Posted in family, life, remodeling, renovations

Getting Closer

Updates on the house are getting closer and closer to being done. Today we stopped by to disconnect the dishwasher (discovered a manufacturing defect after it was installed – they are bringing a replacement tomorrow). The laminate flooring has been put in. Unfortunately I was a bit distracted by other things and failed to get any photos. I’m going back tomorrow to paint, so after we run the vacuum and dust, I’ll get some shots. In the meantime, here are a few of the progress that’s been made, beginning with some “before” shots:

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Kitchen cabinets in the early stages of updating. My original thought was “clean ’em good and give ’em a good lemon oil polishing.” Fortunately, my sister, the visionary, prevailed.
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The front bathroom.

We hired someone to paint the cabinets with a sprayer. It was a lot faster and the finish was better than if we’d tried to paint them with brushes. We think it was worth the investment in giving the cabinets an updated, fresher look.

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Before and after. Notice the “fur down” has been removed. I was a chicken — worried about what might be back there. Again, my sister had the courage to say, “Well, I guess we’ll find out!” It’s more apparent in the following photograph, but see that strip of molding around the top of the painted cabinets? That was around the top of the fur down. Angie carefully removed it and saved it so it could be reattached to the cabinets and painted. She rocks!
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I just can’t get over how beautiful everything is turning out! Angie chose the paint colors, formica, and hardware, and did a great job. My contribution was choosing the tile for the backsplash!
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Sink still needs to be set and faucet installed, but isn’t it looking good???
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Brand-new appliances: Whirlpool double oven, smooth surface cooktop and range hood.
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12 x 24 floor tiles also used in the shower. Love ’em!
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See the accent tile in the shower? There is also a shampoo/conditioner niche in the wall that features that tile. I couldn’t walk in there when I took this photo, so I’ll have to show it later!
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Tile backsplash carried over from accent tile in shower,
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Finally, the front bathroom had been retiled several years ago, but Angie found a box of leftover tiles in the garage. We were able to use them to have this backsplash done in the front bathroom! A nice touch!

So that’s it for now. I am really please to see my childhood home receive the update it’s needed for so long, and I’m hoping whomever buys our home enjoys the updates and makes a lot of good memories here.

Posted in family, life, love

Catching Up

There’s been a lot of exciting stuff happening the last few months, but because there’s been A LOT of exciting stuff happening the last few months, I haven’t blogged about any of it. I’m going to try to catch up with a very picture-y blog post. Enjoy!

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Isn’t he handsome? We went down to Galveston for the annual beach party in September. I don’t usually take selfies without makeup and wearing a cap, but I actually like this photo of us. I need to get over myself, don’t I?
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On the way to Galveston, before the cap smashed my hair. LOL

Then we went to UH to spend Friday with our girl during Family Weekend. We had another social obligation on Saturday, so we weren’t able to go to the game with her, but we all enjoyed the time we did get to spend together. Thankfully, her guy and his buddies went up to Houston for the game, so she had a good time without us.

My sister-in-law is still very active in a sorority group from her high school years in Galveston. They have revived their tradition of throwing a formal, and now they do it for charity. This year’s theme was “Putting on the Glitz” and proceeds from the 1920s’ style bash went to The Ronald McDonald House. We had a great time for a worthy cause!

Because my husband is the extrovert that keeps me from holing up in our house for weeks and months on end, we ended up at the Galveston Greek Festival the next day… He grew up attending the festival and we try to go whenever we can. This year we were just a tiny bit disappointed (well, a lot disappointed…) We went Sunday afternoon, and by the time we got there, they’d sold out of the dinner plates. The gyros are good, but we are big fans of the dinner plate that is loaded with Greek yumminess like spanikopita, dolmas, salad with feta and kalamata olives, and pastitsio (a pasta casserole-y type thing that I adore). It was agreed that we will go on Saturday next year and make sure we get there EARLY.

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Galveston Oktoberfest with AJ
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Got to wear my scarf! First cool night of the year!
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Martha, AJ, and me

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I thought we were done for the month, but that slavedriver husband of mine yanked me up and out of the house the next weekend to attend the Oktoberfest at the Lutheran church in Galveston. This is another one of those where we are going to have to get there earlier. I know that beer is a huge part of the Lutheran/German experience, but I’m not a big beer drinker. There are craft booths in the church, but both years that we’ve gone, we didn’t get there until the booths were closing up. So NEXT YEAR I want to get there early enough to see what’s up with the crafty folk.

