Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday Drive

If you are reading this on Monday morning before ten, I am happily eating breakfast with John, my sister and her husband, and my niece, too. We are saying so long until 2012. Yes, that very same sister to whom I sent birthday gifts. Ahem. She might have told me that she was coming home this weekend! Gheesh. Oh well, it's all good and, if all goes well, she'll beat those gifts right back down there.

Sunday afternoon, John and I went for a circuitous drive to do our errands. I think that this will be the final weekend of any appreciable color so we wanted to take advantage of that. Most of  the yellows have slipped to golds and browns, the crimsons are now russet while the oranges have turned to copper. Lovely in its way...

When I have made my first Christmas purchase, my mood shifts from denial to action. I'm glad that October 23 was the day to get in gear. Nothing like a roll of wrapping paper and some ornament hangers to move my thinking along.

And, this morning, after breakfast, I'll be gathering my winter berries for holiday decorating. (Does it matter that I have not yet raked the yard?)  Don't forget to get yours early this year while they're plentiful and before the birds and deer get them all.

A happy Monday to you...

Love Vee

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Answer

Imagine with me that you are wandering about a bit confused. For some of us, including me, that's not too much of a stretch. We are wondering about the secrets of this life. We are not so jaded that we no longer believe that there are answers; we simply wonder what those answers might be.

Sometimes, I am asked a really big question to which I have no answers (except one). Sometimes, I have asked myself those big questions. I am still waiting for many answers. What if I never receive the answer in this lifetime? Will I be okay with that?

Some weeks ago, I gave up writing Sunday posts. I had always asked the Lord for the topic and the words; it seemed that He gave them to me. When that stopped, I stopped. Perhaps it was only for a season or perhaps the dry spell will continue, perhaps, perhaps. But this I do believe: in Him rest all the answers. He is, Himself, the answer.

Love Vee
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Gathering

I should save this photo for Halloween...

Something told the vultures
It was time to go,
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered, —"Snow."

Apologizing to Rachel Field for borrowing lines from Something Told the Wild Geese

Oh, perhaps I could have saved the picture for Christmas because they do look a wee bit like partridges in a pear tree—from a great distance.

Anyway, they are steadily gathering. I don't know where they're going. I'll just be glad that they are gone. So many treetops are broken and bruised this year because of these things.

I saw Canadian geese v-ing overhead squonking on their way about three weeks ago, and starlings all in a row upon on a high wire, and now the vultures. Have you seen any flocks gathering?

Love Vee

Friday, October 21, 2011

The First Meeting

Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, she'll still be there. ~ Amy Li

The better part of two days has been spent getting packages ready to ship to my sister in New York. Her birthday is next week. Yesterday, both John and I were involved in trying to find a box or envelope large enough. In the end, the USPS couldn't help and we added another item to our growing errand list. We found the box and the envelope in the stationery aisle at W*al*M*art.

This morning as I packaged the items, little tidbits kept floating back to me. I remember the evening when I first saw my baby sister.

Let's back up  a bit shall we? My mother was an only child and my grandmother (Nan) was very protective. From my vantage point today, I think she was overprotective. She swooped in one lovely autumn afternoon and declared that my mother was very tired and that it would be better for all concerned if I went to stay with her for a while. About two weeks later, my sister was born. I remember it vaguely because I went to stay with my grandmother's neighbors so that she could travel the fifty miles or so to visit my mother and the new baby. She reported back that the baby was "bald" and "squally."

I don't recall much more except that I was growing increasingly upset about being with my grandmother instead of my mother. I cried a lot. Guess I was getting squally, too.

One day, Nan announced that I would be visiting my mother and sister. Oh such joy in the camp that day!

I remember the long drive in the late afternoon because the sun set while we were driving. We arrived at my home, my parents' small apartment, and let ourselves in. No one was there. Finally, finally, the door opened and in walked my mother carrying Bald & Squally.

I paid no attention to my sister or very little. I was not much interested, though I do remember holding her while anxious hands rested all around lest I should drop her.

What I vividly remember was my beautiful mother looking like a vision to me, wearing a navy blue dress with white polka dots, cinched in the middle with a narrow white belt. Through the miracle of the internet, I can show you a very similar dress.

