The Stuff Of Family & Ancestors: Thoughts While Sorting Through Boxes

Does this make me feel more alive?

[The question to ask. Always.]

I’ve been in a deciding frame of mind this month. Must get rid of a past that doesn’t serve me.

A past that in many cases is not mine, but I reluctantly accepted and boxed up when elderly relatives passed on, storing their stuff in my closets, I did.

Now, I want empty closets, the feeling of lightness.

Been going through dusty boxes of old family photos and documents and letters. Pamphlets and newspaper articles.

Memorabilia, too.

Does this make me feel more alive?

I shred the photos and docs and letters that don’t call to me, and save those that might… might… might… someday find their way into…

a blog post?

an article or essay?

a memoir, perhaps, even?

But as for the family memorabilia, it’s a different kind of past. Remembered with objects, things of history.

Personal cookbooks;  and 1940s slides [with a projector];  and  handwritten family stories;  and a diary;  and a daguerreotype;  and [of all things] a Civil War soldier’s personal mirror with carved initials.

What shall I decide about these objects, I wonder.

Does this make me feel more alive?

Difficult for me, an adult orphan, to know what to do with these things that held memories for someone who is long gone. Someone who I may never have met.

I intend to make peace with these objects, sending them on their way…

to history museums or libraries?

to antique malls?

to the dump?

I’ve been a good relative, respectful, but now I’m ready to have more space, both literal and figurative, in my life. Must get rid of a past that doesn’t serve me.

Does this make me feel more alive?

Be The Light: Of Washing Machines & The Retirement Scene

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 February, I have a positive story to share with you, my gentle readers. 

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Lee Maxwell, a retired electrical engineering professor who lives in Colorado, collects washing machines.  His washing machine collection, stored in two warehouses, consists of nearly 1,500 machines.

Maxwell, age 87, finds the machines all over the United States.  They’re usually in disrepair.  He gets the machines to his warehouses where he repairs them, and stores them.

He has what is believed to be one of the largest personal collections of anything in the U.S.A.  His hope is that someone, a benefactor, will build a museum dedicated to washing machines so that everyone can see for themselves how washing machines have changed over the years.

[Complete story with video: Washing machine collector takes a whirl back in time]

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This story is a quirky happy news story that makes me appreciate people who follow their own muses.

What’s not to love?

A retiree finds a hobby, that turns into a passion, that ends up preserving pieces of history that are easy to overlook.  And suddenly there’s a collection worthy of note because someone, Maxwell, took the time to notice.

I give props to this man.  He didn’t start collecting washing machines to be a news story.  No, he just did it for something fun to do, and in the process saved an interesting part of American history.

I consider him an inspiration.  Think about it, when it’s time to retire we all should be so fortunate as to stumble upon a hobby that takes us down uncharted roads, while filling our hours with a quiet sense of accomplishment.

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Making A Decorating Decision Whilst Sitting On A Bar Stool

Spoiler Alert: There is no calamity in this post. For longtime readers this will be shocking because usually when I get involved in buying furniture something goes wrong.

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IF YOU’VE BEEN AROUND THIS BLOG for a while you may remember that last fall Zen-Den & I spent a Saturday away from home because our electricity was inexplicable off in the house.

[Full story here.]

Well, what I didn’t tell you was that as we sat in the chicken joint’s bar, eating our sandwiches, dawdling over beer, watching a college football game that we had no interest in, we both noticed that the swivel bar stools that we were sitting on were comfortable.

Darned comfortable.

They weren’t like the awkward ancient curvy wrought iron bar stools that we had at our kitchen counter in our home.

So while in the bar Z-D turned over one of the stools hoping to find the manufacturer’s name on the bottom of the seat, but there was no name.

Naturally this didn’t slow us down in the least. When we want to know something we are intrepid. Blame it on our love of mystery novels and TV police procedurals. We find the answer.

Thus it came to be that, using a smart phone, we snapped a few pics of these stools, and googled them once we got home.

We found the manufacturer’s website and discovered that they make about a gazillion and seventy-two bar stools: different styles, different heights, different metals, different wood seats, different fabric seats.

All lovely.  Somewhat pricey.

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Look at who’s peeking over the top of the kitchen counter!

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THE STORY WOULD HAVE ENDED THERE except for the fact that in early January I received a coupon in the snail mail from Wayfair.  The coupon said that as a first-time buyer I could get 10% off anything I ordered plus free shipping.

On a whim, motivated by the coupon, I went online to see what Wayfair had to offer… and just for the fun of it, I looked to see if they had counter height bar stools.

Well, the angels sang…

Come to find out Wayfair offered one basic style of the above-mentioned company’s bar stools available in a size, and in a metal + wooden seat color combo, that worked in our kitchen.  Plus, using my precious coupon, *even better* these bar stools were the right price.

[Some assembly required.]

So lickety-split we ordered these bar stools from Wayfair.  They arrived without incident, and over the weekend Z-D put together our new bronze metal with dark cherry-stained maple seat counter height swivel bar stools.

Life is good when you’re sitting pretty– and comfy!

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Feast your eyes on this svelte beauty! I dare ‘ya.

