My Novels

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let's go for a walk!

The past two days have been gloriously warm, sunny, a preview of spring and how much I'll enjoy living here again during that season. Not only am I looking forward to the wonderful weather, I'm already planning where I'll have my small veggie garden in this yard. I'll post a photo at the end of this with that area -- in a corner of my fenced backyard.

Yesterday I carried the camera with me as I walked the dogs through the neighborhood. Come along and see what we experience on our walks....

Half block from my front door, heading east down the street toward the creek

Street that borders the creek. You can't actually see the creek for the woods, but I can hear it after a heavy rain

At the end of the creek street, looking out across a field and an old house. Not sure anyone lives there now, but the original owner's adult kids own all this open land (sitting on a fortune there for developers!)

Now walking west, the street facing the empty land and other side with houses

Turned left at the corner of that street, still bordering the vacant field, heading south

Looking across field which runs downhill to the same creek behind the other house I will sell; those houses in the distance are on the streets where I walked my dogs in the neighborhood. Only a few blocks and the fields/creek between the two houses.

Turning corner to street that borders the nearby park where I sometimes walk dogs, and used to ride my bike every day (plan to start again when weather is better)

And then we ran into this dog -- who followed me home the other day and seemed to want to live here. However, the young lady at that house came out, said she was having a hard time keeping him without a fence. Said her hubby just got back from Iraq, and they'd found the dog starving at a nearby truck stop, rescued it. Oscar & Rambo had to do their usual "meet & greet" sniffing specific body parts, posturing, etc. The dog was very submissive, probably realized that Rambo is the ALPHA dog. LOL

This the last street, heading back to our house. My niece and her children live just before the end of that street; the kids were out playing, so we stopped and they petted the dogs, etc.

And last, this is the corner where I plan to have my veggie garden next spring/summer. I will have a small fence built to keep the dogs out. It should be an excellent spot, enough sun but some shade for lettuce, fragile greens. The straw from the pines is a bonus, already there to use once raked up in the spring!

I don't always walk those streets; sometimes I head up my street, which is only a block from the historic district. The next time I go, I'll take my camera along and get some photos of the beautiful historic homes. The best part is the sidewalks, which go all the way into town. If only we still had a grocery store I could just walk there to buy stuff. However, now there's only specialty shops, nothing similar to how it was when I was growing up with "mom & pop" grocery stores, department stores, ice cream parlor, the Ritz movie theater, etc. Shame we have to drive to either the north or south end of town to buy from Wally World or big chain crap stores. We lost most of the charm of a small southern town when that happened, starting in the mid-80s and still continues today.

Blustery, rainy day now, and I have several rental movies to watch over the next couple days. A great memoir I'm about halfway through "Perfection" by Julie Metz. It details her husband's unexpected, untimely death and then the horrible discovery he'd been cheating on her for YEARS! Fascinating read.

I'm also looking forward to watching, "My Sister's Keeper" which everyone says is good. Yet I've heard the film departs from the novel's ending -- and I'm curious. If it's very drastic, I can't imagine the author could have been happy about that!

As for Christmas, I already have my gifts: the large plasma TV, this renovation, and my move back HOME. What could have been better, even if I paid for it all myself. A gift to me, from me.

We had a small family get-together last Saturday, went to a restaurant to eat, exchange inexpensive gifts. Now they all seem to have come down with some kind of stomach virus, but I'm fine (so far). Keeping my fingers crossed...

That's it for now. More to come next week when I write my year end summation of this past year and plans/hopes for the New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

House tour photos

We're having a blustery day, turning colder (after 70 yesterday!) overcast, rain predicted. Dull, dull, dull...winter in Dixie. I may have a touch of seasonal disorder, because I feel like hibernating most of the cold, dark months. Miss that energizing sunshine!

At any rate, I have photos of the house/yard. The only room not photographed is my second/guest bedroom. I haven't hung pictures in there, decided to buy new ones and still looking. Also need a new twin-bed comforter set too.

Here we go...(as usual, click on photo for enlarged view)

Walking in the front door into the living room. DH & I refinished that hardwood floor, and I didn't want to put laminate flooring over it. Shined it, bought a small carpet rug instead. We also put crown moulding at the top of this room too.

