Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Lingering New Years Goal

I had such high hopes last year when I announced that we were going to finish every little nagging detail which made our house incomplete.

Our list of 97 projects seemed attainable.

But since all work and no play isn't what this stage of our life is about, I'm not going to kick myself for failing to achieve my New Years goal of 2015.

I rode Cloud; travelled to NYC, Seattle, Nashville, Baton Rouge and New Orleans; took a cruise with my cousins; had countless dinners with friends; played bridge (a lot!); read some amazing books; worked at the kitchen shop; gardened; tutored at the elementary school; hiked; happily entertained houseguests; and drank quite a few cups of coffee and tea out on the back porch.

It was a good year for living life!

Getting over half (barely) of our list of projects done was "Lagniappe" as we'd have said in Louisiana.

I'll admit it.... our projects take so long because we're ridiculously anal about perfection.
Here's an example:
(yes, he's wearing a headlamp)
It took me days and days of searching the internet to find these pulls.

Then figuring out precisely where to place them on the dining room cabinets took us hours!

And so did the meticulous measuring and leveling.
but they're perfect and we're happy!

As of January 1, there were still 48 items left lingering on the "Projects" list.
That's a lot but I'm ever hopeful....
We're setting our sights to finish it totally this coming year.
We did mark off 49 last year;  we got halfway there!

Hanging on are a few difficult ones but the pantry and garage doors are the only true giants of the list.
I'm sewing challenged so the various curtains on the list are looming like specters in the shadows of my mind.
Some things are eluding me:  there's a perfect light fixture out there somewhere in this world for the front porch that is as difficult to find as the Holy Grail!

Wish us luck!  But whatever happens, we'll be finding time to smell the roses along the way!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Newest Member of the Family

She's here!
Presenting Adelaide Laura....
Sweet, sweet....
At 2 1/2 weeks, she's doing wonderfully and so is Mama....
Her Daddy's a hands on guy 
and has learned the art of baby fingernail trimming.

We'll be flying out soon, 
but for now FaceTime is filling the void (sort of!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dealing with a Problem- Laundry Shelf Pt Two

The hole in the wall couldn't be patched.  
We don't have any more whole tiles so cutting the tile out 
and replacing it wasn't an option.
Something was needed to cover up that hole.... 

Every choice I thought of for shelf material
seemed wrong and clunky until I thought of a glass shelf!!

There's an internet vendor for everything: to the rescue.

We measured and marked and then set about drilling into the tiles for the brackets.
My job contribution was misting the drill bit and wall with water 
to keep down the heat during the drilling.  

This is the bracket that is covering the hole...
it was just wide enough to allow the wire hole to be straddled by the two toggle bolt screws
and exactly tall enough to span the gap of the hole.    
 Shelf up!
Hole hidden!
Perfectly centered on the sink and brackets evenly spaced!
And best of all it looks really good and not like a patch job....  
I finally found a spot for my father's brightly colored Navy certificates:
one for crossing the Equator, another for being the first group at Ellyson Field NAS and the third for crossing the International Date Line all as an aviator during WW2.
Forty seven projects done!

Monday, November 9, 2015

"The List" and What To Do With An Unwanted Wire!

My first post of 2015 
was about my New Years Goal to get the house finished.  

Shortly after I wrote that post,
Joe and I walked through every room of the house
plus made a circuit outside
writing down each thing that we needed to do 
in order to consider the house "finished."

Lest you think it was a small handful:
there were 97 items on our list. 
Ninety seven.
We could easily have probed a little deeper 
and rounded it out to an even 100
but 97 was where we stopped.

When they hear about "the list",
it becomes apparent that many of our friends are "enablers!" 
They tell us,
"Oh, you're never truly finished with a house."

I'm not believing it..... 
sure there are some unforseen repairs and changes on our list
but the bulk of it is unfinished construction details
or delayed decorating decisions that have drug on way too long!!  

We're almost at the halfway point of whittling down the list. 
We've completed 46 projects/jobs since January.  

