Taking charge

My old dog Max with baby Clare, April 2012

My old dog Max with baby Clare, April 2012

Tired of my complaining, David told me I could do what I wanted around our house…sell it…whatever.  So, I looked at available real estate in our area and further south, got depressed by the idea of pulling up roots, and decided to take the bull by the horns or some other body part, and fix things around here.

Beginning with the kitchen.  The cabinets need replacing…well some of them need replacing.  Except for the cabinet under the sink, the interiors of the cabinets  look nice.  Amelia replaced the shelf papers a couple of years ago, and did a beautiful job.  My pantry (David built it ages ago) is perfect (and the envy of my neighbors), so no changes there.  One cabinet over the counter where the coffee maker resides needs an overhaul. Others could use new doors.

I called John our handyman, and he’s coming by tomorrow after my therapy to talk about replacing kitchen cabinets.  He replaced neighbor Sue’s kitchen cabinets and did a beautiful job. I want a newish kitchen, and what better way to begin than with the kitchen cabinets.  I like the layout of my kitchen and wouldn’t change that or the cabinet color (dark against white walls that need painting), so this should be very straightforward.


David and I have begun working in the garden again.  I am unsteady for sure, but now that I can bend I have been pulling weeds.  Later this fall I will arrange to have Merrifield garden Center do another major cleanup, turning the compost, raking leaves and trimming shrubs, adding mulch to the beds, replacing the Skimmia that died, and planting a dogwood tree for the birds.  I spotted a baby black walnut tree in the back bed, so the mama tree my neighbor destroyed left some offspring, thanks to the squirrels.


I have a lovely book, Architects of the American Colonies, by Miller, given me by one of my anthropology professors.  Everybody thought I was a WASP in those days, but I knew I had immigrant grandparents on my Mom’s side, so I did not. Later, I turned up a whole branch of my dad’s family that had migrated in the Great Puritan migration.

When I discarded many other books, I kept this one because M had penned a lovely note in her calligrapher hand on a slip of paper inserted into the book. Now I find myself looking at those early remnants of the British Colonial housing and wondering about the dwellings my ancestors might have inhabited.

 M had earned a DPhil from Oxford concentrating on Ethnography or Sociology as they called it in England and studying with some of the greats in the field. I thought she was so grand, I felt like an outsider around her.  Still she treated me kindly, and when I wrote to her a few years ago, she remembered me and wrote back.

I was looking at the book today, remembering those days when I worked as a docent at several local historical sites.  The Kennedys were in the White House, and one of my instructors (who taught a class on the Federalist period) had worked with Jackie when she undertook the restoration of the WH.

So much has changed since those days. So many have lost respect for this great nation.  It almost breaks my heart.  But I am the cockeyed optimist.  I believe we will see a great upwelling of patriotism as we rally round the flag and support Mr. Obama’s recent efforts in the Middle East.

Smorgasbord Sunday


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David comes downstairs in a pair of grey sweats and his large white shirt.  That’s an interesting outfit, I tell him.  It’s academic, says he.  Do you know what I wore in college?  …a jacket and tie.  Did you try … Continue reading