Saturday, June 29, 2013

All That is Left is the Roses

classy by jennifernish
classy, a photo by jennifernish on Flickr.

 We have lived in our current house for almost 10 years now, and many days of those 10 years have been spent walking with Riley and Scout through our neighborhood.

I have seen many changes to the neighborhood over these past 10 years. Mainly in the form of houses being bought and sold. Younger families moving in and older couples moving out, needing a smaller place with less yard.

There have also been the cases where the moving truck comes but only half of the house's possessions leave. A sad reminder that vows pledged to spend a lifetime together didn't go as planned.

There are also two houses that I know of where only one spouse remains but for a different reason, a reason of great sadness. The lifetime that they envisioned together cut short by a ravaging disease.

The two houses that I thought about most this morning on our walk have experienced the ultimate loss, the loss of it's sole surviving occupant.

The first house was owned by an elderly lady, who was easily in her 80's when we moved here. She only lived in the house in the summer. I am assuming spending the colder months in a warmer climate.

Buick, a photo by cdine on Flickr

I remember she would come roaring out of her driveway in her monstrous Buick, making me extremely cautious as I approached her house. In the Winter when I walked past I could see through the thin sheer curtains the mannequin she had sitting on the couch. As the Winter wore on the mannequin's head would tilt closer and closer to her shoulder. Anyone just causally passing by would think the dear lady had passed on and was slowly deteriorating.

One Spring there was no roaring Buick but instead a For Sale sign in the front yard, and all her possessions were lined up in the driveway as part of an Estate Sale. Quite quickly the house was sold to the people next door, who tore it down and made the former site of the house a green space and garden. I miss the old gal and her Buick, but most of all, I miss seeing that mannequin in the window every Winter.

It is the second house that got me writing this post in my head as the dogs and I continued our Journey towards home. As we rounded the corner at our half way point in the walk, there they were...his lovingly cared for roses lit beautifully by the early morning sun. In glorious full bloom along his split rail fence. Each Spring he would be out there on his wheeled garden stool, tenderly weeding around each rose bush.

Saskia II (KC-19) a photo by handforged on Flickr
I never exchanged many words with him other than the occasional "hello", "Good Morning" or "it's a beautiful day", so I don't know much about his life other than what I observed. I know that he loved to sail at one point in his life, since there was a beauty of a wooden sailboat that sat in his side yard. I never saw it leave that spot though, so I think he was past his sailing days, but once in a while I would see him on a ladder next to it tinkering away, so I know he still loved his boat, possibly as much as he loved those roses.

I knew things changed the year the ceramic Christmas tree stayed on the table in the front window through all four seasons. Then the sad things happened, a For Sale sign went up on the sailboat, and a For Sale sign went in the front yard. I saw the cars with the out of state license plates emptying the house into a U-Haul truck. 

It took a while for the house to sell, and I am not sure the new owners live there other than in the summer. Thankfully though they have left his roses and have even weeded around them. They still bloom gloriously every summer, an ongoing testimony to the love he put into them. 

Someday we will sell this house and downsize, moving closer to wherever Mallory finally settles. This made me wonder what people will remember about me and our house. I am hoping they will remember the lady who dutifully walked her two golden retrievers through the heat of Summer, the rain of Spring and the cold of Winter. They will remember the house that always had it's garage door open when we were home. They will remember the lady who did still life photography on her front porch, and the year she finally did something with her hideous side garden and made it beautiful.

What will people remember about you and your house? I would love to hear your story.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Not Much to Say...

Ok... that isn't really true. I have lots to say, just no time to say it.

Summer is flying by way too fast. I know for those of you with kids in Elementary School through High School your summer just started, but for those of us with college kids, our summer is half over already.

Mallory leaves for her 5 week Campus Crusade Summer Mission Project trip to Montana in less than two weeks. We leave for our two week road trip to Montana in just over a month. By the time we all get home from Montana, there will be two and a half weeks before we pack Mallory up, take her back to school and move her into her apartment. So time is becoming very precious...

Hence why I have not been writing much here at Becoming a Finisher. I have been focusing my spare time on my photography this summer. I am sure it is because of our road trip. I want to be the best I am capable of so that I can capture some awesome shots on this trip. The scenery promises to be amazing, so I need to bring my A game.

For the moment I seem to have worked through all my heavy, thought provoking problems. I am sure given time that some new ones will find me.

Exercise - I am still working out with my personal trainer, Maribeth once a week. I am also still taking the High Intensity Interval Training class on Thursday nights. I dropped yoga for the summer, just to free up a day. I have started on the chin-up bar in the last couple of weeks, I am up to 5 shaky ones. Goal is to get to 7 strong ones.

Weight - Is in the maintenance mode, mainly I am gaining muscle, as we continue to concentrate on my upper body strength.

Self-Portraits - I haven't had much spare time to work on these this summer, and to be honest no burning desire to work on them right now. I did convince Mallory to take a new profile picture of me this week. It is current - the current season, the current hair style and length, glasses are coming next week.

Food - Meals continue to be hit or miss around here. I am mainly sticking to things that can be heated up quickly and fast meals. Although, Mallory did make a delicious, healthy Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp the other night. Get the recipe here.

Yes, the ice cream may diminish the healthy qualities a wee little bit, but it is so yummy!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

I'm a Glasses Kind of Girl

I wanted them to work...

Okay maybe I was only kind of hopeful they would work. But I did give them a try and much to my disappointment or delight they just aren't for me.

I spent last Wednesday morning in a one-on-one contact session, learning how to put them in and take them out, as well as, general care. It only took me ten minutes and I had the whole in and out routine under control.

I have worn contacts before, but that was back in high school, so almost 30 years ago. Back then you had very few choices, basically there was hard or soft. One pair lasted you for a whole year, hopefully.

Today there is daily wear, two week wear and more.

I tried the daily wear last week Wednesday. I was not impressed with those. They don't make the prescription I need for my right eye, so everything was a bit fuzzy in that eye. There was also a weird gapping on the sides in my peripheral vision. I couldn't wait to get home and take those out.

Today I tried the two week wear ones. They fit better and the prescription was correct for both eyes, but my close up vision was not so good (normally it is fine). I had to don my husband's readers to write my check out for church. So what am I gaining here by going to contacts? Nothing!

The really weird thing about wearing contacts for me was that I felt so exposed. I never thought I was hiding behind my glasses, but I guess they are a barrier between me and the world, and I am okay with that.

I have been looking at new frames while all of this has been going on. I have found a couple pair that I really like. I want something a little different from what I have now. When you wear the same thing everyday for two years you like to change it up a bit.

I was almost ready to make my frame decision when the owner of my favorite optical shop dangled a carrot in front of me. He said "I have a lot of new frames coming into the store in the next couple of weeks". I will keep these two options in mind (I do have a favorite) when the new ones come in and see if anything else tempts me. So you might get to see a few more options before the final decision is made.