Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lyra Lou

I took this closeup of Lyra last week. Look how long her eyelashes are! Lucky girl doesn't even need any mascara.

soaking up the autumn sunshine

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

An Unexpected Message

I have this thing for fortune cookies - if you don't know what I'm talking about you can read it here. With that knowledge it should come as no surprise that my youngest son recently got my attention when he posted this photo on Facebook.

Today when I picked up the mail there was an envelope addressed to me from Johnson University. I recognized the handwriting immediately. Inside was this little note from my son

I can't begin to tell you how much this little note meant to me. First he cared enough to send me a fortune to add to my crazy collection. And second what mom doesn't like to hear those words, "I love you"?  But that wasn't all. Notice he included a Bible verse at the bottom.

I pulled out my Bible to see what message he was sending me. Luke 12: 22-34 notice the title?  Do Not Worry

My heart was suddenly overflowing with emotions. This child of mine, who is actually no longer a child but a grown man, was comforting me. He knows me well. He knows that I am afflicted with a disease called WORRY. Worry dogs me at every turn. It creeps into my thoughts and dreams, it rides in the passenger side of the car, and follows me around the grocery store. It's not something I welcome and I try to keep it at bay. But some days, despite my best efforts, it forces itself front and center in my life and takes over like kudzu growing in the south, consuming everything around it and slowly choking the life out of anything in it's path.

My son knows the struggle I have with worrying and how I constantly battle to control it. In the infinite wisdom that has been bestowed upon him, this man-child of mine reached out and gently reminded me that I am not alone in my battle. The scripture he chose encouraged me to have faith and to be confident in the assurance that everything will be all right.

So there it is. A scripture from the Bible, the loving thoughtfulness of a son, and a message sent in a fortune cookie. All to remind me that my God, unlike the fortune cookie, never sleeps and is always vigilantly watching out for me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lyra the Crazy Cat

Just what every crazy cat woman needs - a crazy cat.

A couple of weeks ago I bought this toy for Lyra at the dollar store. 

It's soft and fuzzy, makes a little crunchy sound, and has a bell inside the tip
Oh my gosh, this was the best dollar ever spent. She loves this toy. 

Nom, nom, nom, I wuv my fuzzy mom!
She loves it so much that I started to worry, what will we do if something happens to her toy?

So, yesterday I trekked over to the Dollar Tree and purchased three and would have bought more if I'd had the cash. Why you ask?  I just can't stand the thought of being without. To help you understand ... I am the same woman who always had a half dozen or more pacifiers for her kids.
Yep, there's two in his mouth and I can guarantee moments before the photo was taken there were also one in each hand, and another couple scattered around the toys!

 And lets not forget my own six-pack of chapsticks from Japan.


My philosophy - the things we love and can't live without  ... you can never have too many of and must never, repeat NEVER be caught without!

Initially I thought I'd stash away one or two fuzzies (that's my name for them)  and pull one out as needed. Lyra's idea of "as needed" is different than mine because she immediately pulled all of them out the bag as soon as I walked in the door. I figured what the heck, and scattered them throughout the house so there'd always be one available for play.

Apparently Lyra didn't like that idea and had a plan of her own.

First she started bringing them to me one by one.

She carries them by the furry tip and drags the stick along behind her. I figured out pretty quick that she really doesn't want me to play with her with them because as soon as I pick up the stick and start swinging it around she starts chattering at me. Clearly she is saying, "put my toy DOWN!" So I just let her be and left her alone with her toys.

When Daddy got home from work she showed him her fuzzies but seemed content to leave them alone and took up her usual stance of being his neck brace while watching tv. (It's a nightly routine at our house.) Meanwhile I headed off to the bedroom to watch my shows. Yes, the hubs and I watch TV in separate rooms. For the most part we don't like to watch the same shows and we won't even get into how annoying it is to watch TV with someone who is constantly switching back and forth between channels. I guess that's a topic for another day, another blog.

