Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Me? In a Dress?

I was looking at "mother of the bride" dresses on the internet and I realized that I have not worn a dress in a long time. The last time I can remember wearing a dress was August 2006 for my grandmother's funeral. I didn't even wear a dress to the funeral in January. But January in Michigan? I think people do not expect dresses for that.


I like the dress in the picture above but I really should put it in Photoshop and stretch it way out sideways to get an idea of how I would look in it.
Okay, I did that:

Yeah, the model looks way better in that dress. But I have to wear something. And it has to be a dress. Yay oh yay this will be so much fun. (cough, cough)

Monday, June 28, 2010

No Animals Were Harmed......

The thirty-something female bloggers are all sending letters to their twenty-something selves. I thought that was a fun idea at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought maybe it wasn't a good idea. Me at 21:

Maybe when you are in your thirties, you can give some sort of solid advice to your twenties self, but at forty-nine, I really have nothing to say to that girl. And by that, what I mean is I would hate to take the chance of changing anything to affect where I am right now.
I'm sure there are some little things I could say like:

-When you go to that Christmas eve party in 1985 drink a little less champagne and go home earlier since your parents are coming over the next day for Christmas.

-When what's his name's wife tells you about their adopted child's SIDS death, DO NOT SPEAK unless it's to say, "I'm so sorry!"

-Do not scream like a crazed lunatic at the little cub scout who accidentally stole your daughter but then brought her back. He DID bring her back.

-At your wedding reception to your second husband, don't be an idiot. (Sorry but I can't go into detail on that one.)
I don't think any of those things would have changed the course of history, but they would have made me feel a little bit better about myself. Ideally, I would like to tell my twenties self this: Your "bad temper" is not that at all. You have a malfunctional adrenal gland that keeps you in a constant state of flight or fight. There is medicine for this called beta blockers. Get some.
But probably most of my life choices were made in my fight or flight mode. And I like where I am right this minute, so I guess "everything happens for a reason" is an expression that makes sense. So if I really could send a message to my twenties self, I guess I would keep it to the four things above, but I'm pretty sure she wouldn't even listen. She would probably feel like she was being attacked by a giant bear. Because that's what having an effed-up adrenal gland feels like.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Glad I Wasn't Him

When I left this morning (Friday) to go deliver my MOW food, I was just a few blocks from my house when I came upon a young man pushing a stroller with a very young child inside. In front of the stroller was a little girl, maybe 3 or 4, on one of those plastic big wheel trikes. The man was also holding two leashes at the end of which were two good-sized dogs. He was swinging his head all around watching all 4 of his charges and looking very harried. In my head I said, "Dude! You gotta know when to say WHEN."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More Wedding Stuff - The Invitations

On Tuesday, my daughter and I did the invitations. Doing wedding invitations is not a quick and easy job. It took us over 4 hours, although I'll admit I took many smoke breaks. That's a sample of the actual invitation we used. I tied all the bows, and I must say, my bows were much prettier than that one. We used the Harrington font which is a bit less formal and sort of fun.
The original plan was my daughter was going to bring me lunch and we would crank out those babies in the afternoon. But if you think I sleep late, I've got nothing on my daughter. I didn't get my "lunch" until 3:30, so we didn't even start until 4:00. Then I had trouble setting up my printer to print on a 5" x 8" piece of paper. That was extremely frustrating, but I toughed it out and it finally happened.
Also the multiple copies button doesn't work on my printer, so I had to type: control P, enter, enter - 41 times. That was a real hoot. Then I got to type: control P, enter, enter all over again for the R.S.V.P. cards, but fortunately they were two-up so I had to only do that 21 times.
My daughter hand addressed all 41 invitation envelopes and all 41 R.S.V.P. envelopes. Even with all my printing and bow-tying, I did not envy her task. I absolutely hate to write. Besides my writing looks like that of a 12-year-old..
She also did all the postage on all 82 envelopes. One of her friends came by to help us stuff and seal. I used a wet washcloth to "lick" my envelopes, but the girls actually licked them. We all made jokes about the death adhesive on that "Seinfeld" episode, but I told them my biggest fear was getting a paper cut on my tongue. Both girls were all "Ack! I hadn't even thought of that!" Of course when I told that part of the story to Carole today I said, "My biggest fear is getting a paper tongue on my cut."
So that part is done, and I'm guessing that besides finding pretty feminine shoes for my big Fred Flinstone feet, that was the biggest hurdle of this whole process. So yay!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Little Town - Goldsboro, N.C

