Monday, July 21, 2014

A TOUR THROUGH BLOGLAND~A SPECIAL FEATURE

I was so happy and honored when Doreen from House Honeys asked me to participate in this blog tour.  Doreen is one busy gal...recently retired, she and her husband moved into their second home, a log cabin in the woods.  Doreen is hard at work decorating and trying to squeeze 2 homes into one!  Visit her, you will just love her sense of humor and her decorating and craft ideas.   I had been reading other  posts on the Blog Tour and loving them and never thought that I would be telling my own story, answering these questions myself.  I hope you enjoy reading!

 I've been blogging since December of 2009.  That said, the first question on the tour is:

1)  What are you working on right now?

  

 I'm also working on changing around our den in the city house.  It's gone through many transformations and right now I'm bringing it from a formal sort of 'sitting room' to a casual place to read or watch TV.  Wish me luck!  I'm taking baby steps because it's so much better to work on indoor projects when the  weather isn't so great and it's summer now!  Forget that!! Ha!





This is serious business and I know my long time readers don't always see this side of me but I will try to be as honest as I can.  As much as I believe in honesty and truthfulness, I believe in privacy so I may  not be  "telling it all" in my posts.  Need I do that?  I'm not out to write a book about my life.  My blog started out as many of of yours did, as a creative outlet.  As the name of my blog illustrates, this is a journal.  My blog has very much replaced the hard cover, written and scribbled journals I've kept as far back as 14 years old  (which I still have!).  However, in those journals I wrote so much in an attempt to work things out, to pour my feelings into, to grasp the difficulties in whatever was occurring in that specific time of my life.  My blog has replaced these journals in such a positive way.  I've been able to share my life, express my feelings and put a spin on all of it in a happy and helpful way.  Of course I have a personal side to my life and experiences that I struggle with.  I have had major struggles in my life as many of you have had.  That's just not relative to what I want my blog to
be about.  So in answer to the question, I write to please myself and hopefully, entertain you!



I believe that the biggest difference has to do with my shifting from city to country life.  I chronicle a myriad of different  occurrences and experiences in both places yet they all  accurately and affectionately  reflect my crazy life.   I never forget how lucky we have been to have our little place on the lake.  We welcome family and friends all the time and it keeps us all connected.  Our children grew up swimming and boating and water skiing, not to mention ice skating and downhill skiing in the winter.  Hey, the greatest snowball fights ever!! I thank The Husband for having the foresight in a great investment...a place to exhaust and rear our kids and a place to sit back and enjoy the slow life once they are on their own!  City life is equally exciting in it's own way.  We are more grounded here with extended family and friends.  Our children went to fantastic schools and we are part of a great community.  This will always be "home" to me.

So I think shifting from one very different place to another locale, with it's parallels but also very different activities and experiences makes for a different sort of post.  And I also believe that I can relate to many of my readers/followers/good friends because I'm honest and straightforward, even with a wry sense of humor and some sarcasm. 

 










And now the final question:

4)  How does your writing/creative process work?

I should have spent more time reading blogs and learning the ropes before I dived in, but I did get a lot of help from observing as I went along and also got advice from some very nice bloggers.  I basically start with a visual prompt by keeping a camera with me at almost all times.  I have a small digital camera with great settings that fits in my purse and I also invested in a Canon DSLR a few years ago and I use that for special events or occasions.  My IPhone camera is as good as a point and shoot and I can grab that in an instant.  Taking photos, especially still life pictures, has really made me notice the beauty in everyday life.  Every couple of days I download my pictures and I can see a story develop; where I had been, what I was doing  and then I mentally start piecing together a sort of account/story/essay (!) by stringing the events together and weaving the pictures in and out.  The mood or mindset I'm in plays a big role in the tone of my writing, and I write in "real time", it's easier for me and I like to be spontaneous. I aim to post at least twice a week but as I get busy, it's more like once a week and I'm bound and determined to change that.  


I hope you've enjoyed this special little post.  The questions were quite interesting.  I am supposed to pass the baton on to two bloggers as part of the tour.  I would love to see these two ladies participate:


Brenda from A Cozy Little House

Of course no one is obligated to do this, but I enjoyed it.  Thank you, Doreen!

