Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The annual slow down.

This is one of those rare, quiet weeks, following Labor Day, still warm but beginning to feel that chill in the evening breeze.  Not a lot going on around the homestead and the lake calm, settled.  Our boats are not yet out so we have taken a few lazy, slow cruises in the early evening.  We’ve built fires and sat around watching the sky darken, said our good nights to the day over a glass of wine, a hunk of cheese.  It’s rained a bit and the flowers are tossing their goodbyes, petal by petal, into the wind.
Up early on Saturday, hubs and I went down to the courthouse area and strolled through vendor booths, at an annual festival.  I then asked if we could go to the greenhouse and pick up a large mum, and maybe a couple smaller ones, for some pots around the house that I haven't yet filled.  Now, this was an amazing feat…an arts and crafts festival AND a trip to the greenhouse? To buy stuff? Rare in this house for him to go along, but go along he did as I walked up and down the aisles at the greenhouse trying to make a size and color choice.  It’s only one dang pot of mums for crying out loud, just pick one.  I could hear it as clearly as if it were spoken out loud.  Only it wasn’t from him, it was me.
I don’t want that orangey bronze…too close in color to the millions of leaves we will soon have fluttering into the yard.  I don’t want yellow, again, too close in color, but, we also have so many yellow daffodils in the spring I want something different, and the pots are yellow, so no.   No to white for no particular reason, just no.  Lavender pink? No, not vivid enough. Red? Sure, red! Of course, red.  My favorite color, duh.  Now, which one? Perhaps a hundred pots of red mums to pick from.  Not enough buds, too many buds.  I can’t tell, how do I know for sure this one is red? Is it round? Does that look a little caved in to you?

We settled on a nice fully rounded, deep crimson, with about half and half blooms and buds, and two smaller pots to combine into one planter ... one of them yellow. Cause yellow mums, hello.  We talked about future boxes for the deck, once the railing is complete, so not this year but next year, look out.  Loaded the mums in the back of his car, talked of the work he has planned for the rest of the day but, hey, let’s take a ride first.  I don't know if I have ever been down this road.

We’ve got nowhere to be and no one coming in for the weekend, yes, let's take a ride.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Mums the word.

Last week I wrote of the summer season coming to a close, the lake houses are beginning to shut down, the boats coming out of the water and headed back to a driveway, garage or pole barn.  It’s sad to see the bright colors of summer leave the lake, for sure, but I am an autumn girl, an October birthday.  I love the colors that are just around the corner for us. The way the sun hits the yard…I’m looking forward to a beautiful fall.

Mums.  That’s my big project this month. I think it’s a bit early but I am watching for mums.  Last year, I was drawn to mums at my favorite place to shop in Indianapolis, Sullivan Hardware, and thought “Oh, those are so fancy, so expensive.  I am going to pass.” And, I did, maybe even against my better judgement,  and regretted it the rest of the fall.  I’ll be going to Indianapolis next week and will stop in at Sullivan’s to check out the mums.  Truth is, the mums were only one or two dollars more than others I saw closer to home, but, those mums were different.  More vibrant, more lush.  I may be imagining their specialness,  but, I want mums from Sullivan’s this year.

Some progress made this past week on the exterior of the house…only a few pieces of siding left to hang once an outdoor faucet is moved. There's still a long list but,except for two boards, the porch overhang is complete, the lights are hung, the skirting is almost done and I have shrubs to plant.  It is the most complete this side of the house has been since we moved in and there was no door, and certainly not a porch, on the roadside, just a lot of overgrown shrubs.  I am way excited, and yes, already have fall and Halloween decorations for this new porch – just no mums.  Yet. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Not yet, not yet.

And, just like that, it’s over. 

I sat on the screened porch this morning enjoying a bowl of oatmeal, thinking about how nice the warm goo felt going into my throat and belly, and looked towards the corner stacked with little kids life vests and beach towels.  “So, I guess I could put those away.” was the thought that strolled around in my brain. Along with “But, I don’t WANT to…”

A definite change every year when the first football game at the high school is played, the school bus begins to honk it’s horn for the children in the neighborhood, the life vests get put away.  We talked this weekend about pulling the boats out and I began to plan the annual chili party.  It popped in to my head that last year the chili party was during the major league play-offs and we combined a game viewing with the event, had a great time AND a positive outcome. Will the Cubs make it that far this year?

I watched this morning as one lonely looking pontoon boat puttered across my view.  I could see that its passengers were in long sleeves and sat huddled together, except for the captain who pulled at his coat collar while drifting by, his motor sputtering to a halt.  Are they going to fish? I wondered, or is that engine trouble?

