Posts Tagged With: porch life

time: spending spree or saving for a rainy day?

Excellent news!
The person who was in YBW’s office tested negative for covid!
WOOT!
Even though it turned out to be nothing, my husband’s company took this seriously and was proactive. The decision to send everyone home and have the office properly cleaned shows the health and wellbeing of the employees is important. While it may be a simple fact of keeping everyone healthy so they can remain at work, I appreciate the effort because it helps keep my husband healthy.

In other news:

With so much ‘free time’ we are tackling as many time consuming tasks as possible.
House things are at the top of that list. Things that need to be done as we live here, and in the knowledge that this prep work will assist us when it’s time to move into our new house.
YBW has lived in this house twenty one years. In addition to his own things, he accumulated things from his parents. This time is a gift in which to sort and purge, and make decisions about how he wants to curate his life at the end of his time in this house and the way he plans to live in the new house.

In the unfinished part of our basement in which the mechanicals are housed, there’s also shelving and storage bins. He began tackling his stored things early this year, but on Saturday, I requested his assistance to access three bins of my stuff. It was a successful bit of work as we did a quick survey and purge of other things too. All in less than half an hour!
I’ll be going through those bins this week.

I’m all about this organization, y’all!

Yesterday, YBW cleaned out his closet. And since I already did mine, I chose an activity that kept us in the same room and able to talk about what he went through.
I ironed all our napkins.

Y’all it was so damn satisfying.

Porch life is in full swing!
This week:
Nora joined me for a porch life visit.
we had a virtual happy hour on the porch with YBW’s work friends for which I quickly threw together a half-assed charcuterie board.
we popped bubbly during appropriately social distanced porch life with our neighbors.

Today we planned on a shoot day, but it’s cloudy and damp. Not the best lighting or weather for taking photos.
Maybe I’ll get on my bins sooner than I thought?

I find myself go through spurts of being uber productive. All mindful and self aware. Only to flip the coin and spend an entire day watching Youtube vids, or blazing through books.
I’m currently rewatching all the Harry Potter movies. In true Give a Mouse a Cookie form, watching them highlights how different from the books they are, and how book Ron and movie Ron are two completely different characters, and how much I adore the books, and now I find myself wanting to read them all over again.
My journaling already killed one pen.
I’m on the porch as often as possible.

Do y’all find yourselves doing the home tasks you’ve put off?
Are you using this forced free time to your advantage?
Are you equal parts ‘ruthless efficiency’ and ‘straight chillin’?
Are your streaming subscriptions at peak ‘worth the cost’?
Are you tackling your TBRs?
What about your gardens?
Are you sick of the news?
Do you miss going places?
Are you content to be at home?
Are you tired of being asked questions?

Dang! All those questions felt a bit like…

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

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ready for porch life

Ever notice how everything is straight chaos while you’re trying to organize?
YBW and I spent the majority of Saturday on the porch. Bringing out the rugs, furniture, and cushion storage containers. Putting together new outdoor dining furniture.

The breeze was chilly, but it was warm in the sun. You can see the abandoned hoodie on the chair.
We moved all that cardboard to a sunny spot in the yard and asked Thing G to come out and break it down.
Because the winter was rather mild, most of the herbs are coming back. I need to get more basil and lavender, but all the peppermint, cat nip, thyme, and lemon balm is growing like gangbusters! (In case you’re wondering, yes, these herbs do help deter mosquitos.)

We rearranged a few times before we got it right, but were pleased with where we landed.
So much so that we made cocktails and a late lunch/early dinner about four o’clock and ate at our new table on the porch!

We went over to the construction site Sunday morning and walked around in the townhouse unit that’s like ours will be. YBW spent time looking at where to put some sort of chase in which to connect future solar panels on the roof with the electrical system. I was all about furniture placement.
We had our cameras with us and planned to visit a park and walking trails, just to get out of the house. But as we were leaving the new houses, it began to rain. No sense walking around the park in the rain, so we headed home. We drove right out of the rain in one county and into a warm sunny day in the next.

I picked up Meredith’s book and plopped myself on the porch all afternoon until it got windy and rainy and I had to come inside.

The maple tree helicopters are flying about. The oak trees haven’t yet dropped their weird little wormy-pollen-things. I’m waiting to set up the fountain until after that mess. I missed the water sounds as I sat out there, but I’ll be patient, I hate cleaning oak tree pollen out of the fountain.
I’m ready for porch life, y’all!

