Saturday, January 26, 2008

...oh the stillness of it...

Although not rare, it still isn't often we see snow here in Bear Creek. If we get any winter weather, it's typically nasty sleet and ice. This was a real treat last week (what can I say, I forgot to post & write about it...). This is a glimpse of our side "yard". I think it's beautiful against that famous Carolina blue sky...which, in addition to the mountains and the Carolina beaches, is one of the things I love most about this beautiful state.

I love snow only if it happens on a Friday night starting about 7:00 (and I'm not scheduled to play Bunco, have a church function or an event at The Rusty Bucket - all places I "hang out"). And what's best about it is the silence and solitude it brings. It's as if the world is asleep or just hunkered down and sitting quietly. And for the first few moments after the snow has stopped, even the birds are quiet.

I think everything and everyone is simply in awe and just taking in the beauty of it all.

It's been a week since this we got this snow. And now tomorrow, Sunday Jan. 27, we're expected to be in the high 40's to low 50's, which is actually "normal" for central Carolina.
I knew there was a reason I liked living here. *ahhh*

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

First BUNCO of the year

I hope this becomes a regular event in my life! I hear there are die-hard BUNCO clubs out there and now I know why! Just look at this group of characters, will ya?!

Let's see...from left to right that's Karen in the yellow, Amy (Cathy's oldest daughter) in black in the back, that's little tiny April in the grey in front, that's Cathy's younger daughter, Sarah, in the front, that's Annie (tall blond) in the back, that's Debbie in the brown in the front (not sure what THAT face is about - ha!), that's me in the back, that's Cathy next to me and finally cute Ruth on the end! We were short 3 players so Cathy brought in a couple of subs. Here's one of them...I'm not sure but I think she said her name is Emily - -

She had two other friends with her that helped us
out in our pinch! Our we corruptive or what? Oh, it takes so little to amuse us!

This go around we played for money! Let me tell you, I've never spent $5.00 on anything better!

I'm curious to know if any of you out there in Blog Land play this game? If so, share stories and pictures!

The men in our lives have no idea what we get into once we close the door behind us! I am SO grateful for these women in my life - even if I only get to see them every now and again...I appreciate the laughter they bring me. And they help me forget difficult matters even for just a few hours - and most don't even know it.

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

More Pictures

Good morning. Thursdays have always been my most favorite day of the week. Strange, huh? To me, Thursdays are like Christmas's the anticipation of the weekend. Knowing you're almost there...

I've got a few more photos to share with you of my girly potty...

This is a little grouping on the "big wall". I had planned on putting a framed poster print (Chat Noir) here but changed my mind. Instead there's a refurbished tin ceiling tile turned picture frame that I found last weekend. The photo is of me! Yep, a picture of myself. You need to understand how personally valuable that picture is to me. I am in my car driving HOME, across country from California back to Northern Virginia. That was the first time I smiled in almost a year - honestly. That chapter of my life just about did my entire family in... So, the photo is just a constant reminder to me of how much I love 1) my family and 2) the east coast!! In the same shop I found these tiny little framed pieces of old wallpaper. It's hard to see in this picture but there are little pink roses in the wallpaper, a perfect match. And to the left is a shabby chic pot holder I picked up in Occoquan when I was back home in Virginia a couple weeks ago. I had a bell jar that I put in there upside down instead of a terra cotta pot. There's just some pink wrapping stuff in there for now. My intention is to fill it full of prettily wrapped soaps - do you have any idea how expensive prettily wrapped soaps are??? Yeah, those'll be coming one bar by one bar!

For Christmas I got a Target gift card! I put it toward this cute little glass door cabinet that I hung above the toilet. Not sure if you can click on it to make it bigger. In case not, there are just a few pretties placed inside; a sweet little pink glass bunny candy dish, a WONDERFUL British rose tea pot that I found last weekend for a steal, some lotions from a dear, dear friend at church and a few other nicky nacks. That's a Longaberger wall basket on the wall (which I am SO tempted to paint white) and an antique sewing machine drawer on the back of the toilet, which I will definitely be painting white.

