Sunday, August 31, 2008

safe and heading home

we had a mandatory evacuation in our area so we closed riverside up, shut down electricity and headed north. Traffic has not been too bad but sad to see all the LA and MS plates on the road. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

On the Gulf with Gustav

While it looks like we, in Alabama, may be spared, we are taking precautions just in case Gustav decides to change his route. We have removed everything from the porches and stuffed it into the bunker under the house. The house is up at least 13 feet, so even if flooding occurs, we should be alright. Fingers' crossed. Even in the bunker which is ground level has shelves built, and we have put all but the Adirondack chairs up. The chairs will have to fend for themselves. My worry at the moment, and we are fortunate to have such a light worry, is the traffic we may hit heading north either tomorrow or on Monday. We will play it by ear tomorrow when we can see if Gustav shifts. Prayers going out to all those who will be affected by this storm.

As we were moving things around, two little fellers were hiding by the beach pails.

I had to coax this one out. He looks like he's on top of the world! Yea baby. I finally let him outside the screened in porch and he went his merry little way.

This guy, on the other hand, decided to hang out until we were ready to move the teak box that holds all the junk into the house. Thank goodness the guys shook it before bringing it in. He jumped out at the last minute!
You know how I am about kritters in the house! Ew.

Bella enjoyed her caged ride down. Wonder if she's ready to go back. hehe.

We went today to get the old buggy, Ollie, out of storage to drive her around a bit. After connecting the battery, she cranked right up. Yay. I think I may take her into town and see what's happening there today. Now that our work is behind us, we can sit and enjoy for a day or so.

This is my favorite picture of our dad, with all of us toppled over him in a hotel room in NYC during the 1964 World's Fair. Today would have been his 94th birthday. I still miss the old coot. I wonder in heaven if they celebrate your earth birthday or your heaven rebirthday? Hmm. There's a thought for the day.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hurry Up! (and Wait)

Seems I have been spinning my wheels all day getting hardly anywhere. I'm like Bella, just sitting and waiting. ( I have no idea what she spied this morning, but it sure did keep her attention for quite a while.)

This morning, I dropped my car off to have the oil changed and tires rotated. I sure have been putting the miles on it travelling back and forth to Riverside this summer. We heading out again tomorrow afternoon once the kid gets out of school and hightailing it straight down; so I've been a little anxious today trying to get everything in order before we leave. It's actually getting easier each trip with less things being carried down. And since we will only be there for a few days, I won't be taking as much as I normally do. It looks like Gustav is still heading west of us, but unfortunately, that puts New Orleans right in the wrath of him. Those poor people.

I got mom's meds all set up for Sherrie who will come in and stay with mom since the teenager is no longer here. I went to Costco and stocked up on all her goodies she likes to nibble on and lots and lots of juices that she loves. She was a little out of sorts this morning. I couldn't figure out if she just wanted the jacket that I had washed yesterday (and had yet to be dried) or she senses I'm leaving. She gets things stuck in her head and just won't let go. It's difficult when she can't communicate, so I just smile and let her do her thing. She already had her PJs on by the time I got back (rather late) with a hot dog from Costco's. It was barely 2 p.m.!

Since then, I have been waiting on a phone call from the stationery store to let me know the card stock that I need to finish the invitations has arrived. They told me it will be there today. It has to be there today. I have to finish them up tonight so Sherrie can get them when she comes tomorrow afternoon. I have 30 pictures to print then the hole punching and attaching of the ribbons. All this waiting is making me even more anxious! And even my computer seems to sense my anxiety as it's running really S-L-O-W. Wheels on the bus go round and round. I hate that little time thingy that says it's working--and that churning. Oh my.

And speaking of which, poor Beth's computer went caput and she lost everything on it! I can't even imagine. So, go back up people! As soon as I heard that, I turned my little backup drive on and let it roll. Poor Beth. She has had the worst year ever. Big hugs being sent her way.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


It's been a busy several days here. I've been trying to catch up on my paperwork, bills and family miscellanea. Abby seems immune to any action going on around her as shown here.

