Sunday, June 28, 2015

Big Day Today!

Today is the last day with these honey oak floors! Meg said goodbye to them with a bit of Sharpie action.

We stripped out all the carpeting and I'm sure the neighbors love that we've left it all in the driveway. 

Have you ever removed old carpeting? It's a dusty job and the amount  of dirt underneath is shocking! And it's not evenly distributed across the room but only where we walk. Gross! 

I am looking forward to living in a less dusty environment. I need to invest in a few good doormats and a dust mop. If you have hardwoods/engineered hardwood everywhere, what do you use to keep your floors clean?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yarn Along

It's turning into another Mental Health Day with little energy for anything other than essentials. Right now, I am curled up on my bed listening to one of my favorite books: The Fellowship of the Ring via YouTube. I manicured my nails, and I thought I could muster the energy to put together a blog post for your edification...amusement?

I have acquired a seriously ambitious pile of books for my summer reading. Considering everything else that is happening in my life right now, I may have just made a significant addition to my already out-of-control stack of unfinished books!

In my stack you will find orphan train, which I think I heard about on Ginny's blog. There are two Philippa Gregory books that I have also heard about through the yarn along. But I have no idea what order this series is supposed to be read in. I think they all stand alone, don't they? Then there is The Catholic Drinkie's Guide to Homebrewed Evangelism and The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up which I have forsaken (because my house is such a disaster! Lol) in favor of a light fiction on Kindle called Finding Fraser for Outlander fans.

Any bets on how far I get through the stack?

My knit is the newly restarted Westport shawl that I had to frog last week. I have this new peacock green colorway to make it with that I simply love.  Fingers and knitting needles crossed that this effort will be successful!

How's your summer going? Are you finding time to read?

Friday, June 19, 2015

What a Week!

 My nieces and nephews just got out of school last Friday, but it seems like we've been out forever and summer is nearly over. There has been a lot of activity packed into the past three weeks!

Friday, I had a Mental Health Day of sorts. After a really hard week, physically and mentally---there were many tears shed and some that wanted to be shed, but I managed to hold them back. It was time to just rest and do easier things, if not nothing.

I did some shopping, frogging my knitting, and started a new project. I watched tv and perused FB a lot.

The real bright spots in the day were:

1. When the painter came and gave me an estimate for removing the stubborn wallpaper, repairing drywall, and reprinting. 

2. My new rug came from ordered it only two days ago, and it's here already! It's gorgeous and I can't wait to see it in my family room when the floors are finished!

3. New toilets and faucets also arrived.

I was still an exhausted wreck on Sunday---tears flowed freely at Mass. Ugh! I appreciate the "gift of tears" but sometimes it would be nice to turn them off! I think that it is my (somewhat embarrassing) way of resting my head in Jesus's shoulder. He's there and I can't help but pour out my troubles.

The bathroom got stripped and painted in one day. The color is shocking! I like using bright colors in bathrooms for fun, but this might be a bit over the line. The photo is particularly bad because the late afternoon sun coming in the window made it glow. It's actually better in person and I'm hoping that we can tone it down with accessories! Thoughts?

On the flip side, the library, soon to be office, is beautifully green and restful. And I'm not a fan of painting ceilings!

Here's a sample of what my home looks like these days:

I'm ready for this to be over having never done renovations like this. It's fun and horrible all at the same time! I'm not looking forward to having to tackle the basement right after this. I have new respect for all those DIYers who constantly work on their homes!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer Fun Questions!

Kendra's link-up sounded like a little bit of summer fun, so I'm joining in. If you're visiting from over there, thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment and introduce yourself.

1. Any big plans for the summer?

LOL. I have to laugh, because this summer is like no other with new floors on the main level, 2 bathroom updates (including wallpaper stripping! ew.), a sewage spill in the basement and, yay, new flooring down there, too. A much, much-needed family beach trip is coming up. Thank God.

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

I stubbornly continued to believe in Santa Claus for years after most children give him up. I simply couldn't believe that someone who brought gifts to everyone wasn't real, and, even if he wasn't real, we should still live Christmas every day of the year (much like the Ebeneezer Scrooge after his 3 ghostly visitors). What joy to become Catholic and find out that he really is real, after all! (go to 3:20)

3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride)

Oh, I'm a roller coaster girl. I don't think I've ever been on one that I didn't like! I'm not a huge fan of heights, so crawling at a snail's pace up that first big hill is pretty nerve-wracking, but, after that, it's all good downhill. :-) Admittedly, because of that, it took a few years for the kids to get me on Goliath at Six Flags over Georgia. I have neck and back issues, and my chiropractor seriously frowns on my coaster-riding, but Pip convinced me that Goliath is smooth, not bumpy or jerky, so it wouldn't hurt my neck. He was right, and it's lots of fun, but my favorite has to be Batman where your feet hang and it has lots of fun corkscrews. When lines are short, I've been known to go on a roller coaster repeatedly....