One of the things we did in May was take a little drive through the town I grew up in. I've taken a few detours this century on beach trips in North Carolina with my daughter and my best friend Lo, but on those two trips we didn't go to actual downtown Goldsboro. So I really have no idea how long it's been since I've been there. I was fascinated by it. If I were a Hollywood location scout I would definitely make this my first suggestion for anyone shooting a movie set in the 50's or 60's.
There really were no modern buildings. I'm pretty sure they were all the same buildings that were there when I was a kid. It was fun to point out to My Sweetie the old movie theater where I saw the classics Planet of The Apes and 2001: A Space Odyssey. I mention those particular movies because I am 6 years older than My Sweetie, so obviously he could not have seen those movies in the theater as he would have been 1. I was 7. I was with my brother for both of those movies and he was 11. After both movies I was all questions for my big brother. He explained Planet of The Apes to me, because at 11, he was able to figure it out. But I remember when 2001 was over and I asked, "What was that? What did it mean?" he just honestly answered, "I don't know."

I have lots of great memories of going to the movies there with my brother and a few times also with Mom, but I also have a disturbing memory. The movie theater had a balcony. I could see people up there, but never saw stairs or any way to get up there. One day I asked the ticket man, "Can we sit in the balcony?" He replied, "No, the balcony is for the negroes." I remember being jealous. I had no idea about Jim Crow laws or segregation, which was illegal in the 60's, so I didn't really realize what was going on. I was just jealous of "the negroes" because I wanted to sit in the balcony.


While we were downtown in May we stopped at shoe store there which is owned by an old friend and her husband. It's an old family business started by my friend's husband. I've seen Janice a few times over the years at the beach - her sister owns a cottage there, but it had been two years since I had seen her last.:

We met in 4th grade. I'll never forget that first day of 4th grade. When 3rd grade had ended two other girls and myself were the popular girls. When I looked around in class that first day of 4th grade, I saw that niether of the two other girls were there. They were in the other 4th grade class. But there was this really cute brunette Marcia Brady-looking girl. I said to myself, "I have to make friends with her, because the boys will like her." So I did and the 3 popular girls became the 4 popular girls. Every day at recess the 4 of us commandeered one of the two see-saws where we sat in twos, facing each other, see-sawed and did those rhyming singing hand-clapping things. I wonder if there's a name for that?


After we left downtown, My Sweetie and I stopped by the old elementary school. He took a pic of the gym with his phone which was the "modern" part of the school. I wish I had taken a picture of the old school building. I imagine the old main building was built in the 20's or 30's. There was even a teacherage on the property. A teacherage was the house that teachers used to live in that taught at the school - sort of like a parsonage at a church. Teachers used to have to be single women.


I remember when I was in first and second grade the principle of the school (a little old lady named Miss Proctor) lived in a great big house by the school, but I didn't realize until fifth or sixth grade when a new girl moved into the house what that was all about. The girl told me that it had been a teacherage and that when Miss Proctor, the last living teacher to live there died, the county put the house up for private purchase. It was a really cool house. It seemed like a mansion to me.


Oh anyway here's the old gym. My favorite memories from the old gym are the Halloween carnivals there every year and the two plays, the talent show and the "Nutcracker" performance I was in. In first grade I was the little red hen in "The Little Red Hen." Mom made an awesome costume. Unfortunately I had to wear it for Halloween until I grew out of it.

So when I just read back over this it felt like I was sitting with a crazy old lady in a nursing home, but I guess that's what reminiscing can be like. It was nice to see my old little town but I suppose I'm done with it. Unless I ever become a movie location scout.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Removing Newel Posts

You guys didn't seem to be big newel posts haters like me, but maybe when you see where they were you will understand why they were so hideous. They were here:
That was the view from the kitchen. This is the view from the living room:
I mean, really, what the hell? Why? Really, why did they put those there? I always thought it was the dorkiest thing in the world. Well, okay maybe the dorkiest thing in the world that was in my house. I should have put a big red arrow on that first picture to show where I sawed through them. But it was at the skinniest part near the bottom before the grooved part starts. (Like the bottom of a human leg calf before a weird round ankle bracelet.)
I was telling my father-in-law today that I used a hacksaw and he made fun of me, but I explained that I could hold both ends and change arms and use all different muscles without overtiring any particular muscles. I guess most people would use a regular saw or even some sort of electric saw. I did pull out a really old jig saw that the in-laws gave us last year, but it was very loud and vibratey and it scared the crap out of me, so I immediately nixed that whole idea. I have used a jig saw before when I installed the pet door, but that one was a modern one that I had borrowed from Carole and had polar plugs and whatnot and wasn't scary.
Oh, so anyway, I used a hacksaw and did it by hand and it wasn't that bad. After I sawed through the skinny part, I just had to jiggle and yank on the newel posts to get them out. As I said in the original post, they were attached to the frame by some sort of large staples. After I yanked out any staple pieces that were stuck in the wood, I sanded the whole frame. You can see in this next picture where the base of one of the newels posts was:
After a good sanding, which made crazy dust fog all over the place, I cleaned up all the sawdust and filled the little holes and grooves with wood putty:

