Monday, March 22, 2010

A Coupla Days Off

How quickly a few days off can pass - Some were very fruitful, and some were very stoic. While my intention was to just have a few days off to ...chill... when some would ask if I was going anywhere or doing anything I responded that I had no set plans, but still had a large number of boxes to unpack. Organizing the garage is a goal, mostly because nearly every time I need a tool or cleaning product or particular flower vase or book - I'm climbing through the boxes or cupboards. I did manage to get Beach Glass to come out and remove the wall of mirrors in the master bedroom and the very large mirror in the bath. Now I can begin the project of removing that god-awful wallpaper.

I sure got my work cut out for me. Some folks say, "hire somebody to do that..." but this is something I can do - I can't do plumbing and not too keen on electrical - but removing wallpaper I can do. Problem is, there's so stinkin' much of it. And it was glued on to stay forever. I paid $150 to have the mirrors removed; it was worth it to me. The mirrors in the bedroom were glued on - well, see for yourself:

now I gotta figure out how to remove the glue... the white part of the wall was the main, center mirror that was five feet wide. There were two, one-foot panels on either side. As my friend neener says, 'good-bye seventies!'

So I have my work cut out for me. Then I became annoyed with the appearance of the front yard. A couple of weeks ago, I purchased a bird of paradise, a dozen or so golden shrimp plants and just as many pentas. I intended to plant then in the planter by the front entrance, but after I bought them I feared they would not get enough sunlight in the planter. I decided to plant them in the yard in front of the planter which had full sun for 4-5 hours. I planted them, and put the Invisible Fence flags around them to keep the dogs out. A few days after, the HOA asked me to remove the flags ('the rules say...' ) . I removed them, and it was only a matter of days before the dogs had nearly destroyed every golden shrimp, and about half of the penta. The front yard was a grey dirt pile and getting worse. So Saturday morning I drove to Home Depot. As I was driving down Gladiolus, I recalled my sister Debbie pointing out a nursery on the south side of the road and asked whether I'd ever been there. I hadn't. I guess we go back to what we know, and I knew Home Depot. As I was passing, I looked it over from the road, and it was a very substantial nursery, geared more for commercial customers. I was heading to Home Depot to buy sod, and as I passed this nursery, there was a sign out front that read SOD . I should stop there, I said to myself. But by that time I was under the fly-over and Gladiolus was under heavy construction. I got to Home Depot, and there was no sod. I didn't ask anyone, they were quite busy and full of lots of perrenials. I had been there last week and saw scant pallets of sod, but this day - no sod. I left and headed to that nursery.

I pulled in and had a brief but pleasant conversation with a man who walked in to the store behind me, and turns out he worked there. He could sell me sod by the piece. They charge a dollar a piece. I told him I needed enough for 14 square feet and he said I'd need half a pallet. What was I driving? "Well you'll need to make a couple of trips. The sod's out back behind us here, so how 'bout you pull around and we'll see how many we can get in one load."

I got home with 33 sheets in the back of my car. First I had to do was dig out the bird of paradise and what penta I could save, Plant the bird of paradise in the planter (yes, the one I had originally intended!), added three peace lilies behind the bird, and then had to rake and clean up the dirt lot. Then I started laying the sod. It was actually fun. I love the smell of the rich earth. I love the look of the young, green grass. I like putting together a puzzle, laying each piece in a snug fit.

I returned to the nursery and picked up another 30 sheets. Of course by now I was quite dirty and had to semi-change just to get in my car. The fellow from the morning was not around, and another young man came out to load the sod. Actually I'm not sure if he helped me or I helped him. But we were down to the end of the pallet and there was no more. I returned home and layed the rest, finishing just about sunset, which worked well as I drank a red stripe and watered the newly placed lawn. It felt good.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fixing Dinner!

I'm having a blast. I took a few days vacation from work to just enjoy my new home. Tonight's dinner was pasta primavera with shrimp. Here's a pic of the preparation. How fun...I had Abba on the stereo while I drank pinot grigio...Mamma Mia!

A Happy St. Paddy's!!

Wearin' The Green!
T'was quite the happty time on St. Paddy's Day~! Mary Ann O'Connor DeMars can for certain cook up the tastiest corned beef 'n'' the best lot o' potatoes!
Kate and Sarah havin' the luck o' the Irish!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Going Once, Going Twice....????

"Go-on, go-on and play with them. They live across the street and they are the Gradys." It was my dad encouraging me and a couple other siblings to go outside to that lined up group of kids. We'd just moved in to the house at 63 Fairview Avenue, in Mount Pocono, PA. It was the summer of 1964.