The living room as seen from the hallway door

Hallway with laundry area behind the double white doors

The bathroom...and yes, it's smallish. There is a nice-sized bathtub/shower if I want to soak (rarely do) and the essentials. NOT a bathroom dweller, and have never quite understood the obsession with monsterous, numerous bathrooms in new houses!

My bedroom with wood shutters and the original bedroom suite DH & I bought when we married. Also the door is open to a huge walk-in closet I LOVE!

Another view of the bedroom with my chair/lamp

One of my TV indulgences; this was bought the Christmas before DH died, out-of-date projection TV. However, I was able to fit it in a recessed area of the bedroom. I did this because should I ever become sick, I'd spend time in that bed -- and would appreciate having a big-screen TV.

Walking into the kitchen from the hallway -- there's a kitchen/den combo I LOVE! I can stand in the kitchen, or eat at the bar, look outside into my private wood-fenced backyard. Or watch the new TV I bought in the den.

New plasma TV I bought at Walmart. It's amazing how prices have fallen on those TVs. I paid HALF what DH & I paid for that heavy, projection TV just 4 years ago!!!

Looking from den back into kitchen across bar, my desk beside the two chairs

The loveseat where I sit to watch TV, and usually have the dogs on either side of me!

My fenced backyard -- the view from my porch

View of house from backyard. The patio rocks made a great place for a kennel -- which the dogs rarely use. Mostly they go out the doggie doors, across the porch and into the yard. However, should I get sick I can close that gate on the porch and they could go in/out of house to poop in the kennel area. I'd only need someone to drop by and replenish food/water occasionally. (Yes, living alone, I think of these things & prepare) To the right you will see a sunporch where the cats stay during the day; they come inside at night for play & pet time with me. I use the detached garage for storage now; DH used to have a work shop in there. To the left (unseen) is a carport on the other side of the house, where I park my car.

Oscar on the back porch, a sunny day

I have no picture of the front of the house from the street because next spring I have some extensive plans for "curb appeal." Plan to have stucco foundation bricked, a make-over of the small front porch/steps/sidewalk. That can wait though till warm weather returns.

Last summer I spent hours looking at condos in our city. Most were just ridiculously expensive - and only included maintenance on the outside of the building, yard care. I decided this house would be similar to a small condo, just have a yard (which I need due to the dogs). I can do lawn care here, plan to get an electric mower, already have an electric weedeater. I raked all the tons of leaves already this fall, so I'm pretty sure I can handle yard care. If not, it will not cost nearly as much to hire it done as it did at the other house with the enormous yard.

And most importantly, this feels like HOME since DH & I lived here 25 years.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stray cat buffet pictures

When I lived in this house before, I always had cat food/water out for the strays. I still see them slinking, starved-looking, around the neighborhood and wanted to re-establish a feeding area in my backyard. I am hoping our community can soon develop a feral cat program: trap, neuter/spay, release. If that happens, then I will already have an established point from which to lure strays into a safe trap for the program.

At any rate, what I have now is makeshift, but works perfectly. It is shielded from the dogs' access, yet that is not terribly important because most stray cats prowl/eat at night when my dogs are inside in their crate.

Without further ado, here's the photos. (Click on pix for larger version)

This is looking across my back yard; the feeding station is at the far right rear

This is closer, which shows fallen tree limbs I stacked in front of the feeder

Different angle of the feeder showing holly bush

And finally...this is what is behind the wood barrier

I stacked up some fallen limbs in front of the wood to give a bit better barrier for the dogs; they are curious, but do not try to get over it, nor could they do so. I also have another long piece of wood I put atop this area when it's rainy to prevent food getting soaked.

I have seen an occasional stray cat slinking along the top of the fence, then descending down into the feeder area late in the afternoon. Therefore, I know it's working - especially when there's NO food the next morning.


(Tomorrow, the photo house tour. Still have a couple of small details to work out in formal living room before posting pictures.)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Snow pictures

I had planned a long, detailed entry -- but I'm exhausted, again! Spent all day sorting, unpacking, hanging pictures, working. Why am I the kind of person who cannot rest until a project is completed? What's up with that? I've always been that way, and even on a trip I don't like to stop until I'm at my destination. DH & I shared this type personality; needless to say, we were workaholics.

