Well hello and come on in. The coffee's hot, the cookies are fresh, too. Have a seat and let's talk a bit, okay?
Boy did we go through a cold spell last week, but nothing like what was had up North, that's for sure. We managed to stay warm, didn't have any pipes burst or freeze. John rigged up the pump house light so the pump pipes wouldn't freeze. We gave our propane heater a workout inside the house to offset the heat pump from working so hard. I fixed Maddie and Misu a spot to stay warm and cozy each. Maddie undid hers the moment my back was turned and lay on the blanket out in the yard...sigh. I just can't teach that girl a thing about cold and comfort.
She had a light coat of frost on her back one morning when I went out but she mustn't have stayed in the yard all night long. The lawn glittered like frosted glass even under the cloudy sky and Maddie's back was just lightly glazed with frost. I think it's a testament to how very thick her coats are that she doesn't melt it right away. The cat knew immediately that her spot was hers and she stayed in it, coming out just long enough to take care of her necessaries. I fed them extra food, put out fresh water every few hours since the water buckets had frozen solid. I checked both over each morning to be certain they were doing fine and no harm came to either one.
I went out to run errands on Tuesday after we'd paid bills. I haven't seen such a heavy thrust of ice in the ditches in years and the dirt roads positively crackled as I drove over them. Of course, it poured rain just before the freeze. The night before the bitter cold moved in the peepers were singing in the wet spots. It sounded more like spring than winter with an arctic chill about to descend. I worried about them but you know those little creatures are singing their hearts out right now. I can hear them through the closed windows with the house all quiet. Such a lovely sound mixed with the bird songs.
But I was mentioning the cold, not the peepers wasn't I? Well no matter, it's old news. We froze, we thawed, we had more rain and then copious amounts of rain and tornado warnings and we've had sunshine and more rain and a bit more cold as well. Weather is weather and this is all perfectly seasonal for us. It is at least a variety of weather!
John and I had a major life change this week, however it might not seem much of one to others. For 20 years now he's worked a shift that runs from Wednesday to Tuesday, 7days on, 7 days off, 12 hours at work, 12 hours on call when he got home (which has meant basically we pretty much stuck at home in case he had to go back to work). Twenty years of night shift and then day shift and then night shift once more. We've coped with it all these years but for some reason, others, even those closest to us, could never quite grasp the way the shift ran.
I spent quite a lot of time on my own during the years, and it's only been in the past year and a half that John has been around much at all. When he first began this job he worked nights and I worked days. Then he began working days after I left my last job. I used to say when he worked that it was a bit like being married only two weeks out of the month. He'd be gone from 6am until 8pm on work days and came home pretty well done in. We only had about 3 waking hours together during his work weeks and those were mostly silent. The change to night shift a year and half ago was different in that this time around I was home full time. That meant I spent every single day with my husband except for the rare 36-hour shift. I both liked and struggled with his being home every single day. I liked his company. I struggled with the never being alone part of things. I tend to be very focused when I'm working, writing, crafting. With John home I focused on John or I focused on the house, or the blog...and I would get interrupted by something else and then never finish anything One track minds don't operate well with a distraction, lol.
As of January 10, the old schedule was changed completely and totally. He now works an equally as odd schedule but one I am prayerful we both find suitable. He goes into work at 7am, works 24 hours and has 72 hours off. Most weeks he'll work 2 days. The hours overall come out to the same each month, but call time has been erased utterly. We'll lose a little money due to that and I suppose we'll find it somewhere though honestly that part hasn't fully dawned on us as of yet. Of course, it means that travel will be a little tetchy so our trips will have to wait for leave time but it's a change and I'm not going to howl over it just yet. I've been just itching for some sort of change for quite a while now. I knew I'd be happy with the bit of alone time I'd get each week.
So Sunday I had a whole day to myself to piddle about the house and do what I'd like without having to stop and think about making a meal or trying to plan for the comfort of another. I took full advantage of the day. I started by getting up quite early to make John breakfast and pack up the lunch I'd made the night before. After I saw him off, I colored my hair. Great Goodness how I needed that! I'd begun to look quite feeble what with the gray and the bags under my eyes from sleeping so poorly this past month and the gimpy sort of walk I have at times. I shaved my legs and gave myself the best part of a pedicure. I couldn't do the whole pedicure all at once as it simply hurt too much but I did make my feet look nicer over all and that made me happy.