The weird wood putty that I had said you had to use an oil-based primer before you could paint with latex paint. I really do not like oil-based anything except food. Oil-based paint requires all sorts of brain damaging chemicals for clean-up. That's why when I have to work with oil-based stuff, I just plan on throwing everything away afterward. The paintbrush, the rolling pan, the roller brush, whatever. It's gone. I refuse to clean that stuff. I have few enough good working brain cells as it is.
I did a preliminary oil-based primer coat over the putty and the corners, where the roller wouldn't reach. (Also you can see how the kitchen table used to be positioned in this pic.):
After that dried, I rolled the whole frame. Then I threw away all the oil-based stuff. After that, I painted the corners with my latex paint and when that dried I rolled the rest and this is my finished result:

As you can see, we repositioned the table. I added a little lamp there, sort of cafe style. (I'm going to get a better lampshade.) I love how everything turned out. The whole kitchen seems larger now. I just want to add a little runner rug to really cozy the room up.
One last thing: When I pulled out my roll of sheet plastic, there were two pairs of scissors down in the box. I was wondering where all my scissors were.:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Smile

If you're far from the sea and missing it, here are two pics My Sweetie took last month on our beach vacation. This one is the place we buy our fresh shrimp:

And this was a boat just outside of the seafood market place:

Oh how I miss the beach. But I have a wedding to plan and stuff to paint and food to deliver. The beach will always be there waiting for me. And that makes me smile.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Newel Posts (live blogging sort of)

I don't know about you but I am not a big fan of newel posts. I mean they have their place, like maybe on the porch of a charming old southern home or maybe a Cape Cod cottage, painted white and holding up a railing, but I can't think of many other places I'd like to see them.

So why did I have these newel posts in my house all these years? That's a a great question. You notice I said "did I have." That's because I busted those suckers out a few hours ago. I am currently resting my arm and letting the dust settle from my first round of sanding. Not to mention the hand sawing earlier. Time for another round.

Woo hoo! I just finished the most important part of the sanding. There is a 70 inch wide by 48 inch high window type cut-out between the kitchen dining area and the living room. That's where the five newel posts were. For the last several years I had made the best of them by winding little Christmas lights all through them which made pretty lights at night but looked pretty tacky during the day.

My Sweetie is out of town and I guess I just got bored or something and decided to do this today. I had originally hoped I would have the job done before he got back, but the wood filler (for the little staple/nail holes that held the newels in place) takes 24 to 48 hours to dry. So I guess I will do the painting on Saturday. Anyway this break is over.

Oh so that most important part that I mentioned above was the bottom of the cut out. That had all sorts of divots and scratches plus the 5 squares where the bottom of the newels were. I just finished the two sides which were relatively easy as they just needed basic pre-paint sanding. After this break I'm going to do the top of the opening which will be kind of a bitch to hold the sander up like that. Plus it's high enough that I have to stand on a step stool. I don't think I've ever used a power sander upside down before. Oh and another reason besides resting my arms that I keep taking these breaks is I am wearing a heavy dust mask and safety goggles while I work and it makes my head hot.

It's now 3:00 a.m. I've been holed up in my smoking room doing a sudoku puzzle and drinking a crazy cherry drink I invented. It's Hansen's diet black cherry soda and cherry pucker. It's delicious. Anyway that upside down sanding was a bitch. My arm was about to fall off so I switched from the regular step stool to a two-step step stool so I'd be using different muscles. The dust fog has settled now so I'm going to vaccum and use spray air to clean out the staple holes and apply the putty.

