Persistence Pays

I know you’ve all been on pins and needles wondering whether we liked our paint colors. (Haha)

We (drum roll) love it!!!!!!!

The grey walls of the living room, kitchen and hallway were completed this weekend and I was very happy with the results. I still hadn’t decided on the accent wall.

I narrowed down the accent wall colors to two samples: “NightFlight” (a dark navy) and the “Newburyport Blue” which was definitely more purple than blue. I asked everyone for an opinion and almost every time they would choose the purple one. Every time they did, I had this contrary sense that I really wanted the alternative.

Last night, pondering it once again, I went back to look up the color online and realized that the paint sample I’d been given couldn’t be right. I decided to have a new sample made up from a store that normally works with Benjamin Moore paints. As soon as we opened the can, we knew that THIS was the color intended, not the purple hue. It is just the right balance of color and warmth needed for my accent wall. Perfect!

5 samples of grey and 5 samples for the accent wall. Persistence (and a patient husband) really does pay off.

P.S. I’m figuring out that this wishy washy angst over decorating decisions might be a function of age. I asked a few of my friends and we all admit to finding such decisions difficult now, when in the past we started projects and chose colors a lot more easily. We still haven’t figured out why that might be–just that we share the experience. Any ideas?

Color Confusion

Our entire house was painted in a light cream color, walls and ceilings. (The basement, refinished later, was painted mostly a soft yellow.) It’s time to add color.

Who knew that color could be so confusing?

For the first time, we asked for help from a decorator. She made suggestions that surprised us, but we agreed: a dark accent wall in the living room and gray on the walls. (So trendy!)

I picked out paint chips (with her) and came home to try some samples. Three greys, starting with the darker one she favored, two that I thought were gradient lighter tones,and two dark blues.

This was all happening while a painter did all the ceilings in the living room, kitchen and hallway: ceiling white. We made a snap decision that morning to paint the kitchen because at both entrances, there are no natural divides where one paint could end and another start. This complicated our color choices.

I was really shocked when I painted the samples. It was a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. One color was too dark, one was too light (with strong purple tints), and so on. The accent paints were a deep purple and a too-bright blue.

We waited a day, living with the color and waiting for sunshine, and then went back to the paint store for more samples. Lighter, warm greys and two more dark navies.

 

 

 

 

I also bought samples for our master bathroom: a light spring green. Again, the first sample I rolled was surprisingly light; the second dark. When I bought another sample, I was shocked by the blue tint. What was going on?

As a quilter, I consider myself to be good with color. Choosing fabric might be my favoritie part of quilting: There’s nothing like walking through a quilt store with bolts of fabric in your arms, placing them side by side to get the right color. I once took a color class and was the star pupil. One of my blog categories is color.

But this? I felt like someone was doing a bait and switch with every sample!

We’re ready to plunge, which is exactly how it feels. We still don’t know if we will like, love or hate the end result.

P.S. We’ve only chosen the color for the main walls. Want to vote on the accent wall? (Even though the picture doesn’t really tell an accurate story either. The one on the top right is actually a dark purple/blue. The other three are closer to reality.)

Sew Organized!

We are continuing to settle into our new home–and getting ourselves organized.

I started with my sewing area in the basement. I bought an Ikea Kallax 8-bin unit to define my space and set up a boundary with the kids’ play area. Bins organized toys and fabric and an attached table made a nice home for my new sewing machine. I returned to Ikea for another table for my serger and a cutting board, and an even bigger–16 bin–unit to store my fabric. A re-covered design board, a new ironing board cover, and a table skirt to hide more bins of stuff, completed my sewing room by mid-July.

 

With Lizi moving back home, I organized the closet in her room to compactly hold–and organiez–her clothes and my (non-sewing) hobbies.

 

I needed to cram a lot of books and files into a small space. Back to Ikea (several times) to pick up pieces of the Algot system and figure out how to use the space well. I finished our new, organized closet by the end of August.

 

 

 

 

 

Last, but certainly not least, we were able to get our garage organized by the end of September. Another Kallax system and more bins, a massive workbench and pegboard, and numerous shelves. Our bikes are stored up high on pulleys for easy access and sports bins hold the balls, discs, and skates. A rail system holds gardening tools, etc. Plus we either stored (garage attic) or threw out the rest of our junk.

