Heavy Lifting

Leave a comment
Construction

I woke up this morning and, as usual, looked out a window. It was a good start to the day because I didn’t see any snow. Given our recent weather, that cannot be taken for granted. But I did notice something unusual.

cranedistance.jpg

Do you recognize the object in the circle? If not, you may not live in a community under construction. It’s the top of a crane, a sign of an interesting building day.

Though I have lived here more than seven years, I still find the construction process interesting. And there is no more dramatic step in building a home than an enormous crane lifting trusses into place for the roof.

So I had to go take a look. On my way out to phase 4, I realized this wasn’t just any new home going up. It was Barb and Paul’s Promenade. I was lucky enough to have spent some time with Barb while they were deciding on the model and lot they wanted. I was glad I had grabbed my camera to get a few shots to share with her.

I want to note here that I was careful to follow the rules. We are not allowed to get too close to active construction, for our own safety. So I stayed on the sidewalk and, therefore, did not have a particularly good angle. But this short video will give you an idea of the process.

 

Then, still obeying the rules, I cautiously made my way to another vantage point to show you what happens after the pieces have been lifted into place. I was not as close as this looks, thanks to zooming.

cranecranecu

I have watched enough construction to know that the exterior of a home goes up relatively quickly. Once this is finished, work will move inside, away from prying eyes and cameras such as mine.

Barb and Paul will close on their home during the summer. And once they get settled, I’m almost sure I’ll be invited over for a glass of wine. Maybe we’ll sit in their court yard, with its lovely nature views. I can’t wait!

 

April 4, 2018

Leave a comment
Holidays / Mostly Musings

DZ8VwbOWkAEJDx7.jpg-large

It has been widely publicized that today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. It is indeed a day to celebrate his heritage. His life and work have inspired countless people of all races, beliefs, and nationalities.

 

 

 

 

DZ8zz_cXUAE8yTq.jpg-large

Today is also the birth date of another influential Civil Rights activist who knew and worked with Dr. King. Dr. Maya Angelou, who also championed women’s rights, was born 90 years ago today.

 

 

 

 

In addition, April is National Poetry Month. I would like to observe all three occasions by sharing a selection from each of these immensely talented writers. First, from Dr. King, who, as far as I know, never claimed to be a poet. But he employed many poetic devices in his speeches. This is an excerpt from I Have a Dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

•••••

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

And here is Dr. Angelou’s poem, Still I Rise.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

If you are like me… If you do not have to share the struggles of these two American leaders… Please join me in gratitude for the freedom and privilege that I was given at birth.

Easter Nostalgia

comments 3
Holidays / Mostly Musings

Dear readers: I wrote and published this post four years ago. I am sharing it again as holiday nostalgia sweeps over me on this Easter weekend. My feelings and memories have not changed. Only one thing has; I lost Mom a year and a half ago.

•••••

Do you feel it too? For me, holidays always bring back memories of the celebrations of my childhood.

I can close my eyes today and see us so clearly. It is Easter. There is my family—Mom, Dad, Craig, Aunt Clara, Uncle Jack, and me—all in our farm house, sitting around the dining room table. It is set with Mom’s best china and the silverware that she kept in a velvet-lined wooden box except for special occasions.

We are all smiling as we pass the platter of ham, the sweet potatoes, and the creamed peas around the table. We are all incredibly, painfully young in my memory. It never occurred to us children that we would age and life would change.

We children are in our 60s now. We have gray hair and live a thousand miles apart. The older generation is gone, except for Mom, who is partially gone with dementia.

But the memories are not sad. Not at all. In them, Craig and I are hunting for the Easter eggs that Mom and Dad hid the night before. If Easter came early and it was still cold, the eggs would be hidden in the house. When it was jacket weather, like it is this year, we would have an outdoor hunt, our favorite kind.

I remember the year Mom hid a dozen hard-boiled, dyed eggs around the farmyard. Craig and I searched long and hard but could only find eleven eggs. Months later we found the crushed colored shell where, we assumed, a squirrel dropped it after eating the missing egg.

Easter of 1956 was warm enough to be outside. Here is a picture that Dad took of us with his beloved Argus slide camera.

Easter 1956

Easter 1956

In my Easter memories, we were always dressed up. Mom sewed nearly all of my clothing at that time. She outdid herself with this dress for Easter of 1955.

Easter 1955

Easter 1955

I wish I had smiled for the camera. I don’t recall why I didn’t. It’s funny because in my memories, I was always happy. We all were.

Happy Easter to everyone from Home Sweet Abbey!

 

A Cup of Coffee

comments 2
Mostly Musings

After a long break, I’m returning to my online blogging class. Today’s assignment, my second-to-the-last, is a virtual coffee date. In this type of post, I am to share thoughts in the informal way I might if I were actually talking to a friend over a cup of coffee. So… I have brewed up two mugs of strong, hot Black Magic coffee. Let’s sit in my sunroom and chat.

