Thursday, May 6, 2021

trying to catch up

Hi there! Sorry I was gone for so long again. Blogging seems different to me lately. I'm finding more and more bloggers are "doing their thing" on Instagram instead of keeping up with their blogs and it's easy to understand why. Posting one photo and a blurb takes a few minutes versus a blog post that can take at least an hour by the time you're done uploading and editing photos and writing a post. I sometimes simply lose my writing mojo, too.

Yard work continues around Comfy House. Brian recently finished cutting down a bunch of dead tree branches that were overhanging the fence. Not our trees, nor our fence. This is the neighbor with the dreaded mulberry tree. We desperately need some professional help with landscaping this year. We have a huge bare spot in back of our house where we had a lilac bush dug out last year. It runs most of the back of our house where there's barely any sun. We can't even get grass to grow there. We also need some landscaping done on both sides of the sidewalk (we tried ourselves - and failed) and we'd like to have bushes planted in front of our house. We need a load of fresh dirt spread under the arborvitae trees that line our back yard. We've had a couple of landscapers out here for estimates but they didn't work out. Another is coming tomorrow afternoon. They have excellent online reviews so we're crossing our fingers.


May is one of my favorite months. The landscape is finally lush and green and beautiful and all the plants are coming to life. The weather is still fickle...daytime temps can be anywhere from the high 40's - low 80's and you never know if it's going to be sunny or rainy. We've grilled twice and patio season has started - hooray!

Some plants around my yard right now ~

Bleeding Heart...


Ferns...



Bishops Cap...


Peonies about to burst open...


Celandine Poppy...


Hostas lining the walkway to the patio...


I made my first trip of the year to a favorite garden center last week.


It's still a bit early for there to be much to choose from, as far as annuals go. You can see that they start all their annuals from seed and that a lot of plants are just now growing.


So all I came home with were some lettuces (which have doubled in size since last week) and a couple of herbs. 


I normally don't buy a lot of plants at the big box stores, but the other day I was grabbing a few groceries and there was a Home Depot in the same shopping center. I stopped in to look around and found daisies ~ one of my favorites. I only grabbed two plants, thinking I'd plant them in a smaller planter, but the plants were too big. My neighbor-friend just passed along this lovely planter to me, so it was perfect for the daisies. I need just one more to fill in the area in the back of the planter.


Now for the not-so-fun stuff. I mentioned in my last post that we were busy with some projects, one of which was some updates in the kitchen. We are still looking for a general contractor. A good one is hard to find! The one we thought we were going to use turned out where they hardly do any of the work themselves; they simply suggested other businesses that could do each job. We do not want to hire five different contractors just for some kitchen updates! Another contractor that was supposed to stop by a couple of days ago to give us an estimate simply didn't show up. I didn't receive a phone call, email or text - nothing. 

We decided to start with something easy - a new ceiling fan in the kitchen. I know some people don't like ceiling fans in kitchens, but we happen to love having one in there. I do a lot of cooking, plus this is where family and friends tend to congregate, as the kitchen truly is the "heart of the home". In the warm months, the extra breeze from the fan is a big plus. We've never had a problem with grease on the fan. We hired an electrician because we needed some other electrical work done in the house, as well. We went out and bought a ceiling fan we thought would work, but dummy us didn't measure how far down the fan would hang. Turns out this fan is 1) way too low, 2) way too dark for our kitchen and 3) way too bright since the light is LED and we don't have a dimmer switch. And...we still have dead zones around the kitchen with one big LED light, so we need recessed lighting in the ceiling, too. So now we are stuck with a fan we hate until we find another one. The electrician said we should get one that comes with a remote where we can control the brightness of the light or else he can install a dimmer switch on another type of fan. We also obviously need a flush mount fan. And I think a white one would be best. Of course, the big box stores don't have anything like this in stock. It would have to be special ordered. Who would've thunk that something as simple as a ceiling fan could get so complicated?




