Idyll #426 One Man's Ceiling is Another Man's Floor

saucydog(z5MA)February 21, 2009

Hmm...I feel the urge to paint something! Hope it's okay to start two in a row....

Carry on....

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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Love our new Tidyll and the Pythagorus tale that got us where we are today. I too loved geometry and especially solid geometry. Most of all, I loved and admired my teacher, Mrs Hickman. Mrs Hickman was a stern solid woman, married with no children, who taught at the private girls school I attended. In my final year, math class consisted of only five students and I was one of them. It was tough!!! No one dared be absent because it put a real burden on the other four. (I just came up with the names of all five of us now! Neat-O!)

One day she sent a classmate from the room for yawning in class. She was to run around the block and then return. Well, she wandered off, and ever after, students yawned in class (on warm sunny days only) in an attempt to get outdoors. Never worked...

Mrs Hickman's husband played at carpentry and built amazing geometric forms which could be disassembled to help explain certain theorems. Really beautiful and wonderful stuff! Margaret Hickman was a weaver. She wove different coloured wools according to certain mathematical equations to make the fabric of her tailored suits. WOW! She was serious and firm...but with our class, had a twinkle in her eye. On Teacher's Day we neglected to give her a card or gift and she told us that we had disappointed her. Dolts that we were, such a thing had never occurred to us! She was a teacher not a person to us, but only at first. Later she started a student appreciation day and gave each of us a book with an individual quotation inscribed within. Oh the embarrassment...and the life lesson!

Here is my personal message from June 1, 1960:
To Marie

"Cease not to learn until thou cease to live.
Think that day lost wherein thou draw'st no letter
To make thyself more learned, wiser, better."
Guy de Faur Pibrac

A slight token of "pupil appreciation" and the very best wishes for the future.
Margaret W Hickman

Yesterday Sarah asked me to begin writing down memories and anecdotes for her. She was thinking mostly of birth stories, but I think important influences, people stories, will need to be included, and of course MH must be among them.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 8:18AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Great tidyll this morning. Before I apply myself to painting the underside of the great room floor, I am fueling up with coffee and waiting for just a little more light. It will be cloudy and overcast all day, but I should have a little more light than right now.

Chelone, good work on the zipper. My mother was a great seamstress and made many lovely outfits for me, but replacing zippers was her Waterloo. And I'm with you on the "deep hidden meanings". This week's office drama started with the key employee giving her notice, then asking the boss if he wanted her to work the next two weeks or leave immediately. He was quite surprised that she was leaving and said he would think about it, but after he did he realized there was not really critical that she would accomplish in the next two weeks, so he called her and said she could leave that day. Well... even though she was the one who first mentioned it, she was shocked that she was told she could leave immediately. She left in a teary huff, then called most of the other employees on the phone complaining about how she was treated. She even called the guy who was off that day because he was arranging his mother's funeral.

The funny thing was that I did not her a word from her until yesterday, and then she sent me a lengthy text message saying we should keep in touch and then asking for help on something. I'm not a bridge-burner, but I'm also not going to go out of my way here. I did answer her question.

As for smoking, I saw what it did to my dad and have stayed far away. Several years ago, a woman I worked with decided to quit smoking and was successful. At the one-year anniversary of her quitting, her husband handed her $1,000 - each week he secretly had set aside what she would have spent on ciggies that week and gave it to her to celebrate. Now that was about fifteen years ago and they cost much more now. She was stunned to realize how much she had been spending on her habit.

We received a couple of inches of snow overnight and it's still coming down. It's that very fine snow that is hard to see, which usually turns into the kind that is a bear to shovel because it piles up so densely. I'm glad that I will not be tempted to leave here today, so I have to get the painting done!

It is brightening up, so by 8:00 am I should be able to get at it.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 8:37AM
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I just had to chime in again. I am charmed by the story of Mrs. Hickman, 'bug. I benefitted greatly from several teachers like Mrs. Hickman over the course of my education, too (one of them a woman and a math teacher!) though I do not have a book inscribed with with such a meaningful quotation meant solely for me. What a lovely gesture from a teacher who enjoyed you. (misty eyes)

And now I really must away. :)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 9:46AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Yarrgh! I did not intend to have my last post on a separate thread! When I went to review it after putting on the pic, it no longer had a title, and was rejected! I copied and pasted the title, and ended up with another thread!
I guess I could copy and paste the whole post on the correct thread....but I guess it does not matter?

Add Construction to the dangerous jobs. I agree about farming. It is one of the most dangerous.
Yarrgh! Pm2, your pic makes me dizzy just looking at it!

LOL, Marie. I frequenly lay awake at night and spend a lot of time attempting to remember names. I think it is a good exercise for my mind. :-)
That is funny about the yawning in class. I had a high school teacher that hated for students to chew gum in class. She would actually dig the gum out of their mouth and wrap it around their nose! I don't think that would be allowed now-a-days.
Tim would like for me to write down a 'history' of my life. I attempted to start it, on Note Pad, but did not get far.

V, I find that rather funny about the key employee. I am sure she was considering herself indispensable!


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 9:47AM
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Good morning all!

Everyone's plants in windows and under lights have put me to shame. I remarked the other day that I thought I could hear a collective plant scream, "let me out!" I know Spring will be here soon because my plants are on their last leg.

Denise and I got out for dinner last night, and tonight I go out with Nick. It's our 16th anniversary, so we're going to go have our favorite decadent cake. We might try to put something in our stomachs before dessert, too :)

I have not had much to add here. I did get to Tower Hill, but the battery in my camera was low, so I only have a few select shots, but I know they'll brighten your days as the trip did mine! I promise to sneak in later with them.

I have a Julie Job planned - the linen closet upstairs - so perhaps I can pull my thoughts together while I work :) Many nice things to read here lately :)



    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 10:52AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning,

Im popping in here for a few but need to get back to work. As usual IÂm late getting a painting out., WhatÂs new? LOL Anyway, KathyÂs remark about visualizing the Terraces in July prompted me to help with a visual aid. Here is a pic of the patio and terrace garden from July 25 of last year.

IÂll attach a link to a gallery from that date below.

Bug, just love the story about Mrs. Hickman! Wonderful. I had a fantastic US History teacher my junior year in High School who really taught me how to study.

V. what a story about the ÂKey employee. Hmm.. some kind of drama queen perhaps? Dealt with a few of those in my lifetime.

Saucy, Happy Anniversary!!!!! So what is your favorite decadent cake? ~~ Looking forward to the Tower Hill pics.

Chelone, I canÂt wait until next weekend either! DonÂt even mention the ÂSÂ word!!!! Winter will be thumbing itÂs nose at us!

Marian, I lol over the image of you chasing Trubby around! I do the same. The kitties sure do make me laugh. ~~ IÂve no idea why the phals are late this year either. And that orange coleus is ÂSedonaÂ. ItÂs a beauty isnÂt it?

Eden, canÂt believe Bella is going to be 4!

Michelle, sure wish you lived closer. You could come get heaps of coleus cuttings. IÂve got to prune back the coleus pretty severely as they are just getting too big and I canÂt keep all that plant material. Hopefully the Idyllers will want to bring a few cuttings home with them from next weekend. I hate to throw away perfectly good plants but I already have more than enough to take care of until spring.

OK must run, thanks everyone for the kind comments about the pics. Have a great day.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 11:14AM
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Just a scan of all of this mornings great posts, with a couple of comments bofore I head off for Saturday errands..

Well done Saucydog ! I say a founder can start as may Idylls in a row as she pleases...

Deanne, I look forward to enjoying your link with my 2pm beer today,

So I have a packet of Tithonia seeds yet , will start some even though they get huge and I haven't figured out where in the world I'm going to put them, and more progeny -the mysterious encapsulated 'Chocolate Mint' Coleus is born !

I recall now a beautiful pic of a vase of Forsythia last year poised in one of Cynthias cool windows...C'mon over here and see us Cynthia !

Off the Whole Foods, back for a more leisurely read later

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 11:31AM
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Chelone, my very favorite Columbo-esque coat is falling apart, the lining shredding. A couple years ago I got in the habit of traveling during the cheap season, usually fall/winter, and it was the perfect light coat to take and cover the sins of underpacking, so now I've built up a huge amount of pleasant associations with it. If I shipped it to you, would you give your brutally honest opinion on whether it could/should be saved and whether you'd take the job? Last time I was out in public with it, a mother pulled her child roughly away from me standing next to them in line and gave me the hairy eyeball, which made me realize how far gone the poor garment really is!

Happy anniversary, Saucy! Maybe I should bake a cake today in your honor...good enough reason as any!

I raise this morning's coffee to Ms. Hickman. Stories like that get me misty too. I don't think I've had the good fortune to be taught by really gifted teachers, tho my boys have, and the fellow (whose name I forget!) who taught the Brothers Karamozov in a philosphy in lit course came pretty close.

Deanne, what would happen if you sent your next round of trimming material out to me? Expenses paid by me of course. Would bubble wrap keep them from freezing for the day or so until they make it to Calif? I know I'm naive about winter shipping, so don't laugh! I hate to see it go to waste. Seeing your July terrace gardens without the gradual spring photo lead-up is startling, a visual feast. Thanks for the link.

Marian, your posts have been a treat. Cats and orchids must really brighten your winter days.

Norma, the view out that window must make for a lovely sitting area.

PM, love the spiral staircase photo. Any idea where it's from? I forget your tastes in books, fiction/nonfiction, biography? Sue mentioned a Scottish, time-traveling book a couple threads back that got rave reviews, a series.

So Woody will be diligently at her drafting board until April. Way to go, Woody!

I started shoving pots around early this morning, trying to declutter, a hopeless task in search of an empty, quiet visual resting place in a small garden owned by an obsessive collector. Maybe the looming water rationing will impose the needed discipline...

Kudos to those with paint brush in hand today, my least favorite activity!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 1:40PM
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I'm in for a wee wee, to clean brushes, have something to eat and collect the patient Huge One for his forced march. He's been so good about all this painting nonsense. It means he is banished to the house while Mummy is out crawling around the Salon, so the time probably goes by more slowly for him. I figure it'll do me good to get outside and air my head out, too.

Happy Anniversary, Saucy! How about we raise our glasses to compromise and good senses of humour?


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 2:31PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Very amazing story of Mrs Hickman and her mathematical weaving and Mr Hickman and his geometric models. They seem to have been a well matched pair. I can see why they left such an impression, Marie.

Kathy I have two kinds of Tithonia seed to start, but the seed is a couple of years old. I haven't tried them before.

Sorry, Denise, that photo was collected before I started saving the information that went along with it. It is supposed to be from National Geographic, but I couldn't find it on their site.

Thanks for the reminder of that book Sue was talking about, I will have to go back and look.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 2:36PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Oops...I meant to... Happy Anniversary wishes from here too, Saucy! Does that cake come with strawberries and champagne too? :-) You're not supposed to be cleaning closets on your anniversary. :-)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 2:38PM
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Good afternoon

Wheel chair racing created no casualties and appeared to be a lot of fun. The kids were propelling themselves using their hands to turn the wheels, not each other, so there was little true speed, more technique. After having me at his side 24/7 for the last three weeks some high spirited company of his own age did David wonders. I did draw the line when David wheeled himself down the hill, hands in the air, whooping all the way. I have enough gray hairs after these weeks and made him promise NEVER to repeat.

Our days are getting better and better but nights are still awful. The nerve damage in the foot makes getting a full night of sleep impossible as David has the sensation of pins and needles and cramps. Last night we tried getting up and exercising, repositioning, massage, flexing, different supports. We were up for hours. David seems none the worse for wear this morning but I will certainly need a nap.

Annie returned yesterday and it is lovely to have her home. She had a wonderful time and Ruth told me how much they enjoyed having her, how great she is with the children and how much she enjoyed getting to know her all over again. I think relationships with aunts, grandparents etc. are so special and to have an opportunity to strengthen them independently is so important for the age Annie is at.

V - I'm one voting for you to take the on-line writing course, especially if we get to see some of the results. I've often thought it would be a wonderful thing to study. Do you think you might be drawn to writing about plants/gardens or in a completely different direction?

Woody - did I say how much I admired you tutor and the presentation?

Hope you all have a great Saturday


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 2:48PM
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Oops - and Happy Anniverasry to Saucy and many thanks to Deanne for the fabu fabu garden pics.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 2:51PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Greetings, friends... just checking in from my sofa.
Work is making it a challenge to check in much here -- Im hoping in another 3 weeks that will change; but in the meantime, "duty" calls... I keep telling myself that by then, Spring surely will start showing up in hints and spurts!

But I can see from the photos that I can count on you all to bring it on NOW! Deanne, those shots of your overwintering lush plant "cuttings" -- LOL... I never had a cutting look like that -- so gorgeous. We know it takes a lot of time, patience and devotion to produce that -- thanks for sharing.

Congrats on your anniversary, Saucy -- enjoy!

Im ashamed to say that all these other idyllers doing large and small projects put me to shame right now - well maybe next weekend, LOL... Chelone, your floor is going to be stunning I just know it! And while your ceiling may not be as impressive visually,(assuming your not doing any Michelangelo on it..?) V, the rest of the room will certainly be...

Glad to hear David is progressing well, and you got a little respite yourself, Mary.... If only the healing process were a bit less painful, right?

I dont know that I ever had any particular inspirational teacher who took an interest or wrote me a note -- but I do recall a few whose teaching style excited me about the subjects they were teaching -- I had an eccentric but vivacious history teacher who inspired me -- our final exam was to draw hands free a map of the world; you had to include certain latitudes/longitudes, certain no. of countries and capitals, all in relation to those things, etc. -- it was certainly something that has remained in my head all these years, despite country name changes - I have always felt I at least had a sense of where those places were...

Well, I know I've missed most comments, pls forgive.... I too will go check out Deanne's garden shots to give some inspiration of things to dream about! It's sunny but very cold here; but no white stuff so I wont complain.

Really wishin I could make the party, but there's just no way w/ trials and other cases on the hot burner for the next month...

Wavin hi to all!!


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 3:49PM
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We ended up with just a dusting of snow, so the brown grass is still highly visible.

I grew up with parents that smoked and my sharpest memory would be riding in the car filled with smoke and the heater on full blast and having a suffocating feeling. I would crack the window and put my nose up by it to breathe fresh air. I guess that cured me from the desire to ever start plus the fact that I was way too tight to spend the $$

PM, I try not to worry about DH too much but do nag him fairly often about safety especially when I see him doing something that I find questionable.
What an awesome staircase and the tile work really adds to the look.

Whenever I use an "!" I think of Ei and wonder what she is up to these days.

Chelone, what burns my butt about an audit like the one we just had is that it could have been done totally by email. The funny thing was that they were in a room in the basement so we emailed nearly everything back and forth rather than climb the stairs. For this the government flew 3 people out for nearly a week. Its kind of like flying out 3 IRS auditors to audit someone making $15,000 a year. No wonder our country has so much debt.

Anniversary congratulations to Saucy & Nick! Your first paragraph describes to a T the conditions in my basement plant setup. Every time I water I count how many weeks before I can bring them out.

Deanne, what a treat to see the garden picture on a mid-winter day. I really appreciate seeing color right now other than white and tan. Ive had to chop a lot of my coleus and pelargoniums back and dump the cuttings which I hate to do too. Ill have to check the link out later as DH is waiting on me to wrap us the tax preparation.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 5:21PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Happy Anniversary, Saucy and Nick....Bee happy! :-)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 5:50PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

It's been an interesting day out here. I should have paid more attention this morning when I was drinking my coffee and posting; I noticed a lot of crows flying about, but didn't wonder why so many crows had shown up.

When I let Mystic out this morning, he made a beeline for the area just past the murder of crows. It didn't take Sunrise long to follow him, and of course neither one of them would respond to me. I threw on my fleece, grabbed a couple of leashes and headed out into the snow.

It wasn't pretty. There was a deer that had been killed not too long ago, as it was on top of the snowfall. I'll spare the details, but it took a little work to get the dogs out of there. Anyone remember the "Dogs in Elk" story that went around a few years back? It wasn't quite that bad, but... If you've never seen that thread, google "Dogs in Elk" AFTER you've had dinner.

Anyway, that delayed that start of the project, as did the long phone call from DS (all is well, he just had not called for a while). But, I did get a decent section of the ceiling painted. The job is just the pits, as I need to be on a chair to reach high enough, so it's up and down, up and down. But the results are looking good. I'm hoping to finish the ceiling tomorrow, but it's a big job.

When it was time for the dogs to go out, they went out separately on the leash. I took Mystic first, and he was a good sport. While we were walking around, I noticed how cool the little bluestem looked against the fresh snow in the late afternoon light. So when I switched dogs, I grabbed the camera. As I was trying to get Sunrise out the door with the camera in one hand, Mystic shoved me aside and bolted out the door, headed of course for the carcass. I quickly went after him, and the goofy dog jumped into the middle of a brush pile, and then realized there was only one way out. It was pretty easy to re-capture him.