IMG_2565

 

If we were having coffee right now… I would take you over to a window and show you the green shoots of my daffodils and tulips poking through the ground. It will be a while before they bloom, but just knowing that I will have spring flowers in the near future makes me happy on this cloudy day.

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you that yesterday I finished the preparations for a cruise I’ll be taking with my brother and sister-in-law in early May. I have reserved flights, booked shore excursions, checked in, printed luggage tags, and made sure that my passport is up to date and I am TSA approved. Here’s where we’re going:

IMG_0031

I’m so excited. I have always wanted to visit French-speaking Canada. You see, French was my minor in college—not one that I, regrettably, have used much since graduation. And now I’m a drop-out from an online French course that I hoped would refresh my skills. With only a little over a month left,  I have to resort to my backup plan of studying a list of French phrases for travelers.

If we were having coffee right now… my cat, Angie, would probably have joined us in the sunroom. She’s the most sociable cat I’ve ever had and absolutely loves interacting with humans. I’ll never figure out how she picks her favorites, though she tends to gravitate to men. But I guarantee if either of us gets up from our chair, she will jump out of a sound sleep and claim it within seconds. When that happens, the human might as well choose another place to sit. The cat calls dibs, and that’s that.

If we were having coffee right now… I might ask you for suggestions for a good book. I don’t have a book club selection to read for a couple of months. We will be discussing the novel I wrote in April, and I will miss our May meeting due to the cruise. So this is a perfect time to delve into something kind of meaty. Only problem is… what will that be?

If we were having coffee right now… I would definitely tell you how excited I am about something I did yesterday. I finally took Mom’s wedding ring to a good jeweler and asked for suggestions for reworking it. I want it transformed into a piece of jewelry that I can wear everyday, even with jeans. And so the diamonds will become a beautiful, shiny pendant that will remind me of Mom whenever I put it on. And, now that I think of it, it will remind me of Dad too because he gave Mom the ring going on 78 years ago. The pendant will look nice with the ring and earrings that I had made from my grandmother’s wedding ring a number of years ago. Being the only girl in the family is a huge advantage. You end up with all the diamonds.

If we were having coffee right now… I might ask you if you ever lose your focus for doing things that you should be doing—things you even want to be doing—and kind of float through days without accomplishing anything. Because I do, and it worries me since I didn’t used to. I miss the sense of accomplishment that comes from checking completed items off a to-do list. For example, take this blog. I feel guilty when I check my stats and see that people are visiting it when there is nothing new to read. I want to write more often, and I enjoy it once I settle into the process. Maybe I need to lower my expectations. So I tell you, kind of half-way joking, that I’m going to make a new to-do list with only two items: find that list of French phrases and begin studying it; and blog at least once a week.

If we were having coffee right now… I would thank you for listening to my ramblings. And I wouldn’t say it out loud, but I would hope that one day soon you will invite me back for coffee at your place.

 

 

Puzzled

comments 6
Animals / Just for Fun

I loved working jigsaw puzzles when I was a kid. Somehow, though, it seems that I outgrew them. I don’t remember exactly how or why it happened, only that when I went away to college, I didn’t take any along.

But now, after more than a 50-year absence, I’ve redeveloped a passion for jigsaw puzzles. And I know exactly how that happened. Last February, when I spent a week with Sue in a condo on the beach in Alabama, she had a 1000-piece puzzle in progress when I arrived. It was, appropriately, a picture of many wine bottles.

I enjoyed helping her put it together, so much so that I bought a puzzle as soon as I got home. That one led to another and to another, until I was hooked again. The leaning tower of puzzle boxes in one of my closets is proof of that. And for the past year, I have eaten many meals at the bistro table in my sunroom or on my breakfast bar because so often there is a puzzle spread out on my dining room table.

It turns out that I am not the only one in my home who likes puzzles. When I dump a box full of pieces on the table, cat ears perk up, even if they are sound asleep. Both girls love jumping on the table and “helping” me. They take turns gleefully rolling on or sleeping on the pieces as I try to work around a purring, furry body. They also think it’s hilarious performing gravity checks with the pieces, slowly nudging them to the edge of the table until they fall to the floor.

angiepuzzleshadowpuzzle

I thought I had read that doing puzzles is good for the brain. So I did some quick research this morning, and it turns out I was right. If I can believe the claims, my puzzle habit is helping improve my memory, my concentration, my problem-solving skills, my visual-spatial reasoning, my mood, and even my IQ. Then with the additional benefits of interacting with my cats, I can also lower my stress and blood pressure and increase my quality of life.

With the promise of so many benefits, I have all the excuses I need to continue working my puzzles.

What about you? Are you a fan of jigsaw puzzles too?