The past three days, we have had Fay come through giving us much needed rain. Only problem is that the painters have yet to come back and seal and caulk the trim work that was replaced last week due to the carpenter ants. We haven't had rain all summer and Mother Nature picks now to give us a good three days worth of soaking. Go figure. As much as I hated all the new wood getting wet, I sure did enjoy the beautiful clouds and a little cooler temperatures.

Yesterday was mom's day. She had a doctor's appointment in the afternoon, so I thought I would take her out and get her hair cut. Before doing so, I asked her if she wanted to go out and get breakfast. I don't think she understood because once we got to Cracker Barrel, she was madder than a hornet. Even so, I ordered her one pancake to eat. And, of course, once she started eating, she was fine.

Afterwards, I took her to get her hair cut. She enjoyed that. While mom was getting her hair cut, I ran next door to one of my favorite little shops. They had these precious little bee earrings that I had to have.

At the cash register, I spied the cutest little cupcakes under glass. I thought they were for display and found out they were real! When I asked about them, where to get them and such, they put them on a little plate and told me to take them home. I am always in awe of the kindness here in Middle Tennessee and the small-town feel. It's times like this that remind me how lucky we are to be raising our children here.

I've already sampled one and they are to die for! The icing is a true butter cream and the vanilla flavor is as good as home made. You know I'll be looking into getting more from The Pink Cupcake!

When mom was finished having her hair cut, we returned home and I gave her a nice long shower. We even took her bed clothes off and washed them. She seemed excited about that too. Then we were off to the city to see her doctor. She is down six pounds, down to 101 pounds. The doctor is checking her Synthroid to see if she is on the right amount. If she is hyperactive, that would explain the weight loss. She's such a little thing and doesn't need to lose any more weight. No, me on the other hand . . . . I wish I would have inherited her genes. But noooooo, I had to get my father's side of the family, short and round--little butterballs. Oh well. Other than that, the doc says she looks good. Blood pressure perfect, heart sounded good. etc. So we were quite pleased with the visit other than her weight loss.

We're heading down to Riverside on Friday. While we were spared by Fay, it seems Gustav may be wreaking havoc in our neck of the woods. Fingers' crossed he doesn't. We are in the middle of trying to find out if we need to cover our windows at this stage. Apparently, they will be evacuating the area by Saturday or Sunday. Our little bungalow is where the green flag is on this tracking photo. At least, we are inland from the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay. I don't know how much that will help though if Gustav heads straight for us. I'm hoping our government learned a little from Katrina and is helping folks evacuate if need be. This storm brings back horrendous memories of how our current administration has dropped the ball in so many ways. Is everyone ready for a CHANGE??? I certainly hope so.

Ok, off soapbox. Gonna run.

PS The teenager called me from college yesterday afternoon to talk. I had vowed not to call him anymore after our last conversation last Thursday where he proceeded to get me all roused up (as if he were still at home). I told him yesterday that when he wanted to talk, for him to call me. This way, I would know he was in a good mood and we could carry on a respectable conversation. I'll keep ya posted on how often that is! ha. It's all good.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Snippets

I love little snippets of homes. I'm always finding a picture of a corner I want to be transported into. I used to do a post every Friday called Friday's Favorite Corner showing little spots in our home and tell about the pieces there so the boys will one day know what all this stuff is that I have lying about. I gave up on it when I think I covered just about every little nook I could find. Well, hardly. But I forgot about that "series" just the same. Here's one of my favorite little nooks in the study. It's a quiet spot where you can sit and daydream. Looks like Abby and Bella have snagged this corner for the day.

Perhaps now I should start a little post on the Financial Times' House & Home section each weekend. It is always full of goodies for the eye to behold. A couple of week's back, the hub pulled this section for me. I have to admit, I have been downright lazy when it comes to reading anything this summer; and so there it sat.

Until this morning when I finally decided to go through my rather large stack of newspapers and even larger stack of magazines and catalogs. Well, I only got as far as the FT. Everything else still sits on the kitchen table waiting for me to go through. I must just be ADD these days as I can't seem to sit and finish any one project at any given time. Geesh.

It's hard to see in this photo, but this is the most delightful shade of deep delphinium blue I have ever seen, perhaps even an ocean blue. Now I'm thinking of using this color in the main bath at Riverside. To not be a "blue" person, I sure am using a lot of blue paint down there! Hmmm? Don't you just love the simplicity of this bath? (To see better photos and read the article, you can go here.)

