Be The Light: “You’ve Got To Have Friends”

INTRODUCTION:

I’ve joined in a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, whatever they might be, presenting them on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of July, I have a story to share with you, my gentle readers.

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THE NEWS STORY:  

This is a simple story with funny photos.  The gist of this story is best understood in its title: To Prove A Point, This Woman Wore Her ’90s Bridesmaid Dress Everywhere.

As explained in the article, the reason the bridesmaid wore her dress everywhere was to poke fun at her friend, the bride– who recently apologized to her bridesmaids for making them wear these dresses years ago.

The bridesmaid, who took umbrage at this apology, showed her friend, the bride, that she, the bridesmaid, loved the dress and then wore it as she did her daily activities.  She even provided photographic proof.

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MY COMMENTARY:

This story, which is totally absurd, made me laugh out loud.

It reminded me that a longtime friendship like the one described in this article is rare and true and needs to be celebrated.

I mean think about it: who do you know who’d do something as goofy as wearing a bridesmaid dress while doing her daily activities just to make you laugh– and eat your words?

My answer: only a dear friend, that’s who!

And it’s for this reason that I share with you this small, silly, happy news story proving that a bit of humor can go a long way toward making life more positive and enjoyable.

Like they say, you gotta have friends.

A Remodeling Update: 7 Holes In The Ceiling + A Few Details About Each Room

We’re in the middle of the remodel now.  It has been four weeks since we began.  

In that time 7 holes have been cut in ceilings to either accommodate new lights and fans that will be placed overhead– or to double-check second floor water pipes from below in the kitchen.  

What I’ve learned about myself during these past weeks is that I find holes in the ceiling a bit unnerving.  Walls torn out don’t concern me so much, but those… holes… up… there… bother… me.

Go figure.

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 The LAUNDRY ROOM has new cabinets in it and the water pipes + dryer duct have been re-routed to accommodate the new washer and dryer– which are to be delivered here later this week.

Last Friday I picked the tile for the backsplash and the wall color with the interior designer, so all that’s left for me to do is to go to the granite store on the day that they cut the counter to decide what part of the slab will be our counter.

 The MASTER BATHROOM wiring and plumbing have been reconfigured, the dry wall crew has been here and gone– meaning that we’re all about tile now.  We decided on the tile weeks ago and are currently sitting back, watching some of the tile come together, while the rest of it seems to be lost somewhere. Somehow.

 The FAMILY ROOM is changing from tile around the fireplace to granite– and there’s to be a new mantle.  None of this is anywhere to be seen yet, but the crew has prepped the wall and floor for what is to come. Hence, we wait.

I have no idea what color the walls will be in there, other than to say “good-bye purple.”  The granite, once installed, will show us how it looks with our furniture so that we’ll have a better idea about wall color, but ultimately I’m leaving that decision up to the interior designer.

 The KITCHEN tweaks are seemingly a forgotten part of this remodel.  I have delegated the whole microwave kerfuffle to Zen-Den because I don’t care what the solution to the problem is… as long as I get a microwave.

As for the other little details in the kitchen they are: 1) a new door and handle on the trash bin cabinet;  and 2) re-doing the juncture where the counter meets the tile.  I’m on top of these details because I want them done before all of this remodeling is over.  Which is to say sometime this month, “God willing and the creek don’t rise.” 

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Be The Light: Of Books & Buses

I’ve joined in a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, presenting them on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of June, I have a positive story to share with you, my gentle readers. 

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THE NEWS STORY:  

In Albuquerque, N.M., a city program called Discover a Book stocks public buses with children’s books so that young riders, and anyone else, can have something to read as they ride the bus.  This project has been around since 2006.

The books, which come from the city’s Read To Me book donation program, are available on the bus in specially made cubbies on the back of each bus seat.  These cubbies allow the program to distribute about 8,000 books a year– and the program encourages families to take a book home with them if they want to.

As one community volunteer, Kathy Chilton, said of the Discover a Book program: “There is much to be done in New Mexico to improve families’ possibilities of success.  Discover a Book is a simple, inexpensive, and significant step toward that goal.”

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MY COMMENTARY:

I love this idea.  LOVE IT!

Books that are easily accessible are books that are read. That holds true for all of us.

I can think of no better way to casually, consistently introduce children of all ages to the idea that reading is fun and good than to have books right there in front of them when they’re bored.

And I can think of no better way to demonstrate to children and adults that there are people in your community who care about you.  People who want the best for all the kids who live there– and put their principles into practical actions.

