Saturday, January 31, 2009

And finally - Day 31

My jewelry tray (click to enlarge). Don't ask me why I wanted this to be the last photo. But watch here, as we go to weekly photos soon.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Photo A Day - 30

This painting, an original by artist Wanda Satterwhite, is entitled "In Awe of Autumn." I own several pieces of Wanda's work, but this is one of my favorites. (I have a print of my real favorite, she sold the original to someone else!) Wanda is one of the wonderful people I saw on the trip to NC. Wanda gives great hugs!

Photo A Day - 29

I love the way the old-fashioned china cabinet looks, lighted, in a darkened room.

Photo A Day - 28 (catch up)

Oldtimer brought me a bouquet over a week ago...this is how it looks now that we are back home. Still lovely if you don't look too closely!

Photo A Day - 27 (catch up)

The large green "gem" that sits on my kitchen windowsill. I gave away a lot of these last year, as gifts - pink diamonds, blue diamonds, and more - but kept this one for myself.

Photo A Day - 26 (Catch Up)

Peek A Boo!

Just a Little More About Dell

When we returned from the funeral in NC, I found a wonderful email from my friend Phyllis, which included the photo above. This is a much better photo of Dell; you can better see her stylish, well-coiffed, smiling self. (And no, that's not her house, heavens! That's another corner of our store - including the Citizens for Animal Protection fund raising booth in the back.)

It was a good funeral. Can funerals be good? We saw so many people whom we had come to love and appreciate during our years living in Warrenton, and were reminded once again of the warmth and acceptance we experienced there. Getting to NC from OH wasn't too easy - we decided to drive through the mountains of WV at the beginning of that awful storm, which added over four hours of time to our drive, and an extraordinary amount of challenge. Still, as Gerry (my Oldtimer) said "It had to be done."

The priest said the most significant thing, the statement I latched onto, during the service. He read Matthew 25 (yes, I had to look that up, what do I know?) and focused on the phrase "I was a stranger and you welcomed me." He could not have chosen anything to more perfectly sum up Dell, and you could see every sign of it there in the people who came to honor her. We stood there at graveside near her family, with the people who knew her and her daughters, her relatives, the people she met at the beach, and the newcomers to that small town - people like us. Yes, she welcomed us - northerners in their second marriage; Egyptian Muslims opening a restaurant; gay couples with Main Street businesses; and the list goes on... I think the only word that could describe her better than "welcomed" would be "embraced." The priest went further to admonish both the congregation and the townspeople to remember to keep Dell's spirit going, and continue to welcome; I feel certain they will.

We left having seen, if only for a moment, good friends; we ate good food; we experienced warm weather; but most importantly, we took home full hearts. I am forever grateful.

Later today I will catch up and post my last few photos for January. After this, we will go to "Photo a Week."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another Loss

This morning I received word that my dear friend, Dell Bunch, passed away. To say I am heartbroken is an understatement.

When my Oldtimer and I first moved to Warrenton, Dell "adopted" us. She took us under her wing, introduced us to people, and generally watched over us. When we opened the big store, Oldtimer & Lily, she was there with us, every day of the first year, to help in the store and make sure we weren't working too hard. She never took a dime in payment.

Dell truly was like an adoptive mother to me. We vacationed at the beach with her and her daughters and their families. New to town, she helped me find my doctor, my dentist, my dry cleaner. We had dinners, went to auctions, worked the stores, and no one promoted my soaps and lotions like she did. She loved my children as though they were her own grandchildren, and made sure they were invited to Christmas morning breakfast whenever they were in town.

Dell did things for me that my own mother would not have done. One of the most significant things was sitting in the waiting room when I had my gall bladder surgery. When it was time to get dressed and leave the recovery room, she was right there, helping me put on my clothing, and easing me out of the hospital. I still remember her bending over and helping me get my foot through the opening of my panties, and saying "Come on, honey, you don't have anything I haven't seen before." If you knew how I'd been brought up, you would know how significant that is to me.

I wish I had a better photo to share, even though I love this one of her behind the Oldtimer & Lily counter. I wish you could see the sparkle in her bright blue eyes, hear the rasp of her unique voice, sense her energy. At the risk of being trite, the world is truly a poorer place for her passing. I know that her "real" daughters and granddaughter are going to miss her terribly.

