Embracing the Imperfect

 

I awoke this morning to a stunningly beautiful blanket of snow on every branch, bud, and blade surrounding the house.  What remains after the melt is mud, grass greening up even though it never got mowed in the fall, a lot of brown twigs, and a few spring flowers breaking the ground that can be identified by the type of leaves they push up first.  Yes, these are my favorite flowers, tulips and daffodils.

Not driving to our family’s Easter gathering yesterday allowed me to look out the window at the stick trees along the road, with the occasional nest not seen on our last trip down the road.   All the fallen trees were visible.  I saw an eagle in flight, and a few buzzards, as well as birds sitting on branches.  Our Pittsburgh celebrity eagle parents, have one hatch-ling.

Nature is messy, I thought.  Hollowed out logs, trees with holes, a bramble of twigs here and there.  I remembered hearing about a word to describe the appreciation of the imperfect.  A Japanese term Wabi Sabi expresses an appreciation for the beauty of the natural simple things as well as thee beauty of age and wear.  The logs, and brambles provide shelter for a variety of animals.

My Dad would tend the woods behind his home.  He kept a place back in the woods for fall leaves raked from his lawn.  It took a few years, but those leaves decayed into a rich soil amendment for his gardens.  Fallen logs were moved off the walking paths, and stray sticks would become walking sticks, and a special stick maybe kept for multiple walks throughout the spring and summer.

Birds and animals of all kinds were welcome to make their homes in the woods, but Dad had a running feud with a groundhog that wanted to make his home under the shed.  Dad worked to make the chosen home-site unappealing so the groundhog would retreat to the woods.  I’m not sure how successful Dad was.

When the ground is dry, I will enjoy walking woodland paths, getting a close up view of plants and flowers, bugs, mosses, and fungi.  With luck, I might even get to see some larger wildlife, a woodpecker, owl, or deer.

Don’t let the snow fool you.  It is April and spring is here.  Enjoy every bit of the spring, and the messiness of the woods, because soon we will be complaining about how hot and humid it is, and the woods will be a refreshing retreat.

 

 

 

Driving Enhancement

While running errands with Hubby, driving from place to place, we realized our little Honda Matrix has an unadvertised feature.  Here is the conversation that revealed this feature:

Me: That was a rolling stop (though a stop sign).

Hubby:  Who knew we had the audible breaking enhancement. 

Me:  Other drivers have the audible breaking enhancement, if your window is rolled down.

Sometimes we think we are funny.

Sweetheart

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High school went past in a blur,

Dances, games, breakups, reunions,

You with a mass of curly dark hair,

Shaved by the Marine Corps,

Returned to me trained and muscled,

The father of my children,

My main cheerleader, my support,

In a blink children grown, grandchildren,

Golden years more like silver,

As we began, one to one.

Never Should You Ever

Never ever allow remote access to someone who calls you about a possible problem with your computer.  If you are tempted to allow remote access to your computer to someone whose credentials you can’t verify, just don’t do it.

If a smarter person is urging you away from allowing a stranger remote access to your computer, please listen.  Listen even if that person is your silly spouse, the one overly cautious about nearly everything, and knows next to nothing about computers.

If remote access is granted to an unknown actor, there are actions you can take.

  • Run an internal diagnostic
  • Change passwords and update security protocols at sensitive sites, such as your banking institutions.
  • When the inevitable problems occur, then take your computer to a reputable person for service.

So now you know why my computer is in the shop, and I am writing on my tablet.

No reputable company will call you and ask for access to your computer for any reason.  Never ever!

Notice

I am not disappearing again.  My computer is acting out.  It will be in time out until it straightens out.

Democrats!

I can understand how it is a little disconcerting to have a valued part of your day, like reading my blog, suddenly just disappear.  Confusion sets in.  Worry begins.  Was it that snarky comment?  Should flowers be sent to a hospital?  A funeral home?  What the heck is going on?

To my friend at Lost Property Repository and others who have been distressed by my absence, I offer my apologies.  I am one of those sensitive souls who need a lot time in reflection to sort and understand my thoughts before I speak  write.  These are interesting times for those of us in the USA.

For me personally, life has been dominated by change.  The decision to move to our current location or to Belize, a place we have never been, but sounds way cool and far away from our current political climate.

