Friday, August 27, 2010

A Rash Promise!

After years of my stuff being in the garage while I remodeled a 1,000 sq ft log cabin in Pennsylvania, then in storage units in Virginia while I expanded our 800 sq ft lake house, my "stuff" is now all under one roof here in Connecticut. Granted a lot of that roof is a two car oversized garage which I must empty before the snow flies so the garage can fulfill its purpose of housing cars.

Some of this stuff has been packed in boxes the fourteen years since we left Cooperstown, NY. That house was fantastic! Imagine 4,200 sq ft that I remodeled with great storage. I'm seeing a thread as I write this - Stuff, moving and remodeling. And I'm at it again. I swear this is the last move! Have I said that before?? I'm just too old to do it again!

It's put up or shut up time. After years of, "Where is your ----?" And the answer, "It is in the storage unit with all my other stuff!" Now the Stuff is together and I promised I would thin it out and make it all fit in this house and get rid of what does not fit. Did I really make such a rash promise? Can I hide some of it under the bed??

Jayme at Tales from the Coop Keeper blogged about this very problem of excess stuff which caused me to write this post. I have been struggling with this issue every minute since we moved in here over two weeks ago. I am enjoying seeing all my things. They are like long lost friends not seen for fourteen years. But after the reunion, where do all these things go?? If I managed to stuff them all under my bed, the bed would be up so high it would go through the roof!

This is the "Get Rid of Pile."

I could stock my own library or used furniture store. Certainly I have enough craft supplies to open a store! What is this "Less is More" crap? More is better as long as you have space for it! And there is the rub. My daughter and the son-in-law live in the lower level. I get a shared studio down there. I'm plotting to make that my "under the bed storage" but don't think I can get away with it. They are wise to my strategies and it is more difficult than ever to "hide" my excess stuff.

Will I have to admit defeat and (gasp!) thin out the possessions? A Tag Sale is being considered for next weekend. It will take me all week to price the items. And it is so HARD to let go!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


No, I haven't given up blogging. Just trying to get settled in after our move. Some of the boxes I am unpacking I haven't seen for fourteen years! How can I own so many books and dishes? And craft supplies??

When we dash out to to the store it is wonderful to have things so close at hand! Today I spent thirty dollars on cleaners for - wood, stainless steel, brass & copper, the stainless steel sink and an all purpose cleaner. Lots of scrubbing going on in the kitchen that involves a toothpick for the detail work.

We are having issues with our DSL. At times four of us are using our computers and I keep getting kicked off the internet. Patience is required. I heard Mr. B talking to his computer, "What do you mean you can't find" The son-in-law has nearly a full time job here at home with all our technical requirements. The DVD player is not hooked up yet. The sling box is not working to sling the New England sports to the son in Baltimore. And tonight he set up my new email address with AT&T for Porch Days and my Google Account.

The following pictures are just a teaser for what I will blog about in the coming days. Don't you love the big frog? He is one of several on the Frog Bridge. Yes, he is sitting on a spool of thread. Willimantic, CT is know as "Thread City."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Settling In

It is great to be in the new house! There is so much space I am getting lots of exercise just by walking from one end of the house to the other. My bedroom and the kitchen are on opposite ends so there is lots of back and forth. We rushed to unpack the latest load and get set up before son #1 (child 2) and wife arrived for a visit. The visit was scheduled far in advance but we just barely arrived before they did.

Thank goodness I had gotten the furniture placed and lots of boxes stowed in closets on my last visit in May. And of course the daughter (child 1) and hubby are living here and they have been mowing the lawn and seeing about things.

The house has worked beautifully for us. We seemed to have developed a tradition when anyone visits as we are all trying to get something from the kitchen that someone hollers, "Everyone in the kitchen!" and we all crowd in. The Virginia kitchen was full with two of us but today we tried it here and with six of us in the kitchen there was still space. We will try it at Christmas when there will be nine of us.

Today at one point the daughter was napping in our bed, the daughter-in-law was doing yoga in the living room, Mr. B and son (child 2) were watching TV downstairs, and the son-in-law was making me a Margarita as I sat at the bar downstairs. Absolutely great space!!

The cats are a little less jumpy but we have not let them outside yet.

Pictures to come later. I seem to be having trouble keeping track of where I set my camera down!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Heaven is a TempurPedic

We have arrived and I am blogging from the TempurPedic. Feels pretty good on a tired "behind" that was in the car twelve hours! The cats howled for two hours then every time we hit a bump or stopped. I got over being so angry with them for the merry chase they gave us this morning. Now they are in the garage and everyone ate and drank. Maybe they will forgive us in a few days.

