Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Foyer crown molding

It's really pretty. You'd never know how much cussing was involved to get the angles and fussy-cutting done right, would you?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Pretty Penny

Our little dog, the Pretty-Pretty-Princess of the household scared us to death yesterday. I was folding laundry and she was hanging out with me, wanting to be near. She'd had a pretty gross bout of the poops a couple of days before, but seemed to be recovering. Well, yesterday she leaned over the edge of her Pretty-Pretty-Pet-Pouf and threw up bile. Not terribly unusual for a dog that has difficulty with limits. In the summer she will run and run until she pulls something, then come inside, gorge on water and throw up. Or she'll eat a bunch of fresh grass, or snow, or leaves, or who knows what, and throw up. Or she'll bolt her food, choke on the chunks of kibble, and then throw up. She's worse than a frat boy on a Saturday night as far as the puking goes.
Anyhow, I went downstairs to ask the hubby to clean it up, especially since I had to clean up after her earlier in the week. She'd been fine all day, ate and drank with gusto, and spent the afternoon snuggled in her Pretty-Pretty-Pet-Pouf after she finagled it to cover the floor vent in the bedroom. This dog loves her luxury. But by the time he made it upstairs, she had thrown up again, but this time it was blood. A lot of it.

Needless to say I had her packed up in the car and was on the way to the vet within five minutes.

They examined her, found blood in her stool as well, and immediately had her stay overnight for observation and the works, putting her on fluids and strong antibiotics while they waited for the blood work to confirm their suspicions. They think she has canine hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, which is treatable as long as you catch it early enough and treat it. She got to come home this evening, after being hooked up to ivs all night and through the day. She's on some heavy doses of antibiotics, but all looks well. Needless to say she is very relieved to be home. She walked in the door, immediately checked her food dishes for a treat she thought she well-deserved, checked in on all her toys, and flumped down in the living room. Oh, and swears she'll never throw up in the house again if this is how it ends: at the stinkin' vet.

Friday, December 14, 2007


I just realized a blogger I've been reading lately has written a letter to her daughter every month since she's been born. Dooce was recently published in Real Simple Magazine as part of a segment of parents writing letters to their children for them to read at important milestones in their lives. It was called "Read This When." I read that too, and loved it, but just realized today that the magazine letter was just one tiny piece of the picture.

She's in month 46. 46 letters documenting in fierce and witty detail the ins and outs of growth and change. On both sides: the child and the parent.


I have to admit something at this point.

I have been writing short letters to the new baby every week or so. They're not for sharing with the public, but a way for me to cope and to connect with this new little one. And to heal. And to tell this little one I'm here and present, not always lost in this grief I feel when my thoughts turn to Burke and the horrible day we said goodbye to him.

I'm saying hello instead.

Shearing progress

Here's a progress picture of the beard about four weeks in. Who knows, by spring he could look like Phil!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Foyer and railings

B finished the railings for the basement stairway about twenty minutes ago. Take a look:

He designed them to be removable when we buy that large 72" TV so it can be easily negotiated down the stairs. And the in-keg-erator.

And here's the foyer with the drywall and paint completed. All that's left in this area is to replace the light fixture, redo the floors, and get new carpet installed on the stairs. There's a little view of the stairway to the basement with the brand new railings as well.

This is the stuff B loves, the stuff that keeps him going until 8:10pm after getting up at 4am and putting in a full day of work. He is genius with the awesome woodworking details. Well, he's just plain genius at most everything he does. Need proof? Come on over and check out the house now that projects are slowly coming to a close. A man with some serious skills lives here.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Recent projects

This week I thought I was actually getting morning sickness for the first time. I only had a little nausea when I was carrying Burke, and have been a little less light-headed this round, but a little more queasy. No luck. It ended up being a stomach virus or the flu. I forgot that when you throw up a lot the vessels around your eyes pop and it looks like you have red freckles. Ugg.

Luckily it was quick to pass, but I was still down for three days.

I thought I'd post quickly on the craft front, and share more about the house tomorrow... I still have to take photos and stuff of the new porch roof, finished drywall, cabinetry that's been started in the kitchen, new side door, and finished tile work in the kitchen.

