Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Things 1 and 4

Thing 1 and Thing 4 visited last night. The eldest grand selected "Thing 4" because his outfit came with four digits 1–4 and 4 was the closest to 5 (his age). I love how kids think.

Thing 1 thoroughly enjoyed being Thing 1 and told me that Thing 1 didn't feel like cleaning the house so Thing 1 was leaving. (Seems to have been stuck on speaking of himself in the third person.) He emptied all of his candy into mine in a reverse trick or treat. The face he's making at the miniature Kit-Kat almost says Do I have to eat the rest of that? Wish that I had a similar problem.

Notice the pumpkins? John used his drill to create polka dots and to spell out the grands' names. What a blessing he is to these boys whose own paternal grandfather died long before they were born. They adore him and he thinks that they are mighty fine, too.

In my own childhood and into my 30s, I was blessed with a "substitute" grandfather. He could not have done a finer job of grandparenting if he had been a blood relative. He was a gentleman, polite and quiet, and one with whom I felt perfectly at ease. I could listen to him play his violin for hours and be content. Though a man of few words, he gave wise counsel when asked. He loved his garden allowing my sister and me to join him there and teaching us about the earth and the plants. He loved making us little trinkets and toys and would happily play "Go Fish" or teach us how to for real. Even now, I sometimes often find myself missing him.

Do you have some special people in your life who, though not related, are family?

Love Vee

Monday, October 31, 2011

Something to Crow About

You know, if we hang around long enough, we're going to see things not seen in over a hundred-fifty years like early snowstorms in October after a late autumn. I've seen snow on green leaves in the spring before, but never like this in fall.

Hard to believe that we'll be welcoming a new month tomorrow. Just a reminder about the Giving Thanks Challenge starting tomorrow at South Breeze Farm. Clicking on the button in my sidebar will take you there. Leah is putting up Mr. Linky sometime this evening around 10 p.m. (I don't know if I can stay up that late.) Hope to see you there!

Saturday was bitter cold and every breeze whispered snow. It made me feel like stopping by the local gift shop, which I did. Oh it was wonderfully decked out for Thanksgiving and Christmas. A crockpot near the door was filled with delicious smelling hot apple cider and the aroma of cinnamon floated about the entire store. Hmmmm...

I found these things:

Edited to Add Photo showing Mr. Crow, now named Edgar Allan Crow at Auntie's suggestion, where he should be...

Yes, a crow to sit on top of one of the fenceposts instead of where he is now and some Deco Lights from Darice with silicone tips. They have a very soft and warm look, which you've already seen if you saw yesterday's post.

So that's my simple Monday post. Hope to catch you soon!

Love Vee

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Tumultuous Privacy of Storm

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed

In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are safe and warm around our "radiant fireplace" so we'll not complain too loudly about the early snow. And we shall hold our own church service as morning services have been canceled. Wonder what John will preach on. I can suggest a verse:

As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, So is a faithful messenger to them that send him; For he refresheth the soul of his masters. Proverbs 25:13

John has nixed this scripture saying that it means a cold drink and not actual snow. He's right. I see it now and just when I was going to be able to think about this experience in a new and better way... ☺

Edited to Add: Morning found us without an internet connection, though we had power. The snow has stopped falling and all is good. With temps in the high 40s and low 50s predicted for the rest of the week, we are looking forward to getting back to normal. Hope that all is well with you!

Sunday comments are closed

Love Vee

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Finding Joy

I was told that the electrician would be by around 9 a.m. to check on a few things. I had no idea. He was here by 8:30. In very short order, Mort and John were moving all the furniture away from the walls to check each and every light and outlet. < thud >

Oh, my dear, can you even imagine? Yes, do allow your mind to go there.

Two and a Half Hours of Pure Joy

Mort grinned at John some time into the project and said, "It's been two and a half hours of pure joy, right John?"

Now they really did seem to be having some fun, but my house was a disaster area, no electricity so I couldn't amuse myself by sewing or by being on the computer. I did eat...as I recall...it all went by in a blur...an entire jar of candy corn. (Yes, we are still on our eating program.)

Two and a half hours of something considerably less than joy

I have not yet learned how to make myself content in all situations nor to consider it all joy. I should take lessons from Molly (the poodle) there who curled up on one end of a crowded sofa and napped using the birdhouse for a pillow.

Finally, I thought of my camera. Here are a few of the sweeter vignettes I found among the piles.


Photoscape~Cali something

Truly the Last of the Flowers...Clematis, Rose, Geranium

So, should you find yourself in a mess (a white mess) today and tomorrow, so many of us will, try to find the sweet joys lying all around.

