Sunday, June 28, 2009

no better

A number of simple things brought me happiness today:

-This morning's sermon. It was a crash course in church history from the Book of Acts to the present. I love church history!

-Lunch on the porch. It consisted of an amazing salad, grilled chicken, and watermelon. It was spiced up by live bluegrass music, my kids, and two of their friends. I must add this: their friends are also my friends.

-A long paddle up the river with Hubby.

-A burger at Hometown Diner. With fries and a soda.

-Two baskets of clean laundry.

-A cool breeze sifting through the windows.

Does life get any better than this? I submit that it does not.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

summer changes

The cadence of the spring season balances only for a breathless moment before barreling into a new key. Summer comes suddenly, dressed in green and singing arias that smack of picnic food and green lawns, open windows and gardens that need to be weeded, and of course sunglasses.

There is a new season in many departments of my life.

Teens grow up. #1 Son works, socializes, prepares for college, and gets taller without my permission. #1 Daughter goes to Chicago, sings like Ella Fitzgerald, dines in country clubs, drives her grandfather to physical therapy in his large truck, and dazzles us with her orthodontically-perfect smile.

Friends move. This usually means they move away, which in the case of Friend #12 means to Korea. You know, Korea? Where they eat Korean food and talk in Korean and live perfectly Korean lives on the other side of the planet.
Another friend is moving, but in my general direction. Two doors up, to be exact. Friend #7 will bring her lovely vibe to our dinner table on a more regular basis, I expect.

Chores change location. I now do laundry in a different room. The apartments are just next door, so I walk to work with my paintbrush in hand. I'll admit, it's convenient.

The term "summer vacation" means little to me. Why would I want to vacate this beautiful and perfectly situated spot? Now that we are in our new/old stone home, there is much to be done, and summer is the season to do it. Also, lest I neglect to mention it: from just about every window of the house, I see kayakable water.

It's going to be a good summer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

what I had in mind all along

For those scoffers that pooh-poohed the my zap of color (you shall remain anonymous) , I give you this:
Special thanks to two tasteful friends who indulged me in the aisle of Target, allowing me to grill them on their opinions. They get iced lemonade on the front porch, any time they request it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


One of the perks of buying a foreclosed house is the "treasure" that one inherits. This old wooden table with two generous drawers was languishing in the attic of the garage.

I knew it was perfect for the front porch! After a good scrub, I decided to go wild and give it a coat of paint.

Reason #1: painted furniture stands up to all kinds of weather better than finished wood.
Reason #2: I figured a punch of color would add a little fun to our summer meals.
Reason #3: I was feeling a little crazy yesterday.
Reason#4: Next summer, I can always change it up and go for a more mature look. That is, IF I grow up a little.

I warned you.

"Deep Turquoise" won over my heart. The drawers are drying inside the house; they are a punchy yellow/green. The motley group of chairs which will surround this puppy will scream the same shade of yellow.

I won't blame anyone for gasping when they spy it for the first time.

I fully expect to pair this zappy table with some retro fabric in the guise of napkins and a runner.
Please come share some lemonade on the porch with us when it is finished!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

my little chicks

We all know that #1 Son will be entering St. Lawrence University in the fall.

From the online list of the Class of 2013, I find that many of the freshmen come from illustrious private schools all across the country, but mostly from the Northeast. Affluent yankees, all.

But most intriguing to me are the international students. I see Israel, Turkey, Swaziland, Pakistan, Yemen, Bosnia, Hong Kong, Finland, Kenya, and other such exotic and far-flung places on the list.

#1 Son put in his request to have an international roomie, but whether he gets his wish or not, I would like to see all those face at our dinner table over the next few years.

In the #1 Daughter Department, another inherent gift/talent has made itself known recently. This development has given her dad and I some things to pray about. As we plan the next phase of her education and make choices that will effect her future, I am increasingly aware of what a privilege and responsibility it is to be a parent.

Sometimes I get so excited about the opportunities that both my little chicks have ahead of them, I can hardly sleep at night!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Now that we are moved into our new home, each day brings a staggering to-do list. In no particular order, some of the things I could choose to busy myself with are as follows:

-unpack more boxes.
-re-pack boxes for storage or upcoming yard sale.
-organize/sort bedrooms or bathrooms.
-organize the kitchen, which continues to smell like a hampster cage.
-think about dinner and how to circumnavigate a broken oven.
-attack the clutter in the un-renovated family room.
-attack the thing called a "yard." (With the bridge construction mess out front and the lack of regular traffic, I have very little motivation for this one!)
-trim and roll a coat of primer at the apartments two doors up the hill.
-learn about 100 pages of a complicated (yet rewarding!) opera score.
-read through recital music for this weekend's concert.

-and a few dozen other things.

What I chose to do:

-Weed the ascending walkway from the driveway to the back door. If it didn't get tended soon, I was afraid we would lose our way to the house.

-Paint at the property up the hill. Two young friends were there working, too. The music was great: classic jazz all afternoon.

-Play through the recital music (piece of cake) and leave the opera score for another day.

-Skip thinking about dinner, as it was delivered by a very thoughtful friend. Grilled chicken, roasted potatoes, spinach salad, and home-made cookies.

I dined solo on the front porch tonight, as #1 Daughter wasn't hungry yet (at 6:30 pm!) and the guys were still working in Potsdam. I set up a little table and chair, pulled out an over-sized cloth napkin as a tablecloth, and tucked in to a great meal with a perfect view of the river, the falls, and a family swimming at the town dock. Two men were fishing at the dam, and the late afternoon summer sun twinkled over the whole happy scene.

I really love living in our new home!