I did a bit of cleaning in our bathroom. The hair color business started it. It seems no matter how careful I am I always find evidence in the most conspicuous places that I've just colored my hair. I went over the bathroom looking for spots, straightening and cleaning. I have missed my deep cleaning work over the past month or so and it is showing. I think it says I am feeling better that I can contemplate starting these sorts of heavier tasks once more.
I washed the throw rugs from all over the house and while they were in the wash, I cleaned up the laundry area and made it look a bit nicer. I removed the lamp we'd put in that space because a few weeks ago the mate (I had three of them) which set on John's bedside stopped working and he felt it's age warranted a new lamp. Well, it was only 20 years old. They were inexpensive lamps when we bought them. I still had the two, so I took those outdoors and made a huge mess with spray paint. All over my hands, on my table where the newspaper failed to cover well, all over the newspaper itself. Messy messy. Naturally I cleaned...
See that metallic glitter? I promise you the lamp in the living room looks nothing like that!
I used the Rusteoleum Metallics Oil Rubbed Bronze. This is supposed to be the same paint John used to paint the big ginger jar shaped lamp in our living room. I can't believe it's the same stuff. The lamps I painted yesterday are lovely and have a bit of glitter and brown/black look to them. The lamp in the living room just looks black. Now the cans both said the same thing, but there is most definitely a difference. I actually bought the paint to use on the dining room chairs I keep meaning to get around to, but after seeing the finish on the lamps I think maybe I'm glad I waited. Can't make up my mind if that's the look I want on the dining chairs or not.
I knew my bath rugs had about had it, but I wasn't aware of how worn they really were until I opened the washer and discovered that about half the latex backing had washed off and left bits all over the washer. Do you see the pattern of my day? I'd tackle a task and create a bigger mess than I had to begin with which then meant extra work to clean up. I hung up the rugs and decided that after all I should do a load of towels. While they washed, I figured since it was Sunday and the day I typically go over the kitchen, I should clean the kitchen as well.
I stopped for a quick bite of lunch but made myself eat at the dining table with a magazine for company and finished the magazine before I went back to work. My tomato and lettuce salad seems to have a HUGE amount of mayonnaise on it doesn't it? I thought so too after taking the photo and only ate about 1/3 of the mayonnaise, lol.
I was flagging by the time I sat down to eat and there was still more I wanted to do. I put on a pot of coffee and set to work to finish off the kitchen work and did all but sweep the floor. I settled with my coffee, got really comfortable and then remembered the laundry in the washer...I decided a coffee break was far more to important to me! Later I vacuumed, put in the towels to dry, brought in the rugs, brought in the lamps which still needed curing time. I left those in the breakfast area rather than attempt to put the smelly things bedside. I can't handle the aroma of paint very well. I didn't get to put those into the bedroom until Thursday. I had to set them on the porch during the day and bring them into the breakfast area at night.
In between all the work on, I wrote out an article and a menu post during my so called 'rest' breaks. For 'fun' I put a new cover on my housekeeping notebook (Debbie I am working on writing about that), and started scanning family photos to go on the family tree I've begun. While I was tending to that bit of 'work', though I hate to call it work when it was actually fun, I realized how very tired I was.
Speaking of the family photos, I noted that both sides of the family in the 1940s and 1950s were more prone to taking photos of family groups. You know, Mama and Daddy, the grown children with their spouses. And I kept thinking about those photos all evening, wondering why they bothered me so. I finally realized it was because there was Mom and Dad and all these elderly looking folks around them who were their children! I wonder if my mom ever looks at me and my brother and wonders how these old people came to call her mom...and will I feel the same one day when I'm older and my children starting to get old? It does bear thinking about given the longevity of my family.
I thought you might like to see my two favorite thrifted items. I'm careful not to buy things for ME so often. I tend to focus on the booth. I mentioned both these items at the time I got them, but never took photos.
This little table. I suspect it was a phone table in it's original life. I just love it. The moment I saw it I knew I wanted it for myself. I picked it up at the Women's Club yard sale event for $10. It's solid wood too and while it's not a heavy piece it's in good condition. I like the patina of the current paint, which means that I am undecided as to what color to use, lol.