4. What's on your summer reading list?

Currently, I'm reading The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. That should come in very handy as I put the house back together this summer! Next up is Sarah Vabulas's The Catholic Drinkie's Guide to Homebrewed Evangelizationbecause Sarah is awesome, and even though I'm not a beer-drinker or home-brewer, I have lots of beer-lovers in the family and home-brewing fascinates me. After that, I need some great fiction for the beach! Suggestions welcome. I'll have to go read the other links to see what everyone else has planned.

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?

Seriously, who hasn't?

6. What is your favorite smell?

Almond. You know, the way good soap or shampoo smells? I never understand why almonds don't taste that way, but every now and then you get one that does. What's up with that?

If you want to carry the smelling thing to the next level, the cherry-almond scent of the original Jergen's hand lotion is the one that brings back the fondest memories of childhood and Grandmother's house. Do you remember that one?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Summer Catch-up

::Weekly Rambles::

What’s really on my mind and heart?
There has been a lot of negative stuff on my mind since the water pipe breaking in the front yard, the sewage over-flowing in the basement, and then a little fender bender the other night. It has been difficult to get out from under the oppression! Even when it's all just "stuff" and every family member is safe and healthy, the stress still feels very heavy at times.

What am I thankful for?
I am thankful for the Atlanta Eucharistic Congress which occurs every year on Corpus Christi weekend. Hubs and I went for a few hours in the middle of the day to hear most of the speakers. I find it energizing to be in the presence of so many Catholics who love Christ in the Eucharist, and the speakers are always good, even if we don't think they're going to be that exciting!

I'm also thankful for the opportunity to have attended my first Catholic New Media Conference. I saw some old friends there, and I met in person some new friends, made contacts, and got a lot of great information and ideas. It was great to be there, and especially great to stop thinking about all those negative things for the day!

What’s going on in school?

Pip is in "summer school"----his brother Tom is tutoring him in Algebra II/Trig.  Other than that, I'm finished. We just published the end of the year newsletter yesterday, so I can stop thinking about that!

What’s cooking?
I've been trying out recipes from my new Whole30 book. So far, so good, but I need to come up with a new menu for this week and do some shopping. Events last week threw me off schedule.

What’s on the needles?
A honey cowl which I started for jury duty. Since then, I have ripped it out and started over because I wanted it shorter and wider.

A Lorax book-blankey is on the Tunisian crochet hook. That is going to take forever with the small hook!

And my Westport shawl is in sad shape since I messed it up immediately before or after blogging about it last week. When I have a few minutes to concentrate here or there, I'm working on tinking it (tink=knit backwards) to see if it can be saved.

What’s special about this week?
Another swim meet!
Body work on the car. 

Finalizing plans for the remodeling? Yes!

What am I reading?
Ellen Gable's A Subtle Grace and Sarah Vabulas's The Catholic Drinkie's Guide to Homebrewed Evangelism. Two very different books. :-)

What am I praying about?
All of the stuff above, my children and their (future) spouses and careers.

What’s on my ipod?/
That really needs to be changed to What am I listening to? because I haven't used an ipod in years! 

What projects are happening at home?
The house is a total wreck. Except for the kitchen. Here in the library, all the books and bookshelves have been removed, in anticipation of new floors, and there is miscellaneous junk in the corners that we sort of need until the last minute. That's pretty much how all the rooms look! And all those boxes are piled in my room and the various rooms in the basement, no longer neatly organized, but piled haphazardly all over to get them out of the way of sewage. The big event for the week will be finalizing the details and making a deposit so the work can begin!

The kitchen is in pretty decent shape because I abruptly painted it on Friday! The plan was to just get paint samples, but I liked the color for the kitchen and just got to work. Since I hated the color that was there, this little change made me very happy!

What's up with you this week? Did you do any projects that made you happy?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Yarn Along

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link at Ginny's to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

Not much exciting reading going on! Between daily routines and the added burden of end-of-the-year treasurer responsibilities for our AHG troop, I hardly have the energy or brainpower to read more than a paragraph of a book on my nightstand! Today's "leisure" reading has been perusing booklets of paint colors....because while my house is in complete disarray and we're moving out everything for new floors, I might as well paint the walls. Right?

I love all the colors in this Sweet Georgia yarn, though I wish it were a bit less heavy on the greens. Give me more of those luscious pinks and lilacs! I'm knitting a Westport Shawl. It's a gorgeous shawl, and the little Estonian Buttons you see in the foreground are cute and fun. The lace, however, is a bear.