I did get a couple of nice winter shots. Here's some of the prairie grasses in the fresh snow.

And I love the way the Queen Anne's lace holds the snow in the cup of the flower.

On a warmer note, here's my phormium overwintering in a sunny window. Notice the zen-like arrangement of rocks in the tray. I read that in a magazine. ;)

Mary, I would like to write on gardening, plants and nature. I promise to share!

gb, I enjoyed your story about Mrs. Hickman. My favorite teacher was my biology teacher, Miss Nowicki. I googled her name and she still is teaching biology at a community college.

Tonight's wine is another Cape Mentelle, but this time I'm going with a Chardonnay. I just felt like white wine tonight. Dinner will be pita bread rounds spread with Rotel tomatoes and a mexican cheese blend melted on top. since no one has shown up to fix that, I'd better get at it.

Tomorrow is our first church service with our new pastor, and it is our annual jazz service. I'll be humming "When the Saints Go Marching In" as I paint tomorrow afternoon.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 7:51PM
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I figure I'm about 1/3 of the way through the painting. I'm pretty tired right now. I have used a combination of taping the pointed ends of the triangles and free handing along the bases. There's been some bleeding under the tape, but I've cleaned up big blobs and let the rest of it slide. What look to be large imperfections when you're painting disappear when you stand back and take in the whole floor.

You can see the chalk lines in this shot. The complete row in the foreground is the center of the room:

I really wanted to get a sense of how it was going to look around the hearth:

I'm pleased with the color selection and the overall effect. The scale you see in the pictures is twice what I'd worked out on paper. As soon as we had some diagonals in place we increased the size of the design. "It's more gracious" was the helpmeet's comment.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 7:55PM
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I spent a couple of hours in the garden today more weed pulling and brush pile clean up .I realized I never completely finished pruning Sally Holmes , and the roses are quickly growing and putting on foliage now. If it is dry tommorow Ill go finish the job before its too late. Shovel-pruned Ingrid Bergman one of the most disappointing rose purchases of recent years. This would be I think her 4th season and I have never gotten more than 10 or 12 flowers on her in a year yet. She is a very highly rated rose so I either got a lemon or she doesnt like my garden. Hmmph, I showed her, by god. I observed budded Pulmonaria, tiny leaves on the Clematis , many budded Freesias, and much emerging foliage. Spring lasts a long time for me-I get to enjoy my own and then that of all my Idyll pals in those small number zones !

Chelone, it sounds like you are rapidly moving into new phase on the salon floor, grids and geometric patterns calculated and laid out. This has to be incredibly gratifying for you as you see the completion of each process. I cant wait to get my in person visit ! I was thinking that some of the more gigantic annuals (such as Torenias) would be such a nice punch of color on the grounds of the compound , and what a perfect set up you would have up in the salon for a seed starting station. And seed starting would be just the thing for your thrifty Yankee sensibilities .

Marie, what a lovely tale of your Mrs Hickman. Imagine how many lives she must have touched through her years of teaching.

Denise, Ive been putting buckets and pails out to collect rain water , and Im going to purchase a couple of additional tubs next week . They will be used to water containers, and probably will only get me through May, but it seems a shame to waste that rain as it falls, and a rain barrel would be a great thing to have at this point. My watering system is the weepy-soaker hoses , camouflaged with heavy mulch , and at the height of summer I only water once a week.

Just refreshed ..Chelone that floor looks absolutely spectacular ! Well done friend !

V- I occasionally get a dead mouse in my garden , but nothing so substantial as a deer ..The pics of the grasses and the Q Annes Lace are very pretty. Painting ceilings is horrible- the stiff neck , speckled glasses etc etc etc. I guess not having to paint many of them is the only positive to the horrid cottage cheese ceilings that are so prevalent here . Chardonnay here tonight too.

Cindy The Slug.. Im sure once the current trial has run its course and spring rears its head in your area your energy level will improve. I cant imagine what it would be like to be really house-bound all winter.

I'll leave you with a kitty pic from today...Doobie and Ted have moved from wood to cushions .

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 8:31PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Of course, I forgot as well!

Happy anniversary, Saucy and Nick!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 8:37PM
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Okay, that floor is just awesome! I never saw it coming :)

V., the Q. A. Lace is a keeper - you should frame that one!

Marian, how nice of you to find us a bee :) Thank you for all the well wishes. I did all the hard work, you know :) He's shaping up nice after all I've invested, though :)

Michelle, I've heard some good theories on doing away with the IRS, and I have to say, they sound pretty good to me.

I think PM and Deanne asked what kind of cake we was a flourless chocolate cake covered in ganache and decorated with a truffle on top! For pre-dessert I had the sea bass in a mushroom vermouth sauce! Nick had something equally delicious.

Nick's going biking in the morning (yes, he's insane) so maybe I can post a few Tower Hill pictures then! I did finish the linen closet was fun to get ready with my things all neatly organized!


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 8:41PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Hi all. Oh my, what a wonderful batch of photos! Deanne, it's very cool looking at your July 2008 gardens and remembering being there IN PERSON. It is still amazing!

V, how terrible about the 'dog in deer'. I remember the Dog in Elk story. It's etched in my brain forever! EWW!
The closest I'v had were a few skunks and bunnies and one cow leg. Yes, it was a complete LONG leg. YUCK.
Saucy, Happy Anniversary! The dinner and dessert sound so good.
Chelone, The floor is just amazing. You are doing an incredible job in the salon. You go girlfriend!
Kathy, I just love the kitty photos. Your patio looks very inviting too. :)
DH has been out of state all week. I am SO happy he is back. I'm still in a cast and taking care of all the furkids was just exhausting and painfull. It's very nice to have things back to 'normal' around here. I think I'll go pass out now. lol

Hi to all. Have a great weekend.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 9:12PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

WOW! Chelone, that floor is fantastic! I am truely amazed at what you are doing. I have never in my life even thought of attempting a project like that.

LOL, Kathy. Doobie and Ted look very comfortable.

V, I enjoyed your account of the dogs and the carcass. At least it should not be odoriferous yet. The grass in the snow makes a pretty picture.

We are expecting another night in the teens, then an upward tread again.

I think I will cash in early tonight. TTYAL


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 9:27PM
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Chelone, wanted to pop in and say how much I like the floor. It's turning out just great.

Kathy, I'd give just about anything tonight to be one of your cats relaxing in the garden. We got about 3" of snow today. Could have been worse though!

PM, Yes, lots of good things going on here. But lots of work getting ready for them too and I get to do most of it with Bella's "help". If you don't want to wait, I could mail you my copy of Remembering The Bones. I'm finished with it. You'll like it!

Happy Anniversary Saucy and Nick!

I'm off to bed! Long day here.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 9:49PM
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P.S. Take V's Phormium and set it on the hearth in the Salon-very chic , no ?

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 10:06PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Chelone, it is just beautiful! I love the colours, the "stars", (and the fact I am not on my knees doing it.)

V, I remember many such discoveries which made it to biology class at the kids' highschool: a baby deer, a paper wasp nest, and more.

I want to celebrate Saucy & Nick here. This is Sarah's Valentine cake which fits into the theme well I think.

Today I made it to the yarn shop. I've been eager to do something PINK, so Eden, this one's for YOU and Kate. Sarah said I'm not allowed to think pink, lace or frills. Hmph.

Tonight we went to a movie with French Club and "discussed" it afterwards at the pub. Il y a Longtemps Que Je T'aime (I've loved you for so long) with Kristen Scott Thomas. I enjoyed the fact that all characters had something to offer.

Time for some snores....

PS: Mrs Hickman was feared by most students. She was definitely "no nonsense" and strict. But if you lived through it, she had sparkle and charm.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 11:40PM
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I'm up, half way through my coffee and am thinking about "warming it up". Kitties have a refreshed bowl of crunchies and I've already cut up the first round of chicken and chicken livers for them. If I were at your home, Kathy, I'd quietly walk over and kiss the back of the kitty necks and bury my face in their fur (cats smell good to me), if they made a happy little chirp sound I'd be their's for life. :)

V., the worst part of the Salon project would have to be painting the ceiling! Ceilings are thoroughly loathesome things to paint. Working up over your head is tiring any way you slice it or try to break it up, no wonder it's the "stess position" of choice the world over. I have a really nifty folding step ladder that Santa brought me for Christmas a few years ago. It folds flat, has 3 steps and the handle curves up so you can easily reach down to steady yourself. It's rock solid steady and has become one of the most popular things we have here... so popular in fact that we now have a two step version of it, too! Do something very nice for yourself when you wrap up this latest project, willya?

The olfactory prowess of a canid never ceases to amaze me. If there is something dead or sweetly decayed enough a dog will find it. If it's too far gone to ingest, they'll gleefully roll on it to cover their own scent. I remember the dogs in elk thread, too... I was laughing so hard the tears streamed down my cheeks. Most of the carnage I see is of the rodent variety, "rodent McNuggets" for the Huge One, I can only imagine the thrill he'd feel if he had a whole deer carcass to himself! How do you think the deer died, could you get any idea from the "crime scene"?

Cindy, with the work load the expedited trial has dumped in your lap I don't know how you can even consider that you're not being productive on the decorating front! You have to sieze the moment and really want to get the painting done before undertaking it. After a long day at work such a task wouldn't be on my radar, either! What beverage shall the revelling Idyllettes hoist in your honor next weekend? or should we skip that and go straight for the bendy straw? :)

Mary, risk taker that I am I'd probably have put the kibosh on "hands-free" operation of the wheelchair, too. I'm certain the look of panic on your face when you pointed out the possible ramifications of a rollover made the proper impression, however. ;) I'll be the nights are awful, during the day there is enough outside stimulation to distract the mind and position shifts are common, at night you're all alone inside your skin and any discomfort is magnified. I sure hope it gets easier SOON. Tell us, what's the deal with school and coursework for David? Were you able to get to the concert for a little "culture" and some fun? I couldn't agree more about relationships with extended family. I had a favorite, Aunt Lois, and the weeks I used to spend with her over the summer were some of the happiest memories of my childhood. It must be a great joy for Ruth to reaquaint herself with your quickly maturing daughter, something new to discover with every visit and the appreciation of seeing characteristics "cure" with every passing year. Mum was particularly fond of teens, always advocating for them and understanding of their foibles. Is Ruth older or younger than you?

I laughed at the comment about sending e-mails to the auditors in the basement, Michelle. Something about beancounters poring over ledgers in the dark, dank recesses of the cellar cracks me right up, lol. And I know just what you mean about misappropriated money spent on things like that. We hear all this crap about the "information superhighway" but the simple fact is the USA has one of the worst and slowest internet networks in the world, and one that's woefully underused for purposes of saving time and money (your experience points this out perfectly). I'm impressed that you can see grass, albeit brown grass. We have the best part of a foot of heavily crusted snow surrounding the Compound; I'm able to walk on top of the crust when it's cold, but sink in as the day wears on and the sun has had a chance to soften the surface.

Eden, I thought of you yesterday as I followed the happily carried tail of Rex up the road. It was pretty nippy (not over freezing) and there was a stiff wind off the water but the sun's rays were very strong and very warm. I was glad I had my pea cap over my ears, but there is no doubt that the season is changeing slowly but surely. Another 2-3 wks. and it will be sugaring season here. The roads are a complete disaster with frost heaves galore. My road is like an obstacle course with some real threats to exhaust systems for those who are in too much of a hurry... nature's speed bumps, gotta love it. You must be beside yourself with excitement about the shower.

'bug, you have to do something in pink, just in case Surprise is XX. It's tradition, isn't it? you don't have to tell Sarah... . A girl's gotta have a few secrets, afterall! Maybe some deep pink booties knitted to look like hiking boots with bright blue laces would appease the anti-frill bias? I thought about Mrs. Hickman as I painted the floor yesterday. I had some very strict teachers and I have to say, I think strict, no-nonsense teachers often made the biggest difference, as long as they were fair.

I had a math teacher that was definitely "old school" (homework every night and failure to turn in assignment counted against you... NO "make ups" allowed!). We had to work problems at the blackboard every single day. I was struggling with factoring the quadratic equation at that time and was ALWAYS the last one at the board, my mind numb and blank keenly aware of 28 sets of eyes on my back. All I could hear were the sighs and snickers behind me. He'd call out a "hint" to me and then he'd tell the class that he knew their own weakness and would make sure they received a tough problem when they were sent to the board. I worked so hard in that class and aced the exam. He wrote in red pencil at the bottom of the exam, "I'm proud of you" and told the class that I'd gotten the highest mark in the class. He brooked no foolishness and wasn't above humiliating a student to make the point. But if you were willing to work and try he'd spend all the time required to help you master a key concept. Whiners and slackers were quickly culled, for the benefit of the class. Life in the foodchain, baby!

I'm delighted that our Miss Saucy had a lovely Anniversary celebration. I can think of no more profitable activity than organizing a linen closet and then enjoying a nice meal out. I wish you both continued success in the coming year.

V., meant to tell you I loved the photographs from your property, they're just lovely. What a beautiful place the prairie must be.

Jerri, don't be such a stranger, OK? we need a more detailed update on the foot and the recovery.

Thanks for the compliments on the floor and now it's time to get some laundry in progress.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 6:57AM
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No rain forecast, so the old armoire/tv cabinet was moved outside, which was all the signal the clouds needed to let loose some rogue raindrops. I want to repurpose the old armoire, which has beautiful doors, into something else. All these courses everyone's taking has me tempted to take a carpentry course. Like Eden with Brad, I usually put an "order" in with Marty, and we're getting backed up on orders, lol.

Kathy, at the first signs of rain, I've got the rain barrels (trash cans really) in position and have been scooping water out of them as I repot a few things and sow some seeds. In summer I water the pots every day. The front "yahd" gets no water since it's drought-tolerant plantings amid gravel, but potted stuff needs daily water, and that's probably where I'll be cutting back. Plus I'm ordering zinnia seeds for pots this year -- whose fault is that? ;) -- and I want a few veggies in pots too.

V, I love the glimpses of your prairie and "prairie stories." I've never seen dogs behave so "basic," as with a carcass, but I do enjoy watching Ein when he finds something fascinating to roll in, usually invisible to me, just more blades of grass, but he'll pause for the longest time and gleefully roll in it, as Chelone puts it.

Chelone, the floor, oohlala! The "salon" no longer needs quotes, it's gorgeous! (and thank you for discreetly avoiding the topic of my Columbo coat, about which we'll say no more. Your plate is obviously overflowing.)

'bug, I'm interested in that movie you saw too. Amazing that Kristin Scott Thomas speaks French well enough to be a bilingual actress!

Cindy, the kind of high-stress work you do does not leave one with a surfeit of energy at the end of the week! The last two days are not called "weekbeginning!" You really shouldn't be so hard on yourself for decompressing after a stressful workweek. I've worked in law firms too and found it was not so much the stressful deadlines as the people that were exhausting! I remember attys coming back from losing a trial and putting their fist through the wall...oy

Now we've got the Netflex queue downloading directly into the tv. aaagh! I watched Woody Allen's Crimes & Misdemeanors last night and started A Passage to India, an old David Lean movie. I can veg out with the best of them!

Michelle, sooo glad the audit is over. I bet you were imagining flames and imps with pitchforks dancing in that basement by week's end ;) It does feel odd using exlamation points -- Ei does it so much better. I imagine she speaks with invisible exclamation points, enthusiastic and bubbly, something I don't do...

Glad DH is back, Jerri. Now take a break and rest that foot! That definitely needed the exclam. point.

Mary, it sounds like steady progress except for the sleepless nights. Bet Clousseau makes a great nap buddy ;)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 10:09AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning in Idyllland.

The sun is currently shining but apparently we are supposed to get six to eight inches of snow later on. Euuuuwwww For some reason I cant fathom Im totally done with winter this year and ready for spring. Normally it doesnt bother me this much but it seems weve had an awful lot of frozen precip and very cold weather this year. Ive finally gotten the design for the new painting 99% finished so will begin the painting today. Hopefully it will be finished by next weekend so I wont have to worry about it. Somehow I need to develop a bit of self-discipline and spend at least a couple days a week painting but Id really rather be outside or playing with my plants. LOL

V. the stories of the dogs and deer carcass remind me of why I no longer have a dog. They do love dead things dont they???? I just love the pics of the grasses and snow. Sounds beautiful. And thats terrific that you are going to do a writing class. How about we collaborate on a book and you do the writing and I do the pictures???? What fun that would be.

Cindy, we really are going to miss you and V. next weekend. Such a bummer that you cant come.