Anywho, a couple of times throughout the evening Lyra will leave her beloved daddy and come to see me. Sometimes she actually gets in my lap for a brief time. Sometimes she plays with her mice or her beanie baby
Yes, again with the excess
watch me kick his butt mommy
and appears to want me to be her audience. And sometimes she's just walking through the room to get to the bathroom. This usually happens if one of us had recently taken a shower. She loves to go into the shower stall and play.  I finally figured out she sees the water drops on the clear vinyl curtain and thinks they're something to be chased.

gonna kill me some water drops! 

I'm ok with this game unless she starts shredding the curtain. If that happens then me and the girl will go to war. I'll keep you posted.

But, last night she didn't do any of that. No visits and no water drop chasing. A couple of times I did catch her out of the corner of my eye, walking past the bedroom door and continuing on into Ian's room. (though the boy doesn't live here anymore, and his stuff has been replaced with our stuff ... the room will probably always be referred to as "Ian's Room" and the same goes for Andrew's room as well. Yes, I am a creature of habit). Back to the cat, I didn't really think much of it. I figured as long as she was entertaining herself, who am I to interrupt her play?

Fast forward to today. I'm sitting at my art table cutting 1.5 inch squares of paper using an X-acto knife, a metal ruler, and a cutting pad. Sounds pretty boring, huh? Not so to a kitty. She's sitting on the table watching my every move. Sometimes when I'm working at my table she likes to "help" me create. Today she thought this was a new game for her - catch the shiny blade as it whizzes by.  I can't count the number of times I've injured myself using X-acto knives and frankly the thought of slicing a darting-into-action paw scared me. I decided it was time to redirect her to a more cat-friendly game.

"Lyra, where are your fuzzies?" I asked. She knew exactly what I was talking about because she instantly started chattering at me. (If you're a cat lover you know what I mean by chattering. For the non-cat lover, you don't know what you're missing. It's a lovely sound).  Anyway, I "think" she understands me and in her own way is telling me, "I've put my beloved fuzzies away to bed." which can also be interpreted as, "I've hidden them and I'm not telling you where!" I of course refuse to outdone by a silly cat and off I go to find the elusive fuzzies. Thinking back to the previous night's activities it doesn't take a rocket scientist or a cat whisper to figure out they're probably in Ian's room.

Off I go to search, and BINGO! we have contact. All four of Lyra's fuzzies are stashed in the far corners of the closet, nestled behind the shoe cubbies. I pull them out and head back into the living room, cat in tow, still chattering. I think she's saying, "Mom, whatcha doing with my toys? Where ya takin' 'em?"

As I toss them on the floor in the living room I glance at the clock and wonder how long it will be before they find their way back to the closet.
Aren't these fuzzies lovely?

In case you're wondering too, the answer is FORTY-FIVE MINUTES! Yep, it too her less than an hour to move two pinks and a blue fuzzy back to the closet. She's very methodical about how she does it. First she brings her fuzzy to me and "shows me her baby." Then she drags it from my craft room to the living room where she jumps into her chair and appears to "clean" her baby.

When bath time is over she jumps down and I can hear her dragging her fuzzy out of the living room and through the dining room. And then there's silence. 

Mom, watch how fast I can drag my fuzzy away
I can only assume at this point she is running down the hall towards the bedrooms. After going through the same routine for the third time I catch her as she starts to drag away the final fuzzy. Caught in the act, she collapses on the floor and gives me a look that says, "What? What are you looking at?" She then gives her fuzzy a smooch

Fuzzy I love you! Please don't pay attention to the nasty floor. One day Mom and Dad really are going to replace it. 

before jumping up and running away, leaving the fuzzy behind. I'm pretty sure she's thinking, "I'll show her. I'ma just gonna leave it here for now and come back for it when she's gone."

I return to my square cutting and Lyra retreats to her cushion for a nap.

This is Lyra's cushion, it's like her throne!
It wasn't long before it was time to pick up Eddie from school and from there we're on to piano. I'm sitting in the van now writing this while waiting for his lesson to be over.  I'm willing to take bets that by the time I return home the lone green fuzzy will be long gone. I fully expect to find it stashed away with the others in the closet.