Finally, my man bust. I dragged him up from the basement and dressed him up a little. What do you think? Stupid? Most of you didn't have the blessing of knowing my friend Deborah, who just died from breast cancer. But if Deb saw this she'd tell me it's just fine - that it simply looks like a chick who's had a double mastectomy!!! And she'd be completely serious about it! (I love her...and I miss her so much that my heart actually hurts...). For now, that's where he/she's going to live. Maybe after our bedroom's done I'll find an even better spot for him/her.

By the way, my dear friend Cathy has offered to hunt down something with enough of a fleck of Martha Stewart's "Rose Tinted White" paint that I can hopefully take it and have it matched! I think I shared with you the funk I've been in because the paint simply doesn't exist anymore! If for some reason this method doesn't work, I have a backup plan but I'll be "hanging a lip" the entire time my dad and I will be painting - 'cause it won't be EXACTLY what I want! I'll be seeing Cathy this weekend and hopefully will be able to pick up the paint sample. Either way, by the end of the day Sunday, I'll have paint in hand and ready to start yet another project! I'm hoping to have my dad here the first week in February! Needless to say, there will be much to update you on!

"Change brings opportunities when people have been planning for it, are ready for it and have just the thing in mind to do when the new state comes into being". - Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pretty Plates

Happy Monday friends. I hope it was a wonderful weekend for you whatever you got into. Mine ended up turning out okay but it started off in the pits Friday evening/night. It was simply a "missing my friend Deb" day/night and I couldn't pull myself out of the slump. I was determined Saturday would be better and it was. I was up early, took a body sculpting class at 9:15 and was shopping at "Fetch" in Hillsborough by noon. I could've spent a small fortune in there, which is extra easy to do since she is way overpriced in my opinion. But I did treat myself to 4 sweet little "old" plates.
I don't know anything about them; where they came from, what "brand" they are, the age...but I don't really care. I just like them and I could afford them. I picture myself having lunch with someone(s) special and using my pretty little plates *sigh*. That's all we'll be using though, 'cause there were no pretty cups/saucers to match or old silverware either! Ha! Just me, my guests and our pretty little plates!
On the way home Saturday I swung through Carborro and stopped in Carr Mill Mall. There's a particular shop in there that Mike and I really like. I wanted to see if they had any of the white feathered angle wing ornaments left - they didn't. BUT, all of their soy candles were on sale at 40% off! If you haven't burned a soy candle, treat yourself to it. Clean and super scented and great for the earth! Go green whenever possible.
Saturday night was rearranging my potty. I know, first you say "didn't she just renovate that bathroom?", then you ask "how big IS this room?", then you wonder "doesn't she have anything better to do?"... Well, yes I just renovated but it's not quite right, the bathroom's not that big but I'm a master at making things fit/work and no, I don't have anything better to do than make my house a home! These changes are picture worthy and I'll get them done and posted ASAP.
And what a glorious day Sunday was. Sunday is our long run day for our trainging program (remember, we're running a 1/2 marathon in March). I had 6 miles to run and didn't know how I was going to fit it in. So, to be sure I didn't waiver from the program I was in Pittsboro running at 7:30 am. Am I devoted (or stupid) or what!! Let me tell you, it's very sleepy in Pittsboro on Sunday mornings at 7:30... But it was wonderful and really kick-started my day. After that, it was off to church. Great message as usual - "your salvation will see you through anything you're faced with". And after church I went to a recipe card making party at The Rusty Bucket, where we sampled the recipe we were printing up - it was white chocolate hot cocoa...again I say, what a glorious Sunday.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Perfect Man (?)

Well, he IS headless! Ha!