But the decision was made.  We are settling, and exploring.  This place is as new for us as Belize would have been.  We search new stores for the items we need.  We travel new streets, and towns.  We are lost, but very happy to be here.  Still, moving is a major stress of life, and cold sores and sleeplessness have been challenges.

Awake in the middle of the night may seem the perfect time to write, but actually reading is a challenge, and the Trump twitter feed always offers a jolt of more things needing a thoughtful response.  Truth is, I am tired of thinking.  I want to explore, have fun, and not think.

I have this little bird on my shoulder, call her my sister, who tells me to keep my thoughts to myself and quotes to me our mother saying, “This too shall pass.”  On the other shoulder is an angel, call him my dad saying,  “April, you have to do something, it is up to you.  Do something!”

For the first time since I came of age to vote in 1973, I have people who shun me, because of our differing political opinions.  If you only want to hear your own opinion, don’t talk to me!  I take your offer of your opinion as an invitation to share mine.  Others seem to find this distressing.

In church a few weeks ago, a really nasty comment was made about Democrats.  The sound of me sucking my breath ricocheted around the room.  I had every intention of just holding my breath, until the person next to me said, “April has something to say.”

She sat back, and I went in HOT!!!  This was no thoughtful, reasoned, tempered statement.  This was pure, visceral, uncensored anger.  My head exploded, and I left none standing.

I am sick of hearing others demonize Democrats, aka liberals.  We only want to make life better for others.  That’s it!  The men, and several women, in my family have served in every branch of service, and in every war this country has fought, including the American revolution.  My opinion is as valuable as any.

Someone brought up taking a knee during the anthem, because that statement wasn’t enough.  I complimented President Trump’s skillful changing the subject from a peaceful protest for social justice to respect for the flag.  There was some more back and forth, that ended with me saying, “If you want people to stand for the flag, you have to do something about social justice.” My remarks were punctuated with a resounding pound of the table, just like my Dad.

I was the new kid.  They all know each other.  One of them should have spoken up and ended the political conversation.  I went back a couple weeks later, and it seemed to me that a few people were actively avoiding us.  Now, I’m not sure I ever want to go back.

Also, we did pass around our name card to everyone we met.  They all have our phone number, e-mail address, and home address.  Not one person has reached out to us.

This experience got me thinking about the differences between liberals and conservatives.  I will write about that tomorrow.

As a follower, anything I write will easily be available to you, no matter how sporadically I write.

To Thoroughly Clean a Basement

I know at least a couple of you have missed me, so I thought I’d let you know what is keeping me busy since I haven’t been posting.   Our main project is, the basement.

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Have you ever cleaned a basement from top to bottom?  I know I have not.  Judging from the amount of dust and grime the previous owners didn’t clean the basement top to bottom either.  That leaves us with over 65 years of accumulated dust and grit that settles everywhere, including the little cross pieces between the floor joists.

After experimenting with brooms, dusters, various vacuum heads, cloths and anything I could think of, I finally settled on sweeping with a small brush, followed by scrubbing the dirt off with a dry heavy duty green scrubber, while keeping the vacuum going to suck up the majority of the dust as it falls.

Yes, I took safety precautions while cleaning.  I wore a mask and safety goggles.  I kept the majority of the dust out of my hair.  White shorts may not have been the smartest wardrobe choice, but they are Hubby’s.  He hasn’t worn those shorts in years, so I may as well.

I have been focusing on one small room.  My plan is to get this room cleaned and painted, move storage into it, and then move on to the next section.

There are many cans of old paint, some dried, some not, none of them dated.  I couldn’t tell you if they are a few months old, or more than 10 years old.  We will get rid of all of the old paint, and start our own collection.

The next step in my small room in the basement, is scraping, scrubbing everything with bleach and cleaner, and finally painting.  Maybe I can get that done tomorrow.

We have taken apart a large section of built in cabinets that seemed to have rot on sections that were in contact with the concrete block.  We had a nice fire with the bad wood.  The little room I have been working on will store the salvaged wood.

I am developing a list of projects for the salvaged wood.  A list of things for Hubby to make.  I am willing to do decorative work, but the making of sawdust and the building of things is the dream Hubby has talked about for the last 7 years.

After the little storage room, we will work on Hubby’s workshop!  He has begun the work in that section.  We will just work around the entire basement, one section at a time.

