Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Second Look--September 28, 2016

Or should I say a First Look. Last night, we were at the new house and I took a few pictures before it got dark. Apparently, the former owner loved fruit trees. According to his wife, he had all kinds planted. However, some of them must be gone because I haven't seen any peach or plum trees she said they had.  Among the several that are still there, major branches have been split off but they still seem to be thriving. When we actually get moved in, we're going to start learning how to care for them. One thing I do know is that serious pruning is needed.

Here are a few things I saw this week 
during a First Look.

There are two pear trees and one of them started blooming again last week. From what I read, this can happen when there has been bad weather during the summer that puts the tree into dormancy. When the weather gets better and it starts growing again, the tree thinks it's spring and it's coming out of its winter sleep. This is a new one for me. 

There are a couple of crabapple trees. This fruit is big enough to make crabapple jelly if one were so inclined.

However, the crabapples on the other tree are too small (marble size) to do much with except throw at each other--which Miss Landers did during her first visit to see the new house. We grew up with a crabapple tree in our yard and she was feeling nostalgic. Good thing she doesn't have very good aim.

What has me the most excited is that there are two full-size apple trees. I've eaten a few of these and they are pretty tart. I think that's because most of the ones I've tried are not quite ripe. However, they are dropping like crazy, so I'm trying to get a few before the insects totally devour them. Anyone want to take a guess of what kind they are because we have no idea. The other tree is a golden delicious, I think. The apples are totally gone from it.

The picture is a little blurry, but you get an idea of what kind of damage is on some of the trees.

Ornamental plum tree. I said the plum trees were gone, but that's not exactly what I meant. I meant the plum trees that produce plums you can eat are gone.

A view of a couple of the trees from the house. BTW, the corner bed in the back is full of poison ivy. We're gonna have to find some one to take care of that before we start to work in it. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

It's just stuff.

The way people think is very complex, but I usually think of it in this way for myself. I have my logical mind where I can logically think things through, understand situations and their implications, and make good decisions. Then there's my emotional mind where I react instead of act, I'm upset but not sure why (look out when I'm in one of those moods), and I ruminate over things. And unfortunately, my emotional mind is usually playing catch up with my logical mind. My logical mind keeps talking, but it takes a while for my emotional mind to listen.

And that's what's been going on during the last month or so. As you know, after years of idle talk about what Ward and I wanted to do in the future, the future jumped out and tripped us. All at once we were in the midst of buying and selling a house. And I mean, it was only four days from our first talk with a real estate agent until we had a contract. And our heads haven't stopped spinning since then.

Well, a week ago an important piece of the puzzle fell into place--meaning that we actually closed on the new house. After signing the papers, we went to claim our newly purchased house. But instead of being excited, I felt scared and sad when we went inside. I definitely wasn't happy. All I could think of was, "What had we done?"

I cried. I lost sleep. I yelled at Ward. It was not a pretty picture. I tried to convince myself that it was only a house and Ward and I would be happy wherever we were. I tried to remember how much I liked the house when we first saw it. But once again, my logical mind was way ahead of my emotional mind.

And then one day, my muddled thoughts became clearer. It was not the house that was the problem, it was the emotions that it triggered involving my own parents. You see, we bought the house from a 94 year-old woman who had reached the point where she could no longer live alone in a big house and had to move. Just like my mother did 8 months ago. This woman's husband died three years ago, just when my father died. For me, the emotions that came with aging parents were represented in that house. After I figured this out, I started to feel a little better. Because the house was really just a thing, it was not the people in it. Like most everything else, it was just stuff. In fact, I walked around saying, "It's just stuff," all the time.

And then a couple of days ago, an interesting thing happened. Aunt Martha and I were at the new house cleaning floors and I found something in the back corner of one of the closets. It was a little fishing sinker--just like the ones my father used to make. And it made me smile. I'm not sure if I believe in signs, but I took it as one. I thought it was my father's way of telling me that we had done the right thing. That this was the house for us and we were going to be happy there. And we will. :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Second Look--September 20, 2016

I couldn't let another week go by without doing a Second Look, so I did an abbreviated one this week--meaning I looked around on my way to the mailbox. As you know, things are very busy around here as we orchestrate a move. And if the truth be told, I don't want to deal with the warranty on the air conditioner, the leak in the garage, or tile for the new bathroom. I'd rather be discovering my new yard and transferring some of the things from this yard. Soon enough that will happen. I just have to remember to appreciate the nature around me wherever I am. It really does ground me.