Of course it’s pouring and windy with mad storms on this Monday morning.
But I’ll be patient because I’ve got all spring…and summer…and fall to spend on that porch. And when the world opens back up, I’ll invite loads of folks to share in my porch life!

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knowing and telling of stories

In case you were wondering the status of the great and arduous process, here’s an update.
This is what It looked like when I finished through 2002.

Each of those boxes was chock full of photos.
I finished the preliminary sort and purge, and returned to those boxes only the photos about which I wanted to share stories. Or photos I wanted the girls to be able to decide what to keep and what to purge.
There are five finished boxes, in those boxes, I sorted the pictures into the following categories.
Thing 1 only
Thing 2 only
the Things together
me
Mommie, Daddie, and Grandaddy (yeah, all in one box, but I only had five)

Of course then I had to bring the rest of the boxes upstairs.

At this point, I’ve gotten through 2004. I haven’t looked at photos since Saturday last. I needed a break this week.
As I sort, if it’s for one of my girls, I write the year and who’s in the pic on the back. First and last names and where the photo was taken if I know. That’s to help jog their memories.

In addition to sorting out photos for the girls, I’m setting some aside to be sent to other people. My intent is to box these up and put them in the mail just as soon as I finish the initial sort and purge. I’m only writing the date on the backs of these.

From left to right, these stacks will be sent to the following people:
Becca
Nicole
the next two are for my cousins
Brooke
Sundance
Sally
the Things father

Grandaddy was on each of these ships.
Either in WWII or Korea.
With a teeny bit of research, I was able to verify which ship was which and label accordingly.
This Golden Dragon thing was kind of cool, I just wish I knew more about it.

I have all his Navy information in a container in the basement. I’m hoping to connect each ship with his time on it, as well as locate his ribbons, dog tags, etc. and compile all that information in one place. For what purpose? Well, in the meantime, just for me. If at some point Thing 2 wants it, yay!, if not, equally yay!, it’s her choice.

It’s interesting to learn more about the man who raised me. He never talked about himself, or his life. As far as we knew, he didn’t exist until the day I was born. He was simply Grandaddy. My mom didn’t talk about his life either, or her own. I grew up knowing practically nothing about the people who raised me.
I tried to do that differently when I became a mom.
I want those girls to know who I am and why. That in addition to being their Momma, I’m a girl. A human being with thoughts and feels and plans and dreams and a sense of humor and flaws. And love.
Knowing and telling each other’s stories is so important!

I’m planning to go back to the photos this coming week.
But today, YBW and I are going to set up the porch! After his cleaning and protective sealing of the porch a couple weeks ago, I purposely waited. I wanted to let the pollening happen before we set it up for porch life. But I’m tired of waiting! I’m looking at the oak trees and realize I simply don’t have the patience to outlast them.
We’re going to set up rugs and furniture and umbrellas today.
Then I’ll be able to go out and porch life whenever I please!

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might as well do something productive

In David’s comment on my opportunity post, he suggested I make a list. I loved it!
I mean, duh!
I’m the freaking List Lady, and it never occurred to me to make a list?!?

So here’s what’s funny, I didn’t actually make a list…
Yet!

What I did do was pull nearly everything out of my closet.

Y’all see my Nats World Series hoodie right there? Makes me so dang happy!

Anyway…
I put back only what I truly believe I’ll wear this spring and summer.

I’ll definitely wear all of this.
(Well, not the boots, sweaters, and hoodies, but they have to be somewhere, right?)


There are some dresses starting with the black khaki and white stripes and ending the solid blue one next to the navy floral one that are questionable. I’m going to give them a chance to prove themselves between now and my birthday and if they don’t, they’re out.
That’s valuable real estate.


I even purged shoes.
What you can’t see in this photo is that there are six pairs of Chucks on the bottom shelf. There were ten.
You can also see when I find a shoe I dig, I get it in different colors. Those Sam Edelman Felica ballet flats and Greta sandals are absolute faves! And I bought them all during a huge 4th of July BOGO sale!!


Here’s what’s going away…though I’m not sure any place is accepting donations right now.

I sent pics in the group chat with the girls.
Thing 1 said: Wow!
Thing 2 said: That looks amazing!
I said: Y’all!! It FEELS amazing!