Oh! Have you been watching Downton Abbey? I have. They are portraying the social changes that came after the first World War for both servants and gentry. As for the fashions, a few take my breath away and a few just leave me cold. Most of Edith's evening gowns are stunningly beautiful. I won't be talking about the plot in case someone has not seen it and is waiting for reruns but it's as full of fun, intrigue and interest as ever. I was able to watch the past two Sunday evenings and hope to see it next Sunday evening as well. I stayed up perhaps a little longer than I might have Sunday night simply because I so wanted to see it.
I have purchased several free e-books for the PC Kindle lately. I am a member of Book Bub but I don't think I've seen one featured book yet that I wanted. Then I have a second newsletter that comes to me and it's through that one I've gotten most of the books on my Kindle app. I always think saying I 'purchased' them sounds silly since I pay nothing for them, but that's what Amazon says I have done, 'purchased' them. The newsletter is called Daily Free Books and there have been a number of Bible studies and fiction works that intrigued me. One of the books was over 1200 pages, a Bible reference book.
Since I loathe what even appears to be hoarding, I have made myself take a few hours each evening to read. I have in fact started several and deleted them as they were so poorly written or so uninteresting that it seemed a waste of time. However, I did start and finish one that held my interest from the beginning, something like a Nancy Drew mystery. Penny Nichols and the Knob Hill Mystery by Joan Clark, first published in 1945. It was quite good and even when I thought I might have solved the mystery, I hadn't gotten it all. I like being surprised at the end of a mystery book.
In keeping my promise to myself, I've also pulled a book from my bookshelf and read it through, Island Magic by Elizabeth Goudge. My copy is a paper back and alas and alas the thing literally fell into pieces in my hands this week. I told John I'll have to find a newer copy of it. I was quite upset at one point to find that I had jumped from page 156 to 174, but found those pages tucked in between 224 and 225. I so hate to have a missing page in my book!
That said, I kept a worn and tattered paper back copy of Grace Livingston Hill's The Honor Girl for years on end and read it faithfully over and over even though the last page was torn and I never did determine just how the book ended. John bought me a lovely copy of that book and it was quite a thrill to read it and get the whole ending, lol.
I had a special discount from one of the book clubs the other day. It was an offer for $20.14 off an order of $25. I found two books I wanted and ordered them. With shipping it came up to about $13 after the discount which seemed reasonable enough for 2 hardback books. The last paperbacks I bought at a book store cost that much each!
I had promised myself a trip to the library but haven't gone as of yet. It's as much due to the number of unread books on my own shelves and in my computer as to the continuing back pain, which seems to be on an every other day schedule of late, or so it seemed. I hurt badly on Saturday, so much so that we stayed home from synagogue though we'd planned to go. That proved a blessing in the end, as we had some very heavy rain and winds go through and it hit Macon just about the time we'd have been trying to drive home. Not sorry we missed that experience! Sunday I felt okay, with slight aching, but Monday was another bad morning for me. And then it eased off ...just as it started to rain again. Hmmm. I think I'm weather forecasting!
I've had a nice time reading my vintage magazines of late. One issue of a 1946 copy is just chock full of really good information...so good that today while reading a modern day magazine, I came across one of the tips in the newer magazine. Hmmm 1946 to 2014 seems quite a long time, but good advice is good advice regardless of what year it first appeared. I will be using several of the items in the 1946 magazine for the Home Ec series. I'm ready to get that underway once more because I do feel it is vital that young women (and older ones like myself!) have the opportunity to avail themselves of all the knowledge they can. Just because we didn't learn it in school or from Mother doesn't mean we can't learn it...I am a big believer in teaching old dogs new tricks right along with the young pups.
We had huge puddles in the yard Saturday and the peepers sang lustily over the additional wetness once the storm passed. The heart shaped puddle was still in the yard, slightly larger, just as heart shaped.
That first appeared in the yard at the end of December when we had a big rain. John was standing at the windows and saw it. I think it's lovely! I don't know anyone else who has a big heart that shows up in their yard every time it rains. Not sure how long we will either, but I like it. It seems a good omen of sorts. Monday's rain was not so heavy and while it did thunder there was none of the heavy winds we'd had on Saturday.
Every one whose blog I read or speak to, is on a spate of decluttering and organizing once more. It's part of the January need to purge syndrome. It seems nearly everyone wants to start over, do better, become better this time of year. My decluttering has been mostly digital thus far, unless you count taking the Christmas and excess flea market stuff out to the shed. I decluttered my blog list and currently am down to about ten. I have been looking at the blogs other girls read and testing them out as possible reading material for the coming year. I've deleted photos from my hard drive that have been uploaded to my blog. I've deleted old emails that aren't needed any longer. In real life? Not so much. Yesterday I sorted and dumped recipes from my notebook.