Best of all, we are able to park two cars in the garage for the first time since we left our Bellwood home in 1980! We are so excited to be able to pull in and out of the garage,
away from the elements. And yes, I have ball hanging from a rope to guide me into my space 🙂

 

One more thing: My threads for weaving are finally “organized” after what seems like months of stops and starts. Before we left Elmhurst I laid out 400+ threads on the warping board and tied them neatly. In August, I managed to get all the threads onto the loom, but didn’t finish dressing it until this week. For me, that means going over and over it to get it right: the pattern, the threading of the heddles, the sleying of the reed and then, the tension. I love how it looks when it is all done, though I have to say the process of getting to this point is more than tedious. Now I’m ready for the fun of weaving 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really, sew organized!

 

Sixty-four!

I will be sixty-four this week, so you know what song is going through my head.

Paul McCartney wrote the tune when he was sixteen and the Beatles recorded it in 1966, the year his father turned sixty-four. It was released in 1967 on their album, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I was thirteen.

And probably thought sixty-four was really old.

So, like most of my friends, I’m kind of surprised to find myself singing the song about a real birthday, wondering how we got so old, so quickly.

I’m going to spend my birthday working. Somehow that seems appropriate since I haven’t managed to completely retire yet. I’m taking it month-by-month and for now, it still seems like a good thing.

Will you still love me? Will you still need me?—I’m sixty-four!

 

P.S. I also shared a birthdate with John Lennon 🙂

Denali Finale

When we left Petersburg, we considered changing our tickets and going straight home-to deal with a crisis at home. We decided against it when we looked at the cost and were advised against coming home to “rescue.” We carried on.

 

We spent a rainy day in Juneau. We decided to rent a car, which allowed us to drive out to the Mendenhall glacier, shop, and stay relatively dry. That evening we boarded a flight to Anchorage, where we rented another car, drove to the mission guest house, and tucked ourselves in bed.

The next morning I had breakfast with my friend, Sharlane before she went to work. The weather didn’t look good for the trip towards Denali that I had planned, but we decided to go for it anyways. We packed for a possible overnight and headed north.

Six hours later, we arrived at Denali National Park and gleefully stamped our retirement Passport book. On the way, we stopped and took just a couple pictures of the great mountain. We could see most of the massive mountain, but the top was obscured by clouds. It’s hard to see but it is there in the center of the photo.

 

In 2010, during an 8 hour layover in Anchorage, Anne, a friend, and I had made a spontaneous trip towards Denali. We stopped more than 100 miles from the mountain but were still awed by its majesty. I wanted John to have that experience.

He (and I) had a completely different experience of Denali.

It turns out that one of the best places to see the mountain is from a distance. For one thing, the road that leads into Denali National Park is located on the east side of the mountain range that runs almost straight east and west. To cut down on the impact on the environment, travel within the park is limited a to a bus system that we didn’t have time to access. (The shortest tour was 4.5 hours; the full tour was 11 hours.) Cars were only allowed to the visitors center, the campgrounds, and a fifteen-mile stretch of road.

We took an evening and morning trip up the park road and a two-mile hike at Savage Creek, in wind and rain. Autumn was in full bloom in the park, with red brush, yellow aspens and green pines. Stunning. Our pictures can’t possibly do justice to the beauty we experienced. We really enjoyed the vast and beautiful landscape.

 

 

 

 

 

It was a fitting finale for our Alaska adventure.

 

 

 

 

*One of the things I love about Alaska is that there are three highways: 1, 2, 3, forming a triangle between Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Tok, which is just east of Glennallen, our first home when we lived in Alaska. We have transversed Hwy 1 between Tok and Anchorage several times; part of Hwy 2 to the Sourdough Lodge; and now we’ve been more than halfway up Hwy 3 towards Fairbanks. My goal is to make the whole loop next time we come.

 

Petersburg Peeps

Late last night we said a reluctant goodbye to Petersburg, watching from the deck of the Malaspina as the lights of town slipped out of sight. It was a good week.

