Well! I am Floored!

But not closeted yet.

Maybe I should be?  There is a group who thinks likely, yes, I should be put in a closet, with a door, with a key and you know, locked away.  He he he, ain’t gonna’ happen.

Nope, the man who lives here has given me carte blanche to do what I will with OUR closet.  Oh yes he has…….  And he knows better, having been through one or two (oh alright, many) of my grand schemes previously, but since we’re both around 110 now (he is 7 years older than I, so I sort of averaged it out, being a math wizard and all), anyway………we are a bit over the hill (yes, THAT hill—the one I had to climb at the end of my 5.9 mile walk on Saturday, about a 12% grade), and yes, I DID get over that hill (with help from Masie—she knows who she is).  At any rate, we’re to the point where, what the heck!  We’re not going to live forever, so, if a new closet blows your skirt up, have at it!

But first, the floor report.  I know you have all been anxiously awaiting to hear how it is going.  Well, it is gone!!  (Old rags, that is)  Smile

So, here is the report up til now:

First:   pictures of the dismantling of my house:

image

Cute, isn’t he?

image

Family room, new décor. Note the nonchalant atmosphere?

image  image

Two sides of the master closet, shelving and rods and everything else removed.

image

Master bath.  And note the clever storage?  In the tub?

Every place else was full.

image

image

Closet for the duration.  It is really fun to pretend one is digging for treasure in one’s own clothing.  Plus, the desk from the office was stored in there, between the end of the bed and a dresser and so there was no way to get to half of it.  Some is on the floor, too.  Some is likely at the Johnson’s.  One of these days, I’m going to find out WHO the Johnson’s are.  They have a LOT of my stuff.

image

Front hallway—lovely, isn’t it?  If one were skinny, one could get through by climbing between the cabinets and the wall, as long as one was agile as well….to climb over the rugs.

Some of us were bored by the entire fiasco:

image

image

And, of course, some of us just ignored the entire thing for as long as possible and went about our business of crossword puzzles.

image

Amazingly, time passes and floors get put down and furniture put back, more or less.  I am extremely happy with the results thus far.  Dirty rags are GONE, hardwood is down and finished and lovely!

image

image

Some of us think it is STILL pretty boring……..

image

Oh, but did I tell you that I have BAMBOO in the closet and master bath?!  Oh yes, I do.  Here is what it looks like:

image

Of course, one of my clever friends asked, “Aren’t you worried about a Panda coming in for that Bamboo?”  Yes, a very practical concern, knowing so many Pandas frequent our neighborhood.

I told her I already had one.  He lives here.

image

As far as I know, he does not eat Bamboo.  But there is always a first time, you know.

Tomorrow, closet progress!  I am going from the 1980’s ‘disco’ look to something far more intriguing….. and just when I learned how to channel John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, too……..sigh,

always a day late.

Five stories

These are stories about five real women.  You may know them, too—or someone just like them, or perhaps you ARE one.  Each has had a profound impact on me.  There are many more, of course.  We all have a story to tell.  I thought you might find the stories interesting and inspiring.  I hope so.

Grande Dam

Finding herself flat on the ground, surrounded by bushes, she considered her situation—it was embarrassing, to say the least, with her dress pulled up above her knees.  Uh oh.  Her right arm didn’t look quite right.  Just then it began to throb.  Using her left arm to help herself up by holding on to the ladder, she stood and realized she’d have to walk to get help.  The windows would have to wait.  So, she started off, holding her right arm with her left, and walked the three long blocks to her son’s house.

She was 82.

It was the first time she’d ever spent the night in a hospital.  They all seemed to make such commotion about it, setting the arm in a cast and taking all her vital signs.  She didn’t protest too much.  After all, she lived alone and didn’t think she could, at the moment, fix herself the cornbread and buttermilk dinner she thrived on each night.  She was a small woman, about 5 foot tall, which explained why she’d had to use the ladder to get those windows clean outside.  She just hated dirty windows.  She’d birthed ten children, all who lived into adulthood, and even now, only one had passed on.  She had nine left and surely they’d help her out.  She’d never asked them to do that before.

She’d built the house when she was 76, wanting to live in a brand new house where things stayed somewhat clean most of the time without the gargantuan effort it took to clean the old, two-story house she’d lived in while the last of the children grew up.  While she loved the old house, it was getting more difficult to go up the narrow stairway to the only bath with a tub and she had decided it would be best to simply build a new house where she could rent rooms to ladies for a bit of extra income.  It had worked out just fine.

For a while, as her arm healed, she was a guest at one of her daughter’s homes.  Not liking to just sit and do nothing, she’d made the granddaughter’s prom dress, sewing the hem and some of the other parts of the dress by hand.  This had been fine with her.  It turned out pretty and she was glad to be of help in payment for her stay there.  She moved on to another daughter’s home and soon the eight weeks of the arm’s healing had passed and she felt as good as new.

