Friday, March 16, 2018

another day, another estate sale

I've mentioned that one of our forms of entertainment, my sister and I, is going to estate sales. There's a lot of repetition because most of us, our lives are pretty much the same, at least as far as our households are concerned. And a lot are just what's left over after the family has taken what they wanted. And sometimes the amount of stuff is overwhelming. And sometimes you have to wonder what on earth these people are thinking when they price some of this stuff but I've picked up some really neat things, most of my wind chimes and bird houses and plant stands in fact, over the years which I've shown now and then.

This one we went to Friday was out in the country for real, some kind of old farm and it was a house, even the interior doors ($8 ea.) and the cabinet doors ($4 ea.) were for sale, the plan by whoever now possesses it is to gut it and redo the interior, a good idea since the entire house was a dark paneling. Though I didn't take too many pictures inside there was furniture and sheets and towels and clothes and sewing machines, the usual kitchen stuff...dishes, appliances, utensils, glasses, pots and pans. There were several doors marked do not enter so I imagine that's where all the stuff the family was keeping was.

overheard that the son was a priest (why do they always portray Jesus as emaciated?)

come to Jesus at the river gown?

a big garage full of garage stuff like tools and gear and nails and tables laid out with all kinds of miscellaneous guy stuff that ends up in garages that I don't usually pay attention to unless I'm looking for something specific,

a small shed full of canning jars (the ones not in the kitchen), high priced canning jars, a few antique ones but mostly just old,

a barn full of unidentifiable by yours truly farm stuff and not just one or two of a kind but troves of a kind,

and then the most mind boggling part of it all was the stuff just spread out around the buildings...

a crude bench with a broken leg...$8, an old beat up dirty wooden box...$10

I have no idea what this is with it's termite eaten and rotten wood top with one hinge come loose but they wanted $85 for it

the little wagon wheel...$200

two sections of broken windmill vanes...$50 ea. 

Don't know what this is either but they wanted $35 for it, must be the fancy handle.

The best find of the day though was in the aforementioned garage...a box of about a dozen cobalt blue shot glasses with names etched on them...Big Mike, Dave, Uncle Charley, Darrell, etc.,

and Pooter, Pecky, and Booger 

Hey Booger! C'mon, we're doing shots!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

remodeling, part whatever

I'm going to stay with the yellow she says so I went to the paint store last week and brought back 7 blue paint chips. 

Even the lightest one looked so dark against the white wall. I suppose I could go back and get a whole new set of blues from the lightest group but leaving it yellow will be a remnant and remembrance of the week Jade and I spent painting that room. It's already going to be completely different. 

And so I had two objectives yesterday, go get a yard of dirt to top off the raised garden beds and go buy paint because today they are going to start painting. It's been taped and floated and sanded and textured and all day I was flipping back and forth but I bought the yellow. And a sample of the blue and I think I'm going to get a sample of another blue  

I've narrowed it down to these two

and get Rocky to start on the white today...the ceiling and trim and primer the bead board so I can dither one more day about the wall color. If I do decide on the blue, I'll just use the yellow over at the shop when we finally get at least one interior room rebuilt.

You can see that there is still a bead board section missing on the other end wall, the one that backs up to the little bathroom, because it gives access to the galvanized pipe to the toilet that has to be replaced if we ever rise to the top of the plumber's list.

the new exterior

And so I did get the yard of dirt and got the two small beds topped off so more shoveling for me today to get the rest done.

Here's two more gratuitous flower porn pics. The light was perfect yesterday, bright but suffused through a hazy cloud cover. The wisteria is coming into bloom.

the little yellow oxalis

Monday, March 12, 2018

spring and sprang

I woke up about 8:30 yesterday and almost jumped out of bed until I remembered that it was Sunday and also that it was really, sunwise, only 7:30. We sprang forward for DST. Lot's of grumbling on FB but I like it. I'm not an early riser, rarely see the sun rise, so I'd rather have an extra hour of daylight in the evening and yes I do know it's not an actual extra hour.