The excitement doesn't stop there. When the electrician was up in the attic, he found torn screening hanging down from the center of the attic ceiling and a big pile of dead leaves. He said it looked like we had a nest of squirrels in there over the winter! We couldn't believe it. We haven't heard a thing overhead...no scratching or scurrying. And Brian was understandably upset because a neighbor-friend who's a roofer just did some minor repairs on our roof last fall. So these naughty rodents must've chewed through something to get into the attic. Brian got on the phone to an exterminator right away and they're coming out tomorrow morning. We also recently discovered - via our cat Monkey - that we have mice in the basement. Oh, the joys of home ownership! Now that we're *ahem*, getting older, I am starting to see why people move into townhouses or condos when they retire. Sometimes all this upkeep is just too much.

(sunset on our neighborhood lake)

Thanks for hanging in there with me and my sporadic blogging as of late. Hope you all are doing well and staying healthy and safe.
💓


Thursday, April 8, 2021

spring at comfy house

Oh, hello!

It's been almost a month since I last posted. I know it probably sounds strange to say I've been busy when we're in the middle of a pandemic, but it's true. We have several projects in the works. They haven't started yet, but we're getting contractor bids and doing a lot of research on the particulars. Our kitchen needs updating, we need some landscaping work done, and we're having some minor electric work done.


Everyday life is just busy in general, too. Seems the errand running never stops. And now the yard work. But on a happier note, I've been seeing my friends in my "Covid bubble" on a regular basis. We meet for coffee, a walk, or a chat in each other's home or yard. One of my friends enjoys art journaling like me, so we recently went shopping for some supplies. Another friend is currently going through some medical treatments, so I've been spending some time with her or else we have phone chats. What would we do without our friends, our support system?

(magnolia, nearby town)

We've had beautiful, warm weather here the past week which pushed trees and shrubs to bloom and most perennials to start poking out of the ground. One of my favorite times of the year! New life gives us hope. But that also means a ton of spring yard clean-up.

(hostas)

(bleeding heart)

(rhubarb)

(daffodils on the side of my house)

A few days ago I was saying to Brian that I should dig up these daffodils once they're done blooming and transplant them in Zippo's memory garden for bloom starting next year. A couple of days after that, I was walking around the yard and as I was approaching Zippo's memory garden, this sight stopped me in my tracks: A lone daffodil right next to Zippo's cat angel statue.


I love signs from above.


Speaking of kitties, Miss Clementine is still doing great. She loves hanging outside on the porch in the sunshine if I'm out there drinking my morning tea. Sometimes she'll start to head down the sidewalk or into the side yard, and that's when I scoop her up and put her back inside.


The young women vet techs that administer Clementine's subcutaneous fluids twice/week tell me she's "the sweetest cat ever." That she's one of the few cats they see that is calm about being stuck with needles so often. When I tell them that at home she's a "spaz", they can't believe it. She's very high energy and is constantly racing around the house, plays fetch with a felt ball, follows me everywhere and is constantly wanting attention. 


Now Monkey, on the other hand, is a totally different story. He's Clementine's son and is a year or two younger than his mama. He spends a lot of time lying around and/or sleeping. He goes to the vet tomorrow for an overdue wellness exam and blood tests. Poor guy has been a bit neglected with all the attention focused on Clementine and her kidney disease and skin issues. He also has something going on with his eyes, where they flare up and are red-rimmed. The vet told me when he was a kitten that it looked like he had the herpes virus in his eyes. It's passed on from the mother at birth. I'm used to seeing minor flare-ups from time-to-time, but this latest period is worse. (Don't you just love his little goatee...and want to pet the beautiful silky fur on his belly? 😻)


Back to beautiful weather...a couple of days ago, it was near 80 degrees. Brian had the day off work and unearthed the patio furniture from under the tarps and set up and cleaned off the patio and cleaned the grill. Both the furniture and the patio need a good power washing, but that will have to wait for another day. We wait six loong months every year for this annual spring routine. It's the official start to warm weather for us and it thrills us every year. 


Brian grilled chicken breasts and I topped them with pico de gallo, and made a side salad of quinoa with fresh veggies and cilantro and sliced up an avocado. Delicious, healthy, warm weather food! It felt so good to be dining al fresco once again.


