A Letter Home Blog Post + Food For Thought On A Tuesday Morning

February 9, 2021

Dear Friends & Relations,

Not much happening around here, but I’ll write to you anyhow because it’s Tuesday, my favorite day of the week. Huzzah!

Nowhere to go, no one to meet, but things to do.

We continue to wait until we are eligible for our first Covid-19 vaccine shot. Then, of course, there’ll be a wait for the second one, which seems to be in short supply around here, so maybe not getting the first one yet is a good thing?

I dunno. We’ve been home together in our own little bubble for about 11 months now, so what are a few more weeks or months? We’re safe, we’re healthy, we’re doing low-key things.

Here is where we updated the cookbook.

We’ve finished updating our Family Favorites Cookbooks, 3rd edition. Yep, this is a re-do of a re-do of my first home computer project that I completed in February 1994, then updated for a second edition in April 2005. The bottom line is that we now have all our favorite recipes saved in the computer as well as printed, put in binders, and ready to go in the kitchen.

Move over Martha, you ain’t the only kid on the block who has it going on with her recipes. Ha!

The epicenter of clutter where the paint fan now resides.

We’re also in the process of deciding on a new exterior paint color for the trim and siding of Chez Bean. A new roof a few years ago + a new limestone retaining wall last December + a new deck sometime in 2021 [fingers crossed] = time to repaint exterior of the house bringing the color scheme into this decade.

Deciding on a new color is fraught with design peril. Oh yes it is. We have four seasons with natural light shining in different ways on four sides of the house, and there’s a need to coordinate with the brick and new retaining wall. Thus there are many variables, many possibilities– and one dithering me.

Our “communication center” where I await your replies.

And with that I’ll end this missive about our humdrum daily life, hoping it finds you well. What’s new with you?

Very truly yours,

Ally Bean, the bored

~ ~ πŸ”Ή ~ ~

Food For Thought: When’s the last time you wrote a letter home? It seems quaint now to think about doing that, let alone write one that includes snapshots. Remember doing that, too?

~ ~ πŸ”Ή ~ ~

162 thoughts on “A Letter Home Blog Post + Food For Thought On A Tuesday Morning

  1. Good morning Ally, The best kind of day β€˜nowhere to go, no one to meet, but things to do.’ Ooooh….a family cookbook….something else I have put on a back burner and want to do. I get it on deciding paint colours. For us it means living with stripes in discrete places and giving it more thought.πŸ™‚

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    • Erica/Erika, yes, we do the same thing with blotches of paint hidden here and there until we decide on a color. I’m glad we’re not the only ones! As for the family cookbook it’s been invaluable over the years, but our preferences change so I update the cookbook every so often.

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      • A great idea for a gift, possibly Christmas gift if I start now. Is it an online book and do you have a favourite site? I believe it may be a daunting challenge and take over my life. Hmmmm, yet if I do it in small chunks…..oh, darn, see what you started Ally….one more thing on my projects list. lol xx

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        • Originally back in ’94, then 2005, I used a program that was all about recipes. It gave calorie counts and nutritional information. HOWEVER this time, I [we] just typed the recipes using the iMac word processing department and printed them out. It was much simpler than messing around with recipe software– and the results are easy to read and easy to find. And yes, we did it in little chunks, a few recipes every few days, for few months, until it was finished. No rush

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  2. I still write letters to an aunt and a friend, neither of whom possess a computer. My aunt, who’s in her 90s, doesn’t write back, because her handwriting makes her unhappy and her hands tire quickly, but we call one another, and that suffices. My friend does write, and sends recipes as a bonus. She’s a cookbook collector, and especially enjoys those family/church collections. I think her oldest one is from about 1890. Interpreting the directions can be quite an experience.

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    • shoreacres, I no longer correspond via snail mail letters with anyone. That’s what struck me as I started to write this “letter.” My mother used to include recipes in her letters, now that I think about it. I like cookbooks, too. I have one of those church cookbooks; it’s from the 1980s but includes old-time recipes from earlier editions. I’d enjoy reading an 1890’s cookbook. I’d say that your friend has a treasure.

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  3. I always enjoy seeing writers’ working spaces. Yours looks pretty tidy, but not crazy neat. Why? There’s work going on, but of course.

    Good luck on the paint color choices. When we moved into our “forever” home, we painted the interior. I chose what my daughter had on her walls, the color of pale sunshine. She hired a professional to choose, while I just said “Ditto”!

    Thanks for the INsight, Ally.

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    • Marian, I like seeing writers’ work spaces, too. There’s something fun in knowing where someone sits, what she sees, when she’s doing her wordy thing. I’m never crazy neat. I believe: a place for everything and everything near its place.

      I know you can hire professional color consultants and we may go that route because this is going to be a BIG decision. I like how you were about to say “ditto” and get what you liked. Very smooth.

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  4. I don’t suppose emails count as letters, do they? In that case, I think the last letter I wrote was to one of the grand-kids a few years back. She was learning to read and learning basic grammar so we exchanged letters every so often so she could practice.

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    • Deb, I like emails, but they’re not as exciting as a snail mail letter, imho. I like that you corresponded with your granddaughter so she could learn grammar. That’s cool and I bet it was fun.

