Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Safety Pin



I think it can be said without stepping on too many toes, that half the population of the United States is bitterly disappointed in the outcome of the election for President.  Actually a better description of my reaction is shock.  But this is the way of democracy.  Mr. Trump will be our President for the next 4 years.

I wish him well.  I want him to succeed because as President Obama stated, Mr. Trump's success will be our success.  I won't do anything in this blog, in person or on social media to tear down our President - now or in the future.  Respect for the opinions of a significant portion of our population must be allowed in a civilized democratic society.

In the wake of this election, however, we are left with a lot of uncertainty - and for many fear.   In a very divided nation as we appear to be, there must be a place where we can reach a common ground.  I am not talking about policy or politics, nationally or regionally or even locally.  The common ground I speak of must be found individually between people - one relationship at a time.

That is where the safety pin movement comes into play.

I got this flag safety pin in the wake of 911.
The safety pin movement is based on just a single undecorated safety pin.
But I couldn't help bringing out my 911 pin for this effort.
A plain safety pin visibly worn on the clothing is a symbol and a silent message to all of your support of anti-violence and anti-bigotry.  No words are needed.  Like a secret handshake - we can identify those who support the rights of all people - who are interested in providing a safe and respectful environment wherever you may be.


Please take the time to read the article about this movement and its origins.  Participate - show your support for the rights of all people.

One paragraph in this article pretty much sums up the focus:

"Now there's a burgeoning effort in the United States for people to start wearing the safety pin ... in the face of post-election attacks and harassment.  Having to adopt a symbol of anti-violence and anti-bigotry is not exactly what any of us thought we'd be doing in the wake of a presidential election taking place in 2016, but it could be one small way to signal that you're an ally (regardless of who you voted for) to someone who probably didn't think they'd be in this vitriolic and volatile situation either."

I am still upset about the result of this election - but this one small step forward makes me feel better.  And looking for other ways to make things better ... not matter how small ... it is worth the effort.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thank You Readers

I haven't said this yet.

Image Credit

Thank you for sticking with me during this difficult (and some times whiny) time.
  It began to feel to my own ears like I was obsessed ... going on and on and on ...
as I worked my way through this mega life change.
Even as I was writing I was feeling annoyed with myself - sometimes telling myself
 'GET OVER IT' for gosh sakes!!  

And yet I couldn't - at least then.

It was part of the reason I took a small break - until the townhouse sold.
  I was just tired of feeling the way I was feeling, I couldn't shake it,
and I couldn't inflict any more of that on you.

I am way better than I was - and we are doing well.

But a major thank you to all of you.

You guys are the best!


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Knitted Shawl - Holden

One of the things that kept me from going crazy during the last 4 months was knitting.  Here are the pictures of my most recent finished object. 


This shawl pattern is call Holden by Mindy Wilkes.
I have made this pattern twice and will probably make it again.  It is a very enjoyable and easy knit.



The yarn is a gradient set by Miss Babs called Eucalyptus.  The gradient yarns contain graduated colors of 100% Superwash Merino wool - fingering weight yarn - 798 yards.  What does not show are the true colors.  It begins with a green into a blue into a tan into a pinkish tan into a pink.

Here is the gradient set called Eucalyptus off the Miss Babs web site.
Even these colors don't look like the ones in my kit
Oh well.  Guess you have to see it in person.


The funny thing about this yarn was while I knitted, I decided I didn't like the colors.  I was disappointed with how they moved from one color to another.  I couldn't decide what made me purchase this mix of colors (all were packaged together as a group picked by Ms. Babs.)  Ms Babs colors are always stunning.  I figured this for a 'fail' but decided to finish it because I love the pattern.


Once I finished the shawl - I still didn't care for it.  Then I blocked it.  Like magic, I decided I DID like it!  Blocking really is the 'wonder-action' that makes all things right in knitting.



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Condo - Guest Bedroom and Bathroom

A series of posts on my new home.
As I go about my day in this new place I call home
I frequently think ...
"I like this (xyz) so much better."
Maybe I should write about it."

Before you peek into the guest room, a small disclaimer must be made.  The 'guest room' has a long- term resident in it already.  My yarn collection.  Beyond food, I seem to hoard yarn as well, but I like to call it a collection instead of a hoarding tendency.  Ha!  And to all knitterly visitors to this post, you should know, my yarn collection is big by my standards and average by the standards of other knitters ... apparently. So the guest room sometimes is called the Yarn Room.

Anyway, here goes!
The wall to the left houses most of my yarn for crafts.
I say 'most' because some yarn is on the other wall and in the living room.
Ok
It is a yarn condo!

I have always wanted to have an official guest room  In our townhouse we had lots of space and many rooms but no one room worked as well as this one does as a guest room  This is mostly because the possible townhouse guest rooms were either on the second level - near our rooms - limited privacy or in the basement.  Both required stair climbing to reach and most of our guests were not good on steps.  Frequently guests slept on an uncomfortable pull out couch or blow up mattress in the living room.

Opposite wall - holds all my books, puzzles, games and other craft items, and some yarn, of course.  

