Thursday, September 29, 2016

Yoo Hoo... Has Anybody Seen My Blog List?

So, I popped onto my blog this afternoon and looked high and low for the blog list that normally resides on my sidebar.  It seemed to have gone into hiding.  This evening I went looking for it once again.  This time I even checked the design layout.  It seems to be gone from there too.
If you happen to be visiting here, would you mind letting me know if you are seeing it?  A simple yes or no in comments will do.
Is anybody else having this problem?

♫ Oh where oh where did my blog list go, Oh where oh where can it be ? ♫

Monday, September 26, 2016

In The Autumn Kitchen

If the weather forecasters ever decide to bring on the fall temperatures, I'll be ready.
Yesterday, while the A/C was blasting away inside, I decided to set up a little hot drink station.  I've been admiring them for years and don't know why it's taken so long to get on board.

Rumor has it that our temperatures may dip into the 70s later this week.  That is music to my ears.
In anticipation, the soup pot sits ready to be filled with warming comfort foods.

While over on the table a seasonal vignette sets the tone for enjoying those comforting meals and warm drinks.

Autumn is in the air and the kitchen too.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A, B and C

A is for the Asters adding beauty to my garden on this first day of fall.

The bees seem to be enjoying them too.
Planted last summer, I had forgotten what they were.  Since most of the perennials are nearing the end of their blooming cycle, it was a pleasant surprise to see them covered in buds last week.  In all my years of gardening this is my first experience with growing them. 

B is for birthday.
Brett's birthday.
Brett's big birthday, to be exact. ;D.
Big birthdays are a lot more fun when shared with a 3 year old.

C is for Charlotte.
Charlotte, North Carolina.
The city where we celebrated the big birthday.
Dinner in a lovely uptown restaurant.
After dinner the pleasant weather beckoned.
An after dinner walk to the nearby Romare Bearden Park seemed like the best plan.  A time to walk off a bit of dinner before it was cake time.

Romare Bearden Park photo courtesy the internet.

We took turns racing across one of the grassy areas of the park with Jaxson.
He may have the shortest legs, but they are also the fastest legs.
About the time I thought hoped the game was done he was ready to go again and again and again.  I think it's safe to say the dinner calories were burned.
Once all of the adults were exhausted we sat on one of the park benches.  Darkness had set in yet few people seemed in a hurry to get home.
I watched a tiny little girl dressed in pink toddling around as her family took pictures.  She held a bouquet of pink balloons.  I imagined how sweet the pictures would be.
Our former racing area was now being used by a group of boys for a lively game of Frisbee.
Looking to my right it was apparent that the water feature held a strong appeal for those enjoying a date night.  Young love was in bloom.
Looking up I marveled at the skyscrapers in their nighttime beauty.
In this little park at the base of the skyscrapers, a diverse group of people were drawn together enjoying the evening.  People of all ages feeling safe on this late summer evening in the city. 
As we walked back to my son's home to have our cake, a sense of happiness settled over me.  For a few hours the craziness of our world seemed to have softened.  I would have never guessed that only a few short nights later I would be glued to the tv until midnight watching this wonderful city become a place filled with violence and hatred.

Peaceful protesting is one thing.
This has become something else entirely.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Little Plant That Could... and Did!

Last year this section of the garden was totally re-done.
You may remember that happening here.
At that time, the entire garden bed was dug up, yanked out and hauled away.
Although it was clear the time had come, I was sorry to see some of the plants go.

Imagine my delight when one of those plants appeared in the new garden bed recently.
Despite all of the upheaval, this Cypress Vine must have dropped a seed that refused to be discarded along with the old tree and shrubs. 
Even more amazing to me was the fact that it decided to root itself right next to the one and only shepherd's hook I placed in this bed.
What are the chances of that?

Over the past few weeks I have been watching it wind it's way up the pole.  It is such a pretty plant with it's wispy delicate leaves.

Are you familiar with the Cypress Vine?
They are also known as the hummingbird vine because these guys love them:

The hummingbirds have been entertaining us at the feeders as they prepare for their fall migration.
As I've been watching the Cypress Vine grow, I've been keeping my fingers crossed that it would bloom before the hummingbirds had flown the coop.