She resumed her household chores and caring for the needs of her renters, two women who were office working girls in the nearby downtown area.  She enjoyed having her children and grandchildren visit and at Thanksgiving hosted the event for all of them—or all who could come.  She had 36 grandchildren ranging in ages from older to very young.  It was just plain fun to see them all, but most of all she enjoyed hearing the girls chat among themselves and the boys talk about their business adventures.

She, herself, had a business background of sorts.  When she was young, she was considered quite extraordinary in looks, and so was a photographer’s model in the early 1900’s.  Because of that, she had some excellent photographs of herself which she’d saved.  Then, for a long time, she and her husband were busy raising the ten children, putting all of them through college or at least giving them the experience of some college, and finally her husband passed on.  He had a small business and she had decided to keep it going.  At 59, she had dressed in her conservative business dress, picked up his books, and marched herself all 10 blocks down to the factory where his office had been.  A few years later, her son had taken over the business, but it did not thrive and neither did he.  Sadly, he had passed away in the office when the carbon monoxide gas from the stove became too thick for him to breathe.  She mourned his passing, but never cried and never said anything.  It was just sad, that’s all.  And maybe he had joined his father.  She wasn’t sure, but she hoped so.  Her uncle had been a Methodist Minister and she had held him in high esteem.  She had hoped his words of compassion and sympathy were true.

She had worked very hard, had scrimped and saved over the years, had learned many skills which she put to good use, especially during the hard times.  She learned to make ladies’ suits out of men’s old suits and so her girls always looked professional and neat.  She had learned to bake and cook well—simple, but delicious and nutritious meals for her large family.  The younger children were often tended to by the older ones, and each child had his or her own task as well as his or her own talent.  For the older girls, she provided elocution lessons.  As they grew up, the older ones helped to provide money for the younger ones to go to college.  She was extremely proud of her brood.  She enjoyed her grandchildren as well, when they visited, as long as it was not more than two or three at a time.  Those children could be quite a handful!  The children all married and all had children of their own.  Life was fulfilling.  She took trips with her children and their families and often was a guest at their homes in other states.  Her hair had turned a beautiful white and, still quite a beauty, she often received compliments from complete strangers.  She enjoyed continuing her handicraft work and made hook rugs until she was well up in years and could no longer see to do it.

She lived alone for the remainder of her life, with the exception of having the women renters live in the house with her.  One became like a daughter and when the woman engaged, as an older woman of about 40, she was so happy to have a shower for her.  She was even more delighted when the woman and her husband had two boys, one right after the other.  Just as it should be, she thought.

When she turned 90, her mind began to wander to the past, and soon she could not carry out her responsibilities for herself or others.  After two years of declining health, she found out for herself whether or not her Uncle’s words were true.

Above all qualities she embodied, I hope that I inherited her true grit.  She was my grandmother.

***********

***********

The Comeback Kid

She looked up to see that he was right there, by her side, telling her to hold still, asking her if she could hear him.  “Yes.”  She said.  Then she began to hurt, all over.  That’s what an 8 foot fall over a cliff will do to you.  And break your neck, on top of it.

She lay there, in the dirt and rocks, fully aware that her head hurt, her neck hurt, her arms and knees hurt.  The paramedics and ambulance arrived, stabilized her and quickly got her to the hospital where she’d be for a long, long time.  They said, oh yes, she’ll live.  But we’re not sure how she’ll be when she heals.  A couple of weeks into the ordeal, they operated to repair her broken neck.  She had a large gash on her forehead and an equally ugly gash on a knee.  Her daughters came, her son came, her twin sister came.  She was glad they were there.  They said she had a 5% chance of recovering to a functional level.  (Warning to doctors:  don’t ever issue such a challenge to a determined woman.  I’ve seen this happen before, you know?)

“Crap!” she thought.  “Why did this have to happen?”  It had been such a delightful day with the grandkids and daughter, canoeing on the river and they were just going up the embankment.  She had slid on some loose rocks and before she knew it, there she was, bam! on the ground.

Sigh……..

It was not supposed to be that way.  They had downsized, moved to a new community, a new state, and she had just made some new friends with whom she was enjoying life.  What would her life be like now?

Months of physical therapy, months of pain, and little by little she began to heal.  Determined to recover, she did what she could each day.  At the end of the year, she’d decided:  I’m going back to workout class in January, and I’m going to participate.

And so she did.  And she’s back.  She drives her car.  She hosts parties.  She has luncheons.  She still has pain, sometimes almost unbearable pain, but that is NOT going to stop her.  She’s going to live and enjoy her life and give joy to others.  And, doctors—I could have told you so.  She’s got that indescribable tenacity and will to survive.  Persistence.  Courage.  Sheer bull-headed determination. 

She does.