It seemed so difficult this morning. And it was so hot and humid that I was limp by the time the TV, DVD player and the computers were loaded. Oh, and the four cats. Plus so many odds and ends. I put the bread in the container of dry cat food. We were so short of space that there will be many surprises for days to come.

It wasn't until we were eating pizza at 11 PM that I realized it was Friday the 13th!

Here is a photo of the living room. Look at all that glass and the view of the trees. See why I was excited about the house? And our daughter and s.i.l. are happy to have us here. Can you believe the night is cool (and dry) and we have the attic fan on? No A/C!

Thank you all for your good wishes!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

There is a TempurPedic calling my Name

Actually it is a Cloud Supreme and it is going to be wonderful. It was delivered to our bedroom in Connecticut THREE months ago! In the meantime we are in Virginia sleeping on our double guest bed which has two layers of egg crate foam with another three in a strip across the middle where Mr. B says the mattress hurts his hip. That would account for your seeing a hump in the middle of the bed!

Is it any wonder my patience has run out? I missed gardening season. I missed three months! But finally we are getting underway. And Mr. B better not hurt his leg again! The truck is like a van and has no steps to climb up. (His leg injury from the last UHaul took two months to heal.)

The closet is looking empty. There is box with two bottles of Virginia wine for the daughter and S-I-L.

The bag is the last load of books to return to the library. The UHaul box has been used for several other moves and has lots of labels marked out - all the way back to D&D items for the boys who are now 28, 30, & 32. When can I stop using my moving boxes?! Dare I get rid of them this time? Maybe I should take them to the UHaul store and put them in the place where people can pick them up for free.

The house plants are gathered and ready to load.

See the canisters on the kitchen counter? I bought them soon after we married. Any one want to guess how long we've been married from that color scheme?

If I believed in signs I wouldn't make this move. After buying the house in CT nothing has gone smoothly. There was Mr. B's leg injury, and realtor and market problems in VA. Today we drove the UHaul home and the engine light was on. Roadside assistance had to come from an hour and a half away to reset the light because the gas cap had leaked. They only finished a half hour before our loading men showed up. We were worried that we weren't going to be able to load if the truck couldn't be fixed.

The four cats get so upset when they see their crates that we have been giving them a product the vet recommends called "Compose." She says use it instead of sedating them. I read the contents of the product and wondered how it could be effective. So this morning the lawn guys show up and they have a mower, a blower and a weed wacker going at the same time. Two cats streaked out of here so fast we didn't seem them for hours. Only the thunderstorm brought them running for the house. When Paws came inside and saw the cooler he thought it was a cat crate and he freaked out!! He howled to get out and them peed on the floor. So much for Compose!! Then he ran downstairs to the bedroom where I had hidden the cat crates and got under the bed! I moved the crates to the other bedroom and shut Paws in. I didn't think he could handle watching the washer and dryer being moved.

My "magic chair for my back" is on the truck so I am trying to get comfortable on the bed. Lifting boxes was not the smartest thing to do today. Mr. B has served my night time cup of coffee. We have a 10 hour drive tomorrow. How long can four cats howl?

One nice thing. Our loading men are also our carpenters and they have put in many hours working on this house. They said the two hours today was a farewell gift for us! Isn't that sweet?

More in my next post if we survive this!

I'm joining Amanda for her Dishing It! Summer Rewind Party.

The most exciting thing you did this summer. - It is that I am finally moving!

Best New Recipe - No, we are both dieting.

Trips - No, just waiting to move.

Best crafty thing - None, all the craft items were packed and moved in May!

Favorite Book - I read about 10 books a week but the most exciting was my Fire Mountain Gems catalog.

Coolest New Bog - I love Housepeepers.

Favorite bargain - We did buy some sheets for the yet-to-be-slept-in-TempurPedic from Bed
Bath & Beyond and had a 20% off coupon plus a gift certificate.

My Best Post - I liked Beautiful Sunflowers.

What is left on my To-Do-List for the summer? - Get the Connecticut house in order and ready for Christmas. Unpack my Studio. (I'm going to call it My Studio from now on instead of My Craft Room.) Maybe paint the living room. Hopefully empty the garage so we can park cars in it instead of boxes and furniture!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Recycling Flowers, Cars and Everything

Portulaca is Mr. B's favorite flower, so I plant some every summer. Being sure we would be moving in the spring, I only planted a few pots using last year's dirt (recycling). I planted impatience and begonias in the railing planter on the boardwalk. (This is the one the raccoon dug up twice!) And what should come up as a reminder from last summer but one sprig of portulaca. This is the third flower on that stalk. I'm letting the seeds mature and then being sure they fall in the dirt. Maybe we will have an encore next summer.