Sometimes this wall reminds me of a yarn shop.  Makes me smile.
Masked "Mousequerade."
In this room I also have the remains of a stuffed animal collection.  I used to have many more stuff animals, but this collection was thinned down to what I thought I had room for (and to what I love most of all) in this new place.  Mousequerade is a collectable stuffed cat, who is masquerading as a mouse in a mouse cape with a basket full of cheese.  Obviously this sweet looking cat has 'plans' to trick some little mouse.


Here is Mousequerade without the face mask and with his hood pulled back exposing such an appealing face.  My first (and dearly loved) cat in 1969 was a black and white tuxedo cat called Ashes.  This stuff animal reminds me of him.  When I saw this stuff animal in a gift shop in Savage Mill I was totally in love with him.  But the cost was ridiculous.  I couldn't justify it.  I walked away from him, but my brain would not let it go.  After about 5 days, my husband said - if he is still there go buy him.  He was still there!!  I never regretted this purchase.


On the bed sits a stuffed white angel cat with white wings and glasses. I got this cat on our first trip to Maine.  It was sitting on a gift store counter next to the cash register.  As with Mousequerade, the moment I saw him I had to have him.  But we were visiting the area and would not be returning in 5 days.  So he left with me that day.  This sweet stuffed animal reminds me of a time when my husband and I could travel together with limitations.  I am so glad I fell into that impulse purchase.


The bear is special because he wears my very first knitted sweater.  I took a 7 week learn to knit class back in 1997.  In the 90s I had a terribly stress filled job that I lived and breathed for about 4 years.  It made me into a uncaring and unhappy person.  To save my sanity and to bring back the person I was before being a manager, I quit that job with no job prospects in sight and I took a knitting class.   The sweater on this bear reminds me never to let others change who I am.  Never let circumstances make you a lesser person.  Be sure to remain caring to all.  Remember what is important in life.  This bear, which is not collectable at all, carries much on it sweatered shoulders.


This desk was one of the two pieces of my mom's that I brought with me to the condo.  Actually the desk was mine as a child.  It is a simple drop leaf maple desk but I would never part with it.  It reminds me of mom and of my childhood.


Here is another stuffed cat that is part of my small collection.  I just love the cat on its own, but in its arms is the silk flower corsage that my mom was given and wore on the day of my son's wedding.  My son was married on my mom's 60th Wedding Anniversary so she was recognized on that day with this corsage and a small matching silk bouquet of flowers.  It was a very special day - special for my son and his wife, and special because it was the best mom was mentally and physically before she began to seriously decline.

I am still figuring out how to decorate, but the evolving theme is 'cats' and 'yarn.'



The full bathroom off the second bedroom has two doors: one door is off the bedroom, the second door is off the living room.  It is a good size bathroom and would house a wheel chair or a walker if needed. It also has its own linen closet.

Max our cat loves this room.
Not all the cats in this room are stuffed!

The guest room is a special room for me.  This is one think the townhouse didn't give me - one room with all my important things.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A pause in the story ...

I guess I took an unexpected pause ...

Not the pause that was planned or refreshes ... just a pause to cope.

Last I wrote was September 21 - and I was in the middle of a "condo tour."  I will get back to that with the next post.  But this post is about the "pause."  Hard to believe it is now November 6.

Our townhouse settlement date (or the giving away of a "child" I birthed) was scheduled for October 27.  As we move closer and closer to that date my focus on anything was a failure.  Of course, I had tasks to do related to the sale.   I visited the townhouse off and on, meeting with contractors, sweeping and raking periodically, collecting mail, chatting with the neighbors.  It kept me connected and engaged, but it also kept me emotionally tied to the property.

I didn't sleep well the night before settlement.  I didn't think I would.

The day of settlement my husband and I arrived in the lobby of the settlement company.  As we reached the front desk a man passed by us and approached a young couple sitting on a couch.  I heard him mention something about " .... here for Setting Sun Way property."  I turned and said we were also here for Setting Sun Way property. I met the lovely young couple who was going to buy my dear townhouse.   And when I say "lovely" ... I totally mean it.  Before the settlement began, the woman said that she "thought she knew my daughter" and that I looked just like her.  Turns out she did know my daughter.  They went to high school together. She and her parents had lived in this neighborhood back then and she loved the area. This couple were very very excited about moving into the townhouse. She commented several times what good care I had taken of the unit.  Basically, she said all the right things.

The knot in my stomach began to unwind.  Here was the perfect young family (they had a 10 month old child), who wanted to make a home in our home ... in our neighborhood ... around our neighbors ... because she loved it.

You cannot possibly imagine just how relieved I was to meet this perfect people - who I would have chosen if I could - to live in my home.  When we left settlement I began to let go of the grip of steel I had on that townhouse for so long.  My "child" was going to a good family.

On Halloween I was invited back to Setting Sun Way by a few of my former neighbors.  Halloween is a big deal in that community.  It was just one big happy mad house.  The new owners of the townhouse were just returning from somewhere and we talked for a bit.  My former neighbors came up and introduced themselves to the new owners.  It was a warm and welcoming time.  Before I moved on, the woman asked me if I would like to come in and see what they had done so far inside.  I declined.  As I told her, I got through settlement without tears, not sure I could go inside now without tears.