I have been carrying this guy around for years. He didn't live with me in Warrenton, Virginia or in San Diego, California but everywhere since. And for the life of me I can't remember how we met or when our relationship began! He's been living in the basement for the last 7 years and he never crossed my mind - until this week. I've come across a woman's blog that I LOVE. She has so many great ideas from table settings to how to efficiently go "junkin'", to inspirational quotes - I could go on and on. But the best is her decorating "style". In one of her posts she gives step-by-step instructions on how she brought to life a female bust she recently came across. At the time, she had a small shabby chic "cubicle" in a flea market and was using the bust to display necklaces and wraps. Her "Dolly" went from drab to fab in the time it took to spray paint her! That's right, a stinkin' can of spray paint and Dolly was dynamite. Of course, my man bust immediately came to the forefront of my brain. "I can revitalize this man" I thought! I can take him from dreary to dreamy - with just a can of Kilz! I was on it! And as you can see by the photo, he's pretty hot - well, as hot as a headless, heartless dude can be! Now, the dilema - - Does "Skip" stay in the basement all dressed up with no place to go? *sigh*
My plan was to bring him - yes, you guessed it - up to my new potty. It is taking on a shabby chic air to it and, well, he would fit in. He would fit in with style but I'm thinking he may be too big. Shh...I'm waiting until Mike goes to work to drag Skip upstairs and give him a test run. Maybe if he doesn't fit in my potty he can stand stoically in the corner of our bedroom? Um, yeah - I don't see that happening! I'm open for suggestions friends!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

...and then there were none

...Christmas trees that is!
FINALLY - we got the trees out of the house (at least what was left of them!). The house is almost back to normal, whatever that means :) And this weekend will start the "cleaning of the closest" (yes, singular...remember, the house in ancient and as such we have no real closets to speak of. The one that's getting the "flush" is in our bedroom.) and I can't wait. Downsizing, that's my goal this I can make room for new stuff! Another goal this weekend - get my rear in gear and pick out the paint for the bedroom! Ugh! Ever since I've accepted (okay, not really) that Martha Stewart's "Rose Tinted White" is no longer available, I've pouted, folded my arms and huffed in disgust - - and gotten nothing done!! So, I'm picking myself up, determined to find something similar and acceptable and moving forward with the project. I have to, there's a new piece of furniture coming for the bedroom at the end of the month. MUST - GET - READY!

Had a little date night with the hubby last night - which we both enjoy 'cause our time together is rare! Nothing real exciting - Great Outdoor Provision, GNC, Old Navy, Dick's, REI, World Market, Pier 1, and Target (where we ran into a good friend and spent 40 minutes sitting, yes sitting, in the produce section catching up! Loved it!). Sounds like a lot I know but a lot of these were in one center and we just strolled.

An update on Ma (my grandmother). She's been sent home from the hospital and is resting as comfortably as possible. Mom's spending a lot of time there trying to help out where she can. The coming days and weeks will be a journey for Ma and the family but it's all about the journey, right? Keep her in your prayers.

"He who has begun has half done. Dare to be wise; begin!" - Horace
(how appropriate is this daily quote from my Franklin Covey planner given my sermon above?!)

Monday, January 7, 2008

After The Weekend

Good morning and welcome to Monday. Boy, they sure do come around quickly... It was a difficult weekend. The trip is always a long one, typically an average drive of 5 hours each way, but this weekend was emotionally draining as well because I needed to be near/with my grandmother as she's been in the hospital since last Thursday afternoon. Without going into much detail, she weathered her surgery Friday afternoon and has been in ICU ever since. While the surgery went well, there are "issues" with her heart that are concerning and as such, the doctors are not willing to move her from the ICU ward - which suits me fine. My grandfather has been a trooper throughout this ordeal and has been surrounded by family willing to help him in anyway he may need. FYI...Ma is 82 and Pop is 84. And up until about a year ago in rather overall good health. I have been truly blessed. And we really got a chuckle Saturday night when Ma's night nurse came in and put together there were four generations in the room - Ma, Mom, me and Brandi Lee! That ALWAYS gets a "what????" outta' people!

My time with Jess was awesome! Only someone with as much love for horses knows how much I TREASURE my time with my equine love... He brings me such solace and peace (and a big hurt in my checking account!). We had some real quality, alone time Saturday and I can't wait to see and be with him again! And while in the country I hit The Purple Plum only to discover the entire store was on sale at 30% off! Needless to say I didn't leave empty handed!