I think I'm through with this post, but I'll leave you with the forecast for our weather tonight. I am not kidding, but the local evening news guy said it would be "dry, warm and muggy." There was even a graphic saying "dry, warm and muggy." I was all "Whuuuu.....?" Okay back to work for me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

Sunday morning I was dreaming that I had found an old occasional table and had fixed it up and painted it pewter. I was standing back and admiring it and then I woke up. I was lying in bed thinking about what a good idea that was and then I realized that I wouldn't have anywhere to put it in my house. It wouldn't even match my stuff.
I realized that I'm constantly thinking about finding old tables and reimagining them into something cool and unique. And you know how when you wake up and have time to lie there and daydream and you're all rested and cozy and it's all good? Well I was like that and I was picturing having a little shop.
My little shop would have a front display space with a painted cement floor and some oriental rugs scattered about. The room would be filled with my table creations and a few interesting chairs just for sitting. I'd have interesting signs, mirrors and decor on the walls. The back half of the shop would be my workshop where I'd create my tables.
I'd have old jazz standards playing, be drinking a cold beer and working on a table and the metal bell over my front door would make a sweet cowbell-in-the-meadow type sound when someone entered. I'd step up to the door between the spaces, smile and say, "Just give me a second to wipe the sawdust off my arms." Then I would come out in my crazy comfy clothes with paint and stain all over them and tend to my customer.
I'd be open Wednesday through Friday from noon to 7:00 and Saturdays from 10:00am to 6:00pm. I'd also offer to buy tables from walk-ins. On my off days I would pick a day to scour the thift stores for old tables. And maybe I would pay my daughter or a friend to check out yard sales on the weekends.
So that's what I want to do when I grow up. Maybe I will some day.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Strange Thievery

Someone is stealing our recycling every Friday morning. Not the newspapers, just the bags of cans/glass/bottles. This was happening a while back when My Sweetie was putting out the recycling at night, so I asked him to start putting out the recycling in the mornings and we were good for a while. The odd thing is he leaves around 8:00 a.m. for work and I am usually up around 9:00 a.m. for Meals on Wheels, so the thieves have their timing just right.
Why do I care, you ask? Well I put forth some effort to clean food cans and bottles and plastic soap containers and such and I imagine these thieves are tossing all that in the garbage somewhere and just keeping the beer and soft drink cans for the aluminum. It irks me that I am being so conscientious about my recycling and these people are most likely putting all that nicely cleaned recyclable material into a dumpster somewhere.
We have large bushes on either side of the driveway so I'm thinking about sitting by the bush where anyone driving up the street can not see me. Then when they pull up, I will pop up and ask, "Why are you taking my recycling?" I wonder what will happen.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Musical Beds at the Beach

In the picture above I'm reading the paper at the beach cottage after all our guests have left. (My Sweetie took that picture with his phone and I was pretty impressed.) Although there are three bedrooms and three full baths, as you can see, the entire common area is not very large. So just imagine that first Saturday when we had 9 people at the cottage. Of course it was a beautiful day and people were wandering around out on the deck and deck area. I was standing on the deck and took this picture of Mom:
And down in another area I took this picture of Lo and Brad:

The original plan was that my brother, two nephews and older nephew's girlfriend were to spend the weekend and then Lo and my old friend M were to come on Sunday night and stay until Tuesday. But just because I have an idea in my head doesn't mean it's going to happen that way. Lo has a bulging disc in her neck and at the last minute her doctor changed her shot appointment to Monday morning, so she came on Saturday just for the night. In the meantime, My brother's family had decided that it would be fun if they all stayed until Monday. There is a fold-out couch and the cottage officially sleeps 8 and the 9th person there that Saturday was Mom who was just visiting for the day because she lives nearby, so we had enough beds, but people kept having to move around.
We flew into Raleigh/Durham that first Thursday night and drove down to the beach. We spent the night with Mom. Around 1:00 or so my brother and the kids drove up. We all visited there at Mom's for a while because you can't get the cottage keys until after 3:00. We told them we would call when we were settled in. They got there and I gave the upstairs queen bedroom to nephew and girlfriend with the caveat that they would have to sleep on the fold-out on Saturday night.
On Saturday afternoon, we stripped their bed and then when Lo arrived, we made it for her with her sheets. Then on Sunday, after Lo left, we remade the bed with the nephew's sheets. My old friend M arrived and had to sleep that night on the couch. Then on Monday after My brother and the kids left, we remade that bed with M's sheets. I made a lot of beds that weekend.
This is my friend M:
That picture was actually taken after we left the beach at a little party at Lo's house in Durham the following Friday night. We spent the night there before flying out the next day.
(I like being around M because I feel closer to Dad. M was with Dad in his final moments when he died at his retirement party, and also they were very good friends and saw each other almost every day. We talk about Dad alot.)
I like how we arrange these beach trips with a bunch of people visiting in the first part of the week and then having the rest of the week just to ourselves. I'm just wondering what will happen next year. We've already offered to fly my daughter and her future husband out to join us as a wedding gift and then my brother's daughter that lives in Alaska posted on FB that she will be joining all of us next summer (she has a husband and child). I don't think all of us will fit next year, but I'm not going to think about that right now. I'd rather think about this:

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Holy Cow! I'm a RESOURCE!

