14 November 2017

Redemption ...

Redemption in the Form of Chalk Paint.


Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard of chalk paint. It's the magical paint that goes over anything and covers everything. No sanding required, no priming. Supposedly.  Once the paint is on, you can wax over it to finish it (easier than it sounds) or even use polyurethane. I wish there was chalk paint make up.

Annie Sloan introduced chalk paint but other companies have come up with their own version. Supposedly you can even make it yourself with latex paint and plaster of Paris but I'm not that adventurous. Yet. Since there are no Annie Sloan "stockists" around here, I settled for some Rustoleum chalked paint from Home Depot to refinish a little project that I had inherited.

Last summer neighbor Heather posted a headboard and footboard on the local Swap Facebook page (kind of a tiny local Craig's List) that she had been given to sell. No one wanted it. I'm pretty sure it had been stored in a barn for a while. A long while. She offered to give it away. Still no takers.  I finally said "Stick it in my shed if you can't find a home for it. Maybe I can do something with it."

My bed has been in need of a headboard. I saw possibility.

Once I arrived back here in Colorado and peeked into my shed...eek!
That possibility was looking more like a catastrophe.

Here's what I started with:

 Both pieces were a lot rougher than I expected.
Notice the center of the headboard- a finial or something was broken off. 

 The foot board also had a broken piece. Half of a ball missing. 


Necessity is the mother of invention.
I didn't want a ball here- that sounded uncomfortable.
I found a piece of wood in the basement and had it cut to fit. 
Works for me. 

Both pieces got dragged into the basement- I highly recommend having a heated basement- and I DID sand. And used a lot of filler. And sanded some more. That chalk paint can only do so much.


While the center of the headboard got that little block of wood, the footboard ball was left as is. I figured we were both starting new lives a little worn and chipped.  Some kindness and magic and a little elbow grease go a long way towards making things - if not new-at least good again. Useable. Functional. And yes, even beautiful. 

Heres' what I ended up with:

 I love the light gray. So soft.

 That little wood block at least finishes off the center, even if it isn't perfect. 

 The broken ball has character. 
I know it is there yet I had to look for it when I was taking pics. 

Isn't it cozy looking? 
Fortunately you can't see the dirty paw prints on the comforter.
Carlos has been trying to dig up gophers. He comes in a total mess. 


I was so happy with the bed that I decided to tackle a vanity that has been up in the guest room. I bought it used and in only slightly better shape than it is now. 

Isn't it a fun little deco piece

 Love these fan pulls. 
I hope they polish up nicely. 

The mirror has the same ribbed design. 
I think they belong together and have just been separated.

This side is going to need some filler. 
Spackle.
Work. 

It will require a lot of filling and some sanding before it can be painted but I think it will be worth it. The vanity was purchased at a resale store in town eight years ago, the mirror came from the dump (!)  just a few years back, but it looks to me like they were made for each other.   I have a nice dark charcoal gray chalked paint to cover the war wounds. 

So, even the broken and worn stuff can be salvaged. And maybe, just maybe, these things turn out even better than new with their scars and character.   Or at least more interesting.
Substance over flash. 

•••••••••

A funny. 
I had an 8"x2" piece of wood for that center piece that I needed cut to about 5" long. 
I sent neighbor Sue a text asking if her house had a saw that could cut a piece of wood for me.
Her son showed up a bit later with a chainsaw.
Sometimes you need to be more specific. 





06 November 2017

The awesomeness of randomness...

The awesomeness of randomness amazes me.


I've talked before about random acts of kindness. I thoroughly support surprising strangers (and friends) with little treats, compliments, and or thoughtful gestures.

 Driving through the Sugar Land McDonalds
and spreading some cheer. 

But today I'm thinking about random occurrences that turn into "something".  That mean something or delight or add to life.

A few years ago I ran into a girl from high school that I knew back then but wasn't close friends with. I would say we reconnected but seriously, we weren't that connected in the first place. But a friendship grew from that random meeting. Actually a few friends and acquaintances have come back into my life after an absence of 30 or more years and they are the best, most meaningful relationships.  A shared background along with the wisdom of years makes for a really great connection. Yay for those random reunions.

One of my most favorite, most random evenings was last year. Friend Diana treated me to an early birthday dinner in downtown Denver. We parked in a convenient spot and walked about six blocks to the restaurant. In that six blocks we encountered more fun, more surprise, more delight than you can imagine. TWO Tyrannosaurus Rexes, a FLEET of Lamborghinis AND fireworks. Seriously. In just one little evening stroll.

