I spent last week in Grimes. Not realizing that we were headed for the hottest week of the year I had dug up some of my lavender to transplant. I dug out several bushes,
which was really hard work, along the driveway, planted the lavender, and well, lets' just say they deserved a better fate. I was able to find some fresh plants when I returned to Nebraska and will baby them until I can get them in the ground in Iowa - probably next week. It.was.so.hot. It was almost too hot to walk Charlie already at 7:30/8:00 each morning.
I also did paperwork and orientation at the Grimes Public Library. My first day will be Tuesday, August 2. This means that I will probably wait until late next week to return to Grimes. We'll see.
On my return to Nebraska I had yard work to do. I was eaten alive. There won't be any pictures, but I have welts - some of them 4 inches - on my arms and legs. They should market an economy size tube of anti-itch stuff. At my current rate of use I'll need another tube tomorrow.
We still don't have a date for our closing so plans are being made a few days at time as we wait out these last 2 (or so) weeks.
I also have plans to phase out this blog but have made a start here: http://foryourconsdideration.blogspot.com/
to cover aspects of a new life in Grimes/Des Moines. Stop over and take a look.
My biggest problem is that I can't find the French audio word of the day gadget, and can't figure out how to transfer it to the new blog. I may have to keep this blog active just to enjoy that gadget. Any suggestions?
I appreciate being able to work some odd hours, after having quit earlier, but it is time to look forward. While it's possible that our house closing won't happen for several weeks yet, I am
splitting my time between Nebraska and Iowa.
Monday morning will find me at the Grimes Public Library for paperwork and orientation.
It's been a very busy week - mowing, weeding, working, planning, laundry, cleaning, packing, waiting, have all taken their turn in claiming my attention.
Here are the promised pictures of last week's trip to Grimes.
I think I could get a job at the circus - stuffing clowns into small cars. Or parachute folding. Let me know if you hear of any openings. (Actually it would be more fun to practice these skills on a suitcase for an exotic vacation)
Knowing this weekend would include some family time, I started right away Saturday afternoon and managed a nap, hung a shower curtain and added some things to my bathroom, distributed the goods I had brought along, swept floors, and added a few touches to the kitchen and bedroom. I got quite a lot done before Naphtali and Aidan arrived and all work ceased.
It had recently occurred to me that I currently inhabit a bathroom with 8 drawers - 5 of which contain my stuff.
My new bathroom contains 2 drawers, although the linen closet is located inside the room giving me access to whatever I might need.
Baskets and bins should do the trick.
Company will claim the use of this bathroom, meaning that I will temporarily share Tim's and need certain things to be somewhat portable.
(We've had the pleasure of company already, you know)
Aidan and Naphtali came down for part of the weekend and we went to Fort Dodge to see my mother and sister for a while on Sunday. We grilled kabobs and enjoyed an easy visit.
Lake Cornelius was Monday's destination for a few hours with the Kauffmans and Larry & Mary, who were enjoying the company of their daughter-in-law and granddaughter.
All the recent drive time has allowed me to consider options for ordering the household as well as work and school.
I'm tired of living by myself. There are plans and processes that require me to be in one place - our new place. Having the prospects of a (very) part-time job at the local library, it may mean I'll want to look for something else, as well, in time. Transcripts and schedules will need to be coordinated in Nebraska and Iowa to finish my last few classes. I hope to make a stop at Des Moines Area Community College when I'm in Grimes next week.
A new blog will also probably make an appearance in the near future. It seems appropriate to conclude this blog as the Nebraska chapters are brought to a close. Title and topics are still being tossed around but will no doubt take shape as one by one the last strands holding me here are severed and, in the days ahead, I'm able to move forward.
The energy involved in preparing for this weekend's visit to Grimes is a bit elevated compared to last week's visit because we have an offer! The closing date will be decided in conjunction with the appraisal, but the end is in sight.
It seems a good time to share the following:
Our house is the little red X, Tim's place will be at the asterisk, and the library has a gold star. While Kennybrook is under construction Tim is situated in an office at the bank. He's carrying his lunch and walking.
A bedside table, more kitchen stuff, laundry hamper, paint chips, my big mirror, and whatever else can be squeezed in, will make the trip this time. It's surprising how much the honda can hold even after you factor in space for Charlie. Last week I took a cabinet, garden hose and watering can, lawn spreaderthingie and grass seed, step stool, large metal tub, towels, bathroom supplies, several boxes, pictures, Charlie, his bed and supplies for the week, 2 suitcases, shelf paper, scissors, glue gun and more.
