Monday, March 28, 2011
Sooo, on Friday I wanted to post about my lovely day: together with good friends it started with a lovely walk along a river in the sunshine, with just enough coolness in the morning air to make it crisp, fresh; and then investigating a new coffee shop I've been wanting to try. Yummy. I had a red velvet cupcake with a cup of coffee. The cake was good, the frosting was delicious and there was plenty of it - and the presentation was chic. Afterwards it was time for a few errands with a sister and my nephew, then home to see the family from out of state over for the weekend along with tea and our usual episode of Doc. Then home for a quiet, unplanned evening, time on the computer, etc. And then.......
Mr. B.T. came down to look at a situation that had been developing and give his opinion to the investigation my oldest brother and parents were already doing, and after talking for a while, he headed home. The family at the Blue Castle was talking, investigating.
You know those pictures I posted of the steps in front of the door we built? Well, one side was about, give or take a couple inches, a foot higher. There were cracks in the ground, there was places the ground was starting to rise and bulge, the upper driveway had cracks across it that were beginning to widen. If you read up on it, these are indications of an impending mud slide.
After meeting and seeking the Lord with my two oldest brothers, Mr. B.T. was the emissary that was chosen to return and give us their counsel: Leave. Get immediate valuables and spend the night somewhere else. What? In a twenty-four hour period the damage was getting worse, and it was too much for comfort. The house might have been what was holding it, but how long would that last? Maybe yes, maybe no, but we aren't going to be taking chances.
Friday had been clear and no rain Saturday, so we returned to pack up as many valuables and breakables as we reasonably could, and kitchen stuff, and it is being stored in my brothers shed. Our friend D.C. that has spent so much time helping us with the Blue Castle returned to help us get things out. Somebody should get that guy a white charger with as often as he goes to peoples rescue!
There is still a lot of things in the house, but you can only do so much and so far it looks likes the hillside has stabilized. My brothers brought in an excavator and dug trenches to try and divert water and get the soil draining better. So far it looks like it is helping.
We are looking for somewhere else to live for several weeks or months, until the wet season is over and we can get in and make sure the hillside is completely stabilized. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It might be perfectly safe, but if it isn't? It is just wisdom to be cautious. Especially since we're very likely to be getting some more rain, and the snow is melting. It isn't a major problem as far as the mountain is concerned, just a potentially major problem as far as our house is concerned.
Mother was dog sitting for the neighbors and they have invited us to use it before, so we spent Friday and Saturday night there. King size beds are nice. Until you try to sleep* four adults in one. Yes, all four of the girls crammed into one bed on Friday night. *Sleep is a relative term, we got very little of it. I slept on the floor Saturday night on foam pads and that was much better, but still, new place, uncertain circumstances, we are all very tired. My poor brother and sister-in-law had a full house last night as we rolled out on the floor! What would we ever do without them?
It has been good in that we've been praying a lot, seeking the Lord, reading his word; in that the family has once again rallied, pulled together, and helped each other in a time of need. Spirits are pretty good, but as time goes on I expect it will be harder.
I had sympathy for the Japanese before, I wanted more, and I sure have it. I just kept praying that if the house went, no one would get hurt. My heart is with those who lost loved ones. We had time, and so far, nothing major has happened. Please continue to keep the Japanese in your prayers, I believe it will only get harder for them as time goes on, as they have to live with it, to start to rebuild.
And if you could keep us in your prayers too, we would really be grateful. Life is a bit topsy turvy at the moment and my parents especially need wisdom as they seek the Lord on what we should be doing next.
Life isn't dull,
(P.S. I didn't mention above that I'm supposed to be flying out tomorrow to be spend a while with my grandmother as my aunt is out of the country. I feel a little bad leaving everyone to deal with the situation, but God is in control and it will be one less person that needs a bed. :))
Monday, March 21, 2011
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. I Corinthians 13:12 KJV
Okay, I realize I might be taking great liberties with context, but then again, maybe not.
What if you can see the top of your outfit, or the bottom half of your outfit, but not the two together? Are you going to be able to see yourself as others see you? A full length mirror helps you connect the two, to see the whole picture. But then shall I see, even also as I am seen. (Am I in left field?)