As is typical here with the month of April, we're back to cool, rainy weather today. The extended forecast shows a lot of rain and much cooler temps. How's the weather where you live? And what's new with you? I hope to not be so long with my next post.
💓




Wednesday, March 10, 2021

clementine ~ and vintage shopping

Thank you all so very much for the good thoughts and prayers for Clementine. (See last post if you missed it.) Thankfully, she came out of her procedure doing well except for being feisty. They were able to clean her teeth using light gas instead of putting her completely under. A big relief so that her kidneys wouldn't have to process a strong anesthesia. As you can imagine, I am incredibly thankful to have my Clemmie back at home and doing well. She fell asleep on my tummy earlier today and even though I needed to get up and get things done, I relished the peaceful time spent with her. I know her life is limited due to her kidney disease. 


This past weekend, hundreds of vintage shops across Wisconsin and Illinois participated in a Vintage Shop Hop. I only went to a couple of shops ~ one on Friday and one on Saturday. From the first shop, I came home with this vintage recipe box. I loved the spring colors and graphics.



I also found this pair of salt and pepper shaker chicks. They're not vintage, but they were too cute to pass up. They go with my hen and chick butter dish that I found in a thrift shop years ago.


Saturday was beautifully sunny and getting warmer...I could smell spring in the air. I spent a few hours in a small nearby town, first grabbing a coffee from the local coffee shop and then taking a 1/2 hour walk around the town, soaking up the sunshine, breathing in the fresh air, letting my thoughts go...decompressing. 


As I was walking, this house across the street with the bright blue door caught my eye. Isn't it pretty? I never regretted painting our front door a bright yellow. A friend of mine painted her front door a bright green. 


After my walk, I popped into my destination. This shop I visited has a mixture of vintage items and handcrafted pieces made by the owner, Mary. I've been shopping at her store for years now, and we always chat, so I've gotten to know her. I hadn't seen Mary since before Christmas and I was the only patron in the store, so we had a chance to get caught up.


Mary's artistic ability goes beyond her handcrafted items. Her displays and vignettes are always eye-catching.






A few treasures came home with me, including this wooden pedestal. I might give it a little distressed look with a dry brush later.


This vintage wooden bird was up high on a china cabinet, but he caught my eye. He's handmade and his wings move up and down. Mary tied a rope around his neck to camouflage a crack in his neck from where she dropped him. I told her I didn't mind the defect. 


I have a soft spot for either red and white or blue and white kitchen decor. There were a bunch of these vintage milk glass spice jars, but I only wanted one. I've seen white vintage spice jars, but only smooth ones. I love the raised design on this jar. Right now it's on the ledge of my stove, in-between the salt and pepper shaker. I move things around all the time and change up decor, so one day it might be in my china hutch with other red and white items.


As always, thanks for visiting and for your lovely comments. They truly do make my day. 
Stay safe and well.
💓




Monday, March 8, 2021

my darling clementine

LATER UPDATE: Clementine did well with her procedure and is home and doing fine! 

Hello friends ~ I will be back later this week to show you some things I got from vintage shopping this weekend, but I wanted to pop in last minute and ask you for good thoughts and prayers for my sweet kitty, Clementine.

Before I do...I have to share this photo from this morning. We're having a rare few days here in Illinois with 60 degree temps. Brian and I sat outside on the porch this morning in our pajamas, soaking up the vitamin D while we had the chance. I jokingly said to Brian that with our gray lounge pants and sitting outside in the sunshine, that we looked like nursing home residents that the staff just wheeled out. 🤣 But seriously...oh, how we miss this during our long, cold winters! You can see in the background that we still have some snow piles. I hope that with this few days of warmth (and some rain moving in), the snow will be completely gone. I walked around the yard the other day and was thrilled to see signs of daffodils, chives, and Jacob's Ladder poking their green shoots out of the ground. 


On to my sweet girl. She is going to the vet tomorrow morning to be put under anesthesia and have her teeth cleaned. Normally, not much of a big deal. However, Clementine has kidney disease. So being put under anesthesia is a risk. After talking to both vets in our vet practice, they both agreed that it's better in her case to take the risk. The tartar is so bad on her back teeth that it poses a risk to her kidneys. 