Mary, it really sounds like David is making progress. I just cant imagine the stress and worry of having a child that badly injured.

Chelone!!!!! That floor is awesome! You are amazing girl! Cant wait to see it in person. Im hoping to be able to get a preview visit once this painting is finished and after the party. Id really like to get up your way sometime soon.

Denise, sadly the coleus would not survive shipping this time of the year. Coleus really HATE to be cold and even if the cuttings did survive the trip, theyd probably never root. Ill send you a care package as soon as the weather warms up. ~~~~ I absolutely cracked up over the Columbo coat and the mother thinking you were a nefarious person.

Saucy that cake and dinner sound scrumptious. Tapping my foot here waiting for the Tower Hill pics.

Michelle and Cindy, does the pelargonium Crocodile ever bloom and if so what color are the flowers?

Kathy, love the kitty on the cushion pics I cant believe you are going to have blooming roses soon!!!!!! Im so JEALOUS! Speaking of Sally Holmes that is the rose featured in my new painting. Cool.

Hi Jerry! Yes I believe those pictures were taken the week you were here last year. How fun!

Bug, the cake is awesome.

So here are a couple birds from the other day. Believe it or not it is the same perch in the same location, Just a different time of the day.
Cardinal in the early morning

Goldfinch in late afternoon

OK time to hit the studio. Have a great day all

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 10:17AM
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Good morning

We just returned from David's first guitar lesson since his fall. We used a different wheelchair accesible room and it was so nice to feel a slight return to normal activies. David played his new piece very well and his teacher was well pleased. A new friend of ours, one of the bass players in the Rochester Philharmonic Orhcestra and Dad of the little girl David played duets with, has ordered David a special support for his guitar. They wanted to get David a "get well" gift and I can't think of a kinder and more useful one. It will arrive on Monday and will make playing so much easier.

It's been interesting - acquaintances we really don't know very well have been amazingly thoughtful and generous while a few friends (and both my supervisors from work) who I thought would be the first to make contact have steered clear from us completely. I don't mean to sound as if I'm keeping score, there have just been a lot of surprises. One of the nice ones was David's orchestra conductor who we've only known a few months. When I called to let him know we wouldn't be at the Saturday orchestra he asked if he could swing by and visit David in hospital. He came at a time David was in a fair amount of pain but his lively sense of humor cheered us all up and David remembers it as being his favourite visit.

I've been in touch with all David's school teachers but none felt he needed to do much catch-up work before he returns. He's a straight A student and school studies come easily to him so I'm sure he will be up to speed in no time. I heard David tell a friend for the first time ever he's looking forward to a vacation ending and getting back to school. I think he's ready;0) Our plan is for a half day Monday after physical therapy and a full day Tuesday (in the wheel chair of course). Now David is doing better I feel desparate to return to my job and the kids I work with. We are too small a team to have anyone cover for me and I feel rotten I've missed so much time with them. Feeling pulled in so many directions is not fun:0(

Clousseau is a a great nap buddy and David has also enjoys walking him on the leash on our wheelchair walks. In fact has trained him to pull him along on the level and the two can go a block together. Mush Mush!

Deanne - those birds are a glorious study in color. I'm with you on wanting this winter to end. Snow and cold mean getting out in the wheelchair is much harder and we'll not be doing any more winter sports this year. Roll on spring!

Michelle - glad you can breathe after the audit and I too am chuckling at them emailing upstairs. That sort of goverment waste is too frustrating to contemplate.

Kathy -love the sleeping kitties.

V - the dead deer sounds like soemthing Clousseau would revel in. Beautiful pictures!

Saucy - glad you enjoyed your anniversary,. Did you know St Valentine is also the patron saint of bee keepers?

GB - the movie sounds very interesting and one Annie and I would enjoy (she's study ing French).

Chelone - the floor is stunning!!!

Hi to everyone else I've missed and ahve a great Sunday


    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 11:58AM
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No weeding for me today , and no loungeing outdoors for the felines, rain is back, and has been for quite a few hours overnight from the looks of it. Lots of puddles and standing water. Might be a good day to whip up some enchiladas.

Deanne, it will be a while before I actually have flowers on the roses , usually sometime in April . I do have one china rose ,Archduke Charles that blooms really early , often in March. Love the photo of the cardinal in particular , and so enjoyed the visit to your July garden too. I was surprised yesterday to see foliage sprouting from my ever-pathetic Brugmansia.It lived outside all winter in a protected location (I put it next to the door of the water heater cabinet lol) and Im hoping I can get the d**m thing to bloom this year.

Denise, funny you mentioned "Passage to India" I have it in my Netflix queue as well- I have not seen it since the year of its release . I cut back on containers quite a bit last year (foolishly thinking I was moving ) and have a plethora of empties .

Mary, how nice that David was able to resume guitar you say , I imagine anything that seems like a mundane daily routine must be so reassuring .

The majority of the San Francisco film writers felt that Kristen Scott Thomass performance was the best of the year , I look forward to seeing it .

Did I wish Saucy a Happy Anniversary ??? If not, belated best wishes ! I did my linen closet too this winter what a lot of old unused bedding I had in there It was such a mess I found a brand new set of flannel sheets purchased last year and never opened. I seem to have hid them from myself ,lol.

Ok, time to do something at least quasi-productivelater folks !

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 12:30PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Well, it's just about dinner time on Sunday and I have finally gotten to sit at the computer and read all of the posts I have missed. I came away with one thought: "You guys are the GREATEST!"

Everyday life, yet so interesting and so well written and described.

Thanks to whoever it was that commented that Adrian doesn't look like he is fading away! He was so concerned that the nutirtionist would give him H-E double-hockey-sticks (We're from Canada, remember?)that he started at least trying different foods and managing a balanced diet. The nutiritionist told us we are doing everything right and to just wait him out, so we are a little less stressed in the food department now.

Mary I was so worried about David when I didn't see anything for a while after the wheelchair races! I am so glad he is doing so well. I recall the pins and needles thing for ages as nerves regenerated: My surgeon told me that feeling those twinges was a really good thing - it meant that things were progressing as they should. Kudos to you for your attention - I am sure it is a difficult time for you all, but it sounds as if everything is really going well.

Chelone!! I love the floor! I must come to the reunion to see it in person! Watch for my e-mail!

OMG Kathy you are so lucky to have outdoor activity all year round. I mean, we do too, but for about a third of the year it involves skiis, skates, sleds, and snowblowers! I am so jealous that you can be out there snipping and trimming and looking for new growth already! I am like Deanne - really had enough of winter now, even though last year was worse for us weather-wise. Just crappy this year!

V: I love the little bits of your house that I see! A log home just seems so warm and comfy to me...I also love real old houses, at least a century old, so living in a newish bungalow is not really my cup of tea as it were. The dogs are so funny! Ajax lets us know if those big bad bunnies or deerses are out there at night, and he truly appreciates it when Paws leaves a deceased mouse or mole or vole on the deck for his enjoyment. Gleeful rolling - that's it exactly!

Denise, I am one who likes to make over stuff to do duty in a new role, like the armoire. I have lots of stuff that we use daily although it might not have the original use of the thing. (You know what I'm trying to say, right?). Old furniture is opften so well built and so attractive! I would love to see a photo of the armoire.

I would really like one in my living room to hide the stupid t.v. In our old house we did not have a t.v. in the front room and sitting quietly toegether with a glass of wine was one of my favourite things to do. When we moved here, DH's hip was so bad that going downsatirs to the family room was impossible, so the leather furniture ant the t.v. went to the living room on the main floor and the other furniture, the old living room stuff, wne t to the basement. Well, you guessed it. Even though the stairs are not a problem for him now, the comfy stuff and the t.v. are in the front room to stay. Also, the "nice" old stuff that we used to have in the living room has by now been devastated by cats and kids and could not now be considered "good" stuff for a more formal room. *sigh* Things do change, don;t they.

Anyhoo, tomorrow I am planning to start my pepper plants as they need a ong season here and need to be big plants by garden time, and some cactus Zinnias, thanks to you guys!

Happy anniversary Saucy, a little late! Glad it was a nice day for you, punctuated by a JJob!

Mine tomorrow will be tidying up Adrian's closet and dresser drawers.

Knit pink, Bug. Just in case (laughed at the XX comment!)

Missing Woody.



    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 5:45PM
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Rain has fallen all day, 2 inches in my rain gauge. I spent about half of the day doing financial stuff , including going through various piles of paperwork and discarding that which is not needed (always more than what IS needed ) and started getting all the tax crapola together. Made enchiladas, hovered over the seedlings, studied a map of Massachusetts. Ordered 5 Dahlia tubers from Swan Island , and 2 NE tour books from AAA. Visited Tower Hill with Saucy too !

My Old Mexico Zinnias have reached the top of the plastic dome thingy so I had to remove them from the flat . Im going to pick up another seedling heat mat this week and another mini-greenhouse . I want to order some Celosia spicata Flamingo Feather seeds and a fresh pack of Nicotiana langsdorfii. I think the seeds I had were too old. I also bought a pack of annual Scabiosa which I love and havent grown for several years. Theyre great cut flowers , including the seed heads. So, just a few more Zinnia growers and we could put together a pretty nice photo thread this summer !

I am pondering the resumption of my walking regimen when weather permits- Im thinking Im going to walk some of our heritage neighborhoods and take my camera along . Daylight savings time is not far off and it will make it easier for me to walk for a couple of miles a day after work. I would love to upgrade my camera this year, and will continue to search for factory re-conditioned units ; Im thinking of a Nikon D40 which is an entry level SLR . Anyone have one of these ?

Saucy, there is a bike race that comes through the Napa Valley every February , and it seems as though it always rains that weekend. That just does not seem like fun to me ! I hope Nick at least had sun on his ride.

Julie, I relate to your desire for the hidden TV ! Mine is in the family room but is of a certain age and thus a quasi piece of furniture. I wait for it to die , but to no avail. The next one will be possible to hide when not in use. My DS was an extremely picky eater as a child , he liked Chinese food and BBQ hamburgers and that was about it. We tried to have stirfry stuff about once a week when he was little so he would at least get the occasional square meal. I wasnt about to cook special food for him. He now will eat just about anything, and is very health conscience, preferring organic and natural foods.

All for me this rainy night..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 8:30PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Tired. That about sums it up. A little achy in the shoulders but just overall tired. There's a pot of chili simmering on the stove, and the last of the chardonnay is in my glass. I'm hoping to stay awake until at least 9:00 pm!

I should add a little postscript to my posting yesterday. I wrote a long post, then realized I had skipped my good wishes to Saucy, so I did a quick follow up. But that sat in the preview window for a long time before I realized I had not submitted it. In the meantime, a couple more posts slipped in that I did not comment on - sorry!

Chelone, the floor is looking awesome. A picture is worth 1,000 words, as I sure didn't realize the scope of what you were planning. Can't wait to see the finished product. (And I bet you are eager too!)

Kathy, I love the blue cushions on your chair. And the collection of succulents, too. Trader Joe's had those kalanchoes a while back for cheap and I passed it up; now I'm kicking myself.

Deanne, so what shall our book be about? Container gardening?

Mary, I hope that things go smoothly as you start to transition back to a normal schedule. I'm sure that there will be ups and downs, but hopefully the ups will outnumber the other. By the way, a friend of mine was just diagnosed as gluten-intolerant. It amazes me that that still seems to be the very last thing they check for. She's been quite ill since sometime last fall, and when I saw her late last month she had lost an unhealthy amount of weight. Hopefully things will start to turn around for her now.

I'm already thinking about my next project. We have a loft above the great room, and right now it's mostly a space filled with little used stuff. There's an old bookcase up there with our cookbook collection, a cheapo white laminate computer desk with the computer server and associated networking stuff, the printer and an old entertainment center minus the TV which we recycled. I'm starting to mull over how I can rework that space, perhaps to make a writing nook for me. The first step will be to get the computer equipment under control. No one actually works on that computer; we just occasionally have to reboot something. How to keep it accessible but out of the way? Well, that will be a later project.

Chili's done, so I'm going to sign off for the night and nourish myself.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 8:33PM
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V, I'm thinkin those cushions could be either Dodger Blue or Cubs Blue - depends on the time zone ...

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 9:20PM
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It was nice to be able to take the compost out today and not have the trudge through snowdrifts. DH has been kind enough to take on the task most of this winter.

I hung the picture grouping today. Im pleased with the frames and the mats, which I also painted. I didnt know if that would work but they turned out great. The mats were hunter green and cream. They are now just cream and all the frames are an espresso color. I believe the color is called Coffee Klutch. Im not sure the arrangement is the most creative. It was challenging with 5 pictures and only 2 that were the same size.

Chelone, the floor is fabulous! It looks like a lot of work but will surely be worth it. I really like the subtle colors.

Kathy, the cats have the right idea a perfect spot to curl up and enjoy spring.

Denise, I dont believe I recall seeing a picture of your front garden.

Deanne, Crocodile didnt bloom for me, but I had it in the shade. I believe they are a medium pink. Love the new bird pictures. I enjoyed seeing your July garden pictures. I even moved over to DHs new big computer screen for better viewing. I have to admit the clarity of the screen really added to the viewing pleasure.

Mary, I do believe crisis situations bring out the best in many people, but they make others nervous and unsure of how to react. I too was wondering about Davids schoolwork. I remember when my sister was bed ridden that a nun came from school to tutor her. She was a very good student so it went well.

V, lovely pictures, but you can keep the snow.

Julie, I would love to have our big flat screen hidden. If not Id like a pretty old piece of furniture to put it on. When DH wanted a bigger TV in the kitchen I gave up a cabinet to keep at least one hidden.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 10:51PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Eden...I'm smiling at the picture of you and your 'big helper'. I hope you are planning a weekend to do nothing after everything is all over. :-) Very kind of you to offer your copy of 'Remembering the Bones', but I thought to go back and look for a different edition. I noticed they had two...paperback and regular and for some reason the paperback had a wait list and the other didn't and in my rush I hadn't noticed. So I fixed it and I should be getting it right away. Really appreciate your offer, with all you have going on. :-)

Kathy...You mentioned your Netflix list and it reminded me, I thought I heard you mention recently having 'Shadow of a Doubt' home to watch. That was the Hitchcock film I was talking to you about last year, that was set in Santa Rosa. I wondered if you enjoyed it? say I was impressed with how your floor is coming out would be an understatement. I can't wait to see it finished and I am sure neither can you. What a lot of work! I think you are going to be very pleased with yourself every time you look at it. Wondering what helpmeet thinks of it.

Sorry...I have to keep this short. I've been struggling with a new health issue since October and working my hardest to get on the other side of it, but it's one step forward and two steps back. Another setback this weekend, so probably a new round of doctor visits this week and a re-evaluation of my options, which I am not looking forward to. Just thought I'd let you know, because I'm not sure how much posting I'll be doing.

So off to bed again to see if I can get back to sleep...goodnight..

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 2:26AM
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Hoory for V. and her completed ceiling. I'll bet you feel as though the weight of the great room floor has now been lifted! The renovation/repurposing projects have a way of stimulating more of the same, don't they? I like the idea of nice private space away from the household for your writing nook, but not too far to preclude the occasional repartee with a spouse. I have always harbored a secret hankering to do some writing, too, so I will aid and abet this pursuit shamelessly. :) How was the carcass today, by the way?

I am running late this morning and I don't care. I'm developing rather a bad habit in this regard, you know. It's not terrifically busy at work (this IS the slow season) and as long as I meet the weekly "nut" I don't care if the "extra" isn't there as reliably as it's been for many years now. Selfishly, I'd rather have the TIME right now!

Denise, never fancy me "discreet". ;) (Or "nice"... being nice is tantamount to realtor's "neutral", who wants to be THAT?). Columbo coats are rarely beyond redemption, but time is money and here are some guidelines to help you assess the project's worth in real dollars:
1.) what is the style, is the back of it vented? (a little more time to get the new lining to fit in properly).
2.) is there any lining remaining or is it going to require considerable detective work to recreate one?
3.) look carefully at the cuffs, neckline, tops of pockets, and front closure. How worn is the face fabric and what is the condition of the buttonholes? Generally, the condition of the face fabric is most important as manufacturers always cut corners on linings to keep costs down. That should give you something to chew on for awhile. ;)

The aged receiver I rigged up in the Salon has been inadequate to amuse me lately. Radio offerings are increasingly dismal and NPR's opera offering was not my idea of painting music so I heisted the CD player and set that up in the Salon. I completed laying out the pattern and managed to get the fiddly area around the hearth, the stairwell, and the returns to the walls painted yesterday. I should have kept count of the "ups&downs" because there were plenty of them. ;) There was also a lot of bending at the waist which I counteracted by frequent stretching and a brisk walk with the overjoyed Huge One in the afternoon. Our forced march ended with the arrival of the very cold rain that eventually turned to snow for the evening (we have 4-5"). I have half the floor painted now.

