Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Big Dig Continues... Day 18 of no Kitchen Sink... thoughts on Patience

It's been 19 days since my last post....  and 18 days with no running water or kitchen sink in our kitchen. The kitchen itself remains a "work in progress". I am learning that when dealing with insurance companies and contractors that "hurry up and wait" is the normal way of things. Somewhere in my past I had learned this lesson and then blissfully forgotten it, living as most of us do in that happy haze called insured over-confidence. To make matters worse, the amount of the damage now necessitates involving our mortgage company as a co-signer on some of the checks; thus adding their hoops to jump through and further slowing the process. But new cabinets are ordered and SOMETIME in the coming New Year we will have a kitchen again. It will be a new and improved kitchen so perhaps there is a blessing in the saga of the sluggish pipe that has been ongoing for the entire time we've lived in this house. If I can only be patient....
Here is the original incision made in our kitchen and dining room floor.
More of the Big Dig a.k.a the TRENCH!

Here's what a semi-filled trench looks like.. waiting for the tile man.

This is a FAKE sink... actually, it's our OLD sink sitting in the approx location of where the NEW sink will go. We are hoping this arrives before Christmas, but it would be HIGHLY unlikely for that to actually happen! Meanwhile we are getting VERY adept at dishwashing using that big grey pan set up down the hall in our bathtub! And our knees are getting stronger by the day!

And THIS is the DREAM sink... a shotof the approximate color (but not style) of our new cabinetry and the approximate color of our new counter tops.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Day of the Impending Jack-Hammer!

Today was NOT a good day on Norwich Street! We were getting ready to leave when Ed noticed a wet spot at the base of one of the kitchen cabinets. We were certain our dishwasher had done the inevitable and blown a fill valve. So on the way to work we called our favorite appliance guys to come and check on it. I zipped home to make the 1pm appointment only to have the REAL news hit us square in the wallet!
To make a long story short; a troublesome drainpipe that runs UNDER the concrete that is UNDER our ceramic tiled kitchen floor is a goner and is going to have to be replaced! This means a 24 ft run of pipe and tomorrow at 8am a plumber and his crew will be here to attack my only 3 yr. old floor with a jack-hammer!!! I am beyond upset about this. The stupid drain has been an albatross around our necks for 25 years beginning in the first month we lived here back in 1985! But this exceeds all money-pit behavior up until this point. No rescue rooter, no draino... JUST rip the dang thing out! I am SO bummed. So for one more night, our floor looks like it did in 2007 when we got off our knees from laying it... here's a link to a happier time. So good-bye pretty floor, and maybe even my kitchen cabinets! (that's another story to be revealed tomorrow when we find out how much seeping water the things absorbed underneath that we CAN't see!)
 AHHHH the joys of home-ownership! They just keep coming!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Last Day of October

The end of October is here! Tonight is Halloween and I am sure I'll have more photos to post as we go out with Princess Jasmine (aka Sydney Jameson) tonight. But for today, I just wanted to post this shot of us with the Harrmann gang taken earlier this month when we were there for Rhy's 3rd birthday. It's been a great month, a busy month, and a FUN month. And FINALLY it's starting to feel like fall here in Missouri! Hope all of you had a great October too!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A lovely Fall day!

Today was a gift, pure and simple! We are at the end of the first quarter at my school, and today was a day off school for "Fall Break"! And what a delightful day it was! I slept an hour longer, got outside for an early morning walk, and got a great deal done around the house to catch up on things! It was SUPER!


A Project Giveaway update: This week's items included a HUGE bag of plastic trash bags off to the recycling bin at my local market, and I took more clothes off to Goodwill as I changed the closets over from Summer to Fall. Sweater weather is here my friends!!! Yahoo! (p.s. - the dog at right is not our pooch, but he's awfully cute in that sweater, don't you think?!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Busy, busy, and more busy!

I am sitting here watching the news.... as the last of the 33 miners are coming up from deep under the earth and I am amazed and humbled by their spirit and joy! Not a one has been anything but jubilant and grateful for the experience that they have survived. To a one they come out smiling, cheering, and hugging those they love! It's so uplifting that you just can't stop watching it!