She’s really quite amazing.  And a real beauty, too.  She’s the come back kid.  And she’s not quitting now.  Not on your life!  This is what making a comeback means.  What a gal!

Smile

************

************

Resilience

She finished packing the picnic basket with the last of the stuffed grape leaves.  Carefully wrapped, they were placed on top of the rest of the meal which she had made for the journey.  There.  That was done.  The children had fallen asleep earlier and she and her husband carried them to the car, placing the sleeping children on the back seat and covering them with a blanket.  With any luck, they’d sleep through the trip and awake in the morning when they were all safely away from peering eyes.

Securely in the car, with what they deemed necessary, they made their way to the border in the dark.  Now, to get through the checkpoint.  As they pulled up, slowly so as not to arouse any suspicion nor awake the children, they removed their papers from the glove compartment and handed them to the guards.  The guards peered into the car, seeing only the sleeping children and the picnic basket.  They asked what was in it and she reached inside, showing them the wrapped grape leaves, and handed one to the guard.  No thanks, he said.  Move along.  Accepting their papers and putting them back into the car’s compartment, they slowly pulled away from the gate.  They were free.  After a mile, they began to breathe, smile even.  They thought about all they had left behind:  their families, their houses, their jobs, their culture, their lives; and they looked forward to what the future might hold.

Hungry, they decided to eat some of the picnic she’d prepared.  Carefully reaching under the first level of sandwiches and picking one up, she unwrapped a stuffed grape leaf,  removed the diamond ring she had centered in the filling, placed it in a separate bag and then placed the bag in her purse.  She rewrapped the grape leaf, now without its precious cargo but filled with the most delicious meat and vegetable mix, and handed it to her husband.  A second one was unwrapped as carefully and she removed the precious necklace which had belonged to her grandmother.  Sticky, but still safe in their possession, that, too, was placed in a bag and then in her handbag.

They had managed to get through the checkpoint with all of their precious jewels which would provide them a base to begin their new life.  They had just escaped from Iraq.   It was 1976.

***********

Two years in the United Arab Emirates and they’d already decided their ultimate destination would be America.  But how would they get in?  They had family there who had offered to help them find jobs and a place to stay, but the country had a limited immigration policy at the time, and they knew that Arabs might not be so welcome.  Determined to find safety and freedom for their children, they decided to go there anyway. 

Seven years hiding from the authorities and finally they were granted asylum.  That day they both went to apply for citizenship.  They loved this country.  Their children were thriving, doing well in school, making new friends.  Already both the children excelled in their studies, spoke English fluently, and had high aspirations.  While she tried to keep their religious practices a part of their daily lives, it seemed the children were distracted by video games, sports, entertainment, clothes and a host of other American activities.  For this she could not be sad.  Her husband again was a contractor, building homes, and soon they planned to move to a new state to start their permanent life in their new country.  As long as she kept their religion and culture alive in their lives, the children would remember as they got older and remain faithful.  Their lives were full.  They were so grateful.

***********

She had her own business, a young businesswoman.  In it, she worked many hours as a seamstress, a skill she had learned in her youth, only at that time it was done for recreation.  Young ladies of social standing learned all types of needlecraft.  She’d also taken art lessons and had been esteemed in her classes as an excellent artist.  She finished college and married her husband, a young up-and-coming engineer, a designation which automatically instilled admiration from her family and friends.  Growing up, they’d had all the servants needed to keep her mother’s home and her own life running well.  The servants lived in a large house located behind their own home—and the servants’ home was larger than any she would live in within her new country.   There were many children, her brothers and sisters, who had now scattered throughout the world.  In her youth, she often remarked, she had lived as a princess.  Now, she worked like a servant.

Yet, she was grateful.  She was especially grateful when the U.S. decided to oust the dictator from whom they had fled.  So happy was she, that she baked her specialty, Baklava, and delivered some to a neighbor with whom she had spoken, but did not know well.   This was a time of elation—perhaps they would, after all, be able to return to their home country and reclaim their property and lives there.

Gratitude gave way to despair over time as she heard from relatives still in the country.  She learned her nephew had been killed by the dictator for no reason.  She heard of the hardships suffered by her family there.  Gradually the dream of returning, in her golden years, to this old country faded.

Her children were grown and their children were growing up.  She’d lived in this state for many years and had many friends here with whom she’d shared her cooking secrets and her life’s secrets.  But her children and grandchildren had moved away in search of better jobs.

Suffering a serious heart condition at one point, she’d begun exercising with determination.  Now, fifteen years later, she was fit as someone 15 years younger than she actually was.  Much admired by friends, she was often asked to share her talents with others.  She felt appreciated and was very loved.  She was a stunning beauty when dressed for a party, with beautiful clothes and jewelry, tastefully executed.  Who would guess her hardships in life?  She had come into her own, a gracious and lovely woman living a gracious and lovely life.