Here's another shade of bluish purple. Another simplistic room that caught my eye.

I adore this entryway. I've always loved the primitive/folk artsy look. The creams are so soothing for the soul.

And who doesn't love shades of white? Doesn't this balcony look dreamy? Perhaps I could curl up here and read to my heart's desire? That is, if there weren't any bugs to bother me.

All of these snippets can be found in Stafford Clilff's "1,000 Home Ideas." Looks like it's available in the UK, but not yet in the US. Bugger.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Invitation

This is the sample for my friend to approve for her parent's 50th wedding anniversary invitation that I've been working on. I've noted that I need to get a new trimmer (of course, mine is obsolete and can no longer get blades for it) in order to make the photo a little more straightened.

I wanted to keep the focus on the photo, so on the back of the invitation, easily removed, is a SAVE THE DATE card with all the pertinent info on it. I don't want folks having to jam this pretty photo in their purse in order to find the party!

I've always enjoyed making my own invitations. I see the ones in the stores that are so expensive, and I say "I can do that!" While the paper is still a little pricey, it sure does save printing your own.

A Little Piece of Home (Heaven)

One place I always visit when I go back "home" to Arlington, VA, is Five Guys. In the late 90s, it used to be this dive, literally, right next to Brenner's, the local bakery on Glebe Road and Columbia Pike. Brenner's furnished the buns, the "guys" did the rest. There were literally five guys, Arlingtonians a little younger than I, who started the place--in there grilling and frying burgers and fries. (Bet they're retired by now!) They brought the fries straight from the Eastern Shore boardwalk --complete with lots of ketchup and malt vinegar to douse the cup they were served in. A little hand-written sign would tell you where the potatoes of the day were brought in from--normally an obscure town in Idaho. The burgers, each special made just for you, slathered with what you told them to put on them were so tasty. Too tasty (trouble with a capital T!). But, I always felt it was Brenner's semi-sweet bun that made the taste. I don't even recall a place to sit down in the first joint, just lots of peanut shells on the floor which you dropped as you ate as many peanuts as you could waiting in line. There was always a line, no matter what time of day it was. I got wise after a while, and would call our orders in, ready to be picked up when I arrived. Ah, memories.

I had read they were coming to Nashville but had since forgot. Until today. I was in Green Hills (the Beverly Hills of Nashville--tutt tutt tutt) picking up some stationary for a friend I'm helping make invitations. While searching for a parking spot, I eyed Five Guys! How exciting!! I called the hub right away and asked if they wanted a Five Guy burger for lunch. Well, they were already getting lunch so it was just a burger and fries for moi.

While I know Brenner's has since closed its doors after many decades there in Arlington, and even the original dive (I think) has closed also, I wish somehow they could have bribed Brenner's for the recipe for those special buns. While still a good and tasty (and oh-so fattening) burger, it's just not the same. Probably a good thing. I don't need to be eating these things. Will everyone else love them? Of course. Nashville is a good ol' meat and potatoes kinda place. They won't know the difference.

I still miss home.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Carpenter ants. Who needs 'em, I say? Found 'em. Kill 'em. Ew.

The painters (from way back when) still had some trim work to replace. Today, they finally showed up and look at what they found. Is nothing ever cut and dry (literally)? Nope. It wasn't just rot on the trim like the other pieces we had replaced a couple of months back. Of course not. No, there was a complete colony of carpenter ants eating away at all the wood on the one garage door. Apparently, the previous owners had termites. They must have had the place treated but didn't' replace the wood. I'm told that's where carpenter ants like to colonize--in old termite grooves. Ew. Shoot me now.

So, they had to remove more than just the eaten trim. These buggers went further back. (Are you itching yet? I am!) So, now in addition to having more wood replaced, I had to call in an exterminator. Just saying that word gives me the heeby jeebies. I don't like chemicals. Period. All I can think of is hearing those little buggers chewing up my house!

They have assured me that it is safe, as organic as you can get in these circumstances. (Scary.) They will be drilling into the foundation bricks and putting this stuff in. Ew. I don't even want to think about it.