As for feeling a sense of accomplishment with the project, indeed I do, Kathy. I have always loved doing this sort of thing, it brings back fond memories of Mum. Also some rather painful ones surrounding a very unhappy move to a new area where things like art and music class were pretty much cut from the school curriculum and there was no one to advocate for me with respect to my own abilities/interests. I had to "flip the switch" on those things for several years and find replacements to "tide me over". And when Mum was here I had to do the same thing and it was as if history was repeating itself. My work in the shop is not generally terribly creative and it's always been a struggle for me to find an outlet for my own creative expression and curiosity, failure to do so has had unpleasant emotional consequences. I hope that makes sense on some level.

Mary, I believe musicians are a special breed, as are all artists, actually. There is an unspoken bond of kinship in the common love and pursuit of something so personally expressive that brings out the best in people. I am not surprised the guitar support was offered; making a loved activity easier to perform will only help the healing of the wounded part. I've no doubt that the support will be unselfishly passed to the next needy guitarist when/if the occasion presents itself. I wish you and David the best of wishes for an uneventful return to school today.

I was thinking about the population increase about to occur within the Idyll group yesterday. And I was thinking especially about you, Eden. There's nothing like a death to give life a new perspective and I'm sure that as you contemplate your baby's coming baby you must miss your own mother terribly. Crawling around on my hands and knees makes me think of things differently, too. ;)

Missing Cynthia (who alluded to several very busy weeks ahead when last we saw her), and ever studious Woody. Good to read fun things from others in the interim, though!

OK, can't delay lift-off any longer, I'm afraid.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 5:58AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Sunny good morning from Ontario to all! Another cold one here.

A few quick comments before I'm off to start the day...

Michelle, I agree with your comments about people's responses to times of crisis. Generally I have found these times to bring out so much of the good in people, yet for myself, I have been one of those who was "nervous and unsure of how to react". I'm OK with the quick physical response, the phoning 911 or calming a sick someone, but emotionally I am not sure of what is expected at times. I got into trouble when I was in Nigeria, for example, when a colleague was ill for a period of time. My assumption was that he was sick and recuperating and struggling with his children's care. From his point of view I was cruel for not visiting him regularly and being sympathetic. Neither of us was aware of the other's outlook. This was not a cultural difference I believe. My responses to mother's death disturbed nurses at the retirement home, disturbed Sarah's then boyfriend. This kind of situation happens to me occasionally still. I guess I deal with things in my own way and am unsure of or don't care what others expect.

I am impressed by the flurry of talent and activity with ceiling and floor painting, with cupboard organization, with course work. I am still in a state of paralysis, barely getting meals prepared, groceries purchased and dishes done. The knitting is my "activity", as is my presence here...Spring will help. DH and I studied airfares to Edmonton and times for departures. It is impossible to schedule around a grandchild's birth and this frustrates me.

I smell toast burning so I must rescue the "cook"!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 8:12AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

WE have a mess of frozen slush our there and its frozen into an uneven nubbly surface. What a mess. Just when the ground was becoming visible and I thought I was going to be able to get a start on picking up more debris from the Dec. ice storm. Marian, I dont envy your cleanup as I know what it looks like around here. Tons to do and Im itching to get going on it but it is again frozen into the slush and snow.

So yesterday Doug and I decided to have a soak in the hot tub and it was definitely NOT HOT! Jeesh! So far since Doug lost his job my camera, the furnace, the hot water heater and now the hot tub have broken. I cant wait to see whats next. LOL

Mary, Im so glad to hear that David had a guitar lesson! Fantastic. ~~ When do you think youll be able to return to work? Soon I hope. I know its going to feel great to get things back to normal.

Kathy, re brugs, food, food and more food! LOL ~~ Did I hear that you are starting Tithonia seedlings???? Ill trade you a couple for some coleus. I love that plant.

V. Container Gardening works for me but whatever youd like Ill take pictures of. So if we start with Container Gardening maybe the next one will have to be prairie plants and grasses? Ill have to come out with my camera in several seasons of course! LOL

Michelle, so happy you enjoyed the tour and thanks for the info on Crocodile. It has been really slow to get going for me here.

So I thought it would be nice for us to do a preview of coming attractions by posting spring pics from last year?

Here are the terraces from April 24. So two months from now I can be looking at this! It will be here before we know it.

Have a great day

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 9:01AM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Just want to say first off that I appreciate your friendship and have thot of you often even tho I wasnt able to read and post! We are fortunate that everyone here is healthy and doing OK. We hope your holidays were wonderful and that you have a prosperous and happy New Year!

What an eventful year 08 was for us! DH was laid off Jan.1. DD also was laid off, was in the midst of a divorce and bunking with us for safety. Both were taking turns job-hunting on the computer. It was a very depressing winter.

Then 4/12, wham, DH was gone! He got a call from a company he worked for a couple yrs. ago, to come in for an interview. Within an hour, he was packing to leave for Paris and it has been a whirlwind since. Hes working as a supplier quality engineer/troubleshooter in Europe. His first 6 wk. assignment was in and around Beauvais, France. The second was in Afula, Isreal and then he was home on leave for 10 days in July. His second 3-mo. Assignment was in Budapest, Hungary. Not a nice place to work. He was thrilled when he was moved to Munich for the rest of the tour. After a visit home in Sept., he was assigned to another group based in Torino, (Turin) Italy. He has an apartment and works with suppliers all over Italy. He says, "There are a few hills over here!" (The Alps.) Im hoping to visit him there this year.

Thank goodness for new technology. We are able to talk daily on Skype (via computer) for 2 cents a minute, and DHs able to watch our TV via Slingbox either cable TV real time, On Demand" shows or stuff weve saved on the DVR. Hes thrilled to be able to keep up with the news, and in general, feel connected to home. I have a new appreciation for many of you whose hubbys travel a lot Mary, GB, Marlene. Its more difficult than it seems.

Last May, DDs divorce became final and we moved her, her 2 kitties and stuff in here. What a zoo! Missy thinks the kitties belong upstairs, so when they come down, she herds them back upstairs. The kitties dont know what to make of Missy and arent anxious to find out. DD was going to go to NC with a friend on 1/2/09 to try to find a job since there are NO jobs in Michigan. Unfortunately, at the last minute her friends job in NC fell thru. Turns out that the recession has finally hit there and there arent any jobs there either. So DD and I are just hanging out together. Its great having her here. Very different than when she was younger.

Ive been really busy. As soon as DH left last yr, the place started falling apart -- the garage door broke, the kitchen faucet came apart and flooded the kitchen and basement, and we had several instances of storm damage here and at Moms. One time, both DD and I have to swim out into the lake to retrieve the boat and shorestation awning after a hi-wind storm. Sheesh. That was a pain. Also, last yr. my niece was experiencing a very difficult pregnancy so DD and I took care of 3-yr. old, Jessica.

I was appointed to the Twp Beautification Commission, last yr, too, took over DHs seat on our subdivision board and am the landscape "committee" for the sub. So between home repairs, garden work here and at Moms, duties for the Twp. and sub, it was very busy.

So in a true masochistic move, I hired a painter in Sept. for drywall repair and painting our MB, walk-in closet, and bath. Then DH decided we also should paint the kitchen, den and laundry room. Yee gads, what a mess. Somebody should just shoot me if I ever do that many areas at once again. The whole house was upside down for weeks. Stuff was everywhere. Deciding new paint, sewing, making cornice boards, etc., was fun but a lot of work. Sorting, purging and reorganizing stuff" before I put it back was the pits. I donated tons to charity. It was a scramble to complete all projects and get the house decorated for Xmas before DH came home Dec. 20, especially being very sick for 2 wks!

DH returned to Italy 1/6/09. So I tackled the last area. I had the pantry shelves reconfigured and painted. Midway thru when the house was torn up again, the kitchen sink pipes froze. While the plumber was unfreezing the pipes, the shut-off valve under the kitchen sink let loose and we had another flood from that. Im keeping that plumber on retainer!

So thats some of whats going on here. Tons of stories to share. Now for reading what youve been up to! Ive missed you guys.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 10:04AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Hurray! Welcome back Honey! You are needed here too. Hugs to you and your family. I hope your darling neighbor is there for you when needed!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 11:04AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Ah Chelone, I wish you were right - the ceiling is not yet all done. I just had to put a second coat on the section I did yesterday. There's this part that drops done where the heat ducts run across the house, and I could not get one coat to cover that - I suspect it dried out a lot more because of the heat running through there. So I just had to order another can of paint from the paint store. DH is on his way home from the airport, so he'll be able to pick it up.

Honey, how good to hear from you! Sounds like you have had your hands full but are holding up well.

I have my iPod playing on the docking station as I work. I let out a loud HAH when The Band's song, "When I Paint My Masterpiece", came on.

OK, break time is over. Back to the salt mines...


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 11:14AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Oh my, Honey! What a load to land on you and yours! I hope you are coping as well as it sounds like. I imagine there is a lot more than you have shared with us....not that what you have shared is not too much for one family!
It is great to hear from you, and I pray that this year will continue to improve for you.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 12:25PM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Thanks, Marian and GB. Good to be back. Wow, you guys have been busy, busy. Im right in with the painting/reorganizaing theme.

Oh my, V, that's a ton of work for you. I was going to paint this place myself, but it needed tons of drywall repair, particularly our bedroom and bath. We had wallpaper removed everywhere in this house when we moved in but the guy got sick and his daughter finished up. Turns out she never washed off all the old wallpaper paste before painting which eventually leached thru the paint. So most walls needed to be sanded and the gouges from the wallpaper removal fixed. I had drywall dust everywhere.

So after the painters finished, I had the duct cleaning guys here. After they did the ducts in DDs bedroom, I was to shoo the kitties in there so the guys could do the main bath. Well, the kitties were terrified from the noise and although I had put barriers up to route them where I wanted them to go, Princess jumped over the barriers, ran downstairs and towards the outside door. If shed gotten out in that terrified state, we surely would have lost her. The duct cleaning guy was great. He held up some other barriers while I shood Princess back upstairs. Shes a rescued kitty and DDs the only one that can pick her up w/o getting torn up. It was a real scary adventure and I shook for about a half hour after..

Happy Anniversary, Saucy! Im so glad youre back posting regularly here.

Mary, so sorry to hear about Davids foot. Ill have to check back further on the threads for what happened. How awful for you both.

Chelone, I love that floor the color, pattern, scale. What a creative way to decorate a room. Its perfect for your style. Ive thot of you often these last few months. First when we had to have Moms shorestation awning replaced. The next time was when I was making pillows with a *&^!@#$ flange around the outside for behind the pillow shams on our bed. Sheesh. I eventually figured it all out but I didnt allow enough room for the pouf in the pillows so theyre smaller than I originally wanted but OK. I also didnt allow enough for matching the stripe front to back. Now, if I had my thinking cap on when I did this, I could have used plain black fabric on the back of them and saved $. Duh!

Kathy, seeing patio chairs outside and NOT covered in snow is refreshing! Id much rather see them with kitties on them. And of course, pix of Deannes spectacular garden and incredible bird pix are just what I needed this morning. Deanne, so sorry to hear Doug lost his job. How awful for you guys. I hope things start looking up for you soon.

V, yuk about the "dog in deer" story. I do remember the dog in elk story. I wonder what Missy would do. A couple weeks ago there was a possum in the front yard when I took her out for her last constitution. She went from 0-60 in 2 seconds! She is so strong and fast but didnt get the possum. It was REALLY close.

Hi Julie. You sound like you fit in with the idylls perfectly!

Michelle, so sorry about the IRS woes. I cant imagine what you went thru. Ive just finished gathering stuff, downloading from the site and consulting with our accountant. Theyre going to be so complex, we havent a clue how theyll come out this year. I thot of you when looking thru photos. Heres the Iris "Denim", you gave me. Cant wait for Spring to see it again. Its center stage in the front of the house:

Eden, I was going to call you last nite but got a call from friends in Arizona and chatted too long to call you. Are Mondays still the only day we can get together?

Well, Ive monopolized this thread enough already today. Hi to all! Time for a bite to eat.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 5:49PM
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What a treat to have a post from Honey to read! It's nice to hear from you. 2008 was a doozie, huh? It'll be neat if you can get away to the Alps :)

I had to take my MIL's dog to the vet today. He was sick as a dog :) I really don't know what his problem is, but let's just say he's full of -it. He's a little backed up with some mystery bits in there, but everything looks like it will pass. The vet filled him with more food and told me to watch out....I hate dogs just like Chelone does right now :)

I didn't tell you all that the reason I cleaned out my linen closet is because the dogs (wonder which one?) peed in it....and I woke the next morning after I cleaned it to find that they had peed in it again. Smarty pants me thought I'd close the bathroom door that night, but one of the kids opened it in the middle of the night! Argh, I can't win.

So I didn't know I was going to write two paragraphs venting about my MIL's dogs, but there, I've gone and done it, and I feel better, thank you!

GB, I am often paralyzed by what to do or say and often think that the person needs their space. Your writing really touched on exactly how I often feel.

I'm going to go cook.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 6:13PM
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Honey, so good to see you back here! You must post a picture of your red walls for Kathy. She's thinking of painting her dining room red. She needs to see how great yours looks. I love the new pillows too! Mondays are the best day for me because that's the only day Bella isn't here but I can't even do that until after Bella's birthday party which is Mar 8th. Until then all my days are filled with getting ready for the baby shower and Bella's bday.

Mary, I'm so glad to hear David and you are both holding up well. I'm hoping every day is improving for him! I picked up a book on the little felted animals but am having trouble finding a source for the materials locally. Did you order your wool, needles, etc. online? When things slow down for you could you let me know. No rush though!

Deanne, I really needed that April picture to remind me that spring's not that far off at all. Thank you! Beautiful picture of your gardens btw.

PM, sorry to hear you're having health problems. I hope your Drs. get it figured out soon.

Marie, I am glad to hear that you've picked up your knitting again. Does Sarah not like pink even for a girl? If so she wouldn't be happy with me. I've been buying all things pink lately. Kate's nursery isn't pink though.

Kathy, I keep meaning to mention your coleus seeds. I've sown coleus and think it's cool how the tiny leaves have coloration and pattern right from the start. You have to be more diligent keeping the seed grown varieties from going to flower and setting seed though I found. Alot more pinching required. Sounds like zinnias are the Idyll flower of 2009. I'll do some too to keep with the rest of you. See what you've started? :)

I've been stringing beads for baby bracelets all day. They have each guest's name on them and are a part of the placecards for the tables at the shower. Bella's having a Hello Kitty birthday party and todqay I found a pattern and instructions online for making a cake with that theme for her party.

Chelone, it's so thoughtful of you to think about me missing my mom. If she were here she'd be busily working away making all manner of things for Bella's birthday and for the new baby. Bella told me when she woke up from her nap a few days ago that she'd dreamed about Grandma Joan (my mom). I asked her what grandma said and Bella told me she said "Oh Bella, I love you so much." Bella said my mom snuck cookies into her room and read her as many stories as she wanted. I asked Bella if grandma was happy and she said yes she was. I know it was only a dream but it made me feel good to hear that. Dont' know what I'd do without my special little girl:)

Hope you all have a good evening.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 6:57PM
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What a pleasant surprise to see Honey here today ! And what challenges youve had too! I feel pretty comfortable in my job even though my company is deeply entrenched in the home-building industry..nerve wracking as that may be, I think the automobile business might be scarier. Glad to hear that your DH had some options and has landed on his feet so far. Loved your pillow vignette ! And Eden is right ..I knew there was someone on the Idylls who had a red dining room- I thought it was Wendy for awhile but was set straight at IU5.I continue to ponder , my two worries being the darkness of the room, and the clashing of colors from the next closest room. I would love to change some of the colors in that room but it would involve getting a sofa re-upholstered which is rightfully pricy. I cant justify the expense right now Id rather spend the $$ on IU6 ! Hoping you can continue to join us..

Deanne, looking at your pic from April was interesting. We have Daffodils blooming now, they will be a scant memory by April Are those Alliums in the bed with the Hyacinth ? I cant grow those damn things to save my life, and god knows Ive tried. They just dont bloom. I really enjoy spring ; when I lived in Southern Cal the impact was less because of the mild winters.

V, I meant to say how cool it would be to have a writing loft. I urge you to pursue it , I know youll enjoy having a spot of your own, and there is something about writing in an upstairs location that I have always been drawn to ..maybe its the struggling artist in the garret ? This is why I created my (still incomplete) home office upstairs.

Eden, spot on re the Coleus seeds, they are absolutely miniscule but the patterns are clearly there. So what variety of Zinnias will you grow ?

