Kittie Howard

Monday, November 30, 2015

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Large red bows anchor the fireplace mantle. In-between are three groupings of red apples and lemons, all tucked among sprigs of pine laced with small lights. We put up the Christmas tree, with a red bow on top, in the study yesterday. A much smaller tree, with another red bow, centers the kitchen table. Outside, wreaths (with red bows, natch!) and lights are on the lamp posts and front door.

It's nice, sitting here in the living room, feeling the quiet of small lights.

Last year at this time, this place was a mess. But walls have been painted -- Revere Pewter in the powder room, cut 50% for the upstairs spare bedroom; International Khaki on one wall in the study, its deeper khaki mate in Mr. H's man cave; Svelte Sage in the dining room, cut 65% in the living room; a historic gold (with sage undertones) in parts of the kitchen; and matched white paint elsewhere, including the garage.

We did most of the painting ourselves, including squeezing 17 tubes of caulking as we went along. Appliances and the gas fireplace logs have been replaced. Roller shutters on back doors are in. A fan was installed on the porch ceiling when the lamp posts were installed.

And so it went -- from replacing faucets and overhead lighting and blinds -- to having trees cut down and replanting, putting in flower beds and a rose arbor -- yes, so it went, for a year it seemed to be one project after another. But it finally came together -- and under budget as we did so much ourselves. The house that was a mess turned into a home.

We're settled, not in a castle, but in a home that's our castle, not a fortress -- the spare bedroom is often occupied; people drop by; we chat with neighbors who, like us, chuckle at the constant drip! drip! drip! of pine straw.

But within the projects and goals found among those in our lives here and elsewhere and in both of our families, it's been a good year. Nieces and nephews have accomplished much and continue to work toward goals. Parents are pleased with these firm footings (as they should be!) and reaching out to do things that were put on hold.

It's not that those in my world are unaware of world events and those at home, in the States. They are, very much so.

It's not that they are unconcerned. They are, very much so.

But the prevailing philosophy is, nothing positive gets accomplished if one falls prey to fear.

My grandmother used to say, depending upon the situation:

1. Don't worry so much; you'll get wrinkles;

2. Never believe the one who talks the loudest. He (or she, depending) will make you worry about his/her problems . . . then you've really got a problem;

3. If you've got time to worry, you've got time to mop my floor. (hands mop to worrier)

After mopping more than a few floors, I can honestly say it's difficult to mop and worry at the same time.

But it's also easier to worry than to mop, to which my grandmother said when one took the easy way out: That's a problem of your own making.


Marguerite said...

Your new home sounds lovely! Congrats on completing the renovations! I am in the middle of renovating my parent's house and I understand what's involved. Cheers cher!

Denise Covey said...

Hi Kittie my mate! I LOVE the sound of your unique decor. The colours sound special. I'd love to see some pictures. I usually put up the Christmas dekkies on Dec 1 (today in Oz) or thereabouts, but Geo and I are down in Melbourne for some R&R and in the search of cooler weather as the gods of wrath are blowing hot in Queensland. But we brought the heat with us, (((sigh))).But...First World problems always and I never forget that. No doubt refugees shivering in the snow would love to be here in Oz!

When we return home, we shall go to our beach house (under renovation) and put up the Christmas dekkies and enjoy the holidays with the family. Sounds like you're so happy with your new neighbourhood.

What a lot of work this past year has been, but well worth it!

Happy Christmas and New Year!

Denise :-)

Linda Starr said...

what a whirlwind of a project and sounds like all your hard work has paid off. was loving the names of your paint colors; hope you show us a few vignettes of your handiwork.

Liza said...

Sounds like you have a productive year. So glad you are enjoying your new home. I think I'll try hard to remember your grandmother's suggestions.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Kittie - you've certainly had so much going on - bet it's a relief you can now switch off from it - well the main muchness of it! Sounds glorious and yes please let's have some photos ...

Enjoy, relax and take care ... cheers Hilary

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Your Grandmother sounds like an incredible woman. I love her stories, her quotes, everything about her. Have you given any thought to write a book filled with her wisdom? I'd buy it. I'd cheat and adopt her sayings as mine. At best I'd try to mimic her approach to life.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like you have settled in and are happy! I know my home is my castle, even if it's not a real castle.
Replace mopping with guitar playing and I agree with your grandmother!

Norma said...

Wow, Kittie--you've accomplished a lot more than I have this year!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Kittie - you asked about Treacle Tart ... and I wrote about it in conjunction with George Orwell - two years ago:

hope that explains it a bit more! Cheers Hilary

Stephen Tremp said...

Kittie, I still see people walking around and yelling into their cell phones. I have to wonder if there is really anyone on the other end,

Peaches D. Ledwidge said...

# 3 is funny. A cheerful way to end the piece, Kitty.

Jen said...

I love this post. I love that I'm not the only one who chooses to see the beauty in the world around them and not focus on what's wrong. Yes, there are bad things in the world. There always has been and there probably always will be. We can hope that that's not the case, of course. The choice is ours as to what we focus on. Me? I'd rather focus on the beauty and the magic and the wonder that is ALWAYS around us.
Thank you for this reminder.
xo Jen