XO,
Jane

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

EVERY BLOOMIN THING!


One of the Hibiscus Sisters is doing pretty well.  In spite of my great ability to bring them very close to death as I winter them over in a large percentage of space in my family room, this past winter seemed to have the most desirable of results...beautiful blooms in April!  Indoors.  Alas, a week or so later I was watering the old girls and I saw a swarm of what looked like gnats or fruit flies.  I gingerly lifted up a leaf, then another and saw that they were infested with white flies and their larvae...as in the leaves were "encrusted" with them.  I literally flew down the hall screaming for The Husband.  As he shook his head in dismay, I demanded Herculean efforts...as in get the damn things outside now!!!  April in Chicago isn't exactly balmy and I thought I killed the poor ladies, but secretly, I knew it must have also killed the freaking larvae.  Fear not, the plants pulled through.  One of the gals has been pruned down to almost nothing but carries on and this one is looking pretty attractive, but no blooms yet.  Just not sure what I will decide to do this winter.  I try to limit living things in my home to us and the dogs.








at our farmers market.  I was worried...hers was doing so well and mine looked sick.  Well, she gets more sun...be patient.  If you have less sun, your plants may be slower, smaller...but fear not!  Look at this baby.















  


This was part way into my job last Saturday.  I pruned the heck out of the wisteria as I also did on the opposite side.  Years ago I prayed it would reach the balcony and arbor.  Oh, dear God.  The stuff is miserable.  But we're good now.  I have scratches up and down my arms and face and some spots on my hands have almost became infected.  Next time, long sleeves and perhaps, a face mask.  In any event, the porch and balcony are neat as a pin and I proceeded to do some landscaping on Sunday.  I love to say that...landscaping.  In  a nutshell...ahem, I went to a family owned nursery here in Chicago and met with one of the brothers that owns it.  He was such a wonderful help in selecting shrubs and plants.  And after carting it all up to Michigan on Friday with The Husband not uttering one word, I played landscaper for 7 hours on Sunday.  Once again, I love that title.  I could be a landscaper if I weren't inherently lazy.  And extremely allergic to all things green.  Just call me a soldier for now. I'm so relieved I don't have poison ivy.   Anyway...when I finished, the light was set behind the trees and casting very unbecoming shadows and glare on my creation so I am going to make you wait with baited breath to see what I did.  So there!


 Today was a hellish day for the dogs.  The annual trip to the vet.  Happily, they are in great shape, Dr. Fisher said that she can barely believe Milo is 10 years old.  He shows no symptoms of slowing down or being out of shape.  He does, however have really bad problems with his lower front teeth.  She has wanted to pull them for the last year and I have been too frightened of anesthesia.  Now he's lost a few on his own and she has me worried about infection and pain so he is having the 'surgery' next Thursday.  It's breaking my heart,  I remember Brenda's pup having 13 teeth removed recently...:(   Tonight they have sore hips from their shots and are just creeping around and shying away from us.  And I feel the wimpers coming again when I think of the cost today and what it will be next week.  How we love our critters.  Here is Layla waiting for me to turn in.  The Husband needs no excuse.



Again, it's lake time on Friday.  This weekend we are having DIL Mary Clare's family up.  I love all of them and we will have a full and happy house.  Having company gives me a reprieve from work...other than passing out paper plates and replacing toilet paper rolls, I'm pretty good with just sitting and enjoying the company and fresh air.  We are actually having temps in the 70's and the humidity finally went Bon Voyage!  And it's supposed to stay like this for awhile.  We've had so much rain, but mixed with sun, too, so it's hard to count on anything.  I personally take the rain as a sign to snuggle in bed longer with the hounds in the morning or sneak in an afternoon read or nap.  Really!  That's what rainy days are for!

I will be back on Monday.  I was (finally) asked to be on one of those blog hop tours where you answer a whole lot of mind bending personal questions about your reasons for blogging, etc.  Just kidding.  I adore the gal that asked me and I hope to take my humorous shield off and give you some close to the heart answers.  