Three full-on rain days gradually turned into partly sunny days at the end. We donned our rain jackets and (in my case) garden shoes and carried on. I shopped, walked and visited the new library. We took trips out the road in both directions, nearly circumventing the island.

 

But mostly, Petersburg was about our people: We had two delightful evenings with good friends from the Bible church, reminiscing and catching up on our families. Both served us halibut–a special treat! We spent a lot of time with our friend “Clyde”, eating out and doing errands around town. (His real name is Harvey but he decided to use his middle name in light of the hurricane ravaging the South.) Anne and I had a wonderful lunch and caught up, chatting at the Pilot office, the newspaper she and her husband own. On Sunday we enjoyed fellowshipping at the Bible church and sharing in a Back-to-School BBQ.

We were sad to see the empty KRSA studio building, the still blinking towers (without a signal) and our house, the back porch littered with beer bottles. Sometime after our last visit (2010) the mission decided to pull out of radio ministry in Southeast Alaska. For awhile other groups attempted to run the station and then finally, just a few years ago, KRSA was completely shut down. Changes in radio and the accessibility of the Internet precipitated some of the changes, but a change in focus (to church planting) for the mission also contributed. We knew about these changes, of course, but seeing the empty building made it a lot more real.

Once again, it was the people–and their stories–that encouraged us. It was really fun to meet almost all of Brian & Carol’s family (including 7 grandchildren), to hear so many stories about other adults that were small children so many years ago. This generation of believers has built a beautiful new church building and carried on ministry to the community, growing strong in Christ. I don’t think we realized how new many of our friends had been to the faith back then, nor how recently the church had been established.

 

We dug our roots down deeply there–even though we were only in Petersburg for 18 months–so we were delighted to see how God has been working in their lives in the intervening years.

 

 

 

In the 35 years since we left Petersburg with our 8-month old firstborn, we’ve traveled back several times. We went back with our small children three years later (1985) and again when John2 graduated from high school (2000.) Chris visited with Ellen Ferris once, and John (once with John2) came back twice to help with engineering in the later years. In 2010, we sent Annie to Petersburg to “practice” being far from home before going to New Zealand for Bible school. After she left–and found that she loved Petersburg–Chris decided to go up and visit for the last week. This trip was our 6th and probably not our last.

We love our Petersburg Peeps.

Sunny. Or not.

Sunny days in Southeast Alaska are like gold. You don’t squander them. The blue skies and sun lasted all the way up our trip up the Inside Passage–and we spent as much of it as we could basking in the sunshine and warmth.

This is what we woke up to the next morning:

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is the forecast for today:

100% chance of rain all day. At least an inch of rain is projected. In Ketchikan a sign measures “liquid sunshine,” so I guess that’s what we are getting now. We saw this sign on a store today:

 

 

 

 

 

We are settled into a B&B on the waterfront with a HOT TUB! This is my twice-a-day view of Petersburg:

So, sunny or not, we are having a good time.

Ketchikan

I’m sitting on a plastic lounge chair atop the Matanuska, a mid-sized boat on the Alaska Marine Highway system. We are docked at Ketchikan waiting for our ferry to continue its journey north.

Amazingly, the sun is shining and it is warm.

 

 

Yesterday morning we left our house early to arrive at the airport by 8:30 a.m. We dropped Lizi off at the American Airlines gate for Denver and found our way to an Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle. Four hours later we landed at Sea-Tac and got on another flight going north to Ketchikan. We arrived in the middle of the afternoon.

After settling in to our hotel, we walked around the town, looking at tourist shops and eating King Crab and halibut fish ’n chips. We walked up steep stairways to get a better view of the harbour (which at the time was dominated by the presence of two mammoth cruise ships.) By late afternoon we were exhausted so we went back to the room to power nap for a bit. While I slept, the cruise ships mercifully continued on their way so that when we went back out to enjoy the sunshine and sunset, our views were unobstructed. (Three more ships came in by daylight and the town was again teeming with cruisers.) We had dessert on a third-floor restaurant and then walked a couple miles trying to burn off the calories.

