Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another New Start

Next month, we close on a new house, and in the same evening we settle on the condo as well. But this means we'll have about 3-4 days to move, and give the new owners rent back for those days. (I wonder what that'll come up to?)

No more living in a concrete box! We will be homeowners, with a big house and lots of trees. Lots of lovely rooms, awesome features, lots of built-ins, charming spaces, and quality finishes. A little dated, but not as bad as some I've seen, and it doesn't bother us much. So we can change things slowly because it's all in great shape and very livable.

I look forward to putting some color on the pale walls. Wedgwood blues, warm yellows. Maybe some red and Japonisme/Chinoiserie in the dining room. Furnishings in the style of Mission/Prairie, Art Deco, Frank Lloyd Wright, Arts & Crafts...

Even though we usually prefer colonials of the 30s/40s with obviously attractive front elevations, falling in love with this 1958 rambler/ranch style house took me by surprise. The lush setting simply steals the show.

After discovering all it had to offer, I never dreamed we could own a place like this. It's got everything we wanted but never thought we could have, not in this area. There's so much to work with and it is impeccably maintained.

Front View with driveway. Front door/porch to the left. Kitchen door/patio to the right. Garage on far right.
We do have neighbors on either side, but once on the property it's hard to tell.

Kitchen Door and Porch. Garage on the right, with Cupola.

Front yard

Patio leads from Walk-Out Basement Apartment into 1/2 acre of woods

Towards the Driveway and Wood Pile from the Deck

Screened Porch

Screened Porch & Family Room Window

Screened Porch

Down the Garden Path


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Bzzy Bee

I've started a new blog called The Bzzy Bee. I know, shocked aren't you, because I've neglected this one for eons!

Well, I post so often on Facebook about foods I try, restaurants I go to, and products I use, that I decided to make it official: joined some product testing panels and then found that a related blog would go hand in hand with that endeavor.

Hopefully it will mean I get to update this personal blog more often too :-)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

What's happened since...?

Wedding and Honeymoon

The wedding last September was wonderful! Short and sweet, but an experience enjoyed by all. Ceremony was at the little stone church we go to (whenever we feel like it, ahem!) Reception was at the best French restaurant in the area. It was a shockingly hot day for that time of year, but better than cold and rain.

The honeymoon in Antigua was fun, after Jeff got over the bad cold he came down with on our wedding day. The resort was peaceful, the food was great and the people friendly. One day we got out and went on a powerboat > kayaking > hiking > snorkeling adventure.

Goodbye to the first love of my life

I spent a number of weeks in London over November/December with my mother and her condition was such that I could not commit to anything for the springtime because from that visit on, I knew I would have to wait for that call, in the middle of the night -- and it did come eventually, right when I thought it would.

I had bought a ticket to visit her in March/April. About a week before I was set to fly out, a call came in the middle of the night. The doctor was with her and after her carer spoke to me, the doctor told me to change my ticket because I didn't want to wish I had been there. So I went. Jeff came with me for a few days. He said goodbye to his Ruthie. She was on constant ventilation, and in relentless, heartbreaking distress, aware of nothing around her because of it. The morphine injections were not enough and a few days after I arrived the palliative care team took over from the district nurses. They put her on a steady syringe driver of what I shall now call the "Exit Cocktail" and came to check and refill daily. No child should have to see their young parent go through that. Each day from there on, she slipped away further and further, until a few days later I knew it was not my mother in that bed. The following morning she was gone.

We had the funeral nearby in the church she went to when she could get out. Everyone we knew there, family, old friends and new, came. People all said the same thing about her rich, warm, loving spirit; her shining smile and big bright eyes; her love of people and how she cared for and cooked for everyone, how much she taught them, and how what they do now is as a result of her influence, and how she was pretty much everyone's Mama.

I miss her, every moment of every day. It is still such a reflex to want to call her for the big things, and especially the little things. Like,

Mum, how much flour do I put in this recipe?
Guess what, Ma, the doc said I was OK.
Mumsy, what do you think...?
Mummy, why is this so...?

She always has been, and always will be, my angel.

A Few Lost Months

Not sure what was going on over the summer. Obviously time passed and I got on with things, but it's a bit of a blur.

In August we went to my cousin's wedding in Canada, where I served as a bridesmaid in an electric blue dress. It was outdoors and beautiful, all very touching; she was a crying bride, but the groom shed tears when he "married" her daughter too. Not a dry eye in the field, and I was fighting so hard not to cry, one of my aunts in the 3rd row was ready to run up with tissues.