So, what do you think is going on here. Is Lyra playing a game with her fuzzies? Or is this some kind of nesting instinct and she's treating them like babies? I sure hope this isn't a sign she is about to go into heat again, I have her scheduled for spaying next Monday . Heaven help us, I don't think we can go through another week of yowling and rolling around on the floor. Keep your fingers crossed!
I was right! Got home and no green fuzzy on the dining room floor. It's back where it apparently belongs!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Salvaging a photograph

When I went on my recent purge one of my goals was to sort through old photographs. Now they're all neatly organized ... if you can call being stashed away in boxes organized. There are several boxes - a box for each of the boys, a box of family photos, a box of extended-family photos and a box of my pre-marriage days ... that is my idea of organization.
My next goal is to scan as many of the photos as I can and put them into online storage. I'm just trying to cover all my bases in case of invasion (alien, zombie, or foreign zealots), fire, or any natural disaster.

The $64,000 question is, "will I live long enough to accomplish all of the many things I say I'm going to do?"

Anyway, back to the photos.

In my sorting I found several photographs that had been mutilated.

For example, this one of our happy, YOUNG, family taken in the Fall of 1991. It was taken at my sister's house at a family gathering which included many of our Florida cousins. The cousins were up for a Georgia Tech football game and we gathered afterwards for a cookout and to watch the Atlanta Braves in their run to the World Series. Certainly our attire can attest to where our loyalties lie. Go Braves! 
There I am with my thick, dark hair and oh-so-attractive humongous eyeglasses. Andrew is a newborn with a little spit-up on his lip, and Ian is a toddler, sporting a deer-in-the-headlights look. Rounding out our happy little family is my dear husband.

Wait a minute. Where's he at? I know he's there because I see his arm resting on the back of the couch and I recognize that t-shirt. But, where's his head?

Apparently this photo is a victim of scrapbooking. I needed his sweet face for something so I just chopped it right it out of the photograph, and in the process rendered the photo useless. Fortunately at the time, instead of tossing it, I stashed it away for another day. I must have known some technology would come along that would help me salvage the photo.  

I'm not very good using Photoshop Elements but I think this photo is better than the one with a faceless husband.

Maybe with a little practice I can figure out how to put Dale back in the photo so it can be a true family photo. Until then, this one will have to do. 

Go Braves!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Who doesn't love spray paint?

Apparently I got a little carried away with the yellow spray paint

In my defense, I tried to protect the floor with a paint cloth.

Obviously I failed.

I guess next time I should stay away from spray paint and go with a brush and can.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Have You Heard the Story of Four Sad Chairs?

Once upon a time there were four ugly and neglected chairs. They lived at a home full of people and pets but alas, no one paid much attention to the chairs. They really didn't have a special place to call their own and were frequently shuffled around the backyard. They were exposed to the elements and were often pelted with raindrops and the occasional hail and snow. There were also things like bird poo, grass clippings, and pine cones. To add insult to injury the chairs developed rust spots and their once white, pristine coats became dull and scratched. Yes, these four white chairs lived a sad and lonely existence.
And then one day, the mama of the family declared the chairs had suffered long enough. She wanted to restore the chairs to their original beauty and have them become an integral part of what she called, "Home."

First she put the call out to her friends to help her decide what color to paint the chairs. Suggestions ranged from turquoise to purple, to red, to blue, to orange, to black, to brown, to yellow, and yes even white. Some people even suggested painting each chair a different color. The mama appreciated all the feedback and ultimately decided to go with her favorite color red.

After spraying one chair red the mama was not too happy. Even after two cans of paint the color just wasn't right. This problem might have something to do with the fact that the mama didn't bother spraying a coat of primer first. She really didn't want to spend more money and time trying to fix her mistake, so the mama decided to live with the chair the way it was. 

During the same time as she was giving new life to her chairs, the mama was also in the process of sprucing up the small garden area of her front yard. She quickly realized the red chair would make a handsome addition to the garden and would fit right in with the Little Red Wagon that had once carted around two very cute and precocious little boys.