In the morning, I walked further into the historic district and meandered through art galleries. (I informed John that this is a “buying trip” for our Alaskan master suite 🙂 I even found a quilt store.

Sunshine in Southeast Alaska is a rare treat.

 

When I checked the weather app for Petersburg it listed clouds and rain for the entire week. When we got off the plane, someone told us that this was the 10th sunshiny day of the entire summer. In fact, they’ve had so much rain that they have experienced flooding for the first time she can remember in 40 years. We’re thrilled that we are getting to start our trip with sunshine and will have it for at least some of our trip up the Inside Passage.

 

Speaking of 40 years, this is the official celebration of our 40th Anniversary, actually occurring last April. We planned to meet James & Anne (and Charlee, of course) in Hawaii, but James has been busy preparing his Adventure Bible School for an audit, so it never worked out. We decided to revisit one of the most fun times of our life together by planning a ten-day trip to Alaska. We considered a cruise, but didn’t like the idea of the big boats (which we like even less now that we’ve seen them up close.) This ferry boat suits us just fine and will deliver us tonight to Petersburg, our home for 18 months (March 81-September 82.) For the next 9 hours, all we have to do is relax—and enjoy the sunshine.

Meandering

I am a meanderer.

I’m not sure if that is a word or not, but I rarely take the direct route when driving. My last trip to Detroit took seven hours (without any stops at quilt stores.) It took even longer coming home. When I travel home from work, it always seems to take a couple hours. Fortunately, even if I work two days in a week, I only make one return trip home because my normal routine is to stay overnight in Elmhurst to avoid the long commute. (I think I just meandered through that paragraph!)

Today was one of those days. I left work early and decided to stop at a quilt store and Ikea, “on my way” home. On the spur of the moment, I stopped to visit a friend near Ikea. And then I set my GPS for home. I meandered through a bit of what I call “suburban hell,” curvy roads through the suburbs that catch you in their tangled webs. I meandered past a lot of fields and industry.

Before I knew it, my GPS had me meandering right past the farm where Laura and Taylor pick up their CSA vegetables every Friday. A light went on: We were supposed to do the pick up today. I called John to see if he had remembered (he didn’t) so I pulled in and was able to get our weekly supply, just moments past the regular closing time.

And then I meandered home. Right, left, left, right. Farm fields and housing developments. And then, I was on Hafenrichter, one of the streets bordering our subdivision. Home–with a smile on my face. What a lovely commute.

P.S. The sun was shining and the top was down on my convertible. I’m sure that had something to do with my happy feeling.

Lizi 101

A recent conversation got me thinking that maybe I need to write a manual for being with Lizi. If you are her Facebook friend, you will know that she has been struggling with relationships and loneliness for the past few years. She longs for friendship, but often doesn’t know how to make it happen.

Occasionally Lizi invites herself to visit one of her out-of-town cousins. They have always been happy to have her visit, but not quite sure about planning for her visit. I usually tell them that Lizi really just likes being with people. She is quite happy to just be with someone, even if they aren’t talking or doing anything special. An occasionally trip to Kohls or Walgreens (or, back in the day, a Christian bookstore) will satisfy her need to “go,” which is minimal.

When I go out for a meal with her, I often bring a book. We’ll have a short conversation, and then she is happy to let me read. She will answer questions and ask a few basic ones herself, but mostly she isn’t much of a conversationalist and she doesn’t need you to be.

Remember side-by-side play? It’s basically like that. She is happy to go along, or not, but simply loves being with others.

Recently, the Mathiesons invited her to a dance recital that was taking place in Elmhurst. Aunt Linda and Uncle Larry often take her along on trips to the Arboretum or to free concerts in the area. They also watch TV and movies with her. Our old neighbors Lark and Alicia both are great about letting her simply hang out with them.

Lizi still has a couple more months of independence before likely moving in with us at the end of the summer. Currently, she stays with us Sunday afternoon through Wednesday morning. She goes back to her apartment to work three (W-Th-F) lunch shifts and stays through Sunday morning, sometimes at a loss for things to do–or people to see. She especially likes the company of dogs and children (though admittedly, not all children know how to handle her.)

It’s really quite simple. Lizi 101.