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  5. A family cookbook? How cool. I have three different binders where Andy and I stash the recipes we like (and tinker with endlessly). But we don’t really have any family recipes, unless you count Andy’s made-up side dishes or my cream-cheesed based cookie doughs.

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    • AutumnAshbough, I’d say you have family recipes. If you like it, regardless of the source, it’s a family recipe in my estimation. We were to a point where we had recipes torn from magazines or printed from cooking websites that were just scribbled messes because I was modifying them. I get your need to tinker. Now that the recipes have been organized and put in binders, I feel like the lady of the manor. Not to mention, it’s soooo much easier to make something when you can find the recipe without dismay.

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  6. I wrote letters to my parents until they died in 2021 and 2017. We write occasional letters to my only aunt (in her 90’s) and a couple of BFF’s aunts (late 80’s and 90’s). I also send cards with long newsy notes and/or commentary to friends and relatives for Christmas & New Year.

    At this point, I can’t write “home” since there is no one at “home” to receive my missives.

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  7. I write letters to a friend who is 90. She is not computer-savvy and refuses to be. I also write an occasional note to my 6-year old granddaughter because getting mail is fun, and I don’t see her as often as I’d like due to the pandemic and her in-person school attendance.

    Choosing paint colours is a big deal. My house is tiny, and I simply choose creme for all the interior walls. (Except my white kitchen.) That way, I can change out everything with no concerns, and the rooms feel brighter and more airy, and they don’t feel quite as small as they are. The outside offers me no choices–all sided and vinyl-clad. Good luck with your big decision.

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    • nance, I understand why some older people don’t want to learn to use a computer so writing letters home, as I call it, is THE way to stay in touch with them. Also, it’s charming that you write to your granddaughter. I agree that getting mail is fun.

      We’ve figured out the color scheme for the inside of the house, based primarily on khaki, creamy whites, and warm grays, BUT the exterior is a challenge. Once we got a new roof I realized that we were going to have to change our trim and siding. I’ve tried to ignore the situation, really I have. *le sigh*

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  8. Oh, good luck choosing your new house colors. I don’t envy that choice. We’re about 4 years away from having to do this, but it might be easier because the HOA has narrowed the color scheme choices down to less than 40 so there’s that to make it somewhat easier…I hope!

    They’re still calling for 70+ and the workforce to be vaccinated here so He-Man and I are waiting patiently and maintaining our current routine of cautious protections when outside our bubble.

    We’re expecting rain today. I have only planned on catching up with the laundry and a book I started a couple of weeks ago.

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    • Deborah, choosing the exterior colors has the possibility of driving me mad, but it does provide me with something to focus on as we wait, wait, wait for the vaccine to be made available to us. Our HOA doesn’t have a designated color palette and this state doesn’t seem to know when anyone under 70 will actually get their 2 shots, so my life is up in the air right now.

      It’s snowy here today and I’m doing laundry as I type this reply. Later I’ll read, too. At least we are both safe within our little bubbles, so no complaining exactly.

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  9. In cleaning out, I found an old letter from my Mom to my cousin in her first year of college at the time (1969). It was a list of questions that my cousin had answered and then mailed back to my Mom. I enjoyed the memories it invoked and so sent it through snail mail to my cousin who also enjoyed it and phoned to tell me so. We haven’t been in touch for years but how nice it was to catch up. She is caring for her husband who has early-onset Alzheimer’s and it happens to be her 70th birthday today!
    I thought I should write more letters to the people I have not been able to visit much. It is a nice treat to get mail that isn’t a bill and isn’t junk mail! Thanks for reminding me to do this!

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    • Ellen D., what a fun find! I’m glad you were able to send it back to your cousin and that she enjoyed receiving it. It’s amazing what old letters can do.

      Other than a Christmas newsletter, I don’t write snail mail letters/cards anymore. No one I know appreciates them, some saying that receiving a letter or card makes them feel indebted to send one back & if they don’t do that they feel guilty. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

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  10. I think 99.9% of us out ‘here’ could sign just like you did – Judy, the bored. Love it. πŸ™‚ πŸ‘πŸ» on the cookbook completion. That’s a big project but one so worthwhile and so appreciated I am sure. No help here on the paint front because I’ve been known to buy a color, try it, and buy another. πŸ™‚ Yes, get the first shot call when they have the second shot schedule all figure out because that means less stress on you. How’s my day? Well, we’re going on errands together just so we can both get out of the house plus it is wicked cold coming in at a mere 16 degrees right now. Stay warm and stay safe.

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    • Judy, I know what you mean, we’re all bored with this lifestyle that I’ve dubbed the Sequestered Life. I don’t see much point in getting the first jab if the second one is *maybe* not available. Of course, we aren’t old enough to even be on the list, so we wait, carefully avoiding other people.