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[Hello FTC!  Please note that I’m sharing what happened while buying this furniture.  There was no monetary &/or other compensation involved while shopping and purchasing this furniture.  But you already knew that, right?  However, to be clear, I just wanted to add this disclaimer.]  

#ThursdayDoors | Visiting Heritage Village Museum To See Buildings From The 1800s

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you the following door photos.

I took these photos on Sunday at Heritage Village Museum in Sharon Woods Park, located in Sharonville, OH, a northern suburb of Cincinnati.

The village features 13 historic buildings, originally in other locations, preserved here to re-create what it was like to live in Ohio in the 1800s.   

Zen-Den and I wandered around the village on our own, opting for the self-guided tour of the outside of the buildings.  

Because of this, I don’t know much about the history of each building, but can say that we enjoyed the quiet village setting by a creek– and seeing how things used to be.

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Church with clear glass arched window above small double doors.

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Two-story yellow painted-brick home with dark green door.

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Outhouse in the backyard.

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Small home with fancy arches on its front porch.

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Canal boat with long tree branch as its oar.

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Creek with waterfall on a clear December morning.

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Canal boat door.

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Home with gingerbread trim on it.

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Storm cellar door in the ground by the side of the house.

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Small home with entrance door on the side + lace curtain at the window.

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1891 schoolhouse with bell.

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Be The Light: Of Queenly Diets & Quiet Delights


As you may remember, starting last March I joined a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

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

This being the last Friday of November, I’ve a story to share with you, my gentle readers & fellow #WATWB participants.

• • 👑 • •


Emily DiNuzzo, a reporter for Business Insider, decided to follow Queen Elizabeth II’s diet that was first reported by Today last August.

DiNuzzo’s experiences, documented in I ate like Queen Elizabeth II for a day — and learned how to appreciate the simple things in life, show that the Queen eats a balanced, basic diet but doesn’t forego a few treats throughout her day, like pre-breakfast biscuits or a post-dinner glass of champagne.

• • 👑 • •


Overlooking that what Emily did might not be a news story that dramatically changes the world, I found her joy while “researching” this story to be quietly delightful.

[And funny.  I’m with Emily on no gin + Dubonnet aperitif before lunch.  Even with Emily’s addition of simple syrup in it.]

Plus, dare I say that I found this story encouraging?

I know that not everyone thinks the monarchy is great, but considering that this past Monday Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, you have to admit that in a world where moral and mental health questions surround many leaders, the Queen is doing a number of things right.

Healthy body.

Sound mind.

Solid relationships.

Sure, Emily didn’t uncover the latest scandal or find the drama in Elizabeth II’s daily life, but she did give us an insight into what helps make someone in power, the longest-reigning English monarch ever, stay balanced.

And there’s positivity in that.

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5 Unique Words Presented For Your Edification + 1 Nice Quote

I don’t have much to talk about today, but I believe that one of my strengths as a personal blogger is the fact that I show up to my blog consistently regardless of what is, or isn’t, going on in my life.

Therefore, adhering to my own self-imposed blogging principle, I shall share with you, my gentle readers, 5 unique words that I’ve stumbled across in my research and reading.

I had to look them up in the dictionary because I hadn’t a clue about what they meant.

So far I haven’t found a way to slip any of these words into everyday conversation, but I’m working on it.  Because a wordy girl has to use the words, you know?

  1. WEBQOOF –  someone who believes everything they read and see on social media
  2. SOCKEROO – a notable success
  3. OPSIMATH –  someone who begins to learn or study late in life
  4. ZEMBLANITY – predictable unpleasantries [the opposite of serendipity]
  5. PLUVIOPHILE –  someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days

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A gold star for any commenter who can weave these words into one coherent sentence… that’s not a list of these words. The use of semicolons is encouraged.  

~ ~ ⭐️ ~ ~


The B&W Photo Challenge [Ally Bean Rules] + What I Learned

The Introduction

I saw this challenge floating around the blogosphere and I liked it because lately I’ve been looking for + doing different things here on my blog.  I’m not a daily blogger, so I modified the rules creating a way in which I could participate.


  • Seven days.
  • Seven black and white photos of your life.
  • No people.
  • No explanation.
  • Challenge someone new each day.


  • One day.
  • Seven black and white photos from your ordinary life.
  • No people.
  • No explanation of photos.
  • Suggest that someone else might want to do this, too.

The Black & White Photographs

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What I Learned

  1. I LOOKED FOR objects that I see in my daily life. I excluded nature, signs, & anything having to do with beverages. This limited my options dramatically.
  2. FINDING OBJECTS TO photograph with no people in the frame was more difficult to do than I realized it’d be.
  3. FINDING A WAY to take a photo of an object that I see daily was not alway possible because getting perspective on things took some doing.  If I was in a car in traffic or walking on a busy street with people, I couldn’t do it.
  4. B&W PHOTOGRAPHY IS a whole different animal than color photography.  Many of the photos that I thought would be great turned out to be duds.

* Hat tip to Embeecee at sparksfromacombustiblemind for being the first person to make me aware of this challenge.

** These are not so much rules as guidelines.