All the impatience which I have blooming now I carried over the winter. I'm really proud of that. This hanging coral impatience spent the winter in the dining room window where it bloomed profusely. After a trim (all put in water to root) and going back to its hanger on the porch, its blooms are feeding two hummingbirds.

We recycle everything we can. Granted we are limited here to Numbers 1 & 2 on recycling plastic, but we can now recycle cardboard and junk paper. This means a trip every week to the recycling station. Of course, recycling is not mandatory and not likely to be in the foreseeable future in Virginia.

Being believers in recycling, it is only natural that we buy used cars. Worried that our 1995 Toyota Avalon needs to take it easy at 285,000 miles, we bought a young 2008, Kia Rondo with only 34,000 miles. And it is not beige! Hopefully, this car will be a little easier to find in a crowded lot. It doesn't have an antenna to tie a plastic flower to, but has one of those little magic twangers with a button to push that makes the lights blink and the horn honk. That should do the job!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

White Creepy Things

Yes, those little white fizzy things are still on the tree limb. After posting pictures of them a few days ago I had a response from Rebecca of In the Garden telling me they are Longtailed Mealy Bugs. I think she is right and what I am seeing is the nymphs. They have changed since I first saw them. They suck the juices from plants and are great pests in a greenhouse. Outdoors they mostly live on fruit trees.

Since I don't have a greenhouse or any fruit trees, I guess I will just leave them alone.

Rebecca, thanks for the answer. How did you know?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

San Diego and the Ocean

On our trip to San Diego last summer we went to Coronado Island. We didn't stay at the Hotel Coronado but we did enjoy seeing it. The grounds were beautiful and it is directly on the ocean.

The hotel is enormous.

Here is the view of the hotel from the beach. No, that is not me in the bikini.

There were lots of people under colorful umbrellas enjoying the beach .

The ocean looked inviting but it was ice cold!

This is me taking pictures of seaweed.

Isn't the pattern of the seaweed interesting? And the sand was sparkly.

This pelican was wondering around among the people.

Even when he walked near people they ignored him.

I grew up in south Georgia and often went to the ocean at St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island. When I married we went to live in Maine and for the first time I saw the ocean frozen. I love the Maine coast and all the rocks which is so different from the flat, sandy Georgia coast. Then we lived for a year in San Juan, Puerto Rico where the ocean was the most beautiful color. I swam in it every afternoon when it became calm. It was so warm! The trip to San Diego was my first view of the Pacific Ocean.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Creepy little moving white things

I'm a little late for Mosaic Monday since it's Tuesday. But here is my collage. Another walk out my back door and into the woods where I made these pictures.

Don't you love that twisted shape on a limb and those three red leaves? I think they are part of the Virginia Creeper, just missing two parts. How about that fern spotlighted by the sun in the vee of a limb. And who do you suppose lives in that perfectly round hole?

There was one more thing. I looked up and saw something white on a limb just above my head. It looked a little fuzzy so I thought maybe it was a lichen. I grabbed a leaf and pulled the limb down and the whole things started to vibrate. At first I thought it was a type of plant and it had little stems topped by a little white puff.

On closer examination I realized the part on the tree had lots of little white legs and each one was moving and waving the white puff above it. And all the little white puffs had feathery white threads going straight above it.

There seemed to be hundreds of them. Does anyone have any idea what the little things are? I haven't been back to see if they are still there. I wanted to be sure none of them fell on me! It was kind of creepy.

I would love to hear your ideas on this.

Friday, July 30, 2010

San Diego

During last summer's visit to San Diego we spent a couple of days in Balboa Park. This Proud Mama had to see her son who was appearing in several plays during the Shakespeare Festival in the Old Globe's outdoor theater. (He is there again this summer.) If you are looking for a destination, Balboa Park has gardens, the San Diego Zoo, The Old Globe Theater and a courtyard with studios where artists and crafts people sell their products.

There are twenty gardens which are free of charge, including a cactus garden, Japanese garden, butterfly garden and a rose garden. There is a fantastic Botanical Building - not a green house, because it is constructed of wood strips so it is open to the weather. It is full of ferns and other plants, some of them blooming.

This plant in the Botanical Building caught my eye because it seemed to be in the spotlight. Isn't it a luscious shade of green? You can see bromeliads in the background.

This is the Botanical Building where we picnicked on the lawn. There were several musicians performing in the open air which added to the atmosphere.