There is absolutely no good excuse for my month-long absence from the blog scene other than that I've been feeling somewhat overwhelmed by all the things going on in my day to day teaching life and focusing my efforts on keeping my head about water there. Papers seem to take longer to grade, and each day comes with an endless list of things to do and stuff to stay on top of. I have 45 minutes per day to get the little things that pop up during the day done... and it's never long enough. There, I am finished whining. It's nothing compared to being REALLY buried like those brave guys in Chile, and I am sure that those of you who read this have better things to do than listen to me fuss.

On the upside.... lots of good things going on with us Staude's. We got to spend the past weekend in Michigan helping to celebrate our grandchild Rhylah's 3rd birthday. What a gorgeous weekend it was! We watched Rhy blow out her candles (photos coming soon) and open presents, and it was all so much fun!

Our harvest is complete and the crushing and pressing went very smoothly! The new Niagara and the Seyval are in the bottles and folks are loving them. We are going to bottle the Concord this weekend. So all that is going smoothly and well!

All in all, I have a LOT to be thankful for in our busy month just past... hope you have much the same in yours!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Weekend of Wine

We harvested our grapes last weekend so this weekend we found ourselves bottling the 2009 Niagara. What a FINE wine that turned out to be! Very soft and smooth. I really like it and it will probably be my favorite for this year. Primary fermentation wrapped up this week on the whites and they are all in their barrels and on the way to becoming the wines of 2010. Nortons are still to come.. maybe in a week or two.

So what did project Give-Away involve this week? Wine, of course. I met Peggy Rodgers a member of the good people at Agape Ministries in Warrenton. These fine folks supply help and assistance to people in need in Warren County and do a lot of great work for anyone in dire financial straits. They had their annual fundraiser at Bogey Hills this past weekend and we are really proud they invited Rolling Meadows to donate to the cause. Part of the evening included a wine raffle... so we know that at least a dozen folks went home with some of our wines! I also managed to give wine to our neighbors out on Eden Trail. Everyone who tried the new Niagara pronounced it "Delicious!"

Swam in the pool for what may be the last time this summer... nights are getting cooler and the temps are dropping even with the solar blanket! It's down to 74 and if we have more cool weather this week it will go lower. I got in today and it felt good, though it always makes me sad to put it to sleep for the winter! We had SUCH fun in it this year with all the kiddos in town doing their best to be fish!

Monday, September 06, 2010

September - Summer Sighs Away

Here it is.... September! Oh my!

While we've been at school for 3 weeks now, my grandson Gabe will be starting 3rd grade tomorrow! Does anyone out there remember 3rd grade? I don't, but since I can multiply, I am sure that somewhere along the way, I went to third grade! I don't even have any idea who my teacher was although I know my daughter cares VERY much about who Gabe's teachers are each year. Isn't that funny? The things we as parents deem SO major and life changing, may very well turn out to be something that our kids won't even remember when they get to be our age! (or maybe 3rd grade was so traumatic that I blocked it out!)

So what DO I remember from being 8? I do know that I got a piano in the third grade and I started taking lessons. It was a huge investment for my parents. The instrument was a Baldwin and cost $800 in 1963 - which probably represented a sizable portion of my father's annual salary in those days! The other big event of my 8th year was the arrival of my baby brother whom we adopted in November. He became ours on the same day that JFK was assassinated, a totally surreal conjunction of events that made me one of the few people my age who was NOT in school on the day that happened and hit the news.

Project Give-Away update: This week was spent getting ready for harvest. And the big thing we gave away was about 30 lbs of grapes to the Rhodes/Moody family who came out to the vineyard and shared some delightful time with us on Saturday night. I guess that counts for the project and it was totally fun. Then tonight, I gave BACK a dress that had been Gret's back when she was in high school... no, she's not going to wear it, but she has an interesting need for an old dress from her past.