Saturday, my sister and I went to the Fort Bend County Master Gardener's vegetable and herb sale where I got some tomatoes and a few other things, not too much as I'm not ready to plant that yet, not til later this week, and then to a nursery nearby where I got a new plumbago because I don't know if the one I had has survived, no sign of it yet, and a pretty little yellow flowered oxalis with copper leaves, and a guara since I pulled the last one out after it got 5' tall and had still never bloomed and an early birthday present from my sister, an unusual azalea that the owner called a 'butterfly azalea' but which the tag called Koromo Shikibu. 

I looked it up and it was originally from Japan and is so fragrant. My sister had also given me a bag of amaryllis bulbs earlier and some comfrey that she had dug up and I had some small volunteers from another plant and some cuttings I needed to repot for the annual garden club plant sale and so I puttered around in the yard most the day because it was a cool overcast day and perfect for planting the new things and digging stuff up to move into pots and cutting the damaged foliage off the leatherleaf ferns that are coming out which got pretty well trampled while the structure of the house was being repaired and had plenty more stuff to do like pull more evening primrose out of the flower beds where they just have taken over 

and dig up more of the mexican petunias but it started drizzling and then the wind picked up so I came in.

The wildflower mini-meadow exploded with bluebonnets and what I think is the yellow flowering clasp leaved coneflower but if so it is the most vigorous I've ever seen it but it's not blooming yet so I don't know for sure and those two are so thick as to smother anything else that might have come up, like the queen anne's lace which isn't even showing up on the roadsides yet so maybe it's too early.

We are going to have poppies soon though.

More pictures...

I did nothing to this picture besides crop it. These azaleas are just that vibrant.


fringe flower...I posted this tree previously but it is just outstanding this year so here it is again

spirea in full bloom

the red climbing rose, always a bit behind the pink

the dewberry (our wild blackberry) loved the flood and cold and looks like we will have a big crop

Friday, March 9, 2018

fix one thing, two more break

The day erupted into a madhouse. I was working on a new flower/bee model 

when early afternoon, Marc looked out the window, “the floor people are here.” You might remember that they were supposed to show up a week ago last Tuesday but called to cancel because their installer was sick and they would call me back to let me know when it was rescheduled. They didn't. So I was totally unprepared for them to show up. Three guys two of whom were moving at warp speed but not really getting anything done as they tried to figure out how to get the refrigerator, stove, washer, and dryer out of the kitchen and into various other parts of the house. The refrigerator had a water line from under the sink and the valve would not close so they had to turn the water off to the house. Eventually they got the stove and refrigerator in the dining area and the washer and dryer in the hall. Next was to smooth some stuff over the entire floor to even it out and, oops, they needed water to mix it up. A neighbor's hose provided the water. They did an adequate job but with the exception of the one calm guy, the air just vibrated with whatever weird energy the head guy was issuing, I just wanted to tell them to slow down, it's not a race, no prize for speed. So there was the installer and two helpers, the young guy and the calm personable guy. You gotta smooze the customers if you want a happy customer, you know, slow down, pay attention to what you're doing, do a good job but occasionally engage your customer. The young guy was either so nervous by the energy or clueless of his surroundings as he managed to knock over a bottle of wine knocking the stopper out and spilling it on the prepared floor. Great. So now the new flooring is in in the kitchen and I don't know if I like it. It's too pink. I didn't think it would be this pink. I don't really like pink. And for all it's grays and dark places, it's pale. And busy. And I went to bed with buyer's remorse even though I got a really good deal for the quality of the product.

That was Wednesday. Couldn't sleep thinking about my regret. Planning in my mind to replace it in two years. Finally went to sleep oh I don't know, early morning. Got up this morning already dreading going in the kitchen and...well, maybe it's not so bad. I'm still not a fan but maybe I can live with it. We'll see. Yesterday Rocky put the quarter round in the kitchen and finally all the appliances are back in place except now the stove's plug has become unattached from all the moving around of the stove and because it is just old. This is in addition to discovering after the flooring guys cut off the water that the cut off valve now leaks. Old houses. The flood seems to have brought everything to a head. We have to replace the stopped up galvanized pipes in the little bathroom before we can re-do that room.