I think that is everything for now that can be addressed in this little “catching up” post. I do plan on posting some photos from when my New York daughter (my bio daughter’s best friend) came to visit for a week this past August. I will save that for another day, though.

Laura

Posted in family, life

What Fools These Mortals Be!

Sunday was my husband’s 52nd birthday and we celebrated by attending The Elizabethan Madrigal Feast at The Center for Arts & Sciences. One of the things I love about living where we do is the convenient access we have to quality fine arts events without having to go into Houston. The Center for Arts & Sciences, in Lake Jackson, is comprised of Center Stages (the oldest community theater group on the Texas Gulf Coast), the Brazosport Art League, the Brazosport Museum of Natural Science, the Brazosport Planetarium, and the Brazosport Symphony Orchestra.

The Elizabethan Madrigal is the Brazosport Fine Arts Council’s big fund raiser and is held every other year. It’s such a huge production, it would just be too difficult to do every year. We attended in 2014 and had such a wonderful time, we promised ourselves we would try to make it a tradition. Tickets are in high demand and sell out quickly, so I ponied up the $10 membership fee to the Council so I could buy our tickets when they first went on sale. We had excellent seats, right next to the action! My girl was even pulled into one of the dance sequences by a member of Queen Elizabeth I’s court.

For the price of a ticket, we were seated at beautifully decorated tables and enjoyed a lovely dinner while watching the performance of Queen Elizabeth and her court. The pageantry is spectacular — the detail of the costumes is every bit as impressive as something you’d see in the “big city” up the road. The players are all volunteers who’ve auditioned for their roles. In the midst of the Queen’s entrance, the presentation of the Christ Child, and several songs and dances, a condensed version of a Shakespeare play is performed. This year’s play was “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” (When we attended in 2014, we were treated to “Twelfth Night.”)

Here are some photos I managed to capture with my cell phone. I tried to be discreet because the players tend to discourage the use of “magic boxes,” as they call them.

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DD and Jami
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AJ and Laura

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Jami is asked to dance!

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Missing theater just a little bit.
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The costumes are simply amazing!

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Puck
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Queen Elizabeth I
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Queen Elizabeth I and her ladies in waiting.

Overall it was a great afternoon. We are already looking forward to the 2018 Madrigal!


P.S. — I have to laugh! After I posted this, I realized I’d put our photo right above the title, which is a quote from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. However, to someone unfamiliar with the play, it looks quite like I’m saying we are fools. Well, maybe we are. But we’re happy fools, for sure.🙂

Posted in family, life, love

Family

After an encouraging blog post from a  friend who knows the struggle I’ve been battling regarding physical fitness, I managed to get up early Monday and Tuesday mornings to go walk. Tuesday started out well: I walked 1.88 miles in 33 minutes. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I was pretty pumped up when I returned to the house because my friend told me that if I can walk a mile in 22 minutes, I will be able to complete the USA Fit Half Marathon in five hours. I signed up for the half marathon in August, before I started having gallbladder problems. Discouragement set in when I had to have surgery and then struggled with nervousness regarding exercising so soon after. My friend’s encouragement meant the world to me, so I was pretty excited to be back on track.

Not ten minutes after returning home, I received terrible news. My sweet father-in-law finally succumbed to the cancer he’d been battling for nearly ten years. When I met Bill, he wasn’t much older than I am now. We both attended the same church in Houston, but had never had any reason to interact. One Sunday morning before church started, I was peering over a friend’s shoulder to read a wedding invitation she held in her hand. I am not exaggerating when I say I gasped aloud at the bride’s name. The bride-to-be was the mother of the boy I’d dated in college.  The boy I’d dated and then broken up with on less than amicable terms. The boy who broke my heart.

My friend got very excited, insisting I should go and say hello. I wasn’t too sure about it, but the boy’s mother had always been kind to me, and I finally mustered up the courage to do so. Marcia was very friendly and invited me to the wedding. I wasn’t sure about going, but in the end, I did and I’m so glad. Eleven months later I married the boy who is my ex no more. That’s a story for another day, though, because today’s story is about Bill.

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Bill

Bill and Marcia met through a Bible study where they were both devoted students of God’s word. Their relationship flourished as they strove to build it upon the best foundation: Jesus Christ. Eventually, Bill proposed and Marcia accepted, and they were married on  March 23, 1991. They served in ministry together, wanting to share the gospel with all who would hear, taking it even into the prisons. Eleven months later I married the boy who had come to the Lord and became a changed man, and on that day, Bill and Marcia, AJ and I, we all became family.