      Eventually I’ll [we’ll] have to decide on the exterior paint color, but I may put that off until after the new deck is built. Which, of course, is another project that we are waiting on because that’s what we do now, wait. πŸ˜‘

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  11. We are of like minds; I finished updating our family cookbook a few months ago, added tons of photographs and stories, and printed them out for everyone. This sparked a lot of phone calls and discussions of prior times and people, recipes, etc. It was a good thing and kept me busy. I have been writing many more letters and notes than pre-Covid. Although I have several people I always correspond with snail mail, including a couple of young women who call me Aunt and love to write real letters, I’m afraid I had gotten very much into the email habit. So I sit down at my desk on Monday mornings and write little notes, cards for birthdays and anniversaries, and the odd letter. I use my favorite fountain pen, pretty stationary, and it makes me feel good. Often, I tuck a dried flower from my garden inside, and often an old photo, but I forgot about little recipe cards, articles, etc., that were often included in a letter. I’ll keep my options open!

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    • Dorothy, you sound like your cookbook is much fancier than mine. Photos? You’ve taken it to the next level. I haven’t written a letter in years which is a shame because I have lovely monogramed stationery and cards because that was the done thing in my WASP-y family. I’m pleased that you’re able to keep the snail mail tradition alive, and that there are some younger folks who enjoy sending and receiving letters/cards.

      I’d forgotten about including recipe cards in letters, but remember getting some from an aunt. My mother always included an article when she wrote. And another aunt couldn’t mail a letter unless it had a few snapshots in it. Couldn’t I tell you! πŸ˜‰

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  12. It seems like the only letter writing I do now is the sending of sympathy cards. It’s very difficult for me to come up with something heartfelt.
    I am not a cook, never have been. But I do like to bake every once in awhile.I think I told you I still have the Betty Crocker cook book you gave me many years ago!
    Picking paint colors is very fun, but also daunting. Especially when it’s exterior colors and all you have are the tiny swatches to go by. I chose our exterior colors for our historical brick house when we lived in Zanesville. There were three colors and hubby did the painting. Some of it was pretty tedious, being at the second story and detailed. It turned out great, and the current owners have kept them. We drive by when we happen to be there every few years.
    Best of luck to you.

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    • Beth, good point about sending sympathy cards. You’re right that is about the only time I write anything even remotely like a letter home. I’m glad that you like your Betty Crocker cookbook. I have one, too– plus Mom’s old one that was a teacher’s edition. I like cooking and baking, but if it isn’t your thing then I know it can be more of a burden than a joy.

      As for the exterior colors for this house, I may break down and hire a professional color consultant to help with this decision. The colors we have now aren’t awful, but look dated– and unlike you with your historical house, we are trying to keep this property looking up-to-date. For resale value. Should we sell.

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  13. Looks like you’ve surpassed Martha rather than emulated her. That’s good, ’cause she’s a felon.
    We, too, will be having our house painted this summer, and have a similar conundrum: Go same or go different. Oh well, that’s a problem for Future Me.

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    • The Travel Architect, ha! You’re right Martha is a felon and I am not. Love how you think. Once we got a new roof on the house I realized that the trim color, while not terrible, doesn’t really go with the roof. Different undertones, you know? What to do, what to do…

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    • River, the cookbook has been updated three times now, but I don’t know that I have any family that’d want a copy of it. BUT you’re right it would be a cool gift. As for the exterior of this house, color of said, it’s going to be fascinating to see what we decide on. Fortunately we have plenty of time to decide.

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      • I’m thinking how fun it would be to nonchalantly ask extended family members for a favorite recipe and then compile a cookbook as a gift. I won’t ever do that of course.. but I do like the idea.

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        • My aunt did that years ago. She solicited/strong-armed 2 recipes from everyone in the family, then typed them, printed them, and put them in a small binder. It was very personal and useful. I don’t have my copy anymore, it was lost somewhere along the line, but it was a charming gift.

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  14. Write letters, send actual cards, I’m all for that! Love getting things in the mail. I used to write my sister once a month but she has a problem with her eyes now and it is very difficult for her to read and write. Think of all the people you keep in jobs by doing that! As far as the family recipes go, we do have a book put together by one of my husband’s cousins for a family reunion we had years ago. Each family submitted their favorite dish. I’m not that into cooking though so it doesn’t sound like a fun activity for me. Love seeing your house. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Janet, well I knew you’d be all about sending letters [and cards]! πŸ˜„ I don’t do much of either anymore which seems like a shame, but that’s not how the people who I know stay in touch. When it comes to the written word it’s all about texting and emails. I’ve had people tell me that getting a card in the mail is a bother to them. Like the sender wants something from them.

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  15. I do remember writing letters home – wow so many years ago. It’s great that you have all your recipes in one place. Mine are all over between my favorite cookbooks and written on little pieces of paper. Loved this post!

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    • Barbara, I feel the same way as you do, it’s been so long since I wrote a letter home and suddenly that seemed significant to me. Hence this blog post. Prior to this last cookbook update we had recipe chaos, but now with all the recipes easily available to me I have a renewed interest in making some of the ones I’d forgotten about. Something to do while we wait for our jabs.

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  16. Ally, your workspace is gorgeous. I am most envious. I’m in the middle of having – yet another – attempt at decluttering my office. It’s a problem of quart being forced into a pint pot, but each time I do it, I get rid of a bit more or find a better way to store what needs to be kept. But it’s a long (LONG) way from being photo worthy. One day maybe (a girl’s gotta have goals, right?)