But the back bedroom is coming along great. They got the wall rebuilt with the window casings the right sizes and distances apart (I think, I'm pretty sure but we haven't installed the glass yet), all the bead board is up and the sheetrock is getting taped and floated. 

I need to get paint soon. I was going to keep the same yellow for the now half walls and do the bead board and ceiling in white but now I'm thinking that maybe I'll do a blue and maybe a dark blue or at least not pale. The etched glass has a few blue accents with transmitted light but then, it has gold accents with reflected light so the yellow would be appropriate as well.

Guess I'll go look at paint today.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

are we woke?

We are in the end game of the culture war. Those that opposed the wave of change that started in the 60s are still opposing it. Through the years the far right took over the Republican party and turned to gerrymandering and voter restriction to take control of the government to end the liberal wave of equal rights for all (people of color, women, non-christian, LGBTQ) and other cultural issues (poverty, education, health care, immigration, etc.) and bring the country back to being white and dominated by white rich 'christian' men and they have no compunction about breaking laws and engaging in unethical behavior in order to do it, all the while claiming the moral high ground by virtue of their very unchristian christianity. And we let it happen while we were distracted with raising our families. My husband thinks that this war will never end until all the baby boomers are dead and maybe even a lot of our children too. He may be right. We may have realized the war wasn't over until too late. And so we have a Republican party in charge of Congress and occupying the White House, a Republican party that only dances to one tune...that of the 2%, well, two tunes, the 2% and the NRA; a Republican party that is dismantling safety regulations and protections in industry, banking, and the environment as fast as they can; a Republican party that is selling off our national lands for mining and drilling; a Republican party that is passing laws to allow discrimination, that won't address the gun violence rampant in this country, that is deporting illegal residents as fast as they can no matter how long they have lived here, no matter how much they contribute to their communities, no matter that they have served in our armed forces protecting the people deporting them, no matter if this is the only country they have ever known, no matter that the 'family values' party is breaking up families; a Republican party that forced through a tax reform bill without their members even reading it that benefits the 2% and corporations on the backs of everyone else increasing the national debt which they intend to make up some of by cutting SS and Medicare; a Republican party that enables a president who has basically given our country over to it's biggest national enemy while destroying our ties with our allies, a man who thinks it's great that China has once again come under dictatorship rule and thinks America ought to try it and not a peep out of the Republicans, a man who thinks the presidency is all about using the position and power to increase his personal wealth. OMG. I could go on and on. This is just a drop in an ocean of destruction.

So maybe we are woke now. We better fucking well be or we can kiss this country goodbye. When the party in charge doesn't give a fuck that Russia is undermining our very democracy as long as it keeps them in power, then we are done.

Yesterday was the primary. In Texas there has been a huge Democratic turnout. In this very red town in this very red county, the auditorium was crowded. I've never seen this many people turn out for the primary here. And a lot of Democrats, maybe more Democrats than Republicans I think. I didn't think this town had this many Democrats. A friend posted after voting that when she was asked which ballot and she said Democrat, "I bet you do not hear that much." The volunteer said, "you'd be surprised. Especially this time." So maybe we are woke but we need to stay woke, we need this and more in November.

(been a few years since the year of the selfie and apparently the wrinkles quadrupled in that time)

Monday, March 5, 2018

winter reading list

The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye by David Lagercrantz – Lisbeth Salander has been sentenced to 6 months in prison for abducting the autistic son of a murdered scientist and keeping him hidden, an act that saved his life while the police finally caught the people trying to kill him. Three months in, she has had enough of the brutality of the prison gang leader towards a meek muslim girl in for the murder of her brother. A visit from her former guardian Holger Palmgren puts her on the track of learning more about the agency known only as The Registry which was instrumental in her life growing up and between her and Mikael Blomvist they break open the pseudoscientific program that split up twins at birth. Meanwhile, the prison gang leader escapes and teams up with the other brother of the muslim girl and kidnaps Lisbeth.