Today has been wonderful! I'm getting over the emotional reactions of moving from the other house, and awoke this morning feeling like I am HOME -- the first time I've felt this RIGHT in the six years I've been gone. I put my play list of favorite songs on my computer while I worked, and as I occasionally stood staring out at the lovely snowy landscape I could feel creativity beckoning. I suppose it is the feeling I knew so well here; life was not just a blitz of somber reality. I lived in my alternate universe of creative imagination, which spawned my novels, stories and poetry. It is tugging at me, and for the first time in a long time, I think I'll soon be inspired to write creatively again.

How is it that a particular "place" can feel so right, so true, so inspirational? Certainly there is nothing special about this house -- it's not even considered a desired property, small, close to other houses. Yet, it holds my heart, my soul and I am so HAPPY to be home. I don't think I'll ever voluntarily leave here again.

At any rate, I wanted to post the pictures of snow today. It created a winter wonderland in the neighborhood. (Click on pictures for enlarged version)

This is looking down the street at the front of my house. In the afternoon when the sun was brilliant, I walked the dogs down that way -- a great walking route. A wooded area borders the same creek behind the other house I own; an open field, no traffic along those streets. (Will take my camera one day and get photos to post.)

This is looking up the same street at the front of my house

This is my backyard -- LOVE the privacy fence! I remember one winter years ago when we had a HUGE snowfall; DH went to the back of our yard, and was up to his knees in snow. I have a picture of that.

The beautiful snowy trees above my garage

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Move

Well, here I am -- in the house DH and I lived in for 25 years. I thought it would seem the same, but it doesn't, of course. The renovation changed the interior to some extent, and then there's the time I was away: 6 years. I think I'll get used to it, but right now I miss my other house.

That is because I'm a silly ninny when it comes to houses: I miss them as if they were a human. A house is not just a house to me; it is the essence of your experiences in that place. A repository of memories, so to speak, and I've cried every time I've moved -- whether I liked the place or not. So I'm grieving a bit tonight, and probably will for the next few days.

In that house I went through all the stages of grief after losing a spouse; I cried, I screamed, I had my fits of despair. I worked at the newspaper while there (though I did so while at this house years ago); I got my two dogs there, and lost several cats. Though I'm not a very social person, and there were no significant people issues there, I still experienced a lot of emotional episodes in that house. I will miss it, and I will surely miss the neighborhood because I knew all the people there. Walking the dogs gets you acquainted with neighbors in a way nothing else can. But I can still visit them, and since I won't put the house up for sale until January, I'll be over there off and on till then. (The cleaning, the touch-up painting, lots of work still to do there.)

Yes, I miss DH a bit more here, but I think in time that will settle down somewhat. Mostly there's more memories of he and I here, our life together, but they are treasured memories. I finally realized I could never sell this house, and I simply cannot take care of two houses. If one had to go, it had to be the one I'd lived in only 3 years.

Anyway, the cats are adapting well. They hid in their quarters on the special sunporch where I always had my cats; but last night they came in and explored. Bitty is still exploring, but Slinky seems to recognize this place; she is the only cat I returned with after the two moves.

The dogs were somewhat unsettled yesterday, mainly because of the noise and confusion of the furniture being moved, etc. Last night Oscar retired to his quarters, slept fine last night. But Rambo kept walking through the house, whining so I let him sleep on the bed with me. Today they are better, and have always seemed to accept any place as long as I am there! They'll have to adjust a bit more, but since they'd been here a lot already, it shouldn't be too difficult.

All the tech stuff, TV/phone/internet is working great. I didn't have phone service last night, and I missed it. Even though I rarely talk on the phone other than to family.

Tomorrow is my 58th birthday, and my sister/mother will be here visiting. I really hate this time of year...starting with Thanksgiving, my birthday and Christmas. Once New Year's Day is here, I'm fine. I guess it orginated with the lousy holiday season I endured as a child; some traumas linger for a lifetime.

Maybe I can get back to writing now, or at least have more time for it once the other house is ready to sell.

With that, I'm outta here.