I've been gathering items to pack along this weekend and diligently working on my algebra. Charlie went swimming this morning. Some of us are having more fun than others....
I honestly had good intentions - the best intentions - for taking photos this past week. The first few days, I will admit were simply spent in a funk. The dreary weather mirrored my malaise and no pictures were taken.
Charlie and I ventured further north for an overnighter to attend a soccer game in which Aidan
scored the first goal! Rain eventually cut the match short but it was a delight to hear little voices saying "sorry" as the kids jostled one another. Or watch as play continued, in spite of the ref's whistle. At times they would all bunch up together around the ball - it and the kids at a standstill. Then somehow, soundlessly, they would formulate a plan, step back and allow a mysteriously designated someone enough space to start kicking and moving the ball again.
It was a fun event. I have to wonder, though, at what point these kids will become athletes, with a corresponding shift in attitude. The schedule runs through July, so maybe I can take in another match later.
They did work hard and the rain was soooo cold.
Naphtali and Aidan did come down to Grimes for a few days. I left for Nebraska on Friday but Grandpa took them to Adventureland and it sounds as though a good time was had by all.
I will return to Grimes with another load of stuff this weekend. I will try (reallreally hard) to document this run with photos.
I'm tired of looking at sad news. Unfortunately I have no good news, so here's a photo of the iris in the back yard. The columbine are also blooming and the dianthus is lush.
Tim was able to get a lot of painting done while he was here last week. (This is the painting necessitated by the hail storm, undertaken last fall, and interrupted by bad weather.) I've contributed to the effort by finishing some windows and second-coating a section over the weekend. One last push today should finish it. I guess you could call that good news...
Having seen the new house I have been able to go through some boxes of packed stuff and eliminate a few things, which probably qualifies as good news. I can also say that so far I haven't regretted any previous eliminations - more good news.
You could also call the fact that I didn't have to mow this weekend good news. Our realtor arranged for someone to mow - and I reallyreallyreally appreciated the gesture.
Apparently I was wrong about the dearth of good news - which has raised my spirits considerably, so I'll close with a cute story:
I took Charlie for a walk yesterday morning and let him swim in the irrigation canal at the park - he loves it! You throw a stick, he launches from the bank and lands with a satisfying splash. He retrieves the stick and gets ready for the next round. We then take the long way home giving him opportunity to dry. Unfortunately he stays damp for quite a while...
I had some inside puttering to finish before I began painting so I fastened Charlie outside to finish drying. He has a choice of sun and shade and was just lolling about waiting for me. At some point I saw our (elderly) next door neighbor coming toward the house (which is odd because she always just catches us over the fence for a chat) and wondered if there was a problem as I waited for her to reach the door. She never did. She stopped to talk to Charlie. Petted, patted, chatted, turned around and went home.
Last Friday we were driving back to Nebraska from Grimes. Tim had finished his last day of work, I had interviewed for a position at the Grimes Public Library and seen the new house for the first time.
We were smiling, thinking happy thoughts, making plans to finish packing, secure the uhaul, sign off
on the house here, and head east to start our next big adventure.
We were one week away from closing.
We received two phone call during the drive.
The first was an official offer for the library post which I accepted.
The second was an unofficial warning that our buyers had run into trouble with their loan and would spend the weekend trying to figure out what they could do to salvage the situation.
The smiling came to an abrupt end.
We were one week away from closing.
We made several suggestions - creative financing that we could offer the buyers - and waited.
2:00 Monday afternoon they withdrew. We have no buyer.
There were phone calls, many many phone calls over the weekend as we tried to make things happen on this end and worked to determine our options on the other end, as well.
The people in Grimes have been very helpful. We will sign on the dotted line, as scheduled, on Tuesday.
Tim starts his new job on Wednesday. I can return to my old job at the library and pick up some
hours while I stay here for another month.
We'll hope for a fast sale.
In a previous post Naphtali left a comment about coming to help me paint. We've been discussing Aidan's summer plans and had already penciled in a week for her and Aidan to paint at the new place, followed by a week of Aidan here (there?) on his own. That will be a fun/productive visit. Here's a bit more of the back story.
Last week (?) I had sent Naphtali a link with pictures of the house and a general comment about painting. Her reply made me laugh - something along the lines of:
YES! let's get some paint on those bathroom cabinets!
This, however, was the picture that I had thought might provoke an urgent offer to help:
She never mentioned it....
