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Archive for the ‘Everyday’ Category

You know how humdrum the days can be.  Routines done on autopilot, day-to-day activities that might drain you of your resources – that’s life.  When you have some dying trees in your back yard that need immediate attention, you have to step out of everyday life.  Because there’s nothing humdrum or routine about having tree guys on the scene.

Husby and I have a boatload of poplars lining our back yard.  Poplars have a lifespan of about thirty years.  Our poplars were planted when the house was built in 1989.  They’re dying.  And dead.  The deads had to go lest we or any of our neighbors get a sixty-foot tree laying on our houses at the next wind storm.  We called Maximum Tree Service and Landscaping.**  And then the excitement began…

We had seven trees to be removed, all dead, and this mighty piece of equipment made everyone’s job a little easier.

The little thing is a mechanical genius, and the operator is a human genius. A powerful piece of equipment has never before been so effective. Love the BoXer.

And then there are the humans who make the whole tree removal thing seem easy.  It’s dangerous, it involves physics and smarts, and most of all, these guys have guts.

Even the ground guys like to watch the climber do his thing. I was in complete awe. I want a pair of those spiky boots.

 

And then tree climber guy is hanging/working above the roofs and most of the tree tops. He’s not even scared. I asked him.

The high climber was indeed a sight to behold not only for me and Husby, but for our neighbors as well.

 

OK, so the climber is a pretty amazing character.  But the ground crew is equally impressive.  They spotted, sawed, and hauled with choreography rarely seen outside a concert hall.

Not a smidgen of damage done to the surrounding trees, fence, or other obstacles in the yard.

 

 

 

It made a lot of noise, but I think it’s fun to watch a chipper in action…from a distance.

 

Not only did they take down the trees with ease, they cleaned up the fallen branches, logs, and trunks of the trees perfectly.  I was incredibly impressed with the fact that they even blew and gathered the sawdust on the lawn and cleaned up sticks in the neighbor’s yard.  And in the street!

 

What a relief to have those seven dead trees out of the yard, threatening to hurl branches or fall down completely during an upcoming summer storm.  It was a fun morning for Husby and me, and an exciting show for our neighbors too.  No complaints and a little conversing with friends over the fence – fun for all!

Thanks, Tree Guys.  You’re all awesome!

**This is not a solicited post.  I highly recommend this company; however, all of the information given and photos taken are for my own enjoyment and satisfaction.

 

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It’s Time

Hello – it’s April!  Do you know what that means? Spring cleaning!

I know, the Spring Cleaning is a ritual that is pretty out of date and I don’t know of many people who engage in this utterly satisfying practice, but this year I’m going to hit it to the hilt.  I hope.

If you don’t participate in this yearly ritual, think again.  Murphy’s Oil Soap is a lovely fragrance to have hanging around your house and gets rid of all of those sticky wooden surfaces.  Hand rails, cupboards – they totally need a cleaning!

I have a plan this year, but it’s anyone’s guess if I complete it.  I started with my beloved East Wing room.  It’s not really a “wing,” but I’ve named all of the rooms in my house that that’s what “my” room is called.  I tackled the closet of the East Wing and this is what I’ve emptied out so far…

That’s not even all of it!  The closet is your standard-sized closet, plus a little extra but  nothing like a walk,in and this is what came out of it.  Ack!

Those file folders on the ride side of the photo?  Business records.  I spent over two hours going through those, getting rid of at least six years of paper.  Some of it went into the recycle bin, the majority of it went into a container saved to burn.  That’s right, burn.  And for anyone reading who cares, the burning materials are staple free.  Yes, head of the family cottage, there will be no staples in the burning barrel!  (You’re welcome, Dad.)

A few hours later everything was sorted and consolidated and organized and put back into the closet, or sent out for disposal.  It doesn’t take a huge amount of time to attack a spring cleaning project, and the reward is so fabulous.  You’ll feel like a hero.  You’ll feel like a super-hero.  You’ll feel like, dare I say, a god(dess)!

There are several more spring cleaning projects in store at the Auntie B’s Wax World Headquarters.  I realize my house cleaning practices aren’t very interesting to anyone other than me, but my pride necessitates a post to encourage domestic goddesses everywhere.  Clean up that wood work!  Vacuum that furniture!  Launder those window draperies!  Put on that first t-shirt of the year (in Minnesota at least), open the windows and let the fresh air in while you scrub away the dirt and grime of the previous year.

