Friday, January 20, 2017

Five On Friday: Red-Foiled Candy



Joining Amy this week for Five-On-Friday at Love Made My Home.

In the supermarkets this week the Valentine's Day candy is out and on full display. For the first time in 23 years, I didn't cry when I got my first glimpse of the red-foiled chocolate candy. That's what my five is about this week.

One: The Hospital  On January 18, 1994, my father called to tell me he was in the hospital.  I was at work in the same town as the hospital, so I left quickly to go see him and stopped at a market to buy a deck of cards on the way there. They were putting up a big Valentine's Day display in the store, so I bought a large bag of red-foil-wrapped chocolate pieces for him to share with the people who stopped by to see him. 

Two: How To Win  At the hospital, his two older sisters had just left and my father and I were alone. We both loved playing Black Jack, so we started a game. Since we didn't have many coins on us, we decided to use the Valentine's Day candy as betting "chips". We finally ended the game that night when he had all the candy pieces. It was late, so I headed home...and that became our ritual. 

Every afternoon after work I (an over-worked, 40-something divorced mother) went to the hospital after other family members left and played Black Jack with my dad until he (usually) won all the chocolate pieces, then I drove the 30 miles home to the town where I lived and got up the next day and did it all over again. I hope, when I was with him, that I didn't show all the pressure I was feeling. 

One night, when he had won my share of the red-foiled "chips" yet again, I said:
"Dad, sometimes people let their kids win a game or two!" 
And he replied:
"Well...you know...they're showing their kids how to lose.  I always tried to show you how to win."

Three: Diagnosis  After almost a week of nightly Black Jack, my father had exploratory surgery. I was by myself in the waiting room when the doctor came to say there was nothing they could do. Later, I sat in his room staring at the red-foil-wrapped chocolates while he slept.

Four: 6 Months  Dad went home with hospice soon after the diagnosis. A friend drove him to his doctor's office visit on Friday, February 4th. Dad walked into the doctor's office perfectly fine by himself. Dad called me that evening and we had a long, clear conversation. He told me the doctor said he had 6 months to live. We agreed I'd be over the next morning with my daughters and we would make plans.

The next morning at 9, my girls and I arrived at his house (about 45 miles from where we lived) while the hospice nurse was there. We found that my father had no idea who we were, could not walk without us supporting him, and would eat only if his granddaughters fed him...and then only pudding and mashed potatoes. Dad died in the hospital the next day, Sunday Feb 6th, probably the shortest 6 months on record. I believe he willed himself to die. He won.

Five: A Sweet Memory  Since I wasn't much of a match for his card playing skills, I wondered at the time if he was bored while playing cards with me in those last days of his life. After his death, at his memorial service, I mentioned this to his two sisters. My aunts looked at each other and smiled, then told me when he was in the hospital he asked them not to eat the red-foiled chocolates because he wanted as many "chips" as possible to make our games last longer.

I'm sharing this with you as Valentine's Day approaches because I hope when you see those red-foiled candy pieces this year, it will remind you to slow down and love someone a little bit harder, a little bit longer, a little bit better. That lifetime you see ahead could easily turn into just 6 months or maybe even just 2 little days.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Laundry Room Signs



Here's a cute sign I spotted on our last road trip. I think it was in a Cracker Barrel restaurant, that Mecca of all things cute and crappy just waiting to catch a ride home with me. Sorry if the photo is a little fuzzy. I took it with my phone camera right after a carb-overload meal!

I would've bought it too if I didn't have that disease called I Think I Can Make Anything Even If I Can't Disease. That disease has saved me from quite a few purchases though but, honestly, my projects are piling up on me anyway!

This picture will join my Pinterest board so I can find it when I'm trying to remember how it was made. I'll bet you do that too, right? So much easier than actually making it...

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Five On Friday




I'm joining Amy at Love Made My Home for Five-On-Friday.  My five this week are from a road trip we took mid-December. 

One:  I'll start with the pretty. A bank of Poinsettias in a store put a smile on my face. I love them all bunched together.

Two:  The Illinois roads were very slippery the afternoon we left. Out in the middle of nowhere this poor guy was calmly standing by his overturned car calling for a tow truck. We stopped to see if he needed help, but he just waived us on. I still wonder how he got out of the car.