Time for some evening chores waves to all.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 8:59PM
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Kathy, now knowing me, you know it's what varietieS, lol. I ordered 7 different kinds. Some tried and true, some just because they looked interesting. Zinnias are not one of my more successful annuals here. They get mildew and the slugs like them. I don't think I have enough sun for them. But I'll try, try again for fun. The one linked below I like alot.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 9:27PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

The Basement Report, Vol. #698
(or at least that's what it feels like!)

MOST of the ceiling is now done. There's one small corner that is waiting for a quart of paint in the morning. I estimated it would take 2 gallons; I've gone through three and not finished. Besides that small corner, I have to edge above the fieldstone fireplace, but that is very irregular and I have announced that I will not do that until the weekend. My arms should stop shaking by then.

Tomorrow I'll start the walls. I got some of the woodwork taping done in a late afternoon spurt of energy - but I only taped what I could reach without lifting my arms over my head. I was pretty discouraged this morning when I saw that I had to repaint that one section, but I perked up when I moved on to the last major section and it started to go smoothly again. I really think that the presence of heat ducts affected the paint coverage in that one stretch.

Saucy, sorry to hear about the dog troubles. When the new carpet gets installed, I am going to get a gate for the stairs, because one of the reasons for new carpet is that the older dog has designated that area as her foul weather litter box.

Eden, what a nice story about Bella and her dream.

Kathy, in the book "Noah's Garden" by Sara Stein, she talks about writing in an upstairs room, and ever since I read that book I've had a desire to turn my loft area into a writing area. But for a long time it was the territory of the kids. Now that they're pretty much out of the house, I've got free reign up there.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 9:40PM
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V, it seems like the painting goes on forever. At least that's how I felt when we were doing the kitchen. It's so worth it when it's all fresh and new though. So back to the basement with ya :) You're going to show us when it's finished right?

Wonder if Chelone is painting tonight?


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 9:50PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

This morning, after I washed my accumulation of dishes, I did some Julie jobs, :-). I took down the chimneys from the chandelier in the dinningroom and washed them, and cleaned the entire fixture..including the bulbs. Then,(re: Nolon's request), I brought in the 6 foot step ladder so he could get down the fixture in the northeast end of the livingroom, for me to wash. That worked out so good, I took down the 2 in the vestibule and washed them! I was still in the cleaning mode, so I washed all my green glass from the shelf over the divider between the livingroom and dinningroom. I took the towel off the shelf that they set in, and replaced it with contact paper.
When I finished all those jobs, it was time to get lunch. After lunch I worked with the cleaning up outside. Between the two of us, we are gaining on it. :-)

I know there is interesting things that you all have posted, but I am becoming brain dead, and need to get to bed. So I will try to catch up tomorrow.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 10:30PM
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Were back from the tax appointment, a quick sandwich and a few errands.

Eden, Bellas dream brought tears to my eyes along with your comment about your special little girl. Im having a bit of a time with missing my special little girl. I teach Sunday School to 3 & 4 year olds and I have 4 little girls and 4 little boys. They are so much fun and they like their teacher so much at that age. It really is such a special age.

Marian, you really are getting into the cleaning mood it really feels like such an accomplishment doesnt it?

Honey, how wonderful to hear from you. The blue denim look great with the b. Looking Glass the colors are perfect together.

Deanne, what a bummer about the hot tub now. You sure have had your share. My washer was making a funny noise tonight and a few things are randomly freezing in the refrigerator. Hopefully, neither will be serious.

PM, sorry to hear that you are dealing with additional health issues. Hopefully, its something that can be brought under control.

Im dealing with more health issues these days and will be returning to the rheumatologist on Thursday.

I really should be painting. I still have a little trimming around the cabinets in the office and a few other spots. Then I could call it done.

What fun that so many are going to grow zinnias this year. In keeping with that theme, I ran across this picture recently of Ricks moms garden from about 30 years ago.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 11:24PM
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Well what a nice treat to read such newsy reports from Honey, just wish the news from '08 had been brighter for you. But, as Kathy pointed out, it seems you've landed on your feet and are soldiering on in fine shape. I chuckled at the pillow/flange, a man on a flyin' horse is never going to know the stripes don't match on the back, will they? :) You raised and interesting point about the economy with the news of DH's job loss in early '08. I knew something was amiss with the economy then too; increased requests for repair work, reuse of older foam in cushions to be recovered, and an increase in clothing repair (not altering new things) were major clues for me. And the rest is history, as they say. I love the iris in the picture you posted... that's just lovely. Our cats would definitely take a powder if there was a houseful of contractors with loud machinery... our's go outdoors (except after dark) and they would lurk at a safe distance mewing plaintively whenever anyone was within earshot. :)

I love the Zinnia craze that's sweeping the Idyll. Like Eden, sun is at a premium here, while the slug population remains unchecked. I'll admire from afar. and I love Michelle's posted shot of the zinnias in front of the barns. Just terrific.

Saucy, you really are a peach to deal with those detestable little canines. They'd have no fun at my house, I can assure you... soiling inside the house is not OK and they'd spend their time inside a crate if they weren't reliably housebroken. Wrecks has never made a mistake in the house, and Sally's only trangression occurred after ingesting 2-3 lbs. of blood meal (a very special memory for me). Now you know why I hate dogs.

Marian, I could use a cleaning duo like you and Nolon. There is a chandelier here (over the stairwell) and a lamp over the dining table. Close inspection reveals that both have a velvety coating of dust on every flat surface. The chandelier has frosted bulbs on the arms and while the bulbs work just fine they appear to be beige, rather than white. I wonder if delicately scrubbing them with a toothbrush might loosen the accumulated mung on them? My yankee sensibility precludes tossing the bulbs out and replacing them while they still work... lol. Maybe that will be my next JulieJob.

PM, nothing worse than battling ill health. I certainly hope you're able to get out in front of it soon. Feeling poorly certainly takes the starch out of your collar. Hang tough. And Michelle, do you have RA? I've forgotten, if I ever knew.

'bug, repeat after me: one foot in front of the other, little baby steps. Just rolling out of bed and going through the daily motions is what's important right now. Let yourself be reassured and soothed by the simplest, most mundane activities. Everyone weathers a grief storm differently and it's unfair to hold anyone to another's standard of "proper form" when it comes to something as deeply personal as loss. It's OK to feel however the hell you want to! My own take on it is that patient, quiet acceptance and reassurance that it'll be OK (eventually) is the most productive approach long term. That a liberal dollops of humor and "sillies". ;)

Yes, I did paint last night. I completed another row and half of the pattern, this time simply cutting edges with my trusty 2" sash brush. It was faster and neater than taping, so that's the approach I'll use as I move toward "closure". ;) I love the new speakers I purchased before Christmas, the sound is crisp, precise, and reproduces the nuances of the various instruments and inflections in voices beautifully. I have a renewed appreciation for the voices of Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, the Mills Bros., and the Andrews Sisters. But it may be time to dust off some Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen today...

V., I made the mistake of applying the blue paint directly over the finish the drywallers applied. I had asked if it was primed and their blank looks should have told me something important. The "ready" finish that was satisfactory to so many was in fact unprimed and the surface sucked up paint "like you read about". I ended up priming the entire thing and then applying 2 solid coats of the blue over that. There are still some light places that I may touch up or not. I'm sure your theory about the heat ducts is spot on and it's good that you're entering the home stretch. I smiled at the "arms shaking" comment, know exactly what you mean! Cutting in around the fieldstone will be a perfect snowy day activity.

Time to collect my thoughts about the day's work and get about it. Carry on and be brilliant today, my friends. Hi to all who're MIA for the time being.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 6:36AM
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Okay, after some family review, we have figured out the mystery bits in the dog's gut :) It's rat food! No, no, not rat poison, rat food.

SunnyD's kids have pet rats, and we're sitting them while she's in Cozumel. They're perfect guests! Zeus snatched the back of rat food from near their cage (imagine him folding back his lips and using only his teeth to procure the bag from the table top!) and gingerly opened it up. When the kids and I caught him in the act, there was rat food strewn across the floor! Heart shaped, and hard as a rock (for their growing teeth, I imagine)!

Mystery bits in dog tract solved! They're still shaped like little hearts in there....5 of them.

He's stuffed like a sausage, I tell you!

Hooray for V. and her impressive biceps! Did you decide on a color for the walls?

Eden, Bella's dream was sweet. It tells you exactly how she feels about her Grandma Joan, doesn't it?

Michelle, what a great picture!!! I have one of my grandma's porch that she sent makes me happy every time I come across it.

Zinnia's do good here and I can get small seedlings at the May plant sale, so I will participate, too :) I might start some Green Envy to go with the usuals, though, and Eden's are quite the looker, too!

My little rat friends are enjoying a piece of toast crust from Sarah's breakfast....gotta love a pet with a cast iron stomach :)



    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 7:22AM
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Saucy, you're running a zoo there. Or is it a pet bed & breakfast? Hope the little guy is feeling better. I know when Bud eats something that doesn't digest well we all pay if you know what I mean? The little rats sound like fun. We used to have all sorts of little critters here. Hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs. I think Mary had pigs too when her kids were younger.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 8:11AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Saucy, the achy arms will be rollering on Benjamin Moore's "Healing Aloe" later today. I hope it works, LOL! It's a soft pale green. I will take photos when it's done. I thought about taking a ceiling photo, but you know, a white ceiling repainted whit just looks kind of white...

Sunrise woke me up at 2:00 am, and then the coyotes had their turn later. I'm officially cranky this morning.



    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 8:36AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Just a brief pop in again...

Wow! That floor Chelone...! I'm speechless in awe.

I'm very impressed with all the painting going on - we've had paint chips taped to the kitchen wall for over a year now and still haven't chosen one or started painting....

Kathy - our dining room is a raspberry red and we love it - but the reason we need to paint the kitchen is that I'm not overly fond of how the kitchen color goes with the dining room. Mind you, we've lived with the color compination since 1999 so it's not bad enough to prompt rapid action :-)

Gotta run again but I just wanted to post this picture of what has been keeping me busy the past few weeks - the latest stage of the course - a more detailed plan with elevations:

I took this course to keep busy for the winter but I didn't expect it to consume so much time!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 8:53AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Im sneaking in before anyone notices at the awfice... how terrific to see Honey -- I hope you can pop in more reguarly -- life has definitely been a challenge for you the last year, but you've risen to the occasion -- I do hope it settles a bit for '09 and you get to visit the Alps (and spouse)...

Chelone - I dont recall if I said, but your floor is indeed marvelous and I cant wait to see it in person.... I laughed at the 'be brilliant today' -- does that include the just getting out of bed part?

Kathy -- I meant to also mention -- I understand your reticence about the red dining room in that it is like dominoes -- you start one thing, and it leads to redoing the entire first floor -- is there any way you could decide to just add in red accents -- like a table runner, red candles, other cheap decorative red accents that would jazz it up enuf for you but not have to "hit the walls"? Sometimes just going w/ new accents and accessories will achieve the effect. Just a thought.

Sorry to hear more folks having health woes -- PM, and Michelle -- I do think winter is tough on our bodies and seems to make all conditions worse -- some mornings I feel like a "stick person" when I wobble outta bed and try to bend the ankle or leg... frankenstein reborn, lol.

Deanne -- I managed to relax w/ your July garden album sunday nite and it was so special -- it's hard to believe that much magnificence was blooming and available all at once... and it looks like it will be not too far before even your early Spring looks lovely. Im dying for it myself -- everything looks brown and dead right now; I really need to get out and cut things back as soon as it shows a bit of warmth; somehow it seems spring is going to be late this year. It was frigid this a.m. and no hint of my hellebores really perking up yet.

I do think Saucy gets the zoo award... pet rats -- now that is a real friend who will take care of a friend's rats! eeks.... and unknown consequences of Zeus's interest in their nutrition, LOL... Hope you give your vet bill to returning friend! It is really tough to stop dogs from marking and returning to territory in the house... a really hard challenge... Nature's Miracle is about as good as I can ever get with stopping that.

I hope V's "healing aloe" manages to heal your biceps too, LOL -- painting ceilings is definitely the worst -- and I laughed about your mention of a white ceiling is white -- I had a discussion last year about that w/ the painter -- and was shocked at the number of colors of 'ceiling white' these days -- it seems it's an unnecessary choice to me -- just give us one choice for the ceiling for white!


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 9:51AM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Good Morning, idylls.

Eden, I just teared up when I read your post about what Bella said. Out of the mouth of babes. How precious. My new grandniece, Jenna Elizabeth, was born 12/18. When my niece put Jenna in 3-yr. old Jessicas arms, Jessica said, "Welcome to the world, baby sister!" Doesnt that just tug at your heart! The other thing thats so interesting, is that during her pregnancy, my niece would let Jessica lean against her belly and Jessica would talk to the baby. Now, Jenna turns her head when Jessica speaks, and just practually swoons when Jessica puts her head next to her in a hug. Its like they bonded when Jenna was still in the womb. Amazing. Im sure theyll be many wonderful stories of Bella and your new little one, too.

Im not a zinnia fan, but WOW, thats a great one. Hmmm. Perhaps Ill winter sow? Is that what youre going to do? BTW, after 3/8 is good for me. Hopefully, the slipping and sliding will be a thing of the past by then.

V, I second the idea of a writing room for you. It sounds like youre coming along on the painting. I found the brand of paint really makes a difference. I use only Benny Moore or Graham Ceramic for interior work. "Healing Aloe" sounds yummy. I have to check it out.

Michelle, so sorry to hear youre experiencing appliance issues. Theyre the pits. I had to have a guy out for our cooktop. It wouldnt heat up. I thot it was the electric burners, but it was worse than that. It was some doo-dad farther in. My oven is getting persnickedy, too. Im trying to keep it all going b/c I want a duel fuel stove w/oven instead of a cooktop and wall oven. If I have to replace any of what I have, itll be a waste b/c theyll get thrown out when (if) the kitchen gets redone.

Poor Saucy. How awful. You ARE a great friend to take care of rats (yuk). And Chelone, OMG, 2 lbs. of blood meal! Cant imagine the special memories that brings. The only time Missy messed in the house, it was my fault totally. The breeder gave me some hard chow and a BIG can of dog food. Dummy me (a cat person for 15 yrs), I put it all down for 10-lb. Missy, so she could chow at her leisure! Well, she ate it ALL! Not too long after, she had a HUGE accident on our white carpet in the dining room. Duh.

Yes, this economy is oh, so very, very scary. And with autos its insane. I can hardly read the papers or watch the news.

Marian, I think I passed the cleaning bug on to you! Isnt it a great feeling when youre done? I could feel that good, tho, even if someone else did it! Before painting here, I washed all the walls and woodwork with TSP, took apart light fixtures, etc., like you are. I even washed the walls in all the rooms I wasnt painting. I, too, had the arm shaking thingy, like V, and couldnt lift my arms over my head!

Bug, Chelone said it all so perfectly, I couldnt improve on what she said. (((Bug))). Everyone handles grief differently. Do/feel what you need to, regardless. Its never an easy road. Love and support being sent your way.

PM, I hope whatever health issues youre having are minor. Sending hugs to you, too. (((PM)).

Kathy, I used Benny Moore "Cottage Red" for my GR. Its a really pretty burgundy. The trick with red paint of any hue, is to use a colored primer. Then youll only need 2 coats. If you skip this step, itll take 5+ coats before you get good coverage. I was lucky to have a really good local paint store (which is now closed) with talented colorists. I found that they really knew their stuff. A neighbor used the same paint, skipped the primer and indeed, had to paint her one wall 5 times. Heres the room:

The color in this photo is closer to actual, although it changes in various light conditions:

I still love and am not tired of it after 3 yrs. And I still love those crystal lamps that look like little chinamen w/hats!

Hi Cindy. Yes, its been a challenge with DH so far away. If he were in the states, we could just pay for him to come home for a weekend. But Italy? I have a disc of pix a colleage of DHs took when they toured France and in particular, Monets gardens last Spring. I havent had a chance to go thru it. When I do, Ill share.

OK, gotta run. Later, friends.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 11:45AM
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Those lamps are sensational. Don't you just love nice finals, too?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 12:01PM
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Hmm...what is Chelone doing here at noon on a Tuesday?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 12:53PM
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I was the designated driver for a certain someone who underwent an invasive procedure this morning. Figured I could safely blow off work and get in some bonus painting time today. :)

Shall I paint another course right now or take His Hugeness out on a forced march?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 2:10PM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Chelone, if the sun is out and its not 20 below, take his hugeness out for a walk!

Thanks, Chelone. Yes, I do love the lamp finials, too. I like out-of-the ordinary things. Or did you mean these finials? They were a find when I wasn't even looking! And they were for cheap at a little nearby shop.