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    • Deb, thanks for the compliment about the home office. A few years ago, after years of sitting on a kitchen chair at a small table with stray file cabinets on either side, I snapped. I decided to buy a proper desk with a proper desk chair with some frames for photos to put on the wall above the desk. It was a good decision because I’m comfortable and can keep track of ideas + files more easily. I’ll never have a completely decluttered work space, but the clutter I do have looks better now. Like it belongs. πŸ˜‰

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      • The decor is the next bit of my office focus Ally. I’ve sorted out what I’m calling an inspiration board (rather than a vision board) which I’ve placed on the wall next to my desk. It’s uplifting and encouraging & reminds me what I’m striving towards – not just in terms of office space πŸ™‚ Next it’s time to clamber up the ladder and sort out the blank wall above my desk. The success of the board makes me think I may reconsider what pictures to hang. I had in mind a lithograph in muted colours of my father’s old college, but I now think something a bit brighter might work better.

        PS: do you share your cookbook, or is it entirely for you & Z-D?

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        • I wasn’t as organized as you are about changing your work space. The inspiration board is a good idea, it’ll keep you focused. After I put up the photos above the desk I realized how much I’d missed having something pretty before/above me. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by whatever you choose to put on the wall.

          So far the cookbook is entirely for us. It’s written in our own idiosyncratic style. πŸ™„

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          • Oh Ally, I’ve been so lacking in organization about my office space – its walls in particular. We’ve been here 18 long months… I’m sure you’re right about that wall.

            I’ve long considered putting together a cookbook containing recipes which have been shared with me by friends & family. One day…

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  17. My dad used to write one letter to 3 college kids each week. The kid who got the letter was charged with passing it around to the other two siblings on campus/across the street at my campus. When I was in college and even after college, I wrote a lot of letters. The dad of one of the families I babysat for called me the most letter writing-est person he ever met. I still keep in touch with them – not usually with snail mail but I did put a note in their Christmas card.

    I am in the process of typing all of my recipes into google docs. Printing them, inserting them in sleeves and making a recipe binder. My former system, or lack thereof, was total disarray.

    The projects sound exciting. We need to get our house painted this summer.

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    • Ernie, what an efficient way to get all you can out of one letter. Your father was a smart man. I don’t know that I ever achieved your level of letter writing prowess, but I used to write letters, and enjoyed it, which I think might be why I was intrigued with blogging when I first heard about it.

      What you’re doing is what we did with our recipes. Now that they’re all tidy and organized in their little sleeves in their pretty binders I’m pleased, but it was work typing them and printing them.

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  18. I have two or three binders from different times with recipes I’ve gathered here and there – You have now encouraged me to go through them, pick out the recipes that I care to save, type and print them out for a new, fresh binder of their own. This can start when I get those binders from my house south of here to my daughter’s house – the moving process to continue when the driving weather is more reliable. Both my daughter and I have been talking about the food we want to eat out when we are able to eat out again. I think we are also hitting that Covid wall. She and her husband have both had their first shots because they are teachers. I am due for mine starting next week.

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    • Carol, we had recipes scattered in the kitchen and we had notes about changes to the recipes mixed in every which way. It seemed like it was time to tidy things a bit, and with all this free time on our hands courtesy of Covid-19 we got more organized. I didn’t use a fancy recipe program, just typed them and printed them and put them in some binders we already had around here.

      I’m glad you’ll be getting your shot soon. I look forward to eating out at a few local restaurants, but honestly for the most part I don’t mind cooking at home. Of course I may change my tune when I’m free to wander around the world again.

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  19. This COVID19 has brought our travel and normal social life to a grinding halt. Good to know you’re also managing to keep busy. Hubby has been doing lots of outside jobs, including tiling our patio area and landscaping the front garden. I’m working my way through a book of Sonatinas which our daughter gave me last time we visited her in South Africa. She’d bought two by mistake. I didn’t play much classical piano but now I’m obsessed. πŸ˜…

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    • Margaret, the recipes are just a wide variety of things we’ve liked. No theme, just basic midwest meals that we’ve made over the years.

      As for the paint conundrum, what we have now is a light gray that has a reddish undertone [that went with the previous brownish-gray roof]. But the new roof is gray with a more greenish-blue undertone so we’re leaning toward a yellowish-tan [or maybe greenish-gray] shade that’ll blend with the roof and the brick + mortar and the golden limestone wall. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

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  20. I love your musings. So cool to hear about your cookbook update (you are way more organized than me) and the paint color you are in the process of choosing. Love hearing about daily life! 😊 As for me, I am writing a picture book, shoveling snow, and surviving winter in general.

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    • L. Marie, musing I am here. *nods head* I didn’t realize how little was going on here until I sat down to write a post, then when I did I felt like I was writing a letter home more than writing a blog post. Rather cool that you’re writing a picture book. Wonderful that you’re surviving winter. Winter seems more difficult this year, for some reason. πŸ™„

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  21. The one good thing about being color blind is being left out of color decision making exercises. It’s good to see people preparing for the year ahead. Let’s hope it’s not another one that we have to react to.