This can be as important to dressing modestly as it is to dressing stylishly. Seeing the whole picture is also how everybody else sees us!
Style and fashion books often tell you to get a full length mirror, and they are right. Also, check the front and back of your outfit. If you are confident your wardrobe is modest, that might not be what you have to look for (though double checking and keeping it in mind is a good idea), but you should still cast an eye over your outfit to look for overall aesthetic for the accessories you’ve chosen and look for loose threads, stains, hemlines coming undone, etc. You never know, maybe the shoes or necklace you chose and thought would look darling, don’t have the same affect you thought they would.
Do you have a full length mirror where you double check your outfit choices? At the moment I don’t, and it is frustrating. You never know what you have until you don’t have it anymore….
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Wide leg dark wash jeans (over leggings) - white cotton cowl neck sweater layered over a thin wool sweater (snow folks!) - and boots which you can't really see but are very slightly Western flavored English riding style. What you can't see but I love, is my argyle boot socks - in greys, black and red - smashing birthday gift, they.
The white sunglasses are more daring than I usually do, but they work with this outfit. And, they happen to be the only pair I have right now since I haven't replaced my classic neutral pair. :) I've shopped, but I'm not desperate enough yet and I have this "perfect pair" in mind.
Truth is, I feel I've been letting my wardrobe slip and I thought that maybe if I started posting I'd be motivated to be motivated! :) Hopefully I can also share some of my wardrobe philosophy and what has worked for me. It might be a little different from the mainstream, I don't go for quantity - in fact I need to par down. Hopefully I stick to this since the girls closet just isn't very big. Necessity is part of my reason for a smaller wardrobe!
We'll see what happens!
(Thanks to my sister, "Cinneadh" for the photography)
One of my younger siblings turned to me and said, “or sister.”
What she meant was, the conversation I was referring to was with a sibling, so interfering would have been as a sister, not an aunt. She was correcting, not suggesting. I think.
Anyway, the subject on which I didn’t want to be interfering was actually something the sibling and I agree on, maybe not timing, or how to, but on the goal. I find myself trying to balance between encouraging/helping and just flat pestering/interference. When to speak and when to keep silence, that is the question.
I might struggle with not being an interfering sister or aunt, but I’m going to try to be good. Because why practice being ineffectual and a nuisance? Despite what I might sometimes think (blasted human nature), I’m just not the best one to live anybody else’s life for them. I have enough trouble with my own, and juggling was never my specialties. Nor is driving a stick. I admit, in all honesty, Bourne does have me on that one. Smmmile.
Hope you are having a fabulous weekend!
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I do think it is healthy to give your nails a few months of rest - only, I'm afraid beauty has won out for me. Even in the winter time, I like to have pretty colors on my toes! I don't see them hardly, but when I do, it's nice.
This came up in discussion between two of my sisters, and the one (I paraphrase) said she did it because she liked to admire them when she showered. Which might seem a little vain, :) but not really when you think about it - Pretty things lift the spirits!
So on Friday I did a pedicure with Sally Hansen's Royal Romance, which is a sort of silvery-pinkish-purple (My sister picks fabulous nail polish colors!). It's actually not my typical shade, but I was in the mood for it and I'm loving the color! My feet spend more time in socks and shoes than not, but when I see them, they make me happy!
What do you think, wintertime pedicures or save it for spring and summer? You never know, next winter I might change my mind, and "health" shall win over beauty. (Honestly, not likely, but.....)
(I'm not endorsing Sally Hansen products. They don't know who I am, they don't know I exist. I have received no monetary reimbursement for mentioning them. Over and out.)
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Optimistic. I think if you look at the world through rose colored glasses you will see exactly what everyone else sees, but with a more positive perspective. At least that is what I tell myself, though I've really wondered how that works.
You know, thinking about this answer, I keep wondering, is this a word, the one word, people would use to describe my personality? Or just one word I might choose to describe my personality? Because, if you read the answer, it sounds more like my description/opinion rather than third person.