Her daughter needed help and she felt she had to go, so, approaching 80 now, she sold her house and she and her husband moved far away to yet another beginning.  This time, she did not have to pack up her jewelry, just the things which she wished to keep in the family and have around her for her own comfort.  Perhaps, even in the future now, she will return to her adopted state.  She misses it.  She misses her friends here.  She has done her duty, worked hard, been an excellent wife and mother and grandmother and a very kind and considerate friend.  She has been a great citizen, never forgetting how lucky she has been to be in this country.

Just today she called to tell me, “Thank you for sending me the card.  You make me cry.  It is beautiful.  I miss you all so much.  Please tell them hello for me.”

Hope.  Dignity.  Graciousness.  Beauty.  Honor.  Courage.   Resiliency.

Thank YOU for being a part of my life.

**************

***************

Against all odds

She picked herself up gingerly off the floor.  What was THAT?  Her head throbbed like never before, she was dizzy and she felt something was terribly wrong.  As he came in to see what the loud ‘thud’ was all about, he helped her up.  “I think you had better take me to the emergency room” is all she said.

Weeks later, she opened her eyes.  Her grown daughter was there, along with nurses and doctors and her husband.  Where was she?  What had happened?  She tried and tried to throw her legs over the rails on the bed to get up and walk out, but she could not do it.  She couldn’t seem to think straight.  What was happening?  She asked her friend, “Why?”  Her friend answered, “Bad luck.”

Darkness.

***************

She could now get up and sit in a wheel chair, roll herself to the ladies working at the desk.  She had friends visiting and she knew who they were, but not why she was there.  Slowly she rolled up to the ladies at the desk and said, “How about we get some coffee and donuts?”  They laughed and said they had none.  One suggested orange sherbet.  That would be alright.  She liked orange sherbet.  It was retrieved and she and her friends slowly made their way to a larger room.  She couldn’t remember their names, but they were friends.

She didn’t know how long she was there.  The day did come, however, when she was helped into the van and came back to familiar surroundings.  But she had trouble feeding herself, along with dressing, getting in and out of the bathroom, and writing was impossible.  She looked at her words and saw only scribbles.  She could not recall names and sometimes the words she tried to speak were jumbled.  Someone came every few days to quiz her on these things.  She grew very dependent upon her husband who seemed to know when she needed something, giving her pills and feeding her, bathing her.  She did not know what to do without him.

Two years passed.  She seemed to get better, little by little, but she was so angry.  Why had this happened?  What had she done to deserve it?  Was God angry with her?  She’d always worked hard, she’d been a good mother.  The tragedy when her son had died was still in her heart, but she had carried on for her daughter and husband.  She had healed by taking solace in learning to ride horses.  She loved them, they were so sensitive and she was very good with animals.  They loved her back.

Now, she had to learn everything again, all over again.

**********

She began to clean house, cleaning out the small closets, packing up some things, dusting.  She’d been told that they were leaving this house and going to stay with her daughter.  She did not want to go, but she pretended she was just taking a trip.  She no longer had much hope for regaining her life, but she seemed to improve a bit every day.  Maybe it would be better.  Maybe he would be able to relax a bit.  As it was, she was very anxious when he even went to the store for bread.  She couldn’t go on this way and she knew that he might not be able to go on either.

She cried a lot.  Her daughter and family were so good to her, but she wanted her own house back.  She wanted her friends.  She wanted her life.  It was too hard to stay there, being dependent. 

One day, an old friend came to visit.  They chatted like old times.  She could not recall her friend’s name, but she had been close to her.  She showed her all around the farm where she and her daughter’s family lived, the chickens, the bunnies, the big animals—the horses!  She loved horses.  Her daughter knew all about horses and knew how to ride.  Sometimes she would put on a helmet, they’d help her climb up on a horse, and she’d get to walk around.  It was thrilling.  She was beginning to feel more like herself. 

************

They moved into a small home, very neat, very suited to the two of them.  It was not the old house or the old neighborhood she loved, but it was theirs.  She began to help out with the cooking a bit.  She began to plant a few flowers in pots.  One day she and her husband went for coffee and there were two couples sitting in a booth about their age.  She got up, walked over to the couples and introduced herself.

“Hi.  We are from Tennessee.  I had a brain aneurysm and a stroke.  I miss my friends so much.  We just moved into a house here.”

Smiling, the couples said, “Well!  Come on over and join us.”

*****************

There is a coffee get-together every morning now.  She is settling in to her new life.  She still struggles with names and sometimes words.  She still has seizures once in a great while.  Her husband has been wonderful.  She is still angry.  Why did this happen?

Her friends tell her that it is incredible she lived at all.  Oh that, she thinks.  Well, I just want my life back and so I’m going to get it back.

She embroideries beautiful towels for Christmas presents.   Her handwriting is back to its lovely scrolls; she calls on the phone.

