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

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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?

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A Bedroom Transformed: Goodbye Ceiling Fan, Hello Chandelier

THE CHIT CHAT PART

I enjoy looking at shelter magazines and interior design websites and home decorating projects on IG.  When I began to notice photos of bedrooms with chandeliers, instead of ceiling fans or ceiling lights, my curiosity was piqued.

Why, you ask?

Welp, after 20 years of looking up at a large white dusty boring ceiling fan in our bedroom, I was ready for a change.  I never liked using the thing, especially at night when rotating fan blades above my sleeping head worried me.

Made me fretful, they did.

So I decided that we’d replace our dodgy old ceiling fan with a pretty, useful chandelier that’d hang from the spot where the ceiling fan had been.  Here are a few things we learned along the way with this DIY project.

THE INFORMATION PART

√ A rule of thumb about the width of the chandelier: add the length of your room [in feet] to the width of your room [in feet], then use that number in inches to determine the size you need.

For example our bedroom is 17′ x 13′ so I added 17 + 13, which meant that we needed a chandelier around 30″ wide.

√ The chandelier we picked was 26″ wide, smaller than recommended, but for a good reason.  Keep reading.

√ We have a sloped ceiling in our bedroom.  We had to choose a light fixture that was sloped ceiling adaptable.  Not all light fixtures are.

√ A rule of thumb about how far down a chandelier should hang: the chandelier should be between 8′ to 9′ off the floor.  This is accomplished by allowing the light fixture to hang from a chain from the ceiling.

√  The trick here is that depending on the slope of your ceiling and the height of the chandelier, you have to allow for enough space above the top of the chandelier for it to hang down on a chain.

In our case because of where the junction box was in the ceiling we couldn’t have a chandelier that was taller than 25″ because there wouldn’t be any space for it to hang down from the ceiling.

√ Thus we picked a chandelier whose height allowed it to hang down from the junction box in the sloped ceiling, even though it meant that the width of the chandelier was a bit too small according to the rule of thumb.

In other words, we thumbed our noses at the rule of thumb.

THE GOOFY PART

As is the way with any home improvement project we tackle, there was a problem.  One of the globes for the chandelier arrived broken.  Thus we had to email the company and wait for a replacement globe, crossing our fingers that it’d be the same color as the other four.

It came within days, was the right color, and looks perfectly at home with the other shades so all is good.

However, keeping in mind that I can be a silly person, while waiting for the shade to arrive, whenever I walked into the bedroom I began singing the following lyrics to the tune of One Toke Over The Line:

One bulb over my head, sweet Jesus
One bulb over my head
Sittin’ down here on the bed I sees it
One bulb over my head.  

Awaitin’ for the shade that goes on, sweet Mary
Hopin’ that the shade is delivered on time
Sittin’ down here on the bed I sees it
One bulb over my head.

THE END

#ThursdayDoors | Finding A Whimsical Building About Local History In A Park

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, by sharing photos of a fun + unique building that we stumbled upon in a Cincinnati suburban park.    

I’ve not seen anything like this before, both the building and the doors on the building that have doors painted on them.  It’s a double door, double door extravaganza.  Or something like that. 

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On a whim we stopped at a new-to-us park called Home of The Brave Park.  This 54-acre park, established in 2012, is located in Symmes Township, Hamilton County, OH.

Along with sports fields, playgrounds, a shelter, and a veterans plaza, this park has a building unlike any other I’ve seen around here.  It’s painted on all four sides to explain the history of the township, one side focusing on the man who founded the township.

A fast Google search lead me to the life story of John Cleves Symmes, the man featured on one side of the building.  In a nutshell he was a rich NY/NJ Revolutionary War dude who came west to Ohio to make his fortune by selling land that he did, and did not, own to settlers moving this way.

He’s credited for naming many places around here, and is also the father-in-law of President William Henry Harrison [#9] and grandfather of President Benjamin Harrison [#23].

And with that, here are the photos of the exterior of the building.

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DOUBLE DOORS on the front of the building.

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The side of the building where the image of John Cleves Symmes dominates.

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The back of the building showing a melange of images that apparently summarize this township.

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The fourth side of the building.

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A closer look at the FRONT DOOR DOUBLE DOORS on which a FRONT DOOR and a GARAGE DOOR are painted, hence creating a double door, double door extravaganza.

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Defying Lethargy: A Walk In A Township Park On A Summer Afternoon

The Beginning

What cabin fever + depression are to winter, house arrest + lethargy are to summer.

Too hot to move or think straight

However, intrepid middle-aged suburbanites that we are, on Sunday afternoon we managed to get up on our hind legs, voluntarily leaving our air-conditioned home to go for a walk in a popular township park.

A glorious sunny day

It was the sort of day that usually brings out everybody and their dog and their grandma, but instead of a hundred people at the park there were maybe 10. Too sweltering outside I suspect. Still the lack of people was a bit… disconcerting… odd… unexpected.

Not at all normal

Nonetheless we slowly meandered around the paved paths, free from human distraction, not needing to wear our masks obviously. And for posterity I snapped a few photos of the stunningly blue sky and the amazingly green grass.

Of a lovely park, with or without the people

The End

Photos From A Car Ride On Saturday Afternoon, Just Because

Spoiler alert: pretty photos do not necessarily make for an exciting blog post;  however I work with what I’ve got, adding some attitude with my words.

THE BEGINNING

Saturday the weather was unusually clear and sunny and cool.  It was a perfect day to do something, if there’d have been something social to do, which there wasn’t.  So instead of having a nutty at home, we went for a car ride.  Like old people.  

Here is a park bench with no one sitting on it.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this particular bench without someone sitting on it.  It kind of unnerved me, but ’tis a different world now, hey what?  

This is a photo of a charming gazebo that suggests a refined gracious lifestyle and the patience to, or the bank account for hiring other people to, maintain such a folly in your yard.  Cute, huh?

Here is a field as seen from the car window.  To me, a non-farmer, it looks about the same as it usual does.  I include it here because it is something I saw and the sky was a snazzy shade of blue, don’t you know?  Pretty.

This is a photo of a horse doing her best to ignore me.  I wanted to get a picture of her face, but she was having none of that.  Not that I blame her, I don’t like having my picture taken either.  Too personal.

Here is a soccer field without one person on it, near it, around it on a Saturday afternoon in the suburbs.  If the first photo is one of amazement, this photo is a one of disbelief.  In over 20 years of living around here I’ve never seen this field empty like this at this time of year.  Just weird.

THE END