The Orphan's Tale by Pan Jenoff – I'm not really sure who the title refers to in this story as it's a tale of two women told alternately by each of them in first person present. During WWII, blond Noa, a Dutch 16 year old, becomes pregnant by a Nazi soldier and when her father throws her out of the house she ends up in a Nazi home for unwed mothers and is forced to give up her baby. She is turned out and finds meager shelter and food as the cleaner in a train station. One night she hears babies crying and discovers a rail car full of dead and dying Jewish infants. She plucks one of the still living from the train and flees into the snowy night in the forest where she collapses and is discovered by a clown from a circus whose winter home is nearby. Astrid, a Jewish aerialist pushing 40 from a circus family who married a German officer and moved to Berlin, has her marriage annulled by the Nazis and is turned out by her husband. She makes her way to her family's circus winter home adjacent to a friendly competitor circus but there is no sign of her family. She is taken in by the rival German circus and given shelter. Thus Noa and Astrid are thrown together when the circus owner tells Astrid she must teach Noa the flying trapeze in 6 weeks so she can perform when they start traveling. The story is about these two women's relationship as it develops, their constant fear that they will be discovered by the frequent inspections by the SS, the love relationships they engage in, and their eventual dependence on each other as the power shifts from one to the other. Halfway through I was ready for the book to be over. I found much of the agonizing and 'secrets' to be a bit tedious and I didn't really care for the author's writing style but the story itself is interesting.

Marsbound by Joe Haldeman – 18 year old Carmen Dula and her younger brother and her scientist parents win a lottery for a work/study program at the fledgling underground colony on Mars, what would have been for a period of four years and an eventual return to Earth until one night Carmen ventured out onto the surface in a fit of anger and a desire for solitude and fell through the thin crust of Mars and into a cavern breaking her ankle and a rib only to be rescued, healed, and returned to the Mars base by an alien creature, a creature that turns out to be the leader of a group of four legged, four armed, potato headed group of 'martians' that have been living underground on Mars for thousands of years and so first contact is achieved. The 'martians' were created by the Other's to keep watch on the developing humans with an agenda specific to the humans obtaining spaceflight. Turns out the Others, old old old and far advanced, had already felt the need to exterminate more than one planet of it's aggressive dominant life form and it's not too sure about humans but fails in their attempt to wipe out all life on Earth.

Starbound by Joe Haldeman – Earth builds a ship to transport 7 Humans and two Martians to the star and planet of the Others, a 24 year round, trip to try and convince them humans are no danger to them and please don't exterminate us. Halfway there, the Others send an emissary to parlay and take stock. The Others decide to give them another chance on one condition...they must leave one Human and one Martian to be absorbed into their group mind...and are sent back. While they were gone the humans were busy building a fleet of spaceships for protection against any further aggression by the Others. When the Others learn about the fleet through absorbing the mind of the human left behind, they take exception to that and blow up the moon which destroys the fleet in space. Of course the humans react by sending up a rocket designed to somehow clear the debris field left behind which makes further space flight impossible. So the Others respond by siphoning off all forms of energy on the planet basically sending them back to the bronze age.

Tea Time For The Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith - next in the series...Mma Ramotswe finally must say goodbye to her tiny white van, the agency must discover why the football team is losing, and Mma Makutsi's nemesis makes a move on her fiancé.

Origin by Dan Brown - as in all his books it's religion as in catholic vs science or rather some discovery that religion is desperate to keep secret or will cause people to shed their faith, you know, typical Dan Brown. So the most brilliant and innovative mind alive today has discovered the irrefutable answer to mankind's most pressing questions...where did we come from and where are we going. As with his books he provides a lot of interesting supportive information as the story progresses but the story itself got kind of stupid for a while but had a little twist at the end.

