Saturday, August 24, 2013

Good, Bad & oh so Ugly

Where in the heck has summer gone & did it really ever begin?  Usually, July & August are so hot & muggy that I am unable to even move, but this year the weather has been absolutely gorgeous.  Warm days but without the humidity that I dread.  I turned another year older & with that has come more memory loss as I can't even remember what I did in June.  How awful is that?  Onto July and the "oh so ugly".

My step-daughter came for a short visit over the 4th of July & while staying in the upstairs "Martha Room", a word of caution to her about the tricky toilet & how it needs to be watched to make sure it has finished its cycle.  We decided it would be fun to go to an annual Barn Sale in Bangor, so off we went for a relaxing day of shopping & tasty food.

The sale is held on the grounds of Silver Creek Acres & several dealers set up their tents & wares.  Faith & Nick Lukianenko are the hosts & have constructed a wonderful barn to showcase their antiques.  This is the "good" part of the story & will post more pictures later as this post will focus on the "ugly".

After leaving the sale we headed off to South Haven, MI where the whole town was jammed up getting ready for the 4th of July parade, so a quick turn about & we were headed south to St. Joe, MI where again we were met with hoards of people making their way to the Lake Michigan beach.  We finally found a parking spot & a charming place to eat.  A quick phone call home only to learn that the upstairs toilet had overflowed while we were gone and the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom was soaked & the adjoining ceiling in the computer room had fallen down.  The "ugly" was beyond comprehension & to say I was shocked by the mess is an understatement.  Plaster, plaster bits, old lathe & water soaked items were everywhere.  I spent the next 4 days vacuuming plaster, wiping down items, throwing away soaked items.  I was and am still not a happy camper. 

A call to our insurance company & a visit from the adjuster made me feel a tad bit better.  This was going to be a bigger job than just a quick weekend fix.  July 4th - remember the date & now one month later, drywall removed from 2 walls, more ceiling removed & in typical fashion "when it rains, it pours", our shower tub faucet seized up resulting in the shower & tub

 needing to be removed.  Granted, we have had this combo for over 20 years and it was time for a replacement, but this is getting ridiculous and just plain wearing me out.  During all of this chaos, I agreed to help a friend hold an estate sale for her late mother's belongings, so it was almost impossible to get to a Lowe's or Menard's to even begin to look for a replacement shower.  We have been forced to use the original shower upstairs & for the life of me, can't remember when it became so small.  Issues were met with that shower head & of course, a replacement was needed.  I've come to the conclusion that what I needed was a "Calgon take me away" moment, and would do so except for the fact that I no longer have a bathtub! 

There it is folks, the "good, bad & ugly".  The estate sale?  We made it through & sold off a lifetime of goods & memories.  My friend was happy, I was happy and have to admit it was nice to be in a house where the toilets worked, the shower intact.  It was hard to leave that peaceful serenity.

I spent the day at Lowe's looking at shower bases, shower walls, doors, faucets & came away with my head whirling.  Decisions, decisions & more decisions to make.  It's all so overwhelming and where to begin?  Not sure, but will leave you wondering exactly will happen in the upcoming months.  September will bring my sister & brother-in-law & hoping as family they will understand the situation & ignore the mess!   

Sunday, April 28, 2013


"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden."  ~Ruth Stout

Spring has reluctantly arrived in my neck of the woods & definitely in a confused state.    One day the sun is shining, the birds are singing & everything is right with the world.  Next day, it's like a hangover from the party that took place the day before.  Cold, wet & rainy & all one wants is to take a long nap.

It took its sweet time getting here, but finally my daffodils pushed forth & the tulips are just on the verge of creating a beautiful color palette for all to enjoy.  My forsythia bush is in full bloom despite being warm & sunny one day & cold, wet & rainy the next.  I do have to say that the color is not only vibrant, but spectacular.  Does the blue round garden ornament look familiar?  Yes, indeed it is one of the two I bought last year.  Bowling balls......keep your eye out for them as they make for great garden d├ęcor.   