And just this very morning, out of the blue, she wrote me an email.  She hates computers.  She has never, ever, in the 20 years I’ve known her, sent an email.  I cried.

************

My friend had a severe brain aneurysm at age 59.  The doctors delayed surgery as they thought she would die by morning.  She did not.  They did surgery and due to the surgery, she had a stroke.  Again, they thought she would die.  She did not.  

It has been almost 6 years.  Her husband and family have been unbelievable in dedication, care and love.  But it is she who has made an incredible come back.   I have never known anyone with such courage and tenacity.  She is my hero.

YOU GO GIRL!

************

************

We Hardly Knew Ye’

Ninety-eight years on this planet and I hardly knew her at all.  This was partly my fault, and partly her fault and partly the fault of the culture in which we lived. 

She had her rules, you know.  You could do this, but not that.  You were supposed to eat slowly, but little, and mostly vegetables.  You sat down for dinner, dressed, not in your old clothing.  Napkins were mandatory.  When I was young, we were to wear certain unmentionable items of clothing to hold in our jiggles (she would chuckle here), of which I, evidently, had many despite weighing only about 115 pounds.  “Overweight!” declared my very skinny doctor.  He’d die all over again if he saw me now.

Children were to be seen and not heard.  I was to be a lady, raised with manners and certain upper crust (in her opinion) talents such as piano and other musical instruments.  Ballroom dance classes followed ballet and tap when I was very young. 

She had married when it was decided that she’d waited long enough.  She was not young, she was a ‘spinster’ in the terminology of the day.  She had one child, me, and she was determined to raise me correctly.  When it came to me, though, I was just as determined to raise myself.  It made for constant conflict. 

All my life and the rest of hers.

When I asked her, at one point, to please answer some questions which were in a diary format—for posterity—her response was that it was HER life and she did not care to share it with anyone.

Period.  End of topic.

Alright. 

She decided, at 90, that it was time to move closer to me, but only because she had decided this.  She was getting on in years, and no longer could she feel comfortable driving in the snow to the store.  Having survived two hip surgeries, a broken elbow and various aches and pains, she determined it was time.  So she chose her assisted living new home and moved in, with our help.  She lived there for 8 years, the oldest resident for many of those years.

She never liked the other residents there much.  But she was extraordinarily kind to those who attended to her needs.  She made it a habit of taking a banana to give to the woman who cleaned her apartment every week.  The cost of living there was supposed to include the woman’s pay, but she always thought a little extra never hurt.  Hence, a banana.

One by one her siblings passed away.  Generally it was I who came to deliver the sad news.  I never saw her cry, not once.  And after a day or two of reflection, she would seem to get over it and not mention the person again, although she loved to talk.  And talk.  And did I mention she liked to talk?

Unfortunately, the conversations, mostly one-sided as she had become quite deaf, were inconsequential as well.  She’d tell me about her friends, her relatives, her distant relatives, her very distant relatives.  She’d read letters to me from people I’d never heard of.  At some point, I tuned out.

But once, after a sister had died, she said she’d heard from one of the children.  They said their mother called out their deceased father’s name right before she died.  She said, “I wonder……….”

So, the time came when she died.  But, true to form, she spoke with me a week before she died, while sitting in a chair.  She told me where the family Bible was.  She told me to remove all of her things from her apartment.  NOW.  She told me where she was to be buried.  She asked me if there was anything else?  I said, “No, I don’t think so.”  “Alright.” is all she said.

Three days before she lapsed into her final death sleep, she sat in a chair and nodded at each one of the ladies who had taken care of her so kindly.  To each one she mouthed, “Thank you.”  To me she just looked and pointed at the pictures left in the room.  She said, “She knows what I’m talking about.”  I had not removed them yet.

We hired sitters to be with her when we could not, but mostly I spent the next three days there, sitting by her side.  She didn’t talk with me again.  She passed on.  But, of course, not before something rather extraordinary happened—actually three things.

The first was that pennies began to appear on the floor of her apartment.  Her apartment was simply one room, but we had removed almost everything from it by that time.  She had made it clear she wanted nothing left after she was gone.  So it was a relatively vacant room.  My father, in his Alzheimer’s stupor, had often carried around a bag of pennies and sometimes he’d hide them.  Then, there would be an all out search in which he’d enlist everyone to search for his pennies.  This had been years ago—a subject my daughters and I were familiar with, but no one else would be.

The pennies appeared.  To this day, we don’t know how or why.  They kept appearing for a good two years after that.  I have 17 pages of typed stories about pennies. 

The second thing that happened is that my daughter saw the penny and said, out of the blue, “Grandpa is here.”  The sitter, who was in the opposite corner, said, spontaneously, “Oh! OH!  I SEE HIM, THERE IN THE CORNER!”  My father had been dead for a number of years.