Continuing on with her painting project, the mama finally settled on another color for the remaining chairs. She chose a bright and sunny yellow. This time she dutifully primed first and then began the spraying of color. Two chairs were quickly brought to life. They glistened in the sunlight and brought a smile to the mama's face.
But, as beautiful as they were, for some reason the mama just couldn't bring herself to paint the fourth chair. Something kept telling her to hold on and wait. So that is what she did ...

Wait. And wait. And then wait some more.

However, all this waiting did not mean the mama was sitting idly by. The more she looked at her sunny yellow chairs the more she decided something was lacking. After perusing the black hole of the internet called Pinterest she finally realized her chairs needed a little light to shine on them ... because even though they were a bright and sunny color, the patio on which they sat became pitch black at night.

The mama put her crafty skills to use and through some trial and error made beautiful glowing jars of light. The light was obviously not bright enough for reading, but they created a warm ambiance and cast the most delightful shadows upon the surface on which they sat.

The mama stood back and admired her chairs and was quite pleased with what she saw. Even the papa commented on how nice things had turned out. But it should come as no surprise that there was still something just not right. There was still one chair, sitting all sad and neglected, wondering if she was the ugly duckling among the beautiful swans.
The mama could not stand seeing her sad lonely chair but she didn't want to rush into something she might regret later.Should she paint the fourth chair red? Should she just go with another yellow? Or, should she do something entirely different?  The mama scoured the internet and searched in magazines until she finally came up with a plan for her lone chair.

The fourth chair was going to be a unique, one-of-a-kind, masterpiece. First she covered the chair in primer, and then she brought out various shades of acrylic paints and pained her chair a lovely shade of turquoise with a hint of patina.

She lightly penciled in her pattern and painstakingly begin filling in the colors. Before long the masterpiece emerged. When done, she sat back and admired her work. "I think I'm done," she told the papa. He looked it over and agreed, "It's done!" 
"Wait," she said. "It needs one more thing." In order to preserve all her hard work the mama applied several coats of polyurethane and set the chair aside to dry. She could hardly contain her excitement but forced herself to waited the required 48 hours before taking her chair out to meet her siblings. 
Aptly named, the Sunflower Chair, she looks lovely sitting beside one of the Sunny Twins. The mama looks out her kitchen window, sees her chairs sitting together, and thinks to herself, "finally my chairs are a part of our home. I love my chairs!" 

Now comes the part ... and they lived happily ever after. But alas, our story is still not complete ... doesn't every good story need a prologue?

Apparently the papa doesn't love the chairs like the mama does. In fact, he claims they're hard to sit on! Believe it or not, he insists on sitting on one of those ugly, plastic chairs. You know the ones you buy at Walmart for $10. He's had the same white plastic chair for years. It's moldy and dingy, but the papa loves it. Being the good wifey she is, mama decided the papa chair needed a coat of paint too. So, yesterday she got out her yellow spray paint and quickly turned the plastic-wanna-be-a-lovely-chair and turned it into another ray of sunshine. 
This chair is (of course) a he, and he sits on the patio among the lights, the flowers, and the now-lovely-no-longer-sad chairs. 

As for projects around the home, this weekend we will focus on getting rid of the yellow jacket nest in the yard and the wasps who have taken up residence on the back porch. And hopefully before too long we will finish tearing down and resurrecting that eyesore of a porch. Now you know why I let my husband keep his ugly plastic chair. I need to keep him happy so he won't rip up the ever growing honey-do list.

Love you HoneyBunny!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wall Art for the Loo

Remember last year when we tackled a bathroom do-over? Here's a linky-loo for those that don't.

Well, nine months later I've finally put something on the wall. 


and easy to put together.

I don't know why I waited so long. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Yesterday my niece posted a beautiful sunset photo on Instagram and it made me jealous. How come I never get those amazing shots?

As the sun here was beginning to set I noticed from inside that there appeared to be some pink in the sky outside. I decided to venture out and attempt to get a half way decent photo.

It's always hard to see the sky from our backyard ... too many pine trees in the way

Walking out to the garage ... wow, that's some deep blue under the white clouds

Oh my! Pretty pink sky. It's amazing how quickly the colors are deepening. First World problem - having to deal with all the power lines getting in the way of a perfect shot. 

