Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Holiday Fun

My family gathered at a local state park for holiday fun on Sunday afternoon. We arrived at two and were the last to leave before the gate was locked at six. The cool autumn weather kept many other folks away and so we enjoyed the place nearly to ourselves.

The boys and their dad, along with their mom and auntie, played on the beach a long time building a river, a dam, and a castle. The grands are hard workers and enjoy having a job to do.

My daughter and Sam set up the table for a late lunch/early supper. Oh that hot coffee sure felt good going down. My mother kept her hands wrapped around the cup until the last bit of warmth was gone.

Jake and John exchange a howdy. (I can not tell you how this warms my heart. The boys' paternal grandfather passed away long before they were born. John steps in as "grandfather" just as my own step-grandfather did for my sister and me. They adore John! True confessions: Sometimes this can make me a titch jealous.)

No lifeguard on duty...

No problem!

Thwarted again!

Daughter and niece attempt kite flying. It turned out to be too windy.

There was running...


 eating (the boys are not into Italian sandwiches)

and playground slide races. (I tried this, but being the ample-bottomed Nonni that I am, I lost.)

The final gathering of the clan. You eagle-eyed folks will notice two missing. I'm always missing—that's why I hold the camera! (This is the only photo that will enlarge...lots of fun to see the
family interactions here, especially with the boys.)

The End of a Lovely Day...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mandevilla in September~Happy Labor Day

One lonely bloom up high...

Happy Labor Day!

(My family and I have already enjoyed our fun at the beach. I'll share tomorrow...)

Comments are off...go have some fun!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Source

This window box was too gorgeous to keep hidden in last Monday's mosaic. It's still summer and I am not rushing autumn even though the weather has taken a lovely cooler turn. I feel inspired to get up early and take care of my flowers again and so they'll probably do well into October. (This is not my window box. It's one on the F*ryeburg F*airgrounds. By the way, the fair is October 2–10 this year. Perhaps we'll surprise ourselves and find a way to go.)

Earl was a beautiful disappointment. I'm never sorry to just get glanced by these hurricanes. The only damage done was a swamped hanging pot of petunias. They became waterlogged and dropped heavily to the ground.

We're feeling some of that economic pressure that so many others are feeling. That feeling that the check didn't go as far as we'd hoped and there's a doctor's appointment, a car needing to be fixed, oil to be purchased. I find myself saying, "God is my Source" often.

"God is our Source" you know. Some of us have hoped in husbands, children, fathers, mothers, friends, but when all is said and done, God is our Source and His supply is inexhaustible.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
~Psalm 20:7

Have a wonderful Sunday and holiday!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Odds and Ends Day

First Day of School:

Not really. Just a practice run. Not kindergarten, but preschool. Sam was so excited and so concerned that the bus was taking so long that he was ready to walk. He's excited and happy. I confess that I'm feeling a little less happy. I can't believe that the grandbaby has grown this fast! Why the growth of children takes me perpetually by surprise I'll never figure out.

Nan's News:

Yesterday's post was written the night before. Wednesday night I woke knowing that I would have to go to "the home" again. I just had that nudge, that urge, that knowing. Sure enough. Things were not as they should have been. This time it resulted in my meeting with the administrator who was very apologetic and who said that she would personally ride herd. Wonderful. So will I.

It was suggested at the first meeting that an information sheet be posted in my grandmother's room. Guess what? To do so would be against state law. Neither the staff nor a family member can post any kind of notices in her room or on her tray. Yes, there are supposedly reports between shifts, but there are breakdowns in communication that are unacceptable. They'd better put a big old red flag on that report or else.

There were, to be fair, a number of things that were going well...thank you, Lord!

And thank you for all your support and your stories and your prayers. So very appreciated.

My Latest Kick:

Fresh veggies fried up in a wrap. Actually, there's a little more to it than that. I either use cream cheese with seasonings mixed in that sort of hold it all together or I use some shredded cheese. John and I are thanking the Fish Street people for this one!
Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Boat So Small

I feel sometimes as if I have set her adrift in a vast sea all alone. (Hyperbole is another one of my talents, of course, but I truly do feel this way.)