We were fortunate they were only in one spot. Thank goodness for that. Never a dull moment around here, is there? Just never know what's next! hehe.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


These were the shades of my calla lilies, those wonderful end-of-summer peachy tones. I'm beginning to pine for the rich colors of fall. I'm ready for some dull gray skies, some rainy days even, the turning of the leaves, the slowing down of our daily lives. Autumn always invigorates me, it brings a freshness to my life. It encourages me to get out and take a walk in the park. Perhaps to clean a room. Throw open the windows and take a nap with a cat by my side. Sit back and listen to the rustling of the trees or a single leaf falling to the ground. Enjoy the smell of a fire burning in the distance. It just seems like a quieter, simpler time of year. It's time to focus on the home. What delights will fill the air, homemade applesauce on the stove simmering? Perhaps a hearty soup to warm the bones.

Yes, it's time to pull out the blankets and throws and air them. Prepare for the cooler weather to arrive. Start looking for some mums to plant, perhaps?

Autumn can't get here soon enough. Can you tell I'm ready?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cooking Classes

The latest Viking Cooking School class schedule just arrived; and by golly, I'm going to take some classes! Since we moved to Tennessee, I have been promising myself to do just that. Seven years later, I am finally signed up.

Of course, the red velvet cake caught my eye right away being the boys' favorite. And you know how baking challenged I am. So, that is my first class--Classic Cakes. Maybe I will even get my icing skills down to a T. Let's hope!

I've also signed on to make some Holiday cookies. Again, baking 101. That was my New Year's resolution, and time is running out! Perhaps if I do well with these simple tasks, a bread class will be on my calendar! Let's hope.

With the bathroom finished (bathrooms are a pain to paint!), today will be a paperwork day. Are ya jumping in your seats? I know I am. Joy. I have a stack of papers and catalogs that I keep moving around from place to place when I straighten up. If I don't get on it, Lord only knows where it will end up. And, who knows what's in that stack! Probably even a bill or two to pay. Geesh!

After that's done, I have a goody box to assemble for the teenager. He has his FIRST class today. I'm sure he's nervous, but he sounded really good last night. I am averaging about two phone calls a day to him. I keep them short and sweet so I don't interfere with his new life; but he seems to enjoy them as much as I do. Funny how the dynamics of a mother/son relationship change once they move out. I can't wait to hear about class!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

All in a Day's Work (Well, Two)

After hearing that the teenager is settling in and doing much better than he was Saturday night, I decided yesterday morning that I would begin conquering the rooms. Thought I'd start with the bathroom first as his room is still overwhelming when I look in there.

We went from a dark grey, Chinese theme, with artwork he brought back from China several years ago to a soothing eggshell. Don't know if the kid likes it this white, but I love it after living with that dark for so long. Now you can actually see!

The teenager grabbed his dirty clothes hamper and just took it with him. Loverly. Don't want to be smelling that in about a week. I suppose he took all his red towels with him as I can't find a one.

Take a look at the difference in the two colors. Eeeeeek. I went with Benjamin Moore's new Aura paint which primes, seals and paints all in one. I needed it to cover this gray! It was a pain to work with as it is very thick. But it did the job in two coats.

The color turned out nice.

Before painting, I scoured the bathroom with cleansers, elbow grease and even brought the sanitizing steamer out. Let's see how long it takes the kid to get it back into "boy" mode. Probably not too long.

We have a high school orientation tonight which is about right now. All I want to do is take a couple of advil and crawl into bed. I used to be able to crank this stuff out but not any more. Guess old age is starting to show it's ugly head.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

How Time Flies

Only 19 years ago and 30 days, we brought our first born home from the hospital--a rather large 8 1/2 pound bouncing boy. Yesterday, we dropped him off at college to begin his new life as an adult. Sniffle.

Of course, both of us were up half the night before nervous about each of our new adventures. His, a new life on campus, as an adult, plowing through a degree in business. Me, letting go of my first baby and hoping that he continues to make the right decisions in his life without his parents around.

I am so thankful that the teenager's roommate is a real sweety. I've gotten to know him a little better over the summer and I adore him. While roomy is clean cut, almost preppy, my son is the long-haired hippie type, complete opposites. Probably a good thing. Roomy always has a smile on his face which, of course, I love. I'm so happy that they knew each other before being thrown into a dorm to live together. At least, they didn't have that to worry about.