Pool is still hovering around 78 degrees... and with the nights getting cooler, keeping it warm is becoming a true solar blanket challenge! I don't WANT that part of summer to end! I love the pool!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Passing On the Ancestors

This past weekend we had our family all in town for a big dinner out at the vineyard. While Kate and family were here, I was able to continue my "project". These items were totally special and a lot of fun to give away. Years back, I had an "ancestor wall" in our dining room which consisted of copies of shots of many of the great and great-great grandparents. Kate has added such a wall to her dining room, and I have to say that in her 100+ year-old house it really fits! So this weekend, I asked her if she wanted the 20 or so framed prints that I'd been keeping in a box ever since I redecorated the dining room 3 years ago. Kate gave me an enthusiastic yes and another box of "things" was on its way to a new home. We spent a fun hour or so identifying and labeling the backs of all the shots so that Kate can tell her kids who everyone is when they want to know.  Can't wait to see what the shots will look like when she gets them all set up the way she wants to!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Simplifying is Contagious

I discovered something this week that's sort of interesting. The desire to simplify one's space by letting go off "stuff" is contagious! Iam in the 3rd week of my little project and suddenly my husband is cleaning out his closet! So instead of hauling just MY bags of items to Goodwill, we added a bag of his! He's getting into the whole idea too. In fact, this morning one of the things he mentioned was prefaced with the remark,"When your working on getting your stuff to give away later...." I found myself grinning at that. Now it's a bit "our" project... however, his bags can't count as MY 2 bag target! In this game, it's every pack-rat for himself!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Handbag Holdouts

The Big Pitch or  week 2 of Staude Stuff Gone:
Had a lot of fun in the cellar this week. A year and a little more ago, when our kids were temporarily living with us while their house was being finished, we hurriedly stuffed a LOT of things into the classic see-through Rubbermaid containers and stacked them in the basement. Well, a lot of time has passed and I hadn't felt the need to go into those big tubs and resurrect ANY of the items in them. It occurred to me this week that they might be ripe for the pitching as part of my new project. So down into the cellar I went with an eye toward tossing.

One container was chock full of old handbags! What is it about an old purse that makes it almost impossible to pitch? These were some really beat up looking purses but for some bizarre reason I felt compelled to save them! This time, however, my momentum from last week's tossing-out carried me through. Before I knew it, I had 3 bags worth of handbags and other assorted clothing items ready for donation to Goodwill and a 4th bag full of trash! Best result? I now have TWO empty 35 gallon Rubbermaid storage tubs waiting for me to find something ELSE to stash inside them. But for now, I am just going to enjoy having two empty tubs sitting off to one side.
On a separate note, school began this week. I have some really great classes of kids... ranging from 10th to 12th grade. I get to teach ALL the seniors and a nice assortment of some underclassmen as well. The kids seemed as shocked as we teachers were that summer is over already, and they were good as gold today. I always have to laugh at how quiet they are on the first day... it's not a situation that lasts indefinitely. We will get to know one another and they will discover how much noise this old lady can tolerate before she shushes them. But today we were all new, sort of a couple on a first date, checking the other person out to see if they have anything in common. Merry New Year to all my students! (and does anybody need an old purse?)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love... Repeat

We went to see the latest Julia Roberts film today... "Eat,Pray,Love" based on the bestseller by Elizabeth Gilbert. While not the best film I've seen this year, I admit I enjoyed it and it sparked a lot of conversation on the way home and on into the evening. (I also read the book this week so I could judge the film fairly and not get caught in the reviewers' hype)

We found ourselves talking about things like various paths to spiritual truth, our American tendency to define ourselves by what we do rather than what we are, and our difficulties with letting go, not only of material things (see earlier post on stuff) but of emotional baggage as well. Not bad for spending 2 hrs in a blissfully cool theater on a 100 degree day!

Most of all, I enjoyed seeing Julia onscreen again and realized how very much I had missed her and her work. To me, she epitomzes classic star quality blended with a very disarming geniuneness that always makes me smile. She makes you wish you could be her friend or neighbor. She has the most wonderful laugh that just comes bursting forth with a gusto that causes me to chuckle right along with her! The girl comes close to full out snorting when she laughs and it is so endearing!

So don't listen to the naysayers on this film. Ed and I give it two thumbs up. It's kind of nice to spend a bit over 2 hrs roaming the planet with Julia and enjoying her smile. I may even go and see it again!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

My Biggest Fear - An Online Project

I have been noticing people using blogs of late to accomplish some interesting things. Surely this has been going on for some time now, but it came to my mind most obviously when I went to see Julie and Julia. Here was a young woman finding herself by setting up a cooking project and then blogging about it. Now before you get worried that I am suddenly going to go domestic and start cooking up a storm, never fear! Ed's dominance in the kitchen is TOTALLY secure!

