Mom's Things

I'm not a particularly sentimental person. I used to be, but I've lost so many precious things through the years that I've had to learn to be a little Zen about personal memorabilia and trinkets from the past.

Once you lose the family pictures, nothing seems very important.

Over the weekend, we went through everything in the garage. Some things hadn't been opened and gone through for nearly 10 years.

The peculiar feeling for me was finding what little was left of my mother's belongings. As some of you know, she came to live with us in the Autumn of 2000 following a stroke. Most of her things got left in Denver, but I packed her teacups and silver -- mostly things that had been passed down from her mother. Yesterday, I came across two crocheted afghans she didn't get to finish before her unexpected death in December, 2004. What do I do with those? They're small and can't be used for anything, but they were the last ones she worked on. I found pictures of her friends, people who have also passed. No one knows who they are, except Joel and me, so I bit the bullet and threw them away. Sad. I wonder how many of my favorite photos will be tossed because our kids won't know who they're of.

Here some things we found that belonged to both her and us (they enlarge when clicked):

Porcelain earrings that my mother's step-mother made, probably about 70 years ago.

A pillbox that belongs to Nettl.

My filigree pewter and marcasite shoe buckles now sit with a photo of Ville and me at Nettl's and my Holy Union service in 2001, and a silver box I've had for ages.

Have a great Monday, everyone!


He's Not There

Micah left this afternoon to take care of all the falderall surrounding the sale of his father's house in Kansas. He'll be gone for two weeks.

Because I didn't get to raise him past the age of two, having him with me these last few years has been very precious, providing me with the ability to make up for lost time... somewhat. It took me about a year to recognize my little boy in the man who was creating music in his room, but he was in there all along; I no longer feel the grief I knew for so many years. I got to know his favorite foods, drinks, and music. I experienced his quiet strength and I learned how to interpret his silences. He ceased to be a stranger.

Tonight I went out to the garage to look for a curtain for the front door and his absence hit me like a wall. He and I are usually up all night, I here in the living room and he out at his workbench. There was no music, no light cloud of smoke, no head bent over his current project - Micah makes custom-designed guitar straps that are beginning to get noticed by touring bands.

Of course, I know this is only the beginning. In October he's going to England for a few weeks, then next year he'll be moving there. He'll be gone again.

Call me a sap, but I miss him already.

"Guitar is an extension of the Self
Giving reach into the depths of the soul
It is also a friend and loyal companion
When the road of life grows cold."

(Micah Atwell)


There's a World Out There!

Yesterday I set myself to the task of washing the kitchen windows, as well as the kitchen door, which is one of those glass and screen aluminum jobs. All of the windows in this house have storm windows, which aren't easy to dismantle and clean. After figuring out the secret to doing this, I got the door and the large window sparkling clean, using a 3M pad to get rid of water spots, and lots of Windex and paper towels. All that's left in that room is the window above the sink, which I'm going to get to in a few moments.

It's amazing to me that people have lived in this house all these years and never once cleaned a window. Lazy students, mostly. We can actually see outside now! I only wish this job was as easy as using a squeegie...


Beavis and Butt-Head all Grown Up

I discovered this afternoon that this year Beavis and Butt-Head are 30 years old. I don't mean the TV show, I mean the boys themselves. I had one of the DVDs in this afternoon and in one of the episodes they had to show their birth certificates in order to take Driver Ed. Although Butt-Head's clearly read "1978" the online powers that be say that he was born on July 29, 1979. Beavis was born on October 28 of the same year. Oh man, a Leo and a Scorpio, just like my two guys, Joel and Micah.

I always knew it.

So What Do You Do?

Yesterday I had a meeting with two of the OSU music department professors to do some work on the website I built for them in 2007. It was at Panera, at 8:30 in the morning. Eight-effin'-thirty. What kind of people have meetings in the middle of the night anyway?

The meeting went very well and I walked out with two new sites to build, in addition to the maintenance work on the existing site. Not bad!

Here's a diagram I found called, "Small Talk with a Web Designer". Click to embiggiate.

Because I took a long après dîner nap, I'll be here all night, working. After the job-parched summer I've had, I'm more than happy to be back to my old familiar grind.