Remember that footstool I made last year? I get hits on it every single day. Apparently there are hordes of people in the world (mostly the UK) that want to make a footstool.
Today I got a hit on it coming directly from someplace called My Interior Decorator. I was all what? How do you get here from there? So I checked it out. She gives instructions on recovering a footstool and she has my blog listed as a resource. I'm a resource! How crazy is that? Now I'm going to dance around and sing "I'm a resource! I'm a resource!" Be glad you can't see me.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

It's Really Happening.

My daughter got an engagement ring in late spring of 2008. To be honest, I didn't think a whole lot of it. I remember getting a ring when I was young from the dude I lived with and I knew I wasn't going to marry him, but I preferred to say "fiancé" rather than "boyfriend" because it made me feel more mature. (heh heh)
Last year she told me she had picked a date: 10/10/10. As it was still over a year away, I still didn't think much about it. A few months ago I was chatting with someone on Facebook and he said something like, "I can't believe she's 25!" and I responded, "Yeah and she's supposedly getting married in October." Well, the very next day, I got a photo sent to my phone of what looked like the aisle of a church. I texted her, "Did you get married?" because I wasn't sure what I was looking at.

She called me laughing and said it was a picture of the wedding chapel I had once mentioned to her. She was touring it and about to put down a deposit. I was all "Really?" And then that was that and so I pretty much forgot all about the whole thing.
School wrapped up a few weeks ago and my daughter went into full swing. On Saturday, my daughter, her groom-to-be and I went to a country club to take a tour and find out about food and pricing for the reception. The catering director offered to buy us lunch in the club. I had eaten but the kids were starving and I can always use a few beers, so we accepted.
Well we sat there and decided to use the place and then continued to make a "to do" list for all things wedding and the three of us had some fun discussions. The catering director also brought us a sampler of some appetizers to try which was fun. Since it will be a Sunday afternoon reception we are keeping it light with hors d'oeuvre. (I left the "s" off of the end on purpose so as not to offend my French readers.)
At one point I said, "Well this is certainly not something I've ever done before." It was really a fun and unique experience for all three of us. Later that night My Sweetie took us all out to dinner, where we continued discussing wedding things. So I guess it's really happening. The wheels are turning and the train has left the station.
(On a side note, the country club we chose is the one that my parents were members of for maybe 10 years. I also worked there the summer after my freshman year in college as a groundskeeper. My daughter actually stayed in their childcare room once when she was maybe 3 while I attended a ladies golf banquet with Mom, so it's like coming full circle or something. That's also the place where I learned the very best joke in the world and I still tell it to this day.)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Tidesday Video

This is a video from Tidesday (Tuesday, May 25th) at Surf City. The other voice in the video is an old friend from Durham. As usual I sound like a total dorkas, but I hope you will enjoy the ocean as much as I do.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Thursday Was a Bitch

We had three different sets of service people over today and the electrical problem is supposed to be fixed on Friday. In the meantime we are supposed to use as little electricity as possible so I hope I don't sweat to death when I go to bed.
It's always something.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Some Beach Memories

After a lot of work - my imaging computer crashed on me twice - I finally got some images downloaded. I fell in love with these three chairs:
They were on the deck next to and slightly below us that never had visitors. That was nice for us and privacy but not so great for the economy. On the other hand we were there the week leading up to Memorial Day weekend so I'm sure people were there just after we left. I loved looking down at them every day.
For my birthday I had asked Mom for a game for the beach and some sidewalk chalks. We drew goofy phrases and pictures on the railings around the deck:

Every once in a while someone would lean against the "drawings" and then walk around with a word or two on their butt.
This is my sand cat. He was being reclaimed by the sea when I took this picture:

Below is a picture of Mom and me. Notice how the water looks almost like the Caribbean that day:

And then a few days later it was totally grey:

Also in the above picture, notice how high the water is against the pier. It was crazy. I made a movie that I will show later. I had never seen the water that high. That was on Tuesday, the 25th, which I call "Tidesday". It was caused by a combination of a tropical depression and the full moon. The surfers loved it, but I wasn't crazy about it.
I have some more pictures and the story of the trip, but I didn't want to have a giant long post. Plus, I think I'm kinda blue to be back home in the oppressive heat (10° above normal) after such a great trip. I'll say again for not the first or last time, I had a wonderful vacation and loved almost every single minute of it.