Now those are the memories I have of a very special day.

What happened next? I went back to live with my grandmother for several more weeks until I became so squally that even she couldn't stand me and I was finally returned.

Do you have memories of meeting your siblings for the first time?

Love Vee

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In Love

How much more mileage can I get from one vintage stovetop? =D

I just love it! And that man standing there? Love him, too. He's been working crazy hard and I am happy to report that he's on the home stretch.

And that soon he'll be switching to a plow instead of a shovel. The right tools make a job a lot easier.

Have a great Thursday!

Love Vee

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vintage Stove Top

Oh it is a wonderful thing that I really like old and shabby. For one thing, I can sometimes afford old and shabby. When I saw this vintage stovetop at the flea market late Sunday, I nearly swooned. What did I like? Everything. I liked the scale, the warming oven, the wheat motif on the doors. I decided that if it were there the next day it would be mine.

However, the next day Molly fell ill with extreme itching and off we went to see the vet where we left him $151 and something cents. Ai yi yi. No vintage stovetop. By Monday evening, while watching Dancing With the Stars, I was getting kind of twitchy myself just thinking about the stovetop and wondering if some other gal had snagged it.

By eight in the morning, we were at our favorite breakfast restaurant only to discover that a pipe had burst and they were not open. Fine. Straight to the flea market without breakfast. Nothing like doing business on an empty stomach. The owner said, "I can tell when people are on a mission." John did some dickering and got the piece for ten per cent less. (It was already marked down.) Perfect! Even more perfect was that it fit into the trunk. =D

Off for a leisurely breakfast without worrying about whether the stovetop would be there. Funny thing is that on the way back home, I think I saw the base of this stove sitting on the side of the road. I don't want the base preferring a more cobbled look, but still...'twas interesting.

Here it is waiting for its scrubbing.

And here it is in place...

And here it is side by side with the photoshopped stovetop seen in yesterday's post...

The photoshopping really did help me decide that it would work and that I would like it. I stole the stovetop for photoshopping from this picture.

Isn't she sweet? Six thousand dollars sweet. You can check it out right *here.*

This is what happened to the platters that switched places with my former cookbook nook.

I don't know if you can tell, but the faux leaves are held on the branches by those itty-bitty clothespins available in craft stores. Love them!

Now all I have to do is tidy up the place. Funny how bringing something new into the house creates so much of a mess.

So tell me, what was the last thing you dragged home?

Love Vee

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cobbling My Haven

Have you ever had something about your home that bugs the living daylights out of you? I'm sure you have. Feel free to share because I'd really like to hear about it.

For me, one of the biggies has been the windows way up there in the peak above the garage doors. Here, take a look and you decide.

As It Is

It's plain weird. The scale is wonky. The entire garage had to be offset because of property lines. We simply ran out of room. It's an annoyance, but we like our side entry and, in order to access it, the garage doors are also offset. The transom windows were added at the last moment (not my choice) so the door frames do not match the transoms. The upstairs windows are really too far up there.

Since I enjoy playing with Photoshop, I goof around trying to "fix" it. It helps us decide if it's worth the money to get it right. Again, you be the judge.

Trying out a New Window

In our opinion (John's and mine), it's better, but those doors are still troublesome. What if we did this?

Trying Out a New Window and Trimming Out the Doors

And again, John and I both agree. Perhaps we'll see the garage sided before the snow falls. I sure hope so!

We're off for breakfast this morning and then to pick up something fun. I hope to be able to show you tomorrow, but I can bad photoshop for you today. ;>

Something How It Might Look

There's an antique stove top calling my name. I hope that it is still there!

So when you're not sure how a thing might look, from hairstyles (hahahahaha) to windows to antique stove tops, try your Paint program or photoshopping. It's fun!

Now, it's your turn. What's bugging you?

Love Vee

Monday, October 17, 2011

Honoring Yesterday

What a glorious day yesterday was! Cold and windy, crisp and clear, beautiful and bold. After yesterday, we are reminded of what is ahead...

Yesterday, I remembered two special birthdays and hope that I honored the memory of those who are gone from me (my grandmother and my first husband). It was fun to celebrate their birthdays together through the years and now, perhaps they've celebrated together in Glory.

