I do not write a political blog, but as this year ends I just want to share a bit of the heaviness, yet the hope, of my heart.
As this first decade of the millennium 2000 ends, I hope and pray that the next decade we face is filled with peace and love. So many of our Jewish, Muslim, Black, Disabled and LGBTQIA friends have had to face a reality of not feeling or being safe… that shouldn’t be, in this country, or anywhere on this planet. Yet it is a reality too many people, through no fault of their own, except for a quirk of birth, face.
Each day we walk on this Earth, we are given the opportunity to love our neighbor… or… at the very least, accept each other’s differences without rancor or violence. What happened to that old saying… Can’t we just get along?
So as 2019 closes, Scott and I wish you all Peace and Love… Happy New Year!
Latest update on the framing of our curio… knickknack… doodad… tchotchke… or whatever you prefer to call our wall cabinet (all suggestions for creative names welcome).
Scott went back to the drawing board to design our door framing. He measured, designed, sketched out, and modified the Celtic pattern to conform to each board. He drew the pattern into the heading, the corner pieces, and the two side pieces. The the carving knives came out.
He started with the heading…
Then, he moved on to our unique corners…
Oh, those side supports… long, challenging, beautifully challenging…
Now we are waiting for our fabulous Steve and Larry from Modern Electric to install the back lighting. Then, Scott will install the shelves. So… once the lighting is installed we will post Scott’s completed wall cabinet…
I discovered closed captioning, when we had Joshie. He and I read for hours at a time. But when he was a baby, I saw a study that said, “If a child who has trouble reading watches television with closed captioning, their ability to read improves.”
Now all his doctors had told me that Josh would never be able to read or complete math problems. They were mistaken.
How he learned math was through a marvelous computer game called Number Munchers. It allowed him to try over and over with only positive feedback.
And, I am happy to report that Josh managed to read at about a fifth grade level and comprehend most of what he read. He could complete addition, subtraction, and multiplication problems faster than I could type the problem into the computer. Division was more challenging. He managed simple division, but the more complex problems just didn’t compute in his head. I find it sad that we no longer have these simple fun games available for children who struggle to grasp simple mathematic concepts. They open avenues of adventure and daily living skills.
Now what prompted my meanderings into accessibility issues is that so many shows on television have very dark scenes. If my “seeing eye hubby” doesn’t stay on high alert as to my needs, I either must interrupt the flow of the story or guess what happened. I had heard about audio description, but had never really researched it. (Remember, while we still lived in Hawai’i I thought I could see, plus I spent most of my time making sure that nothing was frightening Josh… not really watching any show, but Josh’s reactions to shows.)
Now that I can watch shows with no distractions (still miss watching with one eye on our Josh) we decided to try Audio Description. First, we found it challenging to even find the setting. Then, not all shows have it available. So far we have only found it on some Netflix shows. But, I must share with you that audio description makes all the difference in the world to my degree of enjoyment. And, it is not at all intrusive to the flow of the show. Now… my hope is… that Audio Description becomes available for all shows and movies…
Those who have followed our blog know the beautiful work Scott accomplished constructing the cornices and molding in our bedroom. What you may not know, is he is not just a whittler, but an accomplished woodcarver.
In hopes I may have the privilege of someday seeing his craft in action, I surprised him with carving tools.
When it came to the finishing touches for the curio insert area by the fireplace in our bedroom, I dreamed of a frame with a Celtic pattern. After all, when in bed, either sleeping or watching television, the curio area is right beside our television… a perfect area for a unique touch.
With a slight degree of trepidation (after all Scott’s list of challenges to be completed is miles long.) I asked Scott, “Do you think it might be possible to carve a Celtic pattern into the wood framing for our curio section?”
He looked at me… eyes huge… “What?”
Background information: About two years ago Ancestry.com, notified me that I’m 50% Irish (Sine then, they updated my heritage and my Irish portion shrunk significantly and I became mostly English. In actuality, I am just a mutt.) Regardless, I wanted to embrace the Irish part of my heritage. The Irish have such lovely Celtic designs.
Scott, ever my adorable husband… with only momentary hesitation… undertook extensive research… found several Celtic patterns… and asked me which one “I” would like for the doorframe. He gave me my choice. He is doing the work, but I had the choice. (What a guy!)