Maybe six or seven years ago I woke up one morning and thought "Wow. Belle is driving and Bunny is in Middle School and maybe I would like a job." About an hour later I logged onto Facebook where my niece had just posted that her acupuncturist needed a receptionist. Random.  Gee. I could probably do that. And I did.

Me with the amazing boss and acupuncturist Sonya


Last January, after having been out of work a while, I once again thought "Hmmm. I need a part time job." I logged onto Craig's List and there was a posting for a receptionist at a psychologist's office. Gee. I could probably do that. And I did. Although when I applied there was a mix up with my emails and I missed my first interview appointment and then when I did actually interview I was told that the position had been offered to someone else and they were still thinking about it. Random. But I still did the  interview and the other person decided to do something else and I got the job after all.

Which leads me to being in Colorado and thinking "Whoa! I NEED a job. That has benefits. And pays. And is full time."   And there was an ad in the paper looking for a receptionist for a cardiologist that offered benefits and a salary.  And that's where I work now. Each little random occurrence built off the previous random occurrence.

And that brings me to this past few weeks of randomness that I have just loved.

While I was watching TV one night I got a text.

"Lets go Yankees!!!!"

From a number I didn't recognize. I don't think I know any Yankee fans. And I certainly didn't know any Tonys on the East Coast.  I considered being polite and replying "Wrong number." but instead decided to have some fun.




Tony may have had a few drinks already as he then confused me with Sam.

So I confessed to being a little old lady in Colorado and an Astro fan.

And he proceeded to keep me updated on the game through the night.



What a good sport.

Once it got interesting I tried to find the game on TV but no luck.

Instead I got a play by play by text from across the country.

Bunny said that was creepy and I shouldn't text him back.


But you know what? He seemed like a nice guy and obviously he loves baseball and why not?

I left him alone for the first game of the series. And the Astros lost.

So, being a tiny bit superstitious, I texted him during the second game. And he replied and we texted back and forth and O my goodness! That game 2 was the most exciting thing ever.



Every game that one of us sent a text to the other, the Astros won. The games that we didn't text, they lost. 




By the end of the Series I was apologizing but adamant that I needed to hear from him to make sure we won.



And the Astros won! Their first World Series ever. Such an exciting last game, such an exciting series and -to top it all off- the most marvelous marriage proposal at the very end.




And I told Tony he wouldn't have to hear from me again. Except maybe next year. I got no reply.
Until the next morning.


Ha. We shall see.

So.

Embrace the random occurrences in your life.  You never know what will come of them.
And go treat the person behind you in the drive through to their breakfast/lunch/dinner. Because we are entering the holiday season and we all need something to be grateful for.

25 October 2017

Like I Mean It...


Doing it Like I Mean It.....


I've used this expression before. Do it like you mean it.

Back in October of 2014 I wrote a post about really committing to something. Do it like you mean it.
As an expat friend once told me: "No matter how long you think you will be staying, you should approach ANY move as if it is for the rest of your life."

So this time I am doing just that. 

I have 100% completed No. 20: MOVE! Honestly, when I put that on the list I was thinking more along the lines of maybe a smaller house, different location in the same city, nothing major. 

Cue a divorce, the Texas house being sold, and hmmm....needing a place to live. 

I wanted the cabin and got it. There's something about the mountains out the front door that speak to me. I am drawn to them. Think Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Richard Dreyfuss's  obsession with that mound.   As a teenager going to San Miguel de Allende, I always felt like I was coming home when we got in view of Tres Cruces, the  "mountain" ( hill?) on the edge of town. 

Liddy, me, Liddy's cousin Nancy at the top of Tres Cruces
Elevation: 7043 feet. Year: 1972

I had that same feeling when I went on safari in Kenya in the 1980s. Mountains equal Home.  Ridiculous considering I was raised in flatter than flat Houston.  

Me with Mount Kenya in the background.
Elevation: 7000 feet   Year: 1988

Anyway, I have my mountain home. So now.... do it like I mean it. 

The view out the front window.
I am living at 7000+ feet, looking out to 13000 feet. 
7000 feet elevation seems to be my happy place.

The plan was to give myself a month or two and then look for a job. But I happened to see an opening at the local cardiologist's office for a registration position. Hey! I've done just that. Twice now. Once for the acupuncture office, once for the psychologist office. How hard can it be? (Spoiler alert: Lots harder than the first two!)

