August 29, 2014

Hola darlings! I moved into the new Maison Newton on July 7th and have been working hard ever since to get unpacked and settled. The photo collage is the new Maison Newton. The two planters are on the front porch. I purchased them online after I moved here, and the plants were purchased about 3 weeks ago from a popular local gardener. I planted a combination of "African daisies" and asparagus fern. They love the sun and the heat on the front porch and have grown and grown! To add a little more pop of color to the front of the house, I also painted the formerly old, somewhat banged up black (and rusting) mail box a bright red. It makes me smile. Back yard photos are of my miracle hydrangea that is still blooming strongly and the Roses of Sharon and one of my hanging baskets of "million bells" in the east planting bed in the back yard. This oldish ranch house (1955) will take a while to make my own but it has pretty good bones (like yours truly, har :)) There'll be lots to blog about!!!

Jan

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Guest Room Is Driving Me Nuts, P.S. -- Shortening Curtains With No Cutting or Sewing

AFTER photo.  Gave up trying to keep the long panel curtained look on the headboard wall where
there was no room for it and went with common sense.
So, after all my ranting and raving (see yesterday's post) about the guest room and how much I don't like the lack of space in this house, today is a new day and I feel much better after a relatively decent night's sleep.  The years since menopause, let's just say that a good night's sleep is a rare commodity in the Newton mistress bedroom so I appreciate it when a good one comes along :)  

And with less blood-shot eyes and sunshine greeting me this morning, determination sprang anew.  Where there is a will, there is a way; I had lost my will, and that's scary because I'm usually a pretty stubborn person who doesn't give up easily no matter what the issue is.  Let me tell you, losing one's will sucks.  Good thing it doesn't happen to me too often.  Today, the old smart-ass woman is back.  And so I took another look at the windows in the guest room.

There's no help for it; as much as I love the look of full length curtains (NONE of my curtains from the former Maison Newton qualify for that description in this house, given the placement of the existing curtain rods, my curtains all hang several inches above the floorboards now) I'm going to have to go with short curtains/window coverings on the window above the headboard.  I need every spare inch of floor space I can garner in the small guest room, and shoving the headboard as close to the wall as I can get it underneath the window just doesn't leave room for long curtains to hang prettily behind, let alone being easily accessible to open and close by pulling them across the rod.  And, because I like symmetry, the other window should probably be treated the same way too, or it will most likely bug me to perdition. 

But I'm not ready to tackle that room yet with my full attention. There are too many other spaces to work on first and for Goddess' sake, I've yet to complete ONE.  I just wanted to get rid of the long curtain panel that was trapped behind the headboard, a headboard that was not even pushed all the way up against the wall as far as I could get it in the vain hope of making the long curtain panel behind it hang decently, but that curtain panel was definitely "squished" and sorry looking.

I was NOT a happy camper with that look.

So, with renewed determination today, just to get that ridiculous curtain situation out of my craw, I got up on a chair at the problematic guest room window and started fussing with the two curtain panels.  I tried creating a semi-draped sort of cascading look by throwing the bottom of each panel over the top of the rod toward the center, and then putzing and putzing; but I didn't like how that looked; then it occurred to me I could thread the bottom hem of each panel (which are open on each end) on a rod and the curtain panels would magically be "cut" in half while also providing an additional layer of privacy "underneath;" but alas, the existing rods are only singles and I don't have two double rods just laying around waiting to be installed on the guest room windows.  So then I thought (briefly), about putting up an old fashioned curtain rods by screwing the brackets into existing holes in the woodwork on each window -- but I didn't want to do that work and then not like the look!

So -- I cheated.  On the window above the headboard, I ended up tossing the bottom of each curtain panel over the top of the curtain header already on the rod, stretched each panel out full width, tried to make the overhanging curtain "valance" the same width all the way across, and then "gathered" them a little on the rod, trying to get them equal on each half of the rod, and sort of "fluffled" things up a bit.  Here is another photo of the result:


This will do for the time being...  I'm going to leave the panels on the east-facing window hanging long for the time-being because I like how it looks when the panels are pulled shut over the IKEA blinds for the night.

One window with short curtains, one window with long curtains, right next to each other. Geez.  But for now, I no longer have a squished panel behind the headboard, and I'm very happy about that :)  Maybe I'll even manage another good night's sleep tonight!

