Monday, December 31, 2018

The Condensed Version



Begin with the end in mind is most important when remodeling a home.  I'm not an interior design person with vivid pictures in my head of what a room or house could look like, so my husband and I took the long road to fixing up our home one picture in mind at a time and we learned so much along the way. 
Cooling down the colors and allowing the wide open windows a chance to shine inside became our vision. We guided ourselves by these thoughts:  "This feels good" or "No, to bold or bland."

Chapter 1 (10 months)
The heavy bold yellow master bedroom changed to a cool sea foam green and we felt rested. The bathrooms of blue flowers  became various shades of sea foam, and the investment in a hand held steamer saved our marriage! The green stripe and flowered dining room wallpaper and complimentary kitchen decor changed to cool greens and one soft rust accent wall.  New carpet in the LR revived our spirits and bare feet. Next, we tackled the laminate counter top. Out with the old and in with the new granite. I still smile when I see the specks called butterfly wings shine in the sunlight. 
Then we rested.

Chapter 2 (12 months)
Yard work consumed our warm sunny days. We knew only a vision of color in our large backyard, but did not know which trees and shrubs to purchase. A team from Marcum's Nursery drew up a plan and by summer our eyes began to feast on greens, yellows, reds, and pinks. A sudden 3" summer rain storm showed us the need for immediate storm drainage in our sloping back yard. Fall gave us the opportunity to gaze at our brilliant burning bushes, and say "that's good."

Chapter 3 (12 months) 
Through love and loss we took time for ourselves, and added a bit here and a bit there.
Jack's handiwork.

Chapter 4 (12 months)
Traveling adventures here and there, golf games everywhere filled our souls with memorable delights. A new tiled bathroom and walk in shower updated our home and allowed the master bedroom area to be complete. 
Master bathroom.

Chapter 5 (12 months)
12" shiny cracked tile
To fill our home with even more light we began the year with new storm doors, that would allow us to have spring and fall breezes drift through our home. Our dark brown door  changed with several coats of turquoise paint and I smiled, ready to welcome friends. Five new ceiling lights comforted our older eyes allowing us a better view. 

With the sun on our backs we glared at the 12" shiny tile that wove throughout our home. The dark grout seams defined the linear space. The time had arrived, we needed new tile, oh my! 

In the beginning
Worth the wait


Five months of planning, nearly four weeks of destruction to construction, while we moved into the bedroom. So funny, reading in my closet, using the tub and shower to store cooking utensils, piling items nearly to the ceiling on the dining room table and then covering everything with plastic. May I add we didn't use nearly enough plastic, nor did we know to tape it down. 

The dust from the jack-hammered tile
flew everywhere, as I had been told. I didn't expect to find it inside my kitchen cabinets, but I did. The dishwasher ran night and day after the house was finished. 

Last week after Christmas as we were cleaning the kitchen, we moved the black refrigerator out from the wall and discovered that it had been put back as dusty as every. Ack! 

New base boards and door frames added splash to the house, but we weren't done yet. The guest bathroom already with new tile received a new quartz counter-top.  The last three rooms received new carpet, and once again we moved furniture here there and anywhere. Cheers and celebrations were in order. 
Cheers, to our remodel.


All of this moving, shuffling, and rearranging of storage places uncovered several stories.  When the dining room was spilling over with plastic tubs of memories from my parents and grandparents, I hit a personal brick wall and cried.  The responsibility for our family's memories weighed heavily on my shoulders.  Our daughter, Katy, heard the weariness in my voice. One evening she and Shaun arrived with their truck. Seven plastic tubs of scrapbooks, labeled zip-lock bags of pictures, and memorabilia were loaded into their truck. An old broken mahogany mirror will soon be refurbished and hang in a new home. Those stories are not all buried merely dancing through our lives as reminders of love and the passage of time. 

Happy New Year and may your door always be open to Possibilities. 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Have a Blessed Christmas

On a cool rainy day in April 2018 we walked the hills of Augusta National Golf Course during The Masters Golf Tournament. We felt truly blessed to walk these ancient lush green hills filled with a nursery of beautiful trees, bushes, and grasses.