I applied and now I'm employed. Imagine that. 

 Between the interview and the actual first day of work I decided it was time to to really commit. 

I'm no longer a Texas resident. After 44 years of having a Texas drivers license, now Colorado is in my wallet. 

Texas has lost a voter...unfortunately. Pretty sure Texas could use a few more liberal voters. 

The State Car of Colorado now graces the driveway. I figured if I was going to have to drive to work in the snow, I better get a car that is up to the task. LOVE love love my  new Subaru Outback.

Yay! Its the "not-the-Mercedes". 

The Texas storage unit was emptied and the cabin is now overfull with furniture. Slowly the duplicates are being weeded out and the style is changing from weekend cabin to home. 

Work is fun and challenging and just busy enough to keep me interested without being overwhelming. OK, some days are overwhelming. But I feel like I will catch on. With cardiology I am learning more acronyms than I even knew existed. HTN, SOB (not what you think it means- try Shortness of Breath), AFib, HX, on and on and on. Seriously this job might qualify me for completing No. 59: Learn 300 words of a new language. Tachycardia, ablation, edema...

Will I be here the rest of my life? That remains to be seen. The next year or so? Absolutely. 

Doing it like I mean it. 







16 October 2017

Two Months Later......

Two Months Later...


Two whole months have passed since I last wrote. I've had writer's block which is directly related to the craziness of my life.

A recap:
I moved, putting lots of stuff in storage and throwing whatever else that didn't get given away into the back of the car.
Once I have sorted everything I will definitely have completed No. 75: Downsize.


Carlos, Mina the kitty, and I are in Colorado.

These two don't like each other so they are pretending 
they aren't sharing the bed. 
The electric blanket was on, which apparently makes for 
strange bedfellows. 

Ten days after selling the house in Texas a big hurricane arrived. That same day friend Martha appeared on my door step in Colorado for a four day visit.

Hurricane Harvey did not mess with the old house but did prevent Martha from leaving for ten days.
While Martha was here she revised my resume,
visited Garden of the Gods,

Martha amongst the rocks.

Bishop's Castle,
(Click here to read more about the castle.)

The very tip top of Jim Bishop's folly. 
It gets a little shaky up there. 

Mount Princeton Hot Springs (So many questions. I finally told her to just wait and see, I couldn't explain it. Suffice to say, she was enchanted.),

Pretty sure this was Martha's first hot springs visit. 
(And an odd coincidence about the springs here.)

two breweries (is that all?),

Always good to try new places. 

Elevation Beer in Poncha Springs.
My favorite.
There was a wedding reception there while we were sampling. 


some restaurants,

This is a new one and I've been wanting to try it.
Well worth the wait. 

 and I'm sure we did some other stuff.

We did. Bingo! Martha was a winner. 

Once Martha left I got a job offer, thanks to her excellent resume skills.

I start work this week at the local hospital in the cardiology clinic, registering patients and checking them in and out.

Somewhere in between I flew to Texas to visit the mama and see some friends
(i.e. eat and drink some more....)

Libby and I at Beck's Prime, an oldie but a goodie.

Nell treated me to a fabulous charcuterie platter at 
Bacon Bros, a new Sugar Land restaurant that I had been dying to go to.


and ended up driving a 16 foot truck back to Colorado with everything from the storage unit. Many gazillion thanks to Martha for encouraging me to do this and also for offering to drive with me.

Do we look like we know what we are doing? 
No? 

She is one crazy ass friend and I mean that in the best way.
Also thanks to her husband who assured us we could do the drive and it was NBD to drive a 16 foot truck and sure, he could spare his wife for a few days/week.

Our truck was missing a headlight. 
Matt the repair guy became our new best friend. 
He met us at the Love's Truck Stop in Wichita Falls at 10:30 at night.
Always an adventure. 

There's not much to see between Texas and Colorado but we did make a stop at the Cadillac Ranch.

There had been lots of rain so this was the only car we could get close to.
Sadly there was also a lot of trash with all of the mud. 
(And Martha was trying to pimp me out to the cute guy that she conned into taking our picture. )

We did manage to hit another brewery before I got Martha back to the airport. No. 98: Brewery Tours!



It looks like a prison but it's actually Coors Brewery in Golden, CO. 

I've  been unpacking.

 And unpacking. And unpacking.

So much furniture, so much artwork. 

