Coffee Chat: Golden Autumn Daze
There are Spekulaus cookies to go with the coffee. Not so terribly sweet but lovely spicy, crisp cookies. They are seasonal at Aldi and I was so happy to see them in stock. I'll buy them routinely from now until they are no longer available just about the end of the holiday season. They are just perfect for dipping. I sat down last week with a cup of coffee after I finished putting away groceries and dipped one in my coffee. It made me think of Granny. She often had windmill cookies at her house and she always dipped them in her coffee. I sighed a little and said "Oh Granny! How you would have enjoyed these cookies!" For half a moment it was as though she'd joined me. It made me smile.
Last week was a little hectic and a little confining. We were super busy on the previous Sunday with two engagements: a Newcomer's breakfast before regular church service and that evening a Newcomer's small group at the pastor's house. We came home for just 4 hours in between service and the evening engagement and I put John to work moving small items that I'd not gotten to on Friday. It took the two of us another hour or so of work to get down to just the largest bits of furniture in each area. And it's a good thing we did do it then because we didn't get home until late and I was so weary! I washed my face and crawled into bed with the book I was reading.
We were up early last Monday morning and I'd barely gotten breakfast finished when the workers showed up. In less than ten minutes, they'd cleared our bedroom and the kitchen. These guys were no slackers. Small talk wasn't much and what was said was quietly said. Mostly they just worked really hard right up until lunch time and when they came in after lunch they were right back at work. And before supper time, they'd put everything back, offering to rearrange any pieces I wanted to put elsewhere, cleared up and were gone to return the next morning to move things from the living room. Sensibly I took advantage of that offer to rearrange! It meant a much more efficient moving and I already had a good idea of where I wanted to set big pieces.
John had to work on Tuesday. I was just barely done with my small amount of housework when the workers showed up and cleared the living and dining room. The guys set me up a chair in the kitchen and there I worked at quiet work, read and day dreamt until the end of the day. It wasn't as easy as you'd think. It was a lot like being in a waiting room for all that time. I got up and moved around a bit but I was very limited in what I could do and where I could go. Just about the time for afternoon coffee, the work was done. The boss and two others showed up to help move furniture back into place and I was left with beautiful bare bones rooms. I fluffed a bit that night but didn't do much.
I said I'd go slowly in putting things back but John kept bringing in the boxes of books on Wednesday and Thursday and I worked for a good eight hours putting them on the shelves and culling hard. It was not as hard to cull as I'd anticipated. I have a full shelf of books I've never read that I mean to work my way through and then that shall empty that shelf. I had several books I'd enjoyed long ago but for one reason and another no longer cared for. I had duplicate copies of a few books. By the end of the session I'd culled 5 boxes of books out of the 12 boxes we put away and have added two more boxes from the guest room. I have one small empty bookcase in the bedroom now and put two others into the pantry to use as extra storage space.
Some of the changes made were not planned ones but simply happened. We moved the linen chest into the living room when they cleared the bedroom and it 'fit' perfectly under the windows. Bess had mentioned the previous weekend that putting a bench under that window would extend seating when we had company. Well, there was my bench, without buying another piece.
The ivory swivel rocker was lovely in front of the TV cabinet until Josh started swinging it wildly about. He's not the first grandson to ride that chair like a wild horse and I decided that my nerves just couldn't take another such bit of jockeying with it. That chair was moved into the corner in the master bedroom, next to the window, where grandchildren will not ride it like a wild wind. I set a small bookcase nearby with a lamp. Perfect new reading corner!
That left the spot in front of the TV cabinet open and I knew it needed a smaller chair. The wooden library chair went into that space with a cushion on the seat.
We altered the arrangement of the chairs in the living room and the bookcases and that opened up the floor space beautifully. So much so that even when Josh pulled toys into the space there was plenty of room for walking about.
I got busy and painted the dresser meant to become record storage. I had three cloth baskets that just fit and held all our CDs as well as a basket that went into that space on the right hand side. I've got paint for the file cabinet.
...You see how things keep finding new purposes? And new placements? I feel a great deal like I've been caught up in that book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..." only in my case, it's "If You Do One Thing Different..." lol. Here's two photos from the kitchen:
This little armoire replaced the old black chiffarobe. I finally managed to get all our things back into it...or at least, all the most important items. And there's room for my cookbooks.