For the frame, I wanted a rather simple pattern, so we settled on a Celtic weave. Scott went to work. First, he measured. Then, he made a pattern on paper… adjusted proportions, drew the pattern on the wood, and the magic began…
Since it’s been a while since we had any snowfall of significance, we haven’t needed sidewalks or our driveway cleared. We have an amazing group of snow removal fairies thanks to Jeremiah… Snow starts in the middle of the night? Our snow fairies arrive before morning. History has proved that snow removal fairies arrive quickly and efficiently when the weather becomes inclement…
Driveway… Wow! We need our driveway cleared! Our snow fairies did not know we had a functional garage so the first snow storm blocked Baby Girl inside her shelter. Quickly, they returned and Baby Girl was no longer trapped. It is marvelous having a garage… and… cleared driveway…
Plus, we have our daunting kitchen roof… it is flat and the snow had no where to go. Our snow removal fairies do not climb up to our roof. We all know that snow is heavy and has been known to cause roofs to collapse. We don’t want our kitchen to be open air… just nice and cozy…
So… though the snow continued, it was rather deep and Scott cleared our kitchen roof…
And, though we know icicles damage roofs and are dangerous if they fall at the wrong moment… they are such a symbol of this magical season…
Invariably, when I see snow and icicles, giggles of glee burst forth… This time of year, strains of Winter Wonderland are hummed and sung in between the giggles… a very happy snowy cottage…
This is our third winter in Gloversville. Each winter, our Baby Girl has had to sit outside dreading a covering of snow and ice.
As fall approached, we still did not have a functional garage. Was Baby Girl destined to go through another winter without shelter? Was Scott destined to scrape more snow and ice off the car?
Not if I had anything to do with it. I decided we needed someone who could do the necessary construction… NOW!
Who do I call when I need something fixed when I don’t know an alternate solution? Not Ghostbusters, but John Herrlett, my kitchen whisperer!
He knows! Or, he knows who I should ask… I asked… Instantly… he responded, “Butch Woolsey!”
Chagrined, I thought… why didn’t I think of Butch? After all, he helped us with two of our most challenging construction issues. Now the hope was, that when we called, he would have time to fix our garage before snow arrived.
I called Butch and told him I just did not want Scott to have to deal with another winter of scraping snow and ice off the car each day. He said, “Let me look at the job and check my schedule.”
Two days later he went over the garage needs with Scott and said, “ I think it’s doable. I think we can complete this before the weather gets too bad.”
Now, not only did our garage need to be raised in one area, but the old wooden floor needed to be torn out and replaced with concrete. Plus, the cracked, heaved, super steep driveway needed to be torn out so it could be lowered. Otherwise, to drive into the garage there would be a one foot drop.
Butch told us he could complete the garage, but the driveway would need to remain gravel until spring. Though we had no snow, the weather was too cold for concrete, poured outside, to set properly.
The garage was braced… floor torn out… roots that had invaded the garage dug out… and the sloping corner raised. Then, our garage concrete floor was poured…
Problem was, with all those adjustments, all of a sudden our garage doors were short. We either had to get a new garage doors or lower the old ones. Well Butch had a garage door specialist. He came. He took a look. And said, “Easy Peezy!”
Butch just needed to build a brace across the top of the doors that lowered the height of the doors. Jim our garage door specialist came, rehung the doors, and gave us remote door openers.
We are proud to say that our Baby Girl now has a safe (though still needs to be cleared) home for the winter…
Side-note: The first time we used the remotes they didn’t work. Though they had been programmed, for some reason they didn’t work. They neglected to give us the instruction book, so we had to call, “Help!”
Now the remotes are programmed properly and… we have the instruction book just in case…
As of this morning, we have eighteen inches and it continues to snow.
Now as to why we had a blog break…
We had a health issue that halted construction on our cottage. Scott needed some treatments that suggested he take it easy. The cottage will be here… Scott’s health was our top priority. Now he is, once again, a healthy older man… we are grateful… so very grateful…
Though our Happy dog (15 years old) has continued to deteriorate, she/he is still with us. At this point she’s channeling Joshie perfectly.
She is now a triplegic just as Josh was.
She needs to be braced exactly as we used to brace Joshie so he could sit and eat.
Yes, it is sad to see her deteriorating, but we are allowing her to go out in her way, in her time. In the meantime, we are loving her and cuddling her as much as we can. And, her appetite is excellent!
We have missed you all and hope you enjoy our continued adventures…
Well, I know it’s been a long time since we have blogged. Last night we had excitement! Our area in the city lost power and our generator came on after about 30 seconds of darkness. We were thrilled. It, actually, works!
About three hours later… our carbon monoxide smoke detectors started going off. Turns out they work too! They started chirping and announcing… Alert! Carbon Monoxide! Dangerous levels of Carbon Monoxide!
Turns out that our generator was running outside an open basement window.