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  22. I’m amazed how “busy” (I put that in parentheses because a truly busy person might scoff at my idea of business) I’ve managed to stay over the course of covid. I’m a little worried that, when the powers-that-be yell “olly olly oxen free” I might stay hidden for a bit longer.

    Have fun choosing your house colors! I would love to have our stucco color changed. I didn’t like the color we have almost as soon as it was completed (of course I don’t admit that to my husband since I was the one who picked it).

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    • Janis, I’ve found things to do around the house and online, so like you I wonder how social I’ll be once we are allowed back out into the world. It’s been a learning experience to stay at home this long and not go bonkers.

      I look forward to see this house refreshed with the perfect color, but I worry about deciding which is the perfect color. I’m sorry you don’t like your stucco color. You just never quite know with color outside in large amounts.

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  23. Hello Ally the Bored. Paint swatches, say no more. Mine have been sitting just there in my study for over a year. We were going to have the painters in Feb last year but *something* got in the way. (NOT that we’d decided on that or this shade).

    Talking of shades, I’d better end, we’re about to have load shedding (black out) at 10.00 p.m. 3 mins to go. So enjoyed your letter, viewing your space. Recipes … shew, it would take me a month of Sundays to find those bits and pices on which they’re written. I do have a file somewhere. But right here, waiting to be filed, is a recipe for a pumpkin tart. Dead simple ..

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    • Susan, deciding on color is daunting, but fun, but annoying, but good, so I understand how you’re still in the process of picking the right one. The prob is there are hundreds of wrong colors tempting me with their come hither hues.

      It took weeks of working on the recipes a few at a time before the cookbook project was complete. I’m glad we did it, but I believe we did it only because of staying home during this pandemic. Otherwise we’d have been out doing the things.

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  24. Wow, the varied considerations to make when choosing a paint color. Best of luck on that! “Paint fan”–great phrase! I love that your “epicenter of clutter” has potted plants on it. Really makes the spot more cozy and homey. πŸ™‚

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    • Betsy, if we didn’t have brick + mortar and stone to coordinate with, then picking an exterior color would be easier. BUT those variables aren’t going away, so gotta deal with them. My paint fan is from Sherwin-Williams and that’s what they call it, so I do too. Yes, you’re right; the potted plants in the middle of the epicenter do lend a certain homey charm to it. That was exactly the look I was going for. πŸ™„

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  25. How organized you are! I have a problem picking colors from swatches too – I generally ask the painters to help me and I’ve never been disappointed with their choices!

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  26. Congratulations on the cookbook. When our girls left home, I bought two recipe binders and sent along their favorite recipes, but it’s not the same. I took my parents for the first Covid shots today and when we got there, the woman asked if I’d like mine too. Duh, yeah!! Now I just have to get one for my husband. The great thing is that we got our second appointment before leaving, one month from today. SO happy.

    Writing letters home? Since my parents are now a twenty-minute drive away, that doesn’t happen. But since moving and Covid, I’ve been sending lots of postcards, cards, a letter or two, and packages occasionally to family and friends. I’ve even gotten a few from friend overseas to whom I’ve sent cards. Zoom was wonderful at Christmas when we all spent time together and opened gifts like always, just not all at our house. We had another Christmas Zoom with my sister-in-law in France as well as a New Years Zoom.

    Have fun with the house.

    janet

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    • Janet, oh I’m pleased for you and your luck getting your first shot. And to get an appointment for a second one is great. Someday I’m sure we’ll be double jabbed. When our state gets it together.

      I’m finding that the people who I know have little use for letters and cards. That makes me sad, but I can’t change them so I don’t send either anymore. I’m glad you had fun with Zoom. It’s not quite the same as being together, but not awful either. We all are learning how to adapt to these changing and challenging times.

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      • No, Zoom’s not like being together but it’s a lot better than not being able to see and talk with friends and family. I’ve FaceTimed with several friends a number of times and that’s pretty nice, too.

        I hope you can sign up for a shot soon. Arizona is one of the states doing the least well with vaccinations but just think about all the older people here. If they just do older people for now, it will still take some time! πŸ™‚ I’m not in the oldest round, but would be in the next one, but I’m happy they asked me to skip. Also the place was a pop-up in an empty bar front, so no standing in line for hours, there were bathrooms, and it was run efficiently and the people were all very friendly and helpful. That makes a huge difference.

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        • Gotta laugh my husband and I FaceTime with each other, even though we’re in the same house. We make our own fun here.

          I’m too young and too healthy to be able to jump the line. As it stands now I’ll be lucky to get a shot in March, so I’m adjusting my expectations accordingly. There’s not a large older population here, but there seems to be government incompetence when it comes to planning the process. Not surprised, just tired of the whole topic.

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  27. It seems you’ve been keeping busy! I love your cookbook project! Adding that to my list of things I wanna doπŸ‘ As for your dilemma with exterior paint, I can relate! I’m sure some test patches in various places will reveal a myriad of colors as the sun passes through 😊 We have a four-bay, shop/garage that needs painting this summer so I need to get busy finding a color hubby will approve! Otherwise, like you, waiting for shots but looking more like May or June, ugh. Keep reminding myself, β€œThis too shall pass” ❀️😊 Take care.