Friday, June 12, 2009

bonfire fun

Recipe for messy toddler:

Provide one bonfire.
Mix in many enthusiastic guests.
Make s'mores and feed them to aforementioned toddler.
Allow toddler to handle the marshmallows directly and indiscriminately.
Let her play in the freshly mown grass.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

ye olde tin bucket

The girls planted a container of annuals for me yesterday. How they adore me!

Absolutely devoted, they are.

Of course, I purchased the aforementioned annuals, provided the tools, container, and potting soil and demanded they do it for me. I then proceeded to stand over them with a camera and boss them around a little teensy bit.

Tall plants in the middle, please.

This photo was taken somewhere in southern France. Please ignore the NYC logo on the milkmaid's sweatshirt. And also the green plastic lawn chair.

Please DO notice the tall plants in the middle.

Ta-da! This antique tin now adorns the stone wall in the front of the house. It may be my only gesture in the decorative gardening department this season.

Thanks, girls. Je taime beaucoup.

Farewell to 3108

I've got nothing against sentimentality.

One might assume that the last clean up/wipe down/walk through of 3108 would spawn at least a small amount of wistful yearning; one session of how could I leave here and never come back? (Sniff sniff.)

But, true to my forward-looking self, nothing remotely sentimental rose to the surface.

I only stood with my tired hands on my tired hips and sighed a huge wind-tunnel sigh of relief that the job of moving out was a done deal. I then thought hugely happy thoughts of how much the new family that is taking up residence here will LOVE LOVE LOVE this house. I hope and pray that they have much happiness in this 1830 brick farmhouse.

Farewell, 3108! Thanks for letting us live here for seven wonderful years!

Monday, June 08, 2009

all in a word

It occurred to me in between breaking down u-haul boxes and realizing that my new kitchen smells like a hampster cage...well, that the word "moving" has many different meanings.

1. capable of or having movement: a moving object.
2. causing or producing motion.
3. involved in changing the location of possessions, a residence, office, etc.: moving expenses.
4. involving a motor vehicle in motion.
5. actuating, instigating, or impelling: the moving spirit behind the party.
6. stirring or evoking strong feelings or emotions, esp. touchingly or pathetically: a moving story

to pass from one place or position to another.
2. to go from one place of residence to another: They moved from Tennessee to Texas.
3. to advance or progress: The red racing car moved into the lead.
4. to have a regular motion, as an implement or a machine; turn; revolve.
5. to sell or be sold: That new model is moving well.
6. to start off or leave: It's time to be moving.
7. to transfer a piece in a game, as chess or checkers.
8. (of the bowels) to discharge or eject the feces; evacuate.
9. to be active in a particular sphere: to move in musical society.
10. to take action; proceed.
11. to make a formal request, application, or proposal: to move for a new trial.
–verb (used with object)
12. to change from one place or position to another.
13. to set or keep in motion.
14. to prompt, actuate, or impel to some action: What moved you to do this?
15. to arouse or excite the feelings or passions of; affect with emotion (usually fol. by to): to move someone to anger.
16. to affect with tender or compassionate emotion; touch: The tale of tragedy moved her.
17. to transfer (a piece in a game) from one position to another.
18. to dispose of (goods) by sale.
19. to cause (the bowels) to discharge or eject the feces.
20. to propose formally, as to a court or judge, or for consideration by a deliberative assembly.
21. to submit a formal request or proposal to (a court, a sovereign, etc.).
22. an act or instance of moving; movement.
23. a change of location or residence.
24. an action toward an objective or goal; step: a move toward a higher tax.
25. (in chess, checkers, etc.) a player's right or turn to make a play.
26. a play or maneuver, as in a game or sport.
27. move in, to begin to occupy a place in which to live or work.
28. move in on, Informal.
a. to approach or make advances toward usurping another's success, authority, position, or the like.
b. to take aggressive steps to control or possess: The company has not yet moved in on the consumer market.
29. move on, to approach or attack as a military target: The army is moving on the capital itself.
30. move out, to leave a place in order to start or continue a planned march, maneuver, journey, etc.: The troops will move out of the encampment at dawn.
31. move over, to change or cause to change to another position, esp. to make room for another: to make space by moving over.
32. move up, to advance to a higher level.
33. get a move on, Informal.
a. to begin; act: We'd better get a move on before it rains.
b. to hurry; hasten.
34. make one's move, Informal. to act, esp. to assert oneself at an opportune time.
35. on the move,
a. busy; active: on the move from morning till night.
b. going from place to place: Infantry units have been on the move all day.
c. advancing; progressing: an industry on the move.
36. put moves on, Slang. to make sexual advances toward. Also, make a move on.

In attempting to apply each of these definitions to my recent state, I laughed aloud at how perfectly fitting most of them are. Exception: #36. MUCH too tired for any of THAT.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


-a chance to get rid of clothes you don't like, never wear, and don't fit you anyway.
-new paint colors for every room!
-an excuse to eat out when the kitchen is packed.
-a sober exercise in realizing how much "stuff" you own.
-all the fun of packing tape, labels, and gathering boxes. One might think we eat a lot of bananas and drink whiskey by the case.
-a trip down the sliding scale: 1. organize according to weight, size, product, level of usage, etc.
2. keep belongings labeled clearly.
3. pack with weight of box in mind.
4. give up and put socks in with shampoo, spices with DVDs,
and books with underwear.
5. throw everything headlong into the back of the car. No container needed.
6. pull out of the drive like the madwoman you've become. Blare the radio! Drink Dr. Pepper! Laugh triumphally into the wind! IT'S ONLY STUFF, FOR GOODNESS SAKES!

And last but not least:

-finally! It's clean under the bed!