Saturday, April 29, 2017

More Than a Week Later ...

The last post was full of whimsey regarding our big relocation. Just a few days after that, Beloved and I boarded a jet and flew into the sunrise, after getting out of bed at 2:30am!  THAT was not whimsey. We drove in the dark to meet our flight.

We changed planes and continued our travel.  I wonder if you can guess our destination. I'll be dropping hints all through this post.

This was our first glimpse of a place we had never been but would be soon calling our new home.

We arrived in a glorious climate of clouds and sun, palms and flowers. Here's another hint: I'll be shopping at the same grocery chain frequented by Surfer Girl.

Near the top of our "To Do List" was to assure ourselves we could still enjoy our favorite restaurant.

The next day we met our realtor for the first time (in person) and began to explore the many options he had prepared for us, both new construction and re-sale homes. We had thought we would probably be building, but the timing and exact location were not working out. 

On the second day of our search, we found just what we wanted! We got the number of bedrooms and bathrooms we will need, a kitchen I can love, design/architectural features that give the place a charming personality and a forest just beyond the back yard! 

Um. One of our sons has congratulated us with the advice to buy some snake pellets .... spoken by one who knows.

Among those trees is a tall Magnolia (left) that produces those large beautiful creamy white flowers, and the very tall skinny pine trees that sway back and forth in the wind -- I love both. The pine trees are so tall I could not get the tops into the photo!!

I will refrain from posting snapshots of the aforementioned charm because I want to respect the privacy of the sellers who have some of their furniture staged for viewings. There will be plenty of time for glimpses inside the house a few months from now, after the sale is complete and we've moved in. But I will add, it is "move-in ready." Yay!

We did not have many days to spend on this trip, so as soon as the offer on the house was placed, we drove to the beach to see the ocean in person, with our very own eyes. It was a good distraction while we waited to see what the response from the sellers would be.

Here is my first sea shell -- the first of many. I am an addict when it comes to collecting shells during beach walks.

A well-kept palm tree is a beautiful sight, and especially when photographed against such a gorgeous blue sky. This is something we cannot see in the Rocky Mountains.

Per the recommendation of our realtor (who is a good guy and we can count as a friend), we had an early supper just a block from the ocean waves where we could gaze at more of those iconic palm trees.

More.... (bear with me, please).

This part of the country has a lot more water, (a lot!) than where we live now. The huge bridges are a fascination to those of us who have crossed many dry gulches in a semi-arid state.

Our offer on the house was accepted later that night, contingent on the sale of our current house in Colorado. The next day we returned to the house to take measurements. Then to celebrate we again went to the beach, this time on an island, just to walk about and collect more shells. Beloved, a former Boy Scout and therefore a very resourceful person, fashioned a container for the sea shells out of his white cloth handkerchief! 

I collected as many as I could until I remembered they would add more weight to my luggage as we flew back home.

Have you guessed where we are moving? Here's another hint: if you have flown into the international airport of this city via Southwest Airlines, perhaps you have seen this:

The trip was wonderful and productive. We flew home yesterday and this is what we have woke up to:

Yes, more of the usual "springtime in the Rockies." Actually, I snapped this picture about three hours ago. The snow continues to fall and another inch or so of the white stuff has accumulated since then. I think I'll have another  cup of coffee .....

Friday, April 21, 2017


tulips next-door to The Brown Bungalow

Oh my goodness, have I got news to report to you today! It's been so exciting around here, which is why my blogging has been infrequent and relatively brief. 

But this week the time came to share the latest with my public, beginning with our immediate family, then my co-workers, and also you, my readers.

Yesterday I called a Staff Meeting in the basement of The Brown Bungalow, emphasizing that attendance was mandatory. Mrs Berniece Mertz offered to make brownies and fill a punch bowl for the occasion, although she had no idea why the meeting had been called. But I asked her to not go to the effort. We would have serious work to do immediately after The Announcement and refreshments would just slow us down.

my Staff and friends
Once everyone had collected on top of the sewing tables in the lower level of The Brown Bungalow and I could get their undivided attention (no easy feat with some of these characters!), I cleared my throat and told them that our days at The Brown Bungalow were nearing an end. 

Poor Mandy Sue, terribly sensitive as she is, nearly passed out, fearing they were all being laid off and would shortly find themselves jobless and homeless. Mrs. Berniece Mertz, who has been around the block a few times in her life patted the hand of the younger one in a reassuring manner, urging her to not fear the worst until they had heard me out.

