• Tag Archives Spring
  • Spring Cleaning

    My husband took a week off from work so we can get our house into shape. 

    Well, not only the house, but cars, motorcycle and other things. For the past few months we’ve been working on renovating and redecorating certain rooms of our home. It’s a work in progress, and won’t be complete for another year.

    The first thing we did was turn our old bathroom into a powder room by removing the shower stall. (It was approximately the size of a coffin, and I’m glad it’s gone). The powder room is beautiful, making up for the fact that I have to go all the way upstairs for a shower now, until we finally finish the home makeover with a new master bath.

    We changed out two rooms. Off the kitchen, we had a sitting area with a tiny TV inside an antique sideboard. Since we don’t watch much TV, this was the perfect set up. We could catch the weather in the morning, and go downstairs to watch Netflix in the evenings.

    Now our dining room furniture occupies the space formerly known as a sitting room, and the room we used as a dining room is a formal living room.

    A new master bedroom is next on the list, before the master bath. It’s quite a project, so my husband took this week to finish some painting and other needed jobs, like changing the oil in his Harley-Davidson and my car, and installing shocks or something. Plus, getting some seedlings ready for the garden.

    I’m getting ready for Easter, and a baby shower for my son & daughter-in-law, whose little boy was born 10 weeks early. The baby is doing well in the NICU, and has already gained back all the weight he lost after birth, plus 3 ounces 🙂

    So, there is spring cleaning going on. I’ve been washing all my quilts as I take them off the walls. Today I washed a few I hadn’t gotten to.

     

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    A few of my quilts. I made all three. The Double Irish Chain quilt was my first. The Sunbonnet Girls were hand appliquéd and embroidered, using 1930s reproduction fabric. The other quilt is a Monkey Wrench or Churn Dash pattern which I made for my daughter, also using reproduction fabrics.

     

    I have always enjoyed hanging out my laundry. I take after my mother in this respect. (She lives next door and we share a clothesline). Mom has been hanging her laundry since she was married in 1956, and probably for much longer. She  loves hanging the laundry, and I do, too.

    I barely use a clothes dryer. I hang everything outside year round, unless the cold is too bitter or the snow is too deep. On those days I use the dryer, or a clothes rack. My mother hangs her clothes in her basement.

    Mom has a dryer now, but we never had one when I was growing up. This led to certain issues at times. During the winter, our jeans didn’t always get dry overnight on the basement clothesline, so every once in a while, my sister and I would go to school wearing damp jeans. Brrr.

    Cleaning the house is a pain, but after it’s finished, I always feel better.

     

    A comment on one of my recent posts stated that it was “all over the place,” and while it wasn’t true of that post, its seems it is with this post. Sometimes my mind needs a spring cleaning as well.

    Not really a cleaning; there’s nothing dirty there, or at least not that I know of. I just need some down time, or a change, to get myself out of the winter blues. This winter wasn’t bad weather-wise, in fact it was one of the best, but so many things have happened that I find I need to clear my head. If this post seems to be rambling, its because I’ve been under a lot of stress. Writing is therapy.

    Today I went running, which is also serious therapy.

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    Scenes from my run in White Clay Creek Preserve, here in Southern Chester Co., PA. The barn, top right, is not in the park, but on a road nearby.

     

    While running, I usually pray the Rosary and then listen to music. Today I prayed the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and then ran without the music for awhile, praying for my little grandson, and others who came to mind.

    It’s a terrible thing to see friends so torn up about the candidates for president. I hate the division. This time in America seems the worst in my lifetime, and I am so concerned that I find I must just let go and let God, or else worry myself sick.

    I have been praying for God to send us a leader every day for months now. I find that asking and then saying “Your will be done,” takes away my anxiety. I don’t know what His answer will be, but I do trust that whatever happens, it will be for my good, the good of my loved ones, and the good of everyone who follows Him.

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart
        and lean not on your own understanding;
    in all your ways submit to him,
        and he will make your paths straight.

    Proverbs 3: 5-6

    This verse has helped me tremendously. Any scripture regarding trust is a help to me, since I have spent parts of the past 7 years in a fog of crippling fear.

    Fear of Obamacare (which my family was blessed to have escaped), fear of my religious freedom being yanked away by the Democrats and their HHS mandate, fear of unemployment as my husbands job was outsourced, and when the contract was broken, watching him be forced to reapply for the same job he had been doing for over 20 years, seeing my sister struggle with unemployment, and the list goes on.