Here's a one that we completed last month in the laundry room.... 

There was supposed to be a shelf above the laundry sink,
but while the carpenters were here, 
I was too busy painting and staining to make a decision on what kind of shelf to buy or have built.  

This is what we've been staring at since moving into the house:
a beautiful tile backsplash 
ornamented by a metal junction box 
covering up a hole and wire.

Now isn't that sort of pitiful?

Step One was to take the junction box off to see what kind of hole we were dealing with....
Thank goodness our tile installer had made as small of a hole as possible!
After a few more weeks of thinking, I had a plan!!!
I'd spent a lot of time researching under shelf lighting strips, 
so it was difficult to finally admit that the best choice of shelf
involved NO lighting.
So the wire had to go.
It was secured to the studs in the wall so there wasn't any pushing it back.   

Joe double and triple checked 
that he'd disconnected the wire from any existing lights and the wall switch.  
Then took a few deep breaths 
and cut off the wire even with the tile.  
He lived without even a tingle!

Part Two tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fall Color Lingers On....

I'm ensconced with my laptop in a cafe on W&L's campus,
trying hard not to appear too clearly out of place among the coeds; 
(I'm aiming for the professorial look)
because our internet is "gone."

Throttled to the point of nonexistence.
Used up.
Bandwidth zip.

Various other terms that mean that three of us 
aren't able to get by on our meager HughesNet 
monthly internet allotment.

Ah the joys of rural life....
But I wouldn't give up these views for an internet connection!

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” 

Our evergreen cedars and pines in the westward view 
keep us from having a total color change.
Sometimes we wish we had fewer of them,
but we're glad to have their greenery during the winter!

The kitchen window has been like looking out at a new world.
Glory all around.....

Monday, November 2, 2015

Things I Didn't Post About in October

A few things that I left out in the October posts...

  • Way back in the spring, we said goodbye to Carter as he left for another summer as a guide in Alaska.  He's now back in the lower 48 and staying with us for a while as he figures out what he'll be doing next.  I'd about gotten used to cooking for two, so he may starve during his stay!  
  • Sarge's injury meant we couldn't go camping on one of our planned weekends so at the last minute we volunteered to be hosts again for a Parents Weekend fundraiser:  Habitat Hotel.  We had a lovely W&L Mom of a Freshman who stayed with us for two nights in exchange for a donation to the local Habitat for Humanity chapter.  Thanks to about 50 hosting houses in the county, the Habitat chapter raised over 13K pure profit in one weekend!!!!
  • VIPs from Louisiana came for a repeat visit!  
    Sunset Dinner on the Porch
We had such fun with Charles and Brenda!

Barboursville Winery           
Winery visits .....
Barboursville House Ruins
I hate to admit that we went to the Trump Winery
but it was close to our day trip to Monticello 
and the scenery was gorgeous.
Technically it's The Donald's son who is the absentee CEO
but despite the fact that the sparkling wines were good, 
I couldn't quite bring myself to buy any bottles!  
View of vineyard from the Tasting room Patio at Trump Winery
We forced Brenda and Charles to sit through a lecture I wanted to attend at W&L, 
so then we toned it down a little and brought them to the Safari Park....
Yes, the camels really do steal the feed buckets
Yes the animals really do get close!  
The floor of the truck is still swimming in spilled feed pellets!

  • It took a while for the elementary school's bureaucratic wheels to get moving, but I finally got started with reading tutoring again.  I had my fingers crossed that I could be matched with the same second grader whom I had last year, and I was!!  He's a terrific kid.... and he's making mind-boggling progress!
  • We enjoyed beautiful fall day out one Saturday.... a trip to the barn, 
loading up on pumpkins for the porch at Swishers, 
an hour or so at the Wade's Mill Apple Butter Festival.  
Stirring apple butter over a woodier in a copper cauldron

Wade's Mill 
Followed by serving as hosts 
for a Newcomers Dining Out dinner at Emilios in Staunton.  
Perfect day!  
  • And then scads of other "littles".... Oktoberfest at McKethan Park, planting 30 new plants for the garden and hillside, working on that pesky house To-Do list, Bridge (the game we never stop learning!); music performances (Symphony fundraiser, Sonokleet Jazz, and Chanticleer) and some riding.  
Sarge is continuing to improve and we're hopeful that he'll be back to his old self soon.  
I'm ponying (leading) him alongside Cloud, but we haven't had him carry a rider yet. 

