Folks are following and all I am doing is “painting the living room” and cooking

181586_10150146248752640_652237639_7797407_3571941_n While I was writing about our trip to the California coast, and working diligently to catch up on my cruise stories, a few more followers joined my list of supporters.  I want to welcome you and thank all of you, visible and invisible for your support.  I also think you might deserve better than the sudden silence that followed immediately after you joined. 

Welcome to PB and J, a young family writing about their travels through some of my favorite places in the southeastern US.  It’s nice to see young families out there adventuring together.

I have followed Connie and Tracy at the Gypsy GMas for some time now, as they create their full-timing life while continuing to work.  I treasure reading the incredibly open stories and enjoy how much Connie shares her feelings about life, love, working, and creating a more meaningful life.

Welcome also to Erik, who does not yet have a blog, but plans to start blogging when he begins his full time journey, and in the mean time is learning from all those full time folks out there sharing their stories.

I have followed John and Carol for some time as well, while they kayak in the gorgeous clear waters of north central Florida, one of my favorite places in the world.  Check out their great blog  “Our Trip Around the Sun”.

Painting the Living Room (3) But back to the living room.  It is snowing again in Rocky Point, it is February, my least favorite month to be in snow country, so of course it’s time to do a nice big home project.  When Mo built her home in 2002, she painted everything a lovely off-white, to create light and open airy space in the deep forest.  On the other hand, when we worked together on the mobile where I lived in California, we painted warm colors and white trim that also created a nice environment that we both enjoyed.

Painting the Living Room (1)  It’s been a year now since I have shared Mo’s home, and we came to the joint conclusion that it was time for the white walls to exit and something a bit newer to enter.  We spent the last year or so looking at colors and thinking about just how it might look with the change. 

Combining households at this stage in life is always an interesting process.  Mo is understated and has great antiques, and likes neutral colors and not a lot of “stuff”.  I am flamboyant, love the southwest canyon look, and love my ceramic chickens, rocks, jars of sand, and a ton of other stuff.  Her paintings are European originals gathered from her travels.  Mine are mostly inexpensive prints, a few good prints, and limited edition photos of rocks, sand, and other southwest themes.  Pulling all this together in a cohesive unit has been a fun process, and both of us have a goal of creating a home that feels warm and welcoming to company, but most of all, comfortable  to us.  

Painting the Living Room (14) It works!  The color we settled on is a warm honey gold called on the paint chip “Chamois”, but we laughingly refer to it as our pumpkin/carrot soup bisque.  It’s fun in that sometimes it is a nice warm yellow gold, and other times in turns peachy, or bronzy, or who knows what color to call it.  Much like my beloved canyons, the color shifts with the light.  I love that.  We decided to accent with another darker warm butterscotch color that initially looked a bit like baby poop till we fixed it a bit.  Now it also is perfect.  Amazingly, the light is warm and the rooms aren’t a bit darker than they were when the walls were white. 

In the midst of all this, an old folk song from the late 80’s keeps running through my head.  I used to have it on a CD somewhere, or maybe it was a cassette tape, sung by one of the women singers I used to follow, but when I went to the internet, I could only find the actual authors of the song and the You Tube video.  Don’t click on the title unless you want to get redirected to YouTube and a very silly bluegrass song, the gist of which is that the world is falling apart and so…

Why Am I Painting the Living Room?

Ah yes I can see how my tombstone will read
Here lies someone of exceptional worth
Though she did not do a lot for her kind
Or help hold together this crumbling earth
Here lies a woman they’re saying of whom
Sure had a good looking living room…

Feb 27 Sunday Dinner Sunday morning dawned bright and cold today, and I started cooking early in the day for the planned Sunday dinner for Melody and her family.  One of my favorite magazines is Cook’s Illustrated.  This time the star of the show was an old fashioned blade pork roast with the bone in, rubbed with kosher salt and brown sugar and steeped for 18 hours, then slow cooked for 7 hours until it was meltingly tender and encased in a crackling crunchy crust.  I made roasted potatoes and an apple onion sauté to go with it and that great orange spinach salad that rolls around the internet recipes.  Yum.  By the time the kids arrived in the early afternoon the house smelled so dang good anyone would be hungry just walking inside. 

Feb 27 Sunday Dinner-5 I love having Melody and her family close enough to share a simple Sunday dinner, and I love that the almost 18 year old and the 12 year old still like to come and hang at Grandma’s house.  Melody’s husband Kevin brought their Wii console and we all laughed ourselves silly over bowling, baseball, and tennis.  Mo and I really cracked up watching our little Wii selves jumping and rolling on the tennis court. This week is Mo’s birthday, and the kids all spent a lot of time making handmade cards for her and I made her requested carrot cake. 

It was a wonderful way to spend a very cold and snowy week, with temperatures dropping into the single digits.  It was also a wonderful way to spend a perfect Sunday before I go off to work again tomorrow. 

New Year’s Eve

Malta075Used to be this night was filled with promise, excitement, the deep seated idea that I should be doing something absolutely fabulous.  Reality, however, is that it turns out more often than not to be a quiet night at home trying to stay awake to watch the ball fall.  There are several times during the year when I feel the need to reflect.  The night of my birthday is important, reviewing the past year.  The night of the winter solstice to me is the real ‘new year’ when I know that the sun has reached it’s greatest distance.  New Year’s Eve, of course, is another one of those nights, another time for thinking about the year past, for remembering and reflecting.

I could write a litany of what we did this year, a summary of the trips, the travels, the fun times.  I could write about family changes and milestones, another litany, another list.  Instead, as this day comes to a close, I will attempt to think about what moments stand out most as something totally new and surprising, and maybe look back to see just what I learned this year, how I possibly grew a bit.  Who knows, by the time I am done, it may still be just a list of what we did and where we went.  I guess I’ll know more as I attempt to backtrack and see the learning tidbits buried beneath the stories. So for now, as the year comes to a close, I thought I would track down some sunset photos until I get around to actually reflecting.  It’s just a bit easier to do. The surprising thing about that little exercise was that I take a LOT more photos of sunrises than I do of sunsets.  Guess that shows what time of day I like most, I guess.

It was 11 degrees this morning when we woke up, and we waited for it to warm up to a balmy 14 before going outside to haul a couple of loads of wood to the back porch.  We are burning dry juniper this year and I love it.  It smells wonderful, and it burns hot and bright with a brilliant glowing color that feels as good as it looks.  In this area, we don’t have access to much hardwood, except for the laurel over in Medford that runs 200 a cord.  I’ll settle for juniper at 130. 

Day6_sunset New followers keep showing up on the blog, and if I missed welcoming any of you, Holler!  It’s delightful to read your stories and I am appreciative of the fact that you read mine.  I have said before that this blog was started just for me and for Mo and our friends and family, but as most bloggers know, the family doesn’t come around all that often.  Magic followers from the ethers of the internet keep me honest, keep me blogging, inspire me to write more thoughtfully, and in the long run, Mo and I will benefit from that when at some time down the road we return to the blog to review our lives.

Kenny and Angela  are counting down until they can become full-timers.

Sam and Donna have fun traveling in their fifth wheel, and have some great nostalgic photos of the two of them back in the 80’s

Dennis and Donna who travel in a fifth wheel as well, decided to return home in the snow a bit sooner than expected, but are happy to be there.

Judy had some really amazing photos of a hawk that she rescued with Emma’s help on Travels with Emma.

Dear Miss Mermaid had some interesting tidbits about goofy Florida laws for RV’s in Orange County.

Roxie and Annie over at the The Goodluck Duck made me laugh out loud.

Thank you to all of you.