Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Prep

The days before guests arrive always find us cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. It's not that we live in filth, mind you, it's just that I don't make washing down the shower walls or dusting the tops of the books a priority in routine maintenance. So, when guests are imminent, it all gets done, plus the normal work of capturing the dog-hair dust bunnies.

I did take some shots of the now complete (or nearly complete) living room. I'm not happy with the curtain side panels yet - I like the color but not the drape - but other than that...I think it's complete. Following are a few views...

At the dining end...everything looks more green, doesn't it? I think it's so lovely to see sunshine coming in through the front window - of course, that means all the leaves have to be off the trees out front, which isn't exactly my favorite season.

Here's the front vestibule area, with a peek at the edge of the fireplace wall. We *never* use that front door, there's another into the kitchen about 10 feet away, silly layout.

Dining and seating...but look at that window/mirror corner...
It needs something; it's the only place without art on the wall. However, another painting/print probably isn't appropriate. What does it need?

And here's a splash of color from the deck:

I still have two rooms to clean and a whole lot of food to buy and baking to do and a meeting to attend...and oh, my gosh, the day job. But I do love company, especially for Thanksgiving. I'd rather have them here for Thanksgiving than Christmas. I better get this day going.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I found this on Luna's blog and loved it so much I had to "lift" it:

Sign me,

Between 18 and 22, a woman is like Africa, half
discovered, half wild, fertile and naturally beautiful!

Between 23 and 30, a woman is like Europe, well
developed and open to trade, especially for someone with

Between 31 and 35, a woman is like Spain, very
hot, relaxed and convinced of her own beauty.

Between 36 and 40, a woman is like Greece, gently
aging but still a warm and desirable place to visit.

Between 41 and 50, a woman is like Great Britain,
with a glorious and all conquering past.

Between 51 and 60, a woman is like Israel, has
been through war and doesn't make the same mistakes twice,
takes care of business.

Between 61 and 70, a woman is like Canada,
self-preserving, but open to meeting new people.

After 70, she becomes like Tibet, wildly beautiful,
with a mysterious past and the wisdom of the ages...only
those with an adventurous spirit and a thirst for spiritual
knowledge visit there.


Between 1 and 70, a man is like Iran,
Ruled by Nuts.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pay It Forward - Closed! Other Stuff, Too

There are now three ready to participate in the pay-it-forward plan.

Diane,I have your snail mail address, and no you haven't already received :-) I'm delighted that you signed up.

Adria and One Creative Queen, please send me your snail mail address ( and I promise something lovely before year end.

Now...just pay it forward with something to make the coming year happy and art-filled.
Today I have been a cleaning fiend. I always turn into this dreadful, angst-filled person before company comes, even the best and easiest houseguests. I clean in places they surely won't look (and if they DO look under the stove, don't they deserve to find a little dust?). Today the guest room was re-spiffed and much spillover art was put back into hiding.

Cosmo helped me clean and put things in order. His favorite chore is pulling down all the feather boas that are artfully draped in the treehouse. He is quite certain they look better in a heap on the floor.

And once we got the guest room ready, he stood in the window and peered down the road - "Are they here yet? When will they get here, Mommy?"

Friday, November 21, 2008

Morning Views

My computer desk sits against a loft railing, and I can see into part of our back yard through an octagonal window - across an open space beyond the railing. Wednesday morning, I glanced up from writing an email and wondered how our Murphy dog got into the neighbor's yard - and realized it was a deer moving into sight.

We didn't dare open the door to the deck, because we knew it would scare her off, so the photo isn't the best, but I wanted to share my lovely view. That same day, I realized that the chickadees and titmice found the feeders, and wanted to get photos of those to share, but of course they wouldn't cooperate. quality is not the best today! I think you get the feeling though.

My Oldtimer did step out on the deck after she moved along...just to see if he could get a better photo or see more deer (we've seen as many as 11 in the yard at times - as close as we are to a major city). No more deer, but he did manage to capture this lovely morning sky. No, that's not our fancy-schmancy house back there...we live in the old farmhouse that used to own the land all those houses are built on! We get to look at all this, and not maintain any of it.

I love sunrise colors, even in the winter - they're so hopeful.

By the way, here's that same view, taken just three weeks ago! We were trying to capture photos of the FLOCKS of birds on the lawn.That's a pretty dramatic change in color palette in just three weeks, isn't it?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This Weekend's "Art"

About two weeks ago we had new Levolor blinds installed in the rooms across the front of the house. The living room and bedroom main windows are very large, and for privacy's sake, I had a large white pull-down shade in the bedroom. It became very difficult to manage, and it looked like a big blind eye from the outside. When we found the sale on the blinds and a deal on the installation at Lowe's, we went for it!

Oddly enough, I chose white blinds. I've moaned and groaned since we moved into this place that everything was white - even all of the custom draperies. White on white on white. I felt like I was living in an apartment. Even the carpet in the hallway from the garage was a shade of white. I mean, who in the world puts white carpet in the hallway from the GARAGE?

For whatever reason, many parts of this house seem to want to be a shade of brown, but the living room...oh, how it needed color. The accent wall around the fireplace is a lovely shade of blue called Bon Voyage. I love it...just a hint of green and gray, it's actually a warm blue. The remaining walls are a shade of green called Corn Husk, which is an absolutely perfect description. It doesn't show properly in these photos - it's not nearly so gray/yellow. I'll get daylight pictures tomorrow. I had another celery green color that I tested and decided against, so we put that in the front entry, as that's a very dark space. I was afraid it was going to be almost a glow-in-the-dark color, but I love it in that space, and I really like the way the chestnut wardrobe shows against it.