On our return home, I started the IVF process. It's something I knew had to be done from the moment he told me he had CF. There were more needles than I could count, and they hurt and the meds burned and caused bruises and welts. Jeff, my skilled but reluctant injector, wanted to quit because he hated putting me through this, and also kept apologizing that it was his fault I had to go through it, but in the midst of it all I loved him more than I did before. Anyway, extraction, culture, transfer = no success this time. But it did a number on me, and I was in recovery for some time. We'll thaw the rest out in January and try another transfer.

Then around our anniversary -- a few days after I recovered, Jeff got sicker than he was after our wedding; he was fighting something again and was OK for our dinner - at the French restaurant - but then it turned into pneumonia and we went to hospital and they threw scary antibiotics at him, and sent him home with the whole IV setup and everything. Took him at least a month to come out of that.

Enjoying the End of 2011

So after everything we'd been through the last few months, we've decided to put things on hold and just enjoy the end of the year.

For his birthday, I took him to see Cirque du Soleil's Quidam, when they were passing through DC.

For Thanksgiving, we drove up to NYC for a few days to be with cousins and hang out with friends and see the city. We stayed at a nice hotel across the water in New Jersey so we could get full and amazing views of Manhattan across the river. We walked around and saw all the usual things like Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, St Patrick's Cathedral, Times Square, South Street Seaport.

And we saw a proper musical, Anything Goes, written by P.G. Wodehouse and Cole Porter.

Next up: Christmas

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just Checking

Hi y'all

Anybody out there?

I've been taken up with life, and Facebook, but you'd be surprised how often I think of those of you I haven't been in contact with. A lot has happened, sad things and happy things.

I guess this was inspired by looking for a Guyanese recipe on Google, and the only place I found it was on Guyana Gyal's blog from years ago. Ironically, she'd never heard of it until I mentioned it.

I've got enough time on my hands that I could take up blogging again, and I have enough to say that I really ought to.

:-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nearly there

Hi guys

Guyana Gyal was sweet enough to stop by and say I pass through her mind. All of you pass through mine also.

It has been a crazy time. Since June, the only thing we seem to have done is plan the wedding. Made harder by the fact that there is nobody around to help us, to pick up the slack, to delegate a task to. The whole process is like something I must endure in order to marry my love. Looking back on it through photos, the video, and with friends and family, will make it worthwhile.

In July-August, I spent two weeks with my mother, and Jeff joined me for the last few days of the trip. She is not doing well. Her speech and swallowing have deteriorated, yet she has refused the feeding tube, so while unable to take in enough nutrition, she is at greater risk of choking on nothing much, like yogurt or Ensure. I still encourage her to get the tube while surgery is still feasible though. Every little movement takes so much energy, and she certainly shouldn't be starving herself. Even her nurse wants her to fight. I know she doesn't want to prolong her misery....The end is inevitable, but she needs it to be as easy as possible.

A couple of weeks after returning from London, my position was terminated. Lately it felt as though I'd been commuting for two hours a day in order to wait for something to do...so I think I could feel that coming for some time. But I was then freed up at a crucial time to hire vendors and make all sorts of decisions regarding the wedding, which has been great.

We've even been taking dancing lessons and on our 6th and last we finally got our wedding dance down.

Well....

We are getting married on Saturday. It's nearly here! My father arrives tomorrow. It will be nice to spend some time with him.

And...

Sunday at the crack of dawn we begin our trip to Antigua.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Oh Wow

You guys have been commenting without me knowing - I just had to moderate a bunch of them. I was thinking of my old blog this weekend and missing it, and feeling sorry that I'd neglected it. I guess it's because I don't get much time alone, which is fine. But on Sunday, because Jeff went to the driving range, I was home alone and spent the middle of the day working on our wedding website on The Knot. I got a lot accomplished with it, and realized that's the only way to work on blog and things...

Let me know if you all are still out there...*sigh* sorry for not writing. Although I still think of you all more than I imagine. Though, it's easier for those of you who are now on Facebook :-)

The other thing that's restrictive about blogging still is that I must be tied to my laptop at home in order to handle all the pics. I have an iPad (b-day pressie from Jeffy), but can't get my photos to transfer. If I could, I'd blog from there because I can loll about in the living room and work on things there. This summer we are also looking into getting smart phones, so there's another option. I can then blog while out and about!

Once I get everything all set up, I'll revive this site, how about that?
Must run, as I am not supposed to be doing this right now!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas to remember

Today is January 9th, 2010. I've been writing this since December 12, 2009! I just retrieved it from draft status....

So here's what I wrote in December:

At the beginning of the month, we went to the Christmas Revels on the campus of George Washington University, an annual DC tradition for the past 25 years. The Revels take place in 10 other US cities, including Houston. It was my father who went to one there many years ago, who turned me on to seeing one someday, so when I found we had one right here, nothing would stop me from seeing it. If your city has one, you must go! They put on spring and harvest festivals also.

