Saturday, June 30, 2007

My House...Once My Home......

Today when we scanned the Daily Herald for estate sales I saw an ad for a moving sale at my old house. It is going to be torn down next week to make way for a local church expansion. It is a house that has not been loved in a long time...
Our First House

That is the first house I ever lived in, ever. Prior to moving to Chicago I was what they call a cliff apartment renter. When I moved here I was lucky enough to live in that cozy Cape Cod house with Bill for just under a month, when Christopher made an appearance, three weeks before his due date. We lived together in that great little house for four years before moving for a short time to Appleton, Wisconsin.

I loved that house for many reasons. It was my home...not an apartment..but my home. It was exciting. I felt complete there. It was just enough space for the three of us. My life with Bill was brand new and everything seemed possible.

It was the place where I brought my first baby home. Becoming a mother was a dream come true. I was in love, I had a new delicious new baby, I lived in a house that felt like me....what could have been better.

I love the house I live in now. It is wonderful and beautiful and cool and comfortable. But I will always love that sweet Cape Cod. So given the chance to visit it one more time, I knew that I had no choice but to go.

I think that somewhere in the back of my mind, I had always hoped somehow to have one of my children live there. It was a good house, with a good, loving history, so I suppose I wished that my children might live there and experience that history too. But it's not meant to be.

We all drove over to visit the house. Even Max, Mollie and Tess, who never lived there, came along. They have heard stories about the three of us living there, and as it is only a few blocks from our present home, they have driven past on a regular basis.

It was strange stepping over the threshold of a place that I haven't seen in 18 years, and still feeling like it was home. Things had changed of course. The beautiful hardwood floors were hidden away with carpeting, the lovely painted woodwork covered with a faux wood stain, the lightness and charm that is inherent to Cape Cod houses was nearly gone....yet something calm, quiet and serene remained.

It was hard being there. It was wonderful being there. I missed the sense of beginning a new life that only a first house, a first baby and a new marriage can bring. But I was surrounded by my husband and my children, that which means the most to me, and so why should I mourn this loss? I don't know yet. I don't know what this meant to me. I think I will have to take some time to discover what it all means. It's something I have to know.

So then, after all is said and done....this is a photo of Christopher taken when he was just a little guy, all dressed and ready to walk with me to the library, to enjoy the summer reading program...such a happy guy on such a happy day....
Christopher Then

And here he is today, at our old house, still looking ready for anything that comes his way....
Christopher Now

One last note...we were able to take with us the trellis from the side of the house. It once held beautiful blue Morning Glories, and hopefully now will do the same at our home. It's hard to believe that this little wooden trellis, that we put up over twenty years ago is still strong and in one piece. I suppose too, so are we.
Our Trellis

A Big Change for Max!

Max Before Glasses
Max After Glasses
I love his new look. It's very hip.

I remember vividly the day, I was 12, when I got my very first pair of glasses. I sat near the window in the eye doctors office in Getty Square, and as he placed the glasses on my face I turned and SAW for the first time. I actually saw the street and the people and the cars driving by. I saw colors I didn't recognize. I hadn't know that there was a world outside the window that I had never seen. I remember that moment as one of the most important of my life passages.

It's hard to explain this to those who haven't experienced it themselves. I still get chills thinking about it. I'm glad that Max will see things now for the first time.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Thrifting and Other Delights

Friday is usually the day that Bill and I (and if we are lucky, the girls) venture out to local estate sales and the occasional garage sale. Bill looks for tools and I look for aprons, sewing things and pretty much anything that looks cool and seems that no one else really wants. We are both into great graphics and often will buy an item not for the contents of the box, rather for the box itself.

Like this.....
Shoe Shine

Today was a nice thrifting day. We went to a garage sale in a neighboring town where Bill bought a jigsaw, the girls a few pieces of jewelry, a few vintage fans for me....
New Fans
But very best of all we spent some time with the homeowners who were running the garage sale. We found that we shared a love of tools, the warm weather of Florida, gardening and have dabbled in selling on eBay.

Sometimes I think that this is the very best part of attending estate and garage sales. Not so much the fun things you come across, rather the interesting and kind people that you meet. Here is a photo of one such person...she was a sweetheart....
Lovely Garage Sale Friend
And on we went to a church sale in yet another town. This one was advertised as enormous, and though it was big, the enormity was more in terms of clothing than in the cool, unusual things we usually look for at sales. The girls had a ball thought. Clothes were $.50 and $1.00. They managed to pick up a few things here and there.
Tess at St. Anne's Sale
Mollie at St. Anne's Sale
We ended up tired and hungry at Portillo's for lunch.
Lunch Out
The food is good, the noise level, but I'm glad I don't do this often.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Peace...Whoosh!...and Peace Once Again...