  • And finally the world didn't fall off it's axis when I attended a yoga class last week!  Hard to believe I know!  We'll see if I'm motivated to keep it up!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Fall Ride .... Our last for a while?

The day before we departed for New York,
we trailered the horses over the the National Forest 
and had a lovely 8 mile ride.
We've been enjoying mapping out more of this sections of the forest
in the Maple Flats/Coal Rd area.  

This was our first time to come upon this particular "vernal" sinkhole pond...
Doesn't Cloud seem to be saying,
"What??  Are we back in Louisiana?"
It does look a bit like a swamp!

The leaves beginning to turn
and the horses were perfect
After I snapped this photo, Joe saw the stick stuck in Sarge's bridle... what a sweet horse!  
For a little while we were bushwhacking around,
trying to connect two trails 
which dead end at the forest border
in order to combine them somehow to make a loop.  

Using our GPS's we were trying to be careful not to wander onto private property.  
In most areas there's nothing to give us a clue, 
but I got a kick out of these opposing signs....
Hmmm don't want to go left onto the Hunting Club property!
Better stay on the "safe" side.  

Speaking of safe...
You never know what you'll come upon out in the woods.  
This sign looked a little bedraggled from the recent rains; it hadn't been there the previous week.  
Who would post a sign out in the woods?....
Maybe a lost dog?
The East Coast Bigfoot Researchers Association??
"We believe in educating the public to bring awareness of whats really hiding among us all"

I couldn't have made up such a fantastic sign!

If Joe and I roust up Bigfoot on a ride, 
you'll all be the first to know!  

Unfortunately the day we returned from NY,
Sarge was found to be lame.
He's not telling us what happened, 
but at age 19, we're a little worried.  
We've cancelled our plans to go back to the Flint Hill Trail Ride 
at the end of the month 
and our fingers are crossed that he'll be sound again soon.  

Monday, October 12, 2015

Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge

One of the things on my To-Do list for this trip to NYC
was to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Since I am a tourist when in NY, 
I see no shame in acting like one!
Asher was a sport and joined in on the walk
even though it made him look like a tourist too
instead of the metro-wise local resident that he is....
(I'm just now seeing that we have similar taste in sunglasses styles!)

We took the subway from Manhattan over to Brooklyn 
so that we were walking back toward the city 
and had the NYC skyline ahead of us the whole time.

The bridge has been open for over 120 years (1883)
and was the world's first steel cable suspension bridge
.....previous suspension bridges were built of iron.
The two gothic towers which hold up the cables 
have a cathedral like appearance....
what a struggle it must have been to lay these huge granite blocks....

At the time of it's completion, it was the world's longest suspension bridge; 
it has been way eclipsed now and ranks as 91st in the world.
It was a fun mile long walk....
bustling with people...
the day was clear and the weather couldn't have been finer.
To set up the following story: 
Lexington is a town of about 7,000,
the surrounding county is about 35K, 
NYC is just a tad larger.... oh around 8.5 million!  

Lexington is a minuscule drop in the ocean of humanity.

But look!!
Who's that coming across the bridge 
wearing sunglasses?
Fellow church members and bridge players 
from tiny Lexington.... 
Frank and Cecile.  
I didn't realize that I'd snapped their photo until I got home, 
but as soon as they came alongside us, 
we of course recognized each other. 
and stopped and chatted for a while. 

This was done in true Lexington fashion: 
we messed up the progress of other walkers 
across the bridge in much the same way
that we routinely clog the aisles of our local Kroger ..... visiting while we shop! 
Ahhhh what a lovely small world we live in!