So, I’m curious, if you were using one word to describe me, what would it be? (“And feel free to elaborate,”;) - Sorry, I’m a big fan of Sue Thomas FBIEye. :)Seriously, give forth your honest, frank opinion – even if you think I’m “ pessimistic.” :) I can take it, I already know someone who thinks I’m a bit of snob, boring and likely to put a damper on things - oh, wait, that was before she met me! (And I might just be using stronger language than she did. :) Love you Theresa! You and your sisters are too funny - and special!)
The only thing that might be scary......is.....is.......silence. :>
Speak forth! (When I say that, I feel like I should be wearing Shakespeare costume.)
Friday, March 11, 2011
She was at the DMV, I think helping my sister get her driving permit, and the Mexican gentleman asked, “White?”
“Yes.” My mother nodded.
He repeated, “White?”
“Yes.” She answered again.
He said through gritted teeth, “How… much… do...you…weigh?”
I believe she was in high school when she was taking fencing lessons. Before a bout, round, fight, what do they call it? The French instructor told them, “chicken.”
They didn’t do anything so he repeated it, “chicken.”
Mother pulled off her mask (Is that what it’s called? I’m not full of a lot of information, am I?) and asked, “chicken?”
Her instructor burst out laughing and corrected, “Shake… hands.”
Thursday, March 10, 2011
So, I haven’t mentioned it in a while, but I have been living with it. Sometime in December somebody was asking about the house and said, “Is it livable?” I replied: “I don’t know, but we’re living there,” which pretty much is the sum of things.
Insulation: Well, there is a whole lot more now than when than when the weather dipped to the single digits. A few, several, I don’t remember how many weeks ago, my sister and I put some more in the ceiling in the loft area. It was a labor of pain, coughing around fiberglass, and trying to find the missing stapler, but in a very short time we completed it. :) Now the only thing that has to be done in the bedroom loft area (as far as insulation goes) is some short wall sections and one last ceiling section in the shortest part – once we figure out how we’re supposed to do it.
Water: Still cold, or colder, when the temperature drops. But at least we have the washing machine hooked up now and if we need warm water for a load, we just put on the kettles to boil. Sponge baths are also possible by this method. ;) Not in the washer, but using the kettles to heat water....you know what I meant. Personally, I’m still preferring a hot running water bath/shower at my brother and sister-in-laws, but sometimes sponge baths are just necessary between visits.
And Garnet Hill might have some beautiful pictures of firewood under the bed in their magazine, but living with stacks of firewood around the house is not all that picturesque in my experience. I can’t say I’d recommend it, in any case, unless you vacuumed each individual piece of wood, and then bug sprayed it. Who, I might ask, really wants to go to that much trouble for something they are just going to burn anyway? Well, truth is, I might, maybe. Ahem, not really under the current circumstances however, when I have enough trouble just trying to wash dishes sometimes.
Outside things are also slowly starting to shape up a bit. We’ve had some more mild weather occasionally which has allowed us to get some piles gone out front, start a gravel pathway around the outside of the house, build some berms around the rocks that I showed you a couple months ago, and build some steps where there used to be just a drop down to the house. At the moment however, you can't see most our progress for the snow.
Before the snow obscured them, this is what we did across the "moat":
Looking Down the Steps
Looking up the steps
And this is why we were trying to hurry outside. It happens rather frequently around here. Especially this year. (The steps still need a row added on the left. Or the right, if you're looking down.)
Coming inside the house....
The Living Room
Up in the loft, looking down.
(Please excuse the laundry. It is, I am afraid, just the way things are around here. If you want it to dry, you hang it above the woodstove.)
Mother has been working on arranging things so that it feels more like a house. Furniture in place, rug unrolled, tea cups and treasures unpacked….It makes things have a much more homey feel.
The top of the Shaker cabinet in the kitchen
Electrical: The wiring is much closer to completion than it was, with the living area almost completely wired, including the chandelier being the overhead light! Gone are the fluorescent tubes, which is an improvement if nothing else is considered. The “onion” lamp is up in the loft! This won’t be the only source of light in the girl’s room when all is said and done, but it is controlled by switches at the doorways. So, if you come in late at night, rather than tripping over things and falling and breaking your neck, you can wake all your sisters up (and they might threaten to break your neck for you. There’s a lot of love out there…. :)). The girls temporarily organized office is a bit of a mess in light (ha!) of the electrical progress, but soon I won’t have to have extension cords to plug in a lamp, so I shall be patient, clean-up the mess and move back in later.
