The Last Roses Of The Season With A Hint Of Shakespeare

“What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

~ Romeo and Juliet

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The other morning I gave the shrub roses their last trim of the season.  Even though the calendar says it’s fall, these bushes are officially ready for winter.

Most of the roses were faded and falling apart, but a few flowers were still buds or starting to bloom.

I saved the healthy stragglers, putting them together in a casual bouquet in a vase on the kitchen counter.

Later I noticed that the sun, shining through the window, made the water sparkle and the colors pop, leaving me with one last glimpse of summer’s beauty, while waiting for winter to arrive.

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“Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile;
So ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes.”

~ Love’s Labor’s Lost

No Conundrums. No Chaos. No Calamities.

The title of this post explains it.

BUTTERFLY BLUR

Most of the time when I write here I have something specific to *blah, blah, blah* about, but today all is well.

BUTTERFLY IN ACTION

So instead of manufacturing a faux problem to blog about I’ll share a few photos of a pretty butterfly flitting about, with purpose and intent, on our butterfly bush.

BUTTERFLY CLOSE-UP

I believe that sometimes it all comes together and the best thing to do is to appreciate it.  Like I’m doing today.

173 Days Later, The Remodeling Wild Ride Ends

Surprised?

Yep, that’s how long it took from our first meeting in early March with the remodeling company planner guy to the last day in late August with the finisher guys making it all look perfect.

Kind of makes you think that HGTV shows might not be telling you the truth about how remodeling projects in the real world get done, doesn’t it?

But I digress…

Here are some photos* of how everything [finally] looks now that we have a new master bathroom, laundry room, and updated TV room fireplace.  We love the results, and couldn’t be happier that we took this wild ride– despite all the difficulties and absurdities along the way.

[Click HERE for the whole story.]

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Fancy decorative tile, lost then found in route from California, here at last.

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Double vanity with lots of drawers, meaning no more storing towels in buckets in the tub for us.

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New tub, very sleek, and no longer in my parking place in the garage where it’s spent the last two months.

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Shower doors installed on second custom frame, because why do things right the first time?

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In the laundry room, pretty decorative tiles + a small granite counter created from a slab found on the remnant pile.

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Stackable washer and dryer, effective, but seem large after years of using small side-by-side ones.

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Shiny natural granite with a simple white mantle against a wall painted the correct neutral color. 

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* I warned you, my gentle readers, in my first post about this remodeling wild ride that I’ve never learned how to take good interior design photos. These pics don’t do our projects justice, but they’re the best I can do.

Of Black Coffee, Morning Clouds, and Self-Expression

EARLY THE OTHER MORNING about 6:00 a.m. the clouds floating over our house were so pretty that I decided to sit on the deck, drink my mug of black coffee, and photograph the clouds as they drifted overhead.

AS I WATCHED CLOUDS morph into one shape after another, I remembered a recent interview I’d heard with Carly Simon.  She was on Here’s The Thing podcast with Alec Baldwin.  [Interview here.]

WHENEVER I THINK OF Carly Simon I think of the lyrics to You’re So Vain, specifically: “I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee, Clouds in my coffee.”  It seemed like the perfect thought for where I was sitting, what I was drinking while musing on clouds.

I HAD ENJOYED LISTENING to the podcast as Carly explained her life, her music, her memoir. Her conclusions.  My impression was that she sees her past clearly, with a wit and wisdom that made me appreciate her struggles. And her triumphs.

AS I WATCHED THE CLOUDS, reflecting on what Carly Simon had said, I began to wonder about my own abilities to understand and describe myself to others.  Would I ever be able to explain my past, either in verbal or written form, as eloquently and truthfully as she had explained hers?

NOT THAT I HAVE an overwhelming desire to tell all to everyone, but should I feel the need to do so for some reason, would I be able to do it?  Would you?

Let The Remodeling Wild Ride Begin, Part 2 Of 2

[Continuing from Part 1 yesterday.]