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    • Sue, yes we need to go to the test phase of the exterior paint project but it’s wintry cold here so that won’t be for a few months. I wish you well finding a color that appeals to you and your husband, therein can be a stumbling block. Ain’t married life fun?

      We’ll be lucky if we can get both of our jabs in March, so I’m figuring it’ll probably be April before our age comes up. I can’t do anything about it so I’m being mellow– and avoiding people like the plague. 😁

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      • We live in a rural area, up in the mountains of eastern Washington state, so the vaccine roll out here is slow. But like you we’re avoiding peeps like the plague πŸ‘€

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  28. I LOVE that you have a family cookbook!
    Choosing paint colors. *whew* I’m starting to sweat thinking about it as it brings on all sorts of stress and not sleeping for this girl.
    A letter home? Well, that’s not gonna happen, there is no one home and no one to send it to. Sadly.
    But, I did write a letter to my future SIL who is at Marine boot camp. He says it hell, but appreciates us checking in with him.

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    • Suz, the cookbook was a time commitment, but worth it now that it’s all finished. As for paint colors, I share your sleepless nights. It is stressful and expensive if you make a mistake.

      I have no one to write home to anymore either. That occurred to me as I was writing this post so I decided on the spur of the moment to turn my musings into a letter. I bet your SIL appreciated your letter, but can only imagine how tired he must be. Semper Fi, eh?

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  29. Thanks for sharing your ‘letter’! I don’t feel so ‘alone’ knowing others in the bloggo-sphere are struggling with COVID insanity, too. I’m thankful that we’re not infected/in serious medical trouble, but geesh!
    My recipe project has been on-going also. I have a slew of printed out ‘first editions’ of pages from a computer that no longer exists and I never transferred the files. So I’m re-doing those along with trudging along with the others that need to be ‘neatly’ written out on WORD docs. And those I want to keep the handwritten specimens along with the new computer generated copy I just slip those into the other side of the plastic sleeve.
    HA!
    I got hung up fooling around with different fonts…and decided to go with whatever tickles my fancy at the time of data entry. So when/if ever it gets done, it’ll be unintentionally artistically filled with docs/recipes in different fonts!
    😎
    And sometimes I’m actually happy when I come across a recipe I no longer like – even remotely – and thus get to throw it out. I like throwing things out!

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    • Laura, my original cookbook I did using a recipe program that provided nutrition info on each recipe. However like you it was on a computer that no longer exists, so this time I/we used the word processing in our iMac. This turned out to be infinitely easier than the recipe program, although we kept to one font not being as clever as you.

      I know what you mean about throwing out recipes that you no longer want. It’s good for the soul to toss them aside to make room for better/healthier recipes. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

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  30. I love the cook book idea. I keep meaning to do one, for my family. Well, since it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting vaccinated at least until June, I guess I have the time to start this project. Did you use a special software program or will just any old word processor do?
    Inquiring minds would like to know…

    Deb

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    • Deb, this time I used the word processing department within my iMac. It was ezpz and allowed me to have a uniform look for each recipe.

      However, previously [in ’94 & ’05] I used a recipe program that was difficult to navigate through, BUT it gave nutritional information after I wrestled the recipe into the program. Those kinds of recipe programs may be better now, but I didn’t bother to find out anything about them.

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      • OK, thanks for this! I too had one of those recipe programs in the 90s and your post reminded me of it. It WAS kinda difficult to work with, and I never bothered to look for another (or continue transcribing recipes into digital) as a result. I like your idea of using Apple’s word processing program. Much simpler.

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  31. I have a binder of recipes too…I go through it periodically and throw things away, but I think at this point it could use some re-thinking and re-organizing.

    We need (need is a strong word, but I’ll use it anyway) to paint the interior of our townhouse. I get tired thinking about it. And what we need even more than that is new kitchen cabinets, but wow, that would get expensive. Sigh.

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    • J, in the process of re-doing our cookbook, we tossed many recipes that no longer seemed worth the effort. It was a good project, but one that I probably wouldn’t have done if we weren’t here at home all the time.

      I understand your reluctance to start painting your interior walls. New wall color leads to the furniture looking wrong which leads to spending money. I know how expensive kitchen cabinets are. I’m pleased with the ones we got, but after 10+ years our *new* kitchen no longer looks all that new– which is kind of defeating, truth be told.

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  32. I could say the same thing about what’s happening at my house: “Nowhere to go, no one to meet, but things to do.” I did have a pleasant Zoom today with my writing group, though.

    I always enjoy picking colors. The outside of a house is hard, though. I did a good job on our previous house. I chose colors that I liked for years. But I’m not happy about the color I chose for this house. The change in light is one thing, but it’s hard to say what is a good color for something as big as a house.

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    • Nicki, I’m finding that many of us are in the same situation of nowhere to go, although you’re right, there are Zoom groups so technically we are meeting someone. Still…

      I like the wall colors we picked for the inside of the house, sticking with khaki, creamy whites, and warm grays. BUT the outside is a whole ‘nother matter. It’s ever changing outside and it’s a big area and it’s going to cost a small fortune, so I want it to be right.