The Onion LampIt's up, but I'm thinking that it needs a different light bulb, those horrid metal brackets "things" are going to have to be moved or dealt with, and of course the post, beam and ceiling need to be done...
Actually, on second thought, as much as we do that, this might be coffee, in fact, the more I think about it, the more I think it might have been.
I generally don't edit the pictures I post except for an occasional crop - this photo I played with the coloring a bitThis project is taking a whole lot longer than we had hoped and I can only say that I can't wait for it to be done. Not actually, because it is so horrible living this lifestyle, but I really think it is going to be a nice house when it is done. It's going to be original, different, and creative. (A climbing romp anyone? Mother hopes so - I think it might just work, even as far as decorating goes. As long as it is not an ugly rope!)
I'm not posting photographs of the clothes in "make do closets", the boxes that have been shoved aside to get to wiring, the dining table that is a storage center for what would better go in a workshop, the piles of firewood, etc. etc. etc. I'm going to be honest and tell you it's like that, but I like to focus on the more beautiful things in life. I think the Blue Castle is a little bit like the Little Blue Engine, I think I can, I think I can.....
Through rose colored lenses,
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
My sister (Many Paths to Tread) mentioned this to me and I thought it would be fun. No time like when there is snow on the ground to think of spring!
How would people describe your personality? (If they could only use ONE word.) Are they right?
Optimistic. I think if you look at the world through rose colored glasses you will see exactly what everyone else sees, but with a more positive perspective. At least that is what I tell myself, though I've really wondered how that works.
What celebrity/celebrities would create a “Star-Struck” feeling if you saw them in real life?
Hmmm, I might not recognize them, or have a clue that they are celebrities. In fact, it’s very likely that I wouldn’t.
Who is your favorite blogger? Why? Pioneer Woman. I love her cheerfulness, positive attitude, smile, the delicious looking recipes and peeks into her life on the ranch. Not to mention the documentation of her travels. I like traveling.
What is your comfort food/drink?
Tea, lots of tea. Best of course, with a little something to nibble.
Be brave – tell us something very random and weird about yourself.
I would still be crawling if I hadn’t sprained my wrist when I was about 13 or 14? months. Okay, I exaggerate a little. I mean, about the still crawling. I was a late walker.
Do you have a strong desire to do something you’ve never done? What is it?
Publish a book.
Movies: Action, Drama, Romantic Comedy, Documentary, Comedy? What are your favorite genres?
From the list above, probably Romantic Comedy. I like Action as long as there is no blood or scary parts. :)
Books: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Romance, Biographies, True Stories, Self-Help, Devotional/Study? What are your favorite types of reading material?
Mystery – with a romantic touch. My favorites are the type where the guy saves the girl, but their romance isn’t the central part. It’s just a human interest touch.
Music: Funk, Rock, Country, Jazz, Classical, Film Score, Blues, Classic Rock, Crooner, Alternative, Heavy Metal, Techno? What are your favorite types?
Cheerful Classical – a very occasional country song, and an assortment of unremembered movie scores I’m sure. If I even know what that is.
If you inherited a million dollars, what is the first thing you would do with your money?
Invest it. Thank you for your time. (I would be interested in spending the interest, in case you were interested.)
Name one weakness of yours (confession is good for the soul).
One? I can’t pick between them all. Procrastination?
If you could live anywhere at all (and take all your loved ones with you), where would you go?
I tried to get the family to move to the East Coast, but they didn’t buy it. And I don’t know if I would really want to live there anyway. I think I like it here, in the Blue Castle. I’ll like it even more when it’s all finished. Mostly, I like being at home, being with family.
Strange Talent? Can you juggle basketballs, put your legs behind your head or perform some other strange feat?
No, quite simply. I don’t know that I have any talents at all, let alone strange.
What’s something you consider yourself to be good at? (Don’t worry, it’s not bragging, it’s acknowledging a God given gift).
