Sunday, May 31, 2009


A quiet morning here at 3108, in which I am playing hooky from church, gave me some reflective time -sorely needed in the hubbub of packing, moving, painting, and such.

I am only playing hooky because of my recent spate of flu/strep/hacking cough. I am feeling much better, thank you -only I lost a truck-load of sleep last night (due to aforementioned cough) and needed to rest my tired throat.

While wending through my usual websites, I decided to review some of my own past posts. I haven't done that in ages. A little self-assessment goes a long way with me. Where have the food posts gone? And when was the last time I took the time to write a poem or craft a serious entry? I hardly ever comment on current events anymore. One might even forget that I regularly read the Bible and chew on scriptural truths, seeing as I don't expound upon them much.

I need to mend my ways.

On the other hand, I made myself laugh. There is something to be said about laughing at one's own jokes. (I don't know WHAT should be said, but surely something.)

The photos are not of the best quality, but they do entertain. More of them would be nice.

I need to get a list of Friend Numbers, or dispense with the whole operation.

Yes, once I start cooking seriously again, I will include food posts. Nothing is very riveting about PB&J or a crock pot. Especially a green one one with a floral design.

Some of my best material has fled the premises. Namely, Friend #7, Friend #12, and Friend #37.
But at least #1 Son #1 Daughter are still around. They are always a great source of comic relief.

Perhaps when we move to Madrid (in one week!), a new list of characters will provide grist for my writing-mill.

Friday, May 29, 2009

plan B

So tomorrow I was going to hop on a van and travel to NYC for four days with 3 other crazy adults and twenty of my favorite teens.

I was going to drink Starbucks and sleep at a boy scout camp in NJ and laugh uproariously and probably stay up too late and then rise earlier than everybody else in order to put the coffee on and get the cereal and toast out -because we eat cheaply so we can do more things like see Phantom and eat at a live jazz club and take the water taxi around the Statue of Liberty and go to the Met for one whole glorious afternoon -which, by the way is my favorite place to visit on this side of this dear earth. Even walking up those marble steps make my insides go all melty and happy and anticipitory with thoughts of what waits for me just inside those famed doors.

So tomorrow I was going to go. I was going to shop at WalMart tonight for the travel-food and then go to the church kitchen and find the coolers and all the supplies that we would need. I was going to hang with my two kiddies for four days straight and then on the way home play mini-golf at the ridiculously tacky place in Lake George that we always drive by and say, "what silliness!".

I was going to go, I really was.

But instead I will stay at home and eat amoxycillin twice a day and sip chicken soup and tea with honey & lemon and stay away from everybody because #1 Son shared his obnoxious strep germs with me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

in which I entertain myself

I am home in bed, feeling chilly and feverish. As soon as I think I feel fine, I move around a little, pack a few boxes, eat some chicken soup and then head back under the covers.

It has been an unproductive day in a general sense.

As the rain pelts my skylight windows, I poke around on the computer in order to avoid thinking about The Move. I have thought about The Move all day today, all day yesterday, and surely most of the day before that. Since I really can't do anything ABOUT The Move in my present condition, I have decided to post some random pictures that have come to my attention. A short comment following each photo should suffice as explanation, I hope.

Disclaimer: I did not take most of these pics.

Jamie at the djimbe. I like the way those words trip off the tongue.

Sneakers? Footwear? Fashion statement?

These very cool twin boys attend rock concerts. With their pacifiers. They are very secure kids.

Jess plays with fire while #1 Daughter checks her phone.

How I love these two guys. They make me happy.

This piece is entitled "Orange with Toothpicks". It is on permanent loan from MOMA.

Boxes. They are everywhere.
Wait. I'm not going there.
A very large truck backed into my yard to drill a well. Now we drink water that comes from even deeper in the earth.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

whatever is required

So very many things have required thought lately. And I have thoughts a-plenty, truly I do. What I have not had plenty of is quiet, reflective time at the computer.

(Disclaimer: any reflective time at the computer has been over online Scrabble. I am indebted to its restorative powers.)

Anyway. Here I sit, apron tied securely behind my back, at the kitchen table. A towering tray of pancakes graces the kitchen counter along with the fixin's for bacon and eggs. Four sleepy young men are drowsing in the back room, catching their last breather before the Big Day.

The wedding will be beautiful; the kind of wedding we like around here: full of beautiful bride's maids and flowers and little people all dressed up and special music which brings tears to everyone's eyes and prayer that rings as true as the bell in the church steeple. Dads and grandfathers and young sons will stand straight and regal as soldiers while looking on with pride in their eyes. The bride will be resplendent with the fulfilled promise of her special day, and the groom will be full to the brim with shining hope for their future together.

As for my part in all this (besides housing & feeding a few dear people), I have the privilege of accompanying one song before the ceremony, and then dashing composedly to the narthex to manage the entrance of the bridal party. The sweetest task? Positioning two little ones, dressed in their finery, to walk slowly down the center of the aisle. I will not be able to resist kissing their chubby cheeks.