Join Claudia at Dipity Road for Finding Beauty Friday.

Sleepless Night

I couldn't sleep last night and that is not normal for me. In my family I'm know as a champion sleeper. An hour after I went to bed my eyes popped open and my mind turned on. Then the worry and the wild imaginings started. And even though Mr. B was cuddled up next to me I started to worry about him. How do you make yourself stop worrying and go back to sleep? After an hour of lying still - trying not to move for fear of waking up Mr. B, I slid out of bed, grabbed my glasses and a book and tiptoed into the kitchen.

Four Ritz crackers with peanut butter later, I sat in my "therapy chair" and picked up my MacBook. The therapy chair is a new, contemporary, leather recliner that I tried out in the store two months ago and refused to get out of. Mr. B tried to make a deal to let me spend the night in the chair at the store. Failing that he bought the chair for me. I had hurt my back unpacking boxes at the house in CT and came back to VA with no comfortable chair to sit it. In my wisdom I had moved my recliner because my back was not hurting at the time. So, I really, really needed that chair. And now my back is better!

When I have a rough night, which seems to be happening more frequently, I make a hot drink and head for my lovely Corinthian leather chair! There is a lot to worry about now as I wrote about in Stressful Days.

So it was four in the morning (I only went to bed at 2 am) and I decided to try to learn how to layer photos to keep my mind occupied. Keep in mind that my special book of instructions on how to use Photoshop Elements is .... where else but CT! I find it hard to read online help while I try to remember the steps and carry out the operations. It is easier when I have the directions in my hand to read as I search for the correct menus, layers palette, gradient tool and where is the blasted "Layers Mask?"

I improvised and here is what I came up with. The writing is the bottom layer and the rose is the top layer. The exercise was to take away parts of the top layer and expose the bottom. Well, I couldn't do it the way the online directions were telling me to. Where is that "Layers Mask?" Instead I used the erase tool then used a filter for effect.

I decided not to post this when I finished it in case my lack of sleep was having an effect on my judgement. But nearly 24 hours later I think it is okay. Not great, but I did learn a few things. And then I really went crazy on this second photo. The bottom layer here a picture of a display of ties at Men's Warehouse. The Shape Tool is responsible for the leafy red shapes. I was having fun.

It is 2 am. I'm hoping that I will be tired enough to sleep peacefully! Can't keep my eyes open ....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ever wish you could live in the catalog pictures?

Do you Blog Hop? I do and often realize two hours later that I am 20 blogs from my starting point. On this Hop I found Thrifty Decor Chick which is a really great blog. I enjoyed her post about Catalog Envy and how unrealistic the pictures are for our real lives. But oh such fun to look at!

Thrifty Decor Chick (Sarah) found an amazingly funny blog called Catalog Living by Molly Erdman who is an actress, improviser and writer. This is Molly in a Sonic Commercial. Catalog Living is the story of a couple, Gary and Elaine, who live in the catalog pictures and it is beyond funny. Below are several of her photos with captions. Molly was kind enough to give me permission to show her material.

Light up the Sky

Gary hung the chandelier for me as a surprise. Why heavens no, I’ve never raised my head enough to see what it’s hanging from. Let’s just enjoy our limes under glass.

Keep Your Hobbies to Yourself

Gary, we were having such a lovely afternoon with the Andersons until you decided you just had to show off your string ball.

Hungry for More

After Elaine left the table with tears in her eyes, Gary knew he should have held back his comment that the starfish were a little chewy.

I'll never look at another catalog without thinking of Gary and Elaine!

Portland Head Light

Last summer we took a trip to Portland, Maine. Even though we lived in Maine for eighteen years, we had never been to Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, a few miles from Portland. I'm glad we finally visited because it is a beautiful sight.

According to Wikipedia, construction on the light house began in 1787 at the directive of George Washington. Originally whale oil lights were used for illumination. After many revisions in height, both taller and shorter, today the lighthouse stands 80 feet above ground and 101 feet above water. The keeper's house is connected to it.

The lighthouse sits atop a cliff. There are cliffs all along the coast here and the waves crash at the base.

These pictures make me wish I were there feeling a cool ocean breeze. The clouds and sailboat in the last photo look too perfect to be real.

I'm participating in Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer.

Outdoor Wednesday logo

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beautiful Sunflowers

Don't you just love sunflowers? They are so bright and cheerful. These were on display at Miller Farms Vegetable stand near Fredericksburg, VA. We go there to buy very fresh vegetables right where they are grown. It is a forty minute drive for us but worth it.

Aren't these lovely?