This year, it was set in Renaissance Florence, and we, along with every one of Italy's noble families (Doge of Venice, Medici, d'Este, Borghese, et al. in all their sumptuous brocaded and bejewelled splendor) were guests of il maestro Leonardo da Vinci and his hilarious assistant Esmeralda.

We learned all sorts of Italian carols and winter songs, were treated to traditional Renaissance music and dances, as well as one segment to Saturnalia, the Roman winter solstice, and saw some of da Vinci's inventions at work. By the end of the first half, the whole audience was skipping around the auditorium to "Lord of the Dance" and by the end of the second half, we were singing in rounds.

********************

We were supposed to move to our new home this weekend, but that plan was completely ruined by the worst winter storm in nearly 70 years. It stopped short of a blizzard because although the winds did gust a little, they didn't pick up too much. It snowed so heavily for about 24 hours that visibility was reduced to about half a block, and we got at least a foot of snow. The whole world looked as though it had been smothered in whipped cream and meringue and icing sugar.

Stores were sold out of anything that could possibly be used to slide down a hill, and therefore every slope in the city was being used.

We went out in the SUV and wondered at the people who thought they could take their cars out in all that snow. Loads of them were spinning wheels and stuck in drifts. Even the SUVs were challenged, but we managed. It was fun exploring the winter wonderland.

People were discouraged from walking on the plowed streets, and were left to trudge through snow up to their knees. Some smart ones actually cross-country skiied.
Lots of people hitched rides, and when we got to Tenleytown we picked up a woman and dropped her off at the apartments across the road from the National Cathedral. Jeffy told her that someone had done him the same favor 10 years ago when he too was living there.

By 4pm, we found ourselves in Georgetown, which is picturesque at any time of year. We were determined to walk around, fall down, and make snow angels somewhere. We soon found ourselves at Book Hill Park near Dumbarton Oaks, the museum, library, and gardens we visited in the early summer. There were a few people there snowboarding and skiing down the hill beside the steps, and we stumbled and slipped our way up the snow mound to a circle of benches on a plateau. The snow was undisturbed and I was tempted to sit in the foot of snow on each bench. But we were there to make snow angels, my first ever --- or so I thought.......

As I fumbled about in my ski pants and down-filled coat, slightly deaf with my furry hood on, I wasn't properly absorbing whatever Jeffy was saying. This is what I gathered:

"Why is this park important?"
*Thinking....something to do with the Revolution?*
"I don't know Jeffy......because we're in it....?
*He laughs* "Sort of."
He keeps talking, something about how we keep saying we are so well matched, my Mum and God designed him, and his grandmother and God designed me.
I climb onto a bench to face him, just because the fresh snow made me hyper, and place my hands on his shoulders.
He says something something something, how much he loves me, something something, [I get suspicious].......and isn't this a good time to acknowledge how we feel [it registers in my brain]. He puts his hand in his pocket.
I jump off the bench, somehow sensing a little velvet black box is going to appear.
A little black velvet box appears.
He opens it and after the acknowledge part, something about "ask you to marry me".
I say "Oh my bee" followed by "Of course."

How did I know? With us, it was inevitable. But quite often we are thinking the same thing, and often steal each other's lines. So perhaps because I was holding his shoulders as I jumped off the bench, I was again reading his mind. :-)

His best friend wanted him to propose at his 40th birthday at the end of November, with all 20 of his closest friends and relatives at the table, but he told Jay he didn't have the ring yet.

Ah yes, about the ring. It took Jeffy two weeks to choose and design it. He "interviewed" many diamonds at 10-15x magnification and considered many bands, until he finally settled on a stone and a band that went together and said to him "Livvy".

It's delicate, dainty, simple, and sweet. I think "sweet" is one of the first words I used to describe it the moment I could catch my breath. I feel as though I don't deserve such a fiery stone.

I'd love to post pictures but it seems the process has changed - I can't link to pics on Flickr anymore, but feel free to look at them here:

Snow in NW DC:


Georgetown before climbing up to Book Hill Park:


Jeffy just before proposing:


The ring in two lights:



Now I must be off to get ready. When Jeffy comes back from his Baltimore house (which he's just rented out to a nice young couple) we will go out to get a rug and look at furniture.

We moved for 4 days between Christmas and New Year's. It was exhausting, and now we have stuff everywhere and no furniture to put it in though the closets are full. Jeffy has accumulated junk, and repeatedly moved with it in numbered boxes. I've opened his eyes (a bag of receipts from 1987? A video camera that hasn't worked for 6 years? An empty camera box inside an empty box?) so he's promised himself and me that he will de-clutter so we can find space for the things that matter.