We were able to get everything moved in before someone on the third floor accidentally hit a sprinkler which set the system off on that floor. Thank goodness, the teenager's dorm was in another wing and didn't get flooded. Ooof. What a mess. Can you imagine moving in and having all your items flooded? Like there's not enough stress in these poor people's lives right now.

The teenager is having a time of it. He holds all of his anxiety in his stomach and there's not enough pepto-bismal in the world to keep it calmed. I feel so sorry for him. The hub tells me that he was the same way and that he will learn how to cope with it. As a mother, those are hard words to swallow. Our last conversation before I went to bed last night was that he was still sick and still had not eaten a thing all day. All I could do was remind him of the BRAT diet (geesh, remember that? Bananas, Rice, Apple Sauce and Toast!) so he would at least get something in his system. This morning, I am unable to get him on the phone. Of course, he's probably out running around with all the freshman activities that have been planned for them having a grand time of it; but until I hear from him, I will have that little pain in my stomach not knowing if he is doing better. Ah, once a mother, always a mother, right?

Before heading back home, the kid, hub and I stopped at the only restaurant we know in the Old City, Crown & Goose. The kid wasn't with us the last time we were here, so we thought he'd like it. He enjoyed a plate of fish and chips.

Ok, I'm off to call the teenager again. Hopefully, he'll answer this time! Kids!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

This, That and the Other

Has everyone been watching the Olympics??? In honor of them, I've pulled out some things the hub has brought home from China. This ink stamp was given to him by the Chinese government earlier this year in honor of the upcoming Olympics. I saw a little clip on Han Meilin, the artist who did the logo of "Dancing Beijing" and the FUWA (good luck dolls). It's absolutely fascinating to see how much meaning is in one little logo. He said the committee first gave him the sign for Beijing to work with. With that, he moved it around and added more depth to the drawing incorporating "person" and "culture." He felt it very important to hold on to the ancient Chinese culture that seems to be getting lost.

It has the hub's name carved on the bottom (not sure what "hub" translates to in Chinese {smile}.

I have not been able to watch a lot of the events, but I have been catching a lot of the swimming and volley ball. I guess they are shown at later times--like when I'm crawling into bed. How 'bout our Michael Phelps? Ra ra ra! The kid, hub and I just about went berserk a couple of nights' back when the relay team beat out the French for the Gold (sorry Raphi). But that will teach them to taunt us! I have enjoyed watching every moment I can sneak in. I can't wait to sit down every night and see what we're up to.

On Monday, I received a wonderful surprise from Mary Jane, my sil. I am just amazed she remembered how much I love Cath Kidston! I was able to sit for a spell and look through it this morning before I started my chores of cleaning and straightening the house up. (It's practically been ignored all summer.) Thank you MJ, I love it! It even feels good, like an old cookbook, ya know?

I even pulled out my CK tea towels for a little shot. And then the day began with the door bell. We had a visit from our insurance agency to look through the house and measure the property. What's up with that? They had to do the same at Riverside. I think it's kind of creepy, myself. It's not like we're refinancing or anything. At any rate, they did what they had to do and then the door bell rang again and it was the dryer guy. My dryer died earlier this week. It was some part for the gas valve that went ca-put. Joy.

But, the funnest project going on is getting the teenager out of the house. He's leaving for university TOMORROW!! Take a look at his room! Do you think he's done anything? Poor guy is going to have a rude awakening (don't I always say that?). I've already told him anything left behind and not put away and labeled for saving is going. Boom, gone. I can't wait. This room is going to be transformed into a beautiful bedroom. I'm dying to get into it next week (rubbing hands together). I have visions of pink walls and frilly yellow bedclothes. KIDDING! That's what I tell him, anyway. hehe. I'm bad, I know. Ew, I get the creepy crawlies just thinking about going in there next week and blasting through everything. Ew. Lord only knows what I will find. The kid will be happy to have a bathroom again. He has refused to share a bath with the teenager since we've lived here. haha. I don't blame him, really. The guy is just downright filthy!

For Jeanie, I hope your birthday was full of happiness and glee. Again, I hope to catch up with everyone soon.



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