Unruffled, I paused until that little scene had settled down and continued with what I had to say.

The time has come for Grandad and me to relocate away from our mountain home in Whistlestop to a near-beach resort that will put us in closer proximity to our multitude of grandchildren, none of whom live any closer than 1,457.5 miles (give or take a quarter of a mile), and some of them live another 431.9 miles beyond that!

We are moving to a location that can more easily and inexpensively accommodate the visits of all those grandchildren (and their parents, of course), as well as all of our staff.....

And with that clarification I was suddenly deafened with (to quote Surfer Girl) the giggles and squeals of my staff. My control of the meeting was lost thereafter. 

Jumping up and down, high-fiving each other with delighted laughter -- not a one was disappointed to realize we are all going to take leave of the land of freezing snow blizzards and short summers to a place of palm trees, ocean waves, and sandals! Yes, we are moving to the Land of Flip Flops!!

Eventually I was able to make myself heard and could explain the course of action we needed to take next. I rather dreaded this part because I knew they all wanted to pick the choicest seats in my Ford to make the trip. But due to the large number of our staff and the myriad of other items that will need to go in the car, none of them can travel in that manner.

Practicality usually wins out with me and in this circumstance especially. All of the staff will need to be packed away so they can travel via moving boxes.  So although that pronouncement damped their spirits a bit, Mandy Sue did herself proud by presenting herself at the front of the line to get packed away.

She asked me to draw the shape of her little rag doll body on the packing paper, and then she carefully placed herself on top of it and submitted to the gentle folding of paper all around her and got tucked into the moving box. 

Mandy Sue submits to the packing paper

With her winning spirit of cooperation, the remaining members did the same. Not everybody could fit in the same box, but true to my spirit of compulsive organization, their names have been listed on a spread sheet so I know the box number of each doll and can retrieve them easily at the other end of this move. 

(you understand, of course, that at times I take liberties with the truth for the sake of literary fun .. I know which boxes contain dolls and I'll just leave it at that -smile)

some of the packed boxes
Amid the Internet research of available properties, email correspondence with our realtors on both ends of this venture, a house-hunting trip, and communications with family and friends, the boxes will gradually get assembled in an orderly fashion. 

There is also a hefty amount of purging and preserving. We dispose of the unnecessary and keep the precious -- which is no easy task. 

In my teen years, before one of my family's cross country moves, I wanted to take my stack of teen magazines. The Cook on Fifth Street taught me the diligence of taking only what is needed and not waste our money to move items of no value. She suggested  directed me to clip out the articles I wanted to preserve and throw away the rest of the magazines. It was a good lesson that has served me well.

entry hall of The Brown Bungalow
Our current home is not on the market as we have some details to work out first. We are hopeful this can be a house-to-house move. 

Because I have many demands on my time during this season of change, I want my readers to know my blog posts will probably be infrequent. I will read your blogs as time allows and make comments when I can.

At the other end of things I plan to reappear and share pictures of the changes that have taken place. 

Fare thee well for now.

P.S. Yes, this is all true, even though I have shared it with whimsey.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Manifestations of Spring

pink Hyacinths from Walmart

Unlike some Easter weekends we've had through the years, this time we were blessed with abundant sunshine and the kind of warmth that makes you want to wear sandals and buy flowers.

Well okay, I admit it. I wore socks with my sandals and jeans. It was still on the cool side.

Columbines and Hosta

We also bought more Columbines... they did so well for us at our last house, but the four years we've been at The Brown Bungalow our state bloom has faltered, sadly. Each year we try a new location. Maybe this setting under the bay window will satisfy their requirements.

We paired them with Hosta, a plant I've wanted to try for years.

a hardy little bud has appeared

I am so pleased to report that on this Easter weekend, Veronica Speedwell has come out of what looked to be certain death to bud once again. She had me scared but I guess she just needed a little more time. Apparently she wanted to be a sermon illustration.

Former Farmer gave her to me four years ago and although she protested a bit with the relocation from the Midwest to Colorado's Front Range, she has shown off her purple flowers every year before summer's end.

a re-run photo of the thrift store Easter center piece
I shared this delight just a few days ago as we were preparing for Easter. It really made the dining table decor just pop!

dishes from Walmart and the thrift store
I've said before that I like to shop at thrift stores. I buy the occasional skirt or cardigan there, but the real treasures (for me) are jewels for my home. This yellow bowl is one of them. Actually I have a set of six of these buttercup delights. They cheer me just to look at them, and doesn't the white dinner plate from the Pioneer Woman collection at Walmart just set it off? The placemats are from Kohl's and the napkins came from Sister a couple of birthdays ago.

