Tuesday, March 29, 2016

oh happy day

 Sunny days make me happy. We don't have enough of them here in March. It tends to be a cloudy, rainy month. I spent some time in my back yard today pulling weeds - and actually loved it. (I know, talk to me in a month or two.) Even though temps were only in the 50's, I could feel the warmth of the sun penetrating through the back of my shirt and it felt so good.

I've always loved seeing hostas emerge from the earth, especially this kind (don't ask me the specific name) that ends up being a dark and light green striped variety. I always say it looks like asparagus at first.

Lilies are really taking off. This is our compost barrel, by the way.

No surprise that the mint is already taking hold in the herb garden. I clipped a lot of the dead branches today, but I need to actually dig some of this up.

I think the chives grow an inch per day now.

One hydrangea is unfurling; the one next to it is not. I don't have much luck with hydrangeas, for whatever reason. I've tried different places in my yard and they usually end up dying on me. 

I was surprised to see the lilac bush blooming already! It almost looks like miniature grape hyacinths, doesn't it?

Mr. Squirrel was very naughty today. He would not stay out of the bird feeder. I supposedly have a "squirrel-proof" one. Let me tell you...nothing is squirrel-proof. I left some peanuts for him on the fence posts and then he was happy.

 Indoors, I did some spring cleaning and took this white coverlet off the buffet to throw in the wash.

In the meantime, I decided to play with some color and used a thrifted scarf as a runner.

I like the white better, especially for spring and summer, but I'm liking the change of pace with this scarf, too.

I hope that your day held some happiness, too. :-)

Sharing with Cozy Little House - Tweak it Tuesday.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

everywhere there's books

 First of all, I want to thank everyone who left such gracious comments on my last blog post and said they were sending thoughts and prayers our way. Very much appreciated. There's been a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel, so we're all feeling better.

Those who have been following my blog for awhile know that I'm an avid reader and love books. I have books in every room in the house except for the bathrooms! And if those rooms were bigger, there'd probably be books in there, too. ;-)

I thought I'd take you on a little book tour in my home, starting with the kitchen. All the books in this room are cookbooks, but this isn't the entire collection. There's more cookbooks in my office/Phil's old room.

Cookbooks in the china cabinet...

A few more cookbooks on the kitchen cart...

And another small stack on top of the refrigerator.

Moving into the living room, I have stacks of books on tables...

and in the bottom part of the secretary desk.

Stacks of books give the perfect height for displays. This one is on top of the buffet.

Poetry books are on the ladder bookshelf. Mary Oliver is my #1 favorite poet. If you're not familiar with her work, she's an American poet whose poems are primarily grounded in the natural world. Her words draw me in with their imaginative simpleness and beauty.

Billy Collins is another favorite poet, as is Robert Bly...but I don't have any of his books (yet).

My favorite classic poet...Robert Frost. (Side note: bird figurine is Goebel, Germany.) Hmm...seems I have a thing for American poets! I remember when Phil was about six years old, he would lie on the couch with his feet in my lap and I'd read Robert Frost poetry to him. My mom used to read Frost to him, too. We were surprised such a young child would like this poetry, but I think he found the rhythm of the words soothing and peaceful. 

I have a small collection of vintage books, also on the ladder bookshelf. 

My current reading stack on the coffee table. Isn't that pottery pinch pot beautiful, by the way? It was made by a friend of mine and gifted to me recently.

 Walking down the hallway into the bedrooms, there's a vintage cabinet at the end of the hallway and it's stacked with...surprise! Books.

Bookcase in my office/Phil's old room...

 The rest of my cookbooks, and yes, I do use them...

A few more cookbooks on a side table...

I love the charm of miniature books, especially the old ones.

Some of Brian's books are in Tim's room for now - in an IKEA cube...

and in the TV cabinet. We have books in our bedroom, too but I didn't photograph them as our bedroom is still a work-in-progess.

Heading downstairs into the basement family room, this is where my main "library" is. Three bookcases line one of the walls.

A smaller bookcase holds my writing books and some overflow novels, Phil's Stephen King books, and more of Brian's books.

We recently added another small bookcase on the other side of the basement to hold Phil and Tim's favorite childhood books. As usual, I take over any available flat surface, so more of my books are on top of the bookcase.

Books are even stacked in a basket and suitcase underneath the console table.

Believe it or not, one of the projects I worked on these past couple of weeks was going through a lot of my books and weeding them out. I have nine bags of books going to Half-Price Books and another couple of bags going to a thrift store. 

