Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Dream Let Go....

As  a follow-up to the House Hunting entry of a few days ago, we found a wonderful place.  For many reasons, it is perfect, although definitely not a down-sizing. The log home is smaller than our current home, but not by too much.  It is still four bedrooms with 2.5 baths, a living room and a large kitchen. It has a front porch and a rear deck, as well as a full basement that is semi-finished, including  plumbing for a kitchen.  

The well-built cabin is solid and was put together by Mennonite builders.  It sits on 4 acres of rolling farm land, and has 2 more acres available to purchase at a very good price.  There are three barns, one larger one, one the size of a one-car garage, and one smaller barn-shaped, two story shed which is larger than the one we have now.  There are four rectangles of  vegetable garden area, as well as blueberry bushes, thornless blackberry and raspberry bushes, grape vines, asparagus and rhubarb patches fruit and nut trees. And, there are lots of flowering bushes and gardens.  Aside from all that, there is a large fish-stocked pond that borders the property, with permission from the owner, who lives across the pond, to use it. It's quiet and peaceful with little sound sound, other than those that Nature provides.

The snag comes in the location.  It's 25 miles away from our current home, and despite every human effort to have Mom move there with us, she will not budge.  She doesn't want to live with us.....or anyone.... even though she could live in what could be a very cute basement apartment (with very little effort in making the space hers.)  I guess I see her point...she's settled, and doesn't care to be up-rooted. She probably wouldn't feel very comfortable being there alone, with no close neighbors, so that might create some issues if we want to go to see our kids or away on vacation.  Because it's so far from her, the property would not be ideal for reaching her in an emergency situation.

So, as perfect as this log house fits into our idea of what we both have wanted, it's not the right time to do this.  Perhaps the future will hold another place, maybe even a  better one,  though that is unimaginable.  For the time being, this dream will be let go.  


Saturday, February 28, 2015

House Hunting

There was never a time in my memory that I didn't like to explore homes, attics and basements.  The latter two are like treasure hunts.  The homes themselves are intriguing to me as I'm curious about decor, architecture and design.  

During my working years,  I worked in a number of real estate offices. I loved the work, but only rarely got to see the homes we had listed. I did get to see photos that we used for advertising them and occasionally I'd be present in one of them when we had an Open House.  These days, I do a lot of 'peeking' into homes by way of internet photos and real estate magazine ads.  

Currently we are discussing the idea of moving to a smaller property.  We bought a newly-built farm house design in 2005, moved into it in 2006, built a good sized room off the rear of the house to provide space for  family gatherings.  We have seven kids and eight grandchildren, most of whom don't have  work schedules that allow them to visit often,  therefore, we're heating and trying to maintain this large house for just the two of us.   So, I've been house hunting again.

What we're really like is a smaller home on a smaller lot, less to keep up, less time and cost to operate.  I think I could live in a condo....maybe on a lake or a retirement community of people around our own age.  Then we'd pay the yearly fee, and someone else would be keeping the property in good shape, giving us the option to travel or do whatever we choose to, without the obligation to the work involved in yard care.   But, that idea has a 'snag'.  That snag is my husband's resistance to living so close to neighbors.

This makes things a bit difficult in finding a property we can agree on.  His idea, as the grandson  of  a real estate developer, is to have a lot of property....  the more the merrier. ( HEY!!! Isn't that going against the idea of our idea of down-sizing? )  We currently live in a subdivision with each home on a half-acre plot.  Neighbors are close, but not as close as on the other side of a condo wall.  I have a little trepidation about moving to a large acreage surrounded by woods or even vacant land.  There'd be no one to speak to, wave to, or know if we were not within sight for a few days.  (I watch too many crime-solving programs on TV..... I want to know that someone would be aware that I'd been scarce, before someone discovers me as a pile of bones on the kitchen floor!)

Ideally, I'd love to find a little log home,  on a property overlooking or even including, a pond. I know that he'd like that too, and so that's what I'm concentrating on finding.  I found an ad for one, located about 30 miles from here....I showed it to him. He likes it more than anything else so far, but doesn't like the price much.  It's a small 4 bedroom log cabin....on 6 acres, with a  stocked pond.  He doesn't fish, but if there were catfish and bass outside my kitchen door, I'd learn, real quick, to bait a hook, and take the catch off the hook!   

So....how is 4 bedrooms on 6 acres called 'down-sizing', you might ask.  Now THAT is a good question.....and I must admit that it truly isn't  fitting well under that category.  However, it sure fits the idea of  our joint dream!   

Stay tuned.....

Monday, December 1, 2014


She is the keeper of Sheep. She feeds, cares for, cleans, sleeps with Sheep. She has since Sheep entered her life.