The third thing that happened is that a gentleman who lived in the building found himself in the hallway that very morning—without his walker.  He was unable to walk without it, but there he was.  He stopped a staff member and asked if he was dreaming or awake?  He reported someone had just gone by and told him that Christine had passed.  No one knew she was ill.  She had not died at that time, but did very soon after.  The man described…………..my father.  My father had never set foot in that building as he’d died many years before Mother had moved there.

I think that Christine found out for herself whether or not her sister’s husband came to get her sister.

Me?  Oh, I think so, yes, without a doubt………..

And here is the thing:  she’s never left my side.  I hardly knew her, yet I never go a day without thinking of her.  Today is the 4th anniversary of her transition.  And why I was inspired to write this is beyond me……………but then again, maybe not……..

 

Blog Interrupted

Sorry about running off without a word of explanation.  I am currently living out of a suitcase at daughter’s home while hardwood floors are being installed at our house.  She and her family are generous, very generous, to put up with us. 

Daughter has a husband, a large black lab who goes by the name of The General (although I think he really has only reached the level of Private, First Class, but got promoted mostly because of his size and ferociousness) (oh, and we don’t feel dogless as Polly is incarcerated, likely running the place by now, being who she is and all), a small cat, and two children, one large and one smaller than the large one.  Also they seem to have mountains of laundry.  I do not know why.  I suppose it is because they workout every day, and work about 18 hours, and go to school, and have ‘activities’, and teenage granddaughter likes to be fair about wearing everything in her closet,and rotate, you know?  (I have also noted a plethora of socks, none of which seem to match.  What happens to unmatched socks?  In our family, we always thought the ‘lost ones’ transmuted into hangers, which seemed to grow in numbers without anyone’s knowledge.  And what do you call a plethora of unmated socks, anyway?  A covey, bevy, flock, gaggle, herd?  I don’t know.  That’s why I used the new word I just learned, “plethora.” ) (Impressive, eh what?)  Anyway, there is a herd of socks living in and around their laundry room, quietly waiting for their mates to return.  Some have been waiting a while.

Speaking of exercise, friend B, the one who has a pet groundhog (or is harboring a fugitive underground which looks a LOT like a groundhog) is continuing to try to do me in.  So far, she’s failed, even despite a couple of 5 plus miles of walking, one up and down a mountain, and several workout classes involving many lunges and squats.  Never mind, I’ve decided I am going to look like this lady does when I’m 74.  It’s a while off (oh, alright, it’s not that far off), but I’m sure I can do it….
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/ernestine-shepherd-in-shape-at-age-74/2011/05/24/AGWRuqCH_gallery.html#photo=10 

So my life is pretty much continuing along expected paths at the moment.  I know you will be elated to see the new floors.  No?  Well, let me tell you something, Buddy, I WILL BE.  (If your name isn’t Buddy, kindly put in the correct label there.  Thank you.)

Seriously, I will be back….as soon as I can.  The jabberwocky in my head has lots to tell you and she can only be silenced for so long…….ask husband-who-doesn’t-have-a-home at the present time, or daughter, for that matter. 

Let’s you and I have a nice cup of tea—make that a glass of wine—and chat.  Say, about next week at this time?

Above all, do NOT stop breathing.  That’s my helpful hint for the week.

A Lovely Tea

Girlfriend is not only an expert at yard sales, not to mention obtaining choice parking spots and holding on to them,  she also has the most lovely tea parties.

  Girlfriend’s Valentine High Tea. 

 

image

Lovely!  It was High Tea at 3 at Girlfriend’s.

 

image

Yes, Girlfriend can bake as well—and decorate! both cookies and homes, depending upon what the occasion calls for.  How cute are these?

 

image

Tea station, complete with tea cozy, tea pots and charming presentation of teacups.  And many tea choices with condiments for the same.  How British of her!  (Well, full disclosure, ol’ chap….  Actually she is a Brit by way of her Mum.)

image

Beautiful teapot cookies.  Yes, Girlfriend made them her very own self.  Brilliant, Girlfriend! (I ate one and felt guilty.  Yes,they were delicious.)

image

These are chocolate/apricot and nuts bonbons/truffles.  The reason there is one missing is that I ate it.  Before I took the picture.  I could not resist…..

image

Teeny tiny Palmiers. 

image

image

What a beautiful tea party.  Thank you, Girlfriend!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Can’t help lovin’ that man o’ mine

Guest post

image

I do not care to have my photo taken, although I do allow it, from time-to-time.  This is me, above, ignoring a request to look at Mom, who is trying to take my picture.