Recently I stumbled across a new favorite blog project, this one is still ongoing and has me fascinated. There is a young 30-something in California who has pledged herself to the task of only spending $1 on 1 outfit per day for an entire year. She sews... and sews with abandon, actually. And so she goes to tag sales and thrift shops and picks up whatever dress or clothing item that $1will buy and then revamps it into something marvelous... or at least something she's willing to wear out in public. Her blog New Dress a Day is SO much fun to follow because she posts before and after photos and a lot of things in between. Try peeking at it the next time you feel like there's nothing in your closet. She also has "theme weeks" where she focuses on one particular type of cast-off clothing... "Bridesmaid Dress" Week was particularly hysterical and she got some really cool clothes out of it!

So what will my project be? Nothing quite so impressive... but nonetheless I think very worthwhile. I have known for a long time that I am a "saver" of things. In fact, I come from a long line of "save it you may one day need it" types. (Ask my kids about their grandma who collected boxes. Yup, just empty boxes!) I live in a house, that by my modest estimate might have 1700 sq. feet of space if you count the 3/4 basement underneath it. Here's where the fear comes in.... I don't want to someday have to have my daughters have to clean out my numerous stashes of "stuff". I caught an episode (actually TWO episodes) on Oprah last week that were focused on the problems faced by folks known as "hoarders"! Now I am not even the teensiest bit close to that horrific issue... in fact, I didn't even know what a hoarder was until about a year ago when I learned that one of my dearest relatives was battling the problem. I had to go look it up and find out what it was. But the TV episodes got me thinking about stuff... in the very literal sense. And all my stuff makes me feel just anxious and heavy. SO, I have made a pact with myself - I am going to try a pitch a minimum of two bags of "STUFF" each week until I can't find anything else to pitch. My ideal would be one bag to trash and one to charity... even better would be TWO to charity and keeping my stuff out of landfills. (Fits my ideal of being green and all that jazz!) When I can, I am going to post a photo of the stuff and tell where it went.... sounds good.... where the stuff is just boring to look at, all you'll get is maybe a photo of something related or prettier to look at.

So here goes.... WEEK ONE of STAUDE STUFF GONE: (ironic isn't it, considering what I named this blog several years ago!?)
This week... the first week of AUGUST: I pitched out ONE full bag of just plain trash out of my office and donated 3 bags to charity. Two of the bags were full of clothes I hadn't worn in over 3 years. The THIRD bag was the fun bag. It went to the library. It was full of computer software that I no longer have a computer to run anymore!!! Does anyone out there need a copy of "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego" for a Mac Classic? Well, go to our Library's book and AV sale next May and you can probably have my old one for $1!!! I filled an ENTIRE bag with out of date software... some of it in its original and UNOPENED packaging! Yikes! And that is the secret to how I got ONE whole empty shelf in one closet in my home; something that feels like a really good start!

Thanks for listening, dear readers, and wish me luck!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Grandma Camp... the Finale!

 
You know those pictures of monkeys...see no evil, hear no evil, etc?
Well, this foursome could be called talking, giggling, reading, and contemplating... 
I have no IDEA what Asher was thinking about!

 
I was so proud of Rhylah, she went from a step-hugger to a swimmer in
about 15 minutes! You can see how much fun she's having!

 
The whole crew decided to tackle Papa at the same time! Whee!

Here's the whole gang: Top step: Gabriel, Leon, and Nathan (boys only!) Middle steps: Sydney and  Rhylah. Bottom step: Gretchen, Katrina, and Asher. Come on over, there's room for MORE! We might even have an extra beach towel!

As you can see... water was a central feature of Grandma/Papa Camp 2010! By Thursday night everyone arrived safely home from the National Lutheran Youth Gathering and so after a good night's sleep we were all set for two straight nights of swimming and barbecue. The weather cooperated by being hot and sunny! A great splashy time was had by all!!! Here's the whole gang together, however, it's never possible to get EVERYONE looking at the camera at the same time... this time Syd looked away but in my other shots 2-3 other people were not saying cheese either.