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Guest Room is Driving Me Nuts, Part 2

Hola darlings!

Sadly, there is not going to be a great reveal here.  The room is, to put it bluntly, absolutely, totally P A T H E T I C.

Admitting defeat when it comes to rearranging the furniture, short of getting totally new furniture or removing the dresser forever, I put it back the way it was.  It looks like a 10th rate hotel room, but right now that's all I can come up with.

I thought perhaps it would look better when I finally removed the sheets I'd thrown up the day after the move-in and put up actual curtains.

Oh my.

That's all I can say.

All of these things worked together so beautifully at the former Maison Newton.  I just don't GET why they don't work here.  It's making me so sick to my stomach, I can't stand it.



First photo, above.  The room as I put it back together after EPIC FAIL of trying to angle the furniture around.  What I ended up doing was switching the night stand from the right side of the bed to the left side, and moving the bed over a little bit more underneath the window.  Bedhseet curtain - lovely. NOT.


 Photo two, above.  Isn't it - well, lots of words come to mind, none of which I can publish here.  There's the closet, with double sliding doors, and right across, the entry door.  And the triple dresser and large mirror.  Oh, and don't forget the custom paint job of "baseball seams" that was done on the "accent wall." 


Photo three, above, that's the ceiling fan.  The less about that, the better.  I switched off the "globe" light and the fan, which is not set correctly and wobbles, looking like the blades will fly off and decapitate someone at any second.  This was a child's room, but REALLY?  Oh yeah, there's one of the cold air returns next to the closet.  There is another one underneath it at floor level.


Photo four, above.  The dresser and mirror - and the baseball seam "mural" on the accent wall.  You can see how tight the space is.  The right end of the dresser is about half a foot from the entry door; there is about a foot of space on the left hand side of the dresser.  There is perhaps a foot of space from the top of the mirror to the ceiling, yikes! 

Spent hours dinking around on two chairs putting curtains on and off the rods; didn't work.  I finally re-set the rods and that took another 1.5 hours because I had to do the screws manually with a small Phillips head screw driver.  Another surprise was revealed, I'll show you later on...

So, finally, after much huffing and puffing and climbing up and down two old chairs (because the little handy-ladder I bought to access the top shelves in the kitchen cabinets is too short, and I don't have my rickety step ladder here yet, it's still in the garage at the former Maison Newton, long story), I put up one pair of curtains on the east-facing wall, it overlooks my backyard:



Photo five, above, east window with old ivory and black toile curtains from my old mistress bedroom at the former Maison Newton.  Crappy photo, to boot, all blurry!


Photo six, above.  Despite moving the curtain rods over -- and you can see my little surprise -- the former owner who painted this bedroom did not remove the curtain rods when she did the room, she just painted around them, so you can see that the former color in this room was puke green and you can also see all the gunked on paint coating the woodwork, now it's a fricking mess and ugly as hell and upsets me each time I see it -- well, the curtains STILL don't cover the windows as much as I like because there is NO return on these rods to enable one to curve the curtains closer to the wall to cover over that gap.  But I'm not into giving my neighbors a peep show whenever this room is in use. 

Sooooo, I took the Ikea stick-on pleated shades that I was going to use in the mistress bedroom and used them in here, instead, and engaged in yet another lovely adventure of sticking on and ripping off the shades many times while attempting to get maximum coverage and match up the center-ends of the shades.  Fortunately, the shades allowed me to do that several times without falling apart or losing their "stickiness," kudos to Ikea!


Photo seven, above.  Well, I'm sure no photographer, LOL!  But you sort of get the idea of what I was trying to do with the shades.  It took several tries, but eventually I got them "stuck" on evenly across the top of the window frame where they still managed to cover the ends of the windows and also meet in the center.  NOTE:  I have not trimmed the shades, I'm using the plastic clips that they came with to shorten them up to sill height, tucked comfortable on the top of the sill.  In this photo you can see how "springy" the shade is; trying to trim it without letting it acclimate to the room and "stretch out" some would, I think, have been a big mistake for moi, especially since I cannot cut a straight line to save my life. 


Photo eight, above, shows the not too terrific view out of the guest room north-facing window which overlooks my neighbors' driveway and garage area.  Yep, that definitely needs to be covered up but still let light in...