This past week has been a very busy one for me.  Since my son's accident almost a year ago, he goes to physical therapy three times a week at our local hospital.  I drive him there, drop him off & pick him up an hour later.  Tuesday found me in our neighboring town of Niles to get my haircut & do some grocery shopping.  Wednesday, I traveled to another small town to help with an estate sale of a friend and antique dealer.  Her husband passed away a year ago quite unexpectedly.  They lived in a Tudor style house in Berrien Springs overlooking Lake Chapin.  The house is large, to large for just one person, so she purchased & moved into a smaller one closer to town.  Thirty plus years of furniture, smalls & memories needed to be removed.  Sorry I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the outside, but pictures can be seen on Google, Olsen Realty, Jerry Barefield (Snow Road).

The sale started on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.  People were lined up ready to grab whatever they could afford & promptly at the appointed hour, the door was opened to a throng of shoppers.  This is a large house with many rooms & even now I can't remember exactly how many, but a lot.  The day was very spring like with the sun shining, but the following day was cold & windy.  But it was in no way a damper on the items being sold.  It was a sale of high end furniture, eclectic items including the zebra skin hanging above the fireplace.  Ironically, it was the first item sold on opening day.  Makes quite a statement.  For my friend, I wish her well in her new home knowing that she still has the memories of a long shared life overlooking the water.

The last photo was taken late in the afternoon after the sun briefly made an appearance.  Let's just say that the view alone from the deck makes this a "million dollar" view.  It was a fun couple of days, but was exhausted to say the least & came home with just a few much needed items.  An iron, because mine is shot & an old wood hoe.  Now that is something that we can use not only in the garden but in my poorly neglected flower beds. 
Mr. B spent the last couple of days readying the garden.  Things needed to be moved as it is necessary to rotate crops so as not to deplete the ground.  Out of all the gourds we planted last year only 7 made it through the winter, so we need to come up with a better growing plan. 
Looks pretty dismal, but by August it will be lush & green with an overflowing of never ending tomatoes, which I truly love & with some luck many vines full of wonderful gourds.  I've met spring not only in the garden, but standing on a deck overlooking a ravine & enjoying all that spring has to offer. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Promise of Spring

March and the promise of spring, but blink it is almost over with.   March weather was somewhat of a disappointment with snow, cold & winds.  Even last week, we received 3 inches of the white fluffy stuff.  Weatherman calls it "lake effect" snow & for good reason.  We are situated about 22 miles from Lake Michigan & somewhat in the armpit of lousy weather.  We get it all.  Cold hearty winds whether it be summer or winter.  Lake effect snow is what is leftover from a storm & usually isn't as nasty as a blizzard, I am assuming.  Funny thing is for all my years of living in Dowagiac, just don't remember the winters being as cold or as nasty.  Global warming?  Maybe. 

Yesterday & today the weather is sunny & much warmer - not hot, but warmer.  I actually went without a jacket while driving to the store.  So yes, there is a promise of spring as my daffodils are sprouting, tulips are pushing their way through the frozen ground. 
Good Friday offering of some of the daffodils by my back door.
Great day for opening windows to let in some spring air.  I'm already in the mood to start "cleaning" out cupboards & drawers.  The promise of spring does that to a person.  The need to start fresh & renew.  Anxious to get in the garden & start the planting.  Projects that have been on the back burner are ready to finish.  It's going to be a great weekend with family & friends for Easter dinner.  A Happy Easter to one and all!
Look what one of my friends, Pattie Behnke found in her mother's things.  It's an old picture of the ReShore flower truck that was used for deliveries back in the day.  Pattie's grandfather worked for the ReShore's.  Pattie, is a true lover of flowers & gardening & now we know why.  Such a special photograph & I'm so happy she shared it with me.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mother Nature Up to her Old Tricks

There is an old saying "out like a lion, in like a lamb" or vice versa for the beginning of March.  March came in like a lamb, much to my disappointment as it means more weeks of winter.  Mother Nature apparently remembered the saying as she decided to dump 6 inches of snow on us the other day.  Old Mother Nature likes to play tricks on us this time of year.  She gives us a day of sunshine, warmer temps and like young children we run around with a giddy step, shedding heavy coats and mittens for a light jacket.  The sky is bluer than we remember and the air is clean and fresh and we are invigorated. In a blink of an eye, it is gone.  Cold winds are blowing, enormous snowflakes are falling to the ground and we are once again stuck inside standing at a window wondering when it will all end.  It's hard living in the north.  But, there is a promise of spring with each new bird that shows up at the feeder.  There is a warming of the land that can be felt with the days getting longer. 