We had so much fun, we think we may do it again next summer! Cheers!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Grandma Camp Days 1, 2, & 3

We are currently enjoying the gift of a whole week with our grandkids... starting on July 15th with Sydney's arrival and soon to be expanded when her cousins arrive tomorrow for another 5 days of fun. Some of my gal pals on Facebook call this set-up "Grandma Camp" and I LOVE the name! It's really just a week of summertime fun and we do pretty much whatever we want to do! Even if Papa and Grandma need a week to recuperate afterwards it's well worth it. Here's a look at Days 1, 2, and  3.

Syd arrived on Thursday afternoon... and we started by doing some painting... first time with watercolors is always a fun time!

Next,  we moved on to swimming...Syd loves our pool and swims in it at least an hour or two each day she's here. So on day two we did a lot of that since the temps are in the 90+ range here right now.

Today is Day 3 and we headed for the McNair Park Aquatic Center... a great kid's pool just around the corner from our house. Since it was a Saturday, I knew there'd be oodles of kids splashing in the place and Syd would have a blast! We packed our PBJ and some other snacks, grabbed towels and sunscreen and off we went!
  Syd LOVED it all! The water slide was the big hit of the day; I think she went down it at LEAST 3 dozen times! It also provided a good start on learning to stand in line and wait for your turn to go... a tricky thing for a two yr old tyke to figure out. Syd is VERY brave and independent and insisted on doing it "all by myself" after only 2 times down with me.

video
All in all, you can see that we're having a really great time....
 here is one tired kid ready to go home for a nap...

Maybe we'll come back for another hour at McNair afterward! This time, if he's really good, we may even bring Papa along!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blame it on the New Toy

I've been a very negligent blogger these past couple of months and it's not really my fault...
It's this little thing's fault...
Yup, my husband gave me an iPhone for Mother's Day, and so lately I spend SO much less time on my laptop or desktop, and LOTS more time playing around on this little baby!
Yeah, it's addicting, and wrong to love a little piece of technology so much, but the little critter is SO handy and those apps are SO appealing and free (or almost!)
Eventually, I suppose, I will be cured... about the time I switch from my Kindle to an iPad.... oh don't even SAY it!
Yes, I know I could post onto my blog from the phone, but those little keys take forever... I am a pretty slow texter still... but I am willing to practice! 'Scuse me... gotta go answer a call! :-)

Monday, July 05, 2010

Not Gonna Lie.... Fireworks photography is the BOMB!

I had a blast last night with my camera.... pun TOTALLY intended! Here are just a few! Enjoy! (The venue was the Riverfest in St. Charles... good show!) You'll have to fill in your own "ooh's & aaah's"!
 
Our 4th of July girl herself... wearing mom's hat and shoes! Ready to go to the Riverfront!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Holy Boats!!! It's July!

I don't know about you, dear readers, but the month of July always fills me with dread!!! It marks (for me) the beginning of the end, the half way point of summer. Now I want you to know I really love teaching and I work with some awesome teens, but no teacher in her right mind will ever fail to also admit that they dread the 10 months of constant paper-shuffling and grading that comes with the job. So summertime, that blissful time where you can set your own pace, eat a long lunch with a friend, and do whatever you feel like come evening is SUCH an important and much-loved time.
So what have I accomplished thus far in my first half of summer? Sounds like a perfect opening for one of my lists! Here goes:
This summer so far I have:
1. Read a dozen novels of various types.
2. Traveled to Washington DC with Ed for 5 days.
3. Finished knitting a sweater for myself.
4. Gone to see 2 movies (yes,one was "Twilight")
5. Baked brownies or cookie bars at least once per week.
6. Spent at least one full day per week w/ Sydney.
7. Had a zoo trip/picnic day.
8. Cultivated two really decent gardens (at home & vineyard).
9. Gotten up by 7:30 every day but 3.
10. Spent at least one night each week with friends.

So you see... It's been a fine first half!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

After a long absence.... where we've been.