I love you, Dell.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Photo A Day - 25

One of the projects I finished this weekend - Prosperity Doll from the class by Chaska Peacock.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Photo A Day - 24

Stripping - wallpaper that is. Today's little job - see the remaining bit in the lower right corner? Pink and blue flowers on white "watered silk" background. Awful.
What do you think? Should we just leave the rustic, shabby wall? Maybe give it a protective glaze? Naw.... I have something else planned, though that could change tomorrow.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Why I Read My Horoscope

Lolo was an astrologer, long before the Sixties and the touted Age of Aquarius. She began studying astrology in the 1940s, and knew a great deal about interpreting the charts she drafted by the time she married in 1948. Remember, in that era, people didn’t have calculators, much less computers, and the mathematical work done, by hand and brain, was incredible. A real chart requires the person’s birth date, place, and as exact a time as possible. Lolo would take that information, convert to Greenwich Mean Time, calculate the longitude and latitude, and then go through a series of mathematical calculations to chart the location of planets at the time of birth, and then read and write the tendencies and significance.

In the 1950s and even into the 1960s, there weren’t many people interested in having their charts done, but I could always find willing friends. She would do a character reading after plotting it all out, write out the entire character reading in long-hand, and present it to the person. I really hope it was appreciated by all who got those free charts.

Because of her constant study, tracking events, and looking for the information that coincided between birth chart, transits, and current events, the discussion of some aspect of astrology was almost a daily occurrence in our home. As a teenager, I didn’t always appreciate the admonition of “stay away from the lake, be careful today,” because some planet had moved into a new sign, or there was a full moon.

Along with the daily interpretations, there were stories, anecdotes, and one in particular tells the tale the best, I think. It’s about what Lolo called “astral twins” – people born on the same day in the same city, hopefully close to the same time. She always stated that you could see the basic tendencies and personality traits that were similar if you could find your astral twin. Lolo had an astral twin. Of course, this requires a story with detail.

Lolo was the second of 10 children, the first four of which were all girls, generally about two years apart in age. She was quiet and self-conscious and loved to read, but hated school. Her next younger sister, Toots, was lively and out-going, far more sociable. During one particularly long summer vacation, Lolo was dragging about the house, moaning about the fact that she had nothing to read. Toots had her best friend at the house at the time, and that friend said “Come over to my house. My older sister reads all the time, too. Maybe she has a book you can borrow.” You guessed it – the older sister was Lolo’s astral twin. Of course, there were no books for Lolo to borrow, because they had all the same books!

Fast forward. Lolo is in her early 20s, war years. Lolo takes a job in…an eyeball factory. Her job was to sit in a small glass-enclosed booth, along with several other people, and paint in the fine red lines that make the white of the artificial eye look more realistic. There was a young man in the booth across from her. They noticed each other, there was something to it – some note of attraction and recognition. Lolo was very aware of the man, and they “eyed” each other all day. (Sorry, who could resist?) At the end of the day, the man left his chair, and began walking with what Lolo described as a “terrible, lurching walk.” He was disabled. She was so horrified at being very attracted to someone with a disability, she left the job in a rush and never went back.

Sometime later, she met and married my dad, Hawkshaw. (As you all know by now, he lost both legs in the war.) They dated just three months before they married. Soon after, she was walking down the street, doing some shopping, when she noticed her astral twin walking down the sidewalk toward her – married to the man from the eyeball factory.

I no longer have my “built in astrologer,” and the bits you read online and in the newspaper are a poor replacement for the real deal – but I still read for trends and indications. This story is but one reason…

Photo A Day - 23

No glamor shot today - this is what it looks like when I "suit up" and fill the bird feeder. Gerry took the photo from the inside!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Photo A Day - 21

This little "tea table" sits on our lower deck. So far this MONTH we've had over 25 inches of snow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Baking Bread

As you may have noticed from my Photo A Day today, I sometimes bake bread. I love making bread, and used to make all we ate in the old days when the kids were little and money was extra tight. (I also made my own yogurt...)