You can see my freshly covered notebooks and bill box here on the desk. And the chair is a nice change.
It is all very much a work in progress. I have paint for the file cabinet and intend to buy proper bun feet to put under it and perhaps new hardware to class it up a bit. Then I am going to purchase a finished board to cover the top of both pieces so they appear to be more of one unit. I mean to get new chairs for the breakfast area and a butler's tray or tea cart where we might eat a meal or read or visit. Ideally the chairs will be comfortable enough for reading and sitting a spell, but lightweight enough to move to dining area for extra seating when needed. And I need a storage cabinet for the master bath... But that is all part and parcel of our 'a little at a time' approach just now.
I'm not entirely happy with my accessories in the main living area just yet. I've commissioned two pieces of artwork from Katie, getting larger sizes of two pieces than she'd previously had in her shop. Katie is more than willing to duplicate previously sold pieces or to specially produce pieces in customized colors, by the way...and YES that is shameless promotion of my talented daughter's goods. I plan to order two holiday signs from her next...but I'm concentrating on the living room walls just now.
I worked hard last week, so hard that I literally fell into bed at night exhausted and slept hard all night long. I was asked, early in the week, if I might keep Josh this past weekend. Plans had changed again and I agreed despite my weariness. But I told John last Thursday evening when we finally stopped working that I was most definitely done for the week. I knew unless I rested some on Friday, I'd never make it through the weekend with a two year old boy. So Friday morning I slept in just a tiny bit later, put out a very easy breakfast and John and I wandered away from home mid morning. He was in search of a haircut and I took magazines and my phone and planned to get myself a coffee from the pricey coffee shop. I haven't had one in ages upon ages and needed that treat though I did go sugar free and lite. Our eating habits have been so erratic that I didn't see any point in running my blood sugars through the roof over a cup of coffee!
I called Mama and talked with her a bit, then sat on the patio and had my coffee and perused magazines I'd let sit in my basket all month long. Gee but it was nice to sit and 'do nothing' which is never really the case with me. I was looking through those magazines with purpose: pulling recipes to try, clipping out needed tips for health and looking for post inspirations...but it was nice to be in a different environment and to indulge myself with that pricey (!gracious!) delicious coffee. When John was finished he suggested we could go by Mama's new place so that he could see it and I agreed. Mama, of course, wanted to take us out to lunch. It was a very relaxing afternoon and just what I needed to rest up for that rambunctious little boy.
John has found himself in a dilemma. He found a barber he liked a couple of years ago at one of those mass haircut places. The guy left to start his own shop, a full on men's barber shop with hot shaves and multiple barbers. It's a nice place and John was pleased to go to a 'real' barber shop once again. Over time the place has become super popular with young men who lean towards full beards and man buns... We knew just how popular it had become when John had to start calling for an appointment instead of just walking in as he'd done before. But this week when he called for an appointment, he found that he'd have to wait a week to get in. That was the straw that broke my husband's patience. He went back to the cut rate mass haircut place and got his haircut. He's learned a thing or three in his time at the barber's and knew just what to tell the stylist he wanted. He came out a happy man with a little more money in his pocket than before. I know he wants a real barber but the barbers of old that John remembers simply don't exist any longer. They are right up there with library book cards and 15 cent sodas: a nice memory from the past and unlikely to return in our future.
I babysat all weekend long and let me tell you...Two year old boys are not for wussies, even if they are generally a very good two year old. Last week when Josh came to visit I was "Ganna"...Close enough to Gramma. This week I was "Genny" (rhymes with penny) and by Sunday I was "Genny Genny", lol. He was a typical boy. He jumped, he ran 'super fast', he walked all over the place and attempted to follow Maddie into the woods multiple times. He played in the dirt and in a box. He piled pillows on the floor and dove into them. Gramma was exhausted and when he had a mini meltdown on Saturday I urged him to sit in my lap and rock with me. He was asleep within a few minutes and stayed asleep for about 2 hours. I will not lie. Gramma had a bit of a nap during that time, too!
