Monday, September 30, 2013

New Hobby

I went out today and bought myself a camera. It is nothing fancy. I figure that as I pick up skills, I might be inclined to upgrade, but I thought that it made sense to start with a modest camera for a beginner.

This is the first picture that I took with it. Well. I lied. I took a dandy picture of the ceiling first. Then I captured William. It would have probably been a nicer picture if I'd have washed the catsup off his face.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Shiny things


Yesterday, Grandpa left in his truck to go to one of the new houses. He was meeting a bulldozer there.

Now William does not miss an opportunity to 'hep' his grandpa, and when he heard that truck start up and back down the driveway, he was inconsolable, standing at the door clutching his Dresser-Rand bag of his little power tools in one hand, and his bright yellow chainsaw in the other, sobbing "GRANDPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!"



William and I drove over later, but when you are working around heavy equipment and doing heavy dangerous work, well, you need an extra set of eyes and hands when there's a small interested boy about.

The bulldozer pushed a pile of rubble up, and Tim dashed out to grab a intricate root system that was tangling things up. It ended up snapping back and smacking him quite hard across the cheek. When he came home, I could see the swelling.

My church is earlier than his church, so I'm up earlier on Sunday morning. I was talking to him as he was still in bed. I looked at him and thought, 'Huh. That shadow makes it look like he has quite the shiner.'

When he got around to getting up, I saw that it wasn't a shadow at all. He has quite a black eye.

He's already saying I gave it to him.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

How's it hanging?

After two years, it has finally happened. It took a while, but all 26 windows have curtains.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Balance

Today's news was awful.

The weather has been gray and cold. Our second frost warning of the fall has been issued.

Cold weather makes my pain issues worse, and that wears on my frame of mind too.

Work is rewarding. Work is frustrating. Work is.

Every day, I come home from work, to an empty house, and that doesn't really help my blahs either.

After work, I had some errands to run, and I did them, in a dreary sort of way. I had to drop something off at Buddy and Brianna's house. I stood on the sidewalk talking to them as William clung to his parents' legs and whined, hiding his face against their legs. I figured that he was tired, that he'd missed a nap, and didn't press him.

Our talking finished, I headed for the truck. I heard a wail and turned and William stood away from his parents, looking after me. He handed his father his sippy cup, and his mother the toy chainsaw that he'd used to 'hep' his grandfather cut a tree down just two days before. He came running down the sidewalk as fast as his little legs could carry him, his head thrown back, his arms wide. I dropped to my knees and flung out my own arms, and scooped him up and smothered him in kisses. "I give you many, many kisses, William!" and he laughed. I set him back down and said, "I love you," and the answer came back as it always does, "I love you too, Memaw!" and then he was running back to his mother and father who waited with his chainsaw and his sippy cup, just as fast as his little legs could carry him, his arms wide, his head thrown back.

You know, that one little moment balanced out a lot of crap.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

This and that.

We had a bit of a cold spell. On a whim, I responded by putting together a large pot of cream of cauliflower soup, because when it is chilly, soup hits the spot. The temperature has shot back up to the 80s and 90s, and it huuuuuuuuuuuuuuumid...

Lesson learned: one frost does not an autumn make.

Oh, and that cream of cauliflower soup does not hit the spot when it is hot and humid.

Those two things are what I learned about soup.

Wanna know what I learned about clocks? There's no such thing as an antique $27. clock. The price of that clock went up to $239. rather quickly. The first time that I brought it in from the shop, it worked until I wound it. The second time that I brought it home from the shop, it worked for two weeks. Until I noticed that at 6, it would chime 4 times. I adjusted the chime about every other day...and then it stopped. Just stopped once again.

I also learned that despite their annoyances, you fall in love with the ticking. And the chiming. I learned that even husbands can fall in love with them. The worst thing? Once you have spent that much money on them, you become pretty obsessed with the idea that this clock !WILL! work properly. It is not costing us extra money, but it's quite a haul to take it to the shop. The time the man has cautioned me that he will be keeping it for a few weeks just to try to figure out what is going on w/ it.

I also learned that my love of clocks is nothing compared to his...he lives in an old Victorian house with more clocks than you can imagine.

Most of which are for sale.

Which means that I should be nowhere near this place ever, let alone the third time. So far I have been good.