Anyhow, here's a quick in-progress shot of another little toy, this one for little L's first birthday. Her name is Lucille. It's the bunny pattern, but with modifications for Kitty ears.
And here's Lucille, all complete. I decided to put the heart tag on the ribbon instead of sewing it on. I know that I sew them on super-securely, but I just worry too much about them getting chewed off. This way the ribbon scarf can just be removed if it becomes too "interesting." Here's hoping L loves her little kitty.
I've also decided that I'll be making one item a month for the new little one. So, here is a shot of September's item: a Sno-Cap hat knitted out of super-soft Moda Dea Dream yarn. I modeled it after my gnome hat pattern and am now convinced I need to make matching booties.

And here is the October baby item: my first knitted diaper soaker. Technically I just finished it, but I'm still counting it as October. I used the simplest pattern I could find, and I'm feeling pretty darn good about it! The only part that threw me was "weaving" the stitches together at the crotch. It took me several tries and a bit of cussing. I'm pretty sure I twisted several of the stitches when I was redoing it for the umpteenth time. I used more Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride yarn ( I love this stuff). It's 85% wool, 15% mohair. I know it will probably felt quite a bit when I wash it with the rest of the cloth diapers, but I'm okay with that. This yarn looks and feels AWESOME felted. I'll probably make another one with patterns and experiment with machine washable wool. Maybe I'll make one in linen for the summer.
The knitting fever has stuck full force. If anyone is in need of gnome hats, let me know. I've been making extras in between all these projects and am thinking about trying to cobble together an etsy shop to sell them for more yarn and supplies for the Touching Little Lives group or maybe to begin working on a charity in Burke's name.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Our family is amazing. Through all the turmoil this year, you have quietly stood by and supported us when we couldn't support ourselves. And by family I mean the family we were born into as well as those of you who we are lucky enough to call our friends. You have called us and talked us through the darkest moments, loved us through the toughest hours, and fed us when we could barely eat. You love us unconditionally.

For this I can't help but be eternally thankful and filled with peace.

This poem is for you:

There's no vocabulary
for love within a family,
love that's lived in but not looked at,
love within the light of which
all else is seen,
the love within which
all other love finds speech.
This love is silent.


And here we are on this holiday eve, quietly announcing we have something else to be grateful for... we are expecting again. A little brother or sister for Burke will be joining our family in June.

Love to all of you,
B and G

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Weekend drywall

Well, other than a few other small and insignificant areas, I think we can safely say our drywall-hanging days are finally through.

Here's the beautiful kitchen ceiling, sanded and primed.
And here is the foyer wall, leveled out, arched, lit with a couple new can lights and ready to sand next week. After Thanksgiving dinner, at least. And the ceiling has been redone, and is ready for further coats of mud. Not bad for the weekend! B's been nursing a sore back all day today.
We also got the last of the backsplash tile in the kitchen finished off and made one big change in our flooring plans. Since we're going to end up having to redo all the floors, we're just going to tile the mudroom. The rest of the main living space will be wood flooring for continuity. Wood floors are a much better choice for us. We spend a heck of a lot of time cooking and are not the most graceful of our species. Wood will offer a little more cushion for our feet and our poor dishes and cups.

Well, off to work on cleaning up this place. We have to make it presentable for the family coming down for the holidays. No simple task with all the dust and debris.

Biting the bullet.

So, our washer has been on it's own personal death march for the past eight months. In April, right before Burke was born, it decided it no longer wanted to use any setting but delicate and permanent press. Great. Then it decided to quit spinning. Super. Then it decided to trade: it would spin laundry, but badly, and go back to ONLY operating under the permanent press cycle, requiring you to re-spin each friggin' load once or twice if you expected the dryer to get your clothes past damp in less than 80 minutes.

Well, after struggling under this perpetual MOUNTAIN of undone laundry (oh, I think I've forgotten to mention you can only use the LARGE setting, but can only fill the tub up half way with clothes) I am throwing in the towel. I can't take it any longer. And Brian is tired of being out of clean shorts.

I've been lurking on Craig's List and E-Bay for three months, loitering on Consumer Reports to review their recommends, reading reviews on Best Buy, the Home Despot and Lowe's; you know, all the things that you do when you know you need something terribly expensive, but dammit you NEED it. You just can't help but wince at the price tag. Researching has led to some interesting discoveries: did you know that federal regulations on energy efficiency have caused pretty much all top-loading washers made after January 2007 to be terribly green but horribly inefficient? They have to restrict water flow and heat to such extremes to meet these guidelines that they can't effectively do what they used to. Even cheaper front loaders have been having problems (bad door seals, mold, etc). Ah, the things you learn.

