Friday, June 23, 2017

Hit the PAUSE Button

Just when we were gearing up for the kitchen finish,
 the countertop people added two weeks to their schedule.
"Look for us by the Fourth of July," they said.
Calling on Patience.
What to do with the time?
I guess I'll...
Visit the Little House while Kim and Adam are in Europe.

Go shopping.

Light candles.

Drink something cool.

Walk in a forest cathedral.

Gaze upon stars.
Photo: Wikipedia

Go to grandsons' ball games.
And light a fire under those countertop boys
to celebrate the Fourth of July!
Watch this space...
and have a great Fourth!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

D Day in West Des Moines

We moved to our townhouse a year ago,
 knowing we'd update the kitchen.

 I took the door off the closet-like "pantry" after we moved in
 to make things more accessible behind the awkward swinging door.


This week, the guys Demolished the kitchen in just two hours.
The Disappearance of cabinetry was followed by new plumbing and re-wiring.
The electrician loved the vanished ceiling.

We did a two-day road trip while the painters wrapped
 adjacent spaces to prepare for painting.
The kitchen (below) is ready for installation.
 Tomorrow is another sort of D- Day~~the FUN part!

Watch this space!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Bon Voyage!

OK, I'm not taking a cruise...I'm just setting the table
for family members who will soon fly to Paris.
I have a penchant for playing with parchment (makes me think of ancient abbey scrolls) but can't decide on the best plate-setting presentation for
French bread.
 It could be this...
Kitchen twine tying a sprig of rosemary and baguette in a parchment sandwich bag.

A menu penned on parchment.
 or this:
A place card holder.
Which do you prefer?

Of course, the menu will reflect the destination. When we visited Paris, we often ate Salade Nicoise because it was an affordable menu selection. Originating in Nice, it was known as "simple food for poor people "--uncooked garden vegetables plus boiled eggs and anchovies.

Sometimes Salade Nicoise is presented in a "composed arrangement" of groups of individual vegetables.
Landon likes meatballs so I'm slow-cooking meatballs with a special sauce.
Our contractor just called to say he's ready to begin our kitchen renovation.That pretty much puts a stop to this party plan. Maybe it will be a Welcome Home celebration.

 Meanwhile, watch this space!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sky Lights, Pipes and Mozart

Exsultate, jubilate, K. v, 165
Rejoice, be glad,
O you blessed souls,
Rejoice, be glad,
Singing sweet songs;
In response to your singing
Let the heaven sing forth with me.
We treated ourselves to a splendid Soli Deo Musica concert at our church yesterday.
The Festival Choir of Faith Lutheran Church, conducted by Dr. David Johnson,
joined with the orchestra, organist Beverley Duffy, and harpist Mary Foss
to lift us to the heights of spirit.
For me, the heart of the concert wasn't Mozart--
it was the Celtic Concerto for Harp and Strings by Catrin Finch.
1. Jig a jig
2. Hiraeth (felt like an elegy)
3. Solstsice
The Festival Choir finished with Wolfgang's
 Vesperae solennes de Confessore, K. V. 339.
The vespers ended with the Canticle Magnificat
My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath
rejoiced. For He hath regarded the lowliness of His
hand-maiden. For behold, from henceforth, all
generations shall call me blessed. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Opening Faces

We are discovering garden secrets left behind by a previous home owner.
When tulips popped up along the front walkway,
I couldn't resist cutting a few to
juxtapose against the reds of our living room sofa.
Hostas galore are coming along in shaded areas.
A couple chive plants...
And I'm cooking up early rhubarb stems
to brew pale pink rhubarb cordials.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Tidings

"Do not abandon yourselves to despair.
We are the Easter people and
hallelujah is our song."

Pope John Paul II

"Our lord has written the promise of resurrection,
not in books alone
but in every leaf of springtime."

Martin Luther


Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring Makeover

Here's what happened after the pure white snow (see previous post) disappeared.

Daffodils and pansies



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pure As...

Not as the driven snow. But pure.
This morning's snowfall was soft and feathery,
Big, fat visible flakes that stacked one on top of the other.