Saturday Madness

Two dogs across the street played
happily with each other.
Yesterday, we worked in the front yard, cleaning up flower beds and trimming overgrown hedges and shrubs. Here are some pictures for you (they enlarge).


Coffee in Bed

Coffee in bed on Saturday has become a private tradition of mine. Nothing and no one moves my butt until I have my coffee. Today, however, I wish that I had a plate of Kaiserschmarrn and some good Salzburg bacon to go with it.

We have plans to do some yard work today. Plans, I say. We'll see what happens. Meantime, this coffee is "the boss of me".


Mowsie... Come Out and Pway-ay!

Our cat enjoys staring down her prey.

Photo by HorusJ

Quiet Nights at Last

This is a picture of the candle jar that sits on the bistro table on the porch.

Do you remember my quacking on last summer about the two AC turbines that sat only a few yards from our bedroom at the other house? Well, it's worth everything to be all the way across town from them. No one's supposed to live like that!..


Our Little Secret

Okay, so it's almost the South. It may not be the Deep South, but it's South enough. It's called the Mid-Southwest, but to me, this is the outer reaches of the South. Hey, Civil War battles were fought here, so that cinches it for me. It's the South. Remember the Mason-Dixon Line?

Anyway, my point is, it's buggy here. Really buggy. In California we had ants, some mosquitoes, a few flies, June bugs, and snails. Here, it's mosquitoes, flies, cicadas, June bugs, and roaches (the cicadas are polite, however, and never venture into the house. They're happy just to sing outside in the trees). Roaches, especially, are an anathema to me because to have them in California equates filth, trash... filth. I've lived in a few old houses and I've never had roaches. I'm your basic Felix Unger, you understand...


The Loo Blues

It's an old house, granted, but when we moved in we immediately noticed that the toilet in the master bathroom ran. And ran. And ran. Nettl thought she'd fixed it last weekend, but yesterday it started running again, and badly. Thinking it was a simple float adjustment, I opened up the tank and took my screwdriver to it. Applying only a little pressure to the gizmo that holds the float in place, the entire intake ballcock came off (yeah, I said ballcock). The wingnut that held it in place was so corroded that it snapped in half. (See Anatomy of a Toilet.)...


Grey Tuesday

It's one of those days that comes after a storm. Grey, wet, still. It's cool enough to keep one indoors, but warm enough to open the windows and switch off the air conditioner. It's the kind of day that Kodachrome film used to love. The cat enjoys sitting in the window and the plants outside spring to new life.

Have a nice Tuesday.


A Few of Our Favorite Things

Our things just look better in this old cottage than they did in the newer house we recently moved from. I thought I'd share some of our little treasures with you (pictures enlarge when clicked).

My mother was born in 1925, and this was her baby plate. It has a small chip in it, but other than that, it's in perfect condition. If anything ever happened to it, I'd just die. It's nice to think that when this cottage was built, my mother was just beginning kindergarten.


Our Cottage Kitchen

As promised, here are before and after photos of the kitchen. It's still a little bare, but we'll take care of that in no time! The color we chose for the kitchen is called Sweet Basil...

Before: A lackluster rental kitchen.

After: Life happens!

Before: From the dining room, through the wine room and kitchen to the mud room.

After: Looking the opposite direction.

Before: Dull, dingy kitchen and mud room.

After: Not so dull anymore.

And now, two bonus pictures:


Sweet Basil Cocktail
10 basil leaves, plus one for garnish
3 oz. Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz. gin
1 oz. simple syrup

Lightly muddle 10 basil leaves in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and other ingredients, and shake well. Double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with extra basil leaf. Served in Baccarat, it's a perfect drink!

Pictures of the bathroom will come tomorrow.


The Last Painting Day

We were going to paint both the kitchen and the master bath today, but we did the kitchen last night. Wow! What a difference! I'll post some before and after shots of both rooms later. Right now, I'm trying to wake up. I took a Benadryl last night and it made me sleep way too late.

The kitchen is a pale, clean and modern green called Sweet Basil and the bathroom will be Freshwater Blue, not much different than the background color of this blog.