Love Vee

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Grand Story

They were dressed in their little boy plaid flannel pjs, fresh from their baths, and all ready for bed. One wore red plaid; the other blue; and I forgot my camera hence the word picture.

Two dogs bounded about my legs...a hyper beagle named Jack and my grandpuggy Bazil.

My son and daughter-in-law were leaving for the first parent-teacher conference of the year so I had been invited to watch Toy Story  for a bit and to visit with the grands.

The baby grand's vocabulary has picked up immensely in recent months and he is speaking in full sentences and communicating quite clearly. I'll share some of our conversation from last weekend and you can see what I mean.

Baby Grand: Nonni

Me: Yes?

Baby Grand: Your lips are chapped.

Me: Jake?

Baby Grand: Yes?

Me: So are yours.

Baby Grand: Nonni

Me: Hmmmm?

Baby Grand: You have a mustache.

Me: What?!!!

Baby Grand: No, no. Not a mustache. You do not have a mustache.

 You don't think I have a mustache, do you?

Ever since, it's been touch and go between us. He seems worried that he's going to say something I won't be able to handle. That's just how tricky human communication can be sometimes. And I am afraid that he's going to take my amusement all too seriously.

Don't worry, we'll get it figured out. Last night we called up Auntie and she came to rescue us from tears and general anxiety. I just hope that Jake won't tell his aunt that she has a mustache.

Have a great weekend...

Love Vee

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Accomplishments and Giving Thanks Challenge

The burning question is whether anything was accomplished yesterday, right? Well, John has the driveway fixed enough that we don't have to park our cars on the front lawn anymore. This is very good with Halloween coming next Monday. I had visions of the cars being egged and keyed.

(The neighborhood's actually had trouble with a gang of boys who don't have a lot of scruples because their parents don't either. They stole $300 and a GPS from my neighbor's car one evening last week. It certainly gives us all pause. Nothing will come of it as per usual. I'd like to think that a stern talking-to by the town police will work, though past incidents would suggest not.)

Back to accomplishments. I swiped some paint on a cupboard door and then promptly removed the door. I'm still deciding whether to leave it off or put it back. It's the glasses and mugs shelves and the cabinet is always sporting dirt. I'm not saying that the dear man who has been digging ditches and putting it all back together is responsible or anything... < insert whistling >

Say, do you have any open shelving in your kitchen? How do you like it? Tell me please!

Then I decided to paint the door in the living room area the same color as the kitchen cabinets...you know...when I actually do get around to painting them. This is the other side of the green door.

Before and After

The color is Linen Cloth from Sherwin Williams in a gloss. I need to be able to scrub off fingerprints easily. Originally, I had thought I'd paint the door something punchy. I've now decided neutral is the way to go and light. It's a dark enough room. I need to do the second coat this morning.

Have you noticed that Leah at South Breeze Farm is hosting the 5th Annual Giving Thanks Challenge? It has always blessed me to slow down long enough to think about those things for which I am truly grateful. Last November was a difficult month in many ways for my family and me so participating in this challenge kept me focused on the gifts of life that make living worthwhile. There are so many!

Leah will give you all the details soon and she's already started telling about it. Won't you consider joining in? And if you've already celebrated your Thanksgiving or if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, it won't be held against you. =) It may prove to be a fresh way to center yourself in the month before Christmas and the New Year and to share it with your readers.

I'll put my growing list in my sidebar and sometimes I'll talk about it in a post in a more detailed way. November 30 will be the post where I save the entire list so that I can return to it again. If you'd like to see my 2010 list, you can find it *here.*

Hope to see you at South Breeze Farm soon!

Now have yourself a sweet day...

Love Vee

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fresh Eyes

A Fresh Morning

Don't you think we'd all be well served by looking at everything in life with fresh eyes? I thought about so many of the comments that came in yesterday on the blogging tips post. There are some really good ones! One of my friends said that she goes through her sidebar often and removes things that might be dragging her blog down or cluttering the look.

That resonated with me because I have an unwritten policy in my home that says "Something In/Something Out." I have not been following it so well with the house and I haven't been following it so well on my blog home either. I have recently added three items to the sidebar and this morning I took off two. Progress, right?

When I look at everything with fresh eyes, I see things more clearly. For one thing, you'll notice my post is late this morning. It's late because I decided that the first thing of the morning is no longer going to be putting up a post. No, I'm going back to my F*lyLady tip about getting dressed first thing in the morning. Now where are my shoes? (F*lyLady doesn't think one is dressed without shoes.)

