Each morning I like to check our pool to see if any small creatures have accidentally and unknowingly taken a dip. I am glad to say I have saved many small, and not so small, innocents. Everything from dragonflies and butterflies, to frogs and snakes. Continue reading
I know it’s almost summer, but spring must still be in the air. Lately on our morning walks, we see at least 6 little baby squirrels sitting having their breakfast in one little spot. They wait until Phoebe is almost on top of them before they scatter. I’m not sure if they aren’t very bright or if they’re taunting her. Probably both. Either way, this is the highlight of Phoebe’s walk. Squirrels and her feeble attempt at chasing them when she’s connected to a harness and a leash.
It is 4:15 on Wednesday morning and I have already had lions, tigers, and a cougar in my house, found a new pitch to my voice, created a new dance move, oh, and I chased a tree frog. It’s been an eventful morning so far, not to be out done by a fairly interesting week.
Our week began with us finishing up the painting of our bedroom, if you remember we painted almost the entire inside of our house a few weeks ago. Needless to say, I’m not looking forward to painting again for quite some time. My ‘painting clothes,’ including my painting underwear, are currently at a level of stiffness that allows them to stand at attention in a corner of my closet even after they’ve been washed.
For the most part, my Mom and I have never had a problem communicating. But, every once in awhile I sense a generation gap. I’m not sure how, she’s only 18 years older than I am, but it does come up sometimes.
Mom recently gave me her National Catalog for Summer 2019 and told me she wanted a “Duster”. I’m thinking of a cloth that is used for ‘dusting’. She’s thinking of a thin, cotton, bathrobe-type piece of clothing with snaps. It’s something women wear when they don’t want to wear much else or when they want to ‘lightly’ cover up. I have no idea how this is not a bathrobe, but it’s not. It’s found in an old lady catalog with other ladies’ ‘undergarments’, many of which look like they were made by ‘Omar the Tent Maker’. The truly disturbing part of all of this is that I started thinking some of the outfits were kind of cute. But, back to the Dusters…
For the past 28 years, our family has owned at least one dog. They have come in all shapes, sizes, and varying degrees of intelligence. Some ate anything you put in front of them with gusto, others had a more selective palate, and one poor, particularly deficient girl had the habit of chewing on rocks. She did stop after cracking a few teeth, which made us think there was some hope for her, but not much.
We moved into our brand new house in March 1999. Cliff decided the house should not be painted but we should stay with the original white walls. I felt like I was living in a sanitarium, and though there are times I feel I may belong in one; I just wasn’t ready for that yet. We had the bedrooms painted, all but our son’s room, who, like his Dad, liked the white walls. (Side note, 16 years ago, he married an ‘artsy’ girl. His walls are no longer white. Further proof that God has a wonderful sense of humor. But, I digress.) I asked and received one accent wall in the all white downstairs. It was in our living room and was painted a deep plum color. My ‘hope’ was that Cliff would see the color and like it, but all that it accomplished was to make the rest of the white walls look a dingy grey at certain times of the day.
I needed color, but could not convince the man. I asked if there was anything I could do to manipulate him. (I’m nothing, if not honest.) He smiled and said, “No”. He really liked the white walls. He likes “clean and neat” I am a bit more “haphazard”. Then I had an idea. Our guestroom, at the time, was downstairs. Cliff’s favorite color is green. I have no real favorite color, I pretty much like them all. Anyway, I saw a beautiful green color that I liked, and “suggested” that it might be nice for the guestroom. After all, nobody really sees that room and maybe he would like it. So we painted. He was unsure during the painting, thinking all four walls in a dark green color might not work. But, he trusted me and went with it. When all was said and done, he loved it!
I jumped at the opportunity and soon he was agreeing to beige walls and a navy blue dining room. There was no stopping me! After the beige walls, we moved on to a color that I loved called, “Champagne Gold”. Even our navy blue dining room succumbed to this, new favorite. The plum accent wall was now a “Garden Green” color that we both liked and one that blended very well with champagne gold. That was 10 years ago.
Time has marched on and the once rich champagne gold looks more like a flat lite beer; while the garden green looked like it had not been tended to in quite some time. We soon discovered that our upstairs hall had secretly become a canvas for little artists. Note, if this had been our children, I’d have been very upset. Because it was our grandkids, I thought it was adorable!
