Already Thinking About . . .


Someone has recently donated crimson choir robes to the church which we will wear at Christmas.

I always get a big head start thinking about Christmas because I listen to Christmas music in August so I can have about a month to learn it before I teach it to my choir.  We started our rehearsals this past Sunday which means Christmas Day is 10 weeks away.

Love these colors.

I was talking to Charlie and Sug about this year’s theme and they both looked at me like I was nuts.

I am inspired by the white-painted branches stuck into the Christmas tree.

In order to show them that I’m not as whacky as I seem I decided on themes myself.

Coir polar bear welcome mat.

The House (the house where Charlie and I live) will expand on last year’s theme of polar bears. To that end I bought 2 new door mats. If we ever get the side porch cleared of project supplies down they will go.

The penguins on the half-round door mat are very welcoming.

The Cottage (where Sug lives) will have it’s own theme of penguins (Sug’s favorite).  I got her a door mat as well. Hers is already in place because the Cottage is always in order.

Last year we made gingerbread cookies shaped like bears.

We also have cookie cutters for these two animals.

Hoping to come across some penguins.

Last year after I declared the theme I kept coming across things that went with it.  I trust this year will be no different.

Have you got a holiday theme?


Dull Weekend Planned

Two weeks ago Charlie had knee surgery with complications so he’s been limping around.  I was taken down with a headache producing sinus condition.  We’ll both be fine but for now are sluggishly trying to snap back into action.

Charlie plays funerals, church services, and weddings in addition to secular gigs.

Our plans for the weekend are not very exciting.  Saturday morning we’re heading to a funeral where Charlie is the musician.

Maybe I can get the wallpaper removed.

I’m hoping to get just one task finished of the many we have in the works.  Perhaps I can remove the wallpaper in the pink bathroom. Or continue to remove the tiles in there.  The ceiling needs to be wiped down and painted. I also want to buy tile adhesive and measure the room up for new wallpaper. Any one of these items would be happily checked off the list.

Charlie also plays the organ.

In the late afternoon we have a casual church service at which Charlie is also the musician.

Our attic vents are screened to keep bats and other creatures outside.

Then I have signed us up at the National Wildlife Center (#11 on my 101 in 1001) for a night hike to observe bats.  I’m hoping Charlie will be in shape for a hike but his leg might be too tired due to 2+ hours of piano playing. He stomps his foot a lot and feels it adds to the general distress he feels in his leg.

The new gable will greet The Cottage tenant.

Finally we’re picking up my friend who lives in The Cottage from her week away in the tropics on a mission trip.

I need to pull down this wallpaper.

That’s a full day which doesn’t promise to be too productive.

What’s your feeling about bats?

List, 2017: April Progress

April was a month of progress, pleasure, and plight. We worked on a number of projects:


Master Closet

The master closet is nearing completion.

The master closet although not complete is well on the way to being finished.  All supplies have been moved to the closet and out of the living room, dining room, and conservatory.  Every weekend in April we — Charlie, my friend and I — did a task or two toward the completion of the master closet.

New Attic Stairs in The Cottage


The Cottage tenant had the stairs to the attic replaced with the hide-away, pull-down attic variety.  They are much easier to handle as well as sleeker on the ceiling.  Soon she’ll paint the door to match the ceiling and they’ll all but disappear when in closed position.

Crown Molding in The Cottage

Crown molding has been applied all around the room.

Cornice molding in the Cottage as added a finishing touch to the walls.  The white trim also sets off the pale grey-green of the ceilings.

Charlie’s Garden

At the end of January the garden was barren except for the newly erected greenhouse.
A week of rainy weather should be a great catalyst for the growing garden.

By the end of April plants were well on the way toward feeding us.

Although not on the list for April Charlie got busy in his garden as the time was right.  He pulled weeds, tilled, and planted.



The Doo Wop Project

The weekend after Easter Charlie and I went to see The Doo Wop Project in concert with the Baltimore Symphony. They’re a group of men who starred in Jersey Boys together singing classic tight harmonies .  They can really sing and apparently love to perform.  Our seats were in the 4th row so we really enjoyed all their antics: singing, dancing, and bantering.

Bridal Shower Planning

We hunted over the entire property and couldn’t find an appropriate spot to whack the piñata so we’re giving it to the bride to use at the wedding.

Finally we’re getting the house ready for a bridal shower.

Party favors are ready.

I have been working on a menu and festive set up for a the party.


Jury Duty

Hoping I’m not needed.

The week after Easter I was called to jury duty. I checked in for Monday and Tuesday by phone and was not needed. Finally on Tuesday night I checked in once again and was dismissed for the rest of the week.  I never had to go to the courthouse — woo hoo!