I love how the colors work together. The Olga Lipats triptych on the fireplace really pops now with the colors in the painting pulled out in the walls. (I still need to arrange some of the goodies on the tabletops...)
Something about the combination of some of our traditional looking wood pieces with this more contemporary color combo really tickles me. Many of our framed pieces have gold frames - almost too shiny gold frames...

...but as you can see on the left-most painting in the photo below (called "In Awe of Autumn" by Wanda Satterwhite) the green is actually picked up and reflected in the gold frame and it really works!

So, nothing from the treehouse this weekend, but I'm thrilled with how the living room came together. I wanted to share right away, but now I'm off to iron the side panels for the windows. Other "art"...two loaves of chocolate bread, two loaves of whole wheat bread, two batches of soap, and orders packed!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Pay It Forward offer

Inspired by Griselda (and I am often inspired by Gris!) I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange.

I am not quite sure what my gift will be, although I have several ideas (will it be soap and/or lotion; will it be a creation from the treehouse?), and you will receive it in time for the new year, I promise.

The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog, putting abundance, creativity, and art into the world.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some Called Him Hawkshaw

Because today is Veteran's Day, I thought it would be appropriate to finally introduce my father to my blog. I'm not only Lolo's Child, (and you've certainly all met Lolo here), but I am also Don's Child...some called him Hawkshaw.

No doubt, now that I've opened this door, I'm going to regale you with other stories about him, but today's opening story is of a Veteran. You see, he lost both legs above the knee near the end of World War II - at the ripe old age of 19. He was a foot soldier, whose job was to carry a bale of wire on the Phillipine Island of Mindanao. Just as they stopped for a rest, his unit was hit by a mortar shell. When he "came to," briefly, he felt for his legs and knew that one was hanging on by shreds, but the other appeared intact.

Taken immediately to basic medical facilities, both legs were removed above the knee. The one he thought was intact was so loaded with schrapnel, the doctors didn't feel it could be saved. Once stabilized, he was sent back to the US, where he spent a full year in a VA hospital near Salt Lake City - far from home and family for a young man from Minnesota.

The only thing he ever mentioned about his time in that hospital was that he played checkers almost daily with a fellow patient, a German POW. Neither ever learned to speak the other's language, they just played checkers together. About 20 years later, we took a family road trip and found that hospital; I remember little about it except that it was white, stucco, looked a bit like a large abandoned bakery, and sat back at the end of a long drive with a lawn in front. We didn't go any closer, just drove from Minneapolis to Salt Lake, and looked at the building from the end of the long driveway.

He spoke little of his experiences in WWII. Because his disability was the way he always was for me, I didn't find anything unusual about having a father with no legs. Only when we went out in public - long before any disabilities acts were in place - did I realize that our family was different. Someday I'll tell you stories about curbs without ramps, buildings without elevators, and children who walked backwards and stumbled while staring.

However, much like the men mentioned in Tom Brokaw's book about the Greatest Generation, my father didn't think he merited any special treatment or unusual attention. The fourth of "Ma Kraemer's boys" to go off to war, he simply did what he felt was right, came back, got a job in a factory, met & married, had two children.

Only in later years did I realize what a hero he was - yet another silent hero - because he did just that. We took for granted that this man who could ride a horse, drive a car or tractor, build an addition on the house, and "scoot" up a long flight of stairs to attend his nephew's wedding reception, never expected special treatment nor looked for a "handout."

He taught himself to walk, and walk well, wearing wooden legs with clanky metal knees. Therapists raved that he could walk without his canes in the house, and use but one cane outside - as you can see below, in the photo of him carrying me, his 8 month old child.

During my junior high years, he was told he could no longer have his wooden legs, he was forced to switch to "new and better" legs with soft cups and hydraulic knees. He hated them, found them painful, and never wore his artificial legs again. The photo below, taken in 1979, shows the way he looked most of the rest of his life - usually in a wheelchair (though sometimes sitting on a leather pad on the ground, with a strap across his thighs). When we had company, he would let the pants legs hang, giving some illusion of legs. Most often, however, he would simply tuck the ends of his pants up into the belt.

Though I have many, many stories to tell - from his youthful love of horses, to his grandfatherly love of my children, and all the living that came between - today's story is about just one of many veterans who gave so much, without expectation or complaint.

"Hawkshaw" died in 1982 at the age of 56 from one massive heart attack. We were told that amputees have a higher incidence of heart disease.

I still miss him.

Donald J. Kraemer

April 4, 1926 - June 5, 1982

Saturday, November 08, 2008

How Are You at Tree ID?

I keep admiring this tree in the neighbor's yard across the street. I've posted the tree, from a distance, so you can see the shape of the trunk and branches. I've also posted a closer view of the leaves at one end of the drooped branch. And finally, I scanned a leaf (which nearly fills an 8 1/2 X 11 piece of paper) as compared to a US quarter, but it came out as a pdf file and I'm not sure how to put that here - if you have some ideas, send me a note and I'll send back a scan of the leaf.

No, the tree does not bloom or at least not that I've seen, nor have I spotted any fruit. Any tree experts out there?