After a fairly long absence of almost a month, it's about time I show my face here again and explain where I've been. As a "careful" blogger, I don't like to post when I am off on an adventure, however it's always fun to post shots of where I've gone when I get a chance to travel. Most recently our travels kept us in the country and yet not officially in the States. We left on June 7th for the District of Columbia... aka Washington D.C.

This was a special adventure for Ed and I since he had NEVER been there (shocking for a History/Government teacher, isn't it!?) and I hadn't been in the city since a 1 day fly-in visit with my dad back when I was in 8th grade! (too long ago to admit to a date on that one!) So off we went. This adventure was to be a total public transport one once we got off the plane. We decided to use trains, the bus, and our feet to get us everywhere once we landed at Dulles airport. We scored a great hotel just blocks from the Mall (the State Plaza Hotel on 21st and E streets) and we had a blast. For the next several posts I will show you shots from our trip.

Day one: we flew and then got into our hotel. By 2:30 we were on the Mall.... we call this MONUMENT DAY... and boy, did we see them all!!!
 
First stop, the Vietnam War Memorial. There really aren't words
to describe the way this wall full of names of the fallen impacts
 the visitor as you walk down into the trench and are engulfed
by the thousands of names. There were several spots on the
trip where I found myself moved to tears. This was one of them.

 
One rose of remembrance.....

 
Next, onto the Mall itself, as you come out of the Vietnam Memorial,
you arrive at the base of the steps to the Lincoln Memorial. Look left and
the Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument will the view with the Capitol
in the distance.

 
One of my heroes...

 
Ed on the Mall. This history teacher was grinning
all week long!

 
Next, the Korean War Memorial. This one has a more
human face to it in the larger than life-sized soldiers
hiking through some unknown Korean battlefield.

It captures the essence of youth, duty, courage, and fear... all rolled
into one!

 
A little further on, we came to the WW2 Memorial. 
It is massive in size and full of quotes honoring those
who fought in the Asian and European Theaters of the War.
There is no way to capture it adequately in a single photo.

 
We walked around the famous Tidal Basin to get to the
Jefferson Memorial. Some shoreline restoration was going 
on but it is still quite accessible and impressive. In the spring this 
monument is surrounded by the famous Cherry blossoms.

 
Ed's hero, the big guy T.J. himself!

 
I captured this shot of the Washington Monument while 
standing at the WW2 Memorial. We didn't wait the 2-3 hrs. to go UP the thing
but decided to enjoy it from ground level.

 
Using a good zoom lens, I captured this shot of 
the White House from the Jefferson Memorial! It 
got me high enough to look over the fence and see it.

 
The last stop of the Monument & Mall day was to 
stroll past that famous home on Pennsylvania Avenue.
 We didn't reserve the tour tickets 4-6 wks. in advance but
instead gawked through the fence like real tourists!

 
While peeking through the fence, we spotted
 a fellow in what looked like a chef's coat
 watering the Obama's veggie garden. This was 
the famous "green" patch that got a lot of publicity back
when it was planted in the spring. I guess Michelle
doesn't have time to water and pull weeds... that's 
funny, I don't have much time for it either at my house!

 
I keep teasing Ed about this shot... I call it his,
"dream residence" shot.... hmmmm..... you never
know...... :-)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Paddle, Paddle, Kick, Kick.....

Syd enjoyed her first foray into the pool on June 1st.... especially when Papa took over the floating & "motor boating". I love how she's holding onto his thumbs in this shot so had to post it!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Joys of Clean and Clutter-free!

I don't know how you spent your Memorial Day Monday.... hopefully, with family and friends. Ed and I got bit by the "toss-it bug" and went a bit crazy in our garage. (Perfect location for a hot day's work in Missouri, right?) Anyway, we hadn't seen the surface of Ed's work bench in about 8-10 months so we got insanely curious as to whether it was still actually there. We looked and dug and (lo and behold!) we FOUND it! Three to four hours later, we even found vast amounts of the garage FLOOR!

Now I must say, we've never become like those "hoarders" you see on those cable TV shows... we've always been able to get the car into the garage and such. But we tend to let clutter just sit and then it makes us feel like we live in some kind of pre-Martha Stewart sort of cave. I firmly believe that decorating and home magazines put in those photos of rooms and homes to make folks like me feel guilty. No house in those magazines is "real" or really "lived-in". Ed and I have the "lived-in" look down to a science. But just like women who want to look a bit more like those air-brushed beauties in the fashion magazines, we covet a bit of "Better Homes and Gardens" in our house. It's all the same thing!