I never thought when we moved here that I'd look at my kitchen twenty years later and wish I could take it out and do it all over again. Mind you, I'm not complaining. It's still an airy bright room with more storage than I had for years upon years and more counter-top, too. But when you work in a kitchen for 20 years you see pretty well what doesn't work. I've compensated as best I can and it's not a bad compensation. It works and could work just as well for years to come. However, I do find myself imagining how it could be even more functional.
I've looked at designer kitchens and home kitchens. I don't look often nor too hard. If I ever have the opportunity to re-do the kitchen I'll look a lot more. I find that I tend to be dissatisfied if I spend too much time looking though. I don't want to be ungrateful, nor so enamored and set upon new that I can't see how I might improve what I have still further. That's partly why I deleted all my Pinterest boards and started new. I'm looking for more practical ideas, less dream visions, and more "Yes, I can do that!" ideas.
About a year ago we were looking at flooring for the house. I chose what I wanted at the time, and then we discovered there was a difference between what we could afford and what we needed to put in flooring. Looking back, I'm glad, GLAD, we could not put in what we chose at that time. I've discovered since that John really wants wooden floors in the living/dining area. I myself have determined that I would have soon loathed the flooring I chose for kitchen. In my heart of hearts I've always wanted either a wood floor or checkerboard tiles. I am so glad we didn't pay out all that money we'd determined we'd spend only to wish I'd done differently! Ideas come and go, but eventually you KNOW what it is you really want. We still need new flooring but when we shop for it the second time around, I'm going to stay true to my real desires and not be swayed by what a salesman tells me is the most popular.
I didn't accomplish much of anything Monday. I did make meals and put a lasagna in my crock pot to cook. I am going to buy a new crock pot. The lasagna burnt around the outside edges. This has been a common problem with my current cooker. Even on a low setting for 3-4 hours, burning occurs. I've never had that problem with previous crock-pots. I bought this pot about four or five years ago. It was inexpensive and at the time was what I could afford. However, my frustration at finding I'd yet again overcooked a food item just brought home to me that I can't really afford NOT to replace it. I'm going to do some research, take my time and determine what I really want before I buy.
Tuesday I woke feeling very well. I'd slept pretty well, too. I hit upon the idea Sunday night to put on a worship CD called, Healing Waters by Dustin Smith. That has helped me sleep better overall, I truly believe. It was the weather coming in that made me hurt so badly, not the lack of sleep. Figuring out the new CD clock radio was major. The thing came with what might be loosely termed an instruction manual. Believe me it does not instruct at all. John even went online to see if there were instructions on how to operate the machine. There are roughly 14 or so buttons on the machine some of which clearly state what they are and some which don't. So yeah, I was pretty pleased to figure out the machine well enough to get the CD to play!
Tuesday was the most beautiful day! Sunshine, fair weather. We opened windows for a bit. I was on the front porch while Maddie ate her morning meal. The dogs and cat had dug out a big galvanized bucket of dirt and it was all over one section of the porch. I decided that the dead plants and dirt had to be tended to, so I worked on the porch. I got up the dirt, swept, dug out the old plants, swept, decided to lower the ironing board and dumped a bunch of stuff on the porch and swept...Yep! Right back where I ended on Sunday. I was hurting by the time I got done with the porch and that was the end of the day for me. I came indoors and settled to Bible study and a lot of quiet work.
It was, as I said a lovely day. I'd started with open windows but soon had to close all but two, which I left partially open to keep a little fresh air coming in. It had gotten quite cool as the day progressed, unlike the warm morning air. But what I love on a sunny day most of all, is to walk through a room and find it filled with streams of sunshine. I came into the living room yesterday and fairly danced...lol, I should say I moved awkwardly about as I attempted not to hurt my back still more and yet express a sort of joy at the same time. John said "What are you doing?" "Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine!", I told him. "I love sunshine in my home!" He shook his head and sort of chuckled at me. I went off to the craft room and opened the shade and moved the curtain so the sunshine would stream across my table.