While at Lowe's today, we noticed a Samsung front load washer for half price in the scratch and dent section. That's a much more affordable $650 buckaroos. It fulfills all our requirements: front loading for the energy and water efficiency, dials and settings that work, a good review on CR, only a handful of negative reviews at various sites, and a much less painful price.

So, hopefully by tomorrow we'll have a new washer. And a bigger credit card debt. It's the dance of Pain and Pleasure once more.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Kitchen tile

And here's a peek at the kitchen tile.
I'm loving it against the blue. The bright white really compliments the pure blue we painted on the walls.

Photos from the last couple of weekends

The last of the kitchen cabinet demo... and proof that if you visit we put you to work. Thanks, A!

And the kitchen ceiling , now with a skim coat of mud on it.
And sanded and ready for priming.

Fall shearing: week 1

Shhh. Prison Break is on. It demands full concentration and no distractions, especially a pesky flash.

And here's the winter beard growing in. Goatee was trimmed down last weekend and the last shave about ten days ago.

Weekend Progress

Well, here we are, another weekend down. The kitchen ceiling is re-drywalled, the foyer wall by the stairs has a new curved edge, and the subway tile backsplash around the kitchen counters is going up. Here's a pic of the insides of the half-wall in the foyer.
And here it is reformed and partially skinned in dryall.

But, more importantly than all these internal things is the external. We are officially junk-free in the backyard! Pop came down for the afternoon from Dayton and brought a box of 32 garbage bags and his pickup. We filled up the bags with the construction detritus and loaded down his truck. With 32 big black garbage bags of crap. Unreal. I'm always surprised how much and how quickly this stuff accumulates. Trash is like mold: once you get a little bit of it, it breeds and takes over. Soon everywhere you turn is covered.

Well, thank goodness that's over. Nothing would be more depressing than staring out the back window this winter with a cup of hot tea warming my hands and seeing piles of snow-covered plaster.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Fall shearing

B has sadly announced his intentions of trimming up his goatee. It's the end of summer, and it's time to transition into the full beard.

As a card-carrying member of the Lady-Fans of Bearded Men, I'm sad to see the goatee go, but am looking forward to the beard when it grows in. Which, given B's genetics, will take all of a couple of days/weeks.

Here's right before the spring/summer shearing:

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Well, the final toll:

11 Princesses
9 Spidermen
9 Fairies/Imps/Sprites (with wings)
8 Witches, or variations based on a loose definition of "witch"
7 Ninjas
6 Deaths, or variations on the theme
5 Football players (2 of them little ladies)
4 Pumpkins
4 Ghosts
4 Vampires
3 Wizards
3 Hookers (No lie. Teens.)
3 Cheerleaders
2 Batmen
2 Ladybugs
2 Skater Punks
2 Knights with armor
1 Sith warrior
1 Supergirl
1 Beyonce
1 Ron, Anchorman
1 Borat
Several assorted and non-memorable Disney characters
And only One Harry Potter.

No clowns, thank god. And no zombies. I have to say I'm a little disappointed in that. And only a couple lame-non-dressed up, way-too-old-for-it teenagers/twentysomethings. They only got one tootsie roll. Or crusty Bit-O-Honey.


Sunday, October 28, 2007


Since it rained on and off all day Friday and Saturday, we worked on the kitchen this weekend. Not much good working outside on the siding and painting. The drywall on the walls and the drop ceiling above the big island is now sanded, primed and painted. I LOVE IT. B got the new pendant lights hung today while I was at work. What a guy.

SO...Here's the view from the kitchen out into the dining room. The walls and coving in here are a nice pale blue color. B wants to put the flat screen tv we're buying when we win the lottery on a swing arm on that blue wall. That way he can watch Prison Break while cooking me lavish four course dinners in a cute apron. He's multi-talented like that. I'm not kidding. You all know about his divine cheesecakes, right? Unbelievably good. Especially the tiramisu cheesecake. Mmm... Oh, and me? I'll be in my own little pit-o-yarn knitting hats and Rabbits and Bears (oh-my). And watching CSI reruns on Spike.
I just realized while looking at these pictures that the shape of the glass shade of the pendant lights match the el-cheapo Home Despot dining room fixture. Hmmm. That's going to have to change anyways.

