Uncategorized

IS THANKSGIVING DEAD??? OR JUST FORGOTTEN??

IS THANKSGIVING DEAD??? OR JUST FORGOTTEN??

Stuffed somewhere between the manic candy eating and the pretending to be someone you aren’t of Halloween, and the glitz and glitter of modern day Christmas, is……….Thanksgiving. Or at least it used to be. What happened? Thanksgiving has all but disappeared. I was pondering this recently and wondered….Is Thanksgiving dead? or dying a slow death? or just forgotten?

Can we revive it? Is it worth it? SPOILER ALERT: If you are one who decorates for Christmas the day after Halloween STOP READING NOW. Please don’t send me hate mail, I’m not anti-Christmas for goodness sake.

The Table is set for the Girlfriends’ Fall Brunch, no Christmas in sight

 

The answer to the can we revive it question is, Yes! Yes, it can be revived with a little forethought and it is most definitely worth it. In spite of the fact that Thanksgiving is predicated upon a romantic notion of grateful Pilgrims sitting down to an abundant harvest of food and friendship with also grateful Native Americans, a notion that has been disproved over time, families still sit down to eat too much food together, drink beer (I mean come on, what’s Thanksgiving without a drunken Uncle Fred??) and watch football.

When I was young, Thanksgiving was looked forward to with anticipation, the candy from Halloween had long since been eaten, jack-o-lanterns retired to the trash, toilet paper removed from the trees and the rush and excitement of Christmas hadn’t yet started. Although my Grams did have a corner in her closet for those “special” gifts from yard sales she squirreled away through the year. And let’s not forget Green Stamps and Top Value stamps saved and hoarded for gifts that couldn’t be found at yard sales. And she saved 25 cents a week just for Christmas at her bank’s Christmas Club savings program. But this post isn’t about that, how did I lose track of Thanksgiving already??

Oh yes….anticipating Turkey Day. While my Grandfather was alive, that meal was a big deal, preparations began days in advance, the good dishes brought out and washed, the silver polished, table  linens starched and ironed. The required paper turkeys with their glorious honeycomb tails, lined the table and the old faded pilgrim salt and pepper shakers were brought out and filled. The family was coming for a day long eat fest. Along with whatever stray person my Gramps dragged in, usually someone he met in line at the hardware store with no place to go. Having no place to go was something he couldn’t abide. So we frequently had strangers at the table, eating and talking with the rest of the odd lot of relatives I saw only once a year.

The fall centerpiece from last year, no Gallo wine bottles could be found

 

The day began early for my grandmother, she would often get up at 4 or 5 in the morning to begin preparations. When it was time for the Macy Day parade it was also time for her first break. The sounds of that parade and the soft oohs and ahhs from her still resonate in my mind every Thanksgiving.  It was a day of warmth and familial tolerance, if not love. I tolerated my Great Uncles, a rowdy bunch of former coal miners and farmers, veterans of wars and unnamed battles, loud, obnoxious, but adored by my Grams and they, in turn, adored her right back. My Great Aunts (my favorite relatives,) colorful as exotic birds, tugging assorted husbands and boyfriends to the dinner table, everyone laughing and waiting expectantly for the turkey, my Grams’ triumph of early morning rising, stuffing and basting the morning away.

The glorious bird would arrive, carefully carried by Gramps, steaming and golden brown, placed on a large platter, clearly the star of the meal. Grace was said, everyone held hands and bowed their heads, the Uncles eyeing the biscuits, (I always peeked in case they were ready to throw something at me),  and then we went around the table, reciting what we were most grateful for before the meal began in earnest.

And what a meal it was. Mashed potatoes ( and no one made them like my Grams), stuffing, turkey gravy, a variety of veggie dishes, something called Waldorf salad, the required Jello with weird additions….Hello orange with shredded carrots and walnuts, I’m looking at you! And the always mystifying can of cranberry “sauce” which never lost its can shape, wasn’t really saucy and was more like molded jello without the benefit of walnuts or shredded carrots. Hot just-from-the oven biscuits and warm home baked bread.  Then there were the pies, enough pies to make the sideboard groan. Every person brought pie, every.single.person. There was mincemeat pie (something I wouldn’t eat, I mean what the hell was in that anyway?) pumpkin pie of course, and apple, and sometimes there was a dreamy coconut pie in all its chocolate decadence.

And pudding, Jello chocolate pudding because that was my favorite. But also vanilla…with bananas and something called Cool Whip, although my Uncles preferred Ready Whip because when you pushed the little thingy on top of the can, it sounded like someone farting according to Uncle Buddy. And it could be used as a weapon. There were always threats of  “whipping your ass,” at the time, I thought they would be using the ever handy can of Ready Whip as the weapon of choice. But wondered why would anyone use whipping cream to beat someone up??? Ahh, the sweet innocence of youth.

The beverages of the day were always sweet tea and coffee, if it was cold and it usually was….there was hot mulled cider.  My Grandparents weren’t drinkers. My Gramps had a beer or two while hanging out with his fishing buddies but we typically didn’t have it in the house…… and wine, when it was brought to family dinners, was always in a large jug. Sophisticated we were. What with our cranberry sauce from a can and our Gallo wine from a glass jug.

One or two of the Uncles always got into heated arguments, the reason long dead, but revived, just in time for food. How does that happen?? For me the day meant  stuffing my face, dodging “noogies” from the Uncles, playing outside with my dog and the highlight of the day was watching the Lions and/or the Bears play, sitting in front of the TV with my Gramps. One or two of the Uncles, done arguing, would join us and there were more than a few new arguments over the “Best Ever” in whatever position they were debating.

That part of the day was special, I got to share that time with my Gramps, sitting in his chair, smoking his pipe and laughing at all the antics and telling or retelling his favorite jokes and stories, me usually leaning back on that chair, bringing my bed pillow for comfort. As the day turned to evening and the candles were lit,  music playing after the football game,  various bodies snoring on the sofa and every  available chair, replete with food and warmth, that day became Thanksgiving. I carry it with me still today.

After my Gramps passed, the dinner was still held, but it had lost something besides my Grandfather. My Grams was never the same, and in the subsequent years as more of the family left us, uncles, and aunts died or moved away, there were no more strangers, because helloooo, you never knew what kind of creep might show up,  until it became just me and my Grams and my two favorite aunts, Ruby and Vi, along with their husbands. A more sedate day but still filled with love, laughter, warmth, too much food and reminisces.

I learned a lot about my family then, the old stories, the history being repeated around the table while the adults seemed to forget I was there,  lost in their memories. The day ending in hugs and a flurry of goodbye kisses and hugs, the house silent once more. It wasn’t a sad day…..just a quieter and smaller version of the earlier dinners. But one thing remains clear in my mind. There was a feeling of  thankfulness, of being grateful and content. And then Grams would signal it was time to bring the Christmas boxes down. THEN Christmas began. That’s what I miss most of all.

By 1971 most of the brothers and sisters had died, leaving my Grams with only 2 sisters and 1 brother. Dinner became potluck, held at Aunt Ruby’s. If any of them were still alive they would be horrified at this photo.

 

These days I browse my Instagram feed, look at posts from my many decorating groups on Facebook, and wince when the Christmas trees start appearing the day after Halloween. The last few years I’ve been sick of Christmas decor long before Christmas ever gets here. People are in such a rush to get from one light filled extravaganza to the next that Thanksgiving has become a day to get through so the “real” Christmas season can begin. Propelled by retailers needing to grab our dollars by  enticing us with glorious and gaudy Christmas displays and the must have newest generation of phones, tablets, robotic vacuums and telling us we need someone named Alexis to have a good life…… We buy pre-lit faux trees with timers and programmed music. And then we spray our homes with the scent of evergreen in a can or burn scented candles because faux trees have no scent. ??? Does that seem weird to anyone else?