I mean, FREE BOOKS.  And the time to read them?

This has win-win written all over it.  😉

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Get wild about reading!

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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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Let The Remodeling Wild Ride Begin, Part 1 Of 2

WHEN I STARTED THIS blog years ago my intention was to write 80% about how we were updating our house + garden, then 20% about topics I was researching.  I thought this would be more of a design + information blog, rather than a lifestyle journal-ish blog.

Well, that idea fell apart, didn’t it?

Early on I discovered that:

  1. Even though I’m passionate about design, I don’t like writing about the involved decision-making process that goes on within all decorating +  remodeling projects.  I feel clunky and stressed when I try to write about design.
  2. Even though I enjoy photographing nature and signs and building exteriors, I end up swearing at my camera when I attempt to take pics of inside rooms.  I don’t have an eye for design photography, and my poor camera takes the brunt of my frustration.
  3. Even though I had some fun blog followers who were interested in our ongoing home improvement stories, they, to a one, stopped keeping blogs and drifted away from  the blogosphere.  I now have more wordy followers who groove on topics other than design.

So I had a little sit down chit-chat with myself to reassess what I was doing here, realizing that my most popular fun-to-write blog posts were personal, often about my observations regarding the wack-o-ness of people OR about small glimpses into the ordinariness of my daily life.

And then, I pretty much stopped writing about or photographing what we’re doing around the house.  No one cared, and I didn’t mind not writing about the angsty-ness and minutiae of design projects.

However…

[Part 2 will be tomorrow.]

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Talking Daylilies Here: No More Happy Returns

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Good-bye cervine freeloaders.  Hasta la vista deer buffet.

Yep, after 17 years of growing and tending a patch of Happy Returns Daylilies out front of our house under the lamppost, I had the landscaper remove them all and re-design the area.

The irony is, and there seems to be irony with anything I do, that when we built this house I was adamant about wanting Happy Returns Daylilies, which are a lovely shade of lemon-y yellow.  I paid extra to not have Stella D’Oro Daylilies, which are more golden-yellow, and common around here.

They’re in all the gardens in this subdivision.

Nope, planning ahead, as is my way, I wanted lemon-y yellow colored daylilies because they would look better with our particular brick–and because doing things, just a little differently than everyone else, comes naturally to me.

However, turns out that Happy Returns Daylilies are a favorite nosh of ye olde deer.  Also turns out that these pretty plants need lots of almost daily maintenance during the summer to keep them looking fresh and lovely.

So, with just a tinge of regret, but not much, I decided to embrace Admiral Grace Hopper’s famous quote and let go of my favorite Happy Returns Daylilies [and a patch of Russian Sage + Bergamot– and a few lost Daisies] to make space for a simpler, more modern, design out front of our house under the lamppost.

One that looks infinitely better than that which I thought that I knew that I wanted… years ago… before I became a wiser, and lazier, gardener.

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Here’s the new look: Boxwood [hedge], Fineline Buckthorn [small ornamental tree], Barberry [small bushes] + Liriope [used as ornamental grass].

Be The Light: Of Ladybugs, Love & A Clever Little Girl

I’ve joined in a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, presenting them on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of April, I have a story to share with you, my gentle readers. 

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THE NEWS STORY:  

Did you know that in the Jewish religion when visiting a loved one’s grave it’s customary to leave a stone on the grave?  These stones are called visitation stones.

I wasn’t aware of this tradition until I read about a girl who took it upon herself, in response to cemetery vandalism, to create some pretty hand-painted lady bug and heart visitation stones.

The complete story [found here with video] tells of 6-year-old Ayel’s response upon learning that vandals had damaged her great-great-great-grandmother’s tombstone in a St. Louis cemetery.  Ayel decided to paint some stones for herself, and for all the other families who had experienced this vandalism, as a way of showing kindness to the living– and respect to the deceased.

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MY COMMENTARY:

If you took the time to watch the video, then you’ve already realized that Ayel is cuter than the bee’s knees.  I mean, how could you not love her?

That smile!

But beyond that fact I like this kid’s spirit.  She understands what happened in the cemetery and that it was a lousy thing for anyone to do.  However, instead of ignoring what happened or giving in to helplessness, she’s opted for kindness.

Ayel intuitively gets what many adults have forgotten.  She understands that creating something healing and meaningful doesn’t have to be complicated.  It just has to come from the heart.

Which, as anyone with even just an ounce of kindness in their soul knows, is a great place to start.

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