I made that closet my bitch!
And(!!!) In between, and after two conference calls, YBW pressure washed the porch today in anticipation of me prepping out porch life.
I feel accomplished and content.
His shoes are soaked but he’s satisfied with his work.

Look at us using this opportunity presented to us!
I’m going to pour us some wine.
Y’all be good now, ya hear?

Categories: around the house, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

didja miss me?

Didja miss me?
I missed y’all!
I was silent for longer than I expected!
I was a straight creeper, reading your blogs, even commenting on some, but not writing at all.
After the sadness and grief of leaving Thing 1 and Baby K, I needed time to fit back into this house, this life.

The first week I was home, I saw girlfriends and got my hair did.
I went back for the last two days of school, mostly to say goodbye to students and staff.
We saw our last play of the season at Woolly Mammoth.
I cleared the DVR of HGTV shows that got recorded in the six weeks I was gone.
I finished the third of five books for one of my last five courses, wrote a quick essay about it, and participated in a book discussion.
YBW and I got invited by friends to go to Williamsburg for a couple of days.

I did a great deal of this:

For the most part, the weather has been beautiful! Cooler temps, lower humidity, and good breezes keep me on the porch. When it was hot and humid last week, well, we were in Williamsburg sweating our balls off. But, I was able to come back home to great porch weather and be out there with my books and iced tea.

I knew it would be hard to come home after being with my daughter’s family. And with the exception of some acute sadness and grief the first three hours in the car the day I left, I’m handling it well.
I miss them. I want to be near them.
But we talk frequently. And they’ll be here in less than thirty days!

We sent Baby K an ipad so we can facetime with them.
Yesterday when YBW came home from work, I was facetiming with Thing 1 and Baby K and he got SO excited! But here’s the thing, Baby K got so excited when she saw her Papa YBW’s face, she broke into a HUGE smile!
That girl smiled at her granddad, y’all! She knows what’s up!
She did not smile at me. She pretty much ignored me while I talked to her mom. She did however, look at me when I said, “Birdie loves you, girl.” And she attempted kisses which pretty much turned into her sticking her tongue out at me when I made kisses at her.
God I miss her!
But seeing her is such fun!

Here’s a pic just in case y’all want to see her too!

Gah! Don’t you just want to squeeze this deliciously fat baby!?!

I have a bit more course work to knock out. Two more books, five more annotated bibliographies, a hefty paper, and I’m finished.
I’m eager to tackle my TBR stack!
This summer I’m all about me on the porch with a stack of books.
Bring it.

I missed writing. Sharing my thoughts with you.
But I needed to circle the wagons a bit as I reacclimated myself into my life here.

Since Easter, everything has been all about Baby K. Well, Thing 1 and Baby K. And I’ve absolutely adored every moment of that time. But I’m beginning to realize not everyone is as hype as me. (mais pourquoi pas, je ne peux pas dire)
I’m beginning to remember that life is a bit bigger than that precious baby bubble.

My (summertime) life is farmers market Thursdays and day drinking with Holly. It’s me porchlifing my ass off. It’s books and magazines stacked up near me to pick up when I can. It’s laundry and groceries and Target runs. It’s weekends with friends, and YBW and I having ‘shoot days‘.

I’m gently stepping out of the bubble to embrace my life.
I feel a little out of practice, but I’m a quick study.
It’s easy to want to be in your life when you love it, and y’all, I do love my life!

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Moana, fried green tomatoes, and fireworks

In the old days Independence Day meant a backyard full of people, and a pool full of children.
It was a pot luck, with the best damn macaroni salad you’ve ever eaten. Burgers and dogs on the grill, beer in plastic cups, because ‘no glass by the pool’. I’d always get thrown in fully clothed thanks to my brother and cousin. The kids would be pruned beyond belief, only stopping to grab a handful of fruit or veggies or chips. They’d hork down a burger or dog if you made them, but they couldn’t be out of the water for too long, or they’d miss out on all the fun.