Here's what we got from the dining room looking into the kitchen:The coved ceiling will have crown molding going all the way across the top and continue around the dining room. That's why we didn't bother painting all the way up. It's really going to finish off the room.

Here's a better look at the upper part. I still keep staring up at the lights. So shiny. They match the stove perfectly. Sorry I didn't take any good pictures of it yet. You can kind of see it in the background by the window. Just a smidge of it, though. It's the perfect stove for making decadent cheesecakes. Mmm... cheesecake.

Up next: the subway tile back splash for the counters. We'll post more soon. Love to all!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Norman and Harold

Harold is the orange bunny I made last week from Jess Hutch's pattern, and here's Norman, complete with legs and arms! Burke had Honey the Bunny, so I guess Harold's like a little survivor bunny for me with his purple heart.

Next are more friends for Harry and Norm. Maybe even a Bobby Bear. I'll keep you all posted.


Okay, so I already told you fine folks about eminent deaths of sanders around here. What is the cause of this death you ask? It's death by dust. Concrete dust. It's like baby powder, and since the counters are dyed black, it's like black baby powder. Notice the layers of it on the poor shopvac, let alone on the floors. I have less sympathy for the floor tiles since I know they will soon be replaced with something infinitely more pleasing (and a whole less dusty).There is so much dust, even B is covered, except for the rubber glove marks, as noted by the example below. Another tip for concrete sanding: wear gloves. If you think drywall dust can dry your skin, you haven't seen anything until you've sanded concrete counters for hours on end.And here's the results of all that sanding and all that hideous dust. Beautiful, level, shiny, sealed concrete counters. By the way, when you are trying to get on top of the dust control, also plan on sacrificing a mop. The water turns the dust into sludge, which you then have to scrape up with a putty knife. And then remop about thirty times. Then you'll have to mop again once you sneeze black soot all over your semi-clean floor. Not so great.
Luckily we are officially DONE with concrete sanding dust. Finished. Finito. Vertig. Fini. After we finish the rest of the drywall in the kitchen and foyer, our house will officially be dust free. Then I will only have to contend with NORMAL PEOPLE dust, like dog hair pills that collect under the couch, and the kind of grime a little spritz of pledge and a swish of a cotton cloth can tame. Ah, it's the simple fantasy that keeps me going.

Next will be installing the backsplash. I'm going to use white subway tile again. I think it'll work well with the age of the house. It's classic material used in a modern context.

I'll post better pics soon... with a good view of our beautiful new (old) stove in place...

Meet Norm

My friend's son (N) turned one last week. So, meet Norman, a buddy for little N. I modified the Jess Hutch pattern in the ears (Burke's bunny pattern I used) and presto! A little bear-like friend! All I have left to do is stuff and assemble, and then pack him up for the little guy. I used the heart tag that I traditionally sew onto the gnome hats instead of just sewing the heart directly onto the knitting. I think it'll be more secure that way.Plus it's a good way of sharing the love.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yarn and yearning

Fall is here. The leaves in the park are changing and the sky was overcast today, and the temperature is dropping this evening. This barometric change coupled with the call that my beloved yarn has finally arrived at my favorite yarn store has unchained the Beast of Knit. In the past few days I've finished a scarf, knitted two hats, finished one bunny and started on another toy.
I picked up my yarn a couple of days ago, and want to make bright orange and green and yellow ocher bunnies. I'm fixated. I want to knit them with button eyes and button hearts, like this one I made while Burke was still safe and sound in his little water world. Every child should begin life with a bunny. Sigh.

I think it's time to send out another box of hats to the NICU. I keep running across more and more hats I've stashed here and there as I dig through the crates of yarn. They're beginning to pile up again. This time I'm wanting to include some bunnies. Maybe some kittens, too. I guess this is how it's going to be as we're entering a new season without our son. B fixated on the progress of the house (he's currently applying yet another coat to the counters to make them PERFECT), while I'm becoming fixated with the handcrafts; I've been thinking about this method of processing my grief. It's as if the act of creating items of comfort for another person's struggling child will somehow return a bit of comfort to me. Well, no... I think it's simpler than that. I think it's just the sheer act of giving that brings a dullness to the constant ache in my heart. Just enough to give me a small reprieve.