It must’ve taken about three hours for enough carbon monoxide to fill the house for those fabulous detectors to go off on all four floors.
At that point it was a few minutes before midnight. We put on our bathrobes, put vests and leashes on the puppies, and headed downstairs and outdoors to our front porch. It took a little over an hour for the carbon monoxide to clear. Once cleared, the detectors stopped chirping.
So, it was a little after one in the morning when we finally returned to our comfortable bed. It was almost two before power was restored.
We are so grateful that we installed smoke and “carbon monoxide” detectors… Otherwise… you may have read a very sad story about two old people and their puppies…
We thought we had purchased a television. It was supposed to be delivered May 30th. But Wednesday night, May 22nd, we received a phone call that the 65” Samsung we thought we had purchased, had sold out. After a lengthy conversation on how we had purchased an item already sold out, I asked…
“How do you plan to make us whole?”
“Could you come into the store and we can help you select an equal value television?” the store manager asked.
The next day thunderstorms were predicted. We did not want to be on the road during heavy downpours.
“Could we come in Friday?” (Not our favorite day of the week to be on the road, but time was growing short.)
So Friday morning, with puppies in their cages to keep them safe, Scott and I set off for Saratoga Springs.
A lovely cloudy morning, allowed for a comfortable drive.
Once at the store, we were once again overwhelmed with televisions everywhere. We did not want to spend more money than we had already spent. We looked at other Samsung’s. The price for those was about thousand dollars more. Then, we looked at LG’s. They had a similar model to the one we had purchased that was actually a couple hundred dollars less.
The problem is we saw a whole wall of LG televisions. The more I looked, the more I realized, there was a tremendous difference between the pictures displayed on the different television screens.
It’s funny how, even though I can’t see very well, I am very aware of what I can see. Some of the screens looked quite blurry to me and some were crisp and sharp. Easy to see detail. I asked what was the difference. Turns out that LG came up with a significantly higher resolution and a new way that black is now truly black. I really don’t care about the technology, I care about the result. When Black is sharp and crisp everything else looks brighter and sharper.
Excited? Yes! Until we learned this television would cost quite a bit more. Choices… the difference between the blurry televisions and the sharp crisp one was not minor, but significant. Scott and I looked at each other. When we do watch television, we really enjoy actually watching it. He knew that with the crisp TV, I might actually be able to see what was happening.
Again, my always loving husband, said we should get the crisper TV. Of course it’s more complicated to install. It meant we needed to pay for installation, not just having it hung. So a couple more hundred dollars.
When we left the store, we just looked at each other, smiled, and shook our heads.
Update on our mount… they came to install our television. But the mount, though secure swings back against the wall when the television is installed on it. Not allowed…
So Scott contemplates again. A four by four block installed behind the mount eliminates the swing. We need to hang it. The block does not meet their insurance standards, but as long as we hang it… we are covered. John, our kitchen whisperer and friend, came up to help Scott lift the television onto the mount.
Yesterday our new television was hooked up. Two months from now it will be calibrated to work at optimal crispness on all channels…
PS: FYI The only reason we purchased a monster television was because of my vision. I just can’t see the smaller ones.
For months Scott has applied paint stripper to remove old paint from the fireplace in our bedroom.
How many layers were on there? I don’t know if we will ever know. But, Scott collected his tools and tackled his next challenge.
The scrolls were a particular challenge. They are snuggled close to each other and were “scrollie.” 😏
We planned to paint over the bricks that are in the insert of the fireplace because it is impossible to remove all the existing paint.
When we discovered the toxic fumes would fill our bedroom if we used heat resistant paint, we decided to not repaint them.
We opted to remove as much paint as possible and be content with old paint and brick patina.
Scott scraped and sanded and scraped each day for weeks! Now we have a beautiful natural oak wood mantel. Are there occasional bits of old paint in some nooks and crannies? Probably… it is our special patina…
Originally, we had no intention of having a television in our bedroom. But… our bedroom is soooo cozy… we know frigid chilly days, though a few months away… lie ahead. Cuddling in bed, reading, knitting, or watching television will be delightful options to just sleeping. “Options” are always a delight.
With that in mind, we decided to purchase a television. We decided it should be placed over the mantel of our fireplace (best position for viewing).
Challenge… It could not be wall mounted into the chimney. The chimney is old and drilling into it could severely damage the chimney. Plus, that old brick might not be capable of holding the television.
So we decided to purchase a ceiling mount bracket for our future 65 inch flat screen television. The bracket’s height is adjustable and it is able to tilt and swivel.