More tomorrow.  It's after 10 p.m. here and time for me to scrub up, get into my PJs and have a glass of wine (or two).

The Guest Room is Driving Me Nuts!

Hola darlings!

This new old house I moved into is not very large. Of course, "space" is relative, depending on what you've been used to.  This new space feels small compared to the former Maison Newton.  It just IS way smaller than the former Maison Newton.  No way around that.  I know there are so many people who would love to have this home of mine, and I shouldn't be complaining about being fortunate enough to live in a nice house in a great area.  But this fricking house is driving me crazy.

I have too much furniture, and it's all too big.  It was purchased for a much larger house.  What the hell am I supposed to do?  I cannot afford to replace it all -- budget is totally blown.  I cannot afford to replace anything, truth to be told.  And, I have to just put it right out there, ugly as it is:  I do NOT want to banish much loved pieces to the wreck of a basement rec room that I will NEVER use.  They would die of loneliness down there and become home to centipedes -- I saw a giant one down there the other day DESPITE the humidifier going full blast 24-7, and spiders, and who the hell knows all what creeper-crawlers.  EEEEUUUUWWWWWW.  I am just not a basement dweller.  The thought gives me the heebie-jeebies.  I think I need to take a shower now...

I'm really frustrated and ticked off.

My mistress bedroom is the largest of my three bedrooms, at 10' x 12'; the second largest was listed at 10' x 12' but actually only about one-half of it is that size and it really can't be fully utilized because the closet entrance takes up part of it on the south wall and there is the entry door on the east wall.  The other half of the room, toward the lone high window that makes the space feel like a prison, is about 10' x 10', because there is a cut-in for the entry foyer on the  south wall plus a foyer closet.  I love having the foyer and the rather roomy closet!  But the bedroom behind the wall has a split personality as a result.

The third bedroom is the smallest, 9' x 10'.  That space is also causing me fits.  I thought I might be able to turn the bed or move the dresser around freely. I thought angling the bed oppposite the wall with the entry door would work -- BUT I CAN'T TURN THE FURNITURE, the room is too small.  The furniture is getting stuck. 

How do I know this?  Because I tried -- several times -- to angle the furniture this way, and then that way.  No go.  The bed doesn't have enough clearance to get it turned with the long dresser in the room, and vice-versa. 

Add to that, the arrangement of corner windows on the outside wall, one of which also holds the heating/air-conditioning vent, there are only two potential walls upon which to place the head of the guest room bed:  on the wall it was initially placed on when I had the movers put it there, or the opposite wall, which has less wall space because it also holds the entry door into the bedroom.

That would entail, however, putting the triple dresser and its tall mirror underneath one of the windows, blocking light, and on the east wall, also blocking the heating/cooling vent. The third wall (west wall) holds the cold air return and a closet.  There is no way the bed would fit on it and the dresser is much too large!

WHAT WAS I THINKING WHEN I BOUGHT THIS HOUSE?  It's impossible to use this as a guest room with a full-size ("double") mattress, a triple dresser with mirror and a night stand.  There is not even room for a chair.

For Goddess sake!  This bed, dresser and night stand fit comfortably into my 10' x 11' former guest room, and it also had room for a small bookcase, a side table for the other side of the bed AND a small scale wing chair!  Now I have none of those things and the room is still too cramped and crowded. It just looks sad right now.

I should have never bought this house.  I am beginning to hate this house.

I removed the bookcase.  That opened up a little bit of space,  but didn't help at all with the dilemma of the bed banging into the dresser and vice versa when trying to move them to try them out on different walls.  I had already given up the chair, it is at the former Maison Newton, now one of the possessions of the young, nearly furnitureless couple I sold the house to.

I got so desperate trying to think of a furniture arrangement that would work in the guest room, I actually contemplated doing a Feng Shui no-no by attempting to turn the head of the bed angled to the left -- smack dab across from the entry door.  [RULE: Beds should NEVER be placed where any part of the entry door intersects with the bed.]  But, the same thing happened when I attempted to turn the bed to angle it into the left-hand corner -- it got stuck on the dresser, and I couldn't move the dresser enough to scootch each piece of furniture past the other.  Even if I had been successful, though, there would only have been about 2 inches of "leg room" access to get to the far side of the bed between the angled end of the bed on one side and the dresser.  Nope, not working.

