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.

24 thoughts on “Taking charge

  1. I’d love to agree with you but I am turning into a political pessimist.
    Yes, we did a new pantry and new doors on top. After the new sink, we now have water damage and need to tilt the new counter back. New front there too as we now have water damage.

    There’s a wonderful photographic museum about the white house built by a fanatic:


    I really like this site. There’s a blog too, but he rarely posts.

    There’s a book out on Mrs. Obama’s wardrobe too.


  2. Remember the saying – it is darkest before the dawn. I think we are in a dark period of American history, and hopefully will hit bottom soon and begin to rebound soon…


    • Depends on where you are. It’s darker in some places than others. We need to return to basic values…like those emphasized by Jane Austin: civic pride, personal responsibility, respect for each other and our selves, etc. At present we are at the mercy of political correctness run amuck.

      Teddy said walk tall and carry a big stick. Works for me.


      • I think he said “Speak softly but carry a big stick.” Seems as though President Obama is more on that course than his shoot-from-the-hip predecessor.


      • I was quoting Biden who said Obama has a ‘Big ‘Stick.’ I didn’t vote for Bush in either of his elections, but developed much respect for him over time.

        PS This approach to foreign policy originated with Machiavelli…according to Wiki.


  3. Although I have lived in one pile of bricks for thirty seven years, it is just that. A pile of bricks. My memories are the important part of my life and they go with me whether for a weekend or the rest of my life. As Elly once said to me: “Mum, home is wherever YOU are”!


  4. You have had such an interesting life! Now I find out you were a docent. That is so cool.

    Glad to hear that you are able to be out in the garden. Just don’t overdo!

    In all my prayers now, I ask for peace. The world is a dangerous and confusing place. Hoping we can all rally and be strong again.


    • I always loved history. Worked at George Washington’s country church and George Mason’s home. Mason wrote the Fairfax Resolves, which became the Virginia Bill of Rights and first ten Amendments to the Constitution. The world is dangerous and it’s hard to be president of the US.


  5. We moved, and have been remodeling for six years. Might have been better to stay where we were and do the needed upgrades there?


  6. I hope we will be able to redo our kitchen some time. It badly needs it. I don’t like the idea of leaving either. Moving is stressful and all consuming. I have said it before but I do admire your attitude Dianne.


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