It’s still fall

I often wonder, what’s the hurry? I hear and read “Fall is my favorite season,” yet those same people pack up fall as soon as the last jack-o-lantern is kicked to the curb and start putting up trees. WHAT? Fall is still here, people! And can we just set aside ONE day to be grateful for all that we have? For the people, pets and abundance in our lives? For a day of, granted, too much food, but served with a  side of affection for family? WHAT IS THE HURRY?

I know many people love Christmas, I love it too. I love anticipating and planning it each year, I have countless magazines devoted to all things Christmas. I make lists. I’ve learned to slow down and enjoy every season, every holiday I have left and I try not to squander one for the sake of another. Fall is a SEASON, Christmas is a holiday. Thanksgiving is a holiday too! There. I’ve said it.

There may be a reason for starting Christmas early…. for military families, it may be a deployment. For some it’s  involvement in the Christmas Parade of Homes, or another local tradition, perhaps someone is moving far away….for the rest of us, it’s the holidays as always….or should be.

It’s a bit different, being a blogger. We’re expected to get our holiday tips, tricks and photos out early so that you, my dear friends, can learn new ways to celebrate. I get that. But this year, I’ll be posting some things from last year, so that I can ease into the holiday with joy in my heart.

I’ll be cutting back on social media for a few weeks as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family we’ve chosen for ourselves. The kids are all scattered with families of their own, and one will be celebrating with us from Heaven.  Mr B and I would normally eat a scrumptious, but less stomach challenging meal, followed by football, where we sit comfortably ensconced on the sofa, hurling insults at our heroes when they fumble or drop a pass.

This year we’ll be gathering with friends, some will eat too much, some will drink too much……but we’ll gather together to be grateful we are still here, to offer a moment of silence in remembering those who are no longer with us and THEN we’ll all hurl affectionate insults at one another, much like my uncles used to do, without cans of of Ready Whip for the ass whippings. Why…. we are much more sophisticated than that. We don’t need no stinking cans of ass whip. We just throw intellectual barbs.  And drink wine from slim bottles with fancy labels and actual corks, and locally brewed beer with creative names. Yes, we’ve come a long way from Ready Whip and Gallo wine.  Cool Whip may still be lurking somewhere….. but there will be no orange Jello with shredded carrots and walnuts. Um…..I might miss that. But there will real cranberry sauce that’s actually sauce and there will be pie. Lots and lots of pie.

Bring Thanksgiving back. Don’t look at it as the day before Christmas starts, drag out your vintage pilgrim salt and pepper shakers, line your table with paper turkeys in all their splendor. Decorate for this day as if it’s important. Because it is.

In today’s world we NEED a day to focus on what’s important,  a day to hit pause, to remember and reflect. Christmas can wait. Put down the device, forget Facebook and Instagram (gasp!) for a day and enjoy conversations with the people who are standing or sitting next to you. Hug. Say I love you. SLOW DOWN.  Enjoy the season you’re in. You never know when it will be the last season you get to enjoy. Or the last time you get to see the face of someone you love. Savor it. Christmas will come as usual, and there will  be time for it. Leave the frantic shopping and the hurrying for a bit.

There’s time. It’s STILL fall y’all

Thanksgiving sky 2016

Create your sanctuary. One season……one holiday at a time.

POST IRMA

POST IRMA

Hey friends, thanks for stopping by today. Once again I write with a heavy heart. I’d intended to do a quick post to let y’all know what’s been going on here at my sanctuary after Irma. I find myself still in a bit of a funk posting about the small irritations we face as compared to the thousands who have no water, food or shelter as yet. I hope everyone has donated, given blood or volunteered in small…. or big ways. We can help. It will take more than a village, but we can help. Check out the websites of those areas affected and see what still needs to be done, and if you can…. donate. As always, please use due diligence and check to be sure the charities are legitimate and your donations will actually get to the people and organizations involved in the massive clean up.

I need to take a moment to honor those who lost their lives in Las Vegas. We should be able to attend concerts, picnics or church services without fear. I may never attend an open air concert again….ever.  It is with a heavy heart I offer my condolences to those who lost a loved one. I understand the pain. Truly. I still suffer with a hole in my heart that will never heal. October is a bittersweet month for me. My son was killed in October. My oldest Granddaughter was born in October. We celebrate and we mourn.  I’ learned that great joy and great pain can co-exist peacefully  in the same heart. Life goes on….as it must. One thing I know about that kind of loss, is that you live your life with joy in honor of the one who no longer can.  It will take some time, but my hope is that all who were affected learn to live their lives with joy once more.

Clean up here at the Sanctuary is taking a temporary break so that Mr B can enjoy his annual golf outing. Twelve men from various parts of the country  and our neighborhood, will be spending the next several days in the Orlando area wreaking havoc on unsuspecting golf courses. Those courses will never be the same. It’s a big event now. With its own traveling trophy, professional style pairings and months of pre-planning. I suggested the original outing a few years ago as a 65th birthday celebration for Mr B, but it’s turned into a greatly anticipated annual trip, with much hilarity, eating, playing of poker, a  bit of liquid happiness and a lot of golf. Happy pre-birthday Mr B. You’ve earned some time away from the Honey Do List.

We’ve picked up fallen debris, cleaned the bird cage (the screen enclosure around the pool), raked some of the yard, had trees trimmed, washed some of the windows and done general clean up. We invested the money in having a large oak removed due to its proximity to our house. It was a Water Oak,  one of the weakest oak trees and are frequently one of the first of the oaks to become victim of winds. I don’t miss it and our bedroom benefits from additional light with it gone. We’ll plant a smaller hardier native in that area.

We lost a 40 foot Maple but it wasn’t in close proximity to the house and caused no real damage. I grew this from a seedling and really loved it. But I’m happy it didn’t cause damage to anything important

Our neighbor also allowed us to remove two large limbs that had grown over the roof to offer a semblance of safety in the event of another hurricane. There will be another one. This is Florida, the big thumb state that extends into the Gulf. We’re like a giant storm bulls eye, along with Texas and Louisiana. Harvey and Irma will go down in history along with Andrew and Katrina. I imagine construction rules and codes will again change in the hope of preventing the widespread damage after Irma. Good luck with that I say.

 

That’s a big tree and our tree guy made me nervous. He’s up there without a harness. Yikes

 

When I talk about clean up, it goes beyond the normal picking up crap that has blown into the yard or fallen from trees. Something most people don’t think about is the dirt and grime that gets blown onto and into your house. Our windows were covered in a nasty combination of dirt and tree sap that creates a film of gunk. (ugh, that means the house is covered in it too!)  It’s almost impossible to remove without washing the windows multiple times with Krud Kutter. We got a good start but are in no way done with that project.  Mr B cleaned the driveway and sidewalk but the house still needs to be pressure washed, the patio needs to be cleaned and sealed, leaves and debris blown out of every planting bed. Shrubs rinsed off and then, to quote my friend, Dianne……I needed to address “the chaos I created indoors.” WOWZER! I have a lot of crap  treasures! It’s one thing to quickly, but systematically wrap things and box them up for safety. It’s a whole “nother” game to put said crapola  precious artifacts away again.

The screen enclosure (Bird cage) was first in line for attention from Mr B so that we could actually see the yard

I went the extra mile and dusted,  washed and cleaned everything before putting it back. Um…..just where did that vintage Zane Gray book go anyway??? When you can’t remember how you had things styled…..you might have too much. (Imagine MR B’s eyes rolling about now.) For a few days my home looked like I was getting ready for an estate sale. I  made that comment to my beloved who mumbled; “if only.” Or words to that effect. His office was in the same condition as when we left because he deemed nothing important enough to worry about. His office, while stuffed, is at least an orderly stuffing. Mine, on the other hand, is just stuffed with stuff…..er, important things. Whatever.

