Saturday, September 25, 2010

one year today

On September 25, 2009, my world as I knew it came to an end. My oldest son, Phil, pictured below in the green striped shirt, passed away unexpectedly. This past year has flown by in a blur. People ask me how we get through each day and go on with our lives, and all I can say is that I simply get up and put one foot in front of the other because I have to. I miss my son so much and think about him a million times a day. There will forever be a hole in my heart.

In loving memory of Philip Thomas Riley
07.21.88 - 09.25.09

Monday, September 20, 2010

my kitchen is not perfect

You can tell that my kitchen is straight from the 1980's: plain, oak cabinets and formica butcher block countertops. But that's OK - I love my kitchen anyway because there's enough room for a table and chairs, plenty of counter space for food preparation, and ample cabinet space. It's the place where family and friends gather when they visit, so as long as I make them feel welcome, that's the most important thing, right?

The only improvement we've done in the kitchen thus far was to install hardwood floors about 8 years ago. We said we'd do the under-the-cabinet trim ourselves (i.e., hubby was going to do it) but ummm...yeah. It's still not done.

I'm actually one of those people who prefer white appliances instead of stainless steel. Those painted red blobby prints by the back door? I experimented by taking the cut end of a bunch of celery, dipping it in red paint, and stamping it on the wall. Not my greatest idea...and I didn't have anymore light blue wall paint to cover it up. So it stays for now.

We found this small china hutch when we were first married. It was perfect at the time for the townhouse we were living in. Now, it's still right at home in the kitchen since it doesn't take up much space, and we don't have a separate dining room. The plate collection on the right is one I change seasonally. The bird plates were from Pier 1 Imports and and the flowered plates are Staffordshire (England), English Garden pattern.

"In the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot, and a mom" (Barbara Costikyan)

Friday, September 17, 2010

autumn decorating

Even though fall isn't my favorite time of year, it is my favorite time for decorating. See the round, orange piece on the wall? That was a bland, beige resin rosette that I found at Goodwill. A can of orange spray paint brightened it up and also added some color to the lower wall collection. (Cat toy under the chair not included.)

One of the shelves above the fireplace. The candleholder and the metal bird were both Goodwill finds. Have I mentioned how much I love Goodwill?

Found this charming little bird box last week at a shop in Long Grove...

I dunno about this pumpkin under the wire cloche. I'm not diggin' it. It looks...kidnapped or something, lol.

Still playing around with this buffet arrangement, too. It's too lined-up looking. I've been looking through my boxes of home decor stuff in search of a vintage wooden box and faux pears that I used for display last year, but I can't find them. If you saw my basement, you'd know why.

The green frame around the mirror is something I added a few weeks ago. The orange rosette to the left is the other resin piece that came with the rosette mentioned above.

Monday, September 13, 2010

i'm a kitty grandma!

Last Friday was a very busy day as Clementine delivered her babies! I knew she was having contractions when I saw her sides heaving in and out. That happened a few times, she meowed loudly a couple of times, and then she ran into the corner of my son's closet and laid down on his stuffed monkey! I said to Clem, "Oh no, you don't. You're not having your babies on the monkey!"

I picked Clem up and brought her into the closet in a spare room. Hubby had set up a cardboard box for Clementine with shredded newspaper on the bottom and then layers of towels on the top. But she chose to have her babies on the carpeted floor. It was so cool to see her immediately lick off the protective sac around the baby, then bite off its umbilical cord. The second baby came soon after, but it was stillborn. :-( Clem was busy licking the sac off, but it was obviously dead from the beginning - it never moved or showed any signs of breathing. It was perfectly formed, but hairless. Weird. Hubby buried it in the back yard.

First signs of little feet...

Baby blends in with mama - and mama looks so tired!

The next day, Saturday...mama and baby already looking better...

So we just have the one baby and it and mama cat are doing just fine. I spend a lot of time with  both of them. I feed Clem 2x/day, including sometimes bringing the bowl to her - lying down in the closet, holding the bowl up to her face to she can eat - because she hates to leave the baby. She sometimes does leave the baby - to go to her food bowl or the cat box - and the minute she hears her baby squeak, she flies back into the closet. And since giving birth, I can't believe how much sweeter Clem is. She just loves for me to pet her over and over and purrs so loudly. She even lets me kiss her little head.  (Remember, Clem was a skittish stray that showed up at my house just three weeks ago.) Last night I was lying in the closet by Clem and the baby, just watching them and petting Clem. It was so peaceful, I almost fell asleep right there on the closet floor.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

autumn is on its way...

Goldenrod is in bloom...

The water is reflecting the slight change of color in the trees...

The skies are heavy with clouds and the stillness of the lake beckons cooler winds...

If you listen closely, you can hear the bullfrogs.

My Black-Eyed Susans are drying up...

The cucumber plant is past its prime...

And the grass is littered with fallen, dried leaves.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Some of you are already familiar with the famous Zippo...the ultimate in pussy cats. He's friendly, playful, and so sweet and affectionate, that I can hold him in my arms like a baby and gently rub his belly. He follows me around the house and sleeps with me every night. He was my One and Only until...

this pretty thing showed up on my front porch a week and a half ago! Meet Clementine.

Kind-hearted soul that I am, as well as a cat lover (read: sucker), I took Clementine in and made her feel at home. Took her to the vet to get checked out and...guess what? Take a look at that belly below.

So. Who's up for a kitten once they're weaned?