Here are a few things I saw this week 
during a Second Look.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Thankful Sunday--September 18, 2016

I am thankful for signed papers. 

Hundreds of signatures later, we now own two houses. Next we're waiting on the contractor to see when he can start. Included in this is floor work, so there is very little we can move until it is done. In the meantime, we continue to get rid of things here and make lists of what need to be done. Lots of lists. However, for every step forward on this move, I am thankful.

Uncle Billy and Aunt Martha stopped by
 and helped us install new door locks.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Second Look--September 14, 2016

Things are still moving here at a pace that is too fast for my liking, so I didn't get a chance to take photos for a Second Look this week. Here's what this week looked like a year ago. I've made comments under the photos to compare them to this year.

Here are a few things I saw last year
during a Second Look.

Sedum--Autumn Joy  
This year, they are about a week behind in blooming. They have just started.

Bumblebee on purple sage.  
The sage is in it's second set of growth for the season and it's still a favorite with the bees.

The ever-faithful marigold is doing well. All of this years plants came from these plants from last year.

Queen Anne's Lace
I haven't seen any of this blooming recently.

The name of this plant escapes me at the moment. It comes back every year like a weed. Sometimes I let it grow and sometimes I don't. This year I left it alone and it's making a nice show in one of my beds.

Skipper Butterfly on purple sage (view from below)
The little butterflies are still around. I spent Sunday with my buddy, Sarah, and we spent most our time watching butterflies and bees on flowers at the church.

Blanket flower
I don't have many of these this year and they have the most blooms on them now of all season. They always brighten up wherever they are.

This is an annual that I didn't grow this year. I planted zinnias instead.

I have a different kind of begonia this year. They are doing quite well especially since I got them on clearance. You never know when you get plants like that.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Thankful Sunday--September 11, 2016

At the fair, the 4-H kids show animals. This calf was one of them this year.
I am thankful for the community fair.

Every year during the second weekend in September, my town has a community fair. It's an old fashioned fair with exhibits of canned goods, garden produce, and handicrafts of all kinds. There's an ice cream making contest, a pet show, a cake auction, and a tractor pull. There's lots more with a little something for just about everyone. And I really enjoy it.

However this year with everything going on, I said that I wouldn't enter anything or maybe even go. There were other priorities. However, as the fair approached, I started to get a little twitchy thinking about it. And on Thursday, the day to enter things, I couldn't help myself. All of the phone calls and sorting would just have to wait. I was going to enter some things in the fair.

When you enter things at the last minute, there's a lot of things you can't do. However, I managed to gather up some walnuts, flower specimens, a necklace and felted purse I had made. Entering things is part of the fun. I waited in line and talked to others about what they were entering. We talked about the rain during the fair last year and if the favorite local restaurant is ever going to open again. And it's kind of funny, but I feel that if I have seen something go through the entry process, it's sort of mine too. When I go back later with Ward, I always show him the things I saw when I was waiting in line and I check to see if they won any ribbons.

My felted purse was the black and red one.

On Friday, there's another tradition that I continued. After work, I met my sister at the fair and we scoured the exhibits to see if we got any ribbons. Then we had a hot dog that they grill to your exact specifications. (I'm a charred dog kind of person.) This supports the local fire department.

Last night, I took Ward back and I showed him the ribbons I won, and we looked at all of the exhibits. BTW, I got first places for some flowers, walnuts, and my felted purse. I know that they are very liberal with their judging, but seeing a blue ribbon on my things always brings a smile.

So this year, I did enjoy the community fair. And I'm glad I did. All work and no play, was making June a dull girl.

Friday, September 9, 2016


I'll written about this before--the many connections that seem to pop up when I visit my mother. She still lives in the small town where I grew up and when I visit, I always see someone or the other that I know. Let me put that differently. I always see several someones or the other that I know. It's all pretty interesting how it works out sometimes.
Ward's new knife is so sharp that it literally split a hair!