What do you think: Which room cries out for immediate attention?!
We got the news yesterday - we are officially off the market! Of, course, something could go horribly wrong with the inspection and torpedo the whole deal - but we're going to assume that won't happen.
Tim is here this weekend, grilling, mowing, and throwing out shoes, and will stop on his way back tomorrow, to look again at a house in Grimes and get things started on that end.
This is the last week of classes for me. I was able to finish my public speaking class early - submitting my final speech on Thursday. There is a paper - Bruckner's "Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major" (Romantic) - to write and final test in my music class. And an easy finish for the library class.
Packing can begin in earnest. The city sponsored cleanup week begins Saturday, and I have my list and several growing piles to contribute to the beauty of our fair city.
It will take more than the overcast skies and the threat of rain forecast for the week to ruin my good mood.
Well, a lot has happened since I last sat at the keyboard. Tonight, when I returned from my travels, I found there was no wireless service at my house. (Yikes!) Visions of schlepping to the library to do my schoolwork, etcetcetc began to flash before my eyes...
However during my nightly conversation with Tim, he mumbled something about disconnecting this and bypassing that to reconnect directly to something else - no reason I couldn't do it. OR call technical support...
I did it.
Any way - laundry is under way, the loose ends from travel are being tidied.
We had a great time with Naphtali and Aidan. I saw the new facility (under construction) in Grimes.
I caught part of an fascinating program on PBS the other night. They were discussing the impact of Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden; their innovative market strategies, their whole woman approach (poise, carriage, health, as elements of beauty), and the adjustments required over such long careers.
Every now and then the subject of creating/claiming one's signature *look* arises in an article or blog post. Madame Helena definitely had a look. It was distinctive, elegant and served her well at every age.
Over the years I have generally chosen the *no look* look as my look. I've never understood the appeal to look the same every single day. My hair is thick, wavy and adaptable and I have chosen to wear it in a variety of styles, sometimes from day-to-day.
Up: loose or sleek. Down: straight, sleek, wild, restrained, or some combination of the above.
Waiting for the last of this bad haircut to grow out I think I've reached the length where it will probably remain. I do like my options, after all.
Madame Helena has caught my attention and I am actually thinking about thinking about cultivating a look. In my mind the key to her look was it's timelessness. Or appropriateness for any age. (On the opposite end of that idea I have to admit that images of June Allyson flash across my consciousness from time to time.) I know that it involves more than just a hair style and both Arden and Rubinstein lived full and interesting lives which added to their appeal and stature as exemplars of beauty.
I truly enjoyed having Naphtali and Aidan here last week. A fast moving Minnesota snowstorm kept them here an extra day. With Tim in for both weekends it has been a bounty of family, good conversation, and fun.
I'm so glad they were able to visit!
I'm also glad I was about a week ahead on my studies - not much got done with all the distractions - meaning that now I'm pretty much right on track again.
With travel plans for the next two weekends I'll have to make every minute count this week. (optimistic, n'est-ce pas?)
Valerie will be in Iowa for a quick visit next weekend so my mother is trying to get all the girls together. I'm sure there will be laughter and some wild scrabble competition. My mother offered to let Charlie join us (!) but Tim said they would hang out together.
The following weekend will find Tim, Charlie and I in New Brighton for Aidan's birthday.
Several within the family knew of this surprise and everyone kept the secret - Naphtali even called me from the road! She said she was running errands - Trader Joe's to be exact. What she didn't tell me was that the Trader Joe's was in Des Moines! I'm still smiling!
Well, yet another giveaway I didn't win! But I feel like I've won the lottery because Tim will be home 2 weekends in a row! Work takes him to Omaha for budget consultations this week, so he is bookending the trip with time here.
Yesterday we tackled a haircut for Charlie and assorted small projects. Today will see some serious computer time for both of us as we address homework and budget details. We're hoping for cooperative weather for a walk after while.
I have crocus peeking through in one flower bed.
I continue to sort and toss. And dig through boxes that have been packed for an assortment of items that seemed utterly unnecessary and thus safe to pack...which means I haven't bothered to pack anything for a while. There are empty boxes stashed waiting for their turn and one of these days I'll try again because I want to avoid the everythinghastobedonerightnow scenario.
You can link through to a delightful interview with Naphtali here.
It's all part of a giveaway for one of her bags. I already have several but that didn't stop me from throwing my name in hoping to win another...
I'm not sure who to credit for the photo - Jessica or Naphtali....
