Thursday, June 7, 2018

Enjoying Family

Gary's off to work and the kids are upstairs sleeping.  Rob will be home from work in a couple of hours and I'll have all my kids home.  Other people look forward to holidays, for me it's these two weeks in the summer when my family is all together again.  I'm enjoying having everyone together ... cooking dinners and gathering around the dining table to eat and talk and laugh.  Making memories.  Watching movies together.  Gary got out a box of old pictures last night for him and Phoenix to look through.  Some of those pictures I haven't seen in years.  I am so happy for the digital age LOL.  

Yesterday was our lazy day, Rachel worked on "school stuff" and Phoenix and Rob played games before Rob had to sleep before work.  Phoenix went up to his room and did his thing.  I cooked most of the day and we watched some Project Runway.  It was a nice day to just relax a little.  Today we'll bring out the sewing machines and get some of the projects we need to get done .. done.  Maybe this evening Phoenix and I'll take a walk and do a bit of photography.  

Tomorrow we plan to go to OKC to Shakespeare in the Park to see Midsummer Night's Dream.  It'll be me, Rachel, Rob and Phoenix.  It'll be a lot of fun.  This is the birthday weekend.  Saturday evening we'll go see The Drunkard and the Olio in Tulsa and Gary will join us for that.  We haven't been there for several years and Phoenix wanted to see it again.   (I've included the links to both places in case you want to check them out).  Sunday we'll celebrate Rob and Phoenix's birthdays with cake and ice cream to round off the weekend.  

This week is all about favorite recipes in our family.  For Rachel is was the No-Bake cookies.  She has been craving those so I got those made up for her and while I was at it I went ahead and made Oatmeal Cookies with cranberries for Gary.  Last night's dessert was banana pudding.  We haven't had that in years.  The favorite birthday cake is the Wacky Cake every year for every one.  I've been making it for gosh I don't know almost 50 years.  They feel deprived if I don't make the Wacky Cake for their birthday day.  I've included some of the recipes in this blog post.  My oatmeal cookies recipe I'll write up another time.  I'll get some pictures up soon.  We're having a wonderful time.  Even the cats are enjoying the visit.  Bandit manages to get herself locked into one room or the other every night.  Our ninja cat sneaks in ... you would think one big fat cat could be seen but she manages to sneak past you every time.  I'm not sure how she does it but she wakes you up in the middle of the night wanting out of the room.  

Have a wonderful day and enjoy your week.  I'll post more later on this week.  

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Getting Ready for the Homecoming

This is the 10th day in a row that the owl hasn't come.  I'm worried that he's either moved on or something has happened to him.  He's been coming for the last few years.  They are clearing for a new addition on the other side of the greenbelt and perhaps they have removed his home.  How sad would that be?  For whatever reason, he hasn't shown and I miss him.  The woodpecker too has become quiet.  The coyote hasn't returned either although I've heard of sightings of it across the way at Indian Springs addition.  Maybe everything has moved over there because of the noise of the big machines and the clearing.  Sadly my quiet little spot is not so quiet anymore once the sun comes up.  The birds and squirrels don't seem to be bothered but my other woodland friends have all seemed to have scattered.  Maybe they will return when things settle back down. 

I'm doing laundry this morning and last minute touches to the house so that everything will be clean and fresh for the kids in the morning when they arrive.  Rachel would like some No-Bake cookies so I'll make those in a bit and have them ready.  We had a turkey in the freezer that will be cooked tomorrow for the homecoming.  The best part of turkey is what you make from it afterwards.  Turkey pot-pie, turkey salad sandwiches, etc.   There's also a ham that "must" be used while they are here.  So I'll have to figure out a way to make a picnic meal out of the ham.  Maybe with potato salad and baked beans.  Gary acts like they never eat before they get here LOL.  Rachel, Jacob and Phoenix all are great cooks and when we go visit at Christmas they make us the most wonderful meals.  I think he has a little Italian in him somewhere.  But, since it's so important to him, I'll make both these meals for him as well as the fried pork chops with all the southern trimmings that he's requested.  At one time that was Rachel's favorite meal but she's almost 40 now, I'm not sure it's her favorite anymore.  It's a heavy meal.  Last year I needed to see her, I think this year he does. 

When your children are little you prepare yourself for them growing up and becoming independent.  You want them to be.  You want them to be capable adults, able to live independent of you ... and although you are very proud of them as they become so ... you also morn the loss.  The whole time you are preparing your child for adulthood ... you forget to prepare yourself for the separation.  We love our children, admire them and actually like them.  If they weren't our children we would seek them out as people we would want to associate with as friends.  Both are remarkable adults and we really enjoy them. 