"Sheep" is her best friend. She is a sweet, stuffed animal that I gave to my granddaughter, Abigail, at her time of birth.  Sheep has a small blue cross embroidered over her heart.....and Abigail tells me that means that Jesus lives in Sheep's heart.

Sheep must feel VERY loved. Once, when she got an injury, she spent months wearing the same bandaid on her arm, while Abigail gave her time to heal.   She travels everywhere possible with Abigail, and has for nine years.  She has gone to New York, to Florida, to Massachusetts, and back.  She enjoys those vacations, apparently, but she's actually opted out on a few of the activities, as she's propped herself up on the back of the couch, crosses one leg over the other, and with her hands behind her head, she's said, "Ahhhh....this is the life."   She has quite a personality, too.  She tells Abigail when it's time for another birthday, and tends to have three (or so) birthday parties a year! Sheep invites all the other animals to join, as well as all family members present!

I am quite amused at the enjoyment Sheep brings to her caregiver.  I never dreamed that she would be as popular for as long as she has been...it's been 9 years now. I sometimes wonder whether Sheep will someday walk the aisle with Abigail as she goes to meet her intended!  I'm quite sure that we've got some time to wait for THAT occurence, and as we wait, we'll continue to look forward to those little adventures that Sheep brings forth!
                                 Sheep and Abigail, wearing lambs ears....about 2009

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Photographs and Memories....

Jim Croce  sang that song which is playing through my mind right now.  Those two words inspired this entry today.

I've been a peruser/user  of Facebook for about four years now, I think. Mostly it has been a very pleasant experience, but for here and there some fierce words from someone or too much political opinion sent my way.  In such cases, I ignore for as long as possible, and/or eventually just cut them from the friends list.

All in all, I enjoy the interaction with people. I know most of them, but certainly not all of them. Some are childhood friends with whom I've reconnected, some are friends who've drifted with me through the calm seas  or swam with me through the waters in the raging storms. Some of the new friends are those who went to school with my non-computer user husband, and others are those I've met on various pages with similar interests.  I'm a people person, no doubt about it, and each of these on my list are those I really would call friends if we were in the same place at the same time.

Their comments and their stories are always a welcome sight. Even more pleasant are their photos. I love 'meeting' their families, seeing their life experiences, watching their children grow, watching their lives in photographs.  It's fun for me to rehash memories with the long-time friends and giggle together about the remembrances.  

I'm so glad for the social media, regardless of the negative comments and the occasional all out uncivil behavior of some.  
Overall....those photographs and memories make my day!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Once Upon A Time....

There was once a time when you had items that, when turned on, they would just do what they were meant to do....WORK!  There weren't 410 different settings to choose, 39 buttons to push, or 73 different signals to sound.  Golly! Whatever happened to those days?

When I went to the car dealership to check out cars a year and a half ago, I had to listen to an hour and a half schpiel about all the extra doo dads and what each did and how you made them do it. I finally interrupted our very nice salesman and said, ' Don't you have a car that you can put the key in, put 'er in gear, and go?'   Of course not! It has to have power windows,door locks, alarms, Serius radio, OnStar telephone, etc.  C'mon. I could have saved enough to buy a few tanks of gas if I could just have manual roll down windows and push down locks on the doors.  Nope, I don't buy your story of all of those radio stations and telephone being 'free for 6 months'.  Nothing's free....especially at a car dealership!

Then we have the kitchen appliances. Our house came with them, when we bought the house new.  The stove is electric...the first mistake. It runs too hot, at least, the oven does, and after 8 years of trying to adjust temperatures to get the desired doneness of things when baking, I give up.  The second mistake is that it has one of those glass cook tops. While I will agree that it's easy to clean IF you clean up a spill before it gets cooked on.  However, if you're cooking and something boils over onto the burner, there is no way that you can clean it off until the burner cools, which takes a bit of time. By then, you really have a job.  The next problem with that is that you can't scrub it with anything abrasive or you'll scratch the surface, so it actually takes some time to get it clean with a soft scrub product and soft scrubby thing, and a good amount of elbow grease!  I won't even address the issues of the appliances, except to tell you that each one has it's own alarm. 

The oven has a high pitched beep-beep-beep to let you know it as reached the set temperature. The microwave has a beeeeep-beeeeep, again high pitched, to let you know that the time is up for whatever you have in the little box.  The washer sounds a long series of beeps in another high pitched tone,  to let you know that the load has finished washing...or something else is happening, maybe a load is off kilter.  The dryer is equally demanding with its own irritating cry that it wants attention.  The drip coffee pot too, lets you know that coffee is ready, as if I wouldn't be standing over that already, with eagerness for that first swallow of morning caffeine!  Consider the possibility that those signals might all sound at one time, which might be likely in this house. It would be quite a cacophony.  The ONE appliance that doesn't sound an alarm is one that I wish WOULD. That's the dishwasher. I'll tell you, that thing runs for nearly an hour and a half from start to finish. To save energy, we try to catch it before it goes to the 'heat/dry' cycle. If we do, it will just air dry in the hot dishwasher, and we've saved about a half hour or more of time and electricity.