On Sunday, when it was just the two of us, he wasn't having any of that business of rocking with Gramma. No ma'am. I unashamedly turned on the TV and used it as a babysitter helper. Josh climbed into my chair to watch 'Mulan' and when I looked over at him, there he was:
Doesn't he look sweet? Well he was right up until that nap ended! After that nap all he wanted was Daddy and Mama and home. Not Gramma's! When Bess came in about a half hour after he woke, he pitched a right proper temper tantrum. I stepped back and let Mama deal with him. Gramma's methods are different and all right for the most part but some things it's just best to let Mama handle in her own proven way.
Bess and Josh were still in house when I 'booked' the guest room for another family visit in two weeks time. Bess commented that she and Sam had planned to stop over that weekend as well. I assured her she still could. Accommodations would just be crowded. I told you all I felt sure our guest room was due a workout this year and I have been proven quite right. It has really made me aware of short comings in the room some of which have been corrected. A dresser (and a mirror I haven't hung yet) went in and John has just acquired a TV for the room, as well. I have plenty of work to do in that room yet though with all the clearing of the closet and putting things back in place and culling books...Gracious I only hope I can get stuff I don't want into the shed because there's no place else indoors to put a thing!
So here we are with the whole of the house being refreshed in some way, inside or out and projects a plenty to work upon. I've spent this week putting the pantry closet back to rights. Well, I at least have cleaned out all the stuff that didn't belong. I put in two of the bookcases we'd used elsewhere in the house yesterday. That will give me additional storage for paper products, tools and paints. The guest room is a horror at the moment but I'll keep working at it. I've two weeks before we need it to be in use once again and surely in that time I can clear it up?
We had a lovely day yesterday. Our purpose was to run errands. We voted early, since John was meant to work on election day. Then we did a couple of local errands and took a long lovely ride over back country highways to that market in Macon where I like to buy ground beef and chicken breasts these days. The leaves are just beginning to show some real color and things starting to look autumnal. It was warm, which is not in the least surprising. We're now at 113 days of 90f or above temperature. And almost as many days without any measurable rainfall! Oh the many field ponds that have dried up during this spell of weather. Despite this, the views were lovely. We took a wrong turn and kind of got lost on our way back home but that too proved a beautiful drive and we enjoyed it. It felt a bit like a mini vacation right in the midst of a time of hard work and was that much more appreciated because of all that hard work.
John had never visited that market and was duly impressed. Granted he is easily won over. The store plays classical music and has thermoses of hot coffee for shoppers and those two things were enough to win him over. But the courtesy we met from every single employee we came in contact with in each department really wowed him. He looked over the meat case and it is true that the meat over all is greater in selection than at the meat market we formerly visited. The pricing is similar but the specials on ground meat and chicken breast makes it all a much better budget fit. I might well like the market but if John had the least reason to be unhappy there we'd shop elsewhere. That might sound odd, but he's worked hard to earn his money. He's the one who literally stays up two nights a week most weeks and worked hard for 24 hours to earn those funds and I'll not spend it in places he feels aren't worthwhile. Fortunately he was duly impressed and continued to praise the store all afternoon long, repeatedly telling me the things he liked about it.
I mentioned that we voted. We made up our minds earlier in the campaign about which candidate we'd vote for and we haven't changed our mind in all this time. We figured we might just as well go ahead and vote now that the polls are open. We also agreed yesterday that watching political debates, reading political posts on Facebook or elsewhere, listening to newscasts about the candidates, are over. We prayed and watched and listened and we made what we feel were reasonable decisions about our votes. I don't know how the election will come out but I'm not going to worry over it. I've read some dire predictions on a few blogs about riots and empty store shelves and such should this election not go the 'right way', with no one saying out and out what the 'right way' might be. I trust God to care for my needs regardless of who is in (or out) of office. He's far more reliable than any dire predictions and fears created by man's opinions. I've learned over and over again in the past two years that God's provision for my needs is remarkable and has very little to do with anything I personally can do, how much we have in savings, or what we earn.
And on that note, I shall end. I need to send Katie some photos so she can help me think out some of this decorating stuff. I'm stumped! It's hard to cull things out and try to go for a 'new' look and have to use the same old things in a different way and try, at the same time to not put back so much of what I've used, but to make it look a little more simple and clean. And honestly, I don't know how long it's going to take to achieve what I want to see...
Well you can see I am very much a house bug at the moment, decor being my second and fourth thoughts nearly every day and not nearly enough thinking of other things. Perhaps next time you stop in it will be all done. Here's hoping!