Part of a day in Atlanta we spent time in the Jim Henson Puppetry Museum.What fun to see his  imaginative work displayed for all of us to enjoy. In person the puppets are incredible works of art. 

This painting is done using architectural
pieces of design to cover the canvas.
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta gave us the opportunity to walk the halls of our living history, and be reminded of the energy crisis we faced in the mid-70's. How cold I remember my home in Greensburg, KS the year we were asked to keep the temperatures at 55 degrees.  Our bathroom/shower was screaming 
cold when we stepped into it.

We continued on our southern trip with a drive up mountain from Atlanta to visit friends from college days at LSU, who now live in Blairsville, Ga.  Mountain fog may have kept us from scenic views, but laughter and giggles from the shared experience will chime in my ears for time to come.

A month later we drove to Houston for our niece, Sophia's, graduation and wedding. Oh, such fun for all of us. Being around young people who are majoring in Stage/Acting/Directing made us feel so young and energized.  

Homeward bound we stopped to visit the GHW Bush Presidential Library, and burial site for the family.  The literacy work of Barbara Bush proudly filled a large section of the library. Her smile was so contagious.

Feeding and petting a Stingray.

In July we met kids and cousins in Omaha for a four day weekend. It is a great way to share a vacation with sons who live in New York City (Matt) and Dodgeville, WI (Mike, Ann, and Isaac) and our four nieces.  We were mesmerized by the statues and artwork all over downtown Omaha and the river-walks, but overall I think we all agreed that the "20% butterfat ice cream, made-from-scratch and slow-churned"  from Ted and Wally's was the Best. 

"The abstraction is often the most definite form for
the intangible thing in myself that I can
only clarify in paint." G. O'Keefe 

Jack and I took off several days in August to tour Crystal Gardens Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas where they were hosting a Georgia O'Keefe show. Then we drove to Glenwood, Arkansas to spend a day with our Stapp family members, who have become close family now. 

Home for the fall and winter our days have been filled with football games, gardening, working out, walking Lucy,and adding new tile throughout the halls, kitchen and dining room, plus carpet in three bedrooms, a new counter-top in the guest bathroom, not to mention the painting, and cleaning up process. No wonder we slept so well with shorter days and longer nights. 
The tiling transformation is awesome.
Somehow, we played many rounds of golf this year. Jack won The Trails Cup by winning or placing in many weekend golf events, while I won the Women's Club Championship this year. We both laughed over our surprising wins. As we know, age can be a state of mind or condition of the back, the knees, the shoulders, etc. etc. etc.

Most of all, we feel fortunate to be alive and share our moments and memories with all of you, our friends.

Happy New Year.  
Letty and Jack

Friday, December 7, 2018

Two Black Eyes

Two black eyes
No pictures please.

Facing the boxing black bear of Ottawa County
I bounced on my feet throwing punches at his nose,
Then fell to my knees when his one two punch
Caught me square in the eyes.

Two black eyes
No pictures please.

Boldly holding a carrot in my mouth
The giraffe slapped me with her tongue,
In a swipe and a lick the carrot was gone.
Turning her head for more she butted and bashed me
With her nose square in the middle of each eye.

Two black eyes
No pictures please.

With Joey in her pocket the kangaroo jumped the farm fence
Just as I rounded the curve on the winding country road.
She leapt toward me landing a blow to the left and a punch to the right,
Square in the middle of my eyes.

Two black eyes
No pictures please.

While walking on a peaceful wooded trail
Peacocks suddenly screamed like a woman dying,
The birds took flight and the squirrels chattered.
Startled, I screeched like an owl in the night then turned to flee near death
In a breath, I stumbled over the graceful turquoise tail of colored eyes.

Two black eyes.
No pictures please.

Upon awakening my eyes overtly glistened
In shades of sangria plum and purple jam. Tears could not escape.
Appearing in public wearing Hollywood shades I hid all but the
Purple smile on my upper cheeks.

Two Black eyes
No pictures please.

In time a soft frame of Tuscan yellow and olive green
Surrounded the faded black and blue eyes.
Looking like the eyes of the peacock’s tail, I smiled.
My eyes opened like those of a child,
Wide and curious after oculoplastic surgery.

Two black eyes
No pictures please.

*Thank you Dr. Erin Holloman