Happy reading!
 I am just finishing up Pat Conroy's, The Great Santini. How about you, what are you reading right now?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

who has your back

 The weekend started out wonderfully. My first best friend, whom I've known since I was just three years old, had her annual girlfriend's spring solstice dinner on Saturday. I always leave my house early to check out some of the stores in my friend's city neighborhood before going to her house. The city streets were crowded and I couldn't find a parking spot, so I parked on a side street and then enjoyed a long, brisk walk to the stores. It was so different walking amongst throngs of people and noisy streets full of honking cars and buses than the quiet country streets I'm used to. I enjoyed the change of pace for the time being, but I know I couldn't live in that kind of environment.

I went into a small Mediterranean grocery store and came out with all kinds of goodies: homemade pita bread, dolma (vegetarian stuffed grape leaves), tabbouleh, olives, eggplant dip, and spinach and feta stuffed pies. I also went to one of my favorite resale stores...I'm always more enamored with the architecture and ambiance of this place than what they have for sale. This resale shop is in a 1915 building that used to be a theater.

It was then on to the gathering of beautiful women and a lovely feast. We keep the food healthy and vegan and the wine and laughter (and sometimes tears) flow. Of course, being a gathering of women, we talk about anything and everything. It's a safe place to share intimacies and feel uplifted and supported by friends who love you unconditionally.

After getting home late and finally making it into bed, little did I know that the start to my wonderful weekend would change in an instant. Just two hours into my sleep, my phone rang. It was my son, calling me to tell me some bad news. I don't want to put the details of his news out on a public forum...he is fine physically, so no worries about that. But it was something that shook me up so badly, that I couldn't sleep. Especially when he kept calling me every hour to rant and rave and cry. He's had a tough 2016 so far with really crappy things happening to him. On top of it, hubby is having some genetic testing done today that might result in some scary news.

Sunday dawned and having had only two hours of sleep, I basically fed the cats, did some laundry and not much else. I stayed in my pajamas and read the Sunday paper. Mom surprised me by coming over in the afternoon to give me love and support. She stayed a couple of hours and it really helped. I felt better after she left. If you're reading this, thank you, Mom. 

On Monday, the sun came out and I took a walk around my neighborhood. There is something about the sunshine and fresh air that makes you feel a little better. Lilies and daffodils are making their way out of the soil, the lilac bushes are budding, and the robins are back, hopping their fat, orange-breasted bodies all over the place.

In the meantime, I received supportive messages from friends, and even an offer of help from a woman that I worked with years ago and see only one-two times a year. On the other hand, those whom I expected messages from never said a word. Funny how life works that way sometimes, isn't it? 

We met up with T last night for dinner at a restaurant halfway between our house and his residence at school. It was so good to see him and hug him and for the three of us to be able to talk in person. We reassured him that the three of us were a team and that we'd always have his back. The three of us have been through much worse: the death of our oldest son/T's brother back in September 2009. If we can make it through that, we can make it through anything, right?

 We also received a bit of positive news regarding the incident that happened to T, so all our hearts were a bit lighter.

I woke up this morning to find this message from my T on Facebook:

"Life has been kicking me while I'm down lately. But I am very thankful for all my friends and family that have been supporting me along the way, especially my parents. Without them in my life I would be nothing. When you think life is at its worst, just remember all the good things you have that other people might not."


With gratitude for all my blogger friends, too. Thank you.

Sharing at Cozy Little House Tweak it Tuesday.

Friday, March 18, 2016

fun thrifting finds

 It's been awhile, but I went thrifting again. Here's what came home with me:

I love the colors in this handmade blanket. It's also the perfect size to cover just my lap and part of my legs; it's not over-sized. Since our evenings are still cold, I use it when I'm reading or watching TV.

Blue and white dishes are my favorites and I happened to need some more smaller plates. I usually buy plates made in England or Germany (I won't eat off of plates that are made in China) as I prefer that style, but I was drawn to the flowers on these Japanese plates. I also like how they have a "lip" on the plate edge. A lot of times, I just eat a small meal or a snack consisting of fruit and raw nuts, so these smaller plates are a perfect size.

Another scarf (I know it needs ironing) to add to my collection.

Two small Limoges teacups. My grandma loved Limoges, too. 

A kitty sun catcher.

Brass Gregorian candlesticks.

A green and white lampshade...

An organizer that still had the original price sticker from HomeGoods on it. My price was 50 cents. :-)

Lastly, I found this collection of vintage quilted hearts when I was treasure hunting with Mom a few days ago.

Have a fantastic weekend!