Last night I drove to Kearney to fulfill an assignment for my music class: we are required to attend, and file a report on two concerts. It may come as no surprise to my readers that concerts - of any sort - are somewhat rare in the Nebraska hinterlands. A concert of art music? - the type we are studying in class? - well - let me repeat - I drove to Kearney last night.
UNK hosts a weekly concert series featuring faculty, and others, free of charge and open to the public. Roughly 60 of us braved the frigid temperatures to gather at the Fine Arts Building on the UNK campus for a flute recital Monday night. While students seemed to represent the largest portion of the audience there was more than a handful of well-dressed elders in the auditorium. Audiences always interest me, so it wasn't difficult to assign a general storyline that included years of faithful attendance, regular contributions, and tear-inducing memories, to several of the stately women scattered among the seats. Given the opportunity I could imagine myself among their numbers.
One of the selections was "Antigone Speaks," written for flute and viola (with brief recitations by the flutist) by Sylvia Glickman in 2004. It was an elegant and soulful piece enhanced by the subtle accents of German-born Franziska Nabb and underscored by the somber drone-like aspect of the viola. Bellissima!
Nabb first presented an assortment of contemporary numbers accompanied by a piano and featuring a mezzo-soprano soloist. She was joined by the aforementioned viola, a cello and organist for a selection of classical and baroque pieces after the intermission, during which she acted as stage hand rearranging chairs and music stands to accomodate the quartet.
The program began at 7:30 and the applause died at 9:00 sending us back into the cold night.
Lest I seem unbalanced (I know, I know) in my reporting, here is the rest of the story concerning the ladies who coffee:
They are the backbone of this community.
They quilt, vote, volunteer, and donate. They deliver meals-on-wheels to those who need them. They prepare funeral suppers for their dear friends. They mentor and volunteer for CASA. They provide and serve delicious homemade vegetable beef soup, cookies, and sandwiches to close to 200 people for the Red Cross blood drives (one reason we always have such a good turnout). They teach sunday school and shepherd the MOPs kids (and their mothers). They show up for basketball and football games, track meets, concerts, plays and recitals, making sure their grandkids (and their grandkids' friends) have someone to applaud and smile at the appropriate time. They are no stranger to city council meetings. Or to racy stories. Some of them were teaching country schools when they were 16 or 17 years old. They've said goodbye to parents, husbands and children. They know how to work hard, and when to start again. They know the value of laughter and the need for tears.
The coffee doesn't have to be fresh, just keep it coming - kind of like these ladies.
No, I didn't take this photo, but I could have if I'd thought to take my camera along when I went to the dentist yesterday morning. And if I'd been willing to roll my window down a fraction...
We've all heard of ladies who lunch, n'est-ce pas? Well, in Gothenburg they do coffee. Every morning. Without fail. There are actually several overlapping groups who make the doughnut shop on main street their headquarters starting from, oh say 7:30 to 11. Every morning. Without fail. They come. Some go. The next few arrive. All morning. Every morning. Without fail.
There are very few things that take me away from home on a day off. That list dwindles significantly when the weather is less than ideal. I was only out at 9:15 on a frigid February morning because I had a dentist appointment. But, when I have to put on presentable clothes on my day off I like to make the most of my outing so I also stopped at the bank and City offices. At the corner, looking north, I could see the sign on the bank telling me it was -7 degrees. Let's not even factor in the wind chill from our 30+ mph winds. Swinging my bundled head the other direction I could see the intrepid ladies of Gothenburg were coffee-ing as usual. Keep in mind that these women are closer to 80 than 60, can probably still work circles around most of us, and often cause the play button on my private soundtrack to engage: remember the "Pick-A-Little" song from Meredith Wilson's The Music Man?
Not only were the skies gray and dull today, but at times you could feel the cold tensile touch of metal in your very bones.
Tim and I had a good weekend. We were able to wash his car, hang out at Walmart while they changed the oil, and enjoy some sunshine.
We also made it through the recording and transmission of my first required speech, a process that was as nerve-wracking as the actual presentation. At one point we took the phone apart to borrow batteries to power the camera....
But it's done, he's on his way back to Iowa, and, as my friend Scarlet likes to say: "Tomorrow is another day."
I'm trying to get an assignment and some laundry finished so my time is relatively free while he's here, but there are the inevitable distractions...
If I get my distractions out of the way then I can concentrate more effectively on those things calling for my attention. Right?