My very favorite book was, and still is this one - I think I got it in 1977:

(Note the stains, bent pages, etc.)

But now, unlike the peak of my bread-making career, I have a Kitchen Aid mixer which does so much of the work...but still lets me do the final knead and shape the loaves (unlike the bread machine, which is nice, but removes some of the personal touch).

So here are a few step-by-steps, with my beloved mixer helping along...

Don't you wish you had a scratch & sniff monitor?

Photo A Day - 20

Fresh baked bread. I love to bake bread.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Photo A Day - 19

Two more bird photos. Both of these were taken at the height of the snowfall on Saturday afternoon. Doesn't the cardinal look a little disgusted with it all? The junco is as chipper as ever, in his tangle of twigs.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Photo A Day - 18

Multiple photos today, as my Oldtimer and I decided to take winter photos of Buttermilk Falls and Buttermilk Creek. We also made a little detour to the truss bridge over the Chagrin River, so we could see what the river walls looked like in winter. Though many of these look like they are black and white photos, they are all the colors we saw yesterday! When we were taking the photos, it was about 10 above.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Photo a Day - 17

Yesterday the weather was bitterly cold, and the birds were very busy emptying the feeder. Being a wimp, I took photos from inside, through my less-than-clean family room windows. Still, you can see some of the beautiful birds we're hosting.

I've included these first two photos for a couple of reasons - they are the trees that the birds head to when startled away from the feeder. The birches against the blue sky make a lovely pattern, I think. The pine tree is LOADED with little birds who scurry off to it, and snuggle into the branches when startled. If you look closely, you will see one little sparrow on the branches, waiting to snuggle in with his buddies.

I love the junkoes and the chickadees the best.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Photo A Day - 16

Sunrise through the kitchen window today. The temp at the time was -7F.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Photo A Day - 15

So tired!

Cosmo loves to sleep on my Oldtimer's all-in-one printer. When he's not napping, he's developing a terrible case of cabin fever.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Photo A Day - 14

Snow falling through the trees tonight - 12 degrees above zero.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Photo A Day - 13

Bowl of favorite witch balls.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Photo A Day - 12

Gone for another year! We packed up all the Christmas decor and goodies over the weekend, so this back door wreath is tucked away for now.

(Whew! Under the wire on this post! Tomorrow will be better.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Photo A Day - 11

Today's photo is an old one, a sentimental one. This picture is of our beautiful store in North Carolina. It's a huge space - about 6,000 square feet - and we love it. However, it's in North Carolina, and we're in Ohio, and we've finally realized it's truly time to let it go. We've been half-heartedly talking about it being for sale for most of the time we've been here in Ohio, but haven't had it actively listed. It looks like we'll be placing it with a realtor in about a month or so.

We put a lot into it, with plans to do even more. The following photo is what it looked like when we bought it. Compare that to the photo above!

We did work on the inside, too. It took the floor refinisher five weeks to do the downstairs floors alone. Our painter took the same number of weeks to repair plaster and paint through the sales area. Still, there was much more we hoped to do, including restoring the tin ceiling in places, and revealing the beadboard ceiling in others. The upstairs had originally been living quarters, but became several quaint offices over the years. We had dreams of turning that into living space again - with high ceilings and huge windows, we knew it would have the feeling of a fabulous French apartment. But...fate brought us to Ohio, and we are now certain we won't be able to return to NC, so it's time to turn the dream over to someone new.

While we were there, we decorated the interior with light and bright sunrise colors, and carried everything but white shirts! We had books and office supplies, antiques and gifts, office services, jewelry, and of course, my handmade soaps and lotions. We also had nine "booth" renters, and several consignment sellers. We had 13 different artists who displayed and sold through us, we taught computer classes, had authors in for book signings. We were busy all the time, and oh how I came to love and appreciate "my" artists and consignment friends!

This is what the interior looked like:

Finally, this is the sign we had on the front door, and I think it summed us up perfectly:

Currently we have a great renter in the downstairs portion who does just antiques and also rents booth space. When they moved in they painted everything a gray-green, so it isn't as light and happy (in my opinion) but that's just paint! I'm wondering what the next incarnation of the "oldest brick store in Warrenton" will be.