Well, time for a cup of tea, and back to my needles. I have a pair of arms to knit up. And maybe a nice set of long ears.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust...

Well, a disadvantage to finishing concrete counters is that you kill orbital palm sanders. We are currently on number three. If you're looking for a recommendation, we'd tell you to buy a Rigid R2600 5" orbital palm sander, available at the Home Despot for about $70. Powerful, consistent, and best of all, the exhaust fits onto a standard shop-vac hose. Less mess is always better! We used the last one until it began whining and smoking this weekend. It still wants to keep working. Poor little thing. The one issue with the Rigid palm sander is finding replacement hook and loop pads for the machine. The Despot does not sell them. You cannot buy them from Rigid. Sigh.

Rigid tools come with a lifetime warranty, so I'm assuming they want you to send it in to get the parts replaced. It probably takes several weeks (down time in this project we do not have). However, I also assume sanding concrete voids the warranty. Anyways, the one for Ryobi fits well enough to use for its short life.

We are spending the weekend trying to get the counters done and sealed. B and I started sanding after work this week.
We've put on about four skim coats. The skim coats are a mix of portland cement, concrete dye, and "milk," a concrete fortifier.
B mixes it until it is the consistency of frosting, then uses a float to apply it into the low spots.

B is currently hand sanding the last skim coat this morning so we can seal the counters. At 6:14 in the morning. In his robe. Yes, we are ready to be done with this project.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


The front is DONE DONE DONE!!! Now on to the twenty five other things that need to be completed. At least the front gutters don't look as bad as they are in this photo.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Photo updates

Well, not much time to write today; B was stung by a bee while bringing the trashcans back from the curb. For those that don't know, B is pretty darn allergic. Not quite EpiPen allergic (unless it's anywhere near his face or upper chest) but enough to cause his index finger to completely swell into a Michelin Man pointer for the next couple of days. Poor guy. So, I've just fed him some benadryl and have about 22 minutes, 16 seconds to get him to bed before the coma takes effect. Here's a few photos from the weekend...Mary, patron saint of rotten trim... may the lavendar and mint sweeten your day.

The second side in progress... two coats of primer and starting the yellow.

The second side at the end of the day, with two coats of yellow.

I thought I had taken some shots of the front of the house (we finished it last night) but then I remembered it was dark when we came in and I couldn't. I'll get to those in the next day or two. Progress in the kitchen continues with more sanding of the counters and drywall. Oh, and thanks to A, who helped with picking the new color for the kitchen during her weekend stay!
Yikes, B is drooping... time to post and run...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Depressing Chili news.

Well, we've tried to keep the chili cook off running every October, but this year's chili cook off has been delayed. We REALLY don't want to say canceled. So, delayed is the word of the day.

We've been spending every evening after work and the past three whole weekends painting the exterior of the house, and we just can't get caught up. We don't even have the stove hooked up yet (waiting to finish the counters until the painting is done since painting weather will probably not hold out) so even if we DID manage to get the yard cleaned up enough, get the fliers and t-shirts made, get the bathrooms stocked and the house clean enough to not give folks the willies when they look into the corners, shop for favors, make the trophies and prizes, buy the kegs, get stuff set up, B would still have to cook his chili off-site. And you all know how much he loves to leave the house.


Yes, we're just as depressed as the rest of you. We're just too tired every night to focus, let alone do things like look at calendars and realize it's October already.

The good news is the front of the house is now done as well. YAY!

So, all that's left is to take down the scaffold on the front of the house, hang the cup hooks for the Christmas lights, replace the front gutters, scrape and repaint the trim on the back side of the house, finish the last of the cedar shingles on the back of the house, seal the new cedar shake on the back of the house, (that we're NOT painting), shingle the porch roof, replace the BACK gutters, buy primed trim, paint and hang it, power wash the brick, fence and deck, stain the fence and deck, replace the window trim on the east-facing side, clear out the back yard of the last of the debris, and then move back to working on the kitchen. Oy-veh...

Updates soon, we promise.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A little peek

Here's the happenings from this past weekend, along with a little peep of the future color of the house...

We got the sprayer up and running this weekend (YAY!) and spent the crisp fall Saturday and Sunday laying on two good coats of primer on all the surfaces on the west-facing side of the house. It took us a while to work the learning curve when it comes to operating the sprayer (warning--understatement.).