But I have “stuff” put away again, my shelves are once again filled with things that make me smile. Smiles weren’t in abundance for a few days. There was whining about aching backs  and shoulders, complaining about the multiple hot showers needed and many doses of Ibuprofen, but when Mr B ran out of breath I reminded him, “we still have to do………….” then I ran. Or hobbled quickly. Take your pick.

Love that my shelves are once again filled with things I love. Two of my Grandmother’s plates are in this display in the dining room. I just noticed I need to move the white meat plate to the left a bit. Why didn’t I ever see this before???

I also learned a bit about packing the car and I’m now looking for another folding dog crate at a reasonable price.  It takes up a lot less space. And I reminded myself to keep my “go bag” up to date, including a toothbrush. So each time we return from a trip I’ll take some time to restock it.   And at the first announcement that a hurricane will make landfall, I’ll be stocking up on ziplock bags, plastic bins and bubble wrap. Oil for the lamps, (even though I have 5 thousand assorted candles), tuna, bread and peanut butter. Those were in short supply or no supply early on.

I’m hanging fewer wind chimes, but better quality ones. Getting rid of small plants and pots, in favor of statement making larger ones. And I’ve already given away a small wrought iron seating group. Next up for the Goodwill pile is small tables and outdoor knick knacks. Too much trouble to move to safe locations and we don’t need them anyway. Less stuff means quicker prep. I’m all about quicker prep after Irma.

Fewer but larger wind chimes mean quicker storm prep.

Mr B thinks if we wait  until after the storm season is over we may get a better price on hurricane windows and shutters. There is still time left in this year’s storm season tho. I hope his idea turns out to be a wise decision. I do know that if we get a direct hit from another Irma sized storm there isn’t enough bubble wrap in the world to protect us.

I hope you are safe and busy creating your sanctuary, one room at a time. We sure need a sanctuary these days. Blessings and hope to all.

LIVING MY “WHAT IF”

LIVING MY “WHAT IF”

Hey y’all!  Most of you know that we evacuated and perhaps followed the updates on my Facebook page. I found myself in the position of living my  “What If” post. Ironically, at the time we loaded the car and made a mad dash out of our state, I was strangely calm, or maybe in a state of denial. It was before the storm that anxiety and stress were off the charts, and a bit later…. after the “mad dash”that it hit again. And boy! Did it ever!!

Hurricanes at least give enough time to prepare…..but that also means lots of time to build up anxiety. We spent the week prior to Irma’s projected landfall getting ready. Draining the pool, removing anything that could become a projectile in high winds, packing mementos as best we could.  Mr B worked tirelessly moving patio furniture, pots and plants, and odds and ends of outdoor miscellaneous (think dozens of wind chimes) to the side of the house or into the garage. He didn’t grumble or make snide comments about all the stuff that had to be moved, he just did it. The anxiety building,  did we do enough? Would we be safe? Waiting for the storm to hit was the worst part. The unknown is always the hardest part.

Photos and albums ready to be wrapped and placed in the closets

Our house is  “open concept,” kitchen, breakfast nook and family room are one big space.  There are no rooms without windows, and the windows we have are each larger than a standard 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. They are great for letting light in, but due to some ill designed sills that stick out on the exterior, and the fact that the family room windows are not separate windows, they are “mulled together with aluminum,” there is no way to secure the plywood sheets to the house. Plus they aren’t “hurricane windows,” they’re flimsy builder grade. That bank of 3 in the back of the house were the biggest concern. They rattle and vibrate during normal thunderstorms and I was afraid that hurricane force winds would blow them out.   We’d given all our plywood away quite awhile ago and it quickly disappeared at all the big box stores.

People were taking this storm seriously. And it didn’t help my stress level to have the Governor on the TV once every hour saying, “This is a monster storm, GET OUT.” If the Governor was freaking out, what chance did we have? Floridians in our area are usually blase about hurricanes. We’ve had a few. But this storm? Irma? She scared the bejesus out of hardcore hurricane partiers and people were boarding up, buying all the water that was available and gassing up the cars.

Bread, water and gasoline ran out. Gas stations closed. People drove miles from their homes hoping to find a jar of peanut butter or a bottle of water. I was lucky to be in Walmart when a few pallets of  bottled water became available. I was surprised at the orderly line, the lack of complaints as we snaked through the store to the back and each shopping cart was loaded with a case of water. There was no bread, no peanut butter, no canned tuna (I snagged the last two cans), and paper towels and toilet paper were in very short supply.

Some things were placed in the dryer, hopefully to stay safe

 

We knew we had enough ice to last a couple of days and food in the freezer to cook on the gas grill when the power went out. We had batteries, water and toilet paper, candles and oil lamps. We had a generator that had just been serviced and it was supposed to power 6 outlets in the house. I hoped one of them was for a fan. I bought an extra case of Oscar’s kidney diet food, stocked up on Lily’s and picked up vaccination records at the vet’s.   We found a couple of small pieces of plywood in the garage and Mr B was able to board up the french door in the pool bath. So that was our “safe room.” I planned to make a bed on the floor with some of my bazillion quilts and throws and the 4 of us would huddle in there during the storm. So we were good.

I put photos and scrapbooks in the few plastic bins I had, but quickly ran out so made a quick run to Big Lots and fortunately it still had a few. I grabbed a couple and was able to get most of the family photos and my precious tintypes wrapped and in the bins. Some I wrapped in plastic and placed in the washer and dryer and even the dishwasher. We aren’t in a flood zone so I wasn’t worried about the water lines backing up. Turns out that wasn’t a great idea. I’ll have to  do some research to find out what…if anything, can be done to make those a safe place to put precious things.

Mr B made a pee station for the dogs, they’d be safe with their “indoor plumbing”

My Grandmother’s cedar chest was put into the bathtub, my toy box was left in my office with the hope that it would remain safe. Some bins were additionally wrapped in garbage bags, taped and placed in our closets. We closed all the interior doors.  Mr B made a pee station for the dogs with some sod and I was able to get Oscar some tranquilizers to help with his storm anxiety. We were as prepared as we could be. We were ready to hunker down.

As Irma got closer, the warnings became more dire. When the winds hit 50 mph first responders would no longer respond. The Governor told people in south Florida if they didn’t evacuate, they’d be on their own. Don’t call if you have a heart attack. We aren’t  coming. No way was he going to risk the lives of those crews to save someone dumb enough to stay and then have the temerity to have a heart attack. My anxiety was through the roof. We went about the business of shutting down our computers, making sure our medications and personal papers were in the water resistant lock box. Both dogs were anxious and followed in our footsteps, routinely getting stepped on, then hugged with a quick apology. Their innocent eyes looking up at us, plainly confused and anxious, looking to us for reassurance and comfort. I felt bad that I had none to give, for I was just as anxious.

And then we waited…. I managed to watch a couple of sitcoms but couldn’t tell you which ones. I tried to read but couldn’t concentrate. As Irma got closer the television was on our local 24 hour news channel. (Thank you Bay News 9 for your coverage, it helped make our decisions.) I couldn’t sleep for worry.

Mr B wasn’t concerned. I was frightened and nervous. The waiting was nerve wracking, just get here already!  We were prepared. And then…. Tampa was in the bulls eye….. Irma turned….. Just a bit, but now the eye was going to pass closer to us. And we would get the full force of the winds on those flimsy windows at the back of the house. Mr B looked at me late Saturday night and said,  “We need to leave.” WHAT???? I wanted to leave days ago, but was convinced by him we would be OK. So all of a sudden we aren’t???? Holy heart beat! He said, “I’ll wait for the 11:00 o’clock update, if Irma has made the turn they are forecasting…..those windows…. ” When Mr B became concerned I knew it was about to get real. To say I was frightened would be the “under” understatement.