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    • bernieLynne, I also received letters from home when I was in college. You’re right in that they were often the best part on my day. It was nothing like the way college kids today instantly connect with their parents and friends merely by tapping into a cell phone. As for the paint colors, this is going to be a decision a long time in the making.

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  33. Yup, being bored is a blessing (luxury?) these days. But it sounds like you have a few projects to focus on which helps. (We might start painting again this spring.) I like your cookbook idea… Not much new around here as we wait for our turn to get vaccinated. Read a fiction book for the first time in years and have started the second book in the trilogy. Great to escape to long ago and far far away and watch the snow falling outside the window, curled up with a cup of tea…

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    • Barbara, you’re right that being bored is a blessing/luxury. One that has given me a new perspective on my life. I’m doing much less than a year ago, but I’m more intentional about what I’m doing. I figure this is good. I’m pleased that you’ve found a series of novels that you enjoy. Escaping through the pages of a book can be therapeutic, especially when it’s so cold outside. πŸ₯Ά

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  34. Ahhh – letters home. That truly feels like a million years ago. I used to treasure letters from my mom. If she was in-the-zone, those letters could occupy me for a while. She didn’t have much use for punctuation, and in the absence of periods, commas, or even capital letters, a letter could take on a number of interesting meanings πŸ™‚

    These days I’m thrilled with a text message containing a half-dozen words from a friend or family member .

    Love all the pictures of your creativity areas … I can’t bear to call them ‘work’ areas, for they are where you ‘dream and scheme’ πŸ™‚

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    • Joanne, I have to laugh about the multiple meanings of your mother’s letters. I rather like that she could keep you engaged by avoiding those pesky things associated with punctuation. I agree letters to or from home seem like a million years ago. A different world entirely.

      I, too, am overjoyed with a short text message from friends or family. It’s about all I get anymore, now that most people find snail mail too much to do. πŸ™

      Yes, I do dream and scheme in my various areas. You’re right there’s less and less work going on in any of them, which is a-okay by me. You gotta go with your strengths. πŸ˜‰

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    • Thanks, Donna, you’re too kind. As I’m sure you realize I want to pick the right color for the exterior but I am floundering as I go. Design peril. I got it. 😳

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  35. On the subject of letters–when my grandfather died, I started calling my grandmother once a week. As she got older, the calls became more challenging, and I started calling less. After one call, I realized that she was struggling with them, so I started sending cards instead, back to once a week. I made them, which gave me an excuse to do something crafty each week. Some weeks the crafty part was pretty minimal, but for the last year and a half of her life, I sent one every week. A card was just the right amount of space for a weekly update. I could always find something to say about the previous week. When she died, my uncle gave them all back to me. She’d saved every one of them. He told me more than once that they were a highlight of the week for her. (He lived with her the last few years.) There’s something to putting things on physical paper–letters, recipes, stories–that gets lost when they are only digital.

    Off to think about making a recipe book…

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    • Rita, yours is a wonderful story and a great example of how a simple card can boost someone’s morale. I love that you made your cards, that is indeed a crafty outlet for you. It’s lovely that your uncle gave you back your cards, what a keepsake!

      I wonder about our digital communication, too. The impact of it has been far-reaching and pretty much erased written personal communication. What will future historians learn about us? Nothing tangible it seems to me, only that which was typed virtually.

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  36. Well first, let’s keep fingers crossed for the J & J one dose vaccine. I just learned about it from my parents’ last weekend. Both of whom are 74 years old and haven’t yet received their first dose.

    Second, I love the idea of a family cookbook! I made a little throw together cookbook for Anna last Christmas because she was asking for recipes to make while she was at college. I may tell my mom about your venture because this would be something fun for her to do as well. She loves to cook and has so many good recipes from my childhood and from my grandmother too.

    Thank you for the inspiration! πŸ™‚

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    • Kari, I don’t know about the one dose vaccine, but that sounds promising. Will keep my ear to the ground about it.

      The family cookbook is for Z-D and I more than anyone else, although years ago my late aunt put together an extended family cookbook and gave us each a copy of it. If your mom enjoys cooking, creating her own cookbook might pass the hours enjoyably while we all wait. It took some effort to get ours finished, but I’m glad we did it.

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  37. We had to paint our guest bathroom 2 years ago, and I love the color that I got..it’s a grey with a bit of blue in it. It’s called San Francisco Fog, Kelly-Moore. We were afraid it would be too dark for a small room, so we had them β€˜cut it’ by 25% I think, meaning they mixed it with some shade of white. The rest of our common area is Wise Owl, which is another Kelly Moore color that we like. We tried to sell our house way back in 2007, and our realtor suggested the color. I really like it.

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    • When you find a wall color that works for you, I figure it’s a good idea to stick with it. Maybe not on all the walls, but some of them. Sounds like you’ve found your bff wall color.

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  38. hi ally – any updates on the paint color choices!
    and this post had a njce personal touch
    quick question – the blanket on the chair – do you use that a lot as a blanket it is is for comfort?

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  39. I’m impressed with how organized you are. When we realized that our kitchen renovation wasn’t going to happen till next fall at the earliest, we simply stopped thinking about it. But you’re inspiring me to perhaps think about our talking about it ahead of time. You know, so we don’t have these last-minute arguments in front of a contractor about colors and designs. Food for though, so to speak.

