Saturday, September 30, 2006

turning two

and the party is later on. So in the meatime, I'll have a snack and think about things. Study my Thomas plate a bit. Munch on a chocolate chip granola bar. Yum.

Two of my favorite 'toys' are these movie covers, Barney and Baby Mozart. I take them with me everywhere I go, and most likely will be bringing them with me to the party. I will need to change my clothes into something a little more festive before I go. But in the meantime, it's a beautiful Saturday morning, I'm feeling good, I slept well, and people are calling from all over to sing to me.

I think I'm going to like 2...

Friday, September 29, 2006


I forgot but wanted to share more on what's happening outside. This is the mailbox I ordered last week. It is substantial!! And we need it to be. Our mailbox is right out there - in the elements, so to speak - so I had to find something that could stand up to the rough and tough weather. Plus, I just liked the looks of it.
And then, here's our address plaque...well, here's the sample, anyway. Ours will be black with gold lettering. I think it will look nice against the white. Our old house numbers were small and peeling badly, so this is a gigantic step up.

picture day

A thick envelope from Shutterfly arrived in the mail yesterday, so I set about changing a few of my picture frames. I love pictures, and I love picture frames. It got so that I was buying too many there for awhile, and had to impose a ban on myself to keep from bringing more in to the house. My favorites are by Andi Steinberg, who designed beautiful wood frames. They are all handpainted and antiqued with sweet embellishments like dried flowers on top. Just lovely. If anyone knows why she stopped selling her frames, I would love to know. I was on my way to buying her whole collection!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Look what happened when I stopped complaining about the painter's progress! This is the half-done first coat, but it looks promising. Very clean, very crisp. Very good for a little cottage that is getting a facelift. I am so glad to be saying goodbye to the light orange chimney, folks. That was such a downer.

Our plan calls for black shutters on the sides of the house. I was trying to think of a way to add a little black to the front, and I think we've decided on getting an awning for over our front door. In addition to providing contrast from all the white, it will give doorstep guests some coverage, too.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ah ha

Wednesday is the tortuous but satisfying "total conditioning" class at my gym led by my favorite instructor. It's one of those things that you have to psych yourself up to go to because you know what you're in for. One time after I took the class I literally couldn't get off the couch to greet my husband when he came home the next day. That's what I'm talking about.

But the instructor's my favorite because, in addition to being a wall of muscle, she is inspiring. There's a great pep talk going the entire 60 minutes we're all in front of her. So much more than 'you can do it!' Her mantra goes deeper than that, and it's thought provoking. Takes your mind off the crunch.

Anyway, she said something today that made me think about all my unfinished house projects and the frustration I sometimes feel with not having anything near completion. "Avoid the quit", she said as we struggled through push-ups. "If you can't do any more, hold yourself up - you'll still be working."

Hearing that suddenly clicked for me, much like it does I guess for all those people who write about it in Oprah's magazine. Even if I'm not literally working at it every second, if I keep myself in the ready position, I'm still working. I can still talk about my projects in the present tense. So, unfinished paint job on the house; unfinished paint job in the back room; furniture that needs to be painted; landscaping that needs to be planted; all those other plans that I have but haven't written of here more sweating on the progress I'm making with any of you! I'm pushing through, there's no quitting, and all will be done some day (with, I'm sure, many more projects added to the workload by then.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

a slow moving train

Progress is slow on the paint job. This is day 9, and the painter is still working on the windows. The weather's been iffy, and we have had rain. But his work is still really really really slooooow. Our poor house. I'd show you how it's coming along but it's a mess! - with primer in spots all over, and ladders, paint cans, and brushes everywhere. There's not much out there that you'd want to see. Trust me.

The good news is we've decided on a red for our front door. That little patch in the corner there got the greenlight yesterday. It's going to be a nice change...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

cucumber mystery

Things are coming along well with the house painting. The painter has had his work cut out for him getting our windows prepped. 4 of them had little sections that were rotted, so he's had to cut out that wood and replace it. I know rotting wood is typical in wood houses. And, with our house being so old...well, it just makes me very glad that we are finally getting this project done.

In other news, these cucumbers showed up in our mailbox early Sunday morning and I can't figure out where they came from.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

channelling s.j.p.

I think women by nature are multitaskers. Don't you? The more we do, the more we can do, the more we have to do, the more we want to do. Yes? It's a continuing circle of productivity, reminders, tasks big and small, lists, appointments, and schedule masterminding. This is true for me, anyway. Probably for you, too. Some days the role stinks, but most of the time I love it.

