Sunday, December 8, 2019

1 Corinthians 13 (Christmas version)

(A friend sent this to me. I thought it was a good reminder that during this busy time of the year I need to slow down and concentrate on what is really important.)
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls, but do not show love to my family I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ (the true reason for the season), I have missed the point.

In other words....

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of your way, but is thankful that they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love never fails.

Video games will break; pearl necklaces will be lost; golf clubs will rust. But the gift of love will endure.
Five years ago today: No Sweat

Thursday, December 5, 2019

From Me To You. You're Welcome.

During one of my kitchen downsizing sessions I came across a stack of three cast iron corn stick pans shoved in the back of a cabinet. The pans had belonged to Hubby Tony's mother, and I rarely use them. I think it's easier to pour batter into a large pan or skillet rather than fiddle with trying to get it neatly into the small molds, so I decided they could go.

I suspected the pans might have some value, so I did some internet research. Based on the information on their bottoms I determined that two of them (with corn-shaped reservoirs) were pretty common, but the third (that had wheat-shaped wells) was pretty unusual. The online posted prices for the rarer one ranged from twenty to hundreds of dollars. Because I just wanted to get rid of the pans I settled for prices on the low end and offered them as a lot on both Craigslist and the Facebook marketplace.

It didn't take long for me to get my first response. Through messages and texts we decided that I would meet the woman at the Costco parking lot after dinner for the hand off.

In good shape, but need to be seasoned!

The woman showed up exactly as promised. I asked her if her interest in the pans was as a cook or a collector. She told me both, and showed me a magazine photo of a wall full of cast iron pieces she was hoping to duplicate in her kitchen. We talked about the different types and brands of cast iron. I learned that she had been on the hunt for a wheat-shaped pan for quite some time, but each time she saw one for sale it was always over her budget. She told me she was thrilled to actually get one. So thrilled that after she gave me the agreed-upon money, she added an extra $20. (Which thrilled me too!)

Five years ago today: Let's Unite The Whole World At Christmas Time

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Come Sail Away

When I was brushing my teeth this morning I saw this fascinating shadow on the wall across from the window:

It was a sheer coincidence that I happened to be there at the right time for the angle of the sun to hit some tree branches and the window mullions, then reflect through the pane of glass. Fifteen minutes later when I went back into the room it was completely gone.

As one does in this social media age, I shared the interesting image on Facebook. One of my friends decided it looked like a ship. I guess his comment resonated with another friend, because she suggested this video. (Doesn't the background behind the letters feel similar to what I saw?)

Five years ago today: Something For Everyone

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Base In Box

As part of downsizing for moving to a smaller home, Hubby Tony and I have gotten rid of a lot of things. One of them was the 8-foot tall artificial Christmas tree that we've used for several years. It was beautiful, but almost four feet in diameter at the bottom, which would take up much too much space in a new, smaller living area.

Our original plan was to close on the sale of our house late next week. Because I would just have to box everything up to vacate the place, I was OK with not putting up any decorations. However, two weeks ago the sale contract fell through. Unless someone shows up in the next day or so and wants immediate possession, we'll be in the house longer than originally planned, and I decided that it was important to bring in a little bit of the holiday season.

I never shop on Black Friday, but when I was looking through the huge stack of ads that came with our newspaper on Thanksgiving Day, I saw that one of the home goods stores had a six foot pre-lit tree for only $20. The price was certainly right, and the size would be perfect in our new condo, so I decided to wake up when it was still very dark out and make a trek to the store. Even though I arrived 15 minutes later than the opening time, they still had plenty of stock.

Our old tree came in a box that was so big and heavy it took two of us to get up the basement steps. This new one came in a box I could pick up with one hand! It took less than a minute to assemble the base and put the tree together, but a lot longer than that to 'fluff' all the branches out to make the tree look realistic. Once it was in the living room I realized that this tree was too small for the space, mainly because of the 9-foot tall ceilings. It also had a long, unattractive-looking metal trunk. After pondering on how I could make it look better, this is what I came up with:

Still needs a couple more ornaments

The bottom box brings the top of the tree up to the height of the windows on either side of it. The base of the tree is sitting inside the top box, which hides the base. I think it looks much better now.

Five years ago today: Four Burners, One Light

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Promotional Pie Pickup

When we decided to sell our house, we chose a very large brokerage firm that uses a 'team' approach. We actually are working with two agents--one for the selling process and another one for the buying part. And then after a contract is signed on either end, the paperwork gets handed off to people who do nothing but concentrate on the closing details. The firm has their own website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube channel.

Out of the dozens of people who work at the agency we had only met two. So when Hubby Tony got an email inviting us to come to their office to pick up a complimentary pie, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity.