Since I have last ruminated on these glowing electronic pages, I have attended another wedding (my own sister's-which I have not even written about yet!), rehearsed and performed a musical (of which I did write about, I think), sold a house (3108), began work on our old stone home (see for details), greeted someone new into the household (hello, Grandma Jean!), and bid another dear someone farewell (good-bye, Friend #12....). Changes are everywhere. I resolve to flex. Go with the flow. Bend. Give. Change my mind. Be gracious when other people change their minds. Throw the whole plan out the window and go with Plan B or M or W. Or just wing it.

Thanks for hearing me out. I'm going to go play Scrabble now, which requires thought, too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

sanding, washing, and re-finishing

First, the wood floors were sanded with a rented power-sander. Hubby did the honors.

Upstairs, the three bedrooms have narrow-board oak on the floor and they are very lovely, even though most likely installed in 1959. (At the top of the stairs, there is a 2x3 foot square of the original 1843 flooring. It is very wide, very scuffed, and very painted. It hints of what lurks under the oak flooring and speaks of "too much work to be worth it" to me.)

Downstairs, we have a wider board in the double living rooms/dining room. It has a red tint and beveled edges; quite unique. We are not sure of the type of wood. It is the original flooring and I love it.

After sanding, we let the dust settle for a few days. I armed myself with a giant shop-vac and tackled the next step of the job on Monday. All the floors were meticulously vacuumed and then wiped clean. Twice. Additionally, #1 Daughter helped me wash walls, trim, and baseboard just to eliminate our enemy, dust.

On Tuesday, I prepped for the poly by wiping down the floors once again. Then, with a long wooden pole with a pad of lamb's wool attached to the end, I dipped my "mop" into a paint tray full of oil-based satin finish poly, and started long, easy strokes, going with the grain.

The sunlight streaming through the windows, the warm yellow-red glow of the bare wood, the roar of the waterfalls, and the soft dull swish of the wool on the wood were my companions all afternoon. It was all very lovely until the headache hit.

Today, I did the same task all over again. This time, the prep was a pass with a dry-wall sander over ALL the floors followed by a wipe with a damp cloth. (Much rinsing and re-filling the bucket with fresh, clean water was called for. )The last pass with the poly-filled "magic wand" was administered by Hubby, as the fume-headache returned before the job was complete.

I strolled down the road to clear my head from the fumes. After a fantastic and restorative bowl of bean soup at 1942, I returned to find Hubby stretched out on the front porch, also looking for respite from the noxious polyurethane fumes.

As a reward for this effort, we have beautiful glowing floors throughout the house!

For those who are interested in more doings at the old stone house, see my blog:

-where I duplicated this post!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

the things I do

-I arise before my body is ready to rise ( someone say "cast par-tay) , brush my teeth, rake a brush through my hair, scald my face with a nubby washcloth, and wriggle into some decent clothes.

-I attend worship practice in the sanctuary. Present: one guitarist/worship leader, one bongo player, one djimbe player, one sound man, and assorted family members who watch. Oh yes, one pianist, which is me.

-I attend a class taught by my pastor --who is possibly even more tired than me, but kept his wits about him while allowing us to cut up a bit.

-I consume a cup of coffee.

-I play the piano during worship. I listen raptly to a good sermon. I visit with and hug many lovely people.

-I eat lunch at home. (Grilled Chicken over greens and a grilled cheese sandwich.)

-I ignore the mess strewn about the house and take a short nap on the inflatable mattress in the family room.

-I watch "Catch Me if You Can" with the kids and Friend #7.

-I go out to dinner with Hubby to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I put away a large amount of yum.

-I unwind by playing a turn of online Scrabble.

-I eat rhubarb coffee cake in celebration of my mother-in-law's birthday.

-Before turning in for the night -(no play practice? no orchestra rehearsal? no performances? how strange!) I resolve to buy groceries tomorrow.

And that, my friends, was my day. Thought you'd like to know.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I hardly know where to begin.

It probably all began when my partner-in-crime/musical theater-loving/and extremely dear friend began throwing ideas my way about which show the home-schooled kids could pull off. This was last year-- or one hundred years ago. I forget which.

Our last undertaking was "High Button Shoes", and that was two years ago. Before that, it was Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Gondoliers". (It's not like we have a stylistic theme or anything!)

Hands down, "Suessical" won the contest. She perused many a show before making the decision, taking into consideration the talents of our kids, the non-existent budget, and the appropriate subject material. We also needed a show that allowed a large group of kids to have a chance to shine.

As for me, I stayed out of the way until the actual score fell into my hands and rehearsals began in earnest. That was sometime in February.