In an hour, they were gone. Invisible.
Wet wood all around.
Spring must be here!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Living Minimally

It's the last flight of our snowbird adventure.
A cash offer on our Florida house makes it possible for us to simplify our lives and go home to just one familiar nest, one property tax, house insurance, and set of utility bills.
We're cutting our possessions in half by selling the house furnished and emptying
 cupboards, drawers, and closets of our personal possessions.

I'm reveling in sunshine on clear surfaces,
 the empty closets painted a delicious pistachio green,
and driving un-needed items to Salvation Army,
 ReStore (retail store for Habitat for Humanity) and Goodwill.

Without dishes, pots and pans in the kitchen,
dining comes in convenience forms.
Without clothing in the closet,
I get dressed out of a suitcase.

Inspection happens next week.
Closing on March 7.

It will be sad to leave this all behind but the time has come.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Pax Vobiscum

We see snowy rooftops through the fog today but by tomorrow the rain
 will wash the white away.
Wishing you and yours a peaceful weekend.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Abbey Style Guest Bedroom

We assembled a guest room by moving our queen-size bed from our bedroom into the master suite and adding a few monkish bits and pieces. (Our Christmas gift to each other was a new split-king adjustable bed that now fills out our bedroom which, oddly enough, is bigger than the master suite bedroom.)

If you're up for simplicity, we have a guest room waiting...

I found these lovely linens at West Elm.

Monday, November 28, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

A reluctant sun is showing up this morning, shimmering in through the window panes for a bit, then slipping away to gray skies.. The rain has gone and it's time to do my kitty run. The kids are vacationing in Florida and I feed their cat every morning.
I can drive again!

After every cat run, I stop somewhere to shop. This morning, I picked up Christmas greens and oranges at Whole Foods. Each day a small addition to festive d├ęcor.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Update 2

Thank you for your prayers and hopes for my improvement. Indeed, things are moving forward.

I can now walk without the cane...except when I go outdoors. I take it along in case I encounter odd stairs or slopes, uneven surfaces. I'm back at the computer, typing with my old keyboard skills, and sewing quilt squares on my sewing machine. I've made a couple meatloaves but confess to doing a lot of takeout :) Lots of naps help the healing. Lots of homework exercises.

Landon and I are busy decorating for the Halloween party we are throwing for his parents. I'm vacuuming with my new Red Devil and plan to dress as a witch (The Witch Is In!)

One more month of outpatient therapy and I will be driving again.

Hurray!! Thanks again and I'll be back!

Thursday, September 29, 2016


my keyboard skills aren't yet back to normal but I am now walking with a 4-point cane, climbing stairs, folding laundry, dropping things in tubes, standing on one leg like a flamingo for a few seconds and doing all sorts of therapy tricks...all toward regaining strength in the collapsed muscles as well as regaining my sense of balance. they say I will be walking without support by next Wednesday, the day I go home, October 5.

after that, I will do outpatient therapy until my skills are perfected.
long ago, stroke victims just lived with the losses. now aggressive therapy immediately after the event has been discovered to be successful, the outcomes are much more hopeful.
and I have been blessed with AGGRESSIVE THERAPY!

bless you for keeping me in your prayers and know that I keep you all in my heart!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

learning patience and humility

I have had a stroke and am recovering in therapy for a month or so. eventually I should be able to post again.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Work in Progress

Our new house comes with three levels of outdoor living:
A balcony on the second story.
A large deck on the main level.
And a patio outside the walkout basement.

The seller left a few things behind.
Like this long, narrow table that once served as a butcher's
meat-cutting work surface.
Hunter repaired the table top, sanded it a bit,
but left some of the antique finish for me to enjoy.

At the moment, the table is unfinished
but I'm imagining it as a sort of pub table,
a place to lay out a buffet on a pleasant summer evening.
Lighting. Plants. Seating.

For now, it's a table-in-waiting while we work on
more immediate projects.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Changing Colors

My decorating palette in the south is quite different from the one I use up north.
 What they have in common is that both schemes
 are inspired by natural surroundings.

  For example, the colors for our winter home in Florida, above, come from sea and sky, rain and palm, lime and pistachio. Whenever I enter its light-and-airy southern spaces, I can feel my spirits lift like a kite on a seaside breeze.

