Friday, October 22, 2021

Around the House

Our home projects are coming along nicely, and I want to apologize for only hinting at them, and not sharing everything. I am thinking of doing a Before & After post, and in the meantime I just feel a bit guarded about it... not sure why. I know I've mentioned "lockers." I wasn't sure if I'd shared a picture. These are for the guest bathroom, and I am still pinching myself about this find. I have had wishful notions about using old school lockers for storage in our long, narrow hall bathroom for years. Just recently, this almost new set came up at the university surplus store! I laughed so hard at myself when all the way home I was going on and on about how pretty the blue is, then we got home and stood the lockers up by the front door, and it's no wonder I am so admiring of the color! It's practically the same as the house. There will be a locker for each of us, and more for towels, t.p., cleaning supplies, health products, a hair dryer. In the meantime, while Mike finishes updating the bathroom in Alex and Bambi's room, the lockers are holding pumpkins, and looking very cute.
Have you ever prognosticated on the forthcoming winter by studying the stripes of a woolly caterpillar? That is something my father-in-law explained to me when we lived in Minnesota. Phil explained that the width of the brown band on the caterillar was an indication of how severe the winter would be. I can't remember... was a narrow band a hard winter, or the other way? Ah, of course, the Internet knows about woolly bear caterpillars, and weather prediction. Anyway, around here, we have a woolly goat, and I have become accustomed to sizing Ada up in autumn, checking for the thickness and woollyness of her undercoat. I figure if she, or Tasha, are getting really fluffy, it has to be a sign of something... cold, rain, lots of rain? What would they look like if were going to get snow? So far, I am not sure we are getting any severe weather. Other indicators, like the return of La Niña conditions, indicate the same: Mild winter, less rain. Too bad.
If Cairo is in the picture, it is an indication that I am trying to clean, or write, or paint, or accomplish anything. Right in the middle of this (dread) chore... clearing out all of the bathroom cabinets and drawers, Cairo popped into the first cleared-out compartment and made himself right at home. I don't think Mike is going to have time to get to the upstairs bathroom, not on this visit. But it's something we are eager to get done. The natural stones in the shower are crumbling. Oh! And in order to finally finish installing the solar, someone has to move around in the attic, bring wires through walls, tear out the drywall beside the toilet, and hook everything up into the electrical box in the garage... so! Yeah, there will be necessary repairs to make in the upstairs bathroom. I figure, new shower tiles, and new paint to cover the new dry wall. It's sure to become one of those jobs where one thing leads to another. It will be interesting to see what gets done in the next few weeks. Cairo, will help all he can, I am sure!
Here. Two more glimpses. These are of the bathroom in The Lab. Twelve years ago, when we moved in, I was not interested in having a lot of bathrooms to clean, so this over-sized bathroom has been a closet. We knew it needed repairs to continue as a fully functioning bathroom, and we put that off until necessary. Someday, Bambi hopes to have a dog, and we have always known that this room, which is suite-like, could be improved to be like a studio apartment or junior accessory unit. So, we had Mike add a door to the outside, which will be handy for a little dog coming in and out of the house, or young folk enjoying a space that feels a little more their own. Mike replaced some broken things, and added an electric hot water heater. The improvements are practical, and winning! Some of the last details going in are an awning and pavers set in mortar. This future dog will have a small, fenced yard, and a mud room entry. When dust settles, I will share more pictures.
In book club, Maria and her peers are reading The Hobbit. It's more than a book club, there's crafting! Last year, Maria and I shared needle felting wool dryer balls... they make an excellent canvas, and it was a nice project to teach, socially distanced, outdoors. They've also done embroidery. The latest activity is making these elf ears, or ear cuffs... elf ear cuffs. It requires wire twisting, and I am thinking the hardest part is making a second ear look like the first one. Maria's are coming along nicely. We started listening to the Audible reading of The Hobbit, which is a nice accompaniment to crafting. I brought out my embroidery supplies, and have this handkerchief going with holly and berries.
I can't resist, one more glimpse! Alex and I rushed around collecting tiles and glass and shiny things just before Mike poured the last layer of mortar, and we've been playing in the mud! The little landing outside the new Lab entry is officially Dazzling! And that's it for now, because I need to finish clearing every last thing out of the guest bathroom... Mike is about to tear it out! Pinch me!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Sweet Things

We had the pleasure of going to the reception for Michael Colletta's art exhibit. It's the first time I have seen his work, not on social media, but in person, and it was wonderful! Michael's paintings, and drawings, are so compelling, I want to hear the stories that must accompany each work. I feel like the portraits relate an, as yet, unspoken narrative, and still, I also sense Michael's quiet reserve, his modest, soft spoken nature. I am only sharing a few of the many works that are hanging at the Community Center, and I am hoping local friends will have a chance to see them in person, by November 10th.
William had an impulse to make churros, which Max had, too, last year. I remember it was on our list of things we would do for Christmas, and I even ordered a pastry bag, but we never got around to it. Now we have done it! We've made churros. It's a classic, almost cliche thing... deep fried dough, rolled in sugar? Yeah, that can't go wrong! The dough is like nothing I've worked with before, as it is heated in a pan, and then fried. We need a larger tip, so we can get the proper fluted churro look. The dough is dense, and we couldn't get it to squeeze through anything but the open pastry bag. I was a bit obsessed with how much they look like creepy fingers, especially when they fried! Too perfect for Halloween! For Christmas, I want the pretty tip, and hot chocolate! Alex made an excellent observation and put it to the test... apple churros! He sliced a Granny Smith, and we wrapped slices in the churro dough... conclusion: Apples wrapped in deep fried dough, rolled in sugar? Yeah, that can't go wrong!