Yesterday, I was blessed to go to my grand's soccer game and watch him play. (He's the little guy on the left above.) What fun! So invigorating!

(We have another challenging birthday coming in November. It will be my mother's birthday and the anniversary of Nan's death. Such an odd coincidence or Divine planning? I don't know. It's strange and we have even more strangeness concerning birthdays and anniversaries of passings. I have heard from a number of you and the same things are true in some of your families. It seems that, as we mark these first anniversaries, the happenings are fresher in our minds. Normal, I think. I hope.)

Yesterday, I remembered that this life is for the living. Heaven is not yet mine; the veil between this life and the next has not been lifted. I'm working on staying focused on the here and now. Thank you, Lord, for allowing these remarkable people to be a part of our lives. Don't allow me to forget and do help me be present for the living.

You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.~Eleanor Roosevelt  

Thank you to all who offered blogging/commenting suggestions on my last post. I do realize that I've been down this path before, around this mountain, over this hill, across this sea, whatever. It's a me problem. It reminds me of the quote above. I worry too much. So that's why I visited you all yesterday and enjoyed my visits and commented hardly at all and you didn't mind. I know you didn't.

Now, to return the favor, I am closing comments for today so that you can read and scoot. Have yourself the most delightful day.

But do return tomorrow and see what I've been working on. I can't take too much silence.

Love Vee
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Shopping for Calendars or If You Knew Susie

After three days of rain, we are delighted to see the sun again. Well, John may not be as this means he's back in the trench. I am definitely delighted.

One rainy afternoon last week, I decided to go shopping for calendars. Several of you had suggested the new S*usan B*ranch calendar. I'm highly suggestible.

Every year about this time, a discount calendar outlet leases a storefront at the local mall. Sure enough, I found it and had myself a good time browsing through the Lang section. I found S*usan's calendar right away.

Heart & Home/Heart of the Home

At the register, I found a disconsolate man with his head down in his hands and not paying a lick of attention to the store. He rang up my purchase, had trouble giving me my change, and seemed generally confused. I asked about the price of the calendars as I was very pleased with the total. He couldn't tell me. I said it would be on the slip and not to worry. He bagged the items and off I went. I was two steps from Penney's when I thought something isn't right here. Sure enough. He had not charged me for Susan's Calendar.

I briefly considered not returning. *gasp* You'll be happy to know that the good angel on my right shoulder won that battle and I found myself back at the register with the confused man who was about to become even more confused dragging me along for the ride.

Me: I think there's a mistake.

He: I'm not paid to make a mistake.

Me: Well, I'm sure that's true, but I have two calendars and only paid for one and I'd hate to take advantage of my friend Susan.

He: You know Susie?!

Me: Ahhh, well, you could say that. (I mean I do visit her blog.)

He: I know her, too. We're very good friends. She just loves the beach!

Me: Yes, I guess she does, living on the coast and all.

He: She has a beautiful home.

Me: Yes, I think so, too.

He: I spent last weekend with her.

Me: Really? I thought she was on the West Coast.

He: No, she was right in Cape Elizabeth.

Me: (The light now dawning.) Noooo, she is traveling by train back to Cape Cod. (I should have said "Martha's Vineyard.")

He: She is?! She didn't tell me anything about that!

Me: I don't think we're talking about the same Susan.

He: You're not talking about the owner of the store?

Me: She used to own a store. (I am just having fun with him now.)

He: No, she still owns the store. This one.

Me: (Laughing by now) Oh we're definitely not talking about the same Susan. I'm talking about S*usan B*ranch, the one who designed this calendar.

He: (Obviously disappointed) Oh. Well I'm not usually here. I'm a pharmacist. I don't know anything about this store.

Me: (Very surprised at his second point and not at all surprised at his third)

He rang up my purchase, had trouble giving me my change, and seemed generally and genuinely  confused.

Gosh, I hope I never run into him at the pharmacy.

A fun day to you!

Love Vee

Friday, October 14, 2011

Meeting the Great

"...there is no (great-) grandfather who does not adore his grandson." ~Victor Hugo

John met his fifth great-grandchild yesterday. It was love at first sight.