Sweet Bran made the quick trip up from VA Beach Saturday after work. We went to see Ma Saturday evening. I'm so glad Ma was able to visit with Bran and know that she was there. I'm prayerful it made Ma's heart happy...she adores Bran (as do we all :) ). Of course the weekend wouldn't be complete without our Sunday trip to Occoquan! And yes, we did a little damage there, too. One of my new favorite shops is Willow Street, a shabby-chic shop with an awesome shop owner, someone I'd love to have lunch with! Got some new "drawer pulls" to trade out on another cabinet I've put in my bathroom along with a hanging pot holder that I have BIG plans for! I need to take and post more pics of the potty - it's changed since you've last seen it.

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing." - Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!!

Good morning and welcome to 2008! I hope the evening was a safe and memorable one for you all. Mike had to work but I was able to join him for dinner in Chapel Hill, which is always a treat for us. I was home by 8:30 - we party hard here in Bear Creek! Suits me just fine as I was up at my usual time this morning and ready to start my day.

I think a little later this afternoon Mike and I will be taking down the Christmas decor; it's time. I'm ready to get my little house back in order and kick start this new year. I've reflected some on 2007 and have decided I am proud of the woman I was last year. And, God willing, I will grow and be even more productive, peaceful and positive in 2008.

I learned a lot about living and more than I cared to about dying in 2007. I realize now that I watched my neighbor and dear friend Deborah die in 2007. Deborah had been battling breast cancer for the last 5 years, the entire time I knew her really. It had spread throughout her frail little body and finally took her life on the 14th of December. I was blessed to have known Deb and was with her just 5 hours before she took her last breath. I treasure the last meeting we had together when she was still "coherent"...the last thing she said to me was "I love you"... what better memory of my friend could I possibly have? The days since the 14th have been wrought with emotion; heartbreak at the loss of my friend, sweet as I was surrounded by my family at Christmas, heartfelt appreciation to Jesus Christ for my salvation - endless emotion.

But 2007, and God, was good to me. I learned about giving of my time and the few things I'm good at; cooking for others, sitting with Deb when she could no longer be left alone, providing "business" services (faxing, copying, etc.) to Deb's family when they began having to deal with the court system and the attorneys. I spent more time with others. I began a training program for marathon runners as Mike and I will be participating in our first 1/2 marathon in March 2008. I ran two 5k races - and finished! I bolted from my house every month when it was time to meet my buddies Cathy and Linda for lunch on our special days - oh how I treasure that time together. I enjoyed every event I participated in with my Ladies Aid group at my church - too countless to mention. I laughed every time the phone rang and it was Karen because I knew that call was going to be at least an hour long - I don't know how we come up with the things we talk about (lol). And of course I welcomed my regular trips home to see Jess, the equine love of my life, my parents, my daughter and often my grandparents. *Sigh*. And I am oh so grateful for the safety of my husband; that he endured 2007 unharmed as did his entire department. I implore each of you to keep your public servants (police and fire fighters) in your prayers daily.

I'm prayerful that 2008 will be even more spiritually filled for me. God willing, I will be better biblically as a wife, mother, friend, daughter, granddaughter, child of God...woman. Resolutions are really pointless, don't you think? Our lives are God's plan, not our own. We're not promised another day, let alone an entire year. But I will strive to continue to live a Christ-like life and be an example to others - no matter the cost. "You are better than you think and not yet what you expect to be"...Nikki Giovanni at the memorial for the Viginia Tech Masacre. I am also hopeful that the grief for my friend will ease over time. I know I will never forget Deb but the emptiness simply cannot stay in my heart. Most days are fine but some are so hard. I can't even imagine how her mother, father and sister must feel... I will make it a point to stay in touch with them. *Sigh*

I will also make it a point to blog regularly (although I don't know that anyone is reading this! Ha!)! My intentions are good but I start reading other peoples' entries and before you know it, HOURS have passed and I haven't written a thing OR gotten any work done! But I have a lot to look forward to in the coming months. I have plans to finish "remodeling" our bedroom AND our dining room. SO, we'll have mucho pictures to share and lots to talk about and plenty of reason to blog regularly! So stay tuned.

Before I forget, the photo at the top is of the gang on Christmas afternoon. I can't tell you how many "takes" it took to get even this photo - we have a hard-headed dog!!! She couldn't understand why EVERYONE was outside and NO ONE was taking her for a walk!

Have a WONDERFUL day and know that I'm grateful for each of you and how you touch my life...