Happy Hump Day! :)

XO,
Jane

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

HAPPY BELATED 4TH OF JULY AND SOME "BIG NEWS"

Tablespoons of butter on medium heat in a non stick pan.  Add 2 sliced bananas (about 1/2 inch thick...I did my mine on the diagonal) and sprinkle over 3 tablespoons of brown sugar.  Cook until slightly soft, tossing bananas occasionaly to get covered in butter and sugar.  Serve with a squeeze of lemon over them.  Heaven!  Happy Birthday to the love of my life!

 
  Now I take you to the lake.  I left on Wednesday with daughter Abigail and her boyfriend Tom.  We made a pizza and sat around and talked, got to bed early.  Thursday we made an early morning run to the grocery 3 towns over.  Veggies for salads, fruit, ingredients for appetizers and side dishes and breakfast sweets.  The fridge and cabinets were stuffed and that didn't even count what everyone else brought!

This is the tablescape I worked on that day.  I know, it's very much like last year (and the year before, ha!).  I save everything.  The daisies are blooming big time so I had them everywhere. 

























We (The Husband and I) stayed until Monday morning but daughter Emily and her husband Mike stayed until Monday night.  Of course Emily cleaned the house from top to bottom...that's just her bag.  Washed sheets and towels, swept up the sand, and cleaned the bathrooms.  But she did a really great thing for me, something I had neglected for so long.  She cleaned and dusted and rearranged the furniture in our master bedroom.  Remember the antique trestle table The Husband found to use as a desk last summer?  He also found these gorgeous stained glass windows.  We had some help from the guys to carry down an old and heavy chest that sat in the corner of our bedroom with an outdated TV on it that didn't work...that's where the desk is now.  The Husband hopes to do some work from the lakehouse so we can have more days there.  Doesn't it looks great?!





I have some free time over the next few days and I am definitely going to do some serious catching up on my blogging.  I recovered from the festivities on Monday by not doing a darn thing.  Yesterday I did a lot of errands and grocery shopping.  Today I alternated between putting this post together and tidying up my garden.  Can you say Burdock weeds?  Ugh...

Happy Summer Days to all of you!

XO,
Jane

Monday, June 30, 2014

PAINTING SOME FURNITURE AND MORE SUMMER FUN!






The lake fireworks show is Friday night.  I think I've told you, everyone goes out on the lake in their boats and anchor and the fireworks are shot off from the island.  We used to have a pontoon boat in addition to the speedboat but it was just too much to take care of so we sold it a few years ago.  But when we had it we could get all of our guests out on the lake.  Now The Husband makes sure he gets the kids out and the rest of us sit on the shore.  As for myself, I sit on my upstairs balcony with 2 shaking basket case sort of pups.  Even the random firecrackers going off now scares the daylights out of Milo.  And another thing we have that is so fun, a live band plays on the shore of the sandbar and everyone anchors and gets into the knee high water to dance and float and play Frisbee.  My sons actually drive our guests over on the boat group by group to drop them off.  Oh, it's so much fun!











Well, that's what I did all weekend.  I was smack dab in the middle of the garden with no shade but definitely my sunscreen and I got a little color.  The Husband worked on cleaning his grill and worked even more on the beach (he is obsessed with having the PERFECT beach).  And Milo met a 
few visiting dogs (not only do our neighbors bring their dogs, their friends bring their dogs so we always have a menagerie of hounds running around).  Milo promptly met a golden retriever,  "Edie" five minutes after we arrived Friday night and actually leaped through the creek to get to her.  It would have made for a great little romantic  video captured in slow motion with the Theme From Chariots of Fire playing. When I jogged over to drag his butt home, he wouldn't come back  via the creek.  I had to walk down the road 1/4 of a mile.  He did double duty on the lead line that night.  



So we are back home and dealing with the rain...more thunderstorms early this evening.  I was able to pull some crabgrass before it started...my backyard garden looks like a jungle and I just don't want to deal with it until next week.  

Well, I'm glad I squeezed in a post.  I still don't have internet at the lake and I may be going as early as Wednesday morning.  So I'm wishing all of you a wonderful and safe Independence Day.  Wave that flag proudly and celebrate!! :)

Joining Tweak It Tuesday at Brenda's blog, Cozy Little House.

XO,
Jane