Three:  This is one of our wheel wells on the pick-up truck. When we got a little farther south, the ice that had collected started to melt. We could hear "clunks" as the pieces fell off in chunks. We were in a drive-thru waiting for our order, and it was a little embarrassing when big chunks dropped off all at one time.

Here's the wheel well after all the ice melted. In the southern states like Texas, the roads are sanded to reduce skidding. In Illinois, they salt the streets. That's salt residue on the side of the truck. We stopped at a car wash as soon as the temperature was high enough.
Car washes don't usually operate when the temperature is below a certain point. In Texas they close when the temperature is below 42 degrees. 

Four:  Speaking of the drive thru. This sign should be perplexing, but unfortunately it's not uncommon.

Five:  Lots of eye candy from a stop at the little downtown in Franklin Tennessee, just south of Nashville. 






But the only souvenir I brought home from the road trip was this T-shirt. 


Hope you'll stop by Amy's for Five-On-Friday and add your five to the party.



Thanks for dropping by!




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Oswego Illinois And Hudson Design House



While visiting in Illinois during December, we took a trip to Oswego to see a store I follow on Facebook. The store, Hudson Design House, had a variety of vintage and new things available for sale.

Our plan was to travel down to Tennessee after our visit in Illinois. If we had been headed home, one of these china cabinets would've made its way into the bed of our pick-up truck. The prices were low, which made it very hard to pass up this grey one.

The old hotel advertisement sign hanging high on the wall was on my radar too.
And this old fashion bed...Wild Bill just doesn't share my love for old things...was indeed love at first sight.
Since it was early December, I was smitten with the animal heads, all things plaid, and of course all the Christmas decor. Their hand-painted signs and homestyle pillows were well made and adorable.

Oswego is a charming little town. If you're a fan of It's A Wonderful Life, you'll know what I mean when I say it reminded me of Bedford Falls. 
Before we left the little town, I talked Wild Bill into taking a drive around the streets near the old downtown. Bill thought I was looking at the pretty houses in the snow, which I was, but I was busy looking for "For Sale" signs too.




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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saturday Snow And Freezing In Texas



Well, it's down around 10 degrees here in NE Texas and the snow piled down on us all day yesterday and into the night.
Our house was built with a tankless water heater, which is in the attic above the garage. All the water pipes run through the attic and the pipe to our shower froze during the last big freezing snow storm in 2013.
It turned out to be no big deal...It just meant we couldn't shower for a few days until the weather warmed up. We did call the plumber first thing that morning (in a panic if I remember right) and he laughed and said "Just wait until the weather warms...I've got lots of customers who need me more!"

So not wanting to be without a shower this time, I turned the bathtub, which is next to the shower, to a really slow little drip. That's what they say to do, right? A slow drip will keep the pipes from freezing!

Feeling smug this morning, I turned off the drip and turned on the shower next to it...NOTHING! No water. The pipe to the shower was frozen! 
So be aware that if you are leaving a drip, make sure it's the last pipe in the system that drips. The bathtub is closest to the water source and then the shower is at the end of the line. Dripping the bathtub didn't keep the water moving at the very end in the pipe to the shower. DUH!

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January's Dreams Of New Landscaping




How about you? Are you already dreaming of Spring planting like me? I'm not really a gardening-type person, but I do admire other peoples landscaping at this time of year.
My biggest landscaping dream is to remove some of the lawn on our corner lot and replace it with mulched beds. This landscaped bed at P F Chang's restaurant in Allen, Texas, tickled my fancy as my mother used to say.


All the lawns have gone dormant and are brown here in Texas this time of year. To me, this type of bed looks a lot better than brown lawn. I think this is 'the year' we'll replace some of that lawn, at least I hope so. 



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Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Blog Post You May NEED To Read




7 Life Lessons From A Man Who Can't Move Anything But His Face

I happened across a random post by Laurel Home on Pinterest titled The Best Blog Post You'll Ever Read. Coincidentally, Laurel's blog is on my blog list.

So of course I thought "yeah...right" because I'm always skeptical of anything with The Best... in the title. But halfway though the post, I was already creating a list of people who need to read this gem from a blogger who uses his mouth to write because he can't move anything else! 

If you read his post, it may change your day...it may change your outlook...it may change your life. Happy New Year!





Thursday, December 29, 2016

Jan 2017 Proposal: Get 'Er Done!