Oh sure, it’s all going to get dirty again because, well, you live in your house.  You fry food, you burn fires in the fireplace, you touch stuff.  That’s no reason to ignore the most satisfying cleaning experience of your life.

And plus, don’t forget to polish those windows, inside and out.  You won’t regret it.

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Cocky Kitchen

Disclaimer:  This is not a nasty, dirty, naughty, slang-word post.  It’s completely G-rated and any misinterpretation of rhetoric is no fault of the author.

The definition of cock…

1.  a male chicken; rooster
2. the male of any bird, especially of the gallinaceous kind

Now that we’re on the same page, talking about roosters (aka cocks), I can proceed.

I blame the French.  Apparently they are the ones who brought cocks into our kitchens.

“The rooster is an essential element of the countryside because of his role as the alarm clock and guardian. Day after day, he wakes up at the crack of dawn and proudly crows at the sun, waking up the rest of the farm. He proudly struts around the farmyard, bobbing his tail feathers, and bravely protects the rest of the flock.”

“Because color is so important to the French Country look, the rooster is the perfect accessory for many French Country homes and kitchens. Large ceramic roosters are common decorations on countertops and tables. Of course, ceramic statues aren’t the only way to decorate with roosters. They’re also used as motifs on dining linens.”**

I have a cock kitchen.  I think it began when I got married and inherited Husby’s cocks.

Husby’s cock cutting board and recipe box might have inspired the whole thing.

I didn’t even know the history of cocks in the kitchen when I started to accumulate the colorful, feathered friends to my kitchen.  It’s kind of like a Jungian archetype.

An innocent, yet oh so appropriate, gift. The giver had no idea cocks were hot in our kitchen.

 

Electric cocks! We chose our chandelier to match the cock theme.

 

Cock valance.

 

A decorative cock plate, Lenox, no less.

 

Collectibles scavenged from past generations and given as gifts because, well, cocks.

During the 2016 Christmas season Charlotte presented Husby and me with a host(ess) gift when she and her family came to our house for some cheer.  She called it The Christmas Cock.

I love this thing and it totally goes with the cock theme in my kitchen.  It’s about 18 inches tall – not that size matters.

 

The Christmas Cock

Does your kitchen have a theme?  Can you laugh about it?

 

** http://blog.couleurnature.com/why-the-rooster-is-quintessential-to-french-country-design/

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I’m not really sure what tone this post should take.  It could be sad or happy.  The best word would be bittersweet, I guess.

The times they are a-changing, and with those time we too must change, make adjustments, and relinquish physical objects that hold many memories.

It was a big day at my parents’ house, Husby and I were there to give support and provide assistance.  I could say it was the day the music died, but it’s more accurate to say it was the day the piano found a new home.

The piano cost $400 when it was purchased new.  I have no idea what year that was.  It was owned by the Sisters of St. Joseph, the nuns who taught school and gave the children of St. Mary’s school piano lessons inside the convent.  Oh that convent!  That’s another story though.  The sisters eventually passed it on/sold it to my mom’s aunt and uncle.  I have no idea how long they had it, but at some point, almost five decades ago the piano was given to my parents and found a place in my childhood home.

It’s an old piano and a very big one at that – a Stark upright grand.  The room in which it was housed was dubbed “the piano room.”  My mom played that piano for pleasure for many years and taught me and my sister how to play until we got so good we needed instructions from other people.  Oh the countless scales I practiced, and moved from reading music for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to the works of Chopin, Bartok, Bach and many other great composers.

Alas, the time came when the piano room must once again become a bedroom, which it was before the piano arrived so many, many years ago.  In order for it to become a bedroom again, the piano had to go.  Away.  Out of the house.

 

Skinny hallway

Donated to Keys for Kids, easier than selling and given to a wonderful charity, the piano left my childhood home.  The moving guys were fabulous and did the job without a nick to the walls or dirt to the carpet, and in record time.

Piano movers amaze me.  I know they do it every day, but still.  One of the guys moving the piano injured his back on the last job – he got to carry the bench out to the truck.  But he also got to be the spotter/reinforcement as the piano was wheeled down the ramp.