Mr B does not get alarmed easily. I knew all hell was about to break loose. I asked what time we would leave, he said, 6:00 a.m. “OK, get me up at 5:00.”

“Can I take anything?” “You can take what will fit.” He didn’t have to wake me up for I slept…..not at all! My “What If” scenario was coming true. I’d given myself an hour before we left to load what I could in the back of the car. Posting that “What If” post probably saved my sanity. I was able to quickly grab the things most dear to me because I’d already determined what those things were.

The doggies and their things went in first, crates, bowls, food and medication. Plus two dog beds that would be used in whatever motel we could find. A gas can with 10 gallons of gas. Mr B said he was confident we could make Georgia on one tank, but took the extra gas as a precaution. Surely there would be gas in Georgia…right??? A small cooler with water and ice, a bag of snacks. Our two small roller bags stuffed with necessities. The rest of the car was mine.

I knew the cedar chest wouldn’t fit in the space left, so in went the toy box, I dumped its contents on my floor and quickly pulled a few things out of the washer; my Grandmother’s statue, the shaving mug belonging to my Gramps, my Mom’s clock,  some of MR B’s family photographs and his baby shoes and placed those in the toy box. I asked him, “What do you want me to pack for you?” “Nothing.” There is nothing here I care about except you.”   I grabbed a ziplock bag and at the last minute put some pieces of jewelry in.  I took a last look at my breakfast nook and thought wistfully, geez, I just painted the church pew, it was 5:55 when we pulled out.

The recently finished nook

If you followed the FB page, you’ve already seen the ghostly images of the interstate.  The decision to leave the morning of the day the storm would hit was, in hind sight OK. We could get out without sitting for hours on a clogged interstate. It was clear sailing. We were confident we could outrun the storm. Irma wasn’t going to hit full force until later in the evening. Even so, there were some gusty winds and bands of rain coming in.  But it was a surreal trip. Gas stations and fast food restaurants were shuttered and empty. Closed rest stops were an eerie sight as we sped along, Mr B making sure that he kept the car at at even 55 mph to conserve gas. When it was my turn, I admit I white knuckled the steering wheel.

Interstate 4 at 6:30 a.m.

 

Along the way our daughter-in-law called motels for us…… Savananah, no vacancies,  a pet friendly motel in Charleston had rooms, but when the price of $689.00 was quoted we decided to go to our nephew’s home outside of Greenville, SC. He’d invited us to stay, but they have a toddler and I didn’t want to inflict our two rowdy doggies on them. Turns out we didn’t have a choice. It was going to family or living in our car. Family won.

The car was packed with everything precious. How can Oscar sleep with his head hanging like that???

Our dogs were amazingly well behaved after they learned what they could and couldn’t do. The baby was terrified of them so it became a matter of juggling when the dogs could be  out of their crates and not terrify  sweet baby Avery. It actually worked out well. The dogs were with us while Avery was in day care and in the evening after her early bedtime. Concessions were made and our nephew and niece were gracious and loving. There was a fenced yard and my nephew immediately made it dog safe by screwing is some slats of fencing to make sure there was no wiggle room to get out.  The nephew had even recorded Outlander for me! (He’s my favorite nephew) We ended up really enjoying our stay with them, but only after we learned our house had survived with no real damage. I can’t tell you how my thoughts wandered and how worried I was until I got that news.

Our port in the storm

Monday, after the storm had passed, one of our neighbors texted and shared a photo of our home. We were OK. But then another worry surfaced, a small one, but one that needed to be addressed. The power was out, so we asked that our food be taken out of the freezer and refrigerator. I didn’t want to return to that. I’ve been through a flood and the stench from a refrigerator filled with food without power for several days never really leaves…no matter how much it’s cleaned. So neighbors to the rescue again.

The first days in SC were filled with anxiety, the TV tuned almost constantly to CNN to get a glimpse of our area. There was no power and no phone service in many places and I was filled with worry about our friends in other areas of Florida. Did they make it? I wanted needed to be home, I needed wanted to leave immediately. But there was no gasoline in Florida. The port was closed, tankers couldn’t get through, and the interstates had to be cleaned, then bridges and overpasses checked for structural safety. So we waited. And watched amazing video of utility workers responding from every state, and Canada. People were donating to the recovery, including donating their time. Neighbor helping neighbor. Human helping human. For a brief moment in time we were all just human. Not Democrat. Not Republican. Not Gay or Straight, Black or White. It was beautiful to see. Americans are at our best during times of crisis. It shouldn’t take a crisis.

I’m so thankful that all our friends made it through the storm, I’m thankful I still have those few things most precious to me. I’m thankful for the love and support of family in a time of overwhelming fear and anxiety. I’m thankful for those doggies, who are now romping through the house again, already forgetting just a few days ago they were afraid and anxious. They have the gift of a short memory. Most of all I’m thankful Mr B is still with me, annoying the hell out of me, with his comments and eye rolls. I don’t know what my life would be without him.

We came home to a lot of debris and fallen limbs in the yard, a downed tree in the “back 40.” Small annoyances. My heart still hurts for those who lost everything. I cannot imagine. I hope I never find out what that’s like. After we clean the house inside and out, get the debris picked up, and trees trimmed, we’ll be getting estimates for hurricane windows and maybe shutters. There will be another hurricane. This is Florida. Thank you all for your messages of concern and hope. They truly meant a lot.

PREPARING FOR IRMA…..WHAT IF???

PREPARING FOR IRMA…..WHAT IF???

As I sit in front of the TV watching Irma gain strength, I wonder…..is this the storm that will devastate Florida? Should we evacuate? Stay? What can I do to help keep Mr B and my furbabies safe? If you live in any of the coastal states, you probably already have your hurricane emergency kit ready, or are getting one ready now if you live in Florida. After watching both Katrina and Harvey decimate Louisiana and Texas, I’m not sure having extra batteries and water is enough. Prayers are needed, friends, big prayers.

So I asked myself.….if I were told to get out NOW and could only bring one bag with me, what would be in that bag? How about if I had a few hours and could pack my car? What would I take? What is really important to me??

Mr B and my dogs go without mention, but I mention them anyway, if only to say,  there is nothing else worth saving.  So I could leave my home behind me and leave with them and feel fortunate. But after the initial happy-to-be-alive thoughts filter through my mind and into my heart…..what then? Would I miss my things? Which things? And that led to my What If List, the list of things important enough to be considered if I were to evacuate and could take the car.

Would I take my toy box? The one that’s as old as I am? The one that my son also used as a young boy? How about my Grandmother’s cedar chest, her dishes? My mother’s clock? Mr B’s baby shoes? What about my Grandmother’s Christmas angel?

This little toy box has been with me as long as I can remember, would it make the cut?

 

So, what made the cut???

My Grandmother’s Christmas Angel. She must go with me

The statue that my Grandpa gave my Grams on one of their anniversaries. The shaving mug and brush that belonged to my Gramps. Grams kept it and now I do too, to honor the tall, thin man who helped raise me. The hobnail glass bowls that belonged to my Grams, the ones that hold small shells and acorns throughout the change of seasons. The jewelry that Mr B and my kids have purchased for me over the years. The Christmas angel that graced every tree I can remember until I married.

 

 

My Grandfather’s shaving mug and brush, a long held treasure

A few photographs of my ancestors. Those tintypes are precious to me. They tell my story. Some of my oldest son’s baby photos and early pictures of my daughter, Darby, and second son, Scott and my two granddaughters, Shelby and Shayla before the age of digital. And yes, Mr B’s baby shoes.