These days Independence Day is much smaller.
Yesterday YBW and Thing G did yard work and I studied.
But in the late afternoon, Meredith and Beau came down with their Mommy. The kids played with Legos and their Mommy and I made fried green tomatoes and drank wine.
YBW and the kids have had a date to watch Moana since it came out, and last night they finally went down to the giant TV and set it up. (thanks Netflix) After we cleaned the kitchen, their Mommy and I joined them. Even Thing G came down to watch!
YBW and I were the only ones that hadn’t yet seen it.
Y’all, I was truly delighted! Disney hit that one out of the park! I laughed, I cried, I absolutely adored it!

Turns out we kind of forgot it was Independence Day because suddenly we could hear loud sounds, even downstairs. That’s when I realized we were missing fireworks.
After the movie, they walked back up the street to home and YBW and I had a quick hem-haw about zipping out to see the fireworks. We grabbed shoes and headed out. Hooked up with Nora and Dale and their kids and ooohed and ahhhed as we watched the color explosions. Apparently, our Manassas fireworks one of the largest local fireworks displays in all of Northern VA.
I didn’t even grab my phone from the car to take photos.
That’s how you know it’s good…choosing to experience everything first hand. The immediacy and authenticity of being present in the moment, not behind the lens. That’s a tricky one for me, but last night it was worth it!

Today is going to be quiet. YBW decided to skive off work today and tomorrow, we’ve got a couple quick errands to run. Might even pencil in a movie. If we’d been quick thinking enough, we might have planned a minibreak…but going away over the fourth just seems like a mess of hotness.

I keep hearing this song in my head, as I always do around Independence Day.

Yes, I am and American girl who grew up in the 1970s.
What are you gonna do?

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first world prob

Yesterday was the first day it didn’t rain in damn near two weeks.
So it was the perfect opportunity to get outside to prep for porch life. Of course, I had to take stuff out with me. My phone, ipod, thingie to play the ipod (I made a choice not to use my earbuds), water bottle, and a knife to cut open the bag of potting soil.
Turns out my hands were a bit too full and what I ended up dropping was my ipod.
When I pick it up, on the screen is the red x of death.

Saddest face Robynbird.
(Should have just used the damn earbuds.)

My immediate solution was to youtube music on my (android) phone while I potted herbs, swept, laid the rugs, and set up the furniture.

Once I was inside I was met with the full force of the loss.
How will I play music in the car?
Apple doesn’t even make the classic ipod anymore, only the ipod touch. That’s pretty much an iphone that doesn’t make calls. I don’t need all that jazz. I don’t want a bigger screen, better camera, face time, messaging, apps for this, apps for that. I want at thing to hold and play all my music.

In the past, YBW has teased that I’m a luddite. I’m not opposed to new technology. I just don’t want a bunch of technology that I don’t need. It seems ridiculous to need one thing but have something that does all this other stuff.
So the question becomes, can I find an ipod classic somewhere in the world for less than what a brand new ipod touch costs?

I know this may seem rather a small problem, and in reality it truly is.
I’m behaving in true first world fashion, being a whiny crybaby about my absolutely first world problem.

The thing is, I love music. I’m never without music. I almost always have music playing.
I want to be able to access all my music at any given time.
So however small in the grand scheme of things, not being able to play my music is a big deal to me.

I’m fortunate the folks around me know and respect my point of view. It helps that I’m not being a dick about it, just sad.
I’m playing music through my computer at home, and going to burn a few cds to play in the car, but I’ll grow weary of that pretty quickly, I like to mix it up with the music.
My dad used to say, “If wishes were horses, beggars could ride.” And Grandaddy used to say, “You’re old enough for your wants not to hurt you.”
They’re both right.
But I’m just like Russell.

Hey, at least I won’t have a bunch of 8-tracks riding around in the car.

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the difference between planning life and living life

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
This quote is from Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) a song by John Lennon. Turns out it was originally from an article written for Reader’s Digest by a guy called Allen Saunders.
Only that’s not really the point I making.

My point is that even the best life plans can become waylaid by simply living your life.

As I get back into the routine of my life after a death, and birthdays and as we anticipate Thing G’s graduation and a house full of people, I know I’ll plan. I know I’ll make lists, and organize time, and tasks, and school assignments.
I’ll create my summer schedule. But I also know I’ll drop everything to go do something fun. Or I’ll spend more porch life time on some days than on others. I know important things will pop up.