I felt it again on Monday when I tracked her down in the dining room where she was attending a concert. Though I looked all around, I could not find one person in that room who looked like my nana. Her roommate finally pointed her out to me. There she was slumped over in her wheelchair holding one hand to her head as if she were in pain and the other was dangling out over the arm rest. She looked so small. Much too small to be floating on that big sea.

The meeting went very well yesterday. I finally feel as if I've been heard by everyone. There was some immediate action taken on a number of levels. One of my biggest concerns is that, in their enthusiasm for taking good care of her, they've actually created lots of problems. Most of these issues are about food. I don't give a royal flip what the State of Maine says that they have to put on her tray, if she is upset by it, don't do it. It's only causing her to shut down even further. This one-size-fits-all approach isn't working for us. And I don't care if she's losing weight, which sounds awful, but I do not want products used that cause such distress and stress. Enough already! So the doctor heard that and duly gave his orders. Phew!

(If any of you are in the medical community, can you tell me what it means when "they" tell me that it is very challenging to get all information across all three shifts all the time? Why aren't staff reading reports or why aren't reports being given?)

As a family, we are no longer interested in quantity of days. We are interested in quality of days. Nan smiled when I told her and said, "Amen."

Amen indeed.

Picture reposted from Little Green Boat

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Off to the Flea Market

I'd follow that man anywhere (see yesterday's post). In this case, I was following him through the flea market on the F*ryeburg F*airgrounds. With eight family members about, it made for an interesting time. We got to oooh and ahhh over each other's purchases and spend some time out in the fresh, humid, 90-something-degree air.

I found two items that I wanted. A man was selling a box of about ten or twelve old sewing machine drawers. He said that I could have the entire box for $20, but I decided to go with the one for $2.

There they sit, the sewing machine drawer and an old wooden drawer pull. I think I'll put them together like this or something.

It's a busy day trying to get things straightened out at "the home." I'll be glad for the day when every nurse and CNA is on the same page.

Stay cool now!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The GPS Adventure from Hell

First thing's first. If you have a GPS Adventure from Hell story, I really want to hear it because I had never and I mean never heard of such a thing before I lived it.

So where were we? Oh yes. Happily on Fish Street after a day of good times and great food. Can you believe that I didn't take one picture of food? Truly rotten of me, too, because the food was not only delicious, it was beautiful and beautifully served and the mere memory of it was sustaining during our long ordeal.

Ahh, yes, we said our goodbyes and Mother asked the best way out of Fish Street and received the knowledgeable answer from Uncle Bee and Mother programmed the GPS and off we went with that smooth talker, the one with a slightly British accent and a slightly superior tone, directing us.

Turn Left, says she.

Fine. Just as we thought.

Turn Right on Liberty Road, says she.

Right? Turn right? I thought we were staying on this road until the main highway. Mother dutifully turned right and for a while it seemed that we were on a quiet residential street until the road turned to dirt. We didn't think that much about it and especially nothing of it when it came back out on tar again, but then...

Hmmm, this looks a bit ominous. Now may be a good time to explain our roles. Mother was driving; John was the advisor and guide; and I was the backseat driver and the reminder of all the yummy food we'd eaten that day. (I even had raspberry squares to munch if things got too tense. They did. I had to share them with my fellow travelers as things were much too tense for them, too.) Once again the road has turned to dirt, but that is not all that unusual in this corner. It looked like a pretty decent dirt road as dirt roads go.

One point seven miles, says she of British accent and slightly superior tone.

We considered our options and forged ahead. No place to turn around anyway.

Mud puddle ahead...

Just follow me...

Satellite Connection has been lost.

Come ahead just a little...

The sun was brutal... John! I can hardly see you!


The bugs, mosquitoes, mud, and glare!

Mother, you've got to slow down!  We'll have to turn back to fetch John at this speed!

And so it went. One point seven miles down the road and twenty point seven miles back.  About midpoint in this hour adventure we put in an urgent call to Fish Street. "Ever heard of Liberty Road?" Mother asks.

"Oh gak! You'll never be able to get through to the main highway. That road stops."

"Really?" says mother all coolness and calm. "Well, we're going to continue because there's no room to turn around. The tree branches are scraping the car all the way."

"I'm just telling you that there's no way through."

And this is when I begin thinking about metaphors and praying. We did ultimately find a field out there in all that great forest with just enough room to turn around and we headed back into the glare of that setting sun and thanked God it was still setting and that it hadn't sunk below the mountains yet.

So our long adventure was over after nearly an hour in the woods. Unbelievable. You'll be happy to know that our new plan is never to continue on a dirt road no matter what the GPS says.


Right. Thanks.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fish Street

Photo by Aunt Ess

Shoot! Didn't I go and miss Mosaic Monday altogether. That's too bad, but I've made some mosaics and I'm going to use them all the same.

Mother, John and I were invited to Fish Street where my Aunt Ess and Uncle Bee live. (Edited to add: Mother has just told me that we invited ourselves. Mother!) They actually live in Connecticut, but have the good sense to hightail it back to Maine for the summer where they have an adorable home on Uncle Bee's family homestead right there in the foothills of the White Mountains.

I waltzed in with my camera hanging about my neck and immediately suggested that my aunt allow me to take pictures of her home for my blog. I just love her house! What a sweetheart she was for allowing me to twist her arm.

The actual "theme" of my aunt and uncle's home is fish and fishing. There are fishing items all around, which is appropriate considering the name of their street, but my aunt doesn't allow the fishing theme to overwhelm and does have many "softening" touches as you can see. One of my favorite things was the hutch that she painted (the colors are not true here...it's more of a soft yellow) in the style of Mackenzie Childs. She says she's tired of adding the layers and isn't finished and may never be. Gosh we must be cut from the same bolt. That's my problem. I can never get to finished because I give up early. Even if she is finished, it looks great as is.

Seems that I introduced my aunt to Blogdom a year ago. She is there in the middle of this mosaic wearing one of her favorite vintage aprons. She has treasures tucked in every corner and there is so much to see. I took so many pictures! Sadly, many didn't turn out. Her favorite blog is Magnolia Pearl. Now that's a far cry from A Haven for sure! How did that happen? Anyway, I warn you that MP is the slowest loading blog I've ever visited, but what fussy fun!

The following mosaic shows another reason for our visit — meeting my aunts and a cousin who just so happened to become a grandmother for the first time while we were there. What fun! (Welcome to the world, Sweet Bennett.) And my aunt in blue became a great-grandmother once again. She was pretty tickled. If only I had taken a picture of my cousin's face. It was so alight with joy that my Uncle Bee turned away with a sniffle saying, "I can't take all this emotional stuff." (He's such a sweetie is my Uncle Bee.) :D

Center Photo: My Three Aunts and My Mother

L–R top row:

Window box at fairgrounds featuring lots of lantana
Window box at my aunt and uncle's...he makes these
Across the street corn fields
Window box at fairgrounds featuring purples and grays

second row:
Ancient trees in the yard
A beautiful home on Fish Street

third row:
Vintage green truck car at another beautiful home on Fish Street
Same ancient trees

fourth row:
previously identified except for birdhouse in backyard

We had such fun! It was so good to see everyone! It was so good to get away!

And I didn't come home empty-handed. Besides produce from the garden, my aunt also gave me these treasures:

That's an envelope purchased from some blog...very sweet idea...it's made with the page from a book and superimposed with silhouette posies and grasses and the little bird is cut from black paper and is dimensional. See the darling perfume bottle? My aunt is now collecting perfume bottles. She gave this one to me. And a White House cookbook copyrighted in 1899 filled with old recipes and ideas for housekeeping. I'll be sure to share a few one day. And a piece of linen already ready for the printer. Now that sounds cool!

Thank you so much to all my family for sharing such a sweet day. Hope that we can do it again and a little sooner!

And thanks to you, Dear Reader, for tagging along; loved having you. Come back tomorrow and I'll share the rest of our story—the GPS adventure from hell and I have pictures to prove it!

Edited to Add 9/02/10: Thought I'd end on a sweeter note with my cousin's new grandson mentioned in this post. Just received his photo late last night and thought how very precious he is.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

First Little Leaf of Autumn

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnal face.
~John Donne

Blessings this Sunday! Stay cool...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Oh I'd Love to Paint Those V-Matched Wall Boards

Those of you who've been reading this week know that I have been spending some time at the Country Living Living Room Gallery where I have been looking at lots of spaces trying to come
closer to my own current desires. Much of what I have was dictated by former homes, rooms, and colors.

If you read yesterday's post, you can see the wood planked walls that I have throughout my dining room, living room, and part of my kitchen. All the ceilings are also in this planking throughout and just as I suspected that it would do, it is darkening. I don't like darkening. I'm afraid that soon it will look like this.

When it could look more like this...
not that I'm a lover of white particularly, but it sure brightened up the space.

So these are some rooms I enjoyed, including the first at the top. Again, the first was too much white, but there are so many things I like about it. The furniture, the old tool box as a coffee table (mine's black), the eclectic collection of wall art, etc.

And I also like this room. Hmmmm, strange, because it is dark again. Perhaps it is the bright yellow door or maybe it is the wall of books or maybe it's the furniture or is it the threadbare carpet? Whatever it is, it isn't quite it.

Then there's this number...bright, cheerful, and with my favorite color yellow very prominent. Perhaps this lets me know that I like lots of color. I really do. There's no sense in denying that any longer.

Then I found it! A room where I love nearly every little thing about it. The warmth, the coziness, the color of the walls (well perhaps a titch lighter), the furniture, the reds, the golden hues, the hard wood floors.

Those curtains have to go, but other than that... So what have I learned? Mostly I've learned that rooms that have charmed me from ages and ages ago are still with me. Perhaps I just haven't grown up.

Thanks for looking! Have a great Friday...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Puttering Kind of Day

It's been one of those days where I have been puttering around the house looking at things with a critical eye and thinking what I might be able to do today without painting and without changing things too drastically.

After feeling like a slug for over two weeks, I finally feel like doing something, but that something doesn't include messing things all up. More that it means putting things back together again. As we all know, things do not improve with time without an outside hand (contrary to what all those evolutionists think).

So the one little thing I changed was the shelf over the tv where I took down everything that had been there and gathered my oil lamps and slapped them up instead.

I was taking a cue from Penny @The Comforts of Home who recently disguised her tv by adding pictures to the wall all around it. Did you miss it as I first did? You can take a peek right *here.*

Goodness knows that I've been wailing about my tv and it's nowhere near the size of hers. What do you think? Do my lamps disguise it any? LOL!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lil's House

The strangest thing happened to me as I was browsing through Country Living's Living Room Gallery last night. Up popped this picture, which tossed me back to the late 50s and early 60s when my great-grandmother's cousin was still living in the shabby home of her childhood directly across the street from my great-grandmother's home. (I've written about my great-grandmother's home ages ago *here.*  ) This is enough of a likeness to remind me of Lil's Federally styled home and those quaint rooms all filled with treasures from the Victorian era. Even the walls and ceilings looked much this way as the house fell into disrepair.

Lil was bedridden at the time and probably well into her 90s. My great-grandmother, in her 80s herself, was Lil's caregiver taking her three square meals a day and probably doing light cleaning and perhaps personal care as well.

We visited Lil whenever we were in town. She had treats on a table beside her bed for such occasions...shortbread cookies with marshmallow toppings covered in coconut. It was like having tea using someone's bed as the dining table.

Lil had married, but never had any children. Now I find myself wondering if having all my great-grandmother's grands and great-grands about ever tried her patience. I don't think so. She had many stories to tell and I remember her telling one about her father who traded rifles with the Indians. In the winter when it was cold, he allowed them to sleep in the house. Lil found it delightful to tiptoe around sleeping Indians to get through the parlor to the dining room for breakfast. Now I find myself wondering what Lil's father was getting in return for the rifles.

The front door to Lil's house was a Palladian style window with either one or two side windows along the door. The front hall was small with a curving staircase to the left. On either side of the front hall were parlors. The one on the right was used for Lil's bedroom in the years that I knew her. Directly behind the parlors were the dining room on the left connecting with the parlor on that side and the old-fashioned kitchen on the right. Behind the kitchen was the shed, which connected to the barn beyond and behind and all around the back of the house were apple orchards.