    The past 8 years have been a train wreck for many Americans. For me it culminated when I watched the man occupying the White House standing with his hand on his heart in front of a mural of Che Guevara in Cuba, alongside Fidel Castro’s brother.

    What a colossal slap in the face to all of us. And then the news of another terror attack in Europe. It’s too much, but I suppose I should get ready for more. Obama has almost a full year to further degrade us.

    I didn’t expect him to fly home from Cuba the way any other President would; I knew he would ever do that. I was sort of surprised to see him dancing the Tango in Argentina, though. Seems he can always go lower.

    The only consolation is that he will be gone next January. I hope God answers my prayers, and the the prayers of millions of other Americans who have suffered so much, and have been asking for a leader. We need a leader. We don’t need someone who believes it’s “her turn.”
    For those who vote with their vaginas, I hope you will not have to endure what many of us have had to endure. Even if some of your social issues do not progress in the way to which you have become accustomed, (my way or the highway) at least you will be safer with a strong Military, and counterterrorism measures put in place. So there will be an upside for you, as well as for the rest of us.

    Many prayers for the people of Brussels. I’m very sorry for what happened. America is weeping right along with you.

    Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
    and let perpetual light shine upon them.
    May the souls of the faithful departed,
    through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
    Amen.

     


  • Welcome Beach Season

    This weekend I went to the beach with my mother, sister and brother-in-law. My husband works on Sundays, and decided to skip this beach weekend. He stayed home to work on our garden and other spring chores that can’t wait.

    It’s always sort of sad to say hello to our beach place, because so much of my father is there. He bought the place for us in 1978. It’s just a little mobile home, but perfectly fine for vacations. My parents kept up the place so well that you’d hardly know it’s almost 40 years old. Now the upkeep falls to my husband and brother-in-law.

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    My brother-in-law, Jerry, on the porch my father built.

    My father built the porch and the huge picnic table inside it. The table was constructed inside the actual porch, because it would have been too big to fit through the door. My BIL fixed some leaky pipes this weekend, and my mother pointed out that the roof will need to be tarred sometime this summer. My sister and I just cleaned up some.

    When Dad was alive, we barely did any upkeep. He loved to keep busy, and he retired early from DuPont, so he had time for all sorts of projects. Back in the day, before my parents bought the present mobile home, we had a tiny camper in the same park. My cousins had a place next door. We had too many fun times to count back then.

    My sister Amy and I, and our cousins, who were also sisters, were driven to Rehoboth Beach around 11:00 am by my father and dropped off. I was the oldest. My cousin Dawn was the youngest. Our ages ranged from 12 to 16. We spent the day laying on the beach, swimming, walking the boards, playing skee-ball in the arcades, stuffing ourselves with pizza and getting sunburned if we weren’t careful. My cousin Wendy had a radio. We took it to the beach each day, and listened to hits in between riding the waves.

    My father arrived at the U in the center of the boardwalk between Dolle’s and Candy Kitchen at 4:00 pm, sharp. We were always waiting, because we didn’t want to incur his wrath if he had to drive around and come back. (He didn’t like to sit and wait by the curb).

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    My father pulled up in his 1976 Chevy Van, which he bought for the express purpose of toting us girls to the beach. It had only a driver’s seat and a passenger seat, so, my father, not wanting us to be forced to sit on the floor, installed two discarded school bus seats, face to face in the back of the van.

    We would climb in, hauling our towels and other junk, pile it all on the floor and grab a seat. My cousin Wendy and my sister always got the best seats. Dawn and I never argued. Once on a trip to North Carolina, my sister brought two old couch cushions along. She and Wendy fought over who got to sleep on  the cushions. Dawn and I mostly sat in the school bus seats and kept our mouths shut. If we wanted to nap, we just found a way to do it without bothering the couch cushion queens. We didn’t want to incur their wrath, either.

    The cushion wars came to an end in a McDonald’s bathroom somewhere in Virginia. Dawn and I were keeping a low profile. We stood quietly next to the sinks and watched the catfight. It didn’t come to blows, but the whole restaurant must have heard the shrieking. After Wendy stomped back to the van, Amy, Dawn and I watched a tiny oriental lady emerge quietly from a stall where she’d been hiding, listening to the howling. We were too embarrassed to say a word. We stood silently as the lady hurried out of the bathroom. Then we walked quickly back to the van. Dawn and I scrambled into the bus seats. After Amy informed Wendy that they had frightened an innocent restroom user, they decided to share. (With each other). They each took a 3 foot cushion.