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Marcia and Bill celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary (March 23, 2016)

That all-important word: family. There are those who might correct me, but if I had to tell you what word was Bill Rozelle’s favorite, I would have to say it is family. I can’t think of a single family meal that began any differently than this, “Father, family was your idea, and we thank you for it…” Family was so important to Bill. He didn’t have any biological children of his own, but when he married Marcia, he took her kids and grandkids for his own. When I joined the family, I truly felt I was one of his kids, too. He was always interested in what we, as a family, and we as individuals were doing.

Earlier today I talked with my daughter — she told me how much she would miss their birthday talks. I raised an eyebrow because this is something I’m not familiar with. Apparently, whenever she celebrated a birthday, he would think back to when he was that age and tell her where he’d been and what he’d been doing at 16, 17, 18 and so on. I think she was looking forward to their “21” birthday talk.

I’ll miss him scrounging around my kitchen looking for coffee fixin’s — he loved his coffee and didn’t always want to wait for the coffeemaker to brew. That’s when he’d brew up some “cowboy coffee” in a mug. The man was serious about his coffee. I’ll also miss watching him peruse our bookcases, pulling some random book from the shelf and making himself comfortable in a corner with his coffee. He loved to read and could become completely engrossed in almost any subject, no matter what might be happening around him. He truly cared about people and when my sister was going through a rough time, he always made a point to ask how she was and to say he was praying for her.

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Coffee: Check! Book: Check!

I know my husband will miss him, too. Bill loved my husband as his own son. A number of years ago, they both had motorcycles and would go for rides together. On more than one occasion, my husband accepted Bill’s invite to his church’s annual men’s retreat. A lot of the men rode, and they would all head to the retreat center on their bikes. My husband said those were some great times. Maybe he’ll go again next year in Bill’s memory. I hope so.

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Bill and AJ

I’m going to do something in Bill’s memory this January. I’d already signed up in August, but there’s no reason I can’t retroactively designate my participation in Bill’s honor: I’m going to walk a half marathon. My sweet father-in-law, in his day, ran full-blown marathons. He ran in the Boston and New York City Marathons, and he ran in the Houston-Tenneco Marathon. He was a real athlete. I’m just trying to challenge myself to eat better and move more. I think he’d be proud, though. Because we’re family.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Fairy Dust

I’m spending the day at my childhood home while a Lowes installer puts in our new laminate countertops. I’m sitting at a folding table with my back to the work area, minding my own business when I hear the familiar whine of a circular saw. 

The ear splitting squeal of steel cutting through plywood takes me back to a day, in this same house, when I was a very small girl. The scent of freshly sawn wood reminds me of my daddy working in the garage on one project or another, and I remember watching him, amazed and impressed that he could make such wonderful things with blocks of wood. At different times in my childhood, he worked on any number of projects in that garage. He and a friend made wooden frames for a craft shop in Pasadena. The frames had routed edges, and oval openings in the center with the same routed detailing. Then there were the built in shelves he made for the closets in our home, to make them more storage efficient. And bookcases. And the wall shelf he made me with a bar for hanging a quilt. 

Probably the wildest thing he ever built that involved the scent of sawdust was the wing for a Stevens Acro plane flown by Doc Eoin Harvey, and later Debby Rihn. Over the years, Rihn modified the plane because what competition pilot doesn’t want to make their wings better, stronger, faster? But my daddy was a big part of the original dream and when I smell the scent of sawdust, I think of that project and the sheer enjoyment he derived from working on that wing. 

Who knows if the next family to live here will be craftsmen, woodworkers like my daddy? I’d like to think, however, some residual bit of sawdust will float through the air, revealing itself in sunbeams shining through the garage windows. And the new family, completely unaware, will be inspired by that fine little bit of fairy dust known by average mortals as sawdust.

Posted in life

Still Here

I’ve been out of pocket for a bit. Health issues that took up a good month of my time — but all is resolved now. Granted, I have one less body part (who needs a gallbladder, anyway?), but almost three weeks post-surgery and I’m feeling pretty good now.

I’ve wanted to write, meant to write, but somehow every time I sat down to write — no words.


And I’m back… I didn’t finish the above because I had to leave for a client appointment. I’ve discovered that while I’m feeling pretty good — meaning I’m not sore any longer, I still tire pretty easily. When I got home, I threw together a salad and watched a couple of episodes of Bones with my husband. As much as I’d like to put it off one more day, I have to go to the grocery store. So I’m off to make a short list and go pick up a few things we need.

Maybe I’ll come up with something more interesting in the next day or two.