Sunday, May 20, 2012

More changes, no news?

I've become semi-addicted to the Scramble Free game on my Android phone, which means that way too much time is spent interfacing with my cellphone.  I'd like to think that it's escape from reality, which it can be, but DANG!  Why does it have to be such a time-sucking activity?

It doesn't help that I get home from work late and then cook a meal, clean it up and poof!  There's a finite sliver of free time that seems to lend itself to competing against complete strangers more than it does going down to my room and either sewing or actually cleaning or sorting.

The disposition of my craft room was put on hold when we started the kitchen remodel.  The contents of the kitchen were loaded into big ol' boxes and taken downstairs into my room and family room while the remodel raged above.

We didn't do a lot of eating out as I managed to toggle together a lot of meals using the microwave and the grill outside.  After 7 weeks we're back in the kitchen and I'm a little tired of my grill.  It was a bit inconvenient to prepare meals during this time as the microwave was in a corner of the dining room, the grill was obviously outside, the refrigerator in the garage and the "kitchen" was in the laundry room.  The chest freezer was the "kitchen counter" and the laundry room sink (put in years ago for just this purpose) was where we did dishes, washed veggies, etc.  There were a few meals in there where I was pleasantly surprised with the results, but for the most part, it was food and we ate it.

We love our new kitchen and are very happy with all of our choices.  No buyer's remorse here.  I call it my spa kitchen which probably only makes sense to me, but I get such a calm, happy feeling when I go in there and see the soft gleam of the stainless appliances and the warm colors.  Especially in the evening when the under cabinet lights are on and there is such a lovely glow.  In the process, the wall between the kitchen and dining area was torn out and the counter and cabinets were extended down the length of the kitchen and a peninsula was added.

In addition to picking the counters, sink, flooring, etc., we got to design the tile back splash
ourselves.   Down low is a mixed deco tile and above a coordinating 1" square glass tile.  The Deco tile flows around the kitchen undulating from the focal point "peak" behind the stove to become "foothills" along the other walls.

The floor is vinyl, but is grouted like tile and just ties it all together.   Still trying to get the hang of the convection oven differences as the bake feature doesn't seem to brown like my old oven, but the convection feature does brown.  Not sure what you'd use the bake setting for then?  At any rate color me happy!

Grace has decided not to return to Germany for the three year position there.  It's been wonderful to have her and Zosi with us - and not because she does 90% of the laundry on Sundays.  It's been fun going shopping with her and going out on Mother's day instead of only being in touch by Skype.  She's been working as a technical writer as she looks for work in her field, but there aren't any listings out there lately.  She just had another article published too.  I try to remember as I enjoy her company that I am living on borrowed time and it won't be long before she moves on to the next phase in her life.  Sigh.

It's Sunday afternoon and this is the time when I begin to coax my brain back towards the work week ahead.  There's a plan for dinner and it's too drizzy outside to entice me out to plant the things we purchased this morning for the yard.  I think that I'll go down to my room and figure out my next or sort.  So I'll leave you with a picture of my granddogter.  Her attitude sums up the whole rainy Sunday afternoon feeling for me.  Meh.

 (This photo was taken during the remodel as you can see from the protected floors)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's been quite a long time since I posted last.  I can't even say what has occupied my brain.  The battery in my camera has surely drained by now and will need to be recharged before I take it out and seriously use it again.  Life has just seemed to have this drifty quality, very similar to the feeling I had years ago when I read the book Cold Mountain.  If you've only seen the movie, you've definitely missed what I'm talking about, since the book was able to take pages and pages to develop a scene where a movie would fail commercially if it tried to do the same on film.

My daughter Grace has received her PhD and has returned to the United States as planned.  Just before she left Germany, she was offered a position back in Germany.  She is having a hard time adjusting to the thought of returning back to Germany for the next three years, but this new position will definitely be good for her career.
It has been wonderful having her around to simply hang with, run errands, etc.  We have been working on making quilts, which is my latest passion.
She is also taking me in hand and doing a Clean Sweep on my craft room downstairs.  At the outset, she was concerned that I would be resistant to getting rid of things, but the purging has been rather cathartic.  Working down through the layers on the flat surfaces of my work space is a bit like an archeological dig.  I think the oddest thing we have found so far is a pair of brown ribbed pantyhose that was tucked into a spot in one of the bookcases.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with them so I'm rather puzzled how they migrated their way from my bedroom upstairs down to my craft room.  Needless to say, I have a lot of things to either sell online or give away to friends or GoodWill.

At work there have been changes recently.  I have acquired more people on my team, making it even larger than it was.  I am working on putting the additional load into perspective.  I got off to a rough start at first as along with my new responsibilities, I inherited a highly visible project that was behind schedule. I've let myself get wrapped around the axle with anxiety as I worked to get our part of the project back on track.  In hindsight, I recognize that and I'd say that is half the battle towards beginning to take a more easy going approach to dealing with that kind of stress.  The light went on one day when I realized that these types of things are not problems, they really are opportunities.  In the past I have hated it when people used the word opportunities, because it was an excerpt from one of those management "books of the month".  However, they really are nothing more than a chance to push yourself outside the normal box in which you operate and try a new approach or at the very least, to approach it with a different frame of mind that may result in a new approach.  Luckily, I like the people with whom I work; they are a very funny, quirky set.
Tomorrow, we have an appointment for a local firm that remodels kitchens to come in and meet with us.  They will measure our kitchen and talk with us about what we want before they go away and come up with a design and what will seem like a very high price for the work.  Our kitchen is original to the house which was built in 1962.  Wow, doing the math I realize that's 60 years this years.  I wonder if we can call it vintage?  At any rate, it is way past needing the remodel.  The counters and cabinets were not high end at the time they were installed and it will be so nice to have them replaced and to have a new workspace that will be more modern.  Bob has some great, practical ideas and I am looking forward to cooking our first meal in the near(?) future.

I started this entry with the idea that I had something important to say.  Needless to say by now, that I am several paragraphs into this and haven't found it yet.  Since probably no one is reading this, it's not a big deal.  At least my state of mind has been recorded.  I believe that 2012 has a lot of change in store for me and this is as good a place to record if for later reflection as any.