I struggled with the redecorating b/c I must 'live with' some things I'd rather change just to get the look out of the '80's. Someday I hope to refinish the light furniture and remodel the kitchen and baths.

I'll post a link below to my redecorating album. First, tho, some info. The kitchen gold color is more subdued than it appears. The cornice board and drapes are cranberry (same as GR color) and light gold. I think I want to do another cornice over the doorwall, and add two more decals on the facing soffits. We'll see. The drapes are off-the-shelf BB&B sale items which I was then able to use a 20% off coupon on. I had to travel to 4 stores to get the panels I needed. Im thrilled that I was able to have the pantry shelves rebuilt and painted so the pantry can stay organized. Thats quite a change.

The 'light carmel' color I used in the den, master bed and bath is Benny Moore "Acorn". I'm surprised I like it as much as I do. The photos dont do it justice. I saw the mirror over my dresser over a year ago at a lighting store. I wanted it but didnt know where Id put it. After I found the bedspread set at that famous designer, JCP, and started putting the room together, I remembered the lamps in our 2nd bedroom and then thot the mirror might work with them. It seems to.

For my projects, I traded Michael's coupons with friends and neighbors for Joann 40% off coupons. That made the silk floral stems, cornice board kits, trim, pillows and fabric more affordable.

The laundry room is still a work in progress. I have some giant white pinch clothespins that I'm going to somehow rig up a swag treatment over the blinds. The fabric I ordered was discontinued and I've yet to find another I like. Down the road I want to change the floor and replace the laundry tub with a sink and cabinet. For now tho, Ill just finish up the window treatments and wait on the rest.

Ennyhoo, take a look and see what you think. Speaking of dog for a walk, Miss Exuberence wants one.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 2:36PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Gorgeous, Honey! I now need/want to re-do the whole house....! Actually, we've been here 10 years now and haven't made many changes since we moved in. Things are starting to look more than a little tired so some updating/refreshing is well overdue. Now we just need to get some energy and get busy...

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 4:06PM
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Honey, thanks for the tour. I love your decorating style. I particularly like the fabric of the drapes in the den. I need something like for my LR.
I think we all deal with the "living with" issue. You've done a great job with giving a fresh look with paint and fabrics.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 4:25PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Honey, my life these days is much like yours was last there's tons of "living with" around here. In fact, if I had Julie ad Marian here to crack the whip on cleaning and you to spiff things up in the decoration department, Deanne to monitor the gardening, Chelone the pets, V the painting, Michelle and Saucy to get the TV, computers and phones more reliable, Cindy and one of our California girls to handle legal issues, Cynthia or Sue to take on the taxes and closing (for the 6th year) of DH's old business... no doubt some of my attitude would perk up. I'm amazed at all the stuff Idylls deal with in their lives and yet seem to be chirpy about moving onward. Oy, I'm trying!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 5:17PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Hey, gals...we built this house over 25 years ago, and moved in the 15th of April 1984. Very little has been done inside for probably 15 years! Certainly no painting or remodeling. The cleaning that I did is so rare, that is why I mentioned it! The light fixtures had a lot more than a 'velvety' coat of dust on them. The one in the dinningroom gets the greasy sediment from my cooking, since we have no rangehood. :-(
It required some 'elbow grease' to get the chimneys and light bulbs clean!
Here is a pic of the chimneys. ( Maybe they are more appropriately called 'globes'?). The one on the right is the 'before' one.

It looked a lot worse 'in person' than in the pic. There are 5 of them.

Nolon got the chandelier from the president of the local community college, when he remodeled their house. A lot of our stuff came from his jobs. Even when this house was new it was a far cry from what I have seen of most of the rest of your homes, but it is sufficient for our purposes.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 6:11PM
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Never forget that home is where the heart is, Marian. All the rest is just trappings. I know what you mean about the accumulated mung from cooking... our "range hood" is c. 1969 and was salvaged, too. It's absolutely useless and believe me, when I finally manage to sever the helpmeet from the c. 1983 24" gas stove a range hood is going to be among the first things installed!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 6:37PM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Wow, thanks you guys!

Woody, I meant to say hi to you when I posted before but it slipped my pea-picken mind. Sheesh. Id forget my head if it wasnt attached. Woody and Bug, I stopped idylling last yr. b/c I was overwhelmed and seemed to be stuck in an inertia. DD was going thru her divorce and alternately was in the pits, sobbing, or raging and sobbing. Sometimes within the same hour. Then her soon-to-be-X made serious threats and we all were terrified.

DH, who is usually the one who cheers everyone else up with his off-beat humor, was really in the pits b/c he couldnt get a job. He spent most days just laying on the couch with a pillow over his head shutting the world out. Meanwhile, my Mom is phoning to kvetch about DS this, DS that, or how wonderful DB (the anointed one) is doing, yadda, yadda. The dog needed training, walking and care, the upstairs kitties were screaming for DD to spend time with them, etc., etc. So I just couldnt recount it all to you guys and drag you all down with me. Instead, I just got outta here and took that temp job at a florist! I think it saved my sanity. DH then had to take care of the dog, listen to DD and offer guidance, and in general, participate and relieve me. And Mom didnt have me to unload on.

Then DH got this job and left for overseas, and DD got worn down about the inevitability of the divorce AND was called back to work. Once we had paycheck again, Spring was springing and all the nurseries opened. So I buried myself in gardening, bot and spent too much, but it was the elixir I sorely needed and was an antidote to all DHs moaning and constantly worrying over our 401K being a K, etc. It got me off my duff or Id probably still be lazing around. Once I started digging outside, it was uplifting and I had more energy.

Boy, did I ever go to town! I dug out stumps from shrubs that died over the winter, moved, replaced or added 65 shrubs, divided or shovel-pruned tired perennials, hauled compost, mulch, installed a drip irrigation system in the back 40, etc. Imagine having credit cards and a checkbook with no one to tell you to STOP! I really was on a roll to fix up the front and side gardens and try new things.

I also was forced to take care of some maintenance items DH never got around to. I hired a handyman to help me with some of it. So once my energy was up, I got started on the inside of the house. Weve been in this house 10 years, too, Woody. I think I just worked myself out of a really low funk. Interestingly enough, Ive found that I get tons more done when DH is not here to distract me. I just make a daily list, work thru it and keep productive. Last yr., sometimes I took on more than I should have!

So, Bug and Woody, I think once you get your hands in the dirt again, or immerse yourself in a garden plan now, it might help you as well.

Thank you, Michelle. Im really not sure what my style is. I, too, love the fabric in the den. It kind of has an Asian feel to it. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. I was going to try finding a green paint for the den, but noticed the "Acorn" I used upstairs worked with it, too.

To freshen the MB, I removed the matching mirror from the dresser and was absolutely amazed how it totally changed the room. Guess Ive been watching too much HGTV! I still need artwork here and there, but thats a finishing touch I can get to next winter.

WOW, Marian. You have been busy. Dont worry. Youre among friends here. My oven, micro and stovetop were installed when the house was built in 1984. The repairmen all apologize to me for being limited in what they can do to keep them working. I agree with Chelone. From what Ive seen, youve managed to make a warm and comfortable home for you and DH, despite many hurdles. And you have fabu talent with indoor plants. You amaze me with all you do.

Well, I've got to make a drugstore run and then will just plunk myself on the couch and have a glass of wine. Later, friends.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 7:05PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I had a strange, and humiliating experience with my checks at a local store last week and again today. Last week when the checkout girl went to run my check through their machine, it rejected it. It said it was a 'duplicate'! The customer service lady that was called on, felt that I was not a 'threat' and asked to try another check. It went through okay. Today, there was a similar occurance. I had used one satisfactorily to get some items for the Golden Year's class, but when I went afterwards to get some groceries, the next check was rejected. This time the customer service lady got the earlier check, and put the total of the two purchases on it. It was an embarrassing experience, and of course there were other customers looking on. It was suggested I go to my bank and see what the problem was. I did go, and the bank's customer service lady (she has assisted me before, and is very nice) was just as dumbfounded as I by what was going on. She called the store manager. She called two or three others. She checked and rechecked the bank's records. I mentioned to her that I am also having a problem with my online banking. It was not working right, and when I attempted to view a cancelled check, it was not the one I had clicked on.
Finally the customer service lady contacted another lady that came up with the cause of the problem.
I have purchased my checkbooks from Checks Unlimited for years. When the check number reached #10000 I was noticing my bank statement had only the last 3 digits for each check recieved. I didn't give it any thought, but decided I didn't like such a large number on my checks, so when it was time to send for more, I asked them to start over with the numbers. They started back at 101.
Now...what happened is, the previous checks had the 10 thousand plus at the top of the checks, but not in the long list of digits at the bottom. The bottom line had only the last three digits. It is the bottom one that the bank uses on it's bank statements.
Last year, in April, I gave the grocery store in question a check that was #10162. Today I gave them a check that was #162! Are you getting the picture? They have a differant system than any of the other places that I give checks to. It was saying I had given them a duplicate check!

Since I bought 4 boxes of the new checks at the time my last book was reaching 20400,and the first new one was #101, all of the new ones up to #400 will be 'duplicates! Yargh! I can do one of two things.
1. I can contact the check company, and request two more boxes of checks past the last two's numbers, and dispose of the remaining ones in the first two boxes.
2.I can make a note of all the numbers of the checks I wrote to that grocery store, and avoid giving them a 'duplicate'.

In the first case, I cannot view the checks that are in my online account history from #101 to #163 ( the last one I wrote today), but it will be okay after that.

In the second case, my history will continue to be messed up until I get to #400.

I think I like the first option best.

Why am I telling you all of this??? Because I am hoping no one else is caught in this mess.
Of course, most of you probably do not even use checks. :-(


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 8:37PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Honey, have we told you how good it is to have you back? You know we need to see an updated photo of Missy. And it sounds like updated photos of the garden will be called for in summer.

I can finally say that, while it is not finished, the end is in sight! The walls went so fast today, I couldn't believe it. I still have to do one small corner where a massive entertainment center sits (DS will be here on Saturday and he and DH will move that) and then we decided to make one wall an accent color. I'll have to pick a color and of course buy paint. Again. :) I think they like me at the paint store.

I took a couple of photos; I'm not sure how well the color shows up. The first is looking down the stairway to the first wall. You can see the lovely varnished woodwork as well!

The next shot is looking back towards the stairs. If you look closely, you will see the blue painter's tape still on the woodwork, and notice that I had not yet cut in at the ceiling yet. The small bookcase in the lower left corner usually sits back against the wall. And right in front of that you can see the handles of the foosball table. Just like I can't be in a room with an agave without being poked, I can't work in a room with a foosball table without walking into a d*** handle!

DH is making an ambitious duck etouffee for dinner (which will be late) and needs more help, so I've got to close.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 8:53PM
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DH is at another BB game. I chose instead to wash the car, check my parent's houses, swim and then relax at home.

'bug, wouldn't it be great if we could all go around and share our talents with our Idyll friends? Think of what fun we would have too.

Honey, it sounds like you have had a lot to deal with. I'm glad your back. We went through a couple of tough years like that shortly before I started Idylling. It's hard when life seems to be crashing down around you.

V, the basement is looking good. I remember being in your basement to use the facilities.

I have vowed to keep our place in good repair as we get older. Just keep plucking away at things. I was somewhat shocked when I viewed my parent's house after it was empty. When you walk into an empty house that has plaster cracks and needs painting badly and theres no furniture to distract the eye, I can see why its not selling. The end of March is the first weekend that we can all get together to do some repairs and painting. It's not easy when your siblings all live out of state. There's no way I'm going to work there by myself. I don't think my parents either want to deal with it or don't realize how much should be done.

Chelone, I haven't been diagnoised with RA. I don't have the factor, although you can have it without having the RA factor. At this point she is calling it a form of inflammatory arthritis. I'm having problems popping up with my feet, hips and shoulders these days.

Have a great evening

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 9:13PM
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Honey, your house looks beautifully in order, including that great pantry. Your posts stopped about the time mine started, but I do remember the marble-topped entryway chest of drawers and I remember your DH getting work in Paris, but he's been to quite a few other places in the interim. Seems stress turns you into a decorating whirling dervish! The finials are a gorgeous touch against those rich cranberry walls. What a beautiful home you've made.

Saucy's menagerie sounds like lots of fun. We've enjoyed the company of gerbils in the past as well as lovebirds, geckos.

V, along with When I Paint My Masterpiece, you might put on The Basement Tapes while you finish the walls ;)

Michelle, is your farm and Rick's mom's farm one and the same? I was all set to put in my zinnia order with burpee's, then Eden posted her link for Johnny's seeds, so now a reappraisal is in order.

What a gentle little soul Bella is, Eden!

A fine mess with the checks, Marian, hope it's easily sorted out. I do write checks for haircuts to add on the tip, and that's about it.

I had a good browse before work on the Cistus Nursery site, located up near Portland, Oregon. Deanne might like to take a look at their abutilon list, and their agave list rivals Plant Delights. I didn't check the shipping charges, which might be prohibitive for the East Coast. My year-old Paisley abutilon is on their list, and it was nice to learn it is a spindly thing. Flowers all winter but very shy on leaves. Hopefully spring will beef it up a bit. It was especially gratifying to read that many of Dan Hinkley's plants found their way to them, along with many of Western Hills, an iconic plantsman's nursery from the '80s and '90s in Sonoma County near Kathy.

Kathy, your Archduke Charles I believe was my Monsieur Tillier, a very large, sunset-colored tea rose. Looking forward to your rose photos!

Between Chelone's pythagorean floor and Woody's detailed elevation drawings, I must confess my math would not be up to the challenge!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 9:14PM
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Looking Good V! I remember when I was painting,the paint store people began greeting me like an old friend before it was over.

Honey it's great to hear from your corner of the world. you have been one busy girl. Your decorating pictures are really nice. I see why you liked the mirror and the lamps do look good with it. It all looks good. Looking forward to pictures of the garden this year.

Marian what a snaffu with your checks. Frustrating isn't it.

Eden, I loved hearing about Bellas dream.

Chelone add me to the list of those impressed with the salon floor design. You did good, but lost me with all the talk of geometry LOL.

It's late so I won't try to catch everybody. I cleaned today and am wiped out.

It's been cold again but we are headed for a warming trend, so I hope to get outside a bit tomorrow.

Nite all. Norma

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 9:32PM
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I emptied 3.5 inches from the rain gauge this evening we are having a between storm break, so bird feeders were filled and a brief WALAT was performed. There is rain in the forcast for the balance of the week and through the weekend ..but I have my second seedling mat as of today so I can play with that over the weekend while deciding once and for all about my dining room.

Honey thanks for the great pics and the link to your album ! Very pulled together and the colors are great ! I took some before/current pics of my dining room today and will post below if I can get them uploaded-we are having Picasa issues here. I read with interest your story of what you have endured these last months and your action plan to pull your life together in the face of so many challenges. I can very much to relate to the therapeutic value of garden renovation-and Im sure others here can as well. My kudos to you for keeping on and trying not to let those issues sink your boat (((Honey)))!

Marian, I have lived in this house ( I think )since 1989 , and the house was built (I think) in 1983. Things start to fall apart a bit ! Ive found that painting freshens things up more than anything. My worst challenge was with the abysmal windows that the builder put in this house and have had to have many of them replaced. I love the globes of your light fixture. LOL about the checks Marian. I rarely use them anymore, I use a check card instead. I know that some find this harder to keep track of, but I no longer balance my check book anyway , my expenses are very consistent .

Denise, Archduke Charles is red/pink- the unusual feature of the plant is the darkening of the fading flowers. They open up pink and fade to red- not a broken red but full rose-red. I will take a pic when it blooms. I have not been to Western Hills in a few years, back in the Maggie days. One absolutely had to know what one was looking for in those days because tagging was sporadic at best. I think I should venture over there this spring, if for no other thing than to visit the display gardens. I have loved my visits to Cistus, but I think I am going to request an outing to Joy Creek if I go up to Oregon in June.

Michelle , loved the vintage photo of the Zinnias and the barn. !

Kay, all for me, going to go watch Mr O

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 9:46PM
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Michelle, I hope you can keep the arthritis at bay. I know it is painful. My good friend has RA but does pretty well with meds. Probably your parents just couldn't keep up with the repairs the house needs. I know that the older I get I just dread taking on the jobs that usually snowball into lots of work, and I never used to let that bother me.
Also, my DH just plain doesn't see the things that need done unless I point them out.