I was up in the wee hours of Thursday morning and came into the living room to find a patch of moonlight on the floor. I thought briefly about a dance of joy for that, but settled for smiling at it as I went back to bed. Moonlight from a full moon makes me happy as well.
I've come to really look forward to my daily Bible reading. I'm not actively involved in a study at the moment but am just reading various portions of the Bible daily and writing down observations and prayers. I was writing out a prayer regarding a situation one morning and I found myself telling God what needed to be done, what had to change, when it had to occur...I've been really bothered with the tone of my prayers of late and I realized why I felt uneasy that morning. The problem was ME. "I" knew how to tend to things. "I" knew just what God needed to do to right it. "I" knew just what changes had to occur. That realization gelling in my mind made me feel quite ashamed of myself. Who was I to tell God anything? He never said once in scripture "Whatever you tell me to do I will." He said 'Ask me.' He said "Put your request before me in the morning.' He said "Seek me." He said He had a plan even before He knew me. So yeah. I might just have this part of prayer backwards. I went back to my journal and rewrote my prayer. I asked that He change ME, I asked that He give me wisdom, I asked Him to help the individual for whom I'd prayed. I didn't tell Him how to help or when or where.
And yes, I was tested right away, just the next morning as a matter, of fact. I took a call which broke my heart and made me put my face down and cry out. But I remembered and I didn't tell Him how to fix the situation. I just said simply, "Please help." He knows my heart. I felt that was more than enough for that situation.
That is not to say that we shouldn't specifically request things. There are needs that must be tended to and we need just what we ask for to meet that need. There are also situations and relationship issues that must be prayed over and it's here that I find God needs us to pray, but trust Him to put things right.
We got a new mattress Wednesday afternoon. We bought them a week or so ago and they were delivered yesterday. I told John the night before that I really wanted to move the mattresses ourselves, so that I could clean under the bed and check the frame. He agreed. Yesterday morning, I got up a little earlier than usual for a work morning. I don't think I even got a pillowcase off my pillow when John came into the room, lol. He was determined that I wouldn't hurt myself and that he'd do the bulk of that work on his own. So he moved the mattress and foundation and, after he left for work, I cleaned.
I washed all the bedding and took the quilt out to the line to air dry. Gosh but it smelled good when I brought it indoors yesterday afternoon.
When the new mattress arrived the delivery guys were shocked we'd moved the old set off the frame. I told them I wanted to clean the underbed area and hadn't wanted to ask them to wait. They were awfully nice guys and laughed. The younger man said "We wait all the time for folks to clean up before we put down the new set." I don't know if delivery men would do that just everywhere, but they do here and that's part of what I love about the South.
I made up the bed after they left but I didn't lie down on it. I was sure if I did I'd go off to sleep and ruin what might be a good night's rest, since it was about 5pm at that time. I went to bed around 11 as usual and slept wonderfully until around 3:30. I went right back to sleep and didn't wake until I smelled coffee...trouble was I'd forgotten to reset the timer on the pot...It was just 5:20am! I took myself right back to bed, after setting up the coffee pot for the proper time. A waste of a pot of coffee, yes, but it was cold, the bed felt nice and warm and comfy as could be and I didn't hurt. Sleep blessed sleep. I got up at my normal time. I felt only a slight aching in the hip that's been affected by the sciatica, but the other spots that had ached horribly each morning didn't.
Today was a fairly quiet day. It was quite cold and frosty this morning. I made oatmeal for breakfast which is a hearty warming cereal for a cold morning. I piddled about the house, asking John to help me with a couple of jobs I'd needed a second pair of hands to complete. Those jobs only took a few minutes. I thought as I was preparing dinner I'd try a new recipe for dessert. And typical of myself, I decided as I made it that I should make it mine and alter the recipe, lol. It turned out just fine, but honestly? If I had really stopped and thought about it, the recipe was far more economical as written than altered. Next time I'll be sure to just make it as written.
My alterations? I halved the recipe since I had only two bananas. Halving it worked just fine. I then decided to add 1/3 cup chocolate chips to the batter. Good, but unnecessary. What I think would taste even better and be less expensive? Nutmeg and cinnamon. And using walnuts in the struesel instead of pecans. I think it would be perfect with a scoop of ice cream as suggested, but we didn't have any.
Well I have chatted and chatted, haven't I? I thought I'd not have a whole lot to share but I proved myself wrong, lol. I guess I better get busy and get to work once more. Talk to you later!