When Tony got home from work he changed clothes, then we got organized and left the house. Thanks to Google it was easy to find the office in a building about a half hour from our house. Just inside the front door of the building an associate was sitting at a folding table. She asked if we were there to pick up a pie, and when we said we were escorted us down a couple of halls to a room that looked like it would normally be a conference room. However, today it had morphed into Pie Central. One long table held Costco-sized apple and pumpkin pies. The associate handed us the apple one we had requested, then got the attention of one of the firm's owners.

The owner came over and talked to us for a couple of minutes, then thanked us for coming by. On the way out of the room we briefly talked to the other owner. I grabbed a cookie from a table that held a selection of snacks before we wound our way back out to the entrance.

Five years ago today: Time To Scale Back

Sunday, November 24, 2019

On The Road Again

Now that our house is back on the market, Hubby Tony and I asked our agent if it would be a good idea to have another Open House this weekend to try to bring in potential buyers. She did, and scheduled it for this afternoon.

It was six weeks ago that we had the first open house (and then another one three weeks after that), so we know the drill. Straighten every inch of the house, clean every surface, then do another walk through to take care of the things you missed the first time. Hope for no cat mishaps. Just before the agent arrives, turn on every light in the house, then get in the car and leave for a couple of hours.

This time we only had one cat to get in the car, but Jackson made the job interesting. Five minutes before it was time to go he disappeared behind a bed. Tony offered kibbles, but Jackson wouldn't come out until Tony removed the drawer in the front of the frame, exposing the hiding place and grabbing the cat before he could run. Because Tony's hands were full I put the bed back together and neatened the bedspread.

Once downstairs, Tony decided not to try to put Jackson into his carrier. Instead he just carried him out to the car. Its back section was all set up for our adventure with a litter box and a bowl for water. I added the empty carrier to the setup, and we were off. 

Jackson wanted no part of the back, preferring to sit on Tony's lap. He alternated between looking out the window at the new-to-him sights and burying his head in the crook of Tony's arm.

After running a couple of quick errands we ended up at a new-to-us park. I made sure the door of Jackson's carrier was open so he could go in if he wanted, then grabbed some reading material and my lunch and got comfortable.  The weather was sunny but brisk, and unlike our other open house getaways there was no need to open any windows to make the temperature comfortable. Jackson decided to pass the time in his carrier, but when Tony got out to take a walk the cat climbed up onto his seat.

Eventually we drove to McDonald's for coffee and free wi-fi, and Jackson took his place on Tony's lap in the passenger seat. Once the car was parked in the lot, Jackson retreated to the back again. However, when I turned the car on for the trip home Jackson let us know that he would be happy to come up in front.

As we pulled around the corner to our street Jackson got excited...even though he's never seen the house from the outside.

Five years ago today: Lending A Hand

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

RIP Pepper (2002-2019)

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends, so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown
Pepper in happier days
Five years ago today:"Why Can't We Live Together"

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

This morning I had a tooth-cleaning appointment at the dentist. When I came out I had a text from our house-selling agent asking for me to call her.

On that call I learned that one half of the couple that had contracted to buy our house was self-employed, had lost two clients on Friday, and based on that they no longer had the necessary income to complete the sale. Our contract was being cancelled, and the house would have to go back on the market. OY!

The agent told me that after Hubby Tony and I signed the cancellation paperwork she was going to reach out to a couple of people that had shown interest in the past. The property's online listings would change back to For Sale, but carry a note that the house was back on the market through no fault of sellers.

I ended the call, but before I drove home I called Tony to discuss what this means for the condo we were going to purchase. (We're still mulling over the answer to that question.) However, I knew that my first job was to whip the house back into showing shape. Even though in theory we still could have had potential buyers come though the house, once we had a signed contract I had gotten a little lax about cleaning. I came home and dusted, polished, and de-cluttered for a couple of hours while pondering the possible next steps.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And as if that news wasn't bad enough, later in the afternoon Tony and I took Pepper the cat to the vet. Over the weekend he stopped eating and had trouble walking. After the vet took a look at him, she told us that more than likely he had "thrown a clot" which was cutting off the main blood supply to the back legs. She said that since Pepper had already had one blood clot there would more than likely be additional ones. Based on her diagnosis we made the difficult decision to put Pepper to sleep, but we needed time to say goodbye. We left the vet's office with a supply of painkilling medicine and instructions to love on him and call when we were ready.

Five years ago today: Just A Little Is Enough

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A Cat's Bedtime Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray this cushy life to keep.
I pray for toys that look like mice,
And some cushions, soft and nice.
For grocery bags where I can hide,
Just like a tiger, crouched inside!

I pray for gourmet kitty snacks,
And someone nice to scratch my back.
For window sills all warm and bright,
And shadows to explore at night.

I pray I'll always stay real cool,
And keep the secret feline rule.
To NEVER tell the humans that,
This world is really ruled by cats!

Author Unknown

Five years ago today: Scrub-A-Dub-Dub