Attempt to put the bed at an angle opposite the entry door, on the west wall, the wall that holds the closet. EPIC FAIL.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?

SO, I need a new dresser.  A much smaller dresser.  Or no dresser at all.

But I NEED THE STORAGE that this 9-drawer dresser provides.  It holds curtains, table-cloths, place mats, afghans, napkins and curtains, among other things, that this house is too small to hold elsewhere (but fit into the former Maison Newton comfortably, with room to spare) -- and would also provide drawer space for a guest.  Get rid of the dresser?  And get rid of more of my life?  Why don't I just shoot myself right now and be done with it.

SO, what to do, what do do?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Early Cold Spell and Hydrangeas and THIS PLACE IS A FRICKING MESS

Hola everyone.

I promise I will do some more posting soon and catch you up on what I've been doing (trying, anyway) around here, but right now I'm just overwhelmed with too much going on, geez!

I have made some progress around this new old house, but let me tell you, darlings, it's slllooooowwwww going.  I spent this past Saturday, cold and windy, cutting the grass in the back yard and then the front yard, and early this morning in much welcomed sunshine but a good "breeze" (it got into the 60's today and the house actually warmed all the way up to 73, which is good because I have not yet figured out how to de-program the programed thermostat to a temperature lower than 72, so it's been off most of the time during this cold snap), I did the trimming out front.  I use a battery-operated grass shears to do that so it entails a lot of bending over and stooping, and I'm probably showing some underwear every now and then and shocking the bifocals off of some of my neighbors.  I concentrate of making the public space at the front of the house look as nice as I can get it; not so much out back in my private space, but there's also not so much area in the back yard that needs to be trimmed. 

Am I the only lunatic in the United States of America who sweeps her gutters and tries to obliterate all traces of cut-grass residue???

I also vacuumed (much needed) and did laundry (hardly any, which makes me very suspicious I am wearing my underwear far too long),  finished putting the legs back on my larger desk that I moved from the living room into the much smaller space (a bedroom) that will serve as my den/library/study/office, but I was not able to get it back up on its legs.  It was much easier to put the desk on the floor in the living room and take its legs off than to get it standing back up again in its new home.  Damn!  I will need to recruit another person to assist...

So, yesterday, I noticed that my crazy hydrangea shrub is setting MORE blossoms -- in September!  Is that a thank you for my watering it every day since I moved in on July 7th?  Well, if that isn't evidence that this season is a good three to four weeks behind where we should have been, I don't know what is.  But the light is mostly disappeared now shortly after 7 p.m.   I think the hydrangea will run out of warmth and enough day light to set its new blossoms, and that makes me sad.  But I thought, yesterday, maybe if I cut off some of the blooms that are on it right now (since June!!!) it would give the shrub a fighting chance, as it can concentrate on the NEW blossoms instead of sustaining those already opened up and still looking hearty and healthy after a couple of months!  What an amazing little shrub my hydrangea is, to be sure.

So I gulped, and cut five flowers off.  Here are a couple of photos, taken today -- I wasn't sure if they would survive overnight sitting in a bowl of water with some of that powdered "floral preservative," but they did, thank Goddess!  And so beautiful they are --


As you can see, the colors are all over the place, because I haven't been able to sustain a sufficiently acidic environment for the shrub to produce purple/blue-ish blossoms!  The natural color of an hydrangea is, as I learned to my surprise, pink!  But I've also got green-y/white-ish, too.  All over the place color-wise.


So I'm greatly appreciating the beauty of my cut hydrangea blossoms and very grateful to my hydrangea shrub for giving me such gorgeous flowers, and I hope it won't hate me too much for cutting some of the blooms off to enjoy in my kitchen/dinette. 

Oh, I also hauled about 10 boxes of - I can't believe how much stuff I have - down into the basement wreck room, some of which was immediately tucked away and some of which was stashed on the bar pending figuring out what the hell to do with it!  Lots of books, and I've only my china hutch in the living room, and all the stuff in separate boxes stashed in that room that has first dibs on the space, and one two shelf bookcase that will go into the den/library, etc. space 

I seriously need to do some bookcase shopping.  Funds.  I need to come up with some money!  I'm tired of lugging boxes down into the wreck room. 

But the future den/library etc. is painted a dark blue with a black chalk-board race trace painted as a border around the entire room near the ceiling, complete with a chalked-in dashed line to indicate the "lanes."