During that cold snap, I was in the library reading. Nash is a very lovely cat, beautiful to look at, very affectionate. He came in, purring and leapt up to coil himself on my lap. I realized that a dream had come true.

I pick up small gifts for Christmas all year around, but this weekend, I bought my first large Christmas gift. My goal is not to be a last minute shopper this year. This is actually not a new goal.

The new house? Tim is very excited. It was built in 1848, and has an original stone lined well in the basement. Joan told us that it had been in the previous owner's family for years, and that he put a bottle in one of the walls with the house's history. He actually owned two houses, and our relatives own the house next door. Tim has been studying the place and decided to rip out the walls and replace the knob and tube wiring...and, just coincidently, find that bottle. He really wants that bottle something awful. Because the conclusion that he has come to is that our little house actually began life as the barn for the house next door. He has unearthed some beautiful, and massive, handhewn beams that he does not want to cover again.

Listening to my husband talk, it came to me that he is an artist really. He sees things in old houses and has the skills to bring the house to that. He does good work. I need to get a job with benefits again. He needs to be free to pursue what he loves, and what he does best.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Kimono

Today, we were working at the new house. There are always peculiar things that are left behind when a person leaves, things that you would not expect. Today I found a silk kimono. A lovely thing, violet with flowers and birds.

It shocked me, because a long time back, when I was a young woman, stationed in Korea, I had bought a silk kimono for myself, an extravagance, but I'd never had anything silk in my life, and I loved that kimono. It was the most beautiful thing that I'd ever owned, and whenever I slipped into it, I felt...I don't know...not pretty, maybe, but it felt luxurious, as if I had stepped outside the ordinariness of my life. It felt romantic. It was the sort of thing that people dream dreams in.

That kimono was lost in the chaos of my life, in the ending of a marriage, in the packing up of children, and moving across country. I never had any time to really think on it. Since I was that young woman in Korea, my life has changed, taken turns that I could have never expected, turns that if I'd have known they were coming, I couldn't have stood the knowledge.

But still, I am on the other side of much of it. I have mothered my children, I have made difficult choices, I have failed at some things, succeeded in others. I have a good husband. I can take pride in my children. I am recognized in my little community, and I have friends who love me. As far as material things...I couldn't have dreamed of what I have now. I have a job that satisfies my need to do good. Spiritually, I feel as if I'm headed where I need to be headed. My life is full.

Tonight, the laundry is done, folded, put away. I touched that kimono and feeling a bit foolish, I put it on. It IS beautiful, something that I'd have never thought to buy myself, but I put it on and the glistening material disguises that fact that I am lopsided. It disguises the curves that were not there in my 20s. I looked in the mirror and saw, for the first time in a long time, not what I am, but what I was. When I put that kimono on, it felt as if, for a moment, I had stepped outside the ordinariness of my life. It felt luxurious. Romantic, even. A 56 year old woman stood in front of the mirror, dreaming dreams.

Boats

Last weekend, we had little William. We took him for a boat ride. This boat is called the Chautauqua Belle.
Ever his grandpa's grandbaby, he was very interested in the paddle wheel and the motor. He asked to see them again and again.
Very serious looking, isn't he?
Steamboats are very serious business Grandma! Did you hear the man say that this is one of four steampowered paddlewheels left in the country?
The nearly two hour trip took us up past Chautauqua Institution, where we saw Garrison Keillor just a few weeks back.
The belltower. If you are well heeled, you can arrange for a young woman to play music on it, like perhaps Happy Birthday, or Christmas carols. The music floats across the lake.
This is one of the mansions on the lake. It is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a little boy. His father was a wealthy business man who flew home on a seaplane at the end of a work week. The little boy came rushing out to meet his father, fell off the dock and was drowned.
This is the Anthenaeum Hotel on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institute.
Before the trip was done, a storm moved in. The view went from this...
...to this in the matter of minutes. We went from being one of many boats on the water to being one of the only boats on the water as we chugged our way back to the home dock. The lightning was spectacular. The thunder cracked in a very satisfactory way. If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost, (the minnow would be lost!)

It was a great trip, even though we ended up soaked to the skin, and a week later, William is still imitating the whistle.

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Sorry for the lack of posts. Very busy here. (good things)