 

One of the McCormicks from Danville, Illinois, and one of only two tintypes that survived my families moves over the years

An autographed copy of a John Sanford book. My autographed CD by Home Free, and if there’s room, my hardbacks by Diana Gabaldon. Two glass jars from an Indiana bottling company and my grain and feed sacks which can be folded up and not take up space. They’ll be the first to be jettisoned however.

My mother’s clock? Would there be room to squeeze it in?

 

The cedar chest. It must go, bonus…it can hold most of the other treasured things I’ll take

These things would be packed in the cedar chest. There won’t be room for my toy box unless we take both cars. I will miss that toy box but I have a photo of myself standing beside it when I was about 3, complete with the world’s worst hairdo.

Me and the beloved toy box. My hair……sigh

What about Mr B? What would be on his list? His Grandfather’s violin? The photo of that Grandfather’s firehouse? His guitar? His golf clubs? I need to ask, for I truly don’t know if there is anything he would want to take with us. He doesn’t have the same emotional attachment to things that I do, I’m betting he’ll say; besides me, and maybe the dogs, there isn’t anything else worth taking.

Mr B’s Grandfather’s violin, would he think it important enough to take?

So I look at my list and realize, there isn’t much there. After a life of almost 70 years, I can pack what’s most important in my car. It’s was an AHA moment.  I realize  (and if I were brutally honest with myself, I’ve always known) that all this stuff I’ve acquired….. it’s just stuff, mostly unimportant and replaceable. Nothing is more important than the lives of those I love. I’ll make room in the car for those people. Toy box and cedar chest be damned.

I hope, with all of my heart, that Irma passes us by. And fizzles out harmlessly so that no one else must decide what goes in that one bag, or what will fit in  the back of the car, that no animals are left behind, that no families are lost. That no lives are taken by Mother Nature. The earth will renew itself given time. But the loss of loved ones? There’s no coming back from that.

In the meantime, we have batteries and water, important papers in ziplock bags, and oil lamps to light our home when the power goes out. The power always goes out. In the heat and humidity, no fans, no a/c, nothing but me and a paper fan on a stick. I’m ready. Mr B answered when asked; “Nothing except you and the dogs.” “There’s not one thing in the house that cannot be replaced, except you.” Gotta love that man.

 I have everything I need. Mr B right here, beside me, my doggies curled up in my lap……in my sanctuary. Stay safe, wherever you are. Thoughts are with everyone in Montana and California, in Texas and Louisiana, and all those who are certainly in Irma’s path.

PRODUCT REVIEW AND ANOTHER PROJECT

PRODUCT REVIEW AND ANOTHER PROJECT

Hi friends!

Y’all know by now that I like to paint things. I’ll throw a coat of paint on almost anything, without an invitation. If it’s in our home, it’s probably been painted multiple times. I have MCPD…Multiple Coats of Paint Disorder. It’s a real disorder, I found it on the internet when I was researching my symptoms….

I decided to paint my antique icebox. Gasp!! If you believe that every vintage piece should remain unpainted, stop reading right now. I don’t want to be responsible for raising your blood pressure.

photo credit from google images, the creativity exchange

I said more than once I would never paint it. But……………well times change as they say, and I changed my mind about this old piece one day and decided it needed to be white. In my defense, it had already been refinished a couple of times so the “value” of it was already diminished. And truly, the value of anything is only what someone will pay for it.

My ice box had damage from rot on one of the rear legs, didn’t have all the original parts inside, had a large hole in the galvanized cladding inside, and had broken  and lifted veneer, which could not be repaired. So painting it would be a mercy. The wood was dry from years of hard use, I’d waxed it about 20 years ago with Briwax and while that gave it a soft luster, I guess in the end, I just wanted a different look.

prepping for paint

How is it I can find no “before” photos?? And I didn’t take any before we took the doors off. I have a hard time remembering the photo thing. So just imagine the ice box with brown doors.

I decided to use Krylon Chalky Paint in a spray. Colonial Ivory seemed to be the logical choice. I prepped the ice box by removing the hardware, lightly sanding, inserted cardboard cut to fit the door openings, (to protect the inside from overspray) and wiped it down to remove sanding dust. When the prep was done the change began… I’m always a little nervous and excited as the first coat of paint goes on.

First coat and all is well

I do not recommend using a new product on a large important piece of furniture. I’ve used spray paint for years and am usually successful. I started this project with high hopes, I wanted a smooth matte finish and I’d successfully used this paint on a frame, so I didn’t think twice. However…….it pays to read the information on every can of paint. Especially when using it for the first time on something important.

First coat on the door, coverage is good

I did.not.do.that. Rookie mistake. The project got off to a great start. I applied several thin coats with an hour between each coat. On the very LAST coat, (why it is always the last one that goes sideways????) I guess I failed to shake the can enough to get it mixed properly, the paint came out darker and like a fine powder. It was as if I’d sprayed cornmeal on it!! OMG!!! and other words of distress!!! Words that shall not be published.  I was not happy. I was horrified. I had to let it dry. And then sand it down to try to smooth it. All that careful painting only to have my project ruined at the last moment. I was in tears.

I read the info on the can, it recommends shaking vigorously for a full minute (of course you really should shake it another minute or so). And to shake during painting. I know this part. I shake cans of paint vigorously. What I didn’t do was shake it periodically during painting. I don’t know if I was just in a hurry or was excited because it was going so well.  The range of temps was also an eye opener. Turns out you aren’t supposed to paint in 90+ degree weather with humidity to match!

most of the “damage” was on the left side, and with the usual dim light in this room, it isn’t noticeable

Good grief. So humiliated and head hanging low, I sanded and sanded some more starting with 150 grit and then using 120, then 220. And finally with 400. It didn’t take all the dark shading off and it still feels rough to touch, but it’s done. I’ll wait a couple of weeks and then add wax, at least to the top. I bought a small buffer to make it easier on my neck and shoulders. I’ll live.

Although the finish isn’t the perfectly smooth matte finish I’d envisioned, I like the new look

So the verdict??? Krylon Chalky Spray Paint gets a 7 our of 10 stars from me. It will leave a nice smooth matte finish in perfect weather conditions. Which I rarely have. Humidity is a beast here and the temps seem to get hotter every year.  If I waited to paint when the temps are between 65 and 85 degrees with relative humidity I’d only be able to paint in November through February. Um…..that ain’t happenin. I can’t wait for perfect weather to spray paint something. I could…..but I won’t. So there’s that.

I do think this paint is great for small projects. I won’t use it again on larger pieces. Even though the bad finish was due to operator error, and ultimately the weather conditions, the cost of buying multiple cans of paint isn’t worth it.

Remember: Reading is Fundamental

Lesson learned. Read the directions. All of them. Pay attention to the recommended weather conditions. Shake that can, then shake it again. And shake it during painting. I spoke to a Krylon rep who said shaking the can is even more important when using chalk type paint. The paint is thicker and the ingredients sink to the bottom, so shaking is mandatory throughout the painting process. The powder that was sprayed at the end of my project? That was the ingredient that gives that matte  finish. By not shaking my can often enough or hard enough the paint and other ingredients didn’t get mixed properly. Duh. Well, I know that NOW……

Create your sanctuary one spray paint can at a time. Create the home you see in your heart, no matter where you live.

ARE MAGAZINES STILL RELEVANT?

ARE MAGAZINES STILL RELEVANT?