AS FRIENDS AND FAMILY already know, Zen-Den and I have been dithering around for years about:

What to do about our master bathroom?

It’s never been a good use of space, and I’ve never felt safe in it because the builder grade floor tiles get slippery when the room is humid, which is often because the builder grade exhaust system is pathetic.

Considering we like where we live in this large subdivision, one that caters to people of all ages– some neighbors retiring here to build their dream houses, other neighbors buying their starter house here, and everyone else in-between.

Like us.

And considering we like living in this small town that’s known for outdoor activities and casual dining, we’ve decided to stay where we are, remodeling what displeases us about this house, making it retirement-ready.

For later.

So, we talked with three remodeling companies about doing work around here, and decided to go with the company that remodeled our kitchen years ago.  Their workmanship and our style seem to be in sync.

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Thus here’s what’s going on around Chez Bean this summer:

  • we’re having our master bathroom partially gutted, reconfigured, and modernized so that it’s safe [& pretty] for us as we age;  and
  • we’re having our laundry room reconfigured so that we’ll have a newer-style [larger] washer and dryer + usable storage space;  and
  • we’re redoing our family room fireplace tile and mantel + having the walls painted a neutral, timeless color;  plus while they’re here
  • we’re having our kitchen tweaked just a little bit to tidy up a few things.

And now, for a few “before” photos…

Small cabinet with sink over in corner where only Zen-Den could manage to use it.

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Jetted garden tub that I hate, used as linen closet because there is no linen closet in this bathroom.

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Larger cabinet with sink, and almost no storage, in another corner of bathroom. Technically not the builder’s fault that I’m messy by nature, but I think I’ll blame him anyhow for not giving me enough drawers.

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Boring shower with absolutely no character that lacks an exhaust fan above it.

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Small laundry room that doesn’t accommodate the larger side-by-side appliances that are now available.  Also dryer does not work, because it’s a poopy head.

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Family room in which we pulled down the mantel last summer, then painted test colors on the wall intending to redo this mess ourselves. Obviously, we never did.

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On A Plantation In The Stableyard With A Camera [For The Win]

We’ve been on vacation.  To some interesting places.  That I promise to tell you about later.

But right now I’m too busy in real life to do much more here than share a few stableyard animal photos with you, my gentle readers.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Well if that’s the case, then here are 7000 words, plus a few more, for you.

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Water buffalo, very friendly, ready for a smooch.

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Mama pig snoozing with polka-dotted piglets.

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Sheep, with a bit of an attitude, lounging against front porch of house.

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Gray squirrel, technically not a farm animal, hanging out around the farm while eating a nut.

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Goat doing something goat-like, as goats are wont to do in pens on farms.

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Goose, northbound, waddling away from lady with camera while shaking south end tail feathers at her.

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Little lamb whose cuteness stole the whole farm show.

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All photos taken at Middleton Place, a National Historic Landmark, located near Charleston, SC.

No Horses. No History. Just Happiness Courtesy Of The Blue Sky Above.

When it’s a glorious day outside and it comes to finding something to photograph, I’m nothing if not persistent.

•  PLAN A: HORSES  I drove to the horse vet wanting to photograph the horses that are usually standing around in his fields. However, when I got there not one horse was anywhere to be seen, so I kept driving.

•  PLAN B: HISTORY  I drove to a tiny 200-year-old village that, when photographed while standing on its bridge over the river, would make for an interesting photo.  However, when I got there the river was high, the sidewalks were muddy, and the wind was gusting.  Standing on the bridge didn’t seem safe to me, so I decided to go someplace else.

•  PLAN C: HAPPINESS  Dreamed up on the fly, I decided to drive to the canoe rental place and walk the bike path that runs by the canoe rental place, using the opportunity to photograph the blue sky above and whatever might be underneath it.  As the following four photos show, this plan worked.

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