The instructions said the mount was simple to connect to all types of ceilings… well… that was not accurate for our unique situation. The center of the mantel fell between ceiling joists. Drywall and our copper ceiling would not hold up a 53 pound television. Those flimsy components might not even support the mount, let alone the television. .
But, we all know Scott’s ingenuity. He went upstairs and figured. He came downstairs and looked. He went upstairs and contemplated. He came downstairs and shook his head. Finally, he decided that the best option was to affix a board that extended over two joists and attach the mount via bolts.
After working all afternoon, he had the upper portion of the mount installed. When he slipped the lower half of the mount onto the upper half? It was too long. Our television would be blocking the fireplace not hanging over the mantel.
Out came the hacksaw. Scott sawed five inches off the top mount and five inches off the bottom mount. Of course just to saw the top mount he had to take the whole thing down.
Now you need to realize… bolts were being screwed in from the top of the mount and the bottom of the mount. So every time he had to screw top or bottom he had to be on that floor. Because it needed to be adjusted slowly he ran up and down the stairs over twenty times to make it secure. He definitely got his stair stepping in.
This time the mount hangs perfectly. He installed the cross bracket and we are waiting for our television to arrive…
This is the weather report that Scott and I received as an alert on our phone last night.
“Tomorrow, the weather in Gloversville will be significantly warmer than yesterday with a high of 66.”
Yesterday, our high was 48. We both chuckled…
One last piece for our bedroom…
I believe I mentioned that we decided to purchase a television for our bedroom. That means… we need a place for our modem and cable box. I did not want a plain bookcase or open shelves. Though the television is modern, I want the bedroom to maintain as Victorian an atmosphere as possible. I looked and looked. Everything looked so ordinary. No flair or too expensive.
Finally! Voila! I found a beautiful book stand for our bedroom. All our electronic gadgets obscured by intricate Gothic-patterned fretwork. Now the modem and cable box can provide the electronic waves we need to watch television or surf the web while being virtually undetected.
This particular book stand is an 18th-century antique replica of a Thomas Aquinas stand… one of my favorite philosophers and theologians. It is perfect for holding my favorite Bible atop its raised display stand while the three lower shelves hold the modem and cable box… plus a couple books or collectibles.
And, we learned that, as is customary for fretwork, this fretwork was hand-crafted from select hardwood. It has an inviting warm finish that compliments our other woods. We feel so blessed to have found this magnificent replica to hold our modern gadgets…
For convenience, we choose to have a waste paper basket in our bedroom. Will it be filled with waste paper? Probably not… But we wanted to have one available that was not terribly modern. The original paper wastebaskets were made of wicker or wire… And, primarily used in offices. We have chosen a simple basket made of wood. Plastic was not around during Victorian times…
Though we have the beautiful hanging Victorian lamps by our bedside, we needed a bit more light in the room. After much searching, I found this Tiffany-Style adjustable floor lamp. The tulip design is subtle yet evokes a distinctive Victorian style. We love that it is in cool tones, but with intricate Tiffany details. They say there are 180 glass pieces ( I did not count them to confirm). Then, they added 24 beads. All pieces are protected with mineral oil as part of the finishing process, The colors of the shade darken and are richer when not back lighted from the bulb. We feel we have another work of art, whether lighted or off…
Another estate sale find was this unusual, but intriguing, item we discovered in the home of a local artist. It is a mid-19th century Oriental opium hardwood table. These tables used to be used in country homes for the locals to sit around on the floor and smoke their opium.
This particular type was popular around the end of the 19th century. China manufactured these tables specifically to be shipped to western markets. Apparently, a lot of people in the Western Hemisphere were using quite a bit of opium.
Though this exquisite table was originally designed for opium users, it is now our delightful “meditation” table. Its top has an intricately carved pierced frieze… held up on elegant curved legs. Constructed from extremely dense and hard wearing oriental hardwood, they are virtually indestructible.
Okay, this is our latest incidental find for our bedroom…
As most of you know we love to go to estate sales… quite often, we find treasures. The reason is… pictures are sent out in advance of the sale. Even with that, we sometimes miss treasures because they have not been photographed to show their best side.
One estate sale we went to had tools, material, and yarn for sale. After I had selected what I wanted and Scott had selected his tools, I paid for our items. While Scott was carrying the boxes out to the car, I waited. The car was a ways away.
While waiting for him to return, I sat down in what I thought was a lovely chair, but probably would be terribly uncomfortable. What a surprise! It was extremely comfortable. When Scott came back in to pick up the other box, I asked him to sit in the other chair. They looked new. These two lovely chairs came from the home of a couple that had been married over sixty years. No children, but a long term romance. Long term love and perfect for our bedroom. Another treasure…