Saturday, December 21, 2013

Link Roundup

This is my last post until after the New Year. I am wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Be Safe and Be Happy!

  • Diet, Food and Holiday
    • The Ugly Truth of the Skinny Fixation by Heidi Powell

      This topic is a bit more serious than a lot of other things I share on this blog, but I feel very strongly that it needs to be discussed. If you feel like you might be struggling with an eating disorder, please don’t think I am here to shame you. Nope – I have been there in my own life. For many years I struggled with a combination of eating disorders, and I know this is something I will forever need to keep in mind to help my recovery for the rest of my life.
      Let’s face it. There’s tremendous pressure in today’s society to be magazine-cover thin. Even though we realize many of these photos are altered and airbrushed, we still see the thin person on the cover, who looks soooo happy, and we want to be that person. And some people are willing to do anything to become that person, including behaviors that lead to eating disorders.

  • Pets and Animals
    • A Wee Tree

      A cute pictorial story with Wylla as the main character. She is a special needs cat that will always be a tiny little thing. She turned 10 months not so long ago and if I remember correctly, weighs under six pounds. She is becoming quite the world traveler.

    • Therapeutic Hens Have Seniors Talking Turkey

      I am a long time follower of a blog called HenCam: A Chicken Keeping Life . The blog author (Terry Golson) was involved in setting up a chicken coop at a nursing home and this article is about that coop. Her blog is teeming with information as well as pictures and tidbits of life. I especially love her goats, Pip and Caper. There is an excellent picture on her blog of some residents viewing the chickens.

      Life Care has always been supportive of four-legged (and, now, feathered) residents, and the 40-acre nursing home keeps goats, llamas and even an alpaca on the land, as well as a house cat to receive snuggles and behind-the-ear-scratches from residents. But no one quite expected the reception the chickens would receive.
      The chickens at Life Care Center reside in a coop overlooking a large picture window in the center, permitting residents to take a break and watch the chickens without the ordeal of venturing outside. “I helped to site the coop so that the residents could enjoy it from windows and wheelchairs, and yet it was in a spot that was also good for the chickens,” Golson tells SeniorLiving.net.
  • Inspirational
    • Grace for Your Unmerry Moments

      Struggling at the holidays is just proof that what Christmas is all about is true: I need a Savior. And the same grace that covers me the rest of the year is there for me in my unmerry moments, too.

      Does this mean I just do and say whatever I want? Nope. But it does mean that when I mess up and fall short of the expectations of myself and others, it’s okay. It’s not a time for guilt and condemnation. It’s a time for celebration because the moments when I fall are when the message of Christmas means most of all.

      Crazy? Yep. But so is sending the Son of God to be born in a manger. The whole gospel is full of surprises and upside-down thinking. That’s the wonder of it all.

    • When Your Best of List Comes up Empty

      I love lists. I really do. As a matter of fact, I’m itching to make a grocery list right now. Then I want to make another to-do list, because the one I wrote two days ago is missing several things – some I’ve already done, but writing them down just to cross them off makes sense to me.
      It was fun and I assumed I’d make it an annual practice. But some years don’t have much in the “best of” category.
      So what do we do when our year’s best-of list comes up empty?

      1. Start by keeping it in perspective.

      2. Count your blessings – small as they may be.

      3. Give yourself permission to grieve.

      4. Cling to hope and look forward to next year.

      {Note: I eliminated words between the numbered list in the last quote. Go to the article link to read it entirely.}

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Garage Conversion III

Here is a continuation of the garage conversion into a room of my own. You can find the previous post here.

Insulation applied. We went with spray foam.

Subflooring going down. We wanted to raise the floor just a tad to make it level with the kitchen.

Dan did a lot of work here. He was slaving away screwing down the plywood subflooring.

Subflooring completed!

A Lady Bug.

Actually, we was prepping the walls and around windows before the drywall is put up.

The drywall is up.

Taping and mudding.

Chessie climbed the ladder to explore suprising us both.

Second coat of mud.

Spackling (drywall texture) is applied.

Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of the room with the drwyall and flooring completed. So, you will just have to use your imagination and I'll just have to leave you hanging with that! Ha!

This is where we let the contractors go and started the rest of the work ourselves. So, progress on the room went slower from hereon.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Garage Conversion II

Here is a continuation of the garage conversion into a room of my own. You can find the previous post here.

Some concrete was laid to make the floor level.

Here I am early the next morning removing some of the casing around the garage door opening. I did not know Dan took a picture until after the fact. It is what it is (the way I look). Yes, we did some labor of our own to defray costs. Dan did a ton of work with the guys he hired which is probably how he managed to get a pinched nerve.

The new wall is going up!

Sheathed.

Tarred and Feathered. Errr... Some weather proofing paper wrap applied.

Removed the few bits of old siding surrounding the new wall.

The new siding is put in place.

And now, the side door along with casings is removed.

And, a new window went in its place!

The following pictures is looking out into the former garage from the kitchen, left to right. If you will notice, the automatic garage door opener system, the railings, and all its accessories were removed.

And now, I will leave you hanging until the next post! Ha!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Not so Macro Monday {Abby Gail}

The pictures showcased here were taken on December 4th, 2013 at seven months old. (Her birth date is estimated to be May 1st, 2013.) I am quickly discovering that Abby Gail is photogenic. My other two cats, Chessie and Gracie are not so easy to photograph due to their coloring. But, Abby is a different story. She is turning into a dark little beauty. Yes, her markings have darkened up some since the last update at five months.

These pictures were taken December 4th with my long lens. I am still learning how to use this newest piece of camera equipment. I found it interesting that I should have a faster shutter speed with the longer lens than with the regular or macro lens.

Anyway, enjoy her seven months old pictures. By the way, the clothespin is used to tighten up the harness some as it is too big for her at the moment.

{To see a larger image, go here.}

{To see a larger image, go here.}

{To see a larger image, go here.}

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Garage Conversion I (Before Pictures)

Way back in October, I posted a before picture of the garage. I did not like the picture as it was over exposed; but, at that time, it was all I had on hand. I have since taken more "before" pictures.

I have decided to post pictures of the garage conversion in stages as to not overwhelm readers. I, myself, prefer short and medium length posts. Long posts can be tiring for an old lady like me. Ha! So, I try to keep them short for others too. Also, by doing it this way, it gives me a break from picking and choosing among the pictures I have taken. I can do them (the pictures) in stages and then post them as I get them done.

Keep in mind that I forgot to take before images of the garage with drywall and the like. But, that is okay. These are pictures with the garage cleaned up and drywall removed.

The following is from the kitchen looking out into the garage, from left to right.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wordy Wednesday {DIY Sneak Peek}

Now what am I working on? Yes, I am actually doing a woodworking project this time around. I had no choice but to "hire" Dan's help simply due to the fact I did not have the strength to do a particular task. Yes, I am such a wimp. *sigh* However, I am gaining me some muscles in my arms! Woo Hoo! Ha!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Macro Monday {Pipevine Swallowtail}

Pipevine Swallowtail

A rare appearance on November 11, 2013. This flying flower was just resting and it was a lot of work on this windy day for butterflies to flutter about. I wish the picture turned out better; but, he was quick to leave before I could snap more pictures.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Daddy {an old short essay}


Note: I thought I posted this essay on my blog years ago. However, I realized recently that my dad passed away before I started this blog. So, it must have been posted on facebook. Or, it has never been posted out in cyberspace. 
Since I have been neglecting this blog due to life, I decided I wanted to post this essay here for posterity sake. It was written over a course of a few days and read (along with other essays) at his funeral. Upon rereading this, it made me cry yet again. So, I am apologizing in advance to any family members (and sensitive souls) who reads this post for I know some of you will cry should you decide to read this essay.  If you do not desire to get weepy, please leave now

My Daddy
by Lee Ann Lenfest
January 2009

I had my Daddy wrapped around my little finger. I am a Daddy’s girl. I could get him to do or tolerate most anything with me. And, oh how I could make him laugh whenever he got upset or angry with me. All I had to do was say something funny, look at him in a certain way, or even bat my eyelashes at him and it would just cause him to burst out laughing and forget about what he was upset or angry about in the first place.