Our grandson is turning 15 soon.  In a few years he'll be off to college and starting a life of his own.  I feel like I've missed so much.  Is it normal to feel this way?  Oh well, it's time to get the clothes out of the dryer and throw the others in there.  Lets get those cookies made.  I'll have them with me soon.  Real soon. 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Breaking with Routines

The older I get the more I realize I'm a creature of habit.  I really don't like anyone messing with my routines.  When did that happen?  We should love surprises ... spontaneous actions ... fun.  We miss out on so much in life when we plan every little minute of our day.  This morning as I was having my coffee, I realized that I was getting annoyed as Gary kept talking to me about our plans for when the kids are here.  I was sitting here thinking, "Don't you see me here having my coffee ... this is my quiet time!"  But then I remembered a little over a year ago when I wasn't sure I was going to have him with me anymore and it terrified me.  So yes, I'm grumpy in the mornings but all of a sudden I enjoyed his excitement about the kids coming and helped him plan some of the things we want to do with them.  I want to hear his voice, I want to hear the excitement and love in his voice.  I want to plan the future with him.  I can still drink coffee and listen and laugh and join in.  I actually enjoyed it.  My quiet time ... shot to hell.  My morning ... pleasurable.  Sometimes we get so set in our routines we forget to enjoy our lives and there is life outside of them. 

The first thing I do every morning is make my bed ... unless it's the day I strip my bed and wash bedding.  As soon as my feet hit the floor.  I wonder if the second floor of my house would fall in if for some reason I didn't make my bed.  The reason I'm asking this is ... my Hair Goddess pegged me as someone that does this ... how I don't know.  I told her my house is not always spotless and it isn't but to be honest when it isn't ... I'm a mess.  I can't think straight, I'm depressed, and I feel scattered.  So maybe I keep my house slightly in order to help me keep myself in order.  Maybe the two go hand in hand.  I like to be creative so my sewing room gets really messy at times and I just shut the door up there.  I have to spread out all over the room to do some of the projects I work on.  I work on the house and as I'm working on one room ... I pass another and get an idea and start that before I finish the first.  That's how my mind works.  I've been finishing some of the projects so Gary's organized mind can rest LOL.  I like to have several projects going at the same time.  So where I might seem orderly, I'm also chaotic.  My husband says, "Thank God you got into photography in the digital age, otherwise we'd be fighting over a darkroom."  And he's right.  Whatever I "get into" I jump into with both feet.  It's always sink or swim with me.  I have learned so much about renovating a house with this house and I don't think much scares me anymore with it.  I've also helped my son renovate one of his.  He's begun investing in rental property and I think I too would like to do that.  It would be a great retirement income.  The problem with me, though, is I want to do everything.  I was the same way in college.  I wanted to learn everything.  I wanted to major in everything.  Every class I took I loved.  Every subject was "the one".  I hated school when I was younger but college was like total freedom.  I never graduated, I was all over the board.  I think I just wanted to go to school forever.  I'm going to go back in the fall and take a couple of courses.  It's what I do, it's what I'll always do.  

Anyway, I started this out about changes and allowing them, welcoming them.  It's okay to let your routines be broken once in a while because something surprising and pleasant and fun could be there waiting for you.  Hearing my husband's laughter, love and the excitement in his voice today ... it gave me a boost.  Don't be so wrapped up in yourselves that you forget the people around you, they won't always be there or maybe you won't always be there for them.  Make memories, lots and lots of memories.   

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

After the Storm

How many nights as you lay in bed and listen to the thunder rumble in the distance do you think about your childhood?  I always remember the stormy nights, the windows open, the sounds of the rain pounding against the slate siding and wooden front porch.  The thunder was always so loud and there was always, always a train whistle somewhere in the background.  Growing up we didn't have air conditioning so whatever nature decided to send your way was your lull-a-bye for the night.  I don't remember being afraid too often and more times than not I slept soundly though most storms.  Sometimes I would watch out of the bedroom window at the beautiful light show as lightning streaked across the sky over and over.  It was better than 4th of July fireworks.  It was exciting and beautiful!  

Last night I went to bed with the thunder rumbling in the distance and I felt comforted.  I woke sometime later with Gary saying the electricity was out.  The wind was blowing hard, the rain was beating against our bedroom window and I smiled remembering my childhood.  I knew it wouldn't last long but just for a small glimpse of time I remembered a small child and her imagination.  Yes, it's inconvenient ... thank goodness for cell phones and their alarms  

Today, the storm is gone.  The sky is so very blue.  The trees ... the grass, the plants ... all so green.  The flowers so colorful with their reds, yellows, pinks, oranges and blues.  The birds so thrilled to sing, are singing louder and longer.  After the storm, everything is brighter, more colorful ... prettier ... or maybe we just appreciate it more.

