't get a whole lot of groceries. But I am very thankful for it. Doing the majority of the grocery shopping on Saturday was not ideal since it was more crowded and took time from the family. We also found Rich driving into the city would cost us quite a bit, the parking alone cost $155.00 a month. So we did some research and found a great solution. There is a commuter bus that picks up within two miles of our home and drops off one block from Rich's office. The cost would be considerably less than what it would cost for him to drive in each day.

Grandma and Mom

The downside is that I now get up at 4:00am and deliver him to the lot by 4:25am and David and I must pick him up in the evening. David needs to get up at 6:30, so I really don't sleep after the drop off. Rich calls us when they are about 10 minutes out so we aren't waiting at the lot for the bus to come in. The downside is that it is harder to work around the meals. I want the food to be hot and fresh, but am never sure what traffic will hold and what time we will eat. Also Rich had been supervising David in the past so I could cook in peace, so David must now either help with the dinner preparations or sit at the table reading. After making some adjustments in what I make and when I pop it in the oven I think I have worked out the kinks.

Last month saw the visit of my mom and my 89-year-old grandmother. My aunt and uncle had decided to move to South Carolina from New York and would need a few weeks to complete the process of moving and getting my grandmother placed in the nursing home near them. So my mother was caring for my grandma during this time. It was wonderful to see her and see that after living in the northeast all her life she was looking forward to moving to the south.

David and Tyler
We also had one of our college friends and his roommate stay with us. They wanted to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D IMAX and we were delighted to open our home to them. The only tickets we could get were at 11:45pm opening night. It was a fun time and an extremely long day—up at 4:00 that morning and up until 3:00 the next morning when we finally rolled into bed. Rich and I are so used to being up early we still woke up at 6:30 in the morning.

When we moved late last summer we stored quite a bit on the back screened-in porch. By the time winter weather came I had unpacked all the inside boxes and more than half of the boxes stored on the porch. However, when the low temperatures came I abandoned the unpacking. Last week the weather turned warm and I have begun my unpacking again. Last weekend I was able to move the remaining boxes enough for us to enjoy eating our meals on the table out there. It has been wonderful and we have eaten most meals this last week out there. I am even setting up plastic containers to hold disposible plates and utensils along with condiments to keep them handy for our meals. Once the boxes are removed I hope to set up a wicker loveseat, table and chair for a place of retreat.

Rich hiding an Easter egg in a tree

Last weekend we also helped our new church with an Easter Egg Hunt they hold each year for the community. It is run by Christine, who did a fantastic job. She plans activities along with the egg hunt. There were prizes and even a meal at the end of the event. Following the event we walked around the town and took pictures. We even stopped on the way home for soft serve ice cream, which we ate before going home to barbecue steaks, hot dogs and tilapia. The perfect end to a perfect day!

Daffodils near our church

Friday, January 29, 2010

What A View!

click for larger picture

The view from our bed last November

A different angle of view from mid-December 2009

The view from our bedroom window - January 31, 2010 at 7:15 am

How would you like to wake up every morning with a different view out your bedroom window? That is exactly what we have and often the view will show drastic changes before we even make it out of bed. As the sun rises over the mountains the changing colors and shifting fog create a show of the glory of God.

Our bed and two Steve Hanks paintings

We positioned our bed so that we could see the best view. We even placed the cushioned lovechest that Rich gave me one year for Christmas right in front of the window. The size of the bedroom is wonderful for our bed—an oversized king size poster bed. The bed is so high that I must use steps to get into it. The size of the bed dwarfed our old bedroom, but it fits nicely into this room. The only issue is that the top knobs of the bed can’t be used without hitting the ceiling. One of the pieces of furniture that would not fit into our previous home was a restored working 1904 Victrola housed in a mahogony cabinet. We found this little treasure early in our marriage and it has been a treasured memory of a romantic weekend excursion.

1904 Victrola with Steve Hanks painting above it

We couldn’t fit the armoire up the stairs, so all the clothes that we had stored in it would need a new home. We have used my lovechest and also two night stands we had before purchasing this bed.

This is the area to the right of the bathroom door

The art work we chose for this room are limited edition prints from our favorite artist—Steve Hanks. His watercolor paintings are so soft, while still so sharply accurate, that many mistake these beautiful pictures as photographs. The paintings just seem so perfect for this house. They are so timeless and unusual that you have to stop and take notice of them. I also have two Steve Hanks prints in my sitting room. I have always felt that the pictures I hang up in our home are a reflection of who we are and what we feel is important.

Cast iron cross on glass-top table under Steve Hanks painting

We have a wonderful and large bathroom attached to our bedroom. It holds a Jacuzzi tub that the whole family has spent long hours enjoying—of course, surrounded by lighted candles. It also has a separate shower for those normal have-to-get-ready-in-a-hurry days. I have placed a bench outside of the shower which is very handy.

The view from this window is the same as from our bed

The beautiful curtains in these rooms were the same that hung in the livingroom in our previous home. They are perfect because they fit the tone of the room, but allow the view to be seen clearly.

Jacuzzi tub and shower (and candles)

Next I hope to show you David’s rooms—his bedroom and “his” bathroom.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Welcome To Our Home

We had just gotten settled into our home when it was time to decorate it for Christmas. Now that the decorations are down and put away it is time to begin showing it off to all my visitors.

It has been fun, but a bit challenging to find just the right place for everything. Somethings didn’t fit where we had planned to place it, like a large cherry armoire that couldn’t fit up the stairs. But, other items that we had not used in our previous home have now been able to put to good use.