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    My sister Amy (long straight hair) and cousin Dawn around 1977

     

    But back to our beach days. My father hauled us and our sandy beach gear back to camp. We hurried to the shower house. My uncle’s place had a bathroom with a shower, and our tiny camper also had a shower, but there were beach rules. The showers in our campers were reserved for the adults. No kids allowed. So, we grabbed clean towels, washcloths, soap, Lemon Up shampoo, Long and Silky conditioner, hair brushes and hair dryers, and clean clothes, and trudged to the shower house. We had to yank a chain and hold it for water. After we finished, we walked back to camp, and sat down to eat a meal prepared by my mother. My uncle Jim, Wendy and Dawn’s dad, and my cousin Jimmy were usually there, too.

    After the meal, we piled back into the van. My father got behind the wheel, and drove us all the way back to the boardwalk. We usually arrived around 7:00. He dropped us off at the U, and told us to be back there at ten sharp before driving away.

    Nights at the boardwalk were different than days. We walked the boards, but we also rode rides. Sometimes we walked on the beach. We usually had a pack of cigarettes. Most kids smoked right out in the open back then. (I only smoked sporadically, never in school, and only for about a year). Back then people hung out under the boardwalk, but we were strictly forbidden to ever venture under the boardwalk. We never broke that particular rule, having been forced to listen to horror stories of kidnappings and other atrocities that might befall us if we went under there.

    My parents may or may not have known about the smoking. Smoking was also strictly forbidden, but almost everyone smoked on that boardwalk.

    At ten o’clock we were back at Dolle’s. My father would pull up and we’d pile back into the van. He drove us back to camp, and then he went to bed. We kids walked around the campground or listened to LPs at my uncle’s place until about midnight. My uncle was single at the time, and he was usually out at the DeBraak, a bar in Lewes. (The DeBraak was named for a shipwreck off the coast of Lewes. I’m pretty sure the bar burned down. At any rate, it’s no longer there.)  On Sundays we went to the beach, but after dinner we had to drive home so my parents could be at work on Monday morning.

    Some days my father just didn’t want to deal with Rehoboth traffic, so he dropped us off at Lewes beach. (Not a cool place, according to Wendy). I think she refused to go to Lewes once or twice, and sulked at the campground instead.

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    View of canal from Lewes Marina

     

    What great times. We weren’t angels back then, but we certainly survived. I’m glad we kept my parents’ beach place, even though times are hard right now. We don’t have the income we used to, on account of Obama’s economy. Still we all agree we will keep the place for as long as possible. Why shouldn’t we? My father worked hard for that place. He wanted us to enjoy it.


  • April Musings

    This is a busy time of year. In addition to working on book three in my series, and promoting the first two books, there are many other things that must somehow be accomplished.

    First is getting back into a routine of running, since I slacked during the winter. I’m doing this slowly. I have run only twice since the weather began to warm up, but both times were enjoyable. I get most of my inspiration for writing while running, so this is actually part of my job. Following is a photo taken earlier this week:

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    This is a road in my hometown. The stretch of road pictured has always been known as the flats. I’m not exactly sure when this name came into being, or why, but this stretch of road was the inspiration for an important scene in book two, The Notice.

    I have had feedback about this portion of the book, saying it was too long, and perhaps unnecessary, however, it seemed important to me to leave some scenes having to do with my hometown in the book, (though others were scrapped). I will not be here forever. I want my kids and grandkids to know about our lives and their ancestors. (Our family has lived in this area for over seventy years).

    Even though things I read and hear in the news are extremely depressing, I still have hope that America can somehow turn back into a free country. It will take many years, and I probably won’t be around to see it, but I believe it will happen, because people were born free. Americans are different. We will rebel at some point. We traditional Americans are patient, and we do follow the law and the rules, until the law turns on us. Then all bets are off. So, I’m leaving a record of sorts. My books are in print. My family can keep copies if they so choose, and if, for some reason America doesn’t turn around, perhaps my descendants will read the books, and know that at one time, people were free to speak without fear of being termed “racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, white, misogynist, etc.” just for having a different political opinion than the current crop of “leaders” and their media jammers.