B got started Saturday morning by giving the kitchen another coat of mud. At about 5:30am. I managed to roll out of bed about 7-7:30, and blearily helped. After we got done, B pulled out the sprayer and began fiddling with it. Come to find out, the intake hose was allowing air into the line and not letting the machine build up pressure. Easily fixed with a trip to the Despot and a few bucks of plumbing supplies and some garden hose. It was about 1pm when B climbed up on the pump jack rig, sprayer in hand, and excitedly got started. After about five minutes up there he realized it was spewing out great globs. All over the deck. And porch. And hot tub. And yard. We had the brick part of the house papered/taped off and a little of the deck close to the house, but nowhere close to enough. It took us a couple of hours to scrub everything down and try to get as much as we could up. Sigh. Ah, well. We'll hopefully be borrowing a pressure washer and getting the poor deck cleaned up sometime soon, anyways.

We fiddled around with it more, and saw the nozzle was backwards. Once we got it turned around, things went a lot smoother.

At one point on Sunday, one of the pump jacks quit going down. It would go up, but wouldn't let him crank it down. B wrestled with it for about an hour trying to get it to go down again, but it took two of our neighbors and B climbing around on the rig like spider monkeys to figure out the mechanics of the boot. Finally: success! We finally got the last of the two coats of primer on the West side of the house done about 3pm on Sunday. We excitedly brought out the yellow paint bought last fall, but when I opened up the five gallon bucket, it was orange. Eeeeeep! I stared at it a while, plucked up the courage, and began mixing it up with a stir stick... It mellowed out to a lovely mango lassi color... a great golden orange, but not what I remembered from last year.

How did I choose that color, you ask? Here's the explanation. I bought a quart of yellow paint last fall, in anticipation for painting. I spent two days testing and taking this one quart of paint back to the Despot for "color adjustments." By the time I was happy with the color, there was a stack of stickers on the container, and the technician took one look at it, and told me it would be a lot easier to just color match the paint than to try to decipher all the numbers. Well, I went ahead and got the five gallons of color matched paint and didn't really think about it until I opened up the top of the bucket and saw the orange hue. Sigh.

Phew. We've definitely learned a lot. We've gone through about half of the five gallons of primer getting two good coats on the one side of the house. We've realized about 3/4 of the time "painting" is actually consumed by taping off areas, adjusting ladders, climbing up and down, and wrestling with pump jacks. There's very little "painting" involved in this process.

And here's a sneak peek... with a proper yellow tone bought Monday evening and the robin's egg blue soffits, a tribute to my family's homestead on the South Solomon River in Kansas. The porch ceilings at the ranch house are all painted robin's egg blue to ward off flies and mosquitoes. Even the trim is this color. I've also read it keeps birds from nesting in the eaves.

The next side will end up going loads quicker. Stay tuned, dearest ones. We'll give you some more of the goods as soon as we can.

Hugs all 'round...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Garrison is great.

Some days when the Writer's Almanac comes on while I'm driving home, I have to pull over. Garrison Keillor is a force to be awed.

All poetry I read, I have to imagine as spoken in his weighty baritone voice, the gentle inflection, the innate knowing only an English major can understand. Here's a winner I humbly offer; if you can, imagine it coming out of your car speakers in this crisp fall day, the changing leaves skittering across the road...


Grief is the total feeling of disorientation.

Grief is lying on the floor,


when it has never happened to you

in your life before.

Grief is awakening at 5:00 in the morning

with that old newsreel of your child's death running around in your head.

Grief is sitting in a group among friends and feeling

"I cannot tolerate this another minute. I have to get out."

Grief is going to shop, looking at a jar of peanut butter and bursting into tears.

Grief is a total inability to relate to the members of your family

in the way that you would like to.

Grief is many powerful emotions,

totally unknown to you and unexpected

until the death of your child.


Grief is a cleansing of the non-essential of one's life.

Grief can be an opening to something richer and better.

Grief is like a summer storm

-that horrible crashing and thunder,

clearing the air,

and then one can begin to move forward-

but you have to allow yourself,

and Society has to allow you,

to express your grief.