My mother's family was in Ohio. Her 10th child was just 3 years old. I was too young at the time to realize what an adjustment it had to have been for her. But as the years went on, my mom developed her creative side. She'd always been a master seamstress, but living in rural northeatern PA, she became interested in antiques and collectables. "K's Dec-or -tiques" was the banner she asked me to make for her when she set up in the weekly flea market down on 611 just before Brocks drugstore. She would go to local auctions, and I would tag along. I was fascinated by the whole process. Mom would buy stuff - furniture, pictures, boxes of stuff, and turn it into treasures. Some of her specialties were trunks; she'd refinish the hardware, replace the lining. In later years, she lamented that the current trend was to keep as original condition as possible. She'd frequently say she regreted not knowing, then, not to ruin "the patena".

Whenever I hear someone mention an heirloom, antique or collectable and ask, "What do you think it's worth?" I hear my mother's response, "It's only worth what someone is willing to pay for it." Through the years we witnessed that with avon bottles and beanie babies.

But mom also taught me what to look for. I learned about furniture styles and periods, dovetail construction; how to sound the ring of cut glass; carnival glass, hobnail; reading the stamp 'sterling' .

Since I grew up with "antiqueing" and auctions, it was my passion that I introduced to my husband and children. Once Pete got the hang of it and understood the bidding process, he loved it. I still do.

Today I drove to Alva, Florida to attend an estate auction. I learned of the auction in the local weekly shopper. The ad gives a brief description of merchandise and the address date and time, and then their website. Alva is a community about an hours drive north east of here. Alva is your agricultural south central florida don't bother nobody community. The website had pictures of some of the items, and I focused on a bed frame (headboard, footboard and side rails), a wrought iron floor lamp, and some garden furniture and supplies. Preview was 9 AM and sale started at 10.

I woke shortly after 7 this morning. I felt pretty good, well rested. If I was to get to the auction by start of the preview, I would have to leave at 8:00... I wasn't so eager to rise and shine, but finally pulled out of the garage at 9:00 am.

When I was trying to decide what I wanted to do and where I wanted to live, I always kept Alva in the corners of my mind. There's some thing almost magical about Alva. Fields and farm animals ...flora fauna. Even this evening returning home, I mused about how nice it'd be to own a small cottage and some land in Alva.

I arrived shortly after ten, finding a fenced in hay field at the end of a gravel road that abutted a pen of pygmy goats. It looked like a parking lot, so, I pulled in. A young fella lanky and lean was walking through the entrance. " Think i can park in there?" I called to him. " Should be a spot right along that white van." he called back. I pulled in, parked, grabbed my bag and hopped out. "Oh no, ma'am - you can't park there - they wont be able ta get out..." another man called. "You might try up again' that red truck."

I walked into the yard... and it was the yard of a woman's home between her garages, pens, sheds and green houses. This was Alva. The auctioneer stood on a 3-step stool amidst feets of tables covered with rows of stuff. I've been to all kinds of auctions from the most common to the nearly most elite. This was the most common. and that was cool.

Merchandise went dirt cheap. He moved it. Most of the stuff was $3 $5 $10. Most of the first stuff was junk. There was a great amount of glassware. Glassware is highly collectible. I have more stinkin glassware than I ever could want, and, so, regardless of whether any of it was highly collectible, I was marginally interested.

Throughout the sale, it became apparent that there were a number of dealers. Some folks bought all kinds of stuff.. and a lot of all kinds of stuff. The auctioneer knew many of them by name. Some of my stunners: an oak drafting table sold for $45.00. A set of two solid oak, marble inset top square end tables sold for $25.oo for both. A full-size cedar armoir sold for $30.00. A cedar storage / hope chest sold for $20.00. I was paying attention to the furniture, but I know there had to have been stunners in the glassware. Fred Roenigk, the auctioneer, was moving it.

"Okay... let's bring the guns out." the aucti0neer called. Several folks slapped their pockets. "Whoa!" he called. "I'm in Alva! Can't call to bring the guns out! not knowing what folks'll do!" Folks chuckled to his humor. I'm not a gun collector, as a matter of fact I am repulsed by guns, but managed to realize that these guns were collectibles. I diverted my attention only to hear some fella come forward, and swiping his hand across his face, said, "Oh, I can't bid on those, I got me a record!" A woman next to me called, " Friends help friends bury the body!" I guess it was an 'inside' joke.

Iwas there until nearly 4:00 Pm. all the time, the auctioneer was on. That man worked hard for his money. Dang. I was tired just watching him! He was still going when I left. I was interested in the bed, but, upon seeing it, realized it was a king size, and my bed is a full size. I was willing to gamble on the size difference if it went cheap enough, but, there was a starter reserve bid of $300.00. ( it wasn't worth $300 to me). I cashed out, loaded my stuff and headed home.

I didn't mention the Christmas plates. I remember Pete's mom collected 7-inch, blue plates and had them hung in her family dining area. Today I saw a small stack of 4 of those plates. While the auctioneer was working his way through the pottery and glassware, he was anxious to move the stuff and get to selling the furniture in the house,. At one point, while moving through the tables, he asked, 'what else'. I said, "the Christmas plates" . I offered $10 and no one else bid. I could have lo-balled, but, why...they are Royal Copenhagen. I got 4 for $10, when 1 could sell for as much as $30.

I had a lot of fun today! The ironic twist here, tho, is...that today is the day of the 52nd annual Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival Parade! I don't think i've missed it ....ever....! (til now).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Mandy Patinkin was in my dream, again, last night. Last night he was my hero, savior. In this dream I passed out, and was revived from near death. Why do I dream of this actor? There's some weird kind of thing going on.
My mind is flooded with thoughts and scripts that I want to write down, but, where do I go first!
Tonight was election night. We had 2 seats open, 3 candidates. Results, one incumbent and one new council member. I'm bored with my job; my one personal goal was to acheive my certification as a Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC). I achieved that last month after 3+ years. I need new goals career-wise.
I love my house! Buying this house was the satisfaction of another dream come true. Now, I need to rid myself of that god-awful wallpaper in the master suite and the guest bath...and paint the turqoise and pink walls! Not to mention my dreams for the gardens!
Gracie is growing into such a wonderful companion. She's easily confused, distracted, mischevious, misguided...! HA! The list could be endless. She's a baby girl, is what she is. Right now she's prancing among the kitchen cabinets. She's not hungry; she's just 'nosy...sniffin'.....bored...lookin'..." It's worked out nicely with her and the invisible fence... I Love! the invisble fence~! What's even worked, (shush this!).. I've used the Invisble Fence flags to cover newly planted gardens that I dont' want the dogs to dig up! Gracie's got a degree in excavation, and will dig up any and everything! so I use the flags to surround new plantings so she won't dig;m up. IT WORKS.
Right now, Mannheim Steamroller is on the stereo, playing "Slow Dancing in the Living Room". I love this song. I find it very very sexy. Iwould love to be slow dancing to this in the living room with someone I love. This might be on my list of new goals: slow dance in the living room with someone I love.
Wow. that last one was scary.
My children are doing fabulously. One of my goals was to provide them with reliable transportation, and, I believe that has been succesfully acheived. Sarah drives a 2005 Element, and La's in the 2003 Civic. Right now, La's Civic is paid in full, but I pay her auto insurance. Sarah's Element - she'll be in for a rude awakening come Oct 2010 when she takes over payments. At least she pays her own insurance!
My vacations the past two years have been wonderful! On my list of goals; visiting Washington State, and Alaska. Hard to beat! Now I'm focusing on what to place as my next vacation destination. I love the idea of visiting the National Parks, and could cross off quite a few in the course of my past vacations. As I wound down last year's trip, I contemplated where Iwould vacation next, and Yellowstone plays prominently. That's a work in progress!!
Time to Set New Goals.

This is such a vomit of ideas. I apologize to you for that. I have so much filtering in my mind. I have such a wonderful life. Life is wonderful; to be able to dream, imagine, and live all that you imagine - (i think there's some Thoreau in there, )

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

too much o' nothin'

I am feeling a bit meloncholy, and without explanation. I feel somewhat at the crossroads, or a turning point, yet am unclear of my direction or destination. It makes for a weird sense; I'm not at the junction, just yet, yet,... know I am approaching it without firm knowledge of destination. It's a very weird feeling.
And I know I have just, basically, said...nothing.

Monday, March 1, 2010

What'cha wearin' under there?

The six o'clock local news covered the sentencing of two young men in the murder of two other young men. I caught myself considering what must be in their mind to commit such a crime; and to commit such a crime at such a young age. I didn't think of it very long, because it made me sad. I turned off the TV and put the stereo on. Much better.
I put on a Willie Nelson CD. I love Willie - I love the smooth easy he has, with that twang of mischief. 'Always on My Mind'. Maybe I didn't treat you quite as good as I should have; Maybe I didn't love you quite as often as I should have. It makes me think about my failed marriage. I'm just now beginning to allow myself to let go of the hurt. I'm starting to admit to my failings. Maybe I didn't love him. When I asked him why, he answered, "I thought you didn't love me."
I'm humored by a memory of a comment from brother Ken. "You didn't ask for the right thing!" he commented when I told him how I employed the Law of Attraction and creative visualization. When I was approaching my 28th birthday, I recall affirming that I was ready to settle down; I was ready for a life time committed relationship. I asked for someone to love me.
I asked for someone to love me - then I hear Grace Slick asking, don't I want somebody to love, don't I need somebody to love. And Queen "find me somebody to love.." I'd had it all wrong!!
I had asked for someone to love me when in fact, I did need to find me somebody to love.
Lately I seem to notice couples that have a good marriage, or a good relationship. "He's the love of my life" Linda said when talking about Bob, her husband of 20+ years. I walked into my boss's office and heard him finish his phone conversation with his wife, and he said, "I love you, too." They are married nearly 20 years. ( I got a "Yo'"..)
I've digressed, and you've just gotten a peak at my underwear.