As long as we’re not discussing talent, and if we consider that some days are better than others, I can cook, in quantity, whether or not it is good, is something you’ll have to ask somebody else. Sometimes, I think it is.
What is one of your favorite things to catch a whiff of?
Oh, dear, now I’m procrastinating. It so depends on what it is I’m catching a whiff of at the moment. If it’s good, it’s good. Like rain, or fall, of fresh mown grass, or a wild rose, or coffee, or spices, or fresh garlic bread, or…..I would probably have to say freshly cut grass.
When you leave a social gathering, do you wish: You would have talked more or You would have talked less?
That depends on the gathering. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sometimes I don’t go at all.
If money wasn’t a factor, what stores would you shop in?
Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom’s, very exclusive stores and Costco – ever since I was young, and even when I hated shopping, I liked going to Costco. Want to know something else? I don’t know that I would necessarily buy a lot of things, just very nice things.
What is your greatest fear or strange phobia?
What is your greatest accomplishment?
I’d like to say, “investing in my siblings,” but I don’t know if I accomplished anything. I mean, they’re great, but I don’t know that I can take any credit for it. Next question.(I almost wrote that as "I'm mean, they're great," - just try reading it that way. Now they might agree, but....)
What are your favorite animals?
Dogs. Clean dogs. Well behaved dogs. Nice dogs. Hot dogs. (sorry!)
Are you a hopeless romantic?
Like do I believe in love at first sight type of thing? Yes, for other people. I personally way overanalyze things to really make that possible for me. However, if the right guy wants to “love me at first sight,” great. Only, it might be more romantic if he didn’t like me at all and then finally come round, and fall helplessly (hopelessly?), madly in love. Only I might never forgive him for resisting my charm in the first place. I’m thinking about getting a dog….
What movie or book character can you most relate to?
I at one time in my life thought of myself as being very much an Elizabeth Bennet, sometimes since I have wondered if I’m not more like Jane. But with all the snow around here, maybe I’m more like Mrs. Claus.
Do tell me, is this one of those parties where I talked to much?
(P.S. If you want to join, click on the "green spring" link and check it out!)
Something I've come to appreciate over the years is, that sometimes less is better. I still love things that are beautifully decorated, but that doesn't mean you have to have a lot to do it. While I appreciate many different decor styles, I tend to like things that are classic and stately. However, I think the simplicity of modern is growing on me, not in its traditional adaptation, but rather using fewer classic and stately elements.
What it boils down to, is I like things CLEAN! And if you have to move a dozen things on a shelf to dust, that can get a bit tedious. If you have to move closer to two or three dozen things to clean a bathroom, that is really tedious. Believe me. (It's what brought this whole thing to mind)
So one of the things I'm trying to keep in mind, and hopefully won't forget as it draws a little bit closer to decorating our room/upstairs, keep things simple! Not modern, because that will just never do, but simple. Forgo the majority of knick knacks, bobbles, etc., for pieces that are attractive as well as functional.
You will always have to dust, forbearing some miraculous scientific breakthrough, and some of the decorating ideas I have in mind will require a little extra effort as far as moving things to cleab, but sometimes the extra effort is worth it. I just don't want to have to move a dozen things on every surface before dusting. I personally (generally) take pleasure in good housekeeping, but at the same time, I don't want to be a slave to it. That, I think, takes the joy out of it real quick.
What do you think? More time dusting and enjoying lots of knick knacks, or keeping things simple
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
This is behind the shovelers (I don't believe that is actually a word)in the first picture, looking across the drift at the people shoveling on the other end....we had our own "railway race."
Deep. Is she contemplating her fate?
We had almost finished. A part of me wanted to finish the last little bit by hand. We had come so far, but I was still praying that the bulldozer they had brought in from town would hurry and come...I just wasn't sure how much longer I was really going to last. Wanted to last.
Sometimes machines are a beautiful thing.
Where were you Monday? Not really, I'm glad you showed up when you did. I'm grateful for all the exercise - and sure glad that job is done.
The neighbor driving the Grater actually had the gall to tell us, "okay kids, you can stop playing in the snow now, there is a bulldozer on the way."*
(*Hi, this is my conciense, and I'm not sure if that is the exact, 100%, correct, precise words. Thank you.)