Looks like Mother Nature had that base covered all along.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Floor Care

She still brought her lunch in Rosemary's old school lunch box, a thermos of hot tea (which she said kept her warm in winter and cool in summer), and her own table-model radio, which she carried under her arm and plugged into the wall sockets of the different upstairs rooms as she went about her work.  Starting with the kitchen, she did the downstairs rooms in the morning.  She didn't like to be talked to when she was scrubbing the kitchen floor because she said being on her knees and the rhythm of the arm motions made it the ideal time for going over her life.

(excerpt from "Flora" by Gail Godwin)

That idea of going over my life while scrubbing the floors on my hands and knees seemed like such a good one after reading about the sensible way Mrs. Jones tackled the housework in the book Flora (by Gail Godwin).
With Brett out of town and a good steady rain tapping on the windows, the atmosphere seemed just right for tackling the job.
Nobody would be trying to talk to me and the floors were in need of a good scrub.

What was I thinking?
A bad lower back and many rooms with hardwood flooring are not a match made in heaven.
The pain crème was soon called into action.

 However, I persevered and was pleased with the results.
I wouldn't even want to admit how many hours it took to get the job done or how long it took to straighten up again after standing :/.
The thing I like about washing the floors on my hands and knees is that when I'm down there I can see all of the dust on the baseboards and the drips on the white kitchen cupboards.  I wash them too as I make my way through the rooms.   It's a great sense of accomplishment once the job is done.
With that being said, I think I have just retired from the job.
Mrs. Jones is a bigger woman than I.
Either that or she hasn't got back problems.

Not long after the great floor wash, my son came over with his new Roomba.  It was great entertainment to watch it move from room to room picking up the dust and dog hair as it went. 

Although the dog wasn't too sure about it.
I was especially pleased to hear it humming away under my bed as I laid there watching tv and relaxing.
Too bad I can't figure out a way to attach a mop to the thing.

If you have a good method for floor washing that doesn't require being on your hands and knees, would you care to share?
I was told to only use vinegar and water on the hardwoods.
In the past I've tried the following methods:

1)  I originally used a sponge mop like my mom always did.
But, it seemed like no matter how well I wrung out the sponge, there were water marks unless I followed along with a towel.

2)  I reluctantly joined the Swiffer Wet Jet craze.  I say reluctantly because I dislike all of the waste they create, not to mention the expense of keeping stocked up on pads and solutions.

3)  I most recently was going to try a steamer that my in-laws gave to us.  I really liked the idea that it had washable pads and required no chemicals.  When I plugged it in it was soon evident that it no longer created steam.  Seems it was one of those "as seen on tv" products that has since been recalled.

If you have any recommendations, my back and I will thank you.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Small Changes in the Kitchen

I was digging through the archives to find a photo featuring the valances in my kitchen.  I had to go back to May 2011 when the hydrangeas and daisies were just coming into bloom and all was looking lovely.
While I have loved those valances for the sixteen years they have been hanging there, it was becoming clear that they had served their purpose.  Why is it that after awhile things in my home are no longer noticed the way they were when they were new?  
I'm not one for changing up the window treatments just to keep up with the latest trends.  However, I had begun to notice that the strong southern sun had been slowly fading them and, perhaps, it was the southern humidity that had begun to make them look  droopy.  Kind of like they needed a dose of starch.

Without any idea what would replace them, I took them down.
Instantly the view into the garden became greater and the amount of light in the room did too.  The valances hung just below the transoms and tended to cut off the view one would see from a standing position.
Privacy isn't an issue due to the wooden blinds.

So, I've decided to forego new window treatments altogether.
Instead I'm filling the transoms with colorful glass.
We do get a lot of sunlight through these windows which looks so pretty when it hits the glass.

Now I can change the look with the seasons by snipping things from the garden and popping them into the vases.
The hanging piece in the center above is a blown glass vase that I have had for years and never known what to do with.

The vases here are thrift shop finds.
The piece in the center was purchased on our recent trip to California.  When I look at it I am reminded of our time in the charming town of Capitola.  The conversation with the gallery owner is now woven into the memory.  Her suggestions for displaying it safely up there on a narrow window ledge (Museum Wax and a clear easel), her sharing how the artist would bring them into the gallery with her pretty little daughters in tow and the way she shared how she is working two jobs to make ends meet while caring for her aging parents. 
Although it was only a small purchase, I treasure the connections made and the sense of supporting a small local business.