Friday, November 15, 2013

My 60th Birthday

Rick threw me a surprise party for my birthday.  Wow!  If he’d asked me do I want a birthday party I would definitely have said no.  I’m glad he didn't ask.  What a fun time! 

I thought we were probably going into Hallowell to meet my sons for a nice birthday dinner . . . until he handed me a blindfold and said to put it on.  It suddenly occurred to me that this probably wasn't dinner. 

So I put on the blindfold and noticed we did a 180 degree turn and were headed back to Hallowell.  He accused me of peaking when I knew we were headed back to Hallowell but come on, aren’t people who are being kidnapped able to tell you how many lefts or rights you've taken and approximately how long you drove in each direction?  J 

Anyway, I was pretty disoriented once we stopped and he took my arm and guided me to a step and an open door where someone else took my other arm.  Then the happy birthday music started and when I removed my blindfold there were 50 of my favorite people in the whole world with great, sweet smiles.  How wonderful is that? 

Rick had hired two of my very favorite bands – not one but two!!! – and a photographer.  I’ll post photos when I get them.  My dear, wonderful, talented, and creative neighbor helped him pull everything together.  Thank you Chris!  Greta provided a drum head with her own beautiful creation on the back and space on the front for people to sign.  I’ll post a photo. 

Lots of wonderful music ensued, including a rendition of Old Flames by Rick, Woody, Richard, and Jane!   I think Alfred was on drums for that one, too.  Chris Rusnov and Deb Dunn and others danced away.  I joined in a few myself with Rick, Rose, Betty, Liz, Susie, Jordy, and others.  I had to laugh when Liz was amazed that I hadn't heard about the party because, she said, everyone in town knew about it!  Good job Hallowellians – and Rick!     


Saturday, November 9, 2013

60 - wow

I turned 60 last Monday.  Wow.  60 means old.  No convincing yourself that you’re still middle aged.  60 is old.  It was really old when I was younger and though it’s not nearly as old now, it’s still old.  But, damn, I really like being 60.  I know I could stop working tomorrow if I chose to do so.  I could collect enough Social Security retirement and pension to get by.  It might mean a smaller life – spending more time at home.  In summers doing gardening, winters pottery.  But I’d be in control of my time.     

On my drive to work earlier this week I watched an older woman walking from her mailbox with the newspaper and couldn't help but think how leisurely that felt at 8:00 a.m.   I was envious that on this showery November day one might choose to stay home by a nice fire and read the local paper, maybe do all the puzzles: Sudoku, jumble, cryptoquip, and crossword.   If the skies cleared she might go out later and do a little yard work, or maybe just stay in and get lost in a good novel.  

I’m hoping to be able to build a year round home on my property on Cobbossee Stream.  Summers always see a nice breeze, great kayaking, lots of wildlife to watch, and easy access.  Winters and spring are likely to have some access issues since there’s an almost mile long dirt road but I feel like it will be a challenge that could be rewarding to face.  Stock up, stay in, find your own entertainment.  I love that . . . as long as it doesn't last 6 months.  J 

I would like to think we could take an annual trip to California to visit Jason and Adri and maybe a side adventure to Sedona, San Franciso, Joshua Tree or such. 

I guess we’ll see . . .

But so far, 60 is good.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New house

We are in the process of building our retirement home.  Our original thought had been to move our camp onto a foundation and add on.  However, the contractor we met with last week said it would probably be more cost efficient to trash the camp and start from scratch.  We'll probably get a second opinion on that but I have to admit that I rather like that idea.  So I've been searching the web for ideas of doors, windows, home designs, etc.  We're doing this on a budget so hardwood will probably be replaced with laiminate floors, and granite countertops with laminate countertops, etc.  However, I think I want to go pretty high quality with things like doors and windows.  

This kitchen is much like the one we just did at our home in Belgrade Lakes in terms of colors.  I like the painted cabinets, kitchen island, wood floors.  And it's very similar to how I see the new kitchen layout with the patio doors and deck.  

Love the ceiling.

I think this is similar to the shower we have now which works perfectly well for us.  I prefer a shower curtain over doors.
$448.00   76-in H x 48-in W x 36-in L White 1-Piece Shower

Smart technology, easy to clean, flexible, impact resistant material with touchable smooth backing
Smart Storage, wide bathing area features large shelves and deep ledges that can hold up to 16 standard size shampoo bottles
Smart installation flexible with a touchable smooth back surface for easy handling and fast installs
A tub with soothing water jets would be nice.

American Standard Cadet 6 ft. Acrylic Bathtub with Reversible Drain in White
Model # 2773.002.020 Internet # 100024978 Store SO SKU # 375520
5 / 5

Definitely need a bathtub - a good deep soaker would be nice.  
TOTO® ABY904N-01N Pacifica Acrylic Bathtub, Cotton White
Sold by:
Availability:  Usually ships in 2 to 5 days
Stock No: WGB750760

Home Decorators Collection Hamilton 61 in. W x 22 in. D Double Vanity in Antique White with Beige Granite Top
Model # 0567200410 Internet # 203103974
4.7 / 5

$1,099.00 / each

Home Decorators Collection Essex 61 in. W x 22 in. D Double Vanity in Shuffolk Cherry with Marble Vanity Top in Black
Model # 1114800160 Internet # 203704485
 Write a review Write The First Review Ask a Question
$873.99 / each

I think we want to go with a two story (well, three if you count the walk out basement below that you won't really be able to see from the entryway) cape with a two bay attached garage.