I posted a photo of a bunch of my magazines recently in three of the Facebook groups I’m in, and judging from the big response, I’d have to answer my own question with a resounding, YES! Magazines are still relevant. I have a shameful secret, I’m a magaholic. I have purchased magazines for years. I still have some  from the 90’s. I do get rid of old ones  every now and then. When we moved here in 1999, I brought along two cases of magazines. Mr B, ever the brave soul, gently suggested that maybe it was time to get rid of some…..WHAT????? I immediately got sweaty and there was a strange buzzing in my ears. Get rid of them???? Um, no. I use them. “For what?”   “I rip my favorite pages out to keep in a folder for future inspiration.”  “Well, if those are your favorite pages and you’ve ripped them out, why are you keeping a magazine with missing pages?”  STOP CONFUSING ME!!” I keep them because my style might change and I might find future inspiration among the pages I didn’t rip out.” sigh. I clearly have some issues.

Modern Farmhouse Style….NOT to be confused with American Farmhouse Style, both showcase one of the hottest trends in design. Modern lives up to its name, and emphasizes minimal modern use of vintage items.

I do donate some, once in awhile, but because I buy every decorating/design magazine published anywhere on a monthly basis, I have LOTS of inspiration. I keep mine in vintage wood boxes, in stacks near my reading chair and in stacks on a little table by the sofa. I read them, then I reread them, then I re-reread them. I tear out pages. And on it goes.

Some of the commenters in the Facebook groups, gently reminded me that I could read them for free in the library. Um, yes, I am familiar with the concept of the library, I’ve actually borrowed books from one. But magazines???? Reading magazines at the Library means I have to leave them there. GASP! I can.not.do.that. I must acquire them. Hold them. Browse through them. Flip through the pages. Tear some out.

Vintage wood boxes help keep me organized

The other suggestion was going with on-line subscriptions to end  hoarding preserving my favorites. I can’t do that either. For the same reason I  very seldom use my Kindle. I love actual books, the feel of the pages, even the way they are bound. I love that books can be shared, donated and gifted.

My Kindle doesn’t give me that same experience. Mr B is now totally Kindle when it comes to reading. I offer him a new book once I’ve finished and the answer is “no, I’m good.” geez. So my new, just read book goes in the basket I keep in the guest room for guests to take. I buy bags of books at Goodwill and Salvation Army and thrift stores. Reading allows me to visit far away places without leaving the comfort of my home. Then I donate them. You can’t do that with a Kindle. Just sayin.

I love magazines the same way. For me there is nothing like sitting in my chair with an icy Barqs perusing the latest edition of Country Living, or American Farmhouse or Flea Market Style. Besides I can’t tear pages from my Kindle.

Pinterest? Yep, I do Pinterest. I have scads of boards. I have secret boards for friends and clients. I have a secret board for things I want for my home. I have lots of public boards for lots of subjects. But I cannot break my habit of buying magazines. And they are expensive. I realize I am spending money on something I could easily have in another format, for less money. Then I’d have more money to spend on actual decor. But, alas, my addiction keeps me buying.

I buy genealogy magazines. Photography magazines. I subscribe to a dozen decorating magazines. I buy special edition magazines.  I buy British and Canadian magazines when I’ve gone through all the American ones. I buy old magazines at thrift stores. The magazine I don’t buy is anything having to do with food, or the making of it. Although someone once sent me a subscription to some chef magazine which Mr B took advantage of. I also buy Handyman magazine so that I can learn all about the tools I never use and offer helpful tips to Mr B while he’s using those tools. And he LOVES when I do that. (I lie.) Magazines are gifts to the mind. Just sayin.

I will purge my stash…..maybe this week, although I’m pretty busy with some projects and I may need to look through my tear sheets to see what I’ve forgotten. But I’ll purge for sure next week. Unless the weather is bad. If it’s sunny and pleasant, I’ll make one of my semi-regular visits to my doctor’s office and donate them to be left in reception. Why is it that the offices of health care professionals only seem to have Guns and Ammo and Sport Fishing or Hot Rod?? Because women like me TAKE the decorating mags home! (with permission of course.) Or sneaky office staff make off with them. I can live with that.

One of the questions asked often enough to be addressed here was, which one is your favorite?? Hard to answer that, I have more than one favorite, but I love Country Home. I was brokenhearted when it went from a monthly publication to a special edition that comes out with no rhyme nor reason. It’s beautifully photographed and keeps current with trends and changing styles. Unlike Country Sampler which is still stuck in Prim and doesn’t deviate much. I did let that subscription expire and only buy their special editions, Living Simply is a recent offering. And I eagerly wait for Prairie Style which comes out twice a year. Cottage Journal is another favorite, along with American Farmhouse Style. And I love Christmas and holiday editions. I enjoy seeing what my fellow bloggers are doing in their homes and enjoy looking for ways to spruce up my holiday decor.

Cottage Journal offers several special editions a year, one that’s dedicated to all white like this one. This is a must have for me

So, I think the question, are magazines still relevant has been answered. If you want some older editions, message me at mysuburbansanctuary@Gmail.com. I’ll gladly share some with you. Free. Except for Cottage Journal and Country Home. Sorry. Those are keepers. And maybe Flea Market Style.

Another essential is Country Home, once a monthly offering, sadly now whenever Meredith Publishing feels like it. I must have every issue and it there’s one magazine I will keep for years, it’s this one.
A special edition of Country Sampler, Prairie Stye offers simpler ways of styling our homes using authentic items, I’ve only been disappointed in one issue

If you’re stuck trying to figure out your style, or want some fresh ideas for creating your sanctuary, chances are I have a magazine that will help or you can just head to the news stand and pick up your very own copy.

Create your sanctuary, no matter where you live. Create the home you see in your heart.

 

FOR LOVERS OF WHITE AND MAYBE BROWN

I’m a lover of white rooms, or mostly white rooms. I love the different shades and nuances of white. I love the serenity a white room offers. I love that an all white room can be changed just by adding a couple of colorful pillows or throws. For anyone who feels white is too hard to live with,  Sunbrella offers wonderfully soft fabrics for use in interior rooms, and of course offers white. Slip covers make white sofas easy peasy to live with if you have kids or dogs or both. Bemz has many slip cover options in a multitude of designs and colors to fit Ikea furniture, including a hard wearing white cotton blend and a gorgeous white linen.

I love the fact that white rooms aren’t boring. Adding different sheens and texture makes an all white room come to life. Soft and hard. Shiny and dull. Rough and smooth. Adding opposites makes an all white room feel dynamic, not static. Adding a few pieces of natural wood or some accents of black takes it to another level.

I say all this even though I have dark leather in the family room and brown velvet in the living room. If white is so easy and I love it so much, why don’t I have it?? Good question…….  When we moved here 19 years ago I invested in a Restoration Hardware sofa in a beautiful chocolate brown. It’s soft, warm and cozy. It brought back memories of my favorite sofa of all time, a chocolate brown velvet of indeterminate brand that I had for years. The years of life with a young boy and many dogs, rescues and fosters, plus assorted cats, kittens, gerbils, hamsters and a couple of birds.  That sofa held up so well. I cleaned all manner of gunk from that sofa over its lifetime. There was nothing wrong with it when I got rid of it, I just wanted a new look. I was never happy with another sofa. It was musical sofas for a few years and my son complained that he left for school in the morning and came home to a different sofa at night.

I found another brown velvet sofa at Goodwill for $80.00! Of course I bought it and the merry-go-round of sofas stopped for a time. It was wide and deep and perfect for snuggling and watching movies or taking a nap. I marveled at my luck. It was in perfect condition. I was in love. Then I went shopping with my bestie and she bought new living room furniture. It was the height of the preppy Hunter Green, Burgandy and Navy craze and I walked out of that store with a receipt for guess what? A Hunter Green, Burgandy and Navy sofa and loveseat. annnd, it was plaid. PLAID! UGH. What was I thinking???  That was one of the most uncomfortable sofas ever. Scratchy fabric and after just a few months the cushions sagged. Plus it was ugly. Really, really ugly.