    Last year when I was reading though all the letters I’ve saved from my parents, a thought did occur to me that it would have been nice if they had kept some of the ones I sent them. But I suspect into the garbage they all went at some point! – Marty

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    • Marty, when we had our kitchen remodeled about 10 years ago neither one of us had a clear idea of how we wanted it to look. Our contractor had an interior designer on staff who walked us through the choices, added her own opinions, and was invaluable. We loved Emily because she kept us on track with the design and within our budget. Maybe your contractor has an Emily, too.

      Handwritten letters are so rare now that it seems peculiar to talk about them, yet that’s what I got thinking about when I wrote this post. I suspect that most personal letters either ended up in the trash shortly after receipt or landed there years later when someone else cleared out the house.

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  40. A cookbook! Good for you. Seems like the perfect pandemic project. I’m also on the home improvement kick. Being at home all the time, I see many, many things that need improvement. We put together a new coffee table yesterday. Today I ordered 2 new ceiling fans and a new light fixture for the foyer. One thing leads to another…or maybe I’m just putting off improving myself!

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    • Anna, ha! I like to believe that in the process of improving your home, a person also improves herself. Therefore, I’d say change anything that bugs you in your house, and become a better person for it.

      You’re right, the cookbook project was a perfect pandemic project. We could stop and start when we wanted because no rush. Now that we’re all organized I’m looking forward to making many of the recipes.

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  41. You have my sympathy – picking out paint is my worst nightmare. There’s just way too much choice and it all looks different in different light. Good Luck Ally! Are you zoning in on blues and grays?

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  42. Ah, recipes organized. I wouldn’t know what that’s like. More than half of mine are on cards, but mostly index cards and not the fancy, pretty cardstock cards that came with the decorative box. Some are full size pieces of paper folded into fourths. I should go through and discard all the ones that are clean πŸ˜‰
    Very nice retaining wall, I recall πŸ™‚ I don’t envy you choosing the colors but I know you’ll choose well.
    When we redo our exterior, we will have yellow siding again, but a yellow warm enough to be leaning at orange. The particular yellow of our house reads pukey to me, as it’s pale and as we’re surrounded by grass and trees, I feel like it’s leaning green. And when we do this we will not have brown trim because it will not be 1982. This is a far into the future endeavor for us as we’re about to hit round two of kids in college and not to brag about my lil bungalow in the hood, but it’s still, pukey yellow and all, the prettiest house on the street.

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    • joey, the way you describe your recipes is exactly how ours were: folded, scribbled, some on cards, most tossed in a wicker basket rather than filed anywhere. Now I am so organized it’s scary. I don’t quite know what to do with myself. πŸ˜‰

      I wouldn’t like a yellow that leans puckey. I can understand your problem with all the trees and grass adding to the greenishness. There are so many beautiful shades of yellow out there that when the time comes I’m sure you’ll find a better shade. Also brown trim? Aren’t you the lucky one! More than the wrong yellow that might get to me the most. Still it can all wait until the kids, round 2, are edumacated all smarty-like.

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  43. You’ve really had a chance to get organized Ally, and, as you say, Martha Stewart has nothing on you. I remember you ordered the deck chairs to go on the new deck and the chairs were taking a while, so hopefully they don’t arrive before the new deck is in place – where to store the cumbersome and large Adirondack chairs? My mom, who would have turned 95 years old today, passed away in 2010 and she had a few lifelong friends that I kept in touch with by handwritten letters in their Christmas and birthday cards. They have all since passed away and I have no family members, so I can’t remember the last letter I wrote. Letter writing is a lost art now. I used to be fascinated about the love letters written during WWI or WWII that took months to reach their destination. We are so spoiled now by communication aren’t we?

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    • Linda, laughing here. You really do see the difficulties in the process of getting this darned deck replaced. And that’s before we get to the deciding on the house trim part. Honestly I suspect this exterior renovation will take over a year to complete because the demand for painters is at an all-time high.

      I’m like you in that I have no older relatives left. They’d be the ones who’d enjoy a letter or card. My MIL is still alive, so I/we send her cards but whether she enjoys/understands them I cannot say. She is delightful, but perhaps not all that with it anymore. And yes, modern communication has spoiled us all. So fast, so easy…

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      • I am the eternal pessimist when it comes to home renovation. My parents remodeled everything in this house through the years so I have lived through it too. I hope your exterior renovation does not take as long as the windows as I remember you and Shelley both endured that ordeal.

        I now have no Christmas cards I send that I’m not communicating with people on a regular basis via social media, so the few cards I send I just sign my name. Kind of sad really.

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  44. I actually sent out two handwritten letters last week. One had a news snippet. I felt like my grandmother. I do feel like I’m still the only person in the world who does it, but I love doing it. (My mom makes handmade cards and sends them so I know I’m not the ONLY one who does it.)

    Good luck with the exterior choices!!

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    • Katie, how cool that you sent out handwritten letters last week– as if you knew I’d be talking about that here. I don’t know a soul who does that and that’s a shame. Handmade cards are fun to receive and I hope fun to make, too. As for the exterior color choice… that’ll be a long time in deciding.

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