This was taken earlier this week. During our phone calls Tim had mentioned (several times) that there had been no sunshine on his end of our connection. So, in his honor, I wore a bit of blue skies to work. Snow on the ground, clouds above, and just that small band of blue. Mine came in the form of a 3/4 sleeve pullover from JJill, in a rich but not "royal" shade of blue. Off white tee and pants complete the idea.
Yes, this is my desk chair with Charlie and I in our standard positions:
I told myself I would do schoolwork until 7:00, but Charlie just informed me that it was suppertime and I thought 7:00!? Who am I kidding!?
There has to be something going on outside. Normally Charlie would nap through the afternoon while I'm doing homework, but today he has sat at attention near the window, pretty much all afternoon.
He's been fed and maybe after this short break I can settle in to study a while longer. I do have a load of clothes to fold and I need to do my nails tonight. But I should finish one more section on this assignment...
We have finished our first week of Iowa/Nebraska living. Tim has his work cut out for him. We've talked every night and there will be adjustments. If I told you the local banker came over to introduce himself to Tim would you smile along with me at the unlikely picture that creates? Adjustments, indeed.
Charlie and I have our routine - the house stays clean. I pack a box everyday. I'm also trying to reduce the inventory in the freezer. Tuesday (Wednesday?) I made a turkey potpie using turkey from Thanksgiving, the last of the potatoes, carrots, frozen peas and pie crusts that I couldn't remember my reason for buying - it's not a staple - so I must have had a specific use in mind.
Anyway - it turned out delicious, will feed me for several days and eliminates some clutter.
We had someone look at the house yesterday. The early part of the week was cold (-17 on the thermometer) and snowy (about 8 inches) so maybe no one wanted to be out and around, and we're hoping things will pick up soon.
Today I'm hoping for some of Annie's infectious optimism regarding tomorrow!
Charlie and I are on are own.
Due to the practical necessities of midwest weather, Tim left yesterday for Iowa Falls. We packed him off with exclamations over the number of belts and shoes and sweaters and bags and winter gear - you get the idea - necessary to sustain his new routine. Snow is predicted, and is in fact falling, and he needed to be there to start his new job on Monday - tomorrow.
He'll do just fine, but we're already missing him. We'll compare notes tomorrow.
Let's take a quick look at what else tomorrow will bring.
The house will officially be on the market. The realtor was here Friday to get things started. We put in a couple days of busy preparations in which a bedroom was painted, everything scrubbed and tidied, and I'm ready. Today I need to clean the blinds and wash a floor, but I'm ready. As things progress I'm sure there will be other adjustments made to how things look, where the next stack of boxes will be put, but when I go to bed tonight it will be ready. Because I have to take Charlie away during a showing, they will need to give me advance notice, which will make things easier: no surprise visits while I'm away.
Tomorrow brings the beginning of the new semester. I'm hoping that three classes will be the right balance for my time and energy over the next few months.
Tomorrow also marks a full week of antibiotics for the nasty, nasty sinus infection I've been fighting.
Tomorrow will, no doubt, include a snow shovel at some point.
In the midst of all the activity of the weekend, something important was overlooked.
We painted, shifted goods, cleaned cupboards and floors, and and and. By Sunday night I was in full sinus infection mode (my teeth hurt) with an earache and restricted airflow but even that is no excuse for forgetting to acknowledge
The present had been secured before Christmas because I've learned not to make any plans for that week between Christmas and his birthday on January 2. This has probably worked well, though, because if I'd had the presence of mind to say anything over the weekend - it probably would have been just
Today I'm feeling up to the challenge of communicating something (reasonably brief, because he'll squirm with the added attention) about him.
We are about to begin another new adventure, while some might say we've had our fair share of them. And we have. We have lived and been and seen and known some amazing people and places and things and opportunities, all because this guy isn't afraid to step out and try something new. He's good at what he does. He's level headed, solid in his outlook, focused, generous, self effacing, supportive, compassionate, and working on a set of killer abs (but I was going to be brief).
I've shared his adventures for 30+ years and look forward what's ahead for us.
Thanks for visiting my little corner of cyberspace. My name is Ilona. Home is currently a small, central Nebraska town shared with my husband, Tim, and golden retriever, Charlie. I work part-time at our local library - a job I truly enjoy. While the art of homemaking is my first love and you would normally find me dabbling in a variety of crafts, projects and gardens, this year "college student" has been added to my list of daily routines, claiming a disproportionate amount of my time. There are surprises, though, everyday.....