I was thinking about this today as I got us going. Breakfast for the kids, one child off to school, short lawn meeting with the painter, quick call to parents, emails for work, emails for fun, shower, dressed, lunch for the kids, conference call for work, kids in the car to appointment, kids back and one in bed for a nap, one going to another appointment. Probably very similar to a lot of you out there. Busy busy but it's good good.

So, why am I writing about this? I have no idea. Other than that while I was going around today with my hair up, I couldn't help but think about this elusive bun hairstyle that I saw on SJP during "Sex and the City". I have more than enough hair to make a big, fun, bun like this, but mine is small and wimpy. I wish someone could teach me how to do this bun. I'd carve out the necessary time it would take to learn it out of my busy day. So that even while I am doing all that I am doing, I am looking just how I want, too.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

feels like october

Really, it does. I don't know what's going on. Today I have the heat on and my son wore a hooded sweatshirt & a fleece jacket to preschool. But yesterday I saw people relaxing in a swimming pool. No kidding! I saw bikinis.

Well, ok, let's roll with it. Whether this is a fluke, or September really is wrapping up this fast, it's time to get into the mode of autumn. Next trip to the grocery store I'm picking up ingredients for some favorite comfort food dishes, including chicken pot pie. This is a terrific recipe that I got from a friend, couldn't be any easier. If you don't already have an easy chicken pot pie recipe yourself, you'll love this:

1 (15 oz.) pkg. refrigerated pie crust
1 (15 oz.) can Veg-All brand mixed vegetables
2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans condensed cream of potato soup
2 C. cooked diced chicken
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 375*F. Place bottom crust into pan as directed on package. Mix vegetables, soup, chicken, thyme, and pepper in large bowl. Pour into crust. Cover with top crust. Seal and vent. Bake for about 45 minutes to 55 minutes until lightly browned. Let sit about 10 minutes before serving.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, September 18, 2006


Just like that.

About an hour after I posted on Friday, the painter showed up. Just like I was hoping he would. Wishful thinking, good timing, self-fulfilling prophecy, good luck (good luck blog)...not sure what happened. It's just so nice to not be waiting any longer. Our house is now looking completely sad, as he sands and scrapes and removes everything he can to prep for the paint crew (those are storm windows he's bringing down.) I can't even share a picture with you, it's that bad. But, good thoughts ahead with the nice, crisp, white that they will apply!!

To Be Continued.

Friday, September 15, 2006

waitn' to paint

Yes, we are power washed & dried! And the sun is high in the sky with temps just right for outdoor painting to begin. So now it's just up to the painter to steer his truck over here today. No sign of him yet, but it's early. I thought maybe if I wrote here about wanting him to show up it might happen. Seemed to work the other day with the power washing.

So, anyway, let's talk more about indoor painting. Remember my love of handpainted pieces? Here's a special one. This chifforobe, which is now in my youngest son's bedroom, belonged to my mother when she was a little girl. It was in my room when I was small, too. Then, when I became pregnant with my first son my mom had it painted by her artist friend, Sue. Sue added the Peter Rabbit scene, and you can see she is a very talented lady. When I saw the finished piece for the first time I was completely dumbstruck. As I said to Sue, this piece will be an heirloom in my family for generations to come.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


you have boys. Young boys. Suppose you have a house that is scheduled to be power washed. I think a great idea would be to have the power washer show up on a day when the boys have been cooped up indoors. When they have probably exhausted all there is to do inside. It would be nice to have the washer show up just after the boys have finished their dinner but before their baths. You know, during that filler time when they've got just a few minutes before going through the whole going-to-bed routine. When they'd love a little entertainment but Mom says no movie. I think they would love to watch their house "get a shower". I bet they would scurry over to the bench in your bay window, climb up and press their faces to the window to watch. I bet they would errupt in fits of giggles when the water came near them. I bet they would jump up and down as they watched the whole scene. I bet it would make their day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

cows on parade

It's day 3 of our rainy weather, and because of that, it's day 3 of basement confinement for the boys. But, that's not such a bad thing. We haven't been down here this much since last spring, so it's like a rediscovery of the indoor toys and books. And cows. This shelf is part of a built-in unit (another notable nook from the original owner) that holds all our books, movies, and CDs. Let me tell you, it's been a lifesaver down here.

Waiting to hear from the painter on when they can start powerwashing. Hopefully as soon as the rain stops. I also picked up our garden design from the nursery, and it looks great. So all in all, things are coming along.