    However, I still have hope. This world is dark, and my books reflect this, but it doesn’t have to remain dark. Good people just need to face the fear of what I described above. It need not be public, but it can be done. Do it by turning off the mainstream news, and reading or listening to some other viewpoints. Do it by actually listening to individual candidates. Not just soundbites, but the actual message. Not the spin and derogatory snark filtered through the likes of Chris Matthews or others who seem to feel we are inferior beings, good for nothing but the taxes we pay to keep their gods on top, but actual messages, taken IN CONTEXT.

    Do it by reading history. Do it by checking your children’s homework, not only to make sure they have done their homework, but to see that what they’re being taught is true. If you see a questionable lesson in your children’s backpack, take the time to deprogram your child. Tell them the truth. Such children will be the leaders of the future. I am not advocating that anyone actually take on a school which has made the decision to indoctrinate a child. I’ve seen the results of such a thing firsthand, and they are not pretty. If you do not have the stomach for what my friends endured at the hands of their neighbors and their children’s teachers and administrators, no one can blame you. Dealing with lying, slandering bullies in positions of power is not for the faint of heart. However, people who know in their hearts that what’s happening will hurt their children can take the time to explain the real story to their kids.

    Do it in the secrecy the voting booth. Don’t listen to the hype, and the lies, and the nasty derogatory slanderous BS that is spouted every day about “Flyover Country.” We are not stupid. We are not backward. We are not bigots. We are the backbone of this country, and we have a voice. It may be muffled by fear at this time, but it’s there. Use it. Then wait for springtime to come back to America.

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  • Winter’s Almost Over

    We made it! Winter’s almost over.

    This was the scene in my hometown after the recent snowstorm.

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    It’s very pretty, of course, but also, I must say… Winter is getting old! The following photos were taken this morning. They still look wintry, but there’s a subtle difference. More sun & less snow. The gnome under the red maple tree was completely covered last week. Now he’s emerging from the snow.

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    Our Lady was also almost covered with snow, but here she is, standing in the sunshine. Soon the rock garden surrounding her will be blooming again.

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    I’ve been keeping my eyes open for the first robin, but as of yet they haven’t returned. My bulbs are still covered with snow. As soon as it melts, I expect to see them poking through the ground under the weeping cherry tree. I’m looking forward to visits from my grandkids this spring. They love our home.

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    Soon all the drabness will be replaced with bright colors and scenes of spring and summer. We’ll open our beach place, and my brother-in-law will take us fishing in Delaware Bay.

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    I will miss only one thing about winter: The beauty of the scenes above. I won’t miss the short days and long nights or the cold. I’m really looking forward to beach time, so my eyes can gaze on scenes like this one:

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    There’s more work in spring, with the garden and other chores, but the brightness and warmth make the work seem easier. Today I’m doing laundry. I think I’ll hang it outside. There’s plenty of time for it to dry, since the days are longer.

    I’ll close with the following song. It’s a song from my teen years, and brings back too many memories to list here. It will also be included in my upcoming post detailing “songs” for each character in the Storms Of Transformation Series, as Sandy’s song. Maybe you’ll recognize it. 🙂


  • Bring on Spring

    I know this sounds ridiculous since winter is barely two weeks old, but bring on spring. The days are already getting longer. I love this fact. Here are a few pictures of sights I’m longing to see.

    IMG_2336My husband and I haven’t gone riding since September. We were both too busy to do much riding this year. He’s been working on refinishing our basement/TV room, and I’ve been working on writing. Pictured above is a spring scene on a back country road near our home. It’s hard to see, but corn is sprouting in the field. I can’t wait to see such a sight again. Winter can be beautiful, but it’s just not my favorite season.

    IMG_2335I love Spring. Above are cherry blossoms. This tree is my favorite. The blossoms only last about a week, so I spend a lot of time under the tree each April. Below are Hyacinths, blooming under this same tree. I usually see them poking out of the ground in mid-February.

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    February is also the month I begin training for the DE Half Marathon. I haven’t decided whether or not I’m running this year. I need to make a decision soon. The race is an awesome experience. It gets me in shape and makes me feel accomplished, but training in winter is a drag. I have a few weeks to decide whether or not to enter. Here’s my best time, last year after my 10 miler.

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    After the race, it’s time for spring to really get going. The tulips bloom under the cherry tree in May. My granddaughter loved the flowers 🙂

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    It’s not that far away. I can do this! I’ll think of spring and enjoy the longer days. I don’t believe in wishing my life away, so I’ll enjoy winter’s beauty, but I can still dream of spring.

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    And then I can say, Bring on Summer. 🙂

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    My favorite season.