Those apple orchards were wonderful places to play Hide n' Seek with all of us cousins running wild through the evening shrieking and having great fun. I wonder what Lil thought of all that. I hope that we weren't too loud.

The house was literally falling down around Lil. It was sad even for a young child to see for I certainly did understand that it wasn't good. Eventually Lil passed away and the house sat there looking forlorn for years. What my parents didn't know was that I was a regular visitor there. I used to slip in through the back shed door and wander about through those rooms even going upstairs where I had been strictly forbidden to go. I remember that there was a bedroom with a hole in the floor where I could look right down to the room below. In that bedroom were old books strewn about. I vaguely remember some hymnbooks that my mother gathered up once. There was also an old trunk filled with ancient clothes.

Oh yes, I've had an interesting wander down Memory Lane...

Edited to Add 8/26/2010: Answers to some questions have been given in comments...look for Vee. :D

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Father Says...

In light of all that is going on in the United States these days, the controversy that swirls around the building of a mosque near Ground Zero in NYC, the enormous financial challenges that many of us are facing because of various decisions made in the political arena concerning mortgages, credit cards, and loss of income, I thought that I would discuss tolerance today. In addition, there are a number of personal family matters in my private life that require a decision about being tolerant (or not), and on and on it goes. Anyway,  I'm going to share a family story concerning tolerance without actually connecting the dots. I'll leave that for you to do in your own way and following the dictates of your own heart.

Now, if I've told this story before, please forgive me. I'm getting old and forgetful.

When my son was eight years old, he and my daughter were attending a private Christian school where I also taught. Unbeknownst to me, he was struggling every recess with an overzealous classmate. This classmate was a big bear of a boy who would literally pick my son up, twirl him around, and, as if that weren't enough humiliation, he'd plant a big kiss on my son's lips. Of course, then all the other children would laugh. No playground teacher ever addressed it.

At long last, I did find out what was going on and had a talk with the young man's parents, both of whom were also teachers at the school. Anyway, they both assured me that their son didn't mean anything by it. He was just a big, lovable lug. I told them that since it was bothering my son that their lovable lug needed to cut it out.

Still no action. None. Every day the same story. I tried to be longsuffering and I tried also to encourage longsuffering in my son. Wrong choice. Totally.

One evening, my son was sitting with his head down at the supper table and his dad asked him what the trouble was. The story spilled out and his father listened carefully.

"This is what I want you to do tomorrow" my husband said. "When you see him coming, tell him that you have your father's permission to punch his lights out."

I'm pretty certain that my head spun, but I didn't say too much as I recognized the wisdom of the plan. It proved to be the end of the story. It happened just once. All my son had to do was invoke the name of his father. He didn't even have to punch out the lovable lug's lights. The mere knowledge that my son wasn't going to tolerate being twirled and kissed any longer and that he had his father's permission not to tolerate it were all that was needed. Oh happy day!

Sometimes I think more of us have to get to this place. I think we might be surprised by what our heavenly Father doesn't want us tolerating in the first place. You might try asking Him. I know that I do and often.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Around the House~Mosaic Monday

Hi! My outlook has been pretty myopic lately with being under the weather and all so thought that I'd show you a few things around the house. I've had plenty of time to observe it all that's for sure. 

If you have time for curiosity, I've numbered each photo and told what it is; otherwise, please visit Mary at Little Red House for more fun mosaics.

1. a vignette created in a birdbath using my grandmother's silver-plated pitcher, her childhood books, and her hiking boots
2.  a rack of platters and plates
3. an old dressser scarf tossed over a dark chair in a dark corner
4. a real nest with real Scrabble pieces spelling N E S T and a paper bird from Quill Cottage (Miss Sandy has a link to her tutorial in her sidebar.)
5. a vintage window filled with vintage images from The Feathered Nest (Dawn also has links to tutorials on her sidebar.)
6. a pink conch shell collected in Florida
7. an acrylic painting I love
8. an apple branch hanging over the kitchen sink in lieu of a curtain
9. a gift from my sister-in-law... a vintage wildflower book...thanks, JP!
10. a hand cut stencil done by a company in Oklahoma, which I've long forgotten
11. a collected hornet's nest hanging from the ledge