I woke up today at the ungodly hour of 5AM, and just could not fall back to sleep, so I got up, made coffee, tidied up the house and read "Warm Springs", a wonderful, engrossing book written by a woman who, as a ten year old child, lived at the Georgia facility for polio patients in the early 1950's.

Relaxing out on the quiet, sunlit deck...and just as I was reaching the end of the book....I heard a loud crack and the unmistakable...whoosh...of a large branch falling away from our ash tree, which is RIGHT over the window of the greenhouse. Luckily, the branch missed the window and just nicked the roof a bit. What a way to begin an otherwise peaceful morning!
What a Way to Start the Day
The rest of the day followed smoothly, with Tess having her own music lessons, as well as teaching four of her six piano students. We had a nice visit with the mother of two of her students, who are fellow homeschoolers, and we finally finished trimming the fruit trees, which now look wonderful.
Vibrant Blooms
New Blooms
Something New in the Garden

Tess managed to capture a beautiful, peaceful sunset at the end of our day.
Night Sky by Tess
That's all for today.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I Can't Believe I Forgot My Camera!!!!!!!!!

I am falling down on the job. I, who have become physically attached to my camera since the beginning of June, forgot to bring my camera with me today. Today! On a day of some of the most beautiful music heard in a long time.....I don't know what I was thinking...or not thinking.

Bill, Mollie, Tess and myself attended a wonderful harp/clarinet concert this afternoon at the Indian Trails Public Library. Performing were Annette and Kurt Bjorling, "Duo Controverso".
Harp Concert
The program was presented by the Chicago YIVO Society, a group which educates and entertains audiences in Yiddish culture. We had no idea that the focus of the music would be Jewish folk music and we were delighted at hearing these complex, beautiful traditional songs.

Bill even managed to spend some time talking with Kurt, the clarinetist, gathering musical insights about playing the clarinet. Kurt seemed impressed that Bill is learning clarinet without the aid of a teacher. We are too.
Proud of Dad-O

I surprised everyone on the way home by taking them to Dairy Queen for an ice cream treat to top off the afternoon.
DQ Dip Cone
Feeling invigorated after this lively music and delicious ice cream, we began to work on the side of the garage. Lack of natural light was making it nearly impossible to grow anything in this spot...if hosta can't grow, then you know you have low light!
Droopy Hosta
So we dug out the few plants there, transplanted them elsewhere, put down some plastic and began to fill in the space with stones. sometimes happens...we discovered we woefully underestimated the number of bags of stones we needed, and yet another trip to Menard's was in the works.

Went to Menard's, got the stones, and then the rains came......
After the Rain by Christopher this isn't a photo of today's rain...but it IS a photo of another rain storm and I so, so love this photo that Christopher had taken that I used a sort of photographic poetic license here....

At any rate, it rained, we waited out the rain, went back to work, and here is the finished product.
Stones by Garage
Now to find some black iron architectural elements for the garage wall, and I think we will call this project done.

Additional Photos - Tess's Birthday...

Lunch at our very favorite Arlington Heights restaurant, Gumrai Thai...incredible food at each and every visit.
Gumrai Thai
Tess After Lunch
We all made a quick run to Costco to pick up Tess's very delicious birthday cake...though somehow we seem to have misplaced the photos of said cake...will post them when found.
Picking Up Tess's Cake
Tess & Mollie
Tess & Max
Tess & Melissa
Yes, Tess finally received a long, long awaited digital camera of her own....
New Camera
Happiness....and all from a personally autographed music tote bag, signed by her beloved composer Jon Schmidt!
Tess with Jon Schmidt Totebag
Once again, Happy 14th Birthday Tess!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hot, Hot, Hot!

It is hot. It is muggy. The strong sun is bearing down on us, making our yard work difficult to finish. We are still trimming, transplanting and making our gardens once again lovely as summer gardens always are.

Perhaps gardens are not ever meant to be complete. They change with the weather, with the years and, of course, with all of us. Yet, there are times when I DO wish the work was not so long and hard. Then again....when winter comes around I will be waxing nostalgic about the wonders of this beautiful space we have made. I will stop complaining....for now....

Tess has been taking dozens and dozens of photos with her new birthday camera. Once I can whisk it away from her, I will post some of her work here.

In the meantime, here are some of the garden elements we are working with. Some have been in our gardens for many, many years. I love them all.
Frog from Now Defunct Goebberts
Bird Bath
Bird Feeder
Cobalt Blue
Greenhouse Door
Garden Mirror
Back Door Gong
Garden Gong