The mood continued into the first day of June. I attacked a second clutter spot... the kitchen sideboard/desk! Oh what a joy to toss old restaurant menus, gas receipts, and junk mail that had become firmly entrenched and to actually see the nice wood SURFACE of the desk. I even cleaned out the INSIDE and discovered I had enough rolls of tape to last me till Christmas of 2015! 

I wish I had before and after shots... but I didn't think to take them.... believe me, the areas circled in yellow on these are new lands... places of clear serenity just daring someone to put down a tool or a piece of junk mail!  Stay tuned... who knows what zone I'll be tempted to clear out tomorrow! I must act on this mood while it lasts! The trash man is sure going to be surprised this week!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day...Musings

It's the official first weekend of summer. Known on the calendar as a national holiday, Memorial Day has changed a great deal from its beginnings just after the Civil War. Then is was known as Decoration Day and it was a day designed for Americans to go out and honor the American war dead by decorating their graves. My grandmother and mother always called the day by its original name and I remember taking flats of geraniums and marigolds to the cemetery in Livonia, Michigan where most of my ancestors are buried. We'd pull weeds and put in new flower plantings for most of the morning. Then we'd go home and barbecue in the backyard to complete the day.

I don't do that anymore, largely because I live far away from Michigan and I have no loved ones buried in Missouri. But it struck me today, that no one lives in Michigan that I can think of who will be decorating my grandparents graves today. My mom moved east to Pennsylvania almost 14 years ago now, and I doubt that my brother, who is still in Detroit, does this annual task.  But I can pause and think about them and others who have given their lives for our nation.

Then it will be time for some recreation with the living... my family and friends. Perhaps we will swim, or garden, or have a picnic. Summer begins this way, with remembering and recreating, a good combination in many ways.  May your Memorial Day weekend be a good one too!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Things I Wish for Them

These are just a few of the really neat people I get to spend time with everyday. They are a little over one week from graduation, and I always find myself feeling reflective about the students I have spent time with during this last week of school. Some will leave our school on May 23rd never to be seen again. Others will return to visit or touch base occasionally so that we will know what has become of them. All of them have big dreams for their futures and are excited (and somewhat scared) about the next adventure, college. The photo above was taken on "college T-shirt day" - a special dress day on which seniors could be out of uniform and "advertise" their loyalty to their next school. All in all a really fun day.

So what would I wish for them if I could control the future? There are several things - sounds like a list coming!
1. I would wish that they would hold on to their faith both in God and in their ability to make a difference in the world as Christians.
2. I would wish that they would be able to see beyond the surface of people and problems so that they can look deeply, think deeply, and really be able to love others and solve big issues in our world.
3. I wish that they will be committed to caring about the planet and ALL the people on it.
4. I wish that they will never EVER stop learning and loving to learn.
5. I wish that they will become caring, considerate adults who love their parents and become good parents themselves.
6. I wish that they will always value people and principles more than money and the "stuff" it buys.
7. I wish that they leave America in better shape than their parents' generation did.
8. I wish that they will be leaders in their churches, whatever the denomination may be or become.
9. I wish them joyful homes with loving and committed spouses.
10. I wish them many reasons to smile and fewer reasons to cry.

There... wishes made... and prayers promised to continue for the Class of 2010!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Girl Has Gotta Have Wheels

Syd got her first set of wheels yesterday. We noticed her really loving the pedal cars and tricycles at her sitter's house and figured the time was just right for wheels. Scored the cutest little Radio Flyer brand trike at Walmart of all places. Two trips down the sidewalk and the tyke and trike were doing great. She has to work on her steering a bit, but she's motoring for real now!
 
The 2010 Pink and Purple Radio Flyer Special!

 
Papa lends a hand with the steering.

   
Here she goes!
 
Time to check out what will fit in the "trunk" space. 
Lots of treasures, like stones, clover flowers, and Sweetgum tree balls.

 
Back at it... whee!

 
On her own and doing fine!

Feeling pretty grown up and proud!