Facing January and another new year ahead...I feel like I've been here before. And when I looked at previous Januarys on my blog (guess what?) I have been!
I'm an optimist, despite evidence that I shouldn't be. I started this blog on Jan 1, 2010, with a word for the whole year. That was 7 years ago! 
Seems almost every year I make almost the same vow...or pick a "word" for the year...or make resolutions to follow all year long. Some years things get done and some years they don't. I guess the important thing is to try...right?
But frankly, I have been trying. I start each year with good intentions and then sort of fizzle out. After thinking hard about the last 7 years of resolution incompletion, I had to ask myself...What is my goal? 

My goal is two-fold. First to get my incomplete projects done and second, to reduce my "stuff" overall by 50% by using the "use it" or "lose it" concept. 

As far as reducing stuff, I've done pretty well in the last 6 months. I'd say I'm at the halfway point in clearing out closets, rooms and such. We sold a few things (like our couch and some musical equipment) but mostly we donated, or gave away, a lot. 
The way I look at it is that possessions are what you cherish, but "stuff" are the things you stuff away into a drawer or closet...or hide (because you might need it some day) in your attic or garage. 

Sometimes we "stuff" things we plan to use for projects, thus buying ourselves a little more time. But if we're not careful, managing the stuff eats up all our time and the project gets neglected or forgotten...sometimes left in a half-finished state for ages!

So I've got a proposal for you if you want to play along. Instead of planning for the whole year, lets concentrate on just one month. Let's all use the month of January to Get 'Er Done!  Here at Rivercrest, that means combining a lot of old - but good - ideas. 

1. By New Years Eve, we'll have our list of projects that need completion and have them all prioritized. 

2. We'll place a moratorium on unnecessary spending for the whole month of January. If it's not on the list of needs, then it's a want and will be ignored. To us that means no lunches or dinners out, no new clothes, books or housewares, no movies out, etc. This will give us time and money to put to better use.

3. We'll also be completing projects and un-stuffing the stuff...by this I mean we'll be using what we have on hand since we're not buying anything! That old drapery in the closet might become the cover for the bench cushion I've been meaning to make.

4. We also will be cleaning out our kitchen cabinets and freezer by making meals from what we have and also making our own coffee, ice tea, and snacks...(Goodbye Starbucks for the month!)

These aren't new ideas! I'm just proposing to limit our resolution to one month so we don't lose our momentum. Most of these ideas were handed down by previous generations...Did your grandma have this saying?  Mine did:

Use it up...Wear it out,
Make it do...Or do without!

Our household will be following that old saying for the whole month of January and getting projects done and stuff unstuffed. If you're doing something similar, let us all know so we can check in on your progress as I hope you'll check on mine. 



Thanks for dropping by!



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016




Merry Christmas Everyone! 
We've been away for a while visiting family and road tripping through Tennessee. While we were in Illinois, we got more than enough of the white stuff. We are no longer dreaming of a white Christmas this year! 
There's a road somewhere under all that snow in the photo above. 

We got a lesson in how tough the mid-westerners are when it comes to cold weather! No school in the area was ever closed even though the weather got down to -12 degrees.
This silver and brown reindeer came home with us from a 50% off sale along the way. We didn't put up the tree this year...just seemed like a lot of work for such a short period of time...so all of our sparkly lights will have to do.


Thanks for dropping by!




Saturday, December 17, 2016

Old Navy $5 Throws




Old Navy throws were $5 when I bought two of these plaid ones last year after Christmas.
I put them away thinking they would provide a good amount of material to make pillow covers or maybe could be used as backing for a quilted throw.  
I even thought of making a cover for the chair seats, but then we donated the chair on the left a few months ago.
Lots of ideas back then, but the throws got 'put away' with the Christmas decorations, and I forgot about them until this year.
I like the cabin look sometimes. Here's a few things I gathered together in the house thinking that the plaid throws would work with these things after Christmas to give the house a cabin look.
The green swag laying on the bench is one I bought at The Interior Home Store in town while shopping last December. 
Carol, the store owner, built a darling little Christmas cabin right in the middle of her store last year. She used old windows and wooden doors to build the sides and the top is made of metal...and of course the cabin was filled with adorable Christmas decor!
The outside of her shop always looks wonderful too during the Christmas season.
I love the shop's red door with the painted concert walkway. This shop is the place I go to get inspired every year.


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