When we moved into this house I knew that furniture.was.not.coming.with.us.  I was shopping for odds and ends with my daughter-in-law and of course we had to check out Resto and Pottery Barn. I have an on-going love affair with both stores. I think I squealed when we walked in to Resto. There was a chocolate brown velvet sofa. I sat on it. I fell in love. I left with a receipt and a delivery date. I didn’t measure it, never considered that it might be too large for our tiny living sitting room. Consequently we removed the two columns that separated the entry from the afore mentioned sitting room to make space for it. I will never give it up. It’s soft, it’s cushy, it’s lovely. White grainsack pillows look marvelous on it and give it a farmhouse look. I.got.my.velvet.back. The end.

Comfy, squishy brown velvet

Of course that story doesn’t explain why I have brown leather, and to make this post even longer,  the reason why I have leather in the family room is….. I live with Pig Pen, otherwise known as Mr B. He is the love of my life, complete with twigs and grass clippings on his clothes and in his hair, bark and mud and dirt on his shoes. I vacuum, he brings leaves and dirt in. I vacuum again. He brings leaves and dirt in. Again. It’s never ending. I also have two dogs…..but they don’t bring in leaves and twigs or debris. (That may be a lie, but this is my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Leather in the family room works for our lifestyle

The biggest reason I don’t have white sofas???? It isn’t about Pig Pen, or my fur babies. Nope. It’s because I’m lazy physically challenged. Since I injured my spine I can no longer do the whole remove, wash and replace slip covers. OK…..I’m also lazy. So we have leather. Very dark leather. It’s great. Wipe and go. It’s comfy. It doesn’t give me my desired all white room, but I also don’t have to fight slip covers. So I bring in as much white as I can. It’s all about compromise and making my home work for me…….and Pig Pen.

 If you don’t mind wrestling slipcovers, I highly recommend getting a white sofa for your farmhouse home. Even if you live in a fake farmhouse. Or a wannabe farmhouse. I love all white rooms and I cannot lie. White is for every season. White is beautiful. Go for it and let me live vicariously through you. Send me photos of your white rooms and I’ll show them off in future blog posts. Send them to mysuburbansanctury@gmail.com Below is a link to 75 beautiful rooms done in my favorite color scheme.

Click HERE for photos of beautiful rooms and get ideas to incorporate white in your home which was the point of this post……. but I  got ambushed by memories, so now it’s mostly about white. With some brown. sigh

Create your sanctuary, no matter where you live. Create the home you see in your heart.

 

 

 

 

30 DAY CHALLENGE UPDATE

30 DAY CHALLENGE UPDATE

Alrighty then. I’m done with the 30 day challenge and…..wait for it……It was….not much of a challenge. Maybe I should really challenge myself, to perhaps 6 months of no shopping…..or something actually challenging.  Eek….that might be a bit much…… I’m not sure I could go 6 months without hitting an antique store. But then again, isn’t that what a challenge is all about? To do something difficult? Sigh… this is a question best left to the wisdom of……. someone.

It’s been fun to see what I could do around the house without adding anything new or shopping for new junk decor. And believe it or not, I’m still giving things away. What?? How can I have so much stuff when I am perpetually purging? This is a sign my friends. A sign that perhaps I have too much. Don’t tell Mr B I said that. He’s been telling me that forever . I would secretly roll my eyes thinking, “how can anyone have too much?” Except for those hoarder people. They clearly have too much stuff. But not great stuff like me. I have really great stuff.  But not too much……er……???

One of the areas I DO have a problem is…. throw pillows, so named because men everywhere throw them off countless sofas and beds to make room to sit or sleep on said sofas and beds. My son made fun of me for years, because as soon as he got up to leave, I would rearrange my pillows. At night, I’m in charge of getting the bed ready because Mr B has no patience with folding throws, quilts and a plethora of pillows  just to get in the bed.

I am constantly buying pillows. I have no idea why. How many pillows do I truly need? And shouldn’t my sofas be welcoming and actually have space for friends to sit?? Or room for me and Mr B? Without the constant playing games of musical pillows…… moving pillows from the chairs to the sofa and back again any time we want to…..sit? So the great pillow purge is on. I have bags…. BAGS of pillows in the attic. It’s ridiculous.

I am hereby declaring a moratorium on any new pillows! Now THAT’S a challenge. But I’m going to do it try to do it. I will finish making a couple of grain sack pillows that have been waiting to be finished for a year, but I already have the grainsack so it doesn’t count. See how clever I am at getting around moratoriums??

 

Did I accomplish all I set out to do during the last 30 days? Nope.  My goals were a bit much to accomplish in 30 days in retrospect.  But I’m OK with that. I’m on track. And I will continue to do those things that were part of the challenge, um….except for the no shopping part. However, I will shop more purposefully, with a list and a vision instead of just buying anything that appeals to me.

Lily is walking a tad bit better on the leash and I’ll continue working with her. She’s smart and eager to please. But she’s also a 6 year old rescue and a bit nutso. This will be a long term gig.

I added Audra Day, The Chainsmokers and Kendrick Lamar to my regular music rotation. And I’ve been listening to some artists I never appreciated before. So that’s a win. I didn’t get all the CD’s ripped and burned to share with the Grands, that’s an on-going project, I have hundreds of CD’s, some they actually like. Updating my on-line music files is a bonus and I might get rid of some CD’s to clear up space.  I also worked on my family tree a bit, that is also an on-going project but at least my files are neat and tidy so I can find things.

 I painted two shelves in the dining room and some frames. And I played with creating more chippy paint on some odds and ends before I try the technique on anything important. In my defense, the weather has been so rainy and/or humid I couldn’t paint as much as I wanted. Plus I spent most of my time with my Granddaughter and frankly, painting and projects could wait. The time with her is precious and since she’s older I might not get the opportunity as often. My oldest Grand has already curtailed her visits due to college and a job. It won’t be long until the younger one does the same. So when either one of them is here, time just sort of revolves around them.  And that’s as it should be. Time spent with two of my loves is time well spent.

The shelves were a quick, one day project. There wasn’t anything wrong with them, I was just tired of the stain and wanted a different look. (There’s a big surprise.)  I like them better white. And I completed a small shutter that had been lying around. That’s about it since my last update. I’m content with the projects I completed. And totally OK without shopping. I may do it again. Just to clear my head and keep my priorities straight. I also cut back on social media to avoid temptation. Another plus that allowed the time to catch up on reading. I’ll list the books in a future post.

I made a master list, room by room, of all the major and minor projects I would like to complete by the end of this year. (When I say I…..picture Mr B). This requires some cooperation and coordination with Mr B and his schedule is jam packed with trips, his singing gigs and of course, golf.  Projects must be scheduled around all that. We’re going to be completing projects in the kitchen and the guest room that have been in the works for awhile. I’m so excited! And the search is on for a console in preparation for a new TV and upgraded sound system. Oh yes! I love me some big TV and we desperately need I want a sound system that wasn’t designed in the 90’s. It’s past time for an upgrade. More on that front later.

So that’s it. My 30 day challenge is over. Let the shopping begin! Just kidding. But I do have plans to rearrange some furniture and who knows where that will lead?? Thanks for coming along on my  our journey to update our home. I’m creating my our sanctuary one room at a time. I’m creating the home I see in my heart. Mr B says my heart needs new glasses, but I like my vision just fine.

Love where you live. Create your sanctuary. One room at a time.