I'm anxious to start new projects, clean out cupboards and drawers, rearrange furniture and think about new wallpaper for my dining room.  Until I can open the windows and listen to the birds, I pass the time away cross-stitching or reading a book.  I just finished Nora Ephron's "I Feel Bad About My Neck".  Thoroughly enjoyed her writing of getting older.  Now I am onto "Gap Creek".  I have a thing about books.  I love them, love to hold them, smell them, but just can't fit one more book into my house.  The district library is wonderful as I can check books out, read them and then return.  Goodwill always has an abundant supply of books, so I pick some up there.  When I'm finished reading , I donate them back.  So not only have I remedied the book population in my house, I'm recycling.  I feel good about that. 

Pinterest?  I wasn't quite sure if I was ready to take the plunge, but finally did and I'm not sure if it is a Godsend or a curse.  I love pinning pictures, recipes, quotes.  Each picture is like looking through a magazine without the hassle of what to do with it after you're done.  I started out with a few boards and like everything else in my life, became undated with more and more.  I'm so busy pinning, that I forget to go in and look at what I actually pinned.  Since I am of an age of being more forgetful, Pinterest is an ideal way for me to "pin" books that I want to read when I have time.  My wish for the upcoming days is that I become more organized in my life which will give me more time to read and figure out a way to put a spring back into my step.  Happy Spring!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February in Pure Michigan

So February arrived & of course with a flurry of snow.  Snow, snow & more snow.  Last week, we had the January thaw & temps in the 50's & the air was filled with the "promise of spring", but that was all it was - a promise.  I'm complaining & not complaining.  I'm complaining because I really don't like snow or cold, but not complaining as my son had to have surgery on his hip January 17th & thankfully the weather was bitter cold, but no snow.  A return visit to have his stitches removed brought us another day of clear roads & warmer temps, and for that I am grateful as the weather report was indicating a big old snow storm was headed our way & good old mother nature did not disappoint. 

The thing about Michigan is that the weather can change from good to bad & all in one day.  The pictures I'm including pretty much tell what it is like from morning to afternoon.  The one above was taken on the last day of January.  The black blob in the picture is our 13 year old Boston Terrier who really doesn't like winter, but stepped outside to take care of her business.

The above shot is from yesterday morning.  Although, beautiful to look at, it was bitterly cold.  Down the street, two kids were quickly shoveling out their driveway. 

Same day, but later in the afternoon.  Sun is out, blue skies above, but still very cold.  It always amazes me how quickly the weather can change.  So what do we Michiganders do on such cold days?  Basically, stay inside & try to keep warm.  I cruise the internet looking at favorite blogspots, check on Pinterest to see if there is anything new & there usually is, so I end up adding another board.  My favorite past time is stitching or reading.  I spent the day finishing up a small spot or motif sampler.  "Hearts & Rabbits" is what I've named it.
Stitched on 28 count linen, spot or motif samplers are basically just different motifs stitched randomly on the linen.   I like to stitch them as you can add different elements without following a set pattern. I think it turned out very nicely & especially love the rabbits.
And this is what it looks like today, just a few moments ago.  More snow, more cold.  How many more days until spring???  Can't come soon enough as we all have a bad case of cabin fever. Despite the husband dealing with a head cold & being just a tad bit cranky, he is busy in the kitchen cooking up a big pot of potato soup.  Something that will definitely hit the spot on this very cold February day & hopefully will make him feel better - God I hope so! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Gift is Small, Good Will is All

Since the big day is fast approaching, I will wish everyone a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.  Since I am a cross-stitcher & sincerely enjoy stitching, I am always reminded of a small yet meaningful piece of work stitched with the words, "The gift is small, good will is all".  It is a constant reminder that not all gifts that we receive need to be big & wrapped in pretty paper & ribbon.  I enjoy the gift of a beautiful sunset, birds clamoring around my bird feeder, a pretty Christmas card from a friend or relative, the first snowflake, a favorite Christmas movie or song. Or it could be a rusty car horn stuck inside a favorite wood hanging piece!.  I'm not into "commercial" Christmas & each year I venture out in the hopes of finding "Christmas".  It usually comes in unexpected ways, but when it happens, I'm reminded of what the season is truly about & that it may include gifts big or small, but always good will.  Happy Holidays.