But, I know, I know……….you want to know about me, don’t you?  I have so many admirers!

image

My name is PollyAnna.  (That is not a mistake, my name is spelled just like that, without a space between the ‘y’ and the ‘A’).  Actually, my entire name is The Mystical Sundance PollyAnna.  I answer to the name of “Polly.”  If you say, “PollyAnna!” I know you are upset with me, so I do NOT answer.  Although I am a woman ‘of a certain age’, I am still beautiful.  I just returned from the beauty parlor.  See how puffy my beautiful tail is?  (No, you may not touch it.)

image

I love my man, most especially when I take him for a walk…..

image

Sometimes I have to encourage him…..I have told him many times it is good for him to walk.  Sometimes, though, he says he doesn’t ‘feel’ like it.  That’s too bad.  I feel like it.

image

“Come, man, come on! Good person!”

image

It’s wise to lead the way…….generally, I do.

We are the best of friends, even though he often doesn’t obey what I tell him to do (at first).  I have my methods, you know.  I am not only beautiful, I am very smart.  I am a Standard Poodlette. 

I have recently trained my people to do a new trick!    When I want to go outside at, say, 1 a.m., I tell my Mom by banging on her pillow with my paw.  It is fun to see her jump up in bed.  She speaks my original language (Poodleese).  This man of mine does not speak it, so she interprets it.  She asks him to take me outside.  If that does not work, I simply bark, using my outside voice.  I now have them both trained to take me outside every night at 1 or 2 a.m., depending upon when it is I wish to go.  Sometimes I just want to see what is going on outside, that’s all. 

While they have been reluctant to learn this trick, I am still proud of them.  And while I love my Mom, I really love my man!

He is, after all, my person!

I can’t help lovin’ that man of mine………

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

******************

P.S.  And I love him, too.  M

 

Shoebox project

I know you have been reading every day, waiting for me to show you how the shoebox project is coming along. 

No? 

Well, I’m going to tell you anyway.  But first……update!  Breaking news!  (as they say)……

The man who lives here disposed of all but 3 pairs of his tennis shoes.  He finally gave up his dream of gardening!  Wahooo!!!

Wait a minute……..that means I get to do it, whatever gardening there is to be done.  (See, you CAN outsmart yourself.)  But I can procrastinate for a while as it’s about 11 degrees here and it’s snowed, so I’m safe for a while.  I’ll worry about that tomorrow.  (You can call me Scarlett O’Hara if you like.)

I don’t really know how to tell you this, but I’ve been ‘collecting’ shoes, too.  But mine aren’t all alike.  And I really DO wear them, even the 3 hour shoes.  (But of course, I only wear those for 3 hours.)  A woman has to have shoes, after all!  Shoes make the woman like clothes make the man.  Or something along those lines…

Here is the before:

image

Yes, I really DID have pictures on the boxes.

Here is the after:

image

Lest you think that’s it, you’re wrong.

My theory is:  If you want to be a princess or a queen (like my READER), then you have to treat yourself as such.  Desiring same, I decided I’d dress up the boxes a bit, so they look pretty when the closet is ultimately done and these boxes are sitting on shelves and all the visitors want to come see my closet (!) and ooo and ahhhh at how beautiful they are. 

Oh, all right.  I’ll snap out of it………

I just want them to look nice for me.  Besides, I have a blog and I have to post something on it, don’t I?

So, on one end of the shoebox, there is the picture.

image

On the other end of the shoebox, there is a pretty tag.  (Yes, I CAN read.  Just like my friend, the princess.)

image

Tags were 12/$1 at Michael’s, in one of those center bins you have to dig through.  You CAN pay more, if you want the brand of “she whose name I can not speak”—just got an email ad for her tags this morning.  They are plain colors and 250% more than what I paid for these tags.  Mine are prettier.  (So there!)

(I cut a slit in the lid of the box, slipped in the ribbon on the tag and taped the ribbon to the inside of the lid.  If I wanted both the picture AND the tag on the same side, I could just turn the lid around.  Isn’t that oh! so clever?)

So, am I done yet?  NOPE!

Remember, I want this to be a project you will ooo and ahh about, so I had to make it better than this………

 

image

It occurred to me that when one buys pretty shoes, there is tissue paper around the new shoes.  I have tissue paper—and it’s in colors.  So, I lined the box with tissue paper.

And………

image

If you want your shoebox to smell fresh, you can slip one of these under the tissue paper.  They’ll last a while…….or……….

if you have some of this stuff (potpourri) lying around (yes, I did have it lying around)

 

image

and a vial of this

image

and a few of these

image

You can do this:

image

And place this inside the shoe box.  Your shoes will smell beautiful when you open them!

But wait, there is more!  (I’m beginning to sound like an ad for Veg-o-matic here, aren’t I?)

I still wasn’t happy with the boxes.  Too plain.  It was then I spied the pink ribbon that I was NEVER going to use because there was so much of it and it doesn’t curl well or tie well.  (It was cheap, though, and you know where it came from.)  I’d held on to it long enough.  Time for it to take center stage, major supporting role!

So, I did this:

image

Hot glue guns are my best friend.  Dresses up the box a bit, doesn’t it?