Real cute.  And it's going to be a REAL BITCH to prime over and then repaint the room.  As if I have the energy to do such a thing, HA!  But there's no money left in the budget to hire someone else to do it, nosirree.

I am NOT a happy camper right now, dear readers.  Nope. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

New Bedroom Curtains Going Up - Sort Of...

Hola everyone!

It's not that I'm less ambitious when it comes to getting settled into this new old house, it's that I'm spending a lot of time doing yard work (moving here was supposed to cut down that time, ha!) and watching home improvement programs on Hulu Plus, LOL! 

But on Monday I opened up my IKEA curtains, washed the "drapes" and ironed everything.  I won't go into all of the gory details, but suffice to say that the double curtain rods I ordered from IKEA are gigantic long, and using the two smaller rods from each of the doubles and using the two halves of each of those rods on the windows, I managed to do a fairly good "cosmetic" job of hanging my new curtains up in the mistress bedroom, hooray!

BEFORE on the window facing you; IN PROGRESS on the window to the right.
Short Explanation:  My favorite bedspread is a true white and black toile; the curtains I ordered at the same time, but from a different vendor and in a different toile pattern, are an antique white and black.  In my former mistress bedroom, because they were sufficient distance apart, the color differences in the "whites" weren't so noticeable; but in this smaller bedroom and with the only decent Feng Shui placement of the bed being so close to the one window, the color differential is quite noticeable. 

So that is why I decided I needed new curtains.  The antique white and black toile panels will be rehung in the guest room soon.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Memories

Hola darlings!

First of all, HAPPY LABOR DAY to all of us who work so hard doing what we do, whether we work inside the home or outside the home - or do both!  It's all good, and it's all worth more than we make in pay, for damn sure!

Labor is under attack today in the United States and it's so sad. We're trying to fight back, but we're outgunned and out-moneyed and out-propagandaed.

2011: Wisconsin public union workers (teachers, policemen, firemen, prison guards, office workers, engineers,
etc. etc. etc. gather to protest outside of Madison's Capitol Building against the Scott Walker and the
Republican Legislature's destruction of public labor union rights.  Scores of arrests followed when the
Governor ordered the Capitol building cleared and state marshalls took the law into their own hands,
brutalizing and then arresting teachers, office workers, doctors and nurses for "resisting arrest" when
they were only exercising their state and federal Constitutional rights to peaceably assemble and protest.
The Republicans, who had taken control of the state thanks to the Koch brothers' money poured into the state's
elections, gutted public unions and then passed the most extreme-ever gerrymandered election
districts Wisconsin has ever seen.  The Lafolletes are rolling in their graves.  Our honored history
of clean government has disappeared into a foul pit of gross corruption, and Governor Scott Walker
is the most corrupt of all, while posing as a "true Christian family man."  Gag and puke.

Don't be fooled by people who are telling you there are "makers" and there are takers," doing the old "speaks with forked tongue" trick!  The TRUE MAKERS are the people who create wealth, like me -- working away for the past 45 plus years in an office, now making about $25 an hour compared to my boss's $650 an hour.  I work just as hard as he does and, in truth, without the work I do he wouldn't be able to do all that he does.  But there is really no such thing as "trickle down," nope.  Now I'm not crying the blues here because at my pay rate I gross about $51,000 a year, and I'm okay with that.  Is it what a person with a master's degree should be making, though, if we Americans value education like we say we do?  Hell no!

But, according to stats from the Congressional Budget Office, I'm considered above the median income in this country, I'm in one of the upper percentiles, darlings, woo woo.  How fricking sad is that?  Seven years of college education -- and I just scratch the surface of the median income...

Of course, those wages are BEFORE DEDUCTIONS.  If only I didn't have to pay 40% of that gross income every year to federal and state taxes and things like Medicare and FICA.  Meanwhile, my boss is crying the blues to me because his youngest will soon be going off to college and he "can't afford it."  Yeah, right.  Tell me about it, dude, who makes TWENTY-SIX TIMES MORE GROSS SALARY THAN I DO.  He, his wife and two children can't make a go of it on $650,000.00 a year.  And they pay less in taxes than I do.  For instance, his Social Security tax deduction is capped at $117,000.  The rest of his salary is not taxed for Social Security.  I pay Social Security taxes on 100% of my $51,000.  How is this fair?  And yet he and the rich and even richer are screaming about "high taxes."