Last time I visited, I took my mother's watch to the jewelry store to be fixed. The owner was the cousin of one of my friends from school and as it turns out used to work with my father in the summers when he was in college. During the visit to pick up the watch (which he didn't charge for because he knew my mother), I met Ted who went to school with my sister. He was a master knife maker and had brought one in to show the owner of the store. During the course of the conversation, I told him how Ward would like to see his work. So he said next time we're in town, give him a call.

Well, I called him during this last visit and Ward spent the day with Ted making a knife. (Being the carnivore that he is, he made a meat carving knife.) Ward had a wonderful time and was very excited about the knife and learning about the process. He also related that Ted had had the same cancer that he had and that his mother had also been in the same facility that my mother is in. However, she had recently died at the ripe old age of 95. And for just one more connection, I told him I knew that because Ted's mother's room was the one my mother had just been transferred into. Such is the circle of life. And connections.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Moving perspective

My mother was a busy woman.
While visiting my mother, I found a piece of paper on which my mother had hand-written some lists of various events in her adult life. She had lists of addresses where she had lived, places she had worked, etc. There were details that I wasn't familiar with like house numbers, but basically none of it was new information--meaning I had heard about these things before. However, I thought I should record the details in a more permanent way, so I typed them up and promptly emailed them to my sisters.

And a funny thing happened while typing up these lists.  My mother's life came alive to me in a whole new way.  Various things that I had heard of separately here and there, got combined into a big picture. Here's a sample:

1950   Graduated nursing school
1950   Married
1950   Moved, P'burg,12th St.
1951   Moved, P'burg, Walnut St.
1951-53 Husband away in Army
1951-53 Moved, P'burg, 18th St.
1951   Daughter #1 born
1953-56 Moved to E'burg, Mill St.
1953   Sister died
1953   Grandfather died
1954   Daughter #2 born
1956-57  Moved to M'town, Church St.
1957-60  Moved to Penn'burg, Eisenhower Ave.
1957   Daughter #3 born
1960   Moved to Tann'town, Hart St.
1960   Moved in Tann'town, Hart St. in different house
1961   Daughter # 4 born

So in case you didn't study the list, let me summarize it for you. In a little over ten years, my mother moved 8 times in 5 different towns, had 4 kids, and lost two very important people in her life. Also, her husband was gone during the Korean War for two years.

That got me thinking about the current move I'm involved in. I'm not doing it with colicky babies, a husband in the Army, or on a shoestring budget. I'm doing it with my spouse at home, grown children, and good resources. So that perspective should help me calm down a little about the current move I'm involved in. Right?

You'd think so, but I'm still going crazy here with moving details. However, it did give me more respect and admiration for the remarkable woman who is my mother.

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Check-in

I woke up early, like most days, with a very busy mind. Instead of laying in bed, I thought I would get up and check in with all of you.

As you know, Ward and I are buying a new house. Details along that front are progressing well, but still at warp speed. The bank continues to think of ways to ask for new paperwork, but so far we've been able to keep up with their demands.

Wednesday, we met with a contractor to talk about redoing the master bathroom in the new house. It's rather crowded. You have to sit on the toilet to get out of the way of the open shower door. We're hoping to rearrange the space a bit, so we can turn around in it. He's also going to do a couple of other things with vents and exhaust fans. In addition, we've scheduled a roofer to do a "tune up" on the detached garage roof, and talked to a window guy about replacing the bay window.

Meanwhile, back here we've been continuing to get rid of things. A huge load went out on Saturday and another one yesterday. There have been a few nostalgic tears when an object makes us think about the good times our family has had here. Oh, the house is all sparkly now since we've had it pressured washed. How's that to change the mood from being sentimental?

Well, I've overspent my computer time this morning. We're getting ready to spend a long weekend with my mother. We hope to leave on our long drive in 45 minutes, so I better get hopping. We're pretty well prepared, but the last minute stuff always seems to take forever.

Have a good Labor Day weekend.

Until next time...