 

My 30 DAY CHALLENGE

My 30 DAY CHALLENGE
Some recent purchases

I’ve given myself a 30 day challenge and I’m going on a diet. A shopping diet. After returning from the Tennessee trip to celebrate my good friend’s birthday  go shopping recently, I realized I have a huge slight problem with shopping and bringing home things I have no space for. Decorating and design are my jam, ain’t gonna lie. A junk store is my happy place, shopping is  therapeutic. BUT when I come home with NO money left and piles of things I “HAD TO HAVE” but have no space in which to put a.single.thing…. It’s a problem that leads to buyers remorse and negates the therapeutic part. It’s actually stressful. So I’ve challenged myself to 30 days of no shopping. NOTE…this diet pertains only to shopping for the house. Food (I like to eat), personal hygiene items (I enjoy being clean and sweet smelling), and clothing ( I must have shoes and clothes, the alternative would be frightening), are exempt. Just want to be clear. I also apologize for the awful photos in this post. No excuses, they’re just bad.

No fabulous junk, no great vintage pieces, no more wonderful old stuff. In the next 30 days I must use whatever I have stashed in the attic or closets to change up my look. I will finish projects growing mold waiting patiently in the garage and attic with materials we have on hand. OK…. if Mr B needs supplies to finish those projects he’s exempt from the shopping diet. (Mr B, if you’re reading this….. we need beadboard). He’ll have no problem sticking to the plan, he already said I’ll never make it 30 days. HA! I’ll show him! I have will power! (No, I don’t……. Is will power something I can buy??? Where? Does Amazon carry it? I have Amazon Prime!) I  am determined to find will power. I may need help.

REMEMBER THIS? THE SPOILS FROM OUR RECENT TRIP       Please note…no one in our home needs training pants.

In the next 30 days I’m not only going to stop shopping, I’m going to spend some time catching up with my dead relatives on Ancestry.com. I’m going to hunt my history. I’ve neglected my ancestors and they have stories that need to be told. Some are still waiting to be found. I want to find them and help tell their stories as well.

WHO IS THIS MAN? Ebenezer McCormick from the Danville, IL area? possibly

In the next 30 days I’m going to catch up on reading. I have a pile of books beckoning with stories of far away places,  murders to be solved and all manner of mayhem to prevent.

I buy books by the bag at Goodwill, or anywhere there is a good discount

In the next 30 days I’m finally going to teach Lily, our second rescue furbaby to walk properly on a leash.

Lily thinks a leash means she should run and jump and hop and then run as fast as possible while choking

In the next 30 days I’m going to add to my music library, rip and burn some CDs to share with the Grands, listen to some music I normally don’t listen to….. and find at least one new artist to love.

I’m going to copy some CD’s to share with the Grands who are also music lovers

 

In the next 30 days I’m going to spend some time organizing my 20,000 photos.

Photos from the past 40 decades are housed in these bins and boxes, they need to be categorized and placed in scrapbooks or at least organized by decade and family name

 

Yep, the next 30 days are gonna be BUSY. BUT I WILL.NOT.SHOP.

I’ll keep you posted with my  extremely successful  what-am-I-thinking-30 day challenge. I’m confident hopeful I can do this.  If you hear the faint sounds of  laughter coming from Central Florida it will be Mr B…. who is convinced I will fold and head to the shops within a week, like a dog searching for its buried bones. But I am WOMAN. Hear me ROAR….. in my case it may very well be the sound of piteous whimpering.

Create your sanctuary no matter where you live.

THE MEANING OF MEMORIAL DAY

THE MEANING OF MEMORIAL DAY

For many Americans Memorial Day is a three day weekend designed for parties, backyard BBQ’s, boating, swimming and fun signalling the start of summer. Just what is Memorial Day really? How did it start?

 

While there is some debate over where it officially began, Memorial Day started as “Decoration Day.” Toward the end of the Civil War in the South, women began placing flowers on the graves of fallen Confederate soldiers. The practice spread by word of mouth, and by the end of the war women from both sides of this horrific conflict placed flowers on the graves of the men and women who never came home.  In 1863 The Gettysburg Cemetery was dedicated to honor both sides and the laying of flowers became an unofficial way to honor those who fell in battle. And Decoration Day began a long tradition of honoring active duty military killed wile serving.

Photo from the Gettysburg Cemetery showing men from the Indiana Regiment.
This peaceful field was the site of the bloody battle of “Picket’s Last Charge. The aura there is solemn and there is a feeling of great sadness.

After President Lincoln was assassinated in April of 1865, more ceremonies were held across the nation to honor the fallen and a movement began. The sheer number of deaths in the Civil War, over 600,000 meant that ceremonies took place all across our nation and gained more importance. Boalsburg, PA claims the title as the “Birthplace of Decoration Day in 1864,”   but the first organized and publicized event was held in May, 1865 in Charleston, SC.

MORE FUN FACTS

General John Logan of the Union Army declared Decoration Day to be held on May 30th each year because it was the time of year when most flowers would be in bloom across the country. Although Decoration Day began as a way to honor the Civil War soldiers, by the end of WWII it expanded to include all men and women in all branches of service who died while on active duty.

The Boys Scouts of America began placing Flags on each one of the 150,000 graves in the Jefferson National Barracks in St Louis, MO. That idea also spread and since the 1950’s Flags are placed on each grave at Arlington by volunteers. Each sitting President places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And all National Cemeteries offer solemn, dignified ceremonies while volunteers place Flags on graves on both Memorial Day and Veterans Day. If you’ve never been to a National Cemetery I highly recommend it. You will come away with a thankful, grateful heart  for the sacrifices these men and women made.

The Tomb of the unknown soldier, Arlington Cemetery

 

Arlington National Cemetery. The sheer number of tombstones is overwhelming.

The title, “Memorial Day” became official in 1968 but it wasn’t until 1971 the law was enacted to have it celebrated on the last Monday in May, giving Americans a 3 day holiday.

All American Flags are supposed to be flown at Half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, but this is a tradition, not a law.

The Viet Nam Memorial Wall in Washington

Because so many lost sight of the real meaning behind Memorial Day, in the year 2000 a law was enacted titled; The National Moment of Remembrance Act. At 3:00 p.m. local time each person is to stop for a moment of silence to honor all those who died while on active duty.  I can’t help but wonder how many americans actually do this.

Eugene Lowe made the ultimate sacrifice while manning a gun on board a ship attacked by Japanese suicide bombers in WWII.

I still remember the importance this day had, and still has for our family. My Grandmother and Aunts would make a special trip to the cemetery to lay flowers to honor my Uncle Gene, who died in WWII. His loss still defines how I see this important, but almost forgotten holiday. I share his photo and also the photo of the name of one of my friends inscribed on the Viet Nam War Memorial Wall. I hope you will take a moment this year, to pay homage to those who were brave enough to wear a uniform to serve this nation…..and who made the ultimate sacrifice.

I know I will.

 

My friend, Wayne Decker, killed in battle within a week of of his first tour of duty in Viet Nam. Rest in Peace

 

REMEMBERING THOSE WHO MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE FOR OUR NATION

REMEMBERING THE SACRIFICE OF

EUGENE LOWE

WAYNE DECKER

DOUG ARMSTRONG

RICHARD WISEMAN

AND TO ALL THE OTHER MEN AND WOMEN WHO PAID THE PRICE AND GRANTED US THE FREEDOM TO CELEBRATE THIS WEEKEND.

“NO GREATER LOVE HATH A MAN THAN THIS, THAT A MAN  LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS”

 

Crystal

Wife, Mother and Grandmother, lover of junking and vintage stuff, photography, music, books, and critters. I heart Hersheys, Barqs Rootbeer and Keds. Join me as I create my own suburban sanctuary and help you create one too.

Get each blog post delivered to your inbox! I promise I won't spam you.

Photos from Instagram