I am beginning to feel a certain level of comfort in this condo.  It may never reach the level of "home," but it will become more than just "where I am living."  Now I am thinking about blogging again.  I am beginning to bring out some hobbies I previously abandon.  I am changing out some appliances that need replacing.  I am redoing some of the window treatments.  I am setting down some roots.

And I am not visiting the townhouse.  It is now busy with other folks.  :-)

Next time I will continue with the condo tour, and we will visit the guest room.

Talk again soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Condo - Kitchen

A series of posts on my new home.
As I go about my day in this new place I call home
I frequently think ...
"I like this (xyz) so much better."
Maybe I should write about it.

The Kitchen

I am not a 'kitchen' person.  I could get along with much less kitchen.  Stunningly, my smaller condo came with a bigger kitchen.  Like twice the size. Sometimes I miss my smaller kitchen because I could work in that space efficiently - with just a turn get what I needed.

Cooking is the main function of this room.  I don't enjoy cooking!  I cook to eat.  There is one exception to this - I enjoy making special dinners - like holidays, birthdays, company meals, etc. But the every day cooking, the several times a day kind of cooking - is pretty much a chore.

Unfortunately eating is a requirement of life ... like breathing!  I do enjoy eating (and breathing) so I do what I have to do to get by.  What to say about the condo kitchen?  

Kitchen


Ha!  I didn't even wash the dishes for this picture.

Surprisingly, I am happy with this kitchen!!

First off ... the kitchen holds every 'kitchen thing' I own.  That might seem like an odd statement - but in the townhouse some kitchen things spilled into the basement (down a flight of stairs) and around a corner - down a hall - not nearby at all.  Some pantry items also were stored in the basement.   This kitchen is big enough to solve that problem.  

Pantry
Speaking of the pantry, most condos I have seen don't have a pantry.  My condo pantry is bigger than my townhouse pantry.  That feature is pretty sweet!  I tend to be a food hoarder - I know - sounds a bit contradictory - hates cooking / hoards food!  Answer - I am not much on being hungry.

Pull out lower shelves
I do love the white cabinets!  But the real plus is their function.  They have pull out shelves in the lower cabinets.  Wonderful.  I have a pot carousel in the corner cabinet.  Amazing.  In the town house my lower shelves were sort of 'no-man's-land.'  Sometimes pots got just dropped into a heap in the lower cabinets because the space was so un-user friendly.

My corner carousel

The most important appliance in the kitchen for me is a refrigerator.  It hoards stores food.  I could hand wash my dishes, use a hot plate and toaster oven for cooking, but I like a nice refrigerator.  The one in the condo has many problems: too small, exterior casing is damaged, one produce drawer broken, freezer on top rather than bottom.  But this refrigerator has one feature I totally adore - it has an ice maker.  I have never owned an ice maker and I use a lot of ice.   It is also a working unit so we will keep it ... until we have the money to replace it.

There are other minor things that I like about this kitchen, but it has one feature I really really love.


The washer and drier are located in the kitchen.  I totally LOVE the location.  Most condos do not have full size washer and driers - they have stackable units and many are located in hallways to save space.  I most certainly could get along with smaller units, but the luxury of having full size units in the kitchen is a big plus for me.

So the judgement on the kitchen?  I'll keep it!


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Condo - Deck

A series of posts on my new home.
As I go about my day in this new place I call home
I frequently think ...
"I like this (xyz) so much better."
Maybe I should write about it.

The Deck

Although the deck is not technically inside the condo, you get to it through my front door.  And it is turning out to be a favorite place to spend quiet morning time.

When we first viewed this condo and I saw the deck, my first thought was ... cute, small, not sure how important it is, won't use it much.  After all I rarely used my townhouse deck and never my brick patio.  I was very aware of the street noise at the condo and the busyness just outside the windows.  Inside was my focus.  The goal was never to find exactly the right external setting - other than a safe and well maintained neighborhood.

I do remember immediately liking the door to the deck.  It was an actual door and storm door off the den.  We will eventually replace the storm door with one that has a screen.  But I was happy to leave the glass slider days behind me.  




I also remember liking the fact this was a covered deck.  My townhouse deck was inviting and a generous size, but it was open to the elements.  If your neighbors stepped onto their deck you immediately had company.  I hardly ever used it.  This deck is different in every way.  A more private sheltered feeling.


  

View from the deck to the right.

The deck faces the front entrance to the development (picture above.)   Across the street there is a small farm/ranch that boards horses.  That property is probably a throw-back to the original purpose of all the land that surrounds it but is now built up.  The road between our development and that barn in the distance ... is usually a busy road.

View of the community from the deck to the left.







Almost every morning I slip outside to sit on this deck.  Morning coffee on the deck in my pajamas with my book or computer and my fierce wooden cat birdhouse (which no bird in their right mind would use) has become the start of many days.  

My fierce cat bird house - entrance through the mouth.
Definitely less deck but way more use than the larger deck. 

New space, new routines.

So far so good.