I stay out of the way a lot. I play the notes, throw in a (hopefully) helpful comment now & then, and generally cheer the kids on. I sit back on my little wooden piano bench and watch our veritable director (the aforementioned partner-in-crime) do her amazing stuff. She switches gears from character to character, demonstrating their staging, the proper inflection of their lines, the choreography ("simple" works for us!), and every other little detail that lends excellence to what will happen on stage.

There are so many departments that need commandeering. Lighting, costumes. make-up, hair. Set-design and sound. The playbill, advertising, ushers, orchestra rehearsals, constant clean-up after rehearsals. Back-stage crew. A concession stand? Sure, if someone wants to take the helm. The cast party! (which is always a highlight of every cast member, by the way!)

There are more things; I can't dredge them up at the moment.

As I said, I do my part -which is assuredly an important one- but, in between measures I sit back and watch some very devoted people do their stuff. The mood is upbeat. Negativity is practically non-existent. Confidence is boosted, gifts and talents rise to the surface. The kids absolutely shine. They shine, I tell you!

To quote our spunky director, we are all "stepping up to the plate." It is a marvelous thing to behold.

To what do we attribute this? Our own cleverness at learning lines or nailing a dance step? A colorful set that grabs everyone's attention? The snappy music that accompanies every scene?

No. Rather, we have been reminded every step of the way (thank you, Mrs. Director) of the One who gives us strength. He has given us life! Every breath is a gift from His hand. He is the reason we do the things we do. He is the only reason we can hope to do them with excellence.

We have one more performance tonight at Christian Fellowship Center, Madrid, New York. Curtain: 7:30 pm. Admisson: FREE. Donations gladly accepted. Come see the home-schooled community do their thing! Come and see the work that God has done through us all.

In the end, He is One who deserves all the applause.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


I am taking a few moments of repose to reflect upon things I will miss about the home we are leaving --and also a few things I will not miss!

I will miss:

-Our open, inviting kitchen with its over-sized island. It is not a fancy kitchen, with its open shelves and plain cupboards. But I have shared many a great conversation while stirring things on the built-in stove top.

-The little orchard of apple, pear, and cherry trees. Also, the three black walnut trees behind the barn whose low and leafy branches have provided a cool place for summer lunches and Bible reading.

-The side porch out the kitchen window with its porch swing and afternoon sun. We are bringing the porch swing ( a Mother's Day gift from years back) and the two white rocking chairs with us, of course. (What would life be without a porch!)

-The lovely meadow view where I have spotted turkey, deer, coyote, and an occasional runaway horse. Now that we don't keep horses anymore, the odds are small I will see one of THOSE anytime soon, even if we stayed. I will also dearly miss watching the farmers hay the fields and leaving behind towering round bales of hay over which the evening sun spreads her parting rays.

-My long walks up the hill, through the maple grove, and on past the green barn where the random cow bellows out of the blue.

-Waking up past midnight and seeing the stars overhead through our bedroom skylight windows.

-As always, with each home we have lived in, the laughter and shared times over meals. Whether they be holidays, birthdays, or merely impromptu gatherings, these are the truest, warmest, and best times for me. (I have a sure hope in wonderful times to come, wherever we wander!)

-The clay-colored shutters my family built and installed. I have grown to love them just in time to leave them behind! Isn't that human nature?

I will not miss:

-the 65 mile-an-hour trucks that go rumbling past.

-having a mechanic shop right across the road. (Pretty noisy!)

-the many extra miles of travel to get to church and school functions.

As I look at these lists, I realize I could go on and on about the things I will miss, whereas I am scraping the bottom of the barrel to find any more things I won't miss.

That's pretty cool, right?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

the merry and crazy month of May

Things are spinning around here.

The month of May holds a host of hopping happenings, a bevy of busy building projects on the brink of imbalance, and enough changes to churn any chump into champing their bits for some chill-out time.

Whew. Just thinking about it makes me want to run to Ottawa and eat a beaver tail. Not one of these. One of THESE. A huge hunk of steaming hot fried dough, sprinkled generously with cinnamon sugar, will help me forget my to-do list for an hour -or at least forty-five minutes.

After I wipe my greasy chin and brush the drifts of sugar off my lap, I will have to face the facts:

In other (but not totally unrelated) news, Hubby called me from our Madrid properties this morning. The bridge which sits at the edge of our properties has been closed to vehicular traffic for a year now. Work on it begins in a few weeks, and the manager of the new project is scouting out the following:

1. Access to the river/bridge from our property.
2. Apartments to rent for the workers.
3. General cooperation from us for large machinery to roll over our lawns and riverbanks.
4. A location for their trailers to occupy while the work is proceeding.

Check, check, check, and CHECK.

As my husband said to the nice man from Syracuse, "It's a scratching/itching type of deal, right?"


We scratch your itch, and then you scratch ours. -Which means, there will be blessing in it for us, the aforementioned owners of property/apartments/lawns, etc.

This is entirely exciting for Hubby, who is already planning which apartments can be available, which landscaping projects require very large machinery, and where we can use all that leftover cement and landfill material.