Let's travel further down the driveway and see if we can get a shot without those pesky albeit necessary power lines.


I am not taking the Lord's name in vain here. I am marveling at the majestic color of this sky. This is the most breathtaking sunset I've seen in very long time.
my caption on Instagram: "Beautiful sunset tonight, God has been coloring again!!"
God indeed has painted a lovely sunset. Was it because I was whining about not being able to get a good photo to share? Was it His way of appeasing all of us who have been complaining ad nauseum about all the rain we've been having? Or was it simply His way of saying, "hey, I'm God. Here's a lovely sunset to remind you how much I love you?"

I'm thinking probably the latter.

Whatever the reason, thank you God for lifting my spirits tonight and reminding me who the true creator is.

I am truly humbled even as I continue on to show you my latest personal creation. I wanted to shed a little light on our back patio so I stole borrowed an idea off Pinterest which you can read about here ...

I'm not sure but I just might be getting back into crafting mode. Goodness knows it's about past time!
in case anyone was wondering, none of the sunset photos have been edited. My little iPhone can take some pretty good outside photos, don't ya think?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Home Sweet Home aka Making Do with What You've Got

Let's start with a lovely photo of our grandkitty Lyra who is living here until her daddy Ian can afford a pet deposit and a visit to the vet for spaying. She's been with us for two months now and it's going to be sooooo hard to give her back. In fact, I might not. Shhh, don't tell Ian!

Now on to the story about what I've been doing with myself for the last few months. I could sum it up in two words - HOME IMPROVEMENTS - but I'd really rather bore you with the details. 
In the last nine months my hand has "touched" every single room in my house. No, I don't think I'm some sort of god but am in fact a middle-aged woman who is fighting the empty nest syndrome. On the plus side I have a home that looks and feels roomier, lighter, and somewhat fresher. On the negative side my husband feels like he's living in constant disarray and somewhat afraid to come home at night for fear of what he might find. I'm pretty sure he lives in dread, wondering what comes next. I try to reassure him that this is better than the alternative of having a wife who sits in the dark and mourns an "empty" home but I'm not sure he's buying it.

It started back in October of last year when we had a malfunction that lead to a makeover of the master bathroom. If you missed that adventure you can read about it here. It was actually a fun project that we worked on together and the end result looked pretty good.

That little re-do drained the house fund and fulfilled my desire for renovations for awhile. It was after the first of year before I moved on to the next project which was painting the kitchen cabinets (blogged about it here). Since then I tore out the additional/makeshift closet we had put in our master bedroom and rearranged the furniture ... our bedroom looks huge now! I relocated all my clothes to the closet in our oldest son's now empty room and filled the room with my husband's music equipment. It's now the "music room."

I spruced up the hall bathroom by painting the butt-ugly orange countertop. No, it's not granite or quartz or anything fancy but it's definitely an improvement. It's hard to see in the photos but it really does look pretty good. When Andrew was home last week he couldn't believe it was paint! (Eventually I will repaint the walls, add some beadboard, and do something with the tile floor. But that's another project for another day ... and a fistful  of dollars).

Most recently I turned my youngest son's bedroom into a guest room/sewing room and rearranged my craft space which has been detailed on my craft blog. Since I was opening up my craft room I removed my beloved "stained glass" windows that helped serve as a barrier between this room and the living room. The windows have been mounted on the walls in the living room and the furniture was rearranged.
Funny how the colors in the two photos are so off, they were taken at the same time!
 Running over my foot with the piano was the hightlight of that move. OUCH that hurt!

The change in my dining room is minor. I removed all the books from the bookcase beside the fireplace and replaced them with dishes, pottery, and knick-knacks. I also removed my laptop and printer (relocated to my craftroom) and closed the lid to the rolltop desk (no more paper clutter to be seen in here!) The real change is yet to come and involves lots of money and manpower. We really hope to re-do the floor in there, but for now it's just an entry on the list of to-do's.

