Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way
Walnut Room? This way, please.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What do you keep and what do you leave?

 I know--for someone who says she is decluttering, streamlining, and getting rid of things that (1) do not serve a purpose (whether utilitarian or aesthetic), (2) have significant value (sentimental or monetary), and (3) are family heirlooms destined to be passed down (not the same as sentimental to me), I can hold on to a lot of things that do not fit those definitions.
 I have looked at the withered and dead flowers sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks now, and not thrown them away.  This morning, I gathered the roses and the piece of greenery that I have no idea what was, and placed them in the old canning jar that belonged to my great-grandmother.  It contains rocks I picked up from Blouberg Beach in South Africa.  Normally, it sits on the shelf above my kitchen sink, and on occasion, sports live blooms.
While I will not keep these dried flowers very long (for one, dried flowers don't have a very long shelf life), they just seemed to beckon to me to keep them in view just a bit longer.  Mom, Dad, and Sis sent them to me post-surgery last month, and though I need no reminders of their love for me, it is nice to see them and feel that emotion momentarily at conscious level.


Friday, March 28, 2014

the final Friday

These days I seem to be dragging out longer and longer between posts, but then, I am dragging, although that is about to come to an end, thank goodness.  I am a hop, skip, and a jump from being back on the road again and exploring the heights and depths of Mississippi and beyond.  Since my Paddy's Day post full of green wishes, a lot of my view has looked like this:
  Although still doing great (and a great 30-day check-up yesterday that had me walking on air…almost…) I have spent a lot of time with this vantage point in the last two weeks.  Primarily, grading clinical comprehensive exams for graduate students which is tedious and time consuming.  Sitting at the desk puts pressure on the hip, and using my bed-desk I got for the knee is so much easier…and, I can ice at the same time.
After my early morning doctor visit, I stopped by the Lusa bakery to pick up some breakfast pastries--it seemed like a good day to celebrate!  A cherry turnover is a cherry turnover, although I will say this one was super flaky and the cherries were superb--not too sweet, and cherries rather than just cherry smash.  The cute little muffin in the brown paper wrapper is blueberry coffee cake, recommended by the bakery attendant.
She was so right.  I am not sure I have had anything quite so delectable in a while.  It was softer and more moist than your usual coffee cake, with a melt-in-your-mouth flavor and swirls of blueberry (sauce? preserves?) in tiny doses.  (Note: for me, a little bit of blueberry goes a long way, so this was perfect).  The whole thing was not too sweet, kind of like a muffin, only with a more moist and smooth texture.  It is a keeper and perfect with my pot of Earl Grey tea.
I sent Sis a message to update her on my check-up, and she sent back a message that Dad had been "on a roll" all morning.  He was insistent to put on his hat and boots and that he planned to go mow the grass.   The day before, he had Sis looking online to price chain saws as he decided he needed to go cut some firewood he had "stashed and curing" for my Bro.  It was in regard to raising children, but a wise person once said, "Pick your battles."  The same is true for a parent (or anyone for that matter) with dementia.  If Dad even remembered he was on his way to the barn to mow or use a chain saw--highly unlikely these days--he would not have the strength to get there, nor the strength to pick up a chain saw and start it--if he had one.  It's kind of like wearing your hat and boots in the house with your pajamas--what difference does it make?  Yes, that's right--None.  Fortunately for now, Dad is in pretty good humor most of the time, but the surest way to cross him is to tell him he "can't" do something.  It is a delicate balancing act, because no one wants to see him fall again, or injure himself in some way.  It is doubtful if he would come back as well as he has from the broken hip.  The best thing we have learned though is patience--if you wait only a few minutes, it will pass.
Meanwhile, Libby is espousing my sentiments exactly--get that light out of my eyes!  It rained and stormed last night, and I went to sleep with the sound of the rain hitting the little porch outside my window--a pleasant and soothing lullaby.  It is overcast, but pleasantly warm today.

Let's get those last two comps graded and move on to things that are more fun--like my new exercise regime the doc started me on yesterday.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Different Points of View

When I started this post a week ago, I had a whole thematic thing going in my head.  I've slept since then.  I also spent hours (literally) combing through old posts trying to locate the name of the brick design on the corner of this building since I could not remember it, and google searches was not turning it up.

This morning, I had the epiphany that it was on the Preservation in Mississippi blog, not mine.  It is called "pigeonhole corner detail" in the event you are (1) thinking of building a house with this design, or (2) have a house with this design and want to know what it is.

Cyril M. Harris in the Dictionary of Architecture and Construction  described the pigeonhole corner:
…an acute angle formed in a brick wall, using square-ended bricks that have not been shaped."
As you can read from the MissPres post, there are differing points of view (not the theme I had in mind originally, which was in a philosophical vein, but sometimes, once the moment of inspiration has passed, you just need to let it go and move on) about the utility of the pigeonhole corner.  Criticisms included:

  • corners collect dirt, cobwebs, debris
  • critters nest in the corners
  • unsightly
  • cheap and structurally unsound
While the first two clearly are possible, the second two are not necessarily so.  According to Rosell in MissPres Word of the Week: Pigeonhole Corner, there are "high end" buildings with pigeonhole corners, and property executed, the brickwork can add interesting detail to a building without compromising structural soundness.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

You want me to sleep where?

 Libby is not happy when I have things done to my body that require a dog not walk on it.  It has been pretty amusing every night watching her try to become invisible when it looks like time to get in the crate.  She puts her foot over her eyes and becomes very still, hoping if she can't see us...

During the day when I am awake and alert, I leave her out as she generally just curls up next to me to go to sleep, and I protect myself with pillows from an unsuspected sudden impulse by a dog to take the shortcut across my legs to get to the floor or the door.  When she hears "off" she knows it doesn't matter what is going on, she has to get off the bed right then.  I had been icing my thigh and trying to rearrange my pillows, using my grabber tool while Rand was working on my computer to set up my virtual classroom for Tuesday.  I used it last summer with no problem but now Java is not cooperating.  Needless to say, we were all a bit frustrated: need virtual classroom and the virtual part where I see them and they see me does not want to work; Rand, who never ever gets a day off from work--if it isn't his real work calling, it is his friends and family--"can you tell me why..."  "I can't get my computer to..." and so on and so on and so on; Libby because she really really wanted to see what I was trying to do with the grabber tool and I really did not want her to...
I knew it was going to happen, but it my momentary frustration at task failure, I forgot to use "off."  Whop!  The grabber tool slipped off the grip on the pillow and bonked her right on the head.  She looked at me rather pathetically and laid her head on the pillow.

I told her I was sorry, but one thing about a dog who loves you: she will forgive you quickly, and in a pique of anger later, will never ever throw it up to you about the time you hit her in the head with your grabber tool.