I now have TWO dining room tables, two sets of dining room chairs and an extra recliner.  All of these things will go on the local FB swap page as soon as I can get pictures of them and get myself organized. Story of my life: more furniture to get rid  of.

Three days were spent in Colorado Springs doing computer training for the new job. I got to have dinner with Belle and her friend at a super yummy restaurant, The Rabbit Hole.  Belle is living in the Springs for now which makes my heart happy because she is somewhat close.

Cute kids...

...scrumptious dessert.
The Rabbit Hole in Colorado Springs. 
Highly recommended.


I've also managed to visit with friend Diana who now lives in Golden.  We dined in old downtown Golden one night and it was excellent.



Fabulous dessert from the Bridgewater. 
I never seem to get pictures when I'm with Diana but at least I got a shot of the sweets. 

And I met friend Monica and her husband in Colorado Springs for the best BLT sandwich I have ever had. I may meet the 2017 New Restaurant requirement after all!   No. 90  Twelve new restaurants for 2017

Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. with Monica and her sweet husband John 
who was playing photographer.
The absolute best BLT sandwich I have ever had. 
The beer wasn't too shabby either.

Snow! We got seven inches last week. All gone the next day.


I got a new car...the State Car of Colorado...a Subaru Outback. I LOVE it. I danced a jig as the stupid Mercedes was carted away. Never have I been so happy to get rid of a car.


Love love love this car and it is so smart!
Sooooo.....

Hopefully life will settle into something resembling boredom here soon. Or at least maybe a routine??

If not, that's ok. I'm happy and employed and housed and life is good.
And maybe my computer will call to me more.

(And yes. I did have to do a bit of a detox after Martha left. Milk thistle seed supplements were procured and consumed. In between all the drinking and visiting there were lots of dog walks and
box emptying and box flattening and dog playing and furniture moving and kitty fur brushing. Honest. It hasn't just been a two month drunk.  Just looks like it in the pictures.)


20 August 2017

Wow! Whew! Way!

Wow. Whew. (A)way.


Wow!

I can't believe it's been more than 3 weeks since I've posted. Life has been barreling towards me at an unprecedented  pace. Time really does move faster as you age, doesn't it? Seems like we just started 2017 and now we are heading into fall.

Whew!

Why whew? Because I've been moving. Bigly moving. Pretty much I was given eleven days to decide how to divvy up a 3000 square foot house full of furniture and belongings. I'll go into the details later maybe, but for now, let's go with four people, moving to five different locations. Everyone's items needed sorting-fortunately I did have a head start on that.

The morning of closing on the house with 
the most ferocious real estate agent I've ever used. 
Debbie Marcell/BHGRE

The big guy went to an apartment in town so he took the most furniture.
Bunny is headed back to school and a new apartment (no more tiny dorm room for her!) so she is taking as much as she can in her little car, with her dad following along with her bed and some other belongings in his truck.
The dad wanted next to nothing but still needed all of his personal stuff sorted from the rest.

Bunny's pile. 
She tried putting all of this and then some into her sedan.
Didn't work. 

I filled an entire charity truck yesterday with furniture and belongings. Goodwill and I are on first name basis now. Half Price Books is the beneficiary of books, CDs and DVDs. (And I'm the beneficiary of their piddly pay out amounts.)  An online Facebook "who wants this" post garnered new homes for much of the stuff, including our sweet Ruby chinchilla who could not go with her owner to school and could not stay with me because-achoo-I am so allergic to her hay.

Ruby Roo went to a family with five kids.
She'll get plenty of attention there. 

The rest of the stuff went to storage for the time being.

It's amazing what you can fit into a 10x10 space. 



And Way!?

Way is where I am going. As in away.

I am in Colorado now. Permanently? Semi-permanently? For two months? No idea.

Good morning from the cabin. 
It was 47ยบ this morning. 
The garden needs a ton of work. 

Taking a month or two off after some big life changes to reboot, regroup, recharge. I am exhausted, depleted, drained. My mind is worn out.   I spend a lot of time wandering around wondering where I put stuff. The last minute packing of the house into either a storage unit or my car ended with some interesting results.
The baby teeth made it here from the safe but I assume the car title and cabin deed are in storage. Guess which items I would rather have here?  (And what do you DO with baby teeth?) The balsamic vinegar and olive oil that I meant to put in the car must be in storage. I did make it here with some wine.

It will all work itself out eventually.