This home allows us to have his and her “playrooms.” My room is upstairs and is right next to our bedroom. I have made it a combination of a sitting room and craft room. It has been very handy over the holidays being able to have all my ribbons and craft materials handy. This room is also right across the hall from David’s bedroom and I can sit on the sofa and keep an eye on him if he is a little too hyper at bedtime.

I wanted to make this a very “girly-girl” room but without the pinks and ruffles. I couldn’t find the perfect curtains, at least in my budget. So I checked out a local fabric shop that carries upholstery fabrics. They just happened to have in the “sale room” bridal lace, which is where I found a length of lace designed for a bridal veil that was beautiful, but very inexensive. It was just the perfect size for the long, narrow windows in the house. I only had to cut the length in two and then sewed a satin ribbon to the top of each length. To the ribbon I sewed thin gossamer ribbons. I then tied the thin ribbons to the cafe rod.

It was so easy and since I already had the ribbon, both windows only cost me the price of the fabric ($15.00). I also purchased small silver frames and printed black and white pictures of us to hang from the rod.

This is a warm and cozy room where I can store my genealogy research, scrapbook supplies, fabric, decorating books and completed photo albums. I can also spread out my materials on the floor while I’m working on a project—and not worry about someone walking on it. This is also my sentimental room since I have some of David’s baby toys in the room—a little wooden rattle, stuffed animals and a wooden hobby horse.

This room was the one I had originally planned as David’s bedroom. However, since it is an old house, the closet was not built at the time the house was. The closet in this room also serves the master bedroom. The double doors of the closet don’t allow for privacy and David decided as a 14-year-old he would much rather have the smaller of the two bedrooms, with the privacy.

Over Christmas this is the room that David slept in. We pulled out his old twin mattress, which is usually stored under his grown up bed. He liked having the doors of the closet open so he could see and hear us at night. He doesn’t like change and this was reassuring to him.

I love my room!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Making a Difference?

Last week many women posted on their Facebook status message just a color. This was a response to an e-mail that was sent to only women. Many godly women posted their colors, while others chose not to. The color to be posted was the color bra you were wearing at the time. The intention was to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Did it do its job and what were the differing feelings of the women on Facebook?

As to the thoughts of the women on Facebook—it was very interesting. I had many friends who posted their colors, as I did mine. But I did receive two status updates from friends who did not feel this was appropriate. One status read “How does posting your bra color support breast cancer awareness?? Sounds like it’s supporting breast awareness, rather! Let’s think about this ladies—probably something that some man came up with. (And yes, I had to be *that* one that has to say something.)

It was very interesting to see that at least one male commented under that status message: “thank you for posting this.... i had no idea why my facebook was full of colors. lol” Now, because of her status message update, this young man knows what the status messages were about—so she is the one who made him think of breasts (if, in fact, that is what this exercise caused). If she didn’t feel it appropriate she didn’t need to post her color.

Yes, it did do its job as this report on ABC news will show. For example, during the 24-hour period of these status messages the Susan G. Kolmen breast cancer awareness Facebook page received an almost 2,000-percent increase in internet traffic.

This exercise also was a reminder to me that it has been almost a year since my very first mammogram and I will now need to find a good doctor in our new community to schedule this with. I am very fortunate that neither side of my family has had breast cancer, but that still doesn’t mean it can’t happen to me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Winter Wonderland

We have been very busy with Christmas preparations. As David counts down the days until his school break I have been busy buying and wrapping gifts, decorating the house and preparing for Rich’s parents to visit. Along the way we have spent the weekends enjoying all the activites going on in town.

Two weeks ago we went to the kick-off of the Christmas season. One of the high school’s (not David’s) choir sang at the town’s gazebo. They held a bake sale to raise funds for the choir and they quickly gained David’s business (who cares what school it is, as long as they feed him!) Following the concert we were awaiting the arrival of the mayor when a local police officer came up and started asking all the people around if they knew who had left a gray box there. There were wires attached to the box, but the wires went nowhere. Of course, fearless David went up to the gazebo and started to poke at the box as the officer was examining it. The police officer gingerly took the box away.

The box reappeared again when the town’s publicity director returned with it. It was the switch that would turn on the town’s christmas lights. They had not hooked the box up because they didn’t want to have someone turn on the lights before the mayor arrived!

We stayed to see the lighting of the lights and Rich had a chance to talk to the mayor.

This past Saturday we woke up to the threat of snow. Within minutes the snow began to fall, very small flakes.

I began to make sausage and pancakes in order to rouse David out of bed. He came down stairs right as I was placing the Christmas dishes on the table. He had already spotted the falling snow, only the flakes were larger and falling more quickly. After breakfast and a quick shower I got hot cholocate ready so we could head into town. The scene that we stepped into was like something in a Frank Capra movie. The gazebo with the Christmas tree had Christmas music playing. Families were gathered around, building snowmen and little ones were throwing snowballs at their parents.

The Christmas parade had been cancelled and we weren’t able to ride the horse & carriage, since, due to the snow, it would be dangerous. We took all of it in stride as we just enjoyed the early Christmas gift we had received. I have to admit, the hot chocolote thermoses I had prepared were a welcome source of warmth when we returned to the car.

Our world is still covered in winter white with a call for another winter storm due tonight and an ice storm due tomorrow. I am prepared for the worst, but am hoping that nothing will interfere with David’s field trip. I am a chaperone to the theater where we will see a live performace of “Miracle on 34th Street.” This is a favorite of mine!