Casual, lazy thoughts as acorns plunked the roof and deck.  A couple of sun bleached beach towels flap themselves dry in the cloudy breeze, remnants of the weekend and I find myself wondering if it’s time to sort through beach towels, casting some in to the rag bag and refreshing others with a good wash and dry to be folded, stored until next year. Should I bring the chairs in? I need to cover the fire pit table.  Are we going to leave it out all winter? (Winter? I tend to get ahead of myself sometimes). There’s still a lot of good fires, and fire pit conversations that can be had…it’s only the last few days of August! I resolve to fluff the pillows and sweep off the spider webs…there’s lots of time to party, for family and fun.   And then I remember school nights and dance practice and marching band competitions.  The busy fall flexing its muscles before me, reminding me of who is in charge, better not plan too many fireside chats, girl, or you’ll be talking to yourself.  

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Did you see that? Tell me you saw that.

Along with what seemed like a million of my closest friends, I ventured to the great beyond to witness a total eclipse.  I went as a passenger with my middle child, and two of her three kids.  We didn’t decide until Sunday morning that we were going to go…and with a quick text to some other family, we hit the road.

By other family I mean the ones that reside in Eclipseville, Kentawucka…or Hoptown or as it’s officially named, Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  My granddaughter coined the “Kentuckawucka” during a game of making up songs or some such nonsense while on a long, late-in-the-day, car ride.

We had a blast.  I originally tried to dissuade her from taking the five-hour car ride, then quickly changed my tune when I started to think of the loss of adventure.  I wasn’t going to miss THIS.  I am so glad I didn’t miss THAT.

So, we were lucky.  Starting our drive at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, arriving well past bedtime, staying up WAY too late with my sweet-as-pie niece.  No sleeping in the car, or in a tent or on the ground for us.  We crashed their lovely home, drank her wine, kicked her sweet kids out of their beds for a night and then, just to make ourselves even more of a Yankee bore, we crashed their neighbors eclipse viewing party, complete with pork barbecue, mini moon pies (get it?) a pool, and super generous and gracious southerners all around.

After the eclipse, and the eating and swimming, we packed up the car and headed out about 4:30.  Did really well for the first thirty minutes of driving and then, well, it caught up to us and every other northern bound guest of Kentucky.  We arrived in Indianapolis at 1:00 a.m. having been slowed down, delayed, rained on, rerouted but never lost.  What did we do before GPS? How did we EVER get from point A to point B? Goodness, God bless that technology.

So it took us 8.5 hours to make that five hour drive.  We talked, we sang, we ate way too many licorice twists, we even tried not to bicker…but we did.  We also got over it and had the best time.  Seeing a TOTAL eclipse is different than seeing a partial eclipse and I can’t explain how.  It was eerie, beautiful, fun, exciting, slightly scary, thought-provoking, conversation starting, memory making, road trip spawning…it was grand.  We screamed and cheered at totality with strangers and group-gasped when it shifted off the surface of the sun to brighten us up in a flash.  I loved it.

Hopkinsville did an absolutely fantastic job in getting ready for the influx of people they began preparing in earnest for five years ago.  They actually began their planning ten years ago.  It’s not like the eclipse was newly scheduled…they’ve known for a while.  The town turned out for their visitors and it was glorious.  Hopkinsville put it’s best foot and face forward.  Proud of you, Hoptown!

I am totally on board for Indianapolis in 2024! Come on Indiana, lets show Kentucky what we’re made of!

Visitors were encouraged to place a sticker on where they were from.
We felt welcomed throughout the pretty downtown.

We saw this a couple times on our way out of Kentucky...friendly folks waving goodbye.
Southern hospitality at it's finest!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Shine light.

I listened as my husband tried to describe some acquaintances to another couple.  I watched him pause as he sought the words he has been newly taught, people first language, in describing one of the family members, wanting to get it right.  I gently said to him “their son” as I realized what he was about to say, the words he was searching his brain for, didn’t even need to be said.  It didn’t matter, really, in the telling of the story. How quickly we need to place a descriptor on someone, a title.  I am not criticizing him here…I know I am guilty of this same thing, and it’s a learning process.  I too often describe someone by their age, or color (forgive me) or, in the case here, their disability (forgive me more).  It seldom, if ever, matters.

I started this post two weeks ago, this paragraph removed from the blog post I was writing, and saved for a future entry.  Today, it seems more appropriate. 
Today, I scrolled through my Instagram and Facebook feeds, grateful for the many posts of sweet, smiling kids going back to school, of professional photographs of happy families, chubby, angelic babies.  I even stopped to watch some of those crazy recipe videos.  This morning I needed happy, I needed goodness.  I will take on the news later in my day, but, with my coffee this morning, I needed light. 