The TRUE MAKERS ARE THE LABORERS, not the owners of the property.  Property rots and rusts away or, if it is land, goes fallow, without the MAKERS. Take a few minutes and just think about this, please.

My grandfather took a billy club to the head during a strike at J. I. Case in Racine, Wisconsin, standing up for workers' rights in 1934!  The then governor of the state of Wisconsin called out the National Guard to attack the strikers.  This was in the days before labor had ANY rights at all -- rights that we won after hard-fought battles and are now, less than 100 years later, rapidly losing.  Yeah, I hear it every single day, they won't ever do THAT, who would work for them, nobody...

Stupid, stupid people!  Think it can't happen to you...



Grandpa Newton lost his job as a skilled tool-and-die maker.  The family lost their home to foreclosure because Grandpa was blacklisted and couldn't find work -- not that much work was to be found in those years, anyway.  J.I. Case hired scabs who worked for pennies on the dollar compared to the workers they'd fired en masse.  Grandpa and his family of eight had to leave Racine and the prosperous middle-class lifestyle they'd known and move to Sturtevant, to what they considered a dumpy little house with a couple acres of land, where they grew fruits and vegetables and eeked out a living doing "truck farming" (as it was known back then) and growing much of their own produce to feed their family.  They scraped by.

That was before Wisconsin became one of the first states at the time to pass a law imposing a moratorium on foreclosures during the Great Depression, to prevent people who, through no fault of their own, were losing their homes because they couldn't find work!  I don't know this for a fact, but the story I remember hearing as a child and as I understand it now, as an adult, is that the bank owner at the bank that held Grandpa and Grandma Newton's mortgage on the Racine home gave them the option of taking the property out in Sturtevant (back then, nowheresville compared to living in Racine) in exchange for the equity in the Racine home, and Grandpa accepted the deal.  That bank owner, he didn't have to do it, but he was a decent man.  Back then, a lot of business was done on personal knowledge of the character of one's customers, and on a handshake.  My beloved Grandpa was a man of principle.  And so was that banker.

All I know is that I loved that house, with its magestic allee of trees alongside the gravel driveway, and the ever-fascinating acreage out back that offered endless hours of exploring and play-time and fantasy.  And the family, at that dumpy little house, survived the Great Depression, and Grandma actually sheltered people less fortunate than they were in the basement (the cellar, as they called it back then, which was not then finished in concrete block).  She had what was called back then "a soft heart."  I inherited mine from her, in more ways than one.  It's from Grandma's side of the family, I discovered through my geneological research, that I inherited this genetic lung disease (Pulmonary  Arterial Hypertension) that will, ultimately, cause my heart to fail and kill me.  Well, we all have to die some time.

Grandma Newton was famous locally for her canned and preserved foods, jams and "goodies" (a form of candied fruit -- I wasn't allowed to eat any because it had brandy in it).  Some of my earliest memories are of watching Grandma and Aunts Lolly and Mary Olive (her oldest and second-youngest daughters) working in the teeny kitchen of the only Grandma and Grandpa Newton house I ever knew, and loved.  The three of them were moving in what seemed like high speed around a tall butcher block "island" stirring, tasting, seasoning, ladling steaming hot concoctions into mason jars, the room filled with moisture from jars boiling in water and fruits and vegetables cooking on a six-burner stove.  I don't remember if it was gas or a wood burner, I assume it was a gas stove, as I was born in 1951 and we're probably talking about 1955 and after.  And then there was pickling, done on different days.
The Great Depression didn't end until the start of World World II, when the United States geared up to feed the war effort that was going on in Europe and, ultimately, sucked the USA in, too, including my Dad, who went off to join the Army when he was about 20.

The Frank Newton and Ida Belanger family, left to right, back row: Aunt Faythe; Aunt Mary Olive, my Dad
(John Francis Newton) in his WWII uniform, Aunt Laurel (Aunt Lolly), Aunt Valerie.
Front Row: Grandma Ida Belanger Newton, Uncle Gregory, Grandpa Frank Newton, son of David Newton a/k/a Villeneuve.
Dad was wounded and awarded a Purple Heart, and suffered severe frost bite to his feet. Those feet of his, they caused him much pain and suffering afterward until the time he died. But back then, a man didn't complain about such things.  He was changed in ways no one should ever have to be changed.  But he survived.  Millions did not.