Iowa's vibe for decorating inspiration in the north, below, grows from field and stream, oak and walnut, fire and smoke. They are colors rooted in rich soil and when I'm home in Iowa I know my feet are firmly planted on the ground.

I love the contrast in palettes that provide such delightful breaks in the annual round of moving between two places and experiencing both landscapes. But the time has come to simplify, come home to family in Iowa, and settle into one last house. This winter, we will sell our Florida cottage.

Meanwhile, this summer, we're settling into our Iowa townhouse.
Our 25-year-old cranberry sectional seems transformed now that it's moved away
 from the pale carpet of the last condo
 onto the dark, gleaming wood floor of the new townhouse.

Hunter assembled the abbey-style table and bench that will host
family-and-friends dinners in the future.
I spotted this monastery-style pedestal table at a local furniture store.
It will go to work as a sideboard at the end of the long, communal table.

 We're enjoying the company of grandsons who helped us move
and keep coming over to make adjustments. They're also
good at the mysteries of technology.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Band-Aid For Now

Like the pantry in my previous post, I removed the doors on the upper cabinets
 of one kitchen wall and painted their dark interiors "Pale Sunshine" to bring in the light, visually push back the walls, and feel the illusion of more space.
 But it's only a quick fix until we can afford to renovate the kitchen.

Meanwhile, I'm down in the walkout basement where dark green carpet
 and greenish-grey walls presently rule.
 But not for long.
A new "Parchment" carpet is coming to bring transparency...

...and I'm climbing my stepladder to heaven with a bucket
of  "Ethereal White" paint.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Practical Matters

Our new house was built in 1980 so it has a few architectural surprises.
Its quaint kitchen closet hidden behind a plain door suggests a pantry.
A light at the top of the closet turns on by sturdy kitchen string,
 showing off its pure, white interior and generous shelves.
But food storage for us is minimal, most of it
stocked in a refrigerator. What we need is storage for serving dishes,
linens and cookbooks.
By Day Two after closing on the house, the kitchen closet door came off and went to the garage.The result was open storage with benefits: A display of tabletop pieces, an illusion of a larger kitchen,  and easy access for setting a table or gathering baking supplies and cookbooks.

Friday, July 1, 2016


A small arrangement is the easiest way to begin a new home.
 Familiar objects placed on a new plane warm the space,
bringing peace to the eye and a sense of relaxation
after the craziness of "moving house."
It's 3 p.m. and the light is gone from the room and this
is a slice of the original iPhone shot made from my chair.
See the key hanging at the lower left?
It's the key for the gas option of the fireplace
that works two ways: wood or gas.
The Fireplace Superstore will check it out
before we light a flame.
So...welcome to our new home...
I'll reveal a bit more as we settle in.
Have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Moving House

I love the English expression, "moving house." Not that an actual house is being moved...but that its contents are moving somewhere else. Our summer home, a contemporary condo complex,
 is being converted into an apartment complex for the young employed
 who can't yet afford homes of their own.

      We are selling our condo as part of the overall sale of the complex and moving our home ownership to a lovely wooded, well-established area where we can explore larger spaces for family entertaining, personal pursuits of happiness, and physical exercise. And I will have the fireplace and long, communal dining table that has long been on my wish list.
      Stay tuned for decorating drama!

Friday, May 20, 2016

It's Peony Time!

We've changed places once the north where lilacs have had their day
 and peonies are opening to the warm spring air.

I snipped a few stems from a family bush for a few days of ephemeral beauty
and fleeting enjoyment.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

More Color Fun

Definitely a day brightener on a rainy morning, The Breakfast Cottage is our latest Florida find. We came upon it along the Tamiami Trail where we believed Above Board, a "silent sports" store for paddle boards and kayaks would be. Turns out, the breakfast cottage sits on the corner of the block that Above Board occupies.


How could we resist?
We didn't.
Nothing beats a place that serves up great food with panache and confident style!
Open 7 a.m. - 2 p.m., they serve breakfast all day but soups and sandwiches are an option.
Here's my grilled vegetable and provolone baguette.