The only other room in the house isn't really a room, it's the foyer. While it could really use a new coat of paint on the walls I don't have the inclination to tackle it right now. What I did do was clear out the coat closet and stowed away all of Eddie's "stuff." Everything is packed away in a tote and a rolling cart which can be pulled out while he's here and then rolled away out of sight when he's not. Before loading up the rolling cart with his belongings I sorted through the trunk which previously housed his "stuff." I swear the kid has hoarding tendencies (or maybe he was just channeling me and my craft room pre-purge??) I ended up with a trashbag full of bits and pieces of paper, empty tape dispensers, several dozen markers and pens that don't work, crumpled paper, empty water bottles, broken toys, page after page of scribbled on paper, ... did you notice the constant here is paper? I don't think the boy ever throws away a piece of paper (and I promise it's not like he was holding out to recycle, the boy just keeps every. single. piece. of. paper. he touches) ... well, it's done now. Boy is he in for a big surprise when he comes back from camp!

All of my hard work and changes didn't stop with the inside. I showed here where I spruced up the front of the house. And, a week ago when youngest son was home for a visit I convinced him and his dad that it was time to do something about the back porch. We They tore out all the rotten siding. Phase two will be pulling out the screens and then on to whatever we decide to do to "purrty it up." This may result in a new screened porch or a simple covered patio, the verdict is still out. But, first we need to address the flooding issues, and as always finances has a lot to do with what we ultimately decide. Regardless, just doing away with the rotten walls is a major improvement.
yes, it's still ugly but you should'a seen it before!
Sooooooooo, when people want to know what I've been doing lately, there's your answer. I've been filling the void of an empty nest with lots and lots of projects around the house. There's still a looooong list of things to come but I figured I'd tell what I've accomplished so far so people would stop thinking I'm sitting home eating chocolate and watching soaps. Funny thing is I'm thinking my husband would halfway prefer the chocolate/tv thing as opposed to one more cockamamie project. Either that or me get a real job where we could afford a new home or at the very least have a professional come in and fix everything.

Too bad. He's stuck with me in a forty year old house that's in a perpetual state of change. At least he can't complain that life with me is boring.

oh yeah, if all the above wasn't enough, two weeks ago I chopped off all my hair. Now not only does he not know what he's coming home to, he also has to wonder who he's coming home to, lol!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

It's the Fourth of July!

It took two years but I finally put an update on my Crafting blog. 

Alas it doesn't show a new craft, just an update on the status of my craftroom which has undergone a much needed facelift. Too many lots of photos. Maybe this will be just the inspiration I need to actually. craft. something!Click here if you care to see my room do-over

Meanwhile, today is July 4th. Independence Day in America. It's been a very under-whelming holiday this year because of the rain and the absence of two special guys.

Hunny and I were having a deep discussion over dinner. The topic? What would our lives be like if we had stayed under British rule?

What we came up with - 

  • we'd be speaking with a British accent (perhaps there would still be a Southern drawl to mine?)
  • we wouldn't be fighting over ObamaCare because we'd already be under the National Health Service
  • we'd be driving on the wrong side of the road
  • we probably wouldn't be watching Braves baseball, instead there might be a cricket match on the telly; and instead of anticipating the upcoming football season, we'd be looking forward to rugby; of course there'd still be tennis but it would be overshadowed by badminton
and instead of anxiously awaiting a fireworks show, we'd be counting down the days 'til the royal baby made an appearance.

Oh well, due to those patriots and their crazy ideas of freedom and justice for all, we sit here anticipating the booms and pows, the flashes of color, and the showers of sparkling confetti descending down on our heads. Oooohs and aaaaahs are on the tip of our tongues and patriotic songs fill our ears ...

Nope. Not this year. This year the only booms come from the rolling thunder pounding overhead. The only showers come from rain gushing out of the clouds. And the music ... Barry Manilow serenading (and very badly I must say, sorry Janet) us on the telly. 

And Lyra ... she's pretty sad. It's her first Independence Day and she's missing out on all the fun we promised her. 
Where are the purrty lights you promised me?

go away, I want to be alone now
Maybe next year will be different but meantime enjoy a few photos from another year.  

So there you have it - Happy 4th of July everyone - hope you're having a blast wherever you are and whatever you're doing.