Indulge me, just a moment. *sigh* Such a pleasant moment, scene. I cleared the dining table, and lit new candles, which, by the way, have the faintest hint of honey fragrance. They are from Ikea. So are the candle holders.

I don't know why I am making a promotional post for Ikea, or why I do it for any company. Except Amy's. Amy's Drive Thru was super sweet and appreciative of the time I waxed poetic about their delicious take on fast food, and how eager I am for their business to succeed and expand. They answered my letter, and were very gracious. They sent me a darling grocery tote and cap!

Whoa. I am way off topic. What was that, again? My topic?

I was thinking of a moment of calm, of feeling appreciative, and even a bit accomplished. My impulse is to see a good moment, and shoot it down with a long list of all the ways I am not succeeding. I knew, for instance, that to my left and right, behind me, upstairs, and downstairs, there are messes, and urgent tasks that are almost perpetually neglected. I should cut my hair, maybe color it. The goat's hooves need trimming. Laundry on the sofa. My bathroom needs total clearing so we can connect the solar to the electric grid in the garage. An endless list. I could torment myself all day. And I do. But! I got the table cleared, and those candles lit, and on the stove I had two pots of chili, one vegan, one turkey, both delicious. William was preparing a salad. We were all about to sit down to dinner together. I am sure I have taken this vow, before, written a similar post, but entropy is real, in the physical world, and in my thoughts and mindset... and so resetting is a necessary measure: Good enough is good enough, love and appreciation matter more than "perfection," and "perfection" is a myth, and crippling goal. Use the pretty bowls, light the candles, notice the good, don't wait to celebrate, to enjoy what's before you. Be kind and accepting of yourself. Talking to myself. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Oh gosh, the time and peace I have wasted with feeling ashamed, inadequate. I still hope to be a better person, to finally have things in order, and the calendar set to the correct month and year, but in the mean time... I have got to enjoy living, the sweet things, even with my flaws and all.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Fall Fairies and Friends

One of these days it's going to rain on our picnic, or the park will be full up... but not today! One of these picnic days I will forget to bring food, or a craft, or I'll wake up cranky, but not today. Our October picnic was met with sun and shade, breezes, autumn colors, and room to spread out, space to gather. It was ideal, again.
Spencer and Ido
Acorn and Janece
Ido and Simon
Leo, Maria and Acorn
Inspired by one of the books I ordered from The Book Catapult, I brought flowers and our wreath~corona making supplies... the same ones we brought to Maker Faires, and other community events.
Just a few mixed boquets from Trader Joes, wire and florist tape, is all it takes to get started. Maria and I soon remembered the methods and techniques we'd had so much practice with. It was fun making these, again, and fun remembering other happy times with flowers and friends.
Carol is a phenomenal talent, in all kinds of mediums. She went forest foraging, and found all kinds of beautiful materials to create with. Maybe you remember at least one of the natural arrangements she's shared with us? I count myself fortunate everytime I see Carol, and Grace's, handy work!
Acorn centered little golden leaves in her fairy wreath.
Carol's wreath (I need to find a picture of it, finished) turned out like fairy queen's!
Pretty Leslie!
Grace and Beto. Grace has leather paint, and she relaxed in the shade, finishing a shoe restoration.
Alistair brought a game... which was a big hit with the gaming bunch.
Paul brought art supplies. He's been bringing out his sketch books, sharing on Instagram!
Taco brought his frisbee, and a very soggy, torn up, beloved tennis ball! Taco knows how to have a good time!

Daniel, Bex, Paul, and Janece.

And fruit salad, and baklava, and teeny cupcakes, and sandwiches, and burrito making supplies, and lemonade, and dragon fruit!
No words...
Logan, Spencer, Leslie, Simon, Ido, Lily, Mark.
Matt and Leah
Spencer and Leslie

Ido and Mark

I think we have this worked out... come when you can, bring what you like, do what you want. We hike, we nap, we talk, we play games, and throw balls, we invent sports, and learn skills, we eat, and laugh. And no one person has to do it all, or over think anything. It really is quite simple, blissful.
Olivia arrived with these dazzling little cupcakes she made, and then she made a dazzling fairy crown.
Matt always has his picnic game in perfect order... from food to crafts, he comes prepared.
In Wisconsin, Georgia arranged a Zoom for Grandpa Phil and Maria, with Aunts Laura, and Holly. Maria's Grandpa had a book of Sandra Cisnero's poetry to share with her. He has been loving the collection of poems Maria sent him. And we are very happy to share that Phil is continuing to make healthy strides in his rehabilitation, and recovery. It was good to see him looking so well, and sounding energetic.
I love this picture Leslie took of Maria looking every bit like a content and lovely garden fairy.
Lucas, Maria, Max, and Alex.
Olivia with Taco.
Spencer and his Mommy.
A bit of paint, lots of flowers, and All Lily... she's positively fairy-like!