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Celebrate Every Day

That’s the theme of this post, and, in fact, the theme for the coming year. Welcome 2013, good riddance 2012.

My uncle and my grandfather, 1960s

My uncle and my grandfather, 1960s. They were best friends who married sisters.

The year ends tonight, and it couldn’t come soon enough for me. Yes, we were spared the promised Mayan Apocalypse, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a difficult year. I was all prepared to write a post running down the good and bad from the year, but I realized it would just be depressing, at best, and maudlin at worst. So instead, I am going to share with you my renewed resolve from several seasons past.

It can be summed up as the attempt to celebrate every day. Every day we are alive, no matter our circumstances, we can try to find some little way to add joy to our lives, if only for a minute. Some days will be very difficult, nay, impossible. I don’t need to provide you with my examples, I am sure you have your own. But most days, just ordinary, regular, run-of-the-mill sets of 24 hours, provide at least one opportunity to stop and smile.

Make a list of things that make you pause and reflect. It can be something as simple as turning on the AC in your car on a hot day. Boy, am I thankful for that!

A clump of violets on your breakfast table…or even taking the time to sit down at the table and eat your breakfast.

A glass of wine with lunch, gourmet coffee (with cream!), or a walk in the park, or ten minutes window shopping in a new city, or flipping through a photo album.

Cooking a special meal, or using the good silver, reading by lamplight, making dinner into a picnic, stopping to watch the birds dining at the neighbor’s bird feeder.

Ok, these are all things on my list; you can make your own. The important thing is to appreciate the beauty in the mundane, and make the mundane meaningful. It gives you a moment to separate yourself from your circumstances, provides a little different perspective on things. Sometimes it is mentally stimulating; or maybe it slows things down so you can appreciate the speed of life a little more.

I found another post that gave suggestions for indulging your home in everyday luxuries, and I realized I do every single one of these things…..some for years, some are new. You can read the post here, but this is the short list: fresh flowers, music, good china (or silver), bubble bath, candles, fresh fruit, dining outside, and great coffee. Okay, I don’t do all of these every day; I don’t need to. Some days, I do none of them, but these are grey days indeed, days I feel that the hours slipped by me without meaning and without joy.

This year was a rough one; I lost a dear friend, a favorite uncle (see photo above), a fur child, and most of my savings account. But I also gained a daughter in law, a grandchild, raised 4 cute kittens, and got a new kitchen. I have nothing to complain about, but grief can overwhelm joy.

In 2013, I will be starting school again, beginning exciting new projects at work, enjoying our “empty nest,” and taking care of our remaining fur children. I will enjoy the fireside, listen to music while I drive, enjoy my coffee and my wine, use the good silver every day, love my family, and try to celebrate a little each day.

Mr. Cookie enjoys his scratching pad

Mr. Cookie always takes time to enjoy his scratcher

How about you?

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The Empty Nest

Yes, it has finally happened. We have joined the ranks of the empty-nesters. Our fledglings have fledged and we have the house to ourselves.

Son and family have taken possession of their new home and are having a great time. The house turned out beautifully, I am almost jealous of the large windows and the big empty basement, and I am happy for them. They have taken the last two kittens, too, Simon and Ash, so I have my office back, too.

The office/sewing room/guest room. It is small, but functional, and kitten-free!

I hesitated to write this post because I seem to keep misplacing the photos I took of the finished house – they are on my computer at work, or somewhere else, who knows. I promise I will show them sometime.

In the meantime, we have turned our attention back to Claymire, and assessing those little projects that got lost along the way. This weekend, I finally painted the baseboards in the living and dining rooms. They have been the wall color for about 2 years, ever since we had the Great Flood of 2010 and replaced all the flooring. They looked okay, in fact, I don’t like the look of a skinny white stripe running around the room when mouldings are little skinny clamshells we have in the bedrooms.

The dining room, with blue tape still in place. It looks a little too bright, to me, in this room.

But the ones in the main part of the house are 6 inches, and decorative. Besides that, flat paint, which I love on our less-than-smooth walls, is not easy to scrub on a baseboard.

The color is Pittsburgh Paints Manor Hall in Dogwood Blossom, paint I had left over from the old kitchen cabinets.

Next, we did some upgrades on our door mouldings. The plan is to do this through the whole main part of the house; so far, we did these two as a trial:

Before

and after

 

It is made from a 4″ piece of mdf, a piece of 1/2 round, and some crown moudling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think? I found the inspiration and DIY how-tos on Pinterest. I love creative people, especially when I can borrow their ideas!

So now mr husband is looking at our fireplace, and wondering if we shouldn’t tile around it. We have wanted to for a couple of years, and just couldn’t decide what to put there, so I just painted it black and waited. On the way to the tile shop yesterday, while waiting for paint to dry, he wondered whether everyone did as much home improving as we do. As he started to tick off the things we have done to Claymire since moving in 15 years ago, I suggested that yes, people did, at least people who bought a home in such crummy condition as ours, and weren’t content to leave it that way.

The fireplace as it looks now. So many options and ideas!

Besides, I realized that fixing up the house makes me happy. I like to see a new pillow on the loveseat, or fresh curtains, or a new plant. Even rearranging furniture gives a new perspective on a space, reveals possibilities, and maybe a fresh start.

And we do have a fresh start. For 24 of the 26 years we have been married, we have not lived alone, just the two of us. It is an odd realization, that hits at different times of the day, in strange ways. I hear a noisy muffler at night, and realize it is not our kid coming home. The city truck that picks up leaves went by, and for the first time in years, I didn’t worry that his car was parked in the way. I hear an ambulance go by at 1 am, and decide it really isn’t likely that he’s been in an accident. (I know, mother-brains work in strange ways.) It is just us, now, and that is kind of exciting, and kind of sad.

Oh, and I did get an early Christmas gift…we have officially adopted Mabel cat!

Welcome home, girl.