I hope you are seeking light today, and finding joy.  It’s a tougher challenge on some days than others, but the joy is there for those who search for it.  For me, I vow anew to start each day with a grateful heart, even if it means scrolling through Instagram and Facebook looking for chubby baby pictures, or a new favorite, kids with horses. Filling myself with light, that I might shine light.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Getting on with it.

I've written a little about getting lost in Facebook, which I do far too often and succumbed to it this morning for more than a few minutes as I finished my cereal and drank coffee.  I like the leisure of it sometimes, you know? But, I have begun watching that little clock in the corner of my desktop screen so I don’t lose hours.  I have much to do today.

It’s a gorgeous day.  I spent a little time yesterday in the garden department at our local Lowe’s and purchased some half price shrubs, which I will get in the ground today.  I have so many places for shrubs that what I purchased won’t even make a dent, but, I must start somewhere and I have to start financially wise.  I wish I could afford a landscaper to come in and just do it all. I do have a bit more “disposable income” these days to make some landscaping purchases, unlike years ago, when raising kids and every extra penny went to gas up the car to drive them to an event or competition.  Those were great days, I wouldn’t change a thing, but I often wonder how we afforded to be on the go ALL the time, and eat at McDonalds more times than I should admit.

Anyway, back to landscaping.  I am beginning with a near blank slate.  As I’ve mentioned, three of the four sides of the house have been pretty disturbed by the recent renovation.  I have a new front porch, which is not quite finished, but is something I have never had.  So, there’s a story there…

In 2006 or so, husband and I began some major renovation to the house.  We replaced all the old plumbing pipes and fixtures, rewired, changed out all new trim and new oak doors inside the house, moved the laundry upstairs and added a pantry in the kitchen.  We took the space that had been the screen porch and turned it into a master bed and bath.  We opened up the roadside wall, created a foyer and installed a new, beautiful wood front door with side lights.  This construction took about 18 months or so, bringing us in to 2008 and the economy started its downward spiral. We had more plans, big plans. We put the brakes on building, and the beautiful front door opened to nothing.  After a few months we put up a temporary deck “landing” in order to be able to use that door, but, it was never quite a porch, and seldom used.
Fast forward through that really sucky period of bad economy (especially true for those in the lumber business, such as hubs.) and we were ready to pick up steam and finish some renovation.  Plans were scrapped, new plans were drawn up and that is where we are today.  I have a great new porch, posts (okay, they aren’t finished yet) and dirt that needs to be filled with great plants and shrubs.  The skirting isn’t around the deck, yet, and the lights need to be hung and electrified…but it’s almost a finished porch.
If you see me out and about I may look disheveled, sweaty and my fingers black and gross, but you’ll know why.  The projects are mounting up and the opportunity to tackle them lessens with each drifting leaf that flutters to the ground.  Fall is approaching and I have much to do. 

So, as I have done in the past, I do have a little product recommendation for you.  I will sometimes include a "plug" if I have tried something and love it - little knives, strainers, spatulas.  Could be anything.  Today, this is it.

20V WORX AIR Cordless Leaf Blower / Sweeper - WG545.1

This is my jam.  For cleaning the spider webs from around the door to blowing the little piles of gathering leaves and dirt from the welcome mat, "sweeping" the front steps and even blowing dirt and mulch off the walking stones in the moon garden, or blowing debris out that place between the windshield and hood of my car.  It's not too big and it is powerful enough to do those things I want done quickly, and soon, so I can manage myself.   I became super interested in this when my contractor buddy was using one to blow dirt and bugs out his work area, sawdust and junk off his's awesome.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Nodding my head in the affirmative.

I was introduced to someone recently and she responded with “Oh, you’re the writer!”

Gasp (was that out loud?). Gulp.  “Well, yes, yes I am.”

It’s funny, isn’t it, the way strangers see us?  I’ve had so many titles in my life, just like you…starting with baby on up to old woman.  Student, new kid, worker, boss…lots of stuff. I use all those roles and titles to craft stories, offer insights, tell of experiences, give advice.  It has been said about me that I am an observer, which is true.  Which is different than being one who stares, and that’s another post. Most of the time we may be totally misreading what people think about us, have no clue, really. 

I made a decision, fairly recently, to be more deliberate in my life, with people.  While some may say “be present” or “be in the moment” I try to be more deliberate, maybe even deliberately present or deliberately in the moment.  I want to be understood, I want to understand.  Last year, I vowed to take joy, spread joy.  I am not sure I was always successful, which makes me think I wasn’t always deliberate enough. I don’t want to be vague, I don’t want to be overlooked.
I’m doing a bit of a reset, I think.  Planting myself more firmly square in my intention.
And with that comes a certain amount of acceptance, so here we go…

Yes, yes, I am the writer.