The lace is a 20 row repeat and I don't have a hope in you-know-where of memorizing it! As you can see, it's so crumply before blocking that I also have no idea if I'm doing it right. The only clue there is if one row doesn't work out because I'm missing a stitch. Somehow, so far, crossing my fingers and toes as I say this, I've been able to find my mistakes without needing to tink back more than one row. Even so, it's pretty slow going, and with only 30 minutes per night to work on it, it may take all summer! :-( Not that I'll be wearing it before fall...on the rare occasions I attempt to wear a summer scarf, I end up ripping it off in a (hot) huff. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Minimizing My Life

Did you see this article on how much stuff we own? Or is it how that much stuff that owns us??? Do you ever drive through an old town and wonder at the size of the houses? Where my dad lives, which is where he grew up, the old houses are small. I remember my grandparents' home and my aunt's home which are tiny by today's standards, but they didn't feel small to me. And I believe there are actually smaller ones in town, and people had more children then than they do now! I guess everyone aspires to a higher standard of living than their parents, but it seems as if that is just a bubble that has to pop eventually. Maybe it has; I see more and more news about minimizing and simplifying life. That's what the Tiny House craze is all about.

I'm enamored of the tiny houses, but people keep telling me I need room for the many children (I have) and grandchildren (I hope to have). Until other people (ahem!) are on board with me about downsizing the house, I can still simplify the rest of the house. Recent flooding events are a perfect time to do so. My plan is to bring back upstairs, only those things that we love. I'm afraid it will still be Too Much Stuff, but I'll try.

Have you seen the articles on minimzing or building a capsule wardrobe? I tried encapsulating my wardrobe a couple of weeks ago. The goal was to get it down to 37 items, shoes, bottoms, tops, jackets. I had a really hard time doing that! In the end, I kept a few other items that go in the Uniform category---AHG shirts, khakis, a red & a blue sweater for winter---and a Workout Wear category that I pared down quite a bit, also.

That's what is in my closet and dresser now: clothes that fit and make me feel good about myself. I got rid of anything that didn't make me happy! I also saved, in the ill-fated basement, clothes for winter, and a few too-small items that I really would love to wear again. At least they're not in my closet mocking me on a daily basis! I'll have to get the basement cleared out by fall to be able to reach the cold-weather items!

I'd love to know if you've tried minimizing or simplifying your life and if you have any tips. Shameless blog promotions are acceptable! ;-)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Jury Duty and Sewage!

Last week was a Big Week around here. I had jury duty for the first time AND we had a disaster in the basement. I've been called for duty before, but I've never had to go because I had small children or was homeschooling. Most recently, I was called during the school year, and I probably could have gotten out of it again, but my husband said I could defer it online to a better date,  so I chose Tuesday, the first weekday of Summer Vacation.

Normally, I'm on standby and call the night before to find out if I need to appear. This time, I had to go and was in Group 1. Many of the jurors I conferred with agreed that if you use the website and defer your service to a convenient date, you have really just let the Court know that you ARE available and they WILL call your name for the voir dire process!

I was paneled for the jury and had a very interesting 4 days learning lots and lots about what to look for when buying property, water runoff, creeks, and, best of all, sewage backups. The whole process was fascinating and educational, tedious and exhausting, and I wouldn't mind doing it again (after a nice, long rest) (and because I don't have a paying job, so, unlike many of my fellow jurors, I wasn't losing vast amounts of money by serving!).

You know what the unexpected blessing from this jury service was? Because of "recent events," as I told my husband (since I couldn't tell him about the trial), I was inspired to look further for the cause of the basement toilet overflowing, and I discovered the sump pump had stopped working and the utility room was flooded with an inch of dirty water that was starting to seep out into the next room.

Fortunately, I looked, because, unfortunately, we had moved many, many boxes of books and other items down to the basement in preparation for new floors upstairs. All of those had to be moved to safety, and some had to be unpacked because that carpet and padding is the Quicker Picker Upper! I got to leave for court while leaving my dear husband to contend with the plumber (Norm!). At the end of the day, we had a new sump pump (which my civic service does not cover the cost of!), and we tore out all the carpeting the water had touched---one large room, the hallway, and part of a bedroom. The basement is a complete disaster with boxes and stuff piled everywhere.

I'm pretty sure I won't get to do the sewing projects I had planned this summer. Lack of time is one thing; lack of access to my sewing room is another. No sewing, no ironing. No grown children visiting and sleeping in the basement. :-(  I think this is the Summer of Home Renovations and Decluttering.

Sometimes, I want to cry when I think about it, but it's really fine. It's all good. Nothing was damaged that is vital or irreparable. It's all just stuff which we have too much of. It's the amount of work that overwhelms me, if I think about it, but I just won't do that. I'll just do the next thing that needs to be done----choosing paint colors for the living room?----praying?----because it's really all about doing whatever God asks in the moment. Sometimes, that's mopping up nasty water and letting go of the desire to do your own will.


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