My family was fortunate, compared to millions of other families. We survived the Great Depression, and we more or less prospered.  We survived WWII, and we more or less prospered.

Oh my.  The older I get (I turned 63 on August 19th, sigh), the more these memories become so precious to me.  I've no children of my own (THANK GODDESS!), but I am an aunt, and a grand-aunt, and a great-grand aunt.  Geez!  What will happen to those children of my nieces and nephews?

All those descendants will think it is absolutely normal to work for $5 a hour and not have employer paid-for health insurance, no paid vacation, no paid sick days, no paid maternity leave, no retirement benefits, no profit-sharing, hell no!  They will be, ahem cough cough cough, INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS.  Yeah.  A fancy name for 21st century slavery.  And, because none of the kids now graduating from high school knows any history or knows, really, how to read or write (they think "HOW R U" is writing), they will believe all of this is perfectly normal, and even worse, the way it should be...  They will believe that if they're not at the apex of the pyramid, it's because they're stupid, or lazy, or both.  Because that is what they are being taught -- they are being brainwashed into believing -- right now, as I write this.  There is a reason "1984" is no longer mandatory reading in high school...

Do you REALLY wonder why Congress has done nothing about the epidemic of illegal aliens flooding into our country?  Darlings, they're CHEAP LABOR.  That's the ultimate bottom line.  Now they're importing them as children, even easier to brain-wash. 

Real speak:  If Romney had won the presidential election in 2012 instead of Obama, we wouldn't be hearing a THING about the so-called crisis of 40,000 or 50,000 CHILDREN crossing the border between Mexico and the United States during the past few years. 

Think about it.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Gardens: Beginnings -- Back Yard

This is a photo of my back yard (and part of the large concrete patio), that was taken after I did my very first cut of the back yard grass, on July 8th:

A partial view of the large concrete patio area.
That raised planting area with lots of day lilies vulgarus (that's not the actual botannical name) in the photo above, looking lush and pretty, is now looking pretty crappy:


The very last bloom on the day lilies bloomed on July 13th (I was off work that day so I could appreciate it).  The rest of d-l-vulgarus now have bare, dried-out stalks that need to be cut down, and lots of dying-back foilage (ditto). That's just the nature of this particular beast. After having put up with their habits for 24 years at the former Maison Newton I want to go in a different direction with this garden... 

If you'll take a close look at the second photo near the center of the bed (not such a good photo and the area is shaded, too), you'll see that I have added a baby Rose of Sharon plant donated by my friend Barb.  I transplanted the little shrub that was there (see same area in the first photo to see the shrub) to the north bed, where it seems to be happy.

I didn't realize it until a couple of weeks later when the first flowers popped open, but there are ALREADY two other Rose of Sharon plants in that east bed!!! Duh. I did not recognize them until the taller plant on the left started blooming.  Then I took a closer look at my baby Rose of Sharon and the blooming plant (and also the not-yet blooming shorter plant on the right side of the bed) and realized the leaves are exactly the same on all three plants -- they're all Roses of Sharon!  I don't know why the plant on the right is so much smaller than the one on the left; of course the baby plant, now in the middle, will have some catching up to do!  [Postscript added August 24th:  I now realize why the Rose of Sharon on the left is so tall -- it's actually two different plants!  See next post for details.]

You may have noticed, too, the Rose of Sharon with lots of blooms poking its head and shoulders above my terra-cotta colored fence! That much larger shrub is in the neighbor's yard.  I envy him both that shrub and his beautiful purple leafed maple tree.  I enjoy their loveliness from my perch at the dinette table looking through the patio doors into my new yard.  Neighbor's Rose of Sharon has deep pinkish-purplish blossoms with burgundy-colored inners.  It is full and has TONS of blossoms and is really putting on a show fpr me.  As far as I can tell, my neighbor (single thirtiesh male with a shaved head and buff bod) doesn't do a thing to his yard other than cutting the grass and using a string-line trimmer once a week, so perhaps I don't need to be babying my Roses of Sharon so much (giving them lots of water during the past 3 week dry-spell; and of course, I'm babying the baby transplant until its root system gets established). 

I haven't had luck growing Rose of Sharon at my two previous residences but this, my third house, may be the charm.