Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Treading Water

This is the pool in my subdivision where I do my "treading"

I am down in Georgia this week, returning for to Milwaukee on July 4 for my last few weeks of work. Then I will be down here for good! Whew!

Every evening since I've been here I have gone to the pool. It is a large saltwater pool and in the early evening hours not crowded at all. The water is warm, but refreshing. I realize just how out of shape I am! I was always a strong swimmer, but I found myself huffing and puffing after 10 strokes!

I was raised on water, or so it seems. My parents always rented cottages "up north" in Wisconsin. I remember taking swimming lessons at a local high school when I was young, but it was my father who really taught me (and my sisters) how to swim. My mom wasn't much of a water gal, but my dad just loved swimming and water activities. He learned to water ski at age 60! As kids my friend, Bethy and I spent hours in her small swimming pool located in her backyard and both our parents took us to local lakes for swimming and picnics. The hours Bethy and I spent in the water when we were young! It is amazing we didn't grow fins (as my mother said we would)! My parents eventually purchased lake property in northern Wisconsin, built a house and retired there. Oh - the fun my family had at that lake house!

One of my favorite things to do in the water is to tread water. When I was younger I really could do it for hours. Basically staying in one place, arms and legs moving, watching the clouds, the shoreline, the birds and insects, I just loved it.

So now, in a swimming pool in Georgia, I find myself in the deepest area of the pool (5 feet) treading water. While I still try to do laps - and I am noticing a difference in my stamina every day - I realize that treading water probably gives me the same amount of exercise - all my body parts are moving and I can enjoy both the people and nature all around me.

Last evening, alone in the pool except for one other lone swimmer, I was enjoying the big, puffy white clouds when it occurred to me that not only was I treading water in the pool, but in real life, too. Caught between still working full time and retirement in less than a month, I have no need where to go anywhere in particular, but need to keep paddling and my head above the water.

The future is wide open to me now. I will need to find a part-time job this fall, but I can take my time. I can swim a little and tread water. Or, I can keep treading water for a while and just rest. There are so many things I want to do and experience. Now I have all the time in the world.

I don't want to tread water forever. Good exercise as it is, I need to work my mind, push myself to do a few more strokes, swim from one end to the other and keep going, get my body and mind in better shape.

But, for now it is okay to stop, tread the water, watch the clouds, talk to a neighbor, follow the path of a dragonfly. As long as my head is above the water!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Now You See Me, Now You Don't

I need window treatments for my kitchen window and glass door in my new home. Yes, it looks out to the green belt - full of trees, but this city girl is use to closing the house up at night.

My first night in my new home I sat down for a very late supper at my kitchen table and noticed my reflection in the window. I realized any one could look in and see me. I realized there was probably no one out there to look in and see me. I realized that being a woman who lived in the city all her life (single a great percentage of it) I always closed all curtains, blinds, drapes - whatever it was covering my windows as soon as it got dark. It is called self protection. In my 20s I took a women's self defence class offered by the Milwaukee Police Department. One piece of advice - close window treatments at dusk. I took it seriously.

So, sitting there eating dinner was freaking me out. I have nice blinds on every single window in my home (provided by the builder) and am slowly adding additional window treatments to these windows, but the builder seems to have forgotten the kitchen window and door. I hadn't noticed this before and since I had enough fabric from my last home to make valences for these two windows, that was my plan. Valences won't work now. They won't cover the whole window pane when darkness falls.

What to do? I settled on Romans shades. They don't take up much room or sunlight during the day, but would add the color needed in the room. Pulled down at night they would give my paranoid mind peace!

I've been pouring over catalogs and drapery internet sites and came up with nothing I liked. Nada. I googled a pattern to make my own, but it is a little beyond my capabilities. My sister Suzanne knows of an excellent seamstress in her area who can and will make them for me. Perfect. Now, to find material. I poured over internet options, visited local fabric shops. Nada. I knew just exactly what I wanted, but why isn't it out there?

Finally I found this fabric at Calico Corners (sounds like a quilt shop but it is not). It is as close to what I had pictured as possible and will go well with my china and other kitchen decor. As an old friend would say, "It is very Julie Ann-ish." And, it is. So, I will order the fabric, get it down to Georgia and in 2-3 months I should have my shades.

By that time I will probably be use to seeing my reflection in the window at night and realize there are no bogymen out there!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Long Drives/Good Books

I have been listening to audio books in my car for years. I just love it. Not only am I able to "read" more books, but it makes driving so much more pleasant. Audio books opened up a whole new world of books for me.

Some "readers" (the people who read the book on the CD, usually professional actors) I like better than others. I have reserved audio books from the public library based on the reader - again, leading me to books I probably never would have picked up and read.

Last month I drove to Canton, GA with my doggie girls to spend time settling into my new home. Thank goodness I had two audio books to listen to during the 13 1/2 hour drive down and then back. Listening to books made the long drive go by faster. On the way home, the last couple of hours I finished up the 2nd book I took for the trip. Luckily, I was able to listen to NPR the rest of the trip, but it wasn't the same.

In a week I will be making the long drive again. This time I am bringing 3 books on the trip. Over 30 hours of "reading" time. It is still a 13 1/2 drive for me and audio books or not, I'm still exhausted when I arrive and tired the next day. But, the drive time goes faster, I feel I stay more alert, and it's fun.

Try it. You'll like it!

P.S. All said and done - nothing will ever replace snuggling down in a comfy chair and just reading a good book. As much as I love my Kindle, which is also great for travel (although not while driving LOL), I still love turning the pages and losing my self in the magic of words.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Little Sewing Machine

I have been hauling this little "toy" sewing machine around for years. I think it might have been mine as a child, but I don't remember it. It is in mint condition and still works. In fact, when I pulled it out of its original box there was still a scrap of material on it.
Can anyone tell me something about it?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Welcome Home Pictures

Here are some pictures of my new home in Georgia. My house is a work in progress so it isn't 100% (& probably never will be!). I didn't include pictures of the dining room because it is still full of boxes and misc. moving things. Also, I only included one picture of my master bedroom because that room will be decorated after I make a quilt for the bed this winter. The room will be decorated around the quilt. But, this is it so far. I just love it! (You may double click on most pictures to get a better look.)

It may seem like a funny place to start, but these are some of the
beautiful shelves in the garage built by Marlon, my wonderful brother-in-law

Welcome to my front porch. I've already had my morning coffee there
many times. Humming birds come to the feeder, too.

Front door greeting

Front door

I love these curtains in my living room from Country Curtains

"Hall way" table

I love the fireplace and will decorate the mantel per the seasons

Living room, looking from dining room

Looking into kitchen from the dining room

One side of kitchen - I forgot to take a picture of the sink side

New kitchen set - looking into porch

Kitchen back door

Screened porch off kitchen

View over the back fence - green belt area

Love this view

Back fence

Master bedroom with Friendship Star quilt

Quilting room closet with wonderful shelves built by the
best brother-in-law in the world

Quilting room window with window valence I made out
of one of my mom's old table clothes

Guest bedroom corner

Guest bedroom wall - thank you Suzanne, Barbara & Jennifer

Guest bathroom with my "glowing" head.

Yes, I sure am!