- Margaret Darte

Monday, September 10, 2007

So I was just standing around upstairs with a cold frosty beverage, looking around at all of the changes. There are walls missing. The stove I hated is gone. No more almond porcelain sink or gnarly rust colored tile counters. It's all gone.

We're at that stage in the project now that I can't quite remember what things looked like before we started, and to be honest it's a little freaky. Everything is new, nothing is the way it was! There's better lighting and new switches, open areas with lots of space... and we created it ourselves (with help from the bigkrygowskis), which is most satisfying.

Cheers, folks...

Things are coming into focus

So it's Monday morning... time for a quick update. The kitchen is really beginning to come together. It's feeling pretty good to spend time putting things in place rather than tearing things apart.

Here's a view of the completed drywall, including a nice first coat of mud:
Here's a close up of the drop ceiling above the island with the cove detailing. B got the lights replaced this weekend, too. No more cake-box fluorescents that hum incessantly!
Here's a better view from the kitchen side of the drop ceiling.
And here's the completed arch from the kitchen looking at the front door. It matches the one from the living room to the dining room.
...and from the front door looking into the kitchen.
Will catch up more later: for now it's time to head into work.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Too hot to paint.

So, since this weekend is too hot to reasonably paint the exterior of the house (and the sprayer isn't really fixed yet), Pop and B designed a drop ceiling above the island.
Notice the lovely ceiling fan "adjustment" courtesy of B. The soffit is coved here on the two sides in the kitchen.
And then here in the dining room Pop thought of running the cove all the way across the front of the counter and across the room to hide all the different ceiling heights... yes, folks. Someone thought it would be a good idea to needlessly drop the ceiling a good six inches. It's not really noticeable since the ceilings in our home are terribly high anyways, but still... This shot is taken from the living room looking into the dining room for those friends and family that are having a harder time getting your bearings. I tell you, it is so hard to describe where everything is. You really have to see it to understand how different it is.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Oh, Burke. I am really missing you tonight.

I got a lovely new issue of one of my favorite Mama Magazine subscriptions in the mail. A wonderful gift from B much earlier this year. I usually find the beautiful pics of mamas and their babies so affirming, the articles so gentle and soothing. They leave me with such a wonderful sense that this world is not a horrible place, that there is still some good and normalcy out there. I can escape from my own personal horrors and longing and live vicariously through other people's happy times for a while... well today I am reduced to tears. My empty arms ache.

My little prince.

From another mom:
"If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chili Cookoff!!!

Okey doke, folks... I began talking at the Dinner tonight about the Chili Cookoff. Yep, the time is coming up, fast and furious... it will be the SECOND Saturday of October this year (A wedding on the first Saturday the 6th, ladies and gents. And we know so many of you are already attending!) which makes it (fumble with calendar)... SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13TH!!! Save that date, folks. And rest up. This is a two party weekend month. We will probably be making T-shirts again, but I'm not going to guarantee that. With the amount of work to do around here, there's a chance we will forgo them.

The good news from tonight: B took the opportunity of a spouse-free evening to install the new dishwasher! Yay! It's so beautiful; check it out:
Okay, I guess it's hard to see behind the tags and stuff, but it's stainless like the fridge with no exposed buttons. Really sweet. Stainless interior with nylon coated baskets that don't chip like plastic coated ones. And it was a STEAL!!! Over 30% off!!!!!
Here's the view from the basement stairs looking into the kitchen. Notice the exposed sink plumbing B completed this weekend. And next is the shot of the new sink and faucet B installed to go with the new plumbing! What a guy! So, we once again have water running on the main floor.
Sorry about the mess around it. At least it's in... It's a granite composite sink, dark gray/black to match the counters.

So, this weekend is another marathon of work. I'm pretty sure the plan is to start painting the exterior of the house. And there's a big sale at work (20% off everything, folks, for those that know where I work) and I am making my first attempt to work a Saturday since Burke's birth. Anyhow, there you have it. The budget on all this work is beginning to weigh a little heavy on me, since I'm the designated bill-payer. Oh, well. We'll catch up soon enough with it. It's not like we have bar tabs to pay or fancy therapists to spend it on. This has become our therapy. In my humble opinion all of this work we're doing together has really brought us close. Even with our family. There's nothing better than sharing this with them, knowing they were a part of it all. We will have those memories with us whenever we look at the surroundings we've created.

More to come at a not-so-later date.