Deniese I was going to ask if the farm was one and the same too.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 9:54PM
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I finished the floor up in a marathon session that has left me keenly aware of my knees and my left wrist. ;) The Huge One had to loaf around with Daddy, no forced march, I'm afraid. In spite of careful painting with the 2" sash brush there are still some light spots and a few "holidays" on the triangles so another coat is in order. I did a sample second coat on one to see how dreadful it will be and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it will be in comparison to the first one. The surface of the Advantec is uneven and that requires working the paint to get good coverage. My plan is to let everything dry for a day/two and then resume the project (just because the surface is dry doesn't mean it's dry in the lower coats as the moisture penetrates those in the drying process). The helpmeet fancies me out of my mind, but the reality is that the room will never again be as clean or as empty and putting forth the effort to do the job thoroughly will pay dividends long into the future. To that end, Kathy, I suspect I'll be adding one or two clear topcoats, too. What the hell, it's only work. ;)

Congratulations, V.! I do not envy you the varnish work. I know the guys that specialize in "bright work" at the yacht yards are well paid for their attention to detail. It takes a good deal of skill and patience to be neat and effient at varnishing. Just think of the untold benefits to your bi and triceps. "Librarian arms be gone!".

Marian, I chuckled about the checks although I'm sure it's frustrating for you. If it's any consolation you're probably not the first one to face the problem and no one at the store is going to think you're a loser because of it. Isn't it funny how sequences of numbers can create such chaos? I meant to tell you how much I like your sunny approach to the loss of so many shrubs and trees... it's just gives you more opportunity to add new things, that's a great way to look at it. You are "brighter" indeed and it's good to see that.

Honey, I've not had time to scope out your pictures but want to very much. I like the feel of the "red room". I love red on walls, our bedroom is the color of a bright, fully ripe tomato and we love it. The helpmeet selected the color and I put 3 coats on the wall even though I was painting over a previous iteration of red. It was the lamp finials I was commenting on... I love them; I think the little details are frequently the most important, little surprises for the eyes as they pass over a space. Here, I like to use little clumps of animal fur here and there to inject a touch of whimsy. ;)

Boy, do I ever "get" the whole overwhelmed feeling and paralysis associated with so much flux in your life. I took the same approach you did, Honey. Exactly. I simply started doing things instead of sitting around being freaked out by the scope of what lay before me. It worked! and I'm an inveterate list maker, too. The helpmeet takes one look at my lists and about keels over, "you want me to do all this?!". No dear, I want to get all this done and I will "cut your meat for you" to make it easier. I give him the portions of a project I need to have him do and give him the time they must be done. And then I move right in and finish the rest of my work. There was tremendous grousing about the Salon earlier this fall (very unpleasant and frustrating for me), but now the hearth, stairwell, and the woodwork is FINISHED. I've asked for NO help with the masonry, the pickling, the finishing, or the floor (aside from chalking the lines). I am saving my requests for the next steps that will require his particular skill set. I think the best part of it all for me is the renewed feeling that I'm capable and organized and within that framework can give innate creativity a work out, too. So, good for you, Honey!

OK, runnin' late again and have to hustle on out the door even though there's a lot more I'd like to comment on.

And yes, Cindy, "be brilliant today" certainly applies to those for whom just getting upright and in motion presents a challenge. :)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 5:50AM
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Just a quick pop in this morning

David had a successful day back at school yesterday (and me at work) and I dropped him off again this morning. He was exhausted afterwards but happy to be back with his friends. Unfortunately last night was bad again - burning, pins and needles and achiness in his nerve damaged foot. We were up for a couple of hours and I persuaded him to take half of one of his pain medications to allow his body to rest. We both made it up this morning and he seemed remarkably cheerful heading out this morning. I, on the other hand am dragging:0(

Honey - FABULOUS to have you back and hear all your news, but what a year you've had. Love seeing all the redecorating pics.

Eden - after much searching I've found an amazing small yarn shop locally that has tons of needle felting supplies at great prices. They supply wool roving to spinners and you can buy small amounts for a fraction of anything I saw on the web in lovely hand dyed colors. Email me and I'd love to put together a package for you as it would be easy to mail in a padded envelope. Bella would adore some of the little animals.

V - your celiac relative but might like to check out the site below. All the recipes are great and she has tons of useful information, especially for soemone just starting to cook gluten free. The basement is smashing!

Michelle - sorry to hear about your arthritis and hope there are treatments out there to allow a good quality of life.

Must go check on Clousseau. He ran off while I drove David to school (I think he didn't realize I'd be back in 10 minutes) and I need him back in the house before leaving for work. Now who is it who hates dogs?



    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:17AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

When thoughts of being a grandmother are in the air, I think Eden and I also have thoughts about our parents as well. Last night DH and I scanned in a couple of photos, this one being of my grandmother with her three children. That curly girlie is my Mom. The photo is from 1917.

Must go do the breakfast thing. I forgot that stage earlier today!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 9:33AM
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It's great to have Honey back, and even more fun to poke around her house :) I, too, liked your window treatments, and have been looking at a similar fabric in Smith and Noble's catalog.

I love that photo, GB. I wish we all still took formal photos. I take every advantage when my kids are dressed up for special occasions....hmm....time to get Jake in a suit, and soon!

V., I love the basement. I wish I hadn't missed it in person. Maybe I can be Deanne's assistant when she comes out to photo for your book :)

My guess is that Michelle's MIL's farm is now her least to my eye they look like the same place!

Michelle, houses do look sad without a life going on inside them. Even new houses look funny when they're empty. Will it be fun to fix it up in the company of your siblings? I imagine it will be.

Mary, I really enjoyed that blog! Clousseau must smell spring in the air....Zeus has been following his nose lately, too.

The rats just had housekeeping come in (that's me) and Sarah's going to give them a washcloth bath tonight. They're very interesting little creatures who have very small needs and like the company of each other. I said "eewww" the first time I rat sat, but now I see what nice pets they make. Hamsters and gerbils have a much more pungent odor than these guys.

Well, time to go. Today is errand day, so that I can be out of the house while Magic happens. I even washed Zeus's bed so that Magic would happen for him, too :)


    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 10:26AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

DH was out walking Phoebe along the windbreak a few days ago and came back reporting that he had seen house finches and goldfinches out there. Well that was nice! But today we found out that he was mistaken. The same cluster of birds appeared by our front veranda and were chomping on the small spruce pine cones. I realized that the red birds and the yellow birds were the same species, and it turns out they are white winged crossbills! I've never studied a bird so carefully and wish Deanne were here to capture the male and female for me with her camera. Funny to see the "same" bird in both yellow and red! Those red birds sure are tough to distinguish: house finches, purple finches, grosbeaks, red crossbills and white winged crossbills. Photos make it easier to study them while they aren't flitting about.

About pet rats: Sarah had them for ages when she was little. It began with Coffee and Licorice. The vet actually suggested them for her, saying how fantastic they are. They are affectionate and smart and clean. Like cats, they have distinct personalities too. She made special tunnels for them to crawl through and let them run free in her bedroom while she studied. They'd crawl inside her sleeping bag too if she was snuggled in her bed reading. Unfortunately, they didn't live as long as they were supposed all pets. We went through surgery for one of them and had tearful moments. Luckily my cleaning lady at the time could deal with their presence.
Coffee & Licky:

Michelle, so sorry about the arthritis woes! My high school history teacher was incapacitated by RA and it was such a horrid business for her. I just have an arthritic thumb and that is nuisance enough!

Well Cindy, that's as brilliant as I'm up to today. ;)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 11:10AM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Good morning, all. Before I comment on your posts, let me share a story from last yr. when DH was in Budapest. He was working an hr. outside the city at a plant built during the industrial revolution and not updated since. The workers were clean and neat, but very poor. DHs car was 1 of 2 in the parking lot. Workers only had bikes. While in a back office, a skinny kitten came up to DH and rubbed against his leg. Heres Baby Kitty:

The next am, DH brot it breakfast sausage, which it scarfed down. By day 3, the kitten let DH pick it up and cuddle it. By day 4, DH was bringing it sausage, eggs and toast. But when he put the food down, the kitten left and went behind some boxes. She brot out Mama kitty. DH said he almost cried when he saw Mama kitty. She was very old and clearly starving. She was wobbly, could hardly stand while she ate, was nothing but fur and bones, and had terrible cataracts. Heres Mama Kitty:

The kitten brot Mama to the food so she could eat first. Mama ate quite a bit but left some for the kitten, who finished the meal. The next day DH brought 2 breakfasts. They ate every morsel, even toast and jelly he prepared for them. DH was concerned they wouldnt have anything to eat over the weekend. He found dried cat food at the market and left a bowl for them. When he came in on Monday, someone at the plant left a big bowl of water for them, too.

DH was concerned about what would happen to the kitties when he was reassigned, so he was thrilled when he saw the water bowl. Meanwhile, baby kitty was sitting on his lap all day while he was in the office. Mama kitty was feral, but purred when he put down food for her. Then when DH came in after the next weekend, there was a note for him in Hungarian and baby kitty was gone. DH had the note translated back at his hotel. It said, "Dont worry about the kitten. My daughter has been begging for a kitten. Weve taken it and it will have a good home with us."

Now DH was worried about old Mama kitty. Surely, she wouldnt survive w/o a handout. The following week when DH came in there was another note for him. It said, "Dont worry about Mama kitty. We need a cat to keep the rabbits out of the garden. She has a bed in our chicken coup and will be taken care of. Baby kitty is doing fine. She has her own bed but sleeps with my daughter in her bed instead. Shes adjusted well, except we have to lock her up when we eat dinner b/c she jumps on the table and attacks our food. Both cats will have good homes." We and DH were relieved. Hope you enjoyed this story.

Thanks, again, you guys, on the decorating. Its long overdue. DH really pushed me on repainting, thinking wed get a better price on more rooms. I only wanted to tackle our bedroom and bath. He finally realized that we really needed to bring these rooms into this century. The laundry room color is a little more mellow that it appears in the photo. Its on the north side of the house, so the color is uplifting, really. I saw the border and paint combo on a home tour last year and got the info on it. It was shocking when I first saw it in my house, to say the least. Every time DD passes it, she says, "Mom, boy thats GREEN." But were getting used to it. With all the accessories, trim and floor being white or off-white, it tones it down. As I said, Im still hunting for over-treatment fabric.

Michelle, Im so sorry you and your siblings have to deal with your parents house. Hopefully, with all of you pitching in, repairs and painting will go quickly. Its much easier to do when the house is empty. Hope you get some meds that work for you and make everyday living better. It has to be exhausting for you dealing with constant aches and pains.

Denise, that pantry is one of the main reasons I liked this house. It certainly WASNT the kitchen. Altho Ive contributed a lot to charity, I still have stuff and I couldnt stand not being able to see where it was or get at it. Im not sure those finials will stay on the mantle or not. They were different and an emotional buy. Glad you like them, too.

Marian, I know how embarrassing that had to be for you. When I was younger, I wrote a check at the grocery and left. As I was loading my car, a clerk came running from the store and told me my check was bad and he took my groceries back! I was mortified! I spoke with the mgr. who double checked. It turns out that there was someone with the same name, same drivers license number except off by one digit, who was passing bad checks. I got my groceries back, but I felt truly humiliated. I couldnt write a check w/o a problem for 2 yrs. I even had trouble with credit cards and had to ask clerks to double check my info. Sheesh. I hope it doesnt take long for you to resolve the problem.

Kathy, I appreciate your thots. I was/am feeling that our lives are so out of our control these days, that I had to do things I could control. Worrying was getting me nowhere.

Chelone, I see that were kindred spirits on control issues, list making and distracting by immersing yourself in something. DH refuses to look at lists I make for him. REFUSES. So I make his list for myself and ask him to do things one at a time. The reason I make lists is that I have CRAFTs disease (cant remember a freaking thing!). Wow, wow and wow about your floor and design. I stand in awe.

Norma, I agree. My DH doesnt see repairs that need to be done unless I point them out, either. He also HATES to have things torn up or out of place. It really bothers him and he cant stand it.

Mary, David should really take his pain meds continually, even if at a smaller dose. Medication builds up in your system and works more effectively. You and he both need your sleep. ((((Mary))))

Bug, what a gorgeous photo and keepsake! It could be from a magazine. And how much you look like your Mom. She had beautiful hair, too.

V, I love the photos you posted of your very, very special home. I have to say that your home and prairie was the highlight for me of the IU that year. We saw a lot of fabulous places, but none could hold a candle your special corner of the world.

OK, time for me to get crackin here. TTYL.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 12:01PM
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Yesterday was fabulous with the mercury hitting at least 57. The weather is supposed to turn nasty tomorrow with freezing rain and then snow. Of course thats when my appointment in the city is. DH mentioned maybe going up tonight and staying over. This is where my son lives but hes out of town visiting DD and family in FL this week. Im a little jealous that they are all together and Im not there. It really has been wonderful for DD and family all the guests that have come to visit since they moved there. I dont know if I mentioned or not that a couple that are really good friends of theirs who had been living in California moved to FL and are actually living in the same apt. complex as Laura and Mike.

Denise, the farm isnt the same. We have all white outbuildings, in my opinion not as cool as the red.

Chelone, we think in similar ways. I like to do as much as I can myself and save DHs help for the things that cant be done alone. I like to learn how to do new things and take pride in the finished product.

Mary, great to hear that David was able to return to school. I hope the nights get easier. What does the Dr. have to say about it?

Saucy, the house project probably will be fun but will need to be super organized to get what should get done in a mere weekend. I think that was exactly the problem there is when there was furniture etc you didnt notice the cracks in the walls and as for the basement the worst area, they had it chuck full so you didnt see the paneling was so bad.
bug, what lovely hair the whole family has.

Honey, what a wonderful story about the cats. Its good to know that there are caring people everywhere. Im sure that many would only want the kitten and not the mamma.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 1:54PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Although this site talks about absentee Dads, I thought it was terrific for anyone absent! Wonderful ideas on sharing your love. How about naming a star after your absent friend? Made me think of Michelle and Kenzie, Honey and Tom, etc.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 6:00PM
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And look at Mom's shoes requiring the services of a button hook! Grandmother was a beauty, though I'd guess that wearing glasses was seen as something less than glamorous back then. Interesting that she left them on for the photo, when glasses are clearly not needed. Not a vain woman perhaps?

Regarding repurposing old furniture, making to-do lists, sounds like I'm on the same page as the restayas...I make the lists, do what I can do like grunt labor, and Marty does the fine construction bit. Which has served us fine up til now, and the spirit is still willing but now his back is weak, not a good combination for an old wooden house that needs constant maintenance ;)

Honey, the Budapest cat story was charming, and that old, circa Industrial Revolution plant sounds pretty interesting to a nerd like me too ;) I know it is a hardship, but what fabulous places your DH is visiting.

Kathy, it's so nice to hear you planning seeds for this summer rather than being in garden limbo like last year. Having family already up in the PNW should be a great advantage in terms of getting a jump on hot real estate tips when the market thaws a bit. My folks were also attempting to sell about the time you were and, apart from the general slowdown, were stunned to hear prospective buyers say their kitchen was so dated! (Well, Mom, it is! Spotlessly clean but dated nonetheless, just like mine...except for the spotless bit, that is.) My real estate fantasy lately involves an Airstream, the silvery zeppelin-looking trailer, plunked down on about an acre in a rainy zone 8. It just seems so impossible to find an affordable house AND in the right garden spot. On the zinnea front, I think I'm going for purple and lime green.

Michelle, I was thinking your DH was still working his childhood farm, which would be amazing. Both farms are beautiful! What a proactive way to handle your aches with the swimming...good for you. Those warmer temps can't hurt either ;)

Mary, I remember Marty was on Neurontin for nerve pain, but I'm not sure about its use in kids. Maybe something to ask the doc about if the sleepless nights persist. Great that you're both back to school!

Right outside my office window Angelica pachycarpa has started to dramatically unfurl a flower. Umbellifers are just the best...

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:28PM
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Darkening sky this evening as we wait for the next storm series. No one is complaining, another several inches would be welcome.

Green and purple are good Denise- and I confess that I ordered Green Envy seeds last night after pondering Michelles photo, also the Celosia spicata Flamingo Feather and a fresh pack of Nicotiana langsdorfii. Yeah, I figure that if things brighten up later this year my investment in annual seeds will not be regretted. I am going to buy some lily bulbs too. I really think it might be spring of 2010 before I list this house again, but will reassess in late summer. I think all the bank owned stuff and short sells will have to move before things loosen up. My BILS live in the SW hills of Portland and their nieghtbor a few doors down have completed restoration on a classic vintage Airstream. Its really beautiful -they always remind me of the Arizona desert for some reason.

Tithonia is up in the seeding nursery and Deanne, I would be more that happy to share or trade with you since I will have more than enough plants -I probably only have room for one !