Here is the final outcome:

image

FIT FOR A QUEEN, YES?  (Or maybe just a princess?)

P.S.  You want to know the cost, don’t you?  The tags were $1.  I had everything else (although I admit I might have spent a fortune on strapping tape and hot glue).  I recommend heavier paper (this is wall paper from a yard sale for $1 a roll, used 1 roll plus some off the second roll).  Regular wrapping paper is likely to tear easily.  Unless you are going to play ‘toss the shoebox’, these should last a long time.  When you get new shoes and dispose of the old ones, you can change the photos and the tags and reuse the boxes. 

(Oh, and I did not show you all my shoe boxes. 

Right. 

You didn’t think so, did you.)

P.P.S.  You can do this project in between making faux candy for your Candy Land tree.  See how they intermingle?  You use ribbon for the shoeboxes and use it all up.  That gives you the empty spool to wrap to make faux candy.  Brilliant, right?  In the next few months, I can load you up with more projects than you thought possible.  You’ll be in a ‘loop’—going from one to the other to the other and back to the first.  This is called ‘wasting time’ (technical term) and is very effective if you are bored and want to pretend you are busy doing something productive.  Or, you could just start your own blog.  That’s the same thing, more or less.    

P.P.P.S.  I sure hope you are laughing.  I, myself, got the giggles re-reading this, picturing someone juggling all these projects.   (Even I recognize some of this is absolutely ridiculous.)  And I’ve been known to try some crazy things.   On the other hand, ‘she whose name I can not speak” HAS made a fortune on this type of thing.  Beat me to it!  Darn………….

How to clean your stove in a bag

My friends often ask me, “How do you clean your burners?”  My answer is:  put them in a plastic bag.

Oh, alright.  Nobody ever asks me that.  I can not imagine why.  It’s such an interesting and pressing problem.  Which makes this post fascinating, probably one of my top 5.  Since I don’t have that many posts up, it actually may BE in the top 5.  Who knows?  That’s for you to judge.

But I do clean them in a plastic bag.  More accurately, I should write I JUST cleaned them in a plastic bag.  This is not one of my major issues in life.  But I admit to spending a lot of time scrubbing these darned things over the years to get them clean.  (Because, as I told you previously, this is a WORKING kitchen.  And that includes the stove top.  And because I’m just getting around to actually cleaning it after the holiday marathon.  I do not get in a rush about these things.)  This is the easiest way I’ve found to do it.

I found this on http://pinterest.com, the hypnotic website that I’m addicted to.  I told you about it before.  I decided to try this myself.  Here is how it went:

 

image

I have a gas cooktop.  Here is a burner top piece.  Dirty.  Please be aware I have no idea how ammonia would affect any other type of metal, so be careful, please.

image

Garden-variety ammonia.  (As opposed to what?  Hybrid ammonia?  I don’t know.  I edit myself periodically and have helpful commentary.)

image

Pour some (maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup) in a plastic, zip-lock bag and insert your burner piece.  Do not breathe during this process.  As a matter of fact, you will not be able to breathe.  I know.  I put the bag, sealed of course, in a utility sink.  You might want to put it outside in something.  It can leak.  This one did, but the others didn’t.  Leave it all night long.  Or, you can get up and flip it over in the middle of the night.  Depends on your personal preferences.  Since we have a Poodlette who likes to arise at, say, 1 or 2 a.m. every single night, I am generally awake to attend to such duties.  So I flipped mine.  More about the Poodle later.

image

First thing the next morning, excitedly run to your utility sink and behold! (What I mean to say is, hold your breath) and remove the soaking burner piece.  I just emptied the ammonia into the drain and ran water the whole time.  I suppose this is not a good thing to do, but I didn’t check.  Maybe there is a better way to dispose of ammonia?  At any rate, it’s what I did.  The dirty burned on stuff was gone after I wiped it lightly with a rag under the running water.  (See above?)  Now, you may breathe.

image

I have 5 gas burners.  They all get dirty.  This is not a new cook top.  It is an old cook top, about 18 years old I think.  The parts under the burner pieces get dirty, too.  See how clean this one looks?  This is what I used:

image

I had previously used up all my Simple Green, a wonderful product for cleaning, but evidently not environmentally friendly.  (I had purchased it at a yard sale, of course, and when I went to BUY some, I discovered it was no longer available.)  At any rate, this works fairly well.  Spray on, wipe off and dry.

image

TA DA!!!

(Oh and the blue teapot—$5.  Le Creuset, of course. Never been used.  Until I got a hold of it.   I don’t drink that much tea, but I like how it looks.  Oh, and sometimes I make tea, too.)

P.S.  If someone comments that I might damage my stove top by using this stuff too much, don’t worry.  I don’t.  Use it too much.  Or very often.  Which is why I’m presently so happy with my stove top.  And why you got this amazingly interesting post. 

Previous Older Entries