Did you have April sun or showers?

List, 2017: April Plans

Here’s the plan for April:

We’re methodically getting ready to fit out our master closet.

The closet must be well on the way to being finished and all supplies off the first floor. Every weekend we get a little closer so I’m confident we’ll at least have all the lumber moved out of the first floor by El Cinco de Mayo, the day before we’re throwing a bridal shower.

We have our favorite dishes which include tangerine chicken.

Tomorrow is our oldest son’s birthday.  I gave him the choice of my cooking at home, going to a restaurant, or ordering Chinese in.  He chose Chinese at home. My favorite choice also.

This small Irish bowl and pitcher are reminders of the humble service
of Christ.

Easter is the third Sunday of April this year. We attend a lot of services during Holy Week so we have no plans after church other than to have dinner out.

Hoping I’m not needed.

The week after Easter I have been called to jury duty.  It seems to me I get this notice a lot and never seem to meet the criteria for opting out.

The Doo Wop Project

The weekend after Easter Charlie and I have tickets to see The Doo Wop Project. They’re a group of male singers who sing classic tight harmonies.  Sounds like a fun evening.

We’ll be inviting all the ladies of the church with this simple bulletin insert.

Finally we’re getting the house ready for a bridal shower. The ladies of my choir are inviting all the women of the church to celebrate one of our own who is getting married early in June.

The closet doors open onto the master bedroom.

After that list it doesn’t seem like the closet will get finished.

What are you working on this April?

Clutter Rummaged

Charlie took my pile of goodies to the rummage sale site.  These are things I don’t just want to trash.

  • Sewing machine
  • Baskets
  • Lacrosse equipment
  • Picture light
  • Punch cups
  • Batting helmet
  • Juggling sticks
  • 2 glass-front cabinets

I piled them in 2 piles:

Someone might be interested in the lacrosse equipment.
The dining room is clear of extra clutter.

One in the middle of the dining room

I couldn’t find a good place to use any of this stuff.
Now the above pile is gone, too. We’re keeping the chair.

The other on the porch.

We said good-bye to Star Wars Darth Tater Mr. Potato Head.

Over 20 individual items on to new homes. Plus, I’m putting a printed copy in my tax file to use as charitable deductions for 2017.

Do you find it hard to give away things someone made for you?

The Old Fashioned Rummage Sale

I have held off getting rid of some clutter because I couldn’t come up with a good category for it.

The vintage Singer sewing machine.

Craigslist seemed like a hassle.

Lacrosse sticks

I have reservations about giving things to the Salvation Army or Goodwill.

Punch cups.

These are things I don’t just want to trash.

  • Sewing machine
  • Baskets
  • Lacrosse equipment
  • Picture light
  • Punch cups
  • Batting helmet
  • Juggling sticks
  • Small under-cabinet lighting fixture
  • 2 glass-front cabinets
Handmade cabinets.

So I’m donating them to an upcoming rummage sale at a local church which proceeds will go to fund “Missions”. Charlie has offered to drive the stuff to the collection point.

Art light.

I’m trying to get Charlie on the wagon also.  Hoping he will let me get rid of a few of his items.

Are you waiting for the right opportunity to get started on something?

Christmas Wrap-Up

We had a joyous but tiring Christmas.

A small deer surrounded by magnolia leaves.
A small deer surrounded by magnolia leaves.

We made and ate Christmas luncheon on Christmas Eve so I wouldn’t have to cook on Christmas Day.

A whole ham with fresh pineapple.
A whole ham with fresh pineapple.

The menu:

  • ham with pineapple and brown sugar glaze
  • roasted vegetables: cauliflower, carrots, and Brussels sprouts
  • mashed potatoes and gravy
  • steamed spiced shrimp
  • cookies and chocolate candy
Oiled vegetables ready for roasting.
Oiled vegetables ready for roasting.

I thought I made a ton of roasted vegetables but they were the first dish to run out. The pineapple on the ham was second.

The olive tree is a perfect backdrop.
The olive tree is a perfect backdrop.

This Mexican crèche looked well-positioned under one of the olive trees in the conservatory.

I'm a new fan of magnolia.
I’m a new fan of magnolia.

A magnolia branch simply laid on the table gives some interest to the clay figurines.

The deer play well into the New Year.
The deer play well into the New Year.

I did a little more decorating and have decided to keep the non-Christmas-specific, winter items in place for awhile.


My best find this year was magnolia leaves that look good both in branches and well-placed individual leaves.

Loving bouquets of white roses all over the house.
Loving bouquets of white roses all over the house.

I’ll be picking more next year.

Do you have a favorite holiday green?