The chocolate bunny -- I have to tell you a funny little story about him. When Beloved bit off the ears of his bunny, he (Beloved) suddenly became deaf! He could not hear a thing I was saying to him! Such a jokester!!

the table adorned with my dear guests
Everybody held still and nobody blinked while I took this obligatory snapshot before they began to eat. 

The menu was light because on holidays we need to share the kids with other family members who prepare a much larger dinner. Blessedly, this has worked out well for all of us.  Our menu was an Asian Pear Salad with a Lemon Vinaigrette dressing, deviled eggs, crescent rolls, ice water, and chocolate bunnies. 

visitors in Sister's yard

Before I close this out, you need to see other signs of spring that have appeared in Sister's yard.  Obviously that's Peter Rabbit to the right of center. This other fellow was the topic of a family round robin of emails, trying to figure out just who or what he was.

posing for the camera
The first thought was he might be a badger who had traveled down from Wisconsin.

"What are you lookin' at?!"

But the final consensus among those who know such things was that he's a ground hog.  If he was indeed from Wisconsin, then Sister concluded that the grass must be greener in Illinois, hence his appearance in her yard!
* * * * *

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Prayer for You

May the story of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection 
be real to you today and every day.

He is risen!
He is risen, indeed!

Friday, April 14, 2017

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Easter

While it is a challenge to find much home decor for the real meaning of Easter, the bunnies and eggs are everywhere.

I didn't think I had much in the way of Easter decorations, but as it turns out, there's enough here to do a little tour for my readers.

Of course no seasonal decorating is complete in my house without the inclusion of stuffed animals...

... including lambs, which have a special symbolism for believers in the true meaning of Easter.

Alabaster eggs are my favorite kind of eggs because they can be used year after year and I don't have to dye them!

This delightful basket full of eggs was a thrifty find at the second-hand store a few weeks ago.

Whimsey is a fun part of it all with our 'elf door' now sitting on the fireplace mantel. The Christmas elves are busy at the North Pole, so the bunnies are renting the space right now.

This is a good opportunity to unpack the quilted spring table runners, and change our the floral arrangements from the austerity of winter to the bright colors of April.

I never did find it in myself to pack away the pencil tree in the dining room after Christmas. In January it was decorated with snow people, in February it was covered with red felt hearts, and now it's got felt eggs and egg people.

The felt eggs, by the way, were an impulse purchase at the Home Goods store (next door to TJ Maxx). We have a new one in our town, so I like to show my support by shopping there!

The pantry door has its own wreath of white tulips. Speaking of the pantry, what is your kitchen serving for Easter Sunday? Or are you braving the crowds and eating out?

Those of our kids who live in town will be over for a light lunch after church before they hop over to an Easter Egg hunt at another family home later in the day.

I hope your entire Easter weekend is full of significance with what our Lord has done for us with His death, burial, and resurrection. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Movie Recommendation

Link to the movie trailer:

This past Saturday Beloved and I took in a matinee movie at our local AMC theaters.  We saw the big film in Christian circles this Easter season, The Case for Christ. It came out on April 7th.

Mike Vogel stars as Lee Strobel

The story is true, based on the book by the same title, The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel. The primary plot is about an investigative reporter and legal editor for the Chicago Tribune who, as an atheist, has to come to terms with his wife's conversion to Christianity. He seeks to disprove her newfound faith by using his training and experience.

from the movie
The story of his research is dramatic as we follow his likable, ordinary family life through tragedy, highs and lows, and coupled with a sincere love for each other amid vastly different beliefs. 

Erika Christensen

Those of my readers who enjoy the Hallmark Channel may recognize the female lead played by Erika Christensen. Can one play such a compelling role and not be convinced of the film's message?

There are a couple of other faces known to movie-goers in the cast (look for Faye Dunaway), as well as at least two sub-plots.

The Plugged-In Movie Review gave this film 4.5 stars due to some scenes of alcoholism, but it is a family-friendly story and well worth making the time to see.

This is a good movie to see at any time, but especially during this Easter season. I hope my readers are able to get to their local theater soon.

movie trailer: