Book Review: “Open House” by Elizabeth Berg plus more

This author also wrote the recently reviewed book Arthur Truluve which was a new publish. “Open House” had a copywrite of the year 2000, 20 years ago. There were similarities to each of the stories as that people who didn’t know each other moved in with each other. There were also spouse and parent deaths as part of the story.

So the story starts out with a woman, Samantha, trying to come to terms with the separation of their marriage that her husband, David, wanted. They were married for 15 years and had one son who was 11 years old. They were comfortable, lived in a nice home in a nice neighborhood. The husband just wanted more and she was happy with her life. She knew that he was becoming distant and wanted to go to a counselor and figure out the problem. He eventually moved out and she was playing the “what if” game in her head. She eventually had to figure out how she could stay in the home, work out the visiting arrangements with her husband for the son and she had to find a job to have an income. Still she needed more income and she decided to take in boarders.

The first boarder was a lady in her early 80’s with a boyfriend. The second was a young introverted Asian student with a very negative outlook on life. The third was a gay man. Through all these people she gained friendships. She also took a job with an employment agency where she had different jobs weekly. One was at a laundromat, another at call center that was not on the up and up and she was happily fired from it.

Through all this she had to see her husband move into a nice apartment, and have a girlfriend with the talk of marriage. She dropped their son off one day and he wanted to show his room and she noted that her husband had a white couch. She had always wanted a white couch but he knocked that idea down, now he has one. All this time she really missed him, missed the life they had, she had taken care of him, really too much. He had this yearning for something else and he couldn’t see how good his life was.

Time went on and she tried dates that her mother set up for her. Her mother was something else and thought her daughter should just start dating right a way, after all that’s what she did when her husband died. It always bothered her daughter and eventually she realized that was how her mother had coped with his death.

Throughout this book we will live the roller coaster ride of Samantha finding her self confidence that she had totally lost due to the separation. She had always given into David and he got whatever he wanted. His family had money and he pretty much got what he wanted there and had strong opinions about having things “just so” for himself.

I liked this book, it didn’t make me want to read it in one day but it had its moments. I would say, “give it a try”.

Our house is in disarray right now. We have lived in our house for 10 years and it is time to paint and update colors. We try to do a couple of rooms each year but due to covid we didn’t have any painting done and are catching up. The last two rooms are in process. The kitchen is a called peppery and the great room will be a sage green.
I had tried the color on the wall and I believe it will be great. I have had to unload the two bookcases to be able to move them away from the wall. I really loved to become reacquainted with books I forgot that I had. The garage sale pile is growing too. The refrigerator has been pulled out and swept under, things have been dusted. It has been a lot of work but needed for sure.
Pavel had to see what I was doing this morning. He is such a sweetheart. Tom and I are getting our second covid shot this friday. I also had a cortisone shot in my knees, and they feel better so still waiting to see how long it lasts. Trying to get through the summer before I have anything done permanantly.
Our newly painted foyer. I love it and the door is a deeper color. We always have a lawn service come out and clean up the landscaping. It lasts all growing season and I have to just trim up plants that grow a little wild. We had a spicket added near our well head, and that tore up some plants and uneven ground. Having that water access will be worth it. The last thing we will have done is getting our carpets cleaned. Then we can sit back and enjoy the hard work.
Here is a great picture of a morning moon that I took recently. I like to have pictures for reference and the sky was so blue and it was clear.

A quote that made me laugh.

An intellectual is someone who can listen to the “William Tell Overture” without thinking of the Lone Ranger.

If you have any questions or want to contact me send a note. I would love to hear from you.

Preparing

Winter Solstice:

solstice that marks the onset of winter, at the time of the shortest day, about December 22 in the northern hemisphere and June 21 in the southern hemisphere.

Happy Winter Solstice to all of you. Now we can look forward to seconds added on to the day to begin the slow ascent to longer days. I don’t know the difference, some definitions show December 21 and others December 22. I will just go by my Charley Harper calendar.

This little painting is titled “Preparing” and is our Christmas Card this year.

“All the Woodland Animals were Decorating in Preparation”

Four days until Christmas and I pretty much have my list and am checking it off.

Wrap gifts, make goodies, grocery store and finishing touches, plan to be ready by Thursday.

I think with this picture I was trying to take an image of the full moon but I just couldn’t get it right. Doesn’t it look like a reindeer though?
Last night, the sky was clear and I was able to see Jupiter and Saturn, and I took photos (to the best of my ability). Tonight is supposed to be the night where they are in alignment but it is a cloudy day. Here is a video I found that explains the phenomena.
I am happy to report that progress is being made on this quilt. One side has these flowers appliqued on and now I have started on the other side. If a little time each day is devoted to the project then it goes much faster.
I want to share this beautiful dimensional birthday card one of my gal pals sent. I feel very special because I am sure it was time consuming.
Here you can see the three layers. It is a fabulous card from a fabulous friend. You will be glad to know that Pavel was not bothered by my flash.
It was a banner week in the mail. I also received this journal from my other gal pal. Each page has a treat on it from hidden tags to papers that she dyed along with interesting cards.
Here are some of the dyed papers, a flower that she made.
Tags and pockets, it was just beautiful. With each page turn it is a treat.
The vintage looking papers, lace and torn fabric for the ribbon.
I am ending my post with Miggy or his whole name is Miguel Cabrera. One of our favorite Detroit Tigers. Miggy the cat is a polydactal with extra toes and it is like he has baseball mitts on his paws. He is such a sweetie but so big, 13 to 14 pounds. Every night when I go to bed I have to wrestle with him because he thinks he is going to sleep on my chest and stomach. After seven to ten minutes he finally gets the hint. He is so long that when we shut the bedroom door he can reach up and open the door. With his big paws he can maneuver round door handles too.

I hope you are doing well, are safe and healthy.

Pretty Flowers and Tips to live with

A favorite place to sit and look out. Before I clicked the camera, they were both looking at something. We have lots of birds in the back yard so that is more than likely what they were focused on. The big cat on the left is Miggy and the other is Pavel.
Pavel at times does not squat when he piddles and it goes over the side. With six cats we need four large boxes. I was changing the litter in the two not pictured. This is a great recipe for urine smell.

Removing Urine Smell

Baking Soda (I used two boxes for this)
Peroxide

Put the Peroxide in a spray bottle and spray liberally on the area that smells. We used this on a car seat, but you can use it on carpeting or flooring like I am doing. If you have to use it on clothing make sure that the peroxide doesn’t do any harm.

Then take the baking soda and sprinkle it on the wet area and then take a stiff brush and scrub it. You can also add more peroxide. Let it dry and then sweep it up. The peroxide and baking soda neutralize the urine.
Hope this helps you. It is better than anything you can buy off the shelves.
I had this book in my piles of books and opened it to the kitchen decluttering section. I have had this book for quite a while but with life happening, I didn’t read it. I am now because we have been trying to just lighten things up in the house. We just had an association garage sale and made us look at cutting down the piles.

I love the way that the author writes – Dana K. White – because I have had all the things she refers about happen to me. So the part I am going to talk about is storage containers. I had three drawers for them. One for miscellaneous items, one for lids and one for the containers and I thought I was ahead of the game. She said that the big key is to store the containers with their lids on. No more searching for the lids, just put them together coming out of the dishwasher after making sure they are thoroughly dried. No nesting the containers and I thought that will take up so much room. Not so my friends! I even have space left over plus I have weeded out the lids that have no containers and visa versa.
The top narrow drawer has the small containers.
The second deeper drawer.
The third deep drawer. How organized I felt!
Give it a try. As Dana puts it….you don’t need a bazillion of everything. Also it helps clean out the refrigerator that can become a big deep hole, containing shape shifting food that makes you gag when you open the lid.
What you are looking at here is my new copper hummingbird feeder. The red part comes out and is a small plastic container that holds the nectar. In the lid is a tiny hole that the bird can drink out of. It is sitting in a flower pot. I have not witnessed a hummingbird come to it yet and it has been out for two days. I am not staring at it 24/7 though. I looked at the FAQ’s and Nancy Biggins suggested moving the pot a little bit or putting a red ribbon on it.
I have seen many visits of hummingbirds recently at the catmint that you see in the background. I thought it was a no brainer to put it near there, maybe it is bothering the birds. Something out of the norm. Also this picture shows the little feeding hole. The Art Shop is Copper Hummingbird so click and it will take you to her site. Catmint is kind of amazing because it draws hummingbirds, finches, bees, butterflies and cats!
My load of 5 X 7 canvases that I will be adding to my store and will be for sale soon. I will be sure to send out a store update. Sign up to get an email when I do a blog post. It is on my homepage.
This is “Field Heart” 5 X 7 original and is up in the store right now. Click here and it will take you right to it. Still offering free shipping, just use FREESHIP in the coupon code. It is $50.00.
The oregano is doing pretty well. The Basil is growing and smells so good but I am moving these to a different area because I don’t think they get enough direct sunlight.
A sweet watering can that was Sam’s when he was young.
The allium is about to bloom. I like it when the outer coating sheds.
The first balloon flower is about to pop. I get amazed when they puff up before showing their star like flowers. Hence the name -balloon flowers.
This is lambs ear that is flowering. I have not seen this happen before. I have had it 6 or 7 years. I have now seen this happening all over.
A teeny dark purple clematis, I have been nurturing this plant and thought it was a goner but it has surprised me. I hope it keeps it up.
Two colors of hollyhocks. The one on the left is almost black.
A lighter purple clematis that is doing great.
Then there is the big bunch of pink hollyhock. I really love these.
I also have columbine, daisies, salvia, wild blue indigo and beards tongue. By next near it will be more full and stunning!
This little gal -Sophie- has her face pressed against the door all the time, to be able to slip out. She loves to roll on the warm cement. She doesn’t run away but plops down and rolls making noises of happiness.

We had a nice Fathers Day and I hope the same for you and your family even if you mailed your packages, zoomed with each other or got together. Please stay well and see you next week.

Too Pretty not to Share

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I know I share a lot of sky pictures but when my 21 year old says Mom, you need to come look at this sunset, I knew it had to be good. It was picture-worthy for sure. I did not do any kind of touching up for this, which I usually don’t, it is all it’s own glory. Just Amazing!

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The day lilies are starting to pop open. This one opened this morning and was influenced by the sunset I’m sure. They are the same color.

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I love sun and moon things. This is just one of those metal sticks for the garden. I have always thought it is pretty though I was a wee bit disappointed that it didn’t glow.

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The moonbeam coreopsis are showing their faces.

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Flower from still the un-named bush we have.

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The grasses are looking lovely, I have 4 of these and as you can tell they flow nicely in the wind. It moved as I snapped the picture. They are doing really well for their first year.

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I had forgotten that I planted nasturtium seeds in these pots until I looked this morning. Lo and behold they are showing up nicely. Nasturtium are one of the easiest seeds to grow. They are beautiful, and edible. You can use them in your salads to add color. Zinnias and Morning Glorys are right up there in easy also.

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We have had so much rain it filled up my fountain nicely. I have a rain gauge the goes to 8 inches and it was overflowing.

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First year for these day lilies. I believe they are called Betsy Ross and may be red and green, but we will really just have to wait and see. I bought 10 plants and they also sent me 3 free also named of a historical figure, maybe Abe Lincoln or George Washington…can’t remember. They are very hardy and larger with buds now.

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Here is a Betsy Ross with a bud.

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I plugged in the fountain for you. I don’t plug it in on windy days (which are often) it just blows all of the water out and I can’t keep up. It looks pretty here though.

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There is a story here…..Pavel the cat (upper right) was being ornery and following Lily the cat(bottom left) and she was spitting, and sputtering and hissing and getting all wrapped around the axle and always makes it sound worse than it is. That brought out Stonewall (lower right) and Sophie (upper left) and not shown Sebastian, I think he went back to sleep. When something big goes on everybody wants a piece of it. We had to disburse the crowd or there would have been a riot. My next project Sophie is under. I am going to recover the chair pads, thanks to youtube. It looked pretty easy and I purchased the fabric on the deep discount table at Joanne’s Fabrics. I hope to get to it next week. As Always-Thanks for stopping by and Have a Great Weekend!