What a lovely story Honey , of the Hungarian kitty family. Our late Boo-Boo kitty was feral-my DH brought him home in his shirt pocket after finding him in the vineyard outside his office. He was such a sweet cat, and lived to a very ripe old age, 16 or 17 as I recall.

bug, I really can see your face in grandmothers photo. I also noticed how joyful and spontaneous the childres expressions are-often people look very dour and formal in photos form that era.

Im off to have dinnerlater all !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 9:29PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

(My sister laments that she sees our grandmother when she looks in the mirror these days. I do see some of her too, but mostly I take after my father's side of the family, heavy, round in the face, and broad in the shoulders. Sigh.

Grandmother was named Mabel. Mabel was an interesting, difficult, misunderstood woman. She was a university graduate when that was not only unusual, but given her circumstances, very difficult! I think she always wore glasses and really needed them too, however not for the photo. Perhaps she wanted to appear "intellectual"?)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 9:49PM
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I see your face in the childish face of your mother, too, 'bug. And it's a great portrait. We don't have any family portraits of Mum, Dad, my brother, and me. Though there are some interesting series of Mum's family and Dad's family in one of the large plastic tubs under my bed. Sadly, many of the pictures are not labelled and I don't know the names of the faces; not that it really matters since there is no one to pass them on to. I have my paternal grandmother's vanity set and the obligatory button hook is included! Don't suppose Sarah would permit a sailor suit if Surprise turns out to be Sir Prize, huh? ;) (Your completely useless factoid is that the great racehorse Man O' War was foaled in 1917, too).

I spent yesterday morning cutting foam and then jamming it inside vinyl covers, a smart reminder that my wrists had received a very thorough work out the day before. Today it will be a series of large covers for a cable laying ship that will return to port in a few weeks. The fabric involved is not the most forgiving to work on, but there is considerable shape in them and it will be interesting to put them together. Later, I have a couple of pair of slacks to hem.

I liked the Hungarian kitty story, too. And I hope one day I'll be able to visit some of those places. Jeez, I'd like to get across the Mississippi some day, lol. Speaking of kitties, Spencer decided to shoot out the door last night and was gone for an hour +, unusual because he usually comes running when called. It was quite cold and the helpmeet went out a few time to call him. On one trip out he flashed the flashlight through the woods and saw 3 pair of eyes looking back at him. Spencer showed up at the back door a few minutes later. We figured the eyes were probably those of either racoons or maybe foxes, though foxes tend to be vocal at this time of year. In over 20 yrs. the helpmeet still hasn't mastered the technique of putting his leg in the opening of the door to prevent "zipping out" by incarcerated felines. ;)

I always wanted a guinea pig and Mum steadfastly refused. I like rats, too, and always think they'd be fun to have. I've read that they are quite intelligent and very affectionate. But I like most animals very much (except dogs), in fact, I generally prefer them to most people. Present company excepted. ;)

With thoughts of Bella's charming dream and many smiles provided by my virtual friends I must now make my leave. It's "Friday" for me and after the hemming this afternoon I may return to the Salon and daydream of window treatments while I skillfully trace the triangles for a second time.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 5:29AM
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Why am I here so early? Hmmm,well I happen to wake up and as I looked at the sky to check for stars I noticed a steady blinking light I don't remember seeing before. I got up to check it out and found it to be the neighborhood tower that is some distance away. It is just so overcast that it is really projecting far out.

As I scrolled down the thread I really scoped out all the photos. What an interesting and diversified one this has been. I found it a bit humorous to see rats directly above kittys. Thank you both for relating the stories connected to those pictures, Bug and honey.
I saw a family resemblance too Bug, and also noticed the smiling kids. The photographer must have had a way with children.

Deniese, I like the purple and lime zinna theme.

Kathy you seem to be getting more rain than I've heard you tell about before. Does it saturate the ground or just seem to drain away like in FL?

Michelle we had a nice day yesterday too. Unfortunately I had to go to town for such staples as cat and dog food milk and such. I did get out to burn off four more grasses and plan to do a few more this morning before it rains.

My forsythia branches are still in full bloom and I brought in a quince branch yesterday so will see how that goes. It has nice little buds on it.

Time for more coffee or a nap. Norma

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 5:54AM
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Chelone, I like your take on Sir Prize.

Gbug, I've been thinking about the pink knitting. Perhaps if it is a girl Sarah wouldn't mind something in a really dusky pink tone with a little toned down green (towards olive) trim. Something more nature related is what I'm trying to get at. Your good at that sort of thing. Any way my two cents worth. Take it or leave it.

And speaking of Sir Prize, I think it is about time for an update on Mr. Baby Kathy. Surely he is about to become a toddler or am I rushing him alon a bit?


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 6:11AM
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Well is this disjointed or what? Two more things I ment to comment on.

I think we should have a bird photo from Deanne on every thread .

Also I see such a trend in my family as well as those of several Idylls. Partners who have to work nights or travel afar to work. The family dynamics have really changed or have they? I just had a flashback thought of pioneer women taking over things while men were away. Anyway, this bunch is as sturdy as any.

I'm quitting now. N.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 6:28AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

We had a lovely sunny day here yesterday and the stronger sun is really starting to make things feel like spring is on the way. We still have lots of birds here but the populations are shifting and the Redpolls are gone as well as half the Siskins that were here. The Cardinals and Tufted Titmouse are starting their territorial singing and I had Red-winged Blackbirds here yesterday as well. Spring is well and truly on the way.

Ive got to take some of the chunks of debris off this house in preparation for the Thumbs party this weekend. I cant wait to see everyone. This is like the beginning of the 2009 Garden season as far as Im concerned. LOL

Honey, great to have you back! Love all the pictures and stories.

Saucy, I cant believe you have Crossbills there!!! How wonderful! How long have they been around? I might have to make a trek south with my camera. Ive never photographed that species before.

Bug, love that photo! Wonderful pic and I think you look very much like your mother.

V. your basement looks beautiful. Nothing like a fresh coat of paint!

Mary, I surely hope you got a good nights sleep last night! You must be running on nervous energy.

Kathy, thats a lot of rain! ~~ Well no worries about the Tithonia seedling, I caved and bought some seed myself. Ill see how I get on with it.

Eden, you are an enabler, I bought some seeds for those zinnias too!!! Its hopeless. ~~ I just love the story about Bellas dream! Wonderful.

Michelle, love the barn with the zinnias.

OK Ive got to get my day started here. Have a good one everybody


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 7:03AM
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Oh Deanne, I can not take credit for the crossbills! They're camping out at GB's place :)

What nice reads this morning :) GB, we were going to take a picture of Griffin and Goober (the rats) but my blasted battery is still dead (will I never learn?)! My Sarah enjoyed your Sarah's rats :)

Not much to say here. I just said goodbye to Nick who is in Boston for the day, and Sarah and Jake are off to school. I'm actually feeling like I could use a day of leisure and to spruce up my bedroom. Honey's remodel has me ready for a redo.

So is it possible to leisurely spruce? I'm going to turn on some music later and try :)

Have a good day, all!


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 7:19AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

LOL Saucy, for some reason when I saw the pic of the rats I thought they were yours so thought the Crossbills were yours as well. Teach me to read a little more carefully. I guess I can't jump in the car with camera in hand to get Crossbill pics.

Sorry Bug, wish I could come and visit with my camera!


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 7:51AM
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Good morning

David not only had a good day at school but made it to his guitar ensemble yesterday evening. The new support he has makes playing so much easier. When we arrived he heard the news that another of the other boys in the group broke his femur at the weekend skiing. Two out of six students with broken femurs - now what are the odds of that? After the group we treated ourselves to dessert at the coffee shop next door. It was a real treat.

It has felt great to get back to work though I am having to remind myself not to feel overwhelmed at times. Lack of sleep does not help in those situations but the weekend will be here before we know it.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 8:22AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Good morning all...

I got the snafu cleared up with the checks, except I have not contacted Checks Unlimited yet. The customer service lady was very apologetic. Naturally it was not the store's was only the check printing company who was at fault.

Whoohoo! I have a new perm! I feel like a new person. :-)
I enjoy visiting with my hairdresser as much as I enjoy getting a perm. We have so much in common, and talk non stop. She came up with a lot of good information for what I need, with my remoteness and my ailing DH. Her mother had lived with her the past several years, and passed away recently, at 91. One of her suggestions is that I get a Tracfone with prepaid hours, for emergency calls, espacially, both at home and on the road.I plan on checking on that. She admonished me to NOT get on a chair when doing things like the chandelier job, and told me of a neat stepladder that Walmart sells. ( I told her I had stood on a chair for that job.)
You gals are all great inablers. and so is she. :-)

I took my camera on my trip out, and got more pics of the devestation along the roads and in town. It continues to boggle my mind. I stopped at the One Stop on the way home. One of the local First Responders was there. She pointed out how much worse the fire hazard will be in the woods this year, due to all the downed limbs and trees. As you all know, our home is surrounded by woods! Nothing gives me a greater fear than a wild fire coming through our place.

The predicted rain is beginning. There is the possibility of severe weather....hail and tornados! Just what we need!

I got more yard work done yesterday afternoon. More limbs put on piles, and some clean-up in both front and back beds. How I hope my strength improves. The pain and fatigue are overwhelming when I try to do such jobs.

I feel so sorry for Michelle, and all others who suffer from chronic pain. Only those who do so can understand what it is like. And the sad thing is...the difficulty definitely increases as one ages. 20 years ago I was doing many of the same things that you all are doing now. I scoffed at the older ladies who kept saying..."Wait until you are my age". Of course, having Fibromyalgia, and arthritis at a fairly young age puts one in a differant category than those who have not had such conditions.

Honey, I can understand the job at the florist saving your sanity. When I first got on line it was a 'life saver' for me. Being a member of the Idylls was an added help. then when I goofed up here, the other forum that I was posting on was my mind-saver. I fulfilled my needs there, and am very seldom posting there anymore. My mental and physical setbacks are a constant condition that I struggle with. Having a deteriorating Dh adds to the struggle. I feel as though I am at a higher plateau this year, but who knows when I will plunge again? As I said, I work at it constantly, and I have lots of help...some of which is at a much higher plane. :-)

The story of the kitten and the mama cat is very heartwarming. It sounds very much like something both Nolon and Tim would do. I am happy that anothr kind soul took them in.

I am not able to do the heavy labor that you spoke of , Honey. I once could, but no more....But I do understand how helpful it can be. My finaces prevent me from getting outside help.

My houseplants are an aid to my 'therapy', but they are such a drawback when and if I want to go somewhere for a few days. Even if it was not for staying with Nolon, I would have the plants and the cats to be responsible for. Neighbors would willingly tend to the cats, but I would not,could not, expect them to tend to 100 or so potted plants.:-(

I appreciate your kind words, Honey. And the kind words of others also. They help sustain me.

V, you have a very intriguing house. I love the pics of the stairway.And the paint color is lovely.

Michelle, I hope you can keep your vow towards your place. I certainly did not foresee what all has befell both our house, and ourselves. Having sufficient finances to hire help would make a huge differance also. I never realized how badly a house can deteriorate over the years. I had never lived in one this long before. I can certainly understand the condition of your parent's house. I am sure they did not blindly allow it to get in such a condition.

Saucy, I will pass on the rats. Our cats are more than I need to maintain. :-) I am afrad the rats rather creep me out!

Eden, I love the story about Bella's dream. What a great tribute to her grandmother.

Wow, Kathy! You are catching up on the rainfall aren't you. That is great.
I am afraid painting is not the solution to our house's needs. There are too many repairs that need done first. About the only things in the interior that could be painted without major repair first is the woodwork and the kitchen cabinets and cupboards. If they were refinished it would perk things up a lot.The cabinet and cupboards need hingework, but otherwise good enameling would really help.

Norma, sorry about your friends RA. I know that is a devestating condition, but varies with it's intensity. It was first thought that I had that, but ruled out when I was not showing the conditions that go with it.
Your take on Michelle's parents home is similar with mine, and your DH shares Nolon's lack of interest. Of course, now he is unable to do a lot of the things that he once could.

Mary, I am so happy that David's activities are looking up. I can hardly imagine what a relief getting back to a more normal day is to you both. And it is great that Annie had such a nice visit at her aunts.
I hope the nerve pain is soon gone. There is no worse pain than nerve pain.

Marie, you had such a handsome family! How good that the photogapher had the children smiling. All of the old pics of my relatives are so solemn looking. I am not as good at detecting resemblances as many of you are. I do not see my parents in any of my siblings or myself. My brother comes the nearest. He looks guite a bit lok our dad. If he were dressed the same, the resemblance would be more noticable.
We do not have the crossbills here. They are farther north, even in the winter. The main bird of that coloring that we have is the purple finches, and they have been rather scarce the past few years.

Honey, your check experience was lots more humiliating than mine! I probably would have never returned to that store. Since I have I new hairdo, the folks in that store will not associate the new me with the earlier snafu. :-)


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 10:07AM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Marian, I was really embarrassed in the parking lot and the store. I wrote a letter to the head of the nat'l chain and got a note of apology plus a gift certificate. I used the latter, but they lost a customer for good. You may not have that option, but if you do, consider it.

About hiring help, the guy I've been using is out of work, out of unemployment and needs $ to eat. I also make sure I feed him lunch. I do all the prep work ahead of time, get mat'ls, line up everything and work with him to maximize his time here and so I can afford it. I didn't have him often, but it's an option if I need it. He works for very little. It helps both of us.

I'm also fortunate that I can grab the kid next door for little things. DD and I were doing laundry in the dark for about 2 weeks. DH had tightened the light fixture fasteners in the laundry room so tight that neither DD or I could get the globe off. I couldn't use pliers or tools b/c I'd either scratch it up or break the globe. It was just maddening that I couldn't take care of it w/o help. After Mike did my snow last wk, he helped me with the light fixture. Grrrrr. I also have a great neighbor down the street that DH and I have helped from time to time, to call on in an emergency --- like last yrs. faucet/flood snafu. He's been a great help this year.

I have more comments, etc., but must get to many errands. I'll be back. TTYL.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 12:41PM
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Oops, we missed a birthday on the 19th!

Happy Birthday to Prairie Moon! A picture from last spring. It'll be here again soon!


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 12:57PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Well PM! I hope it was a calm and happy one for you. I'm wishing you some good health in this coming year, along with happy family times!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 2:02PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Happy Birthday PM!!!!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 4:29PM
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    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 5:03PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

First: I know we need a new thread but I don't know how to start one! Woohoo, PM2, Happy birthday to you (singing). (You really don't want to hear that *LOL*)

And Honey! I don't "know" you yet but you sure have a "Honey" of a house.

I'm afraid that we are much too rough-and-tumble to allow such beautiful decorating to survivie - we have a nice house, but much plainer than yours! I love marble-topped furniture and consider myself to be extremely lucky to have possession of the bedroom suite that my great grandfather gave to his intended as a wedding gift around 1850. I have four pieces: washstand, dresser, bed (a short three quarter!) and a tall bedside table that I use as a plant stand.

I don't have a decent photo of the nighttable , and I dare not venture into the lair of my son, who is currently living in our basement and sleeping in the bed. When he goes (if ever! Sheesh!) I will turn his room into a guest room and spruce up the bed etc.

I am always looking for good home recipes for household use, and someone has given me one for furniture cleaner/polish. It works wonders on the antiques. We had these pieces in the basement with junk on them until we saw some similar ones for sale in an antique shop. We came home and brought them upstairs in jig time !!

Marie, I love the cardinal photo. You can just feel "Winter" in that shot, and yet...the hope from a beautiful bird! Well done!

Now that I've previewed my message, I can't go back and reread what's been said by everyone! Hate that! I'm going to leave out a whole lot of stuff!

So: Mary, it sounds like David is doing great. The nerve pain means that the nerves are regenerating - as I said somewhere, mine went on for four months. What a drag! But it is really something to celebrate: his body is doing what it is supposed to. Believe me, you all have my sympathies!

Marian: I really get it when you talk of Nolon's deterioration. My DH is still a relatively young man, but much of the vigour and enthusiasm that he harboured in his youth is now spent (Boy! I can really wax poetic when I want to!!). He does do things around here, minor repairs etc., and he does notice when things need doing, but he often puts some things on a list and does them when he is up to it. Often his is not up to it for quite a while. I am very healthy and still energetic so a lot of stuff is done my me, and I remember when these things were not my jobs to do. We have been fortunate to be able to move into a relatively new home where there is not much big physical stuff to be done. But I sure do miss my large 100 year old Victorian, where the ambience of gracious living was evident everywhere. But still I have many many blessings to count!

One thing that is not a blessing is that something is haywire with this computer and it just shuts itself off whenever it feels like. So I am going to post this now and check back later to see if somebody has started a new thread!

Cheers, all!


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 5:25PM
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Happy Birthday PM2~~


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 5:26PM
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