We had fears of water in the basement when we moved in.  Even with days of torrential rain, we haven’t had any water in the basement.  Yeah!  The usable space will make all the effort worthwhile.

Celebrating the August 2017 Eclipse

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Our best friends, living in Nebraska, called with an invitation to watch the Eclipse on August 21, 2017.  Of course we accepted.

We took a picnic, set up off the highway on an unused ancient stretch of roadway, surrounded by the Sandhills.  Our picnic included Kolaches and a 20 year old bottle of Dom Perignon.  We toasted the eclipse, and good friends during the totality of the eclipse.

We watched as the the shadows dim and twilight decend during our lunch. The wind seemed to still, the air temperatures dropped, and a chorus of crickets sang as the eclipse reached totality.

We were amazed that we could see solar flares coming off of the surface of the sun.  We saw no stars, but that may have been due to cloud cover.  The western sky was very dark, while the horizon of the eastern sky glowed.

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 The horizon with bright white headlights shining through the dark.

We enjoyed our champagne, our sweets, and the company of our friends.  In the evening we enjoyed dinner at a local spot called The Elyria Bar and Grill.

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Proprietor Pam has created a place in Elyria, Nebraska, where locals gather and have fun with each other while enjoying simple, tasty food, and drink.  I did leave a card advertising my blog, and if you are visiting from Elyria, Nebraska I  would like to welcome you and hope you will leave a message.

The decorations in the bar include dollars people have left messages on stapled up around the bar.  We included our dollars announcing our survival of the eclipse of 2017.  In the future, when the walls are covered with dollars from floor to ceiling, our dollars will be an enduring reminder of a wonderful day from beginning to end.

Housewarming

Welcome family and friends, which includes you readers.  No housewarming gifts please, unless it is a nice wine that we can share.

Now, we are unpacking at a leisurely pace, and trying to find places for everything. We have moved from a 1300 square foot space with a shed and off site locker, to a 1008 square foot space, with an unfinished basement, an attic, a three car garage, and parking for our camper.

I’ve unsubscribed from real estate sites, and now stalk Pinterest, looking for storage and decorative ideas.  My focus is shifting to home decor.

We found a sofa at a resale shop with good lines.  While dated, reupholstery will bring the sofa into the current decade.  Changing out the legs to bring the seat height up a few inches would make the sofa more comfortable for a little old lady. I’ve been looking at some wonderful deeply saturated colors that I’ve never considered before.

We have exchanged our large kitchen table for our daughter’s smaller table.  Several smaller items have been passed on to family members who can make better use of them.  Things I kept in case of a visit, have gone to live with the hoped for visitors.   Things of a sentimental nature are getting passed on to those who also have a connection to cherished memories.

Things are only things, yet cherished memories causes us to imbue simple objects with the values of an experience, love, and self.  Hubby’s old photo multiplier tubes collected during his career.  The chess set we made and painted with my Mom and Aunt Daisy.  A small pebble whose color I love, found on a wonderful vacation with my children.  My Mom’s lamp, we found together in a resale shop. These are our cherished items.

These are a sample of the things we value.  Things we can’t just drop off at Goodwill. Either we keep these things, or give them to those we love who will appreciate them as we do.  The only other thing that would separate these types of items from us is a fire or natural disaster.

I swear, I have no idea how I ended up with so many glass paperweights.  I’ve never had them all assembled together before.   I have an incredible number of cook books, and cooking magazines.  There is my ever growing number of hobby items, including:  sewing, crochet/knitting, art and craft materials.   I have been looking for a ukulele, which I  found, but I felt too guilty about all my stuff just waiting for me at home, in boxes.  I walked away.

I’m ready to continue the exploration of our new area.  More than that, I  am ready to get back to ordinary life.  I’ll see you around the bloggospere.

Correction

I didn’t remember exactly what my sweet daughter said about not being able to get a sitter when we are less than an hour away.  She did not say we were useless as babysitters.  I was projecting my feelings about my temporary unavailability.

To be clear, I don’t believe I must shape my life around the needs of my children and grandchildren.  Sometimes, I  might have my own things to do.  But I have been looking forward to seeing our children more, and even baby-sitting, especially since the babies are old enough to really do things with, and don’t need much actual sitting.

We are also happy to sit with the actual babies in the family.

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