I still enjoy posting before eight in the morning, but not at the expense of being unprepared for the day. I've also realized how often I hang out in my pjs until late morning. Now where is my Vitamin D? We bought some at BJ's last week, yet I haven't managed to get one from the bottle to my lips.

So I have many things to work on. Here it is years later and I still haven't painted the kitchen cabinets. I do have the paint, though. And today, yes today, I am going to paint something. I'll show you tomorrow. I will.

Time moves on and if I have no goals and no plan for moving toward them, I'm going to wake up one morning and realize that nothing in my life has been accomplished. I'll still be wearing my nighty and wondering where my life went. On that note, I'm off!

Have a great Wednesday...

Love Vee

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Seven Tips for Better Blogging

My Winterberries and My Winterberry Gatherer
(Having Nearly Nothing Whatsoever to Do with Today's Topic ☺)

New blogging buddies are so much fun for they bring a freshness and enthusiasm to blogging that can be lost if we always remain in the same clique circle. New faces and new voices are wonderful. Once in a while, I am asked a question about blogging forms and formalities and I smile because I so well remember having the same sorts of questions about blogging. Gosh, I still have questions about blogging all the time.

Sometimes, I allow myself the luxury of thinking perhaps I do know something about this blogging business. Of course, I'm just pretending, I actually know precious little. Sadly, it is my nature to tell more than I know; therefore, in an effort to answer some of the questions I've been asked of late, I'll share why I blog the way I do because that's really all I know anything about. What you do, dear one, is always your choice.

1. I try to make my blog friendly by not using any sort of verifications. They are a huge hurdle for my commenters and for me. (Feel free to snag the button if you decide to go verification free. It is a great joy to find it on blogs and, no, I didn't start it.) Yes, I have had trouble with spammers in the past, but Blogger has done an amazing job with its spam filter. You can always check your filter by going first to the Design button and then directly to the Comment tab. This truly eliminates the need for fussy word verifications. If you should receive an unwarranted comment, do not hesitate to delete it or to report it as spam. Certainly, do not give it much concern. I would just challenge you, if at all possible, to try letting go of those verifications. If you have troubles again, you can always return to them.

1. Design and then directly to Comments

2. Anonymous commenters are either a blessing or a curse. Because I think everyone should be able to stand behind a comment, I no longer allow anonymous ones. This helps to further eliminate spam. The way to check this setting is Design, Dashboard, Settings, Comments.

2. Design-Dashboard-Settings-Comments

3. I regularly check my blog's load time. There are a number of good programs that do this. I recently tried Pingdom, which breaks down the components of my blog and shows the various load times for each item. For example, I see that my little clock there (that I love, btw,) is sucking a lot of load time.

4. If I have a problem with a certain blog, I'll mention it to the blogger behind the scenes in an email.  Quite often, it turns out to be my problem and not hers in the first place. And I want to know if you're having difficulty here, too, because I'll try to find out why. The pop-up box for comments, which I also love because it allows me to see the original page, often causes visitors troubles when leaving a comment. That is a setting on your home computer concerning safety issues, which you may or may not wish to change. Some have reported success by using Google Chrome.

5. I attach my email and my blog to my profile. Why? So that when I comment, the blogger can easily find me without jumping through hoops. And I realize that for some of you that is not an option, but if you are not hiding, please consider doing this. It can be accomplished by following this path: Design, Dashboard, Edit Profile. Once in Edit Profile, changes can be made. For example, I no longer wish to show my second blog. Be careful about having too many blogs listed. It makes it confusing for others to find you. Some even have their "behind the scenes" blogs listed. That should probably not be the case. 

5. Design - Dashboard - Edit Profile

6. For photo editing, one can't go wrong with Photoscape. It's a free, quick and easy download. (Google it.) This is the program I most use for mosaics. It also has a lot of photo edits that can be fun.

7. Blinkies...way too cute by half for me. Why? Because I am growing older and to have something blinking away in a sidebar or a post is very distracting.

You'll notice that I didn't even touch the music issue. That's because I alternately have a love-hate relationship with it. My own music is set so that my readers must turn it on to listen. So often, we are listening to our "own thing" when reading blogs. It can get to be way too much. However, last year at Christmastime, my mother and I loved listening to the various playlists hearing songs that we hadn't even thought of in years. It was just plain wonderful and for that reason alone, I will never get negative about playlists.

If I could change just one thing about blogging, it would be to have us all do what makes us content without concern for not meeting someone else's expectations. And, just to totally negate that, I want you all to blog nearly every single day! =) Not possible? Somehow I knew that's what you'd say.

Would you like to add anything to my list? Now's your chance!

Love Vee

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
Comments are closed

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