I look at my world around me, my sun room, my backyard, my flowers, my greenbelt, the birds, Mr Owl, the squirrels that play in the backyard, the buzzing insects ... as long as I am here I can pretty much be in a controlled environment.  I don't have to face what is happening outside this world, but I have to step outside this world, I have to face what has happened this past 18 months and continues to happen.  I have to continue to be appalled at how people treat each other, how they talk to each other.  

I have always thought we lived in the greatest nation in the world and now I realize that the politicians that we have put into office, the ones we voted for, aren't there  to make our country better, aren't there to help our citizens but instead are there for their own greed or to fulfill their own agenda. They really do not care about us.  This is such a sad day for America.  Our children that have given their lives, died in vain.  They gave up their hopes, their dreams and their lives for an America that these men are destroying piece by piece.  Mothers and Fathers gave up their children so that these men could destroy America.  It is time that we make their lives count, that we make their lives matter.  We need to make America about freedom, peace, forgiveness, and all she used to stand for once again.  We need to get rid of the evil and hatred and the greed in the White House and replace it with what America needs.  

Monday, May 28, 2018

Sun room ... My Haven

You've seen me write about my sun room over and over but it was pointed out to me recently that I've never actually shown it to anyone.  This is the room I start my day in and many a night end my evening in.  I sit here in the mornings and watch the sky awaken with color, talk to the owl that either sits in the deep V of the large tree behind me and to my left (I usually sit on the couch) or he sits on the fence post that is just past my sun room to the right.  Either way, we get to spend a good 20 to 30 minutes together in the mornings as the sun rises and world gets busy.  I love listening to the songs of all the different birds that visit.  We have a lot of trees in the backyard and beyond in the greenbelt so we get a variety of birds and there are many mornings when I have a full chorus going on out there.  There's a woodpecker out in the greenbelt that pecks away every day.  He starts early, usually right after sunrise.  The bees and various other insects have their own symphony going on.  It's always so musical in the morning.  Add that to the color changes as the sky awakes and becomes fully awake, it makes for a beautiful day.  This plus coffee, how could a day go wrong.  I make my list of what I need to do for the day.  I read my emails.  I catch up a bit on Facebook and I might even be able to get a chapter or two of the latest book I'm reading in as well.  All of this before 7am.  Yes, the sun room may not be everyone's cup of tea but it's definitely mine.

the sitting area of the sun room.  I usually always sit on the couch.  

As you can see, I keep my favorite books at hand.  I also keep my favorite music and movies.

the dining area of the sun room.  When the kids are home we have breakfast here.  In the evenings, when it's not too hot for Gary, we sit out here and watch the squirrels play while we eat dinner.  It's such a nice place to have a meal.

As always, the cats have their places here as well.  They are very much a part of our family.  

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Converting the Hall of Shame

I have been working on the Hall of Shame this week.  I swear that hall grows as I work on it.  I have almost finished one side of it now.  But, I have a tendency to get sidetracked and I have started working on the staircase while I'm working on the upstairs hallway.  So I have two projects going at the same time.  I'm not sure why I do that but I do.  Tomorrow, my schedule is to get up early, have my coffee and get the other side of the hall walls done in white. Then, I can start working with the white enamel.  I need to paint all the doors, door facings, baseboards and the fake wainscoting.  I still need to replace the door handles too.  That should pretty much finish up the hallway.  We'll see if I get all that done.  I do have a lunch date tomorrow at 1pm.  I still need to put on a second coat on the staircase rails as well.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Hallway of Many Colors ...

Today I'm upstairs finally painting the hallway walls.  When we moved into this house we called that "The Hallway of Many Colors".  I think they used this hallway to test their color choices for the other rooms.  It had quite the variety.  In the beginning I had no idea what I wanted to do with it.  It had two small recessed lights one on each end that gave a very dim light and it's a very long hallway.  So first thing I did was have the electrician put in some light fixtures that lit up the passageway.  Oh my gosh what a difference that made.  Then I painted the walls and ceiling white just to give me a blank canvas to work with.   It's a very long hallway, I don't think I can stress that enough.  So next I built fake wainscoting out of quarter rounds on the lower half of the wall and then topped it off with a thick chair rail to give the hallway some character and break up that long bare wall.  The wall across from it has a staircase and two doors that break it up.  Having done this ... I never finished it.  So today, I'm upstairs painting everything. That hallway is still a very long hallway.  I will post pictures of it when I finish.  I do intend for it to be my art gallery when I finish it.  Can't wait now to get it finished.  Of course one the wall paint is done then there is the white enamel for the baseboards and the doors and the door facings.  Good grief, probably why I never finished it.  And, while I have the ladder up there I should take the light fixtures off and wash them and put them back up.  I need to change out the door knobs as well.  That hallway will be finished today though.  It may be midnight, but it will be finished before I go to bed and then I get to check it off my list!  Trumpets show sound! That's a huge check mark!