All my planning, and list making, and organization will aid me in accomplishing what I set out to do, but I’ll have to be flexible. Because sometimes life is what’s happening all around and in between plans and lists.
As I grow and mature as a human, (refusing to put away laundry notwithstanding) I’m learning to accept that things don’t always go my way. (After my childhood, you’d think I’d already mastered that knowledge, but that’s another whole post.)
Things don’t always go my way. But sometimes they go an even better way. That’s why I have to accept that can only execute a portion of what I plan. Because as mad as my planning skills are, the possibility of being surprised by life can be a lovely experience!

Life happens whether or not you’ve penciled it into your book. And for an uptight control freak list lady like me, that’s not always the most comfortable way to function. (Understatement much?)
I’ll continue to plan. I’ll accept what happens, planned or not.
This is my journey through life, if I’m so busy worrying about planning and not being present for what happens, it’s not going to be any good at all.

You know what Ferris said:

Ferris knows what’s up. He had the best skive day in the history of all skive days!

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herbs, champagne, and a tiara

I woke to fairly heavy rain Sunday morning. And that means these herbs sitting on the porch for nearly two weeks waiting to be planted will simply have to wait another day. We were at the garden center the day before YBW’s mom went into hospital. Our shift in focus was unexpected but necessary, and I’ve been watering the herbs each day in hopes of keeping them happy until they can move to the big containers.

These plants are lemony scented geraniums, lemon balm, lemon grass, basil, lavender, rosemary, and lemon thyme. Used together, they’re meant to deter mosquitoes.
Now if only there was something to scare off the pollen…

Thing G told me he saw on the news we’re having the worst pollen season in several years.
Y’all, I believe it. I’ve not had allergy symptoms this severe since I moved from Virginia to South Carolina twelve years ago. Even though all the furniture and rugs are set up on the porch, it’s nearly unbearable to go out there for all the oak pollen. So while I’m eager to engage in a little porch life, looks like that will wait a bit longer.

I’m hopeful the rain will take care of that today, and I’ll be able to get out there later on this week to do a little planting.
But not tomorrow, because International Week of the Birthday continues with going to see The Kills at The Lincoln Theatre.

Yesterday on my actual birthday, I had breakfast at my favorite little dump diner.
When we returned home, I put on my tiara.

Spent the day watching baseball, and drinking obscene amounts of champagne with YBW, and Meredith and Beau’s Mommy and Daddy. We ate greek food and angel food cake with berries and homemade whipped cream.
I was truly celebrated!
This Mother’s Day I’ve spoken to Thing 1 and received texts and social media posts from Thing 2. I suspect she’ll call at the end of the day like she did yesterday.
YBW and I were planning to go see Infinity War again, but it turns out I napped and woke hungry. So now, I’m going to find him and make a dinner plan.

This late spring pollen won’t be around forever, and soon I’ll get those herbs planted and be ready to porch life my ass off!
I can hardly wait!

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when porch life is work

Saturday was one of those rare gorgeous summer days. Sunny and breezy temperatures in the 80’s no humidity to speak of. Of course I took advantage of the beautiful weather by spending the day on the porch but not in the way you might think.
There was no lounging about. No day drinking. No journaling.
It was work work work!
Wanna see?

This reclaimed red oak needed a little love in the form of stain before it becomes our outdoor dining table.

Fence posts are the perfect choice for this bar height table’s legs. A coat of Sikkens is about to protect them even though they’re pressure treated.

Remember I said it was breezy? The plastic blew right over that last post…once I put down the camera, I was able to sort it and got quickly to work.

These “flaws” are what drew me to this piece of wood in the first place. I believe it makes them even more lovely.


Once I got everything finished and lined up to dry, I took a much needed break.


With a little “House Wine of the South” and my special birthday birthday Queen straws from Sundance.
But wait!
There’s something even more exciting!!
I realized that I could “have my cake and eat it too”!
I wanted to be outside in the breezy weather. But I also wanted to be in front of the TV watching the Nats game.
Oh my goodness!

To my surprise and delight, I realized I could sorta-kinda see the game and have porch life at the same time!

The table top wood was still drying Sunday afternoon, so we moved it into the house and set a fan on it. Everything else was already dry so it went back into the garage. It’s raining today, and supposedly tomorrow also, so there will be no actual construction for a few days.
I’ll keep y’all posted on the progress…right after I go shopping for chairs, and perhaps a sail cloth for shade over that part of the porch. Might need some pillows too…guess we’ll just have to see.

Categories: around the house | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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