Kittie Howard

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Look at the Pecan Tree Ahead

When I was growing up in South Louisiana and lived with my parents on my grandparents' farm, I loved opportunities to ride with my grandfather in his green Ford truck when he went to the back pastures. Even though the layout of the pastures was as familiar as the sun rising in the morning, trips rippled with excitement. I couldn't wait to see how much calves had grown, if the green casings on pecans had begun to turn or how many cows were at the watering hole.

Actually, the watering hole was a dynamite hole about the size of a respectable pond that did double duty as a fishing hole. Sometimes, after we'd checked to see how the cows were doing on their rather sloped side (perhaps a calf had ventured too far), my grandfather would drive to the opposite far side of the watering hole, where he'd stop, get out of the truck and remove a knife from the tool box in the truck's bed.

When this happened, I could barely sit still. We were going fishing!

Later on, I'd learn to select my own bamboo pole from the thicket not far from where we'd stop and run the line, then add the stopper and hook. On this particular day with no day or month, with just a warm sun and a gentle breeze to anchor the time, I focused on threading a worm on the hook that was high enough to entice a fish but not so low as to feed a turtle.

My grandfather didn't know how catfish and turtles had taken up residence in the watering hole, what had once been flat land. But many years later -- more years than I could imagine at the time -- my grandfather and I sat on the bank with our fishing poles. Since the cows sullied the water, we both knew we wouldn't keep any fish we caught. But that didn't matter. It was the sheer joy of being there.

However, on this particular day with no name, I caught my first "eating-size" catfish that we wouldn't eat, barely able to contain my excitement as I focused on getting the fish to shore. That done, I jumped up and down -- whee! -- and couldn't wait to tell my sister Sarah what had happened, pins and needles Sarah wouldn't be home when we got home -- as if a three-year-old had Wall Street appointments beyond her afternoon nap -- and fidgeted in the green Ford truck that wouldn't go fast enough.

And, so, this was how I learned to work toward a goal. My grandfather told me to look into the distance, where I knew my house was, and then focus only on the pecan tree in front of me. Since the truck was moving, the tree ahead would become another tree ahead, and I would reach my house, my goal, faster than if stared into the distance, wanting it to be.

Fast forward the day-with-no-name to today and the goal is that my husband and I will list our place for sale the first week in May. Now that the first load of stuff is in a North Carolina storage unit, we need to focus on the expected work one does before listing a dwelling.

Dog work that, like the tree ahead, moves steadily forward each day.

We hope to be settled in our NC house by June, even if this one hasn't sold. Many, many thanks for your very helpful paint/decorating suggestions. True confession time: Instead of devoting time to my blog, free moments have been consumed by paint palettes too easily Googled. However, that did lead to one decision being made: beige walls in the great room. Now, which beige remains to be determined. . . that next tree ahead.

My apologies for being so slow in visiting you. Obviously, my old routine of visiting blogs in the evening fell apart -- something about being too tired to think and/or nodding off with my hands at the keyboard while flopped on the sofa -- so I'm switching out evening for morning visits. I think I'll still be as slow as a turtle -- one can only do so much -- but will plod along, from one tree to the next.

Have a great day, everyone!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Colorful Question Amid Snow, Snow and More Snow

While California struggles with a parched earth and the worst drought in over 100 years, snow keeps blanketing other states. From my window, the snow looks pretty, a Currier and Ives winter landscape that kisses the snow-filled horizon . . .

 . . . whoa, more snow's coming today and tomorrow . . . a couple of inches here in Northern Virginia . . . a foot and a half projected for Maine.  For us here, temperatures will rise to the mid-50s next week. We've been warned the upcoming melt could lead to flooding. Yeow!

During the hiatus, hub and I have busied ourselves preparing for the upcoming move to Eastern North Carolina. Since the first wave of stuff that made the downsizing cut will go into a storage unit there in mid-April, we boxed many of the books and collectables that have come to be an extension of who we are, a good thing. One's life needs a decorative touch, warm reminders here and there of goals achieved in another time, another place that nudge the spirit to focus forward, to experience what lies behind the next 'mountain.' An African expression comes to mind: A river that doesn't flow stagnates and dries up.

But I've given much more thought to paint. Specifically, which palette will work best in our new home? Here's the frontal layout: traditional foyer with dining room to the left, study to the right; after a wrap-around, two steps lead to the sunken living room, almost a great room if it weren't for the family room off of the kitchen (to the back, left). Since long panes are alongside the house's entry door and large Palladium windows are on either side of the fireplace that anchors the living room's far wall, there's plenty of natural light, perhaps too much at times.

Since we're just a few minutes from the beach, I'm in a quandary about how to create a light, airy entrance without turning the house into a beach cottage. I'd love your suggestions as to which paint neutrals/colors you'd use. . . without using blue as I left my 'blue stage' years ago and don't really want to return. . . and, no yellow as the living room area is currently a light yellow . . . nice, but stale looking to our eyes . . . it's time for a change . . . Please, please, how would you switch out that yellow?