I remember he had such patience with me. He would sit on the sofa with me sitting behind him on the back with my legs dangling over his shoulders onto his chest and let me play with his hair and put curlers in it. We would often wrestle and play on the floor – he was so gentle – he never hurt me. He would carry me to bed as part of my nighttime routine and did this until I got way too big – my feet would drag on the ground. So many precious memories abound in my head.

He was a constant presence and my rock – an ever present sense of security. I knew in my heart that I could always go to him if I needed to even though I rarely did.

I am always forever watching and observing the world around me. This is what I saw of my Daddy:

I saw a man who attempted to attend all the football games, not to mention the concerts, to support his children who played in the band. I saw a man who supported me playing softball by coming to the games – he even took the time to teach and coach me in softball. I saw a man that extended his help and support to others within the same softball league and he eventually became an umpire to fulfill a need. I saw a man that loved to play softball himself and he would invite me to come along and play on his team (from his work) if they were short a man. I saw a man who garnered so much respect among the people he worked with. I saw a man who showed such kindness towards others through his very actions.

I saw a man who was passionate about so many things. He adored birds and knew practically everything about them – he could identify many of them and even knew what they ate. He constantly battled with the squirrels and it was high comedy watching him do that. He loved and respected the earth – he composted and recycled as much as he could. He collected coins and hoarded them – some of which are worth a lot today. He was deeply patriotic – he loved America and impassionedly discussed politics. He was so sentimental that he kept mementos of the days long past.

I saw a man who had tears in his eyes upon giving me away in marriage to my beloved husband, Dan, and he quietly said ”you will always be my little girl” bringing tears to my own eyes.

I saw a man who just adored his grandchildren and would do anything they asked of him, even getting down on the floor to play with them, even though it made him groan. And, he would attempt to attend the important events of his grandchildren – high school & college graduations, weddings, and more.

I saw a man whose eyes sparkled with tears of happiness when I looked up at him among the people in the audience after the graduation ceremony from college. He had insisted that I “walk” for him when I wasn’t going to. How could I refuse his request? After all, I’m a Daddy’s girl who loved him so very much. I did not realize the depth of his pride and joy from this event until a few weeks later when he showed off the framed stuff he had obtained from my graduation. I must confess that it surprised me. It was his way of saying that he was proud of his little girl and it touched my heart.

I could go on and on with what I’ve seen of this man whom I called Daddy. He had such love for his Mother and Father, for his wife, my Mother, each of his siblings, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He adored family and loved the gatherings that would occur.

My Daddy was strong, loyal, and courageous. He was a pillar of strength and he was brave to the very end.
I am honored to know him, to love him, to be of him.
He's my hero, and I am his daughter, his little girl. 1
1 “Daddy’s Girl” by Christine McNamara

Monday, December 2, 2013

Macro Monday {Daring Spider}

I was sitting outside watching my cats explore when I noticed movement in a lantern style bird feeder. Upon a closer look, I discovered a unusual looking Daring Spider trapped inside. Most daring spiders around here are solid black with white markings on its abdomen. The challenge with snapping pictures of this critter is getting a decent shot through dirty glass.

Daring (or Jumping) Spider

{To see a larger image, go here.}

I was very surprised to see one picture turn out decently. I am pleased with this shot. I first thought that he was bald; but, the more I went through the pictures I took, the more I believe it is his actual coloring as the orange is hair too.

After I was finished with snapping pictures, I carefully opened the feeder and let him out onto a bird feeder platform that is usually located below the two or three feeders I have hanging out there. I watched him to make sure he could climb the edge of the platform as it has a smooth slippery edge (like glass). He could not climb out; so, I tipped the edge of the platform and he paused for a few seconds on top of the edge as if saying "thank you" before taking off in the grass. And, that was my adventure for this particular day.