So, this week we painted. We started on Sunday afternoon. I dug out my painting shorts, shirt, underwear, and flip-flops, because I really do get it everywhere. I truly wish I was the type of person who could just pick up a brush and paint. My husband and daughter-in-love, Kylene, can do that, but, alas for me it is not to be. Five minutes in and I’m covered…I don’t know how. Remember these?
We fairly quickly agreed on “Modernist Gray” for the main walls, i.e. wherever the champagne gold was, i.e. everywhere. And, though my son tells me that accent walls are no longer “in”, quite frankly, I don’t care. We have two, both a beautiful “Northern Juniper” color…think a deep blue/green.
We started on Sunday afternoon and finished on Wednesday afternoon. We painted and, to break up the drone of roller and brush, we sang; not very well but we did. It was fun! I was singing old church songs from the 80’s. They tend to stick in my brain sometimes. Cliff recently saw the group Chicago on a television concert. And so, he serenaded me with, “Saturday, In The Park”. It was fun, but it wasn’t the 4th of July. Get it?
From there he sang, “If You Leave Me Now”. You know the one, “If you leave me now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me. Woohoo, no baby please don’t go.” That’s the only line he knew and the “…woohoo, no baby” became just “…woohoo.” He sang that over and over again for two days. It was stuck in his brain. By the end of the second day, I snapped. I yelled at the poor man. It wasn’t very nice, I was very tired, but that’s never a good excuse. He got a little quiet and then told me he felt like I was nicer to my parents than I was to him sometimes. I realized he was probably right. I love him more than anyone and, sometimes, treat others better. This is partly because I know and am secure in his love for me. I apologized for hurting his feels.
Even after 40 years of marriage, you can learn a lot about a person when you paint with them. Relationships are everything. Painting is really not that big a deal.
I’m not sure where that quote came from but, it’s true.
Through the years, and let’s face it there have been many of them, Cliff and I have been blessed with many, many, wonderful friends. Friends that we’ve laughed with and cried with. Friends that we’ve worked with and built relationships with. Friends that we’ve known forever, and friends that just seem like we’ve known them that long.
Some friends have left a lasting impression. One couple in particular was like that for us. I’ll call them Fred and Ethel, not their real names, but the first funny friend couple that came to mind. Ethel’s response to situations was usually quick and priceless. Fred, though funny without knowing it, just went along with her.
I met Ethel first. I’m not sure how exactly, but she was a neighbor to a friend that we knew. Ethel was, and I’m sure still is, one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met. We ‘clicked’ immediately. Part of our ‘clicking’ was Ethel’s love and concern for people. No matter who they were and the many different situations she found herself in. Here are just a few of her experiences.
Going into New York one night to see a play. She and Fred got caught in gridlock traffic and soon realized they were going to miss the performance. It was winter and bitterly cold in the City, so they just decided to make their way home. While stopped at one point for an interminable length of time, Ethel saw a homeless family around a flaming garbage can in a vacant lot trying to stay warm. Only the children had shoes. Ethel never hesitated. She rolled down her window and asked them if they wanted shoes. She quickly gave them hers. Then she gave them Fred’s. They drove home in their socks.
One winter night she saw an older woman walking around the streets of her town, seemingly lost. Ethel pulled over and spoke with the woman realizing that she knew her address, but didn’t know how to get there, she gave the woman a ride home. Speaking with the woman’s adult son, she found out that his mother, Franny, suffered from dementia and often wandered from home. Ethel offered to watch her for them. She brought Franny into her home and cared for her during the days and sometimes overnight. Franny enjoyed folding clothes and eating chocolate. So Ethel would hide chocolate kisses in the laundry for Franny to find while doing the folding. It kept Franny busy for most of the day. This was the essence of Ethel. She enjoyed people, all people, in all seasons and walks of life.
She also had a quick wit. Before her days with Franny, she told me she had worked as an Aide in a Nursing Home. One of the patient’s there was an older man with advanced dementia. While straightening his room one day, they had the following conversation.
“You have million dollar breasts.”
Amused, Ethel replied, “Thank you.”
Then he asked, “Can I touch them?”
Her nonchalant reply, “For a million dollars.”
I’m not sure where ‘Ethel’ is living now, but her stories always lighten my mood. I hope they did the same for you! Friends! Where would we be without them? They help us to remember that much of life is really not that big a deal!