Down A Dark Road by Linda Castillo – because his 5 children live with their aunt and uncle in the area, ex-Amish chief of police Katie Burkholder is apprised that an Amish man convicted of killing his wife has escaped prison. That man is her childhood neighbor and crush, Joseph King. When Kate goes to check on the family she sees a strange car pulled over on the side of the road and gets out to investigate. As she nears the house she is overpowered by Joseph and her gun taken and they return to the house where he is holding his kids hostage after releasing their aunt and uncle. Local and county police show up and SWAT but Katie is released when she promises to look into the case after Joseph swears he did not kill his wife. After shots are exchanged, the SWAT team kills Joseph which spurns Katie on to find out the truth, an investigation that nearly gets her killed as well.

Liar by K. L. Slater – a murder mystery of sorts, the book begins and ends with the murder only you don't know who is the murderer and who is the murderee until the end. The story is told through the perspective of Judi and Amber. Judi is the mother of Ben who Amber targets and insinuates herself into his life for her own nefarious ends which turns out to be connected to Judi's other son who fell to his death as a teen. Most of the story is told by Judi who resents Amber and her intrusion into the status quo...Ben is a widower whose wife died over two years previous leaving him and their two sons. Judi has stepped in and takes care of Ben's house and her grandsons...and forcing Judi out. The story gets a little tedious as Judi investigates Amber and concludes that she is a liar. I read it to the end to find out who killed who but I wouldn't really recommend it.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

I guess I didn't have enough to do

So, you remember how I said I wasn't going to do a spring garden this year because the yard needed so much attention after the flood and harsh winter? Well, all my neighbors have been tilling their gardens this week getting ready to plant and the weather has been sunny and not too warm and I just couldn't help it. I got over there and cleaned out the raised beds of all the weeds yesterday afternoon. 

before, well, almost before, I had already done the raised bed on the left before I remembered to take a picture

Also started cleaning out between the beds where the weed cloth was washed away and was back over there this morning so yeah, I guess I'm doing a spring garden. I do need to fetch a yard of dirt to top off the beds and throw in some fertilizer and compost but I'll do that next week and then it's off to the Hungerford Co-op to see what they've got.

I watched Hidden Figures the other night, the movie about the three black women, computers as they were called by NASA, who were tasked with doing the calculations that would allow us to put a man in orbit in our space race against the Russians before the age of computers when all the calculations had to be done by people. The story focuses on three brilliant African American women who were crucial to the success of the nascent space program. Kathryn Jonson, who at the age of 9 was sent to a black university and stunned her fellow students and teachers with her brilliance, was responsible for not only the calculations that allowed NASA to send John Glenn into orbit but also the approach that allowed them to bring him home again; Dorothy Vaughn whose expertise and intelligence helped design the capsule so that it would not burn up in re-entry and became the first black female engineer at NASA in a strictly segregated state, civil rights desegregation laws notwithstanding; and Mary Jackson who was the acting supervisor of the black 'computers' and who when she learned that NASA was getting one of the first IBM computers that would make their jobs obsolete, she went to the library and taught herself everything she needed to know to know about how to program and run the computer and then set out to teach her co-workers the same thereby saving all their jobs. The acting was superb and the culture of segregation was honestly portrayed. It was a very engaging movie and I recommend it highly.

The next two months are going to be busy as I will be overseeing the work being done on the house and making the final decisions on the bathroom, working to recover the flower beds before it gets hot and I leave for Portugal in May, getting the spring garden in, and because I didn't have enough to do already, I agreed to participate in the spring open house with my artist friends April 28th and 29th so I need to finish casting the big drowned feather pieces, cast the lizard with anemones, and make a few more smaller items. Maybe even finish the blue heron box.

Well, my week alone is nearly at an end as I pick Marc up from the airport tomorrow. I've got one more movie I'm getting ready to watch, The Girl On The Train, and one more night alone in the bed splayed out in the big middle.