Monday, September 11, 2006

the sky that day

was a brilliant, crisp, blue, like it often is in early September. I remember it.

There wasn't a cloud to be seen. The air was sweet and soft, like it is in late summer.

It was the kind of day you took notice of as you stepped outside and walked down the street towards the train. You took notice of it then, and you are happy that you did. Happy now that you took the time to appreciate how beautiful it was, instead of letting your mind wander towards unimportant details. Happy now that you remember it so clearly, because you will always remember what happened that day. You will always remember the events of the day, and how you felt then, and how you feel now, and how you've changed from then to now. Because of that, you may not have remembered the day itself. What it looked like at the beginning. How it felt to be striding up the sidewalk. That beautiful sky.

Had it not been so lovely.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


One year in college my best friend and I decided to work on Mackinac Island over the summer. I had visited there a couple of times with my family as a kid and had fond memories of it...the horses, the fudge, the beautiful cottages, and of course, The Grand Hotel (remember Somewhere In Time?) She grew up in the northeast and had never seen it. But it seemed like just the place to spend a college summer. So off we went, little waitressing jobs in hand, to have a ball up on the island.

Well, something went wrong. Not one thing exactly. A lot of things just seemed to work against us that summer and it didn't turn out to be much fun. The weather was bad. Northern Michigan can be a gamble in the summer, anyway, but this was unusually bad according to the locals. Rainy and cold. Cold and rainy. Just like today here at home. I actually said to my husband over breakfast this morning, "this is what it looked like on Mackinac the first 2 months we were there."

Nevermind what else went wrong. Too many small things that would bore anyone but my friend and me. The thing is, we laugh and laugh and laugh about it all now. So much so that when we're together with our husbands and 'Mackinac stories' come up, they both roll their eyes, knowing they are in for a long session of us recounting all those silly stories for the umpteenth time.

Friday, September 08, 2006

decisions decisions

My husband flies in tonight and then back out Sunday, so tomorrow is our window of opportunity to make some decisions together before the house painter starts next week. Which color for the house (white, but gotta choose which one), which color for the front door, which kind of mailbox, which kind of house numbers. New lights for outside? Yes, but what kind and where will they go. Maybe if we have enough time we can scoot over to Home Depot and start looking at shutters. Maybe that can wait. Afterall, we've got to leave enough time in our day to have some fun with the kids and get some college football watching in, too.

Have a good one!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Over the weekend we drove to my parents' house and, in addition to having a nice time relaxing and visiting and meeting my new baby niece (!), we picked up the 2 chairs and table that I was planning for my back porch. These belonged to my grandmother. She had these on her front porch for as long as I can remember, and in fact I have a picture in my bedroom of the two of us together on the chairs when I was about 5 or so. I'm not sure if you can tell, but they are in great condition. A new coat of paint and some cute cushions, and they'll be as good as new.

My husband flew out Monday night for work and my mom and I drove back with the kids on Tuesday. I was pretty determined to get these chairs here. Would you believe that we ended up strapping them to the top of my car - facing each other, standing straight up - with the table tied to them and resting in between? It reminded us of the Aunt Edna scene from "Vacation". But you know, with all the holes in the wicker, they worked out great up there! Couldn't even feel them when I was driving. My only regret is that I didn't take a picture.

My mom thinks I have enough room for another set of chairs. She and my dad are coming up next month, and now they're planning to do the strapping thing on their car. I'll be sure to capture it next time...

Friday, September 01, 2006

sarah's garden

This is Sarah's house. Isn't her garden lovely? My pictures don't do it justice, but it seemed like just the thing to show you. Sarah is a real green thumb, something I admire so much. I have no talent in the yard. I think everyone knows their strengths and weaknesses, and that's one of mine. I mean, you saw that I've already devoted two posts to my tomato can tell the whole tomato plant thing is kind of a big deal for me.

Anyway, this morning I had a woman come out from a local nursery to survey our front beds and give us ideas on what to plant. I mentioned that our big bushes were pulled out, and the space is so barren, yet even I can see that it is also full of potential! Her name is Mary (she was referred to me by Sarah) and she had all kinds of wonderful ideas about what we could do with our space. My husband was there, thankfully, because he's got a vision, too. Much better than me. I was quiet and they talked. Next week Mary will have a drawing for me that diagrams our yard and garden and suggests where to plant what. This will be something we can work on, little by little.