I had a little chat with one of the mover guys, telling him I learned to play on that piano.  He told me a couple of stories about the pianos he’s moved.  One was of an old woman who’s husband played, and when he died she donated the piano to Keys for Kids.  She cried the whole time they moved that piano out of her house.  It was as if the last remnant of her husband left her house with the piano.  My heart nearly broke.  The mover guy said they see lots of cases like this, and I feel like they’re compassionate and gentle when they move these pieces of history and personal attachment.

Away goes the piano of my youth.  I wasn’t overly emotional about it as I have two pianos in own my house.  The thing is, I haven’t played in years.  I was damn good at the keyboard, and there’s no reason I shouldn’t bring more music to my house and to my life.

The digital. A college graduation gift from my entire family, which saved my sanity and brought me joy in hard times. Plus, it has a plug for headphones for practicing!

 

The big one. Similar to the one donated by my parents. This one was given to me by a friend who gave it to me for the cost of moving it from her house to mine. It’s not been tuned since I received it nearly twenty years ago. Who cares? It’s a lovely piece of furniture and sounds really old-timey.

This event, my witnessing and support of the removal of the piano of my childhood, has inspired me to take to the keyboard again while I’m able.  Music is divinity, and I think my parents would be happy and proud to see me play again.  After all, it was their piano that introduced me to the glory of music.

P.S. to Mom and Dad ~  After my time with you during the piano removal I saw a black squirrel run across my back yard.  Seemed to be a sign.  Diggy says make that room into a bedroom again.  It’s right and good.

 

 

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Windy

It’s peaceful and calm here at the Auntie B’s Wax World Headquarters.  There’s been no damage done.  For a minute there (hours?/days?) I was actually kind of scared.

For nearly three days straight we had winds that would knock your sock off, if you were brave enough to go outside that is.  I don’t mean wind, I mean WIND.  Three days of regular winds that registered at least twenty miles per hour with gusts up to fifty miles per hour or more.  Seemed like more to me, especially when I was unable to relax in the bathtub for all the roaring outside, as well as stuff flying around and hitting the side of the house.

For three days I was on heightened alert for broken windows and a torn off roof.   I’ve never experience such unrelenting wind.  WIND.  It was almost like a nonstop tornado, except it wasn’t twirly and I didn’t see any witches flying around in the gusts, nor did I get whisked away to Oz.

But there was this…

Sticks

 

Branches

 

Sticks and Branches

 

Thankfully the Headquarters is intact.  There will be much clean-up outside, but I’ll leave most of that chore to Husby as 1) he loves chores and 2) he wants to play with his chainsaw.

Speaking of Husby and the past few days of ferocious winds, I’d like to present a somewhat delightful yet weird video.  The song was sung by Husby’s class in grade school, and to this day he performs it for me when appropriate (lately for sure) along with a very creative interpretive dance.  The man in the video is definitely not Husby, but a man with equal vivaciousness for life.  Enjoy!

 

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I Know Famous People

It’s pretty cool when you discover a hidden talent in someone you’ve known for a while.  Mark Caselius has been hiding his talent from Husby and me for a long time, although his wife Connie knew it was there all along.  Luckily for the world Mark is starting to show off his pieces of art and impressing the heck out of people who had no idea he had it in him.

A few weeks ago Husby and I received an invitation to an artists’ reception at an art gallery in the Twin Cities.  Mark was one of the featured artists.

Gallery receptions are a little bit out of our league but we had a fine time watching the people and eating little food.  Little food is essential at gallery receptions, I think.  They served little wine too, but we passed on that indulgence.   Plus, it’s all free!  Those artists sure know how to throw a party.

The reception was visited by local TV personality Diana Pierce. That’s her with the red hair – she’s as beautiful as ever.

Mark had two paintings on display.  I thought his shadowing was stunning.

 

I asked Mark if I could take a picture of him with his art and he was more than happy to pose.  Funny thing, he looked more grave in the photo than I’d ever seen him before.  He must take his art very seriously.  I don’t blame him.

The next photo shows Mark how I usually see him.  He’s a goof.  A very talented goof, but a goof nonetheless.

Mark is famous now – I hope he’ll always have some time for the little people.  Husby and I are so happy for Mark and his renewed passion for creating art and hope to be able to see more of it in the near future.

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