I like the extra upstairs space that a Greek Revival gives you but when you change it slightly it becomes a Gambrel and I don't really love the looks of those so much, even though they still give you the extra space.

This could be much like what ours would look like - a deck off the main floor, a smaller balcony above and a patio area below.  Ours wouldn't have that ugly set of steps off the front.  Any steps off that deck area would come off the side.  I still find this design rather ugly and would have to think hard about whether the extra space on the top floor is worth it.    

I don't really like the big roof overhang either - would rather get the sun.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Making a casserole dish for a wedding shower gift.

I hadn't thrown for a while but decided I wanted to make a casserole dish for Adri and Jason as a wedding shower gift.  I was really "on" that day and threw three pretty nice pieces.  I figured I'd ought to have a back up in case one of them didn't make it for some reason.  I'm glad I did.  

Here's the one I made for them: their names and the date of their wedding carved in the bottom; hearts stamped onto the lid.  And the lid fit perfectly onto the bowl - a nice little lip that came out just right.  I was very pleased with it.

You can see the heart stamps on the lid.

Perfect little lip to catch the lid.  

Here's Plan B - no names or hearts carved on but the lid fit very nicely with the bowl.  

And here's Plan C.  I decided to shape it into more of a square, along with the lid.  It came out ok but the lid didn't fit as nicely as the first two. 

 I figured I'd have an extra casserole or two all set to go for the next fundraising raffle or something.

But when I opened up the first level of the kiln I was sorely disappointed.  The lid survived but the dish exploded in the kiln.

So I want to level two to see how Plan B looked.  Not so good.  Plan C made it for which I was very grateful but Plan B also exploded in the bisque firing for some unknown reason.  

However, here's Plan C with a Deep Firebrick red glaze.  I like it well enough but the cover doesn't fit the bowl except in one direction.  The experience was a reminder not to get too attached to any piece before it comes out of the glaze firing unharmed.  

And I'm happy to report it made it via UPS to Sierra Madre, CA without mishap.

Pottery inspiration

Great platter tips:

Great tutorial on how Lori makes her beautiful butter dishes

Friday, August 2, 2013

Dream Room

Saw this room on a FB post and just love it.  Decided to post it here in case I ever have a chance to design a magnificent bedroom for myself.  There are lots of details I'd change but it captures a very comfortable overall effect that I love.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sedona, AZ 2013

Rick and I took a trip out west for our vacation this year from July 13th to July 23rd.  We flew into Phoenix on the 13th and spent the night at a local flea bag motel but got up early the next morning and drove to Sedona.  Beautiful drive!  Here's the scene that greeted us as we came into town.

Coffeepot Rock

Not sure but these might be called The Sisters

From our hotel.

Our hotel - Sky Ranch Lodge in Sedona, AZ - best rooms in Sedona!

Taken during our Pink Jeep tour on Broken Arrow Trail.

From Broken Arrow Trail.

More from Broken Arrow Trail.

The jeeps go around this.  A little hairy.

Yes, we drove down this.

Taken at Taos Restaurant - our first stop in Sedona on July 14th.  Temps at about 100 degrees. They had the misters going.  See the thunder storm in the distance.

View from Room #235 - Sky Ranch Lodge - Sedona

Nice hike down the West Fork of Oak Creek.

More from the West Fork hike.

Love the way the stream gurgles gently during most of the West Fork hike.  Nice rock overhangs.  

What a ride that was through the red rocks!  Even after braiding my hair it was pretty wild at the end of the ride.

Sunrise at Airport Mesa

More sunrise at Airport Mesa

Sunset from Sky Ranch Lodge

Grand Canyon
Us at the Grand Canyon

Rick at Grand Canyon.

Kate, Rick, and me at Mother Road Brewery in Flagstaff.
During our time in Sedona the temps were mostly in the high 70s to low 90s. Apparently July is their monsoon season - daily thunderstorms and reasonable cloud cover kept temps at reasonable levels allowing us to hike, shop, etc. without oppressive heat.

We spent 5 days in Sedona and left on Friday to drive to Los Angeles to visit with Rick's son Jason and his fiance, Adri.We went to visit the Son's of Anarchy Teller Morrow site and then Venice Beach.

SOA Set in LA

Jason, Adri, and Rick at Venice Beach
Rick giving Jason a banjo lesson.
Jason playing the banjo his dad gave him last fall - one that Jason's mom bought him 30+ years ago.
It was a great trip. We paid the extra $ to get the extra leg room on Jet Blue and it was definitely worth it.  Flights were smooth if not always on time.  Driving was fine - even in LA - though we were glad to let Jason take over the driving around LA once we got to his house.  He's amazing in terms of being able to get anywhere with the least amount of traffic; always knows where he is; can jump from one highway to another  or just avoid highways and take side streets everywhere.  He took us to Rodeo Drive where we saw a commercial being filmed with Malin Ackerman (I had no idea who she was but Jason and Adri knew of her) and The Grove where we saw them filming an episode of Extra with Mario Lopez.