The baby's grandmother, John's daughter, brought her father a gift. It was a picture of his great-grandparents back in Sweden.

What a nice link through the generations...

I've been trying an experiment this week. I have only commented at blogs when one commented here. It has been less than satisfactory for the following reasons. 1. Sometimes bloggers don't link their blogs to their profiles 2. Sometimes I have been unable to comment no matter what I do — some crazy bug working its way through blogger or something. 3. What if another blogger is doing my same experiment? = | 4. I am missing some of my favorite bloggers' posts. 

Oh what's a gal to do? I know: Do whatever makes you feel lovely. Well, I haven't felt lovely since 1966. Now what? Any suggestions?

Love Vee.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn in My Neighborhood

Yesterday afternoon I took a little walk around my neighborhood. The color of the scarlet sumacs along the main road beckoned me. Sumacs are a shrubby little tree not worth a whole lot; however, in autumn, they garner attention. They once had a noble purpose. Their fronds were boiled in buttermilk creating the most incredible red paint. It was inexpensive and durable and nearly every New England farmer painted his barn with the stuff.

1. Sumac along the river's edge (It's hard to tell, but that space between the sumac and the trees on the other side is the river.)

2. I thought this sumac branch looked like red hot chile peppers

3. This was the view that first beckoned

4. Some blush on the backyard forsythia bush

5. Lunch...focaccia bread with fresh tomato slices, onion, green pepper, and cheese (Yes, we are still on our eating plan.)

6. Trees in the forest behind our house

7. Even the ditch was pretty

8. Oh that nasty turkey vulture is getting too close

9. Too much of a close-up?

10. Looking toward our house

11. Looking toward the town square

12. What is he doing?

13. Digging a big hole

14. Looking across the river to the old mill

15. More sumac

16. Another toward the old mill view

Hope that you have far lovelier views!

Edited to Add @ 2:27 EST:

Sumac Frond

Who knew the stuff was also edible? I am not trying it. Nope. A very interesting video at the following source. I might try making a buttermilk paint, though. ☺


Love Vee

P.S. To enlarge a photo: click on the photo, click on white lettering on lower left. When a new window opens and you have maximized it, click yet again and the image will be full size. Do NOT use the back arrow. Instead, use Xs on right top of page to return to the post. Hope that this helps and it should work everywhere.(Edited to Add: No longer applicable.) 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pizza Picnic and Hole Digging

Like many of you north of the Mason-Dixon line, we enjoyed an unusual stretch of warm weather over the weekend. It was so unusually pleasant that we celebrated a birthday Pizza Picnic Style.

The fam is not so fond of my picture taking after all these years. The grands are hopping all over the place and so they're not so easy to catch either. It is what it is and I leave it at that. Perhaps by Thanksgiving...

Hole digging. Now that's a lot of fun. The driveway needed to be cut open and the blocks are waiting to be put back for the winter. Next year perhaps a new driveway...I hope!

Pavement Cutting

My Digging Accomplishments Before Quitting

John's As of Twenty Minutes Ago

I'm not going back to digging today for I have learned a valuable lesson: I am just in his way.

Gosh, my topics are truly uninspired. I really want to share something way more exciting to me, but I must wait until another October birthday has passed.

Enjoy your day...

Love Vee

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Majestic Monarch

Not only did my neighbor bless me with her photos of P*atrick D*empsey (see yesterday's post if you missed them), she also favored me with a fresh-from-his-cocoon monarch butterfly. Apparently, I'm the only one in the neighborhood with flowers left. She said that monarchs prefer to dry out on a flower where they can get some nourishment.

I spent a delightful afternoon watching the process loving every minute.

I'm told that those two black dots on either side of his back signify that he is a male monarch. (Don't quote me, though.)

In the end, he caught a stiff breeze to the rooftop where I am certain it was much too hot for his wittle toes because he soon headed due east landing in the pine tree. There he looked like a rusty leaf and that was the last I saw of him.


In other news, I'm so enjoying your photographs of autumn. Keep them coming! Things are beginning to color up here, though it'll not be the best foliage season we've enjoyed.

John and I are going to dig a trench today to run our wiring underground. That should be fun! Don't worry, I'm premedicating.

Love Vee