I could probably come up with a few other things we have that are nearly as frustrating to us, but I'll leave it at this. (If I start discussing the tv/cable and remote, I'll be here far too long!) Suffice it to say that I'm glad for all the appliances, as long as they work,( but I can live without their singing.I'm an old-fashioned gal, but I do appreciate the work savers that they are. As for my vehicle, I'd still prefer the crank on the door to roll down my windows, the hand-adjustable mirrors, and cars that don't 'talk' to you...(excuse me, your front, passenger-side tire is low on pressure.) Just let me turn the key, put it in gear and go, thank you very much.  

Those were the days, my friend....we thought they'd NEVER end.....

Monday, May 26, 2014

Wounds of Wartime

Today is Memorial Day. We know that means a day set apart to honor those who  lost in their time of service to our country. One of my Facebook friends from my hometown shared that her brother served in Korea, and was lost in the War there  As it often happens, while thinking about those things, one thought leads to another.....which leads to the writing of these words today.

We know that Wars bring casualties. We know that there are those who have returned home with their scars from injuries, who have been presented with Purple Hearts and medals.  We also know that there are many who have come home with PST, trauma that we've never known. Those people are seeing images in their heads the likes of which we'll never see.  Those men and women are recognized for what they've endured.

But, what about the many, the un-numbered others who bear the wounds of wartime?  What about the Viet Nam veterans who returned to be spat upon, cursed, and more as they walked through airports wearing their uniforms. Those individual military men and women who were greeted with disrespect after putting their lives on the line for us.  They carry that pain even today, so many years later, injuries  as deep for some of them as if they'd been impaled by a bayonet. An ungrateful population of demonstrators, some of them cowards who would run to Canada to escape the Draft, rather than put their lives in jeopardy.

What about the families who have no idea what happened to a loved one who was declared Missing in Action?  Think of the way those people must feel, kissing their son, or brother, or grandson good-bye, and never hearing from them again.  Consider the Mother who was notified by telegram, or by letter, that her son was declared dead, as was true of my friend's Mom.  How did she go on through her life, bearing such an unbearable injury to her heart and soul?

Go to the Wall in Washington, DC, and watch the visitors there. Look at the adult women and men weeping as they stand before a name of one they knew.  Notice them tenderly touching the engraved name and softly tracing it with their fingers. These are showing the wounds they feel so many years later over the loss.  Maybe one of them is a son, maybe a daughter...born while their father served in a foreign land. Those grown children might never have met their father.  They have suffered the wounds of wartime, and they carry those unseen scars throughout their own lives.

There are so many....uncounted.....who did not fight in a skirmish, yet they battle the pain that rides through their souls during their lives, things they could not control, brought about by the loss, the injury, the mental illness, the curses, the disrespect, of the ones they loved more than they can express to you.

They, too, endure the Wounds of War.  As I remember their lost ones,  I  also think of those who they left behind.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

What Can I Say?

 Today is Mother's Day. It's a day when we find something special to do for our Moms, to let them know how much we appreciate them and their efforts.  They, most of them anyway, deserve the praises and honors we shed on them. No one is perfect, but most of us will acknowledge that the woman we call our mother is the most perfect choice for us.

I can, and I have, written about my Mom and some of the stories of her that I recall with appreciation.  The fact of the matter is, there are not enough words in the human language to say how blessed I am that this humble, giving woman is my own Mom.  We have shared everything for 66 years, both good times and bad ones.  She's never disowned me, regardless of how frustrating I was to deal with.  I will never disown her, either, regardless of how stubborn and determined she can be.  She taught me to be a strong woman, and I've was infiltrated with some of her stubbornness, so there are times when we are too much alike and things
can be a bit of a struggle.  However, the older I get, the more I realize that everything that she is is what I want to be in my own life.  

Mom is a wonderful example, has always been to us, her children.  I pray that she has rubbed off on me,  or will, during the years I have left.  I long to be such an example to those who know me, and that they might learn along the way that we all must be patient, compassionate, understanding, giving...and forgiving.... people, in order to make our way peaceably through a difficult world of many different personalities and ways of life.

What can I say? Not much more than 'Thank You, Lord for the blessing of this woman in my life, this one who has taught me so much along the way. And Thank You, dear Mom, for all you have put up with over the years, all you have given to so many, all that you do still, to show us what a good servant of the Lord looks like.'  As I said earlier, there are not enough words ......