We discovered a little secret about the paint we've used in this house. Being on a very tight budget, we went to Walmart and were really happily surprised at how good their Color Place paint is. It's a great one-coat, low smell, great coverage, true to its samples paint, so we started wondering if it wasn't a name brand in disguise. And it goes a long, long way. I've never used a paint that goes as far as this does. I went onto the web and sure enough, it's actually Sherwin-Williams. Why pay $18-$25 dollars a can when you can pay $8? The only catch is that you don't have as many colors to choose from, but meh. Big deal. Make it work.

Okay, I have to finish my coffee and put on my painting clothes; I'm itching to see the transformation that's going to happen in the bathroom!


Bulleting My Blahs

I've got a bad case of the blahs today. It's probably just a reaction to the move, but it bugs me because it isn't like me to wake up bored, live through the day bored, and go to bed bored. I've never been bored in my life. Uh-oh. Does this mean that I've gotten boring? Must be, because here comes a bullet list:


On the Cusp of Night and Day

Here it is 5:15 in the morning and I'm still awake. Getting my body used to new meds does this to me. I don't mind tonight, though. Because I've worked so hard the last two days, I'd already planned to take it easy today. This means that I'll catnap through the day and come out none the worse by evening...


Nightmares and Dreams

I didn't have a lot of nightmares as a kid, which is strange due to the kind of childhood I had. In fact, I never really had nightmares until about 20 years ago. I sometimes have an old familiar nightmare about being hunted, usually by WWII enemy forces, but beyond that, nothing recurring. My nightmares are never ghoulish or creepy, they're usually rooted in everyday things. When I was a full-time, professional performer I dreamt about being on stage and forgetting my lyrics, or opening my mouth to sing and nothing coming out. Pure anxiety, nothing predictive or esoteric about it...


Summer Storms

After a fairly quiet but productive day during which I set up the little wine room area off of the kitchen, Joel and I left for the local Hellmart to get groceries. I guess my first clue that this wasn't such a great idea should have been the fact that Nettl had been sent home a little early because a pretty nasty storm was just beginning to blow in. Across the street though, a neighbor sat on his front porch, so I made a joke and we got into the car and left...


A Normal Weekend, Considering

It was a normal weekend. Quiet and lazy. We did nothing but watch movies, except on Saturday night when Dr. Kielbasa came over armed with two bottles of wine and, on Sunday, when I did two loads of wash. Although it was quiet, it was not without its bumps. I'm beginning to wonder if anything will ever be easy again...


Saturday Morning Pre-Coffee Exchange

Me: This cat's been pissing me off all week.
Nettl: She's a cat. (In a kitty voice:) "I'm adjusting to this new life too, y'know."
Me: Well, why can't she just slip into a quiet state of despair like the rest of us?
Nettl: She's a cat.
Me: She's f***ing weird.


This Small Space

Our first week in the cottage is over and the only thing I'm having trouble with is the feeling of being cramped into a smaller space. In the living room, the corner where the TV and stereo are, is dark, but there's no way to put a lamp there. Also, there's all of our books, CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes. The latter three groups can be stored in a drawer under the window seat in our bedroom, but I like having my books out. I think these issues will be solved once we can afford a smaller sofa. Besides being huge, this one's upholstery is dated, dark, and visually demanding...


Mixing My Metaphors and Loving It

The phrase, "a monkey on my back" has always conjured up the most terrifying image. Now that we've moved and lowered our monthly out-flow (rent, utilities, gas, and groceries), I can see that our big, beautiful house was a gigantic monkey on our backs. Actually, it was King Kong and we were a 3,000 square foot house, not the Empire State building! What a load! A beautiful, yet blood-sucking monkey...


First Pictures - Before & After

Yes, it's small. We've moved from a 5-bedroom 3000sf house into a 3-bedroom 1200sf house. Small, but really cozy and charmingly intimate after dark. In fact, I'm amazed by how much my favorite folk and chamber music got lost in the other place. Here, I'm enjoying listening to music again. When you look at these, remember that the walls are still pretty bare. Pictures will be put up as soon as I can once again look a ladder in the face. I still can't find the living and dining room curtains, either. Click to enlarge...

Back Online

Hello Everyone! Well, we're all moved in. Sort of. Of course, the garage is so full of boxes that we have both cars parked in the driveway, but we can at least make coffee, pour wine, shower, and sleep in our beds. What an ordeal! The internet dude just left the house, so here we are online again.