I'm nervous about her being put under anesthesia, of course. I have anxiety, so fear and bad thoughts run through my head. I am doing my best to replace those thoughts with good ones, but if you suffer from anxiety too, you know how hard this can be.


And if you're a pet parent, you also know how much love your heart holds for your fur baby/babies. So if you feel led, please say a prayer for my Clementine that she will get through the procedure without any complications. Positive thoughts sent our way will work, too!


Clementine and I thank you!
💓


Sunday, February 21, 2021

peaceful sunday

Hello and happy Sunday! If there's one positive thing I can say about early morning, it's that the sunrises through the bare tree branches are spectacular. They only last a few minutes, but at least it brings a smile to my face first thing in the morning as I raise the blinds and greet a new day.


I'm purposely having a peaceful day today, as this weekend was actually a little busy with errands, visiting with a friend (one in my COVID bubble), cooking and housework. And my next couple of days are busy with contractors coming to give estimates and taking Clem to the vet. (More on that later.) It was nice to enjoy a leisurely breakfast with the Sunday paper. I normally drink jasmine green tea in the morning, but once a week of so, I enjoy a cup of coffee. My tummy can't handle coffee every day anymore. Breakfast today was my usual: overnight oats with fresh fruit, toasted walnuts and pecans, raw pumpkin seeds, a little flax meal and hemp hearts, a smidgen of pure maple syrup, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. 


Yoga is part of my everyday routine, even if I only have time to just do a few stretches and poses. Otherwise, I enjoy doing Yoga with Adriene. She has so many choices, including gentle ones. I bring the video up on my phone and cast to the TV in the living room. Monkey loves when I do yoga, for whatever reason. See him waiting for me? He walks all around me, purring, rubbing up against me and sometimes even trying to climb on my body. Clementine's in one of her usual spots - lying on the heater vent under the table. Poor baby is always cold in the winter. I just ordered her a heated cat bed from Amazon.


A short journaling prompt for the day...it's called 12-6-3-1 and was designed by my First Best Friend, Cin, who is a poet. Sit in a quiet place and take a few deep breaths. Maybe light a candle. Just let your mind and body relax. Write down 12 words that come to you. They can be any kind of words...how you feel, what you see out the window, what is on your mind. You don't want to overthink this. When you have your 12 words, look them over and then whittle the list down to six of those words - whichever words jump out at you. Keep them in the order which you first wrote them. From the six words, choose three words that resonate with you. Again, in order which they were written. From those three words...choose one. What's behind that final word for the day?


I am still in love with this writer's medic bag from Galen Leather that Brian gave me for Christmas. The leather is so soft and buttery and gently worn, and the case unfolds to hold notebooks and journals and pens and all kinds of other materials a writer might need.


Even though it's a peaceful, relaxing day, general house upkeep has to be done. Seems like the laundry is never-ending around here, even with just the two of us. Brian produces a lot of laundry between his workout clothes, work uniforms, and everyday wear. This is just two days worth of laundry for us.


Clementine found her afternoon napping spot on top of some warm-from-the-dryer laundry. Speaking of her previously and taking her to the vet...I've mentioned in earlier posts that she has kidney disease. It's quite common in cats, especially as they get older. She is young to have it though. She was diagnosed over two years ago when she was 9-10 years old. Her illness has progressed to where she now goes to the vet twice/week for subcutaneous fluids. At her last visit, the vet detected what he called a "significant" heart murmur. She's having a chest x-ray tomorrow after her fluids. She also had blood tests done last week to check on the progression of her kidney disease. I have a feeling the news all around isn't going to be good. Fortunately, she doesn't act sick at all yet. She's still very spunky and playful as usual, eats all her food, and uses the litter box. Of course, if things change and she starts showing any signs of distress and/or suffering, we know we have to do the right thing and give her a compassionate end to her life. In the meantime, it breaks my heart to think about it and I am relishing every moment spent with her. When she cuddles in my lap and purrs, I let her stay there for as long as she wants.


Monkey has found his afternoon nap spot, too.


And so have I. The winds are